Category: Politics

Latest NEWS: South Sudan rivals sign new peace & given 45 days to form unity govt

FROM AGENCIES, AUG/25/2014, SSN;

South Sudan’s warring leaders have signed a fresh ceasefire deal vowing to end more than eight months of conflict, according to mediators who threatened sanctions should the agreement fail once again.

East Africa’s regional IGAD bloc, which mediated the talks between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar, called on the leaders to forge a unity government within 45 days.

In Article (8) of the latest IGAD of August 25, 2014, IGAD leaders “express disappointment that the 60 days in which the Transitional Government of National Unity TGONU was to be formed have passed without the formation of the TGONU; and now call upon the stakeholders to negotiate and complete the agreement within 45 days.”

Article (13) further calls on the parties to fully mandate and empower their representatives to the peace process to ensure that the remaining negotiations can proceed without further delay; and directs the mediation continue in spite of any stakeholder boycotting the negotiations.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.8 million have fled civil war sparked by a power struggle between Kiir and Machar, who met on Monday for the first time in more than two months.

An IGAD communique welcomed the “signature by the warring parties” to the deal, “which obliges the parties to bring the conflict to an end”.

Three previous ceasefire commitments have been broken within hours.

“As a region, we have to show any party which violates agreements that there are consequences to misbehaviour,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at the summit of east African leaders, the AFP news agency reported.

“We are sending a clear message to the leaders of South Sudan. So delaying in the procedure will not be acceptable – if not the region will take action.”

Kiir and Machar last met in June, when they agreed to form a unity government within 60 days. They missed that deadline amid continuing war. END

Rumbek: Another Side of the Burning Home!

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, South Sudan, AUG/20/2014, SSN;

Just as the country is wavering by rebellion where individuals lost their beloved ones, bulk displacement of people, where others are almost starving in the camps, yet our people in Rumbek are still killing themselves amid crisis in South Sudan.

In Rumbek, past events are forwarded to the present. The weight of the past, the traditional ways of doing things is massive. The past tension of 20th century is forwarded to the 21th century. He who killed my uncle in the past is still remembered as an enemy when compensation and reconciliation were done. Why do we reverse the past gears?

I like the way Agar people act politically, but partially hate their individualistic approaches to their local issues as Agar and clans.

The wrongs of the past should be forgiven. And if we look to the past, let’s do so for the lesson it had taught us. An act of revenge increases the problem to hopeless sense. However, there is no smoke without fire, but people should stop revenging because all of us are one. There is a need to sit down and solve our own problems.

I have been anticipating for years to see politicians from Lakes state coming forward as leaders or the sons and daughters of Lakes states to condemn the tragedies that have been rocking Rumbek for years if some of them have never been the part of the insecurity in the state.

Many of us in South Sudan have social, political problems or grievances to be spoken but not the nature of Rumbek’s. There is solution to everything, and the people of Rumbek should say enough is enough to their own problems. I am not saying that my Agar people – who are Dinka are not good. I love them and wanted them to live peacefully. Buka ye puot e rot. Tetke aleei wiic wek yeeth, {literally translated: do not fight. Wait for an enemy to invade you!}

Former governor, Daniel Awet Akot tried his best to forge calmness but the situation increasingly intensified during the time of Chol Tong and Matur Chut. And again, those who are asking for governor Matur’s removal are yearning for the worst.

Governor Matur came to stay. No surprise. Just tell them. It’s you – the ordinary people who are the problem to yourselves – nature or mentality not the governor! And if it’s the governor who is the problem, then let it be known than trouble innocent people.

During the opening ceremony of Mayardit Hospital in Rumbek, President Kiir urged the people of Rumbek to stop fighting. He also added that people are not killing themselves in Aweil or Twic in Warrap because they have lost many people during the protracted civil war in Sudan. There is no need for people – same family to kill themselves. The crowd listened to the President’s speech at Rumbek freedom square – and after a week, a paramount chief was killed in Rumbek. What is really forcing people in Rumbek to kill each other?

They state authority had sacked some paramount chiefs when Engineer Chol Tong was the governor but the same problem is still yearning. People should respect the law. As community chiefs, local leaders tried to solve the problem but invincible, I urge the youths to reconcile, live together. The civil society, youth organizations and woman groups should join hands and critically look into the problem. The research institutions should also carry out studies to pioneer the root causes of the problem for a lasting solution.

While Bishop Deng Bul is in Rumbek – urging people to obey the law and work together as one people, however, the problem lies within the people. These people should be asked to speak out their minds before featuring solutions, lest the problem shall not stop. Did they stop doing the obvious in Rumbek when President Kiir begged them to cease killing each other? Will they stop fighting when Bishop Deng leaves Rumbek?

Those who are thinking of solving anything in Rumbek are supposed to begin with the youths where the problem kept starting. When the house is on fire, neighbors see the smoke and begin coming for rescue. Many people fight fire with water, sand soil, and green leaves of trees. And if the house is burning and we began asking the owner of the house for the root cause of the fire than pour the water on the fire, then are we helping to stop the fire?

Our people know how to fight the fire with water, oil and sand. However, we must decide which method is the right method to stop the fire burning the house, lest the house will be burned into ashes.

In other parts of the country, youths or individuals have been politicized by politicians to act against their rival fellow politicians, is it the case in Lakes state? The Youths in the cattle camps shouldn’t be political camps cattle herders.

The social intimidating complexity by the people of Rumbek deserves brotherly actions, concrete thoughts based on grass-root consultation with local community or chiefs. The problem is from within – cohesively needs law-enforcing agencies to take proper measures against ring leaders.

Moreover, people sometimes don’t obey the law when favoritism, interference are done by individuals within law-enforcing agencies, in which others may feel their cases seemed to be vulnerable and think of revenge as the last solution. All in all, Rumbek may need law-enforcing agencies’ forces from different states in the country for fairness and social neutrality.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a South Sudanese columnist and blogger, lives in Aweil. He can be reached via mangokson@gmail.com

IGAD is part & parcel of those obstructing peace in South Sudan

QUOTE: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” ~ Desmond Tutu

BY: Chuol C. Puoch, JUBA, AUG/14/2014, SSN;

After the eruption of fighting in Juba and later to other areas of South Sudan, the region had in the first place made a “look-on” moment, before their intervention was prompted by the visit of other outside world especially the visit of US and Nigeria on the 22nd December 2013, few days after the outbreak of the fighting.

While the region was wondering, looking on and confused with evil plans on how to utilize the conflict in South Sudan, Uganda (as part of the region) intervened and sided with the government of Kirr warning the opposition leader to surrender or else be hunted and destroyed within a period of four days.

Other Countries in the region including Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan were reached and asked for their interventions by the world, while they were also interested in formulating some ideas to utilize the situation not merely involving to stop the war.

Due to the international pressure on them to impartially intervene, they came up, at last, to try and contain the situation and bring the warring parties to a negotiating table through their organization, IGAD.

After the intensification of calls and demands from the world in trying to restore peace, Machar stated it clearly that he would accept negotiating with government if they release his comrades in prison in Juba accused of attempted coup alongside Machar himself.

The region was likely in support of the idea of releasing those political prisoners, while holding their hidden agenda of forming a government of national unity under the leadership of those in prison. No one knew that the former detainees would attempt to turn their back to Machar after advocating and demanding their release through many regional and international leaders and institution.

However, it has been made clear by the action of IGAD after the release of the former detainees, that they want those former detainees abandon Machar and form their own block, and the IGAD will help them succeeding their objective of leading the interim government that is in the plan to be formed.

Why IGAD is a part of those obstructing peace in South Sudan:

In their roles and capacity as mediators, they are not, in any case, capable or mandated to impose any idea that is not in the interest of both parties; Their roles is to mediate and push the warring parties to come to comprising solution and define and agreed on the ways forward. It’s also the role of the mediator to control the external factors that are escalating the conflict as well as ensuring what is agreed upon on the table is implemented on the ground.

In the process of mediating generally, the mediators take the following responsibilities while mediating the warring parties:
(1) The mediator may assist in contacting the other party (ies) to arrange for an introductory meeting.
(2) The mediator act as an educator and educates the parties about the mediation process, other conflict resolution alternatives, issues that are typically addressed, options and principles that may be considered, research, court standards, etc.
(3) The mediator seeks to ensure that each party is fully heard in the mediation process by facilitating it.
(4) In the event that there is need for translation in the mediation, the mediator can help by rephrasing or reframing communications so that they are better understood and received. (5) The mediator probes issues and confirms understandings to ensure that the participants and the mediator have a full understanding.
(6) The mediator comes to be trusted to suggest procedures for making progress in mediation discussions, which may include caucus meetings, consultation with outside legal counsel and consultation with substantive experts, and not attempt to impose those suggestions to the parties but suggest them.
(7) The mediator can act as an Angel of Realities by playing devil’s advocate with one or both parties as to the practicality of solutions they are considering or the extent to which certain options are consistent with participants’ stated goals, interests and positive intentions. And some other minor responsibilities like setting the rules, arranging the venue and availing the needed resources for the mediation.

Hence, IGAD have been acting out of their duties and mandate and have tried several time to impose their own wills on the parties, they have failed to ensure the implementation of what is written and agreed upon by the parties in the conflict.

For instance, on 23rd of January 2014, a CoH agreement was signed and the part of that document was the withdrawal of foreign fighter invited by either side in the conflict.

It was a role of IGAD to ensure the implementation of what is written and agreed upon. Up to this time, IGAD failed to ensure the withdrawal of forces invited during the conflict: UPDF are still in South Sudan up to now, many other Sudanese rebel factions are up to this date present in South Sudan.

If that is what IGAD is supposed to have done, why is it not done?

In the ground of finding the truth by analyzing it, we always differ and each and everyone come up with almost completely different opinion and analysis of the situation. But I guess with the case of IGAD, truth is obvious and doesn’t require more analysis that may result differently.

The simple and obvious reason I can give is that, IGAD is planning by all mean to solve the conflict of South Sudan by imposing their own wills. If UPDF withdrew from South Sudan those days back, Salva Kirr’s government would have collapsed and the opposition forces under Dr. Riek Machar would have taken the leadership and the conflict would have come to an end.

However, despite public interest on Dr. Riek to become their leader, IGAD wants to impose the disgruntled politicians currently known as G10 (former Detainees) to take over the leadership of the expected GoNU, a plan that will never succeed.

It was last month when IGAD unnecessarily postponed the peace talk for one month, simply because both parties do not want the other stakeholders, including the former detainees, to be part of the peace agreement. Both parties accepted that the other stakeholders would get involved later when it comes to the drafting and formation of the GoNU – a demand which is clear and realistic.

IGAD are no different with the warring parties; in fact, they are part of the political struggle in the conflict of South Sudan because they have their political agenda – bringing the person of their own choice to lead the interim government, just like the two warring parties who are also struggling to lead the interim government.

How will the problem be solved, when IGAD has chosen to be an opponent of both side and deceiving the world that they are mediating, when in fact they are struggling for power?

US has been badly deceived, both by the mediators and the government of South Sudan, that the SPLA – IO are violating the signed CoH by attacking Nasir town. During the attacks, the MVT of IGAD were in Nasir and condemned the attack, while in fact, they had given the SPLA – IG a go ahead to destroy the base of Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth in Jigmiir.

John F. Kerry forgot the massacre that the innocent Nuer civilians and others have gone through, by calling Salva kirr a legitimate president! By the way, I should say John Kerry was in the ground of telling nonsense that day. He recognize how militarized his warlord friend (Kirr) is by saying “the cameras are sounding like machine guns” (Kirr’s machine guns).

And still, he is condemning and warning those who had volunteered and sacrificed themselves to prevent the innocent lives that Salva Kirr would have maimed after finishing many in Juba in December.

Chuol C. Puoch is a South Sudanese living in South Sudan and can be follow/added on his facebook with his name above, on twitter @chuolchot and via email: chuolchotson@gmail.com

South Sudan as a Mad Rich man is never respected or taken seriously

BY: John Adoor Deng, Australia, AUG/11/2014, SSN;

South Sudan is archeologically believed to be mineral rich country in the world and in Africa in particular. It has enormous potential for oil, gold mines, animals and a fertile land, capable of satisfying needs for local consumption and exports. The country borders many countries which in a practical sense, gives South Sudan credible opportunities for trades and business operations.

With this realization, economists referred to South Sudan as an African food basket. The question then becomes when is South Sudan going to be an African food basket? Is this economic prophecy fulfil- able in South Sudan?

Indeed, one would hold an ambivalent position in this regards. We had the opportunity to demonstrate and portray this rich endeavor both to the world and to our own good -selves. However, the ruling elites failed at the very genesis of the making of our country. For example, they could not even manage to fairly distribute the ready-made resource (oil money).

Disgracefully, the amount of $20 billion since 2005-2013 ended in few pockets while the innocent heroes and war victims, languish in poverty. The country (South Sudan) as I write this piece; lacks medical facilities, roads, clean water, electricity and poor agriculture, etc. The nation is rated low as failed and one among the most corrupts countries in the world.

This brings me to my subject title, a mad rich man is never respected or taken serious. This is true of South Sudan‘s current situation. Observably, the country is now engaged in a needless war within herself. Each day the two unfortunate warring factions slaughter each other, destroy little individuals infrastructure buildings, kill and displaced innocents civilians caught on both sides of the conflicts.

In my view, these obnoxious actions qualified the present South Sudanese influential leaders, who in one way or the other, architected the current situation as mad men and women.

Stupidly, they are proud about the oil and other resources that they could not even manage to make good use of in terms of equitable distribution and infrastructural development. The oil in South Sudan instead of being regarded as a blessing from God to us, it is humanly now turned into a curse resource.

During the civil war between the North Sudan and Southern Sudan, we used to refer to then oil as blood oil. I remember the protest we did in Kenya so that Kenyans stops doing business with Sudan with oil.

Today, our oil is becoming a curse resource; it’s only benefited few bellies and secondly the oil now is being used to fuel this needless war. Both factions are selling future barrels of oil through agreements with unscrupulous companies.

This is robbing the next generations of South Sudan, who will live only to pay debts and have nothing to benefit from the oil. The present leaders have scared off friends and goodwill allies of South Sudan. As nobody respect a rich madman, so is South Sudan to the world.

The Author is John Adoor Deng, BA, BTH, MPRL, MPPP_current and Director of South Sudan Foundation (SSSF). He is reachable by emailing johnadoordeng@yahoo.com.au

Kiir’s Govt: A mess to be left behind for S. Sudanese to pay the pride

BY: CHUOL CHOT PUOCH, RSS, AUG/09/2014, SSN;

I can’t understand how things are happening unexpectedly in this beloved nascent nation of the Republic of South Sudan. With patriotism, I want to be very softly impartial in giving you your parts of this mess and your state of ignorance in these crises. This conflict, to start with, has taken so many dimensions: ethnic, political, social, economic, diplomatic & personal dimensions and the list goes on.

However, in that regards, you MUST carefully have to react, fight and involve putting into consideration all the above mentioned aspects.

Many people even in the SPLM/A–IO have been ignorant about their fight; some of them fight choosing one of the above mentioned dimensions that the conflict has taken, which is not idealistic. I can’t talk about those disgruntled in the government, they are just feathers blowing to the wind direction, when the winds stop, and they will fall down.

Why am I reminding you about this? Well, I would rather say I have been frustrated, ashamed, bored and disappointed by some folks who are insolently supporting Salva Kirr on “No basis and logical reasoning.”

They answer questions with questions; advice with abuse, truth with fabricated lies, and the only word in their mind is that, Riek Machar tried to remove the government by force, a claim even the great Demokirratically elected Kirr’s supporters like Makuey Lueth have stop telling because no one accepts it in the whole world.

Moreover, I said sometime back in one of my articles that we may forgive Salva Kirr but God and the Country will not. So, be mindful as his supporter, that you are in the wrong direction toward ruining this Country and your opportunities of succeeding are almost nowhere to be found.

Supporters of a criminal and warlord like Salva Kirr are bad, or even dangerous than Salva Kirr himself as a person. You guys need to wake up as early as possible and eat silently if you are not ready to bring peace, democracy, federalism and good governance to our Country.

Coming to my point of writing this article, it’s a general reminder to all South Sudanese in government, in opposition, in neutral and in other parties that we are having and of course going to have, a huge amount of debt to be paid to foreigners.

Currently, apart from other sources of getting loans like World Bank, IMF, ADB and individual states, 1.6 billion dollars (USD 1,600,000,000) have already been borrowed from the oil companies. It’s also believed that the same or higher amount is owed to various individual states including China, Russia, Uganda and many other Countries.

Leave alone the destruction caused by this war of Salva Kirr, the frustration and lost of confidence in us (South Sudan) by our major partners like US, UK, Norway, Sweden, Japan and others will compulsorily make it difficult for us to stand on our feet once again and pay those debts to their respective owners, without support from the above mentioned Countries.

China is known for their unwanted population and their large dependence on foreign investment and especially in Africa. They have nowhere to survive apart from looting and taking the resources (Money) of African Countries with their cheap and less durable items and equipment.

They are currently in very dirty deals with Salva Kirr groups so that they take over the oil for two or three years while ensuring that Salva Kirr remained in power for that period of time.

In that regard, China will bring in its consummative machines to drain off the oil wells in this Country and move it to China, we may not have the oil in the near years to come.

Apart from China which is doing its business in South Sudan, we don’t have any other Country that will support us soon financially, economically and politically and as such, it’s worth mentioning that, all the debt made under the name of South Sudan will remain to be paid by South Sudanese.

The obstructed and spoiled relationship that we used to have with our major partners will need more effort to be restored; it will only be by the will of God that those oil wells in Unity and Upper Nile states will not be drained off by China through Kirr.

You must fully understand by now, if you didn’t understand so far, that Kirr is just messing up the Country and he will go! It will be you, me and others (South Sudanese) to pay the pride.

He know very well that he has lost legitimacy at all cause and the only solution for him is to use the natural resource that we have for his disgusting personal interest of ruining the future of South Sudan.

Is that what you are supporting? Is that what you are politically, economically and emotionally trying to achieve?

We must always try to shape our future from now by doing what is needed, convenient and nationalistic. Let’s leave the politics of tribalism, domination, segregation and come up with patriotic move from our very own spirit and soul, and not from our so and so.

We are currently having our simple slogan like that of Christians: “In the name of Jesus” and that of Muslim: Allah’wa’akber”. Ours is “Salva Kirr must go” period!

Chuol C. Puoch (ChuolB’riaal) is a South Sudanese living in South Sudan. He can be followed/added on his Facebook with his full name above, on twitter @chuolchot and via email: chuolchotson@gmail.com


Interesting proposal for formation of transitional government in post-rebellion South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, AUG/04/2014, SSN;

Juba Monitor of Thursday, July 31, 2014, Vol. 4 Issue No. 153 published on page 6, “Position of the Political Parties on the Transitional Government.” The position of the political parties in relation to the proposed transitional government was interesting.

One would have expected the position of the political parties to appear as part of the peace agreement signed between the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Government and the SPLM in Opposition. In other words the position of the political parties should have been presented during the peace discussions to become part of the overall peace agreement.

The position of the political parties appears as if peace were already attained that people were now eyeing for positions. However, it is still too early to say what the peace agreement will look like if at all there will be one.

It is also difficult to speculate what the peace agreement will include. The position seems to be pre-empting what should be in the peace agreement. Nevertheless, foremost what is of interest in the political parties’ position paper is the program of reform, the most essential for peace and stability in South Sudan.

Transitional government

The political parties in their position paper have come up with a structure and composition of the would-be transitional government of national unity in post-rebellion South Sudan with the main purpose of establishing and consolidating peace, instilling confidence in the government and leading the country to a genuine multi-party democracy.

The proposed transitional government may contribute to bringing pressure to bear on the belligerents in the current senseless war which should come to a speedy end. This senseless war is a manifestation of a naked greed for power in which egoism may be a factor.

The SPLM needs to come back to basics. The Vice President of the Republic seems to concur with this when he said that the SPLM is a disorganized party lacking in discipline and commitment (Juba Monitor, Friday, August 1st, 2014, Vol. 4 Issue No. 154, Front Page).

Ending this senseless war can only happen through a peace agreement that can also facilitate reconciliation between the warring factions of the SPLM, SPLM in Government and SPLM in Opposition. Without reconciliation between the two SPLM factions, participation of the factions in the transitional government of national unity may make them to be two distinct groups.

When the two SPLM factions participate in the transitional government of national unity as two distinct groups, there will never be a way to establish peace in South Sudan. There will always be antagonism.

Another complicating factor is the so-called group of eleven (G11) members of the SPLM who were previously detained for their alleged anti-government activities. The G11 claims to be neutral in the ongoing conflict.

As SPLM members, to claim neutrality in the middle of a serious conflict within the SPLM leadership, the G11 is untrustworthy and therefore unreliable, and should be on their way to the dustbin of history.

Central government

The position of the political parties on the formation of transitional government of national unity is commendable, though with some reservation, to bring pressure to bear on the SPLM warring factions to conclude a peace agreement.

The cabinet proposed is of 21 ministers, excluding the president, vice president and the prime minister. In addition, proposed are 5 deputy ministers and 18 commissions and authorities.

This is a huge government by all means with substantial budgetary allocation. It is therefore not very strange when a big chunk of the budget is spent financing the government machinery at the centre leaving the states probably gasping for funds for development.

In the interest of national unity the SPLM cannot afford to ignore the other parties. The other scenario is for the SPLM to reconcile its internal differences for peace within itself. The SPLM needs to sort out its problem in order to bring the badly needed peace and stability to South Sudan.

It is very disappointing to the vast majority of people to see the SPLM, the architect of independence of South Sudan, in a great state of disrepair. The SPLM will do an irreversible damage to its image as a political party if the indiscipline in its ranks is not addressed quickly to salvage the country from destruction. This can be done through dialogue.

Since one SPLM faction is in armed rebellion for more than half a year now with devastating effect, a peaceful solution is utterly desirable. The longer the rebellion drags on with untold sufferings of the people, the lower the confidence will be in the SPLM as a political party.

People will look at the SPLM in Government as the one capable of bringing peace because it is in charge. The rebellion has little to lose as it is not in charge of running the affairs of the country. The SPLM in Government has the moral ground to offer an olive branch to bring pressure to bear on the rebellion for people the world over to see the difference.

State government

There are two main levels of government in the Republic of South Sudan, the central and state government. There are ten states and a state is headed by an elected governor. The state is autonomous and has a council of ministers of not less than 13 ministers.

However, in the political parties’ proposal for a transitional government the state will only have 6 ministers with the governor and deputy governor who is also supposed to hold a ministerial portfolio. The structure and composition of the state government is interesting.

It is noted that the size of the state government is drastically reduced. It is not clear whether this is something to do with austerity measure that the size of the state government has to be reduced. At any rate the proposed size of the state government seems to be a hasty proposal with superficial understanding.

In simple terms taking the state government as an implementer and the central government as a policy maker, which level of government needs a bigger size in technologically less advanced economies.

It should have been the other way round. The size of the central government should have been smaller than that of the state government. The deputy governor should not have any ministerial portfolio. There are other talented individuals who can equally have that ministerial portfolio. This is in order to relieve the deputy governor for his or her appropriate duties in the state government.

The other thing to note is that the size of the state government should not be limited to what the centre thinks. The state should have the liberty to have the size of government appropriate to its development needs as long as its economy can sustain.

Development projects

In South Sudan people sometimes hear of national projects even if such projects are within the competence of the state. The concept of national projects is used carelessly by people who only day dream.

We have experience of the negligence by central authorities of the so-called national projects. At least a national project should be the one that covers more than one state and the central authorities should be collaborating with state authorities concerned for success instead of imposing.

However, quite often central authorities ignore the collaborative role of states in implementing projects. This is where problems at times occur.

As the tip of iceberg in agriculture, for example, the central authorities take it as their prerogative to distribute seed to the states instead of the states to distribute the seed to the farmers timely.

The central authorities control the funds for the seed and the question is why, where there is so much inefficiency. Due to this poor system this season the central authorities failed miserably to distribute the seed on time. The states received the seed distribution list very late and even the seed have not yet reached the states to distribute to farmers where unfortunately the planting time has long passed.

Is this how to develop agriculture? In agriculture timeliness is extremely important. Unfortunately the centre seems to ignore this probably for other motives.

Instead of supporting the states the central authorities think they can also be the implementers without understanding that they are making the technical staff in the states redundant.

For example, how could the central authorities work directly with the farmers in the counties, payams and bomas without the collaboration of states authorities?

This is what happens in what is supposed to be a decentralized system. Officials in the centre seem not to be aware of the competencies of the states.

As they are in the centre the officials erroneously assume they are in charge of everything in the states. This, of course, defeats the concept of decentralization leave alone federalism which is still a long way off.

With the programme of reforms, hopefully, the proposed transitional government of national unity will put things right in the interest of ordinary men and women of the Republic of South Sudan.

Conclusion

South Sudan is bleeding and so peace is a matter of death and life for those who have experienced nothing but destruction and devastation on daily basis. The SPLM must by all means rise above the unnecessary wrangling over leadership and save innocent lives.

It is utterly unacceptable for South Sudan to be a laughing stock in the world after emerging energetically as an independent state in decades of relentless liberation struggle.

Our Sudanese counterparts and those who were opposed to the independence of South Sudan are by now laughing hysterically at how primitive South Sudanese are, only know how massacring each other over earthly leadership; people barely two years of independence are tearing the country apart.

What is so sweet about being a leader of a country that is burning or bleeding when those innocent faces with angel smiles are perishing everyday under unnecessary gun fire?

In conclusion, protecting leadership does not necessarily mean fighting for leadership come what may but it also means relinquishing leadership as the price to pay for peace, stability and unity as the ultimate manifestation of deep nationalism. END


Jieng community elders’ giant leap for federalism in South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, JUL/31/2014, SSN;

When the demand for federalism first surfaced it was met with outright hostility and rejection. That was because federalism was apparently associated closely with the experience of kokora in the 80s. Federalism was also being associated with the recent rebellion that sparked off on 15 December 2013. This might explain why the demand for federalism was about to become a criminal offence. People who were genuinely calling for a federal system were alleged to be supporters of the rebellion. However, there was no grain of truth in such allegation. Instead there was a support to the government.

Outright hostility and rejection of the demand for federalism reached unexpected level when newspapers were being confiscated and journalists taken for questioning. However, opinions in favour of federalism persisted and were expressed openly in newspapers and in the Internet. Intimidation did not work as the call for respect for freedom of expression was very loud. As expected the hostile stand against federalism fizzled out as the expressed opinion for federalism was coming from many angles.

Notable and of importance was the opinion expressed by concerned Jieng community elders in favour of federalism for South Sudan. It was a giant step forward that couldn’t have been ignored. Things were moving faster against the minority opponents of federalism. The National Community Leaders’ Forum comprising representatives of Equatoria and Jieng from Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile States met and passed resolutions, adding their voices positively on federalism.

In one of their resolutions the National Community Leaders’ Forum calls upon the President to form a High Level National Technical Committee to study Federalism and Governance to inform and enhance the Constitutional making process without prejudice to individual or group discussions. Clearly federalism has become no longer a taboo but an accepted fact to be discussed openly for a consensus.

Jieng giant leap for federalism

In seeking a solution for acceptable administration to the people of South Sudan, the concerned Jieng community elders have proposed that South Sudan should be administered as a federation of 23 states. This is yet a clear endorsement of federalism as a solution to problems of governance and development in South Sudan. The proposed states are the equivalent of the 23 districts in South Sudan in the colonial era. This is nothing but a giant leap for federalism by the concerned and visionary Jieng community elders.

The proponents of federalism must be delighted. This is because some of the fierce critics and opponents of federalism were the Jieng. This must have been an objective change of direction because the Jieng must have come to the conclusion that federalism is the only solution to the mess in which South Sudan finds itself. The implication is that no single ethnic group or region should dream of an empire in this modern world of science. Imposing a system that only favours an ethnic group or region disguised as the preservation of national unity is an old game of politics that has long been thrown into the dustbin of history when federalism has been gaining currency.

It is through a consensus that people may agree to be united. The concerned Jieng community elders have timely recognized this when they are saying, “Many people of South Sudan are demanding for application of federal system as one of the solutions to govern the country peacefully”. This obviously seems to be the beginning of better times ahead for the people of South Sudan. At least there will be no war over federalism. The demand for federalism is gaining adherents among the Jieng and this can only be a positive thing. This is encouraging because equating federalism with kokora may soon be a thing of the past.

When federalism is not equated with kokora the fear of eviction from Equatoria will also disappear. Jieng support for federalism has far reaching implication. One major implication is that when the Jieng support federalism hostility towards the people of Equatoria may reduce drastically. This is in contrast to when the Jieng were opposed to federalism. Clearly the concerned Jieng community elders proposed federalism suggests that the Jieng have moved on and therefore share the same national aspirations for peace, freedom and development as their other fellow citizens in the country instead of dreaming of their hegemony in South Sudan.

Application of federalism in South Sudan

The concerned Jieng community elders are of the opinion that ethnic administration in line with the 23 former colonial districts as states is the solution to tribal rivalry over resources. However, tribal rivalry is not only over resources, but it is also over power as well. The concerned Jieng elders have acknowledged that the demand for federalism is the wish of the majority and that the federal system should be introduced now.

As mentioned above and according to the Jieng elders, South Sudan should be a federation of 23 states based on the 23 former colonial districts. This is instead of adopting the existing 10 states. One would disagree with the proposal for 23 states in South Sudan but the Jieng elders should be highly commended for their collective efforts in trying to work out a solution to the problem of governance and theirs is a national aspiration for the stability of South Sudan.

Looking at the highlighted 23 former colonial districts in the proposal, there seems to be a little bit of confusion. Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile each had 7, 7 and 9 districts respectively. This of course makes a total of 23 districts which are the 23 proposed future states of South Sudan. However, unlike its 7 districts, Equatoria has only 6 proposed states and unlike its 7 districts, Bahr el Ghazal has 9 states. For Upper Nile, unlike its 9 districts it has 8 proposed states. There is something strange here.

It is not clear why the 7 districts of Bahr el Ghazal have been blown up into 9 states while the 6 states for Equatoria do not correspond to its former 7 districts proposed to be the states. Something somewhere is not right. Confusion continues as Upper Nile which had 9 districts is only allotted 8 states. This clearly does not show that the 23 states are the duplicate of the 23 former colonial districts in South Sudan. Some explanation may be needed.

There may not be any need to return to the former 3 regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile to form a federation. However, there is nothing wrong with adopting the 10 states as a federation for a start. The adoption of the former colonial districts as states should be at the latter date and at the discretion of each of the 10 states. Federation of 23 states should not be done in a rush in view of economic austerity measures. This means that higher economic growth should first be recorded before creating new states. For example, it should be Central Equatoria State to decide in future either to break up into Yei River State and another state the name to be decided on later or not.

Development of natural and mineral resources, prospecting for more oil production to increase revenue and development of hydro-electric power should be undertaken for higher economic growth before creating new states. The proposal for 23 states is a noble one. However, in practice it is not only a mammoth task but an economic nightmare. I hope the architects of such a noble proposal do not want people to depend on foreign aid to finance the additional 13 states. One way of creating a state is that a former colonial district in any of the 10 states must justify itself to be a viable state through its own resources. We do not want to see states that are nothing but liabilities.

Different federations

South Sudan may need to learn about the different federations. For example, some federations are called asymmetric because some states in the federation have more autonomy than others. However, the histories of countries vary. One federal system of a country can be different from that of another country. The Republic of India is federal, comprising individual states. The central (federal) government of India has authority over the states and even has the authority to change the boundaries of the states.

It can be seen that the Indian federal system has strong centralizing tendencies where the federal government remains intact but the physical existence of states can be modified. In contrast, the federal system in the United States of American (USA) is characterized as indestructible union of indestructible states. This means the states in America are intact and the federal government does not make any alteration in the states as is the case in India.

The often asked question is what type of a federal system South Sudan should adopt. Well, people may need to understand that there is no particular federal system unique to South Sudan that can be copied. People will have to agree on the type of a federal system that will address what is seen as the problem of governance in South Sudan. The main problem is equitable power and wealth sharing, and equitable development. To address the problem, a federation should first be defined for people to be clear of what a federation entails.

Many people will tend to agree that a federation is characterized by a union of partially self-governing states united by a central (federal) government as in India or in the USA. It is so simple, isn’t it? However, the devil is in the details. The federal model in India may be unattractive because South Sudan has been virtually under a centralized system that is abhorrent hence the loud demand for a federal system.

In contrast, the USA federal model may be of too much independence to the states when, for example, one state allows capital punishment while the other doesn’t. For South Sudan a balance has to be struck. People may need to look at the Switzerland or German federal model which may be of interest to study. However, cut and paste may not work but adaptation to the felt needs in South Sudan may not be a bad idea.

Conclusion

The concerned Jieng community elders have made a giant leap for federal system to be adopted in South Sudan. This is an encouraging move that should be appreciated by any fair-minded individual. Unlike those who only care for their stomachs, and kith and kins, the Jieng elders have shown that leading from the front is necessary at times for a better South Sudan.

One reservation, though, is about the proposal for 23 states in the federation. The proposal is an economic nightmare particularly in the short term. However, it may be appropriate in the long term when economic growth is picking up at a higher rate but it should also be the prerogative of each state in consultation with the central government either to break up into more states or not. For now let’s stick to 10 states federation as the most convenient for a start.

In conclusion, adoption of a federal system of government is the only way forward in building a strong united and prosperous South Sudan where no single ethnic group, no single region and no single individual will be supreme in grossly mismanaging the affairs of the nation. Federalism as the utilization of diversities to the maximum will likely accelerate development and this, hopefully, will turn South Sudan into a paradise on earth for all as living standards improve tremendously.


Riek Machar & the rebels are not ready for peace

BY: Peter Mayom, USA, JUL/28/2014, SSN;

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle the conflict by peaceful means,” Ronald Reagan.

With world’s attention turned to war between Israel Defense Forces and Hamas and the fight between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine government, which subsequently led to the downing of Malaysian passenger airplane, South Sudan’s peace talk will now be put on the back burner. The focus is on brokering ceasefire in the Middle East and the shooting down of Malaysian passenger plane in Ukraine.

As the rest of the world deals with these new crises, it is time for Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to stop facilitating, encouraging, and sponsoring Riek Machar’s futile regional tours.

Two months ago he was flown to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to sign ceasefire and to commit to formation of transitional government within 60 days with President Salva Kiir. However, Riek Machar has forgotten the reason why IGAD or AU brought him to the Ethiopian capital.

Instead of devoting his time to peace negotiations, he and his top lieutenants are busy winning and dining at some of the finest restaurants or hotels in the region while his followers, Nuer peasants, are battling the elements and starving in South Sudan.

Five months in the bushes would make anyone crave for delicacies long-left in Juba after the war broke out. Living like kings, enjoying modern amenities, and shaking hands with leaders of the region alone would not help the people currently crammed in the UNMISS camps in South Sudan or refugees lacking basic needs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Machar needs to recall the condition he was in two months prior to his arrival in Addis Ababa, which I think was still a luxurious one compared to the living conditions of his fighters.

He must think about the children dying right now fighting his useless war and has to be serious about bringing this conflict to an end.

Not mindful of the situation he left his rebel forces in when he flew to Addis Ababa, Machar has done everything except making peace a first priority. Right after he signed and later violated the ceasefire with President Salva Kiir, he visited Nairobi, Kenya to meet Uhuru Kenyatta.

Then he took off for South Africa to hold talks with Jacob Juma. And not long after that he went to Djibouti.

He alleges that his visits are meant to educate the leaders of those countries on the genesis of the war and how to bring about a long-lasting peace to South Sudan.

Well, let Machar be reminded that peace will not come to South Sudan while he and his group are occupied with telling foreign leaders how bad Salva Kiir’s government is and what these leaders can do to make him step down as president. He and his group need to stay put in Addis Ababa and negotiate peaceful settlement to this conflict.

The visits Machar made to the above mentioned countries have no any bearing on the peace negotiation process. While he was in Djibouti, he was given tours of Djibouti River port, fiber optic and telecommunications systems, according to Sudan tribune.

Other then getting inspired by the advancements in Djibouti and mentally escaping temporarily the enormity of the war he is fighting, how are his regional tours helping people who are facing death from hunger and diseases due to lack of access to food and medicines, respectively, because of war?

They (tours) are of no significance at all. He should be ashamed of himself talking about construction of oil pipeline and exporting oil through Djibouti while his people are dying.

The rebels’ leader has to stop the campaign, tours, and devote time to peace negotiations in Addis Ababa. He should know that African leaders are desensitized by wars and the leaders he talks to would not tell him that he is fighting a senseless war.

He must know that there are also economics and political interests in wars. For that reason, some of these leaders would want to cozy up to him in case he wins the war or becomes the country’s president.

Our country cannot afford this wait-and-see games; it needs peace. Moreover, those mediating the peace are getting paid handsome money. It is sad to say but true, the longer these negotiations go on the better for their pockets.

This is not to negate that IGAD or AU does want to see the war stop. Nevertheless, the burden rests completely on the shoulders of South Sudan’s leaders to end this war. There are no winners in it because we lost and still are losing innocent people who were not party to the genesis of this conflict.

And if Riek Machar still believes he can win this war militarily and install himself president, then he is completely delusional and should seek help before it is too late. He has failed to get rid of Salva Kiir and must give peace a chance.

South Sudan’s civilians living in deplorable conditions in UNMISS and refugees camps deserve peace and they need it now. There are times when individuals who consider themselves leaders rise above their personal interests and work for the good of the masses. This is one of those times.

It is a known fact that Riek Machar wanted to get even with Salva Kiir after he ran away from Juba. That was the reason he mobilized his tribesmen. He surely would have liked to run Kiir out of Juba the way he ran him off.

But that dream was long dashed months ago. What is attainable and at his disposal is to work on bringing peace back to the country and alleviate the suffering of his people.

Is Riek Machar really ready to negotiate peace? The answer is no. He is not there in Addis Ababa to bring peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Here are some of the reasons why I believe he is not ready for peace. Right after he was happily airlifted out of South Sudan, he has been busy creating, doing and calling for things that are most likely to prolong the conflict.

His formation of the so-called “National Committees” is an indication that Machar is not there for a quick solution to the conflict. He is preparing the rebel movement for a long haul. There is no need for these committees if he is willing to hurriedly end the war.

It is understood that “An empty mind is a devil’s workshop”. The leader of the rebels is probably afraid of the proverbial devil and it could be the reason why he is creating the committees because he does not want his elite rebels to saunter the streets of Eastern Africa capitals.

Insistence on the withdrawal of Uganda People’s defense Force (UPDF) tells us that rebels are not yet there to negotiate peace. They want to try again going to Juba after UPDF withdrawal. Signing peace and withdrawing UPDF are totally irrelevant.

The call for federalism at this moment is another reason I believe Machar and the rebels are intentionally trying to delay peace. Federalism is being used as one of the obstacles to peace negotiation process.

The once orphaned and now rebels’ leader-adopted kid called “federalism” did not cause this suffering of our people. He knows really well he is not fighting because of lack of federal system. When he was in the government for eight years, Machar did not do anything to advance the case for federalism.

Why is he calling for federalism now?
First, he wants to get support from Greater Equatoria region, which at least voiced the need for federalism before the war started. He knows the government has the propensity for knee-jerk reaction.

The calculation is that should the government start detaining, prosecuting, muzzling or killing the Equatorians calling for federalism, mass rebellion would ignite in the heart of the government.

The rebels’ leader needs to read the tea leaves. Those scenarios and the joining of his movement en masse by those calling for federalism are not going to happen.

Greater Equatoria does not want to see its cities brought down to ashes as the rebels’ movement has done to Greater Upper Nile region. It will peacefully make its case for that system.

One thing was learned from the rebels after they took control of towns in the Upper Nile region. They do not have respect for national infrastructures or properties.

If they could destroy, ransack or loot their own towns, those whose towns where not reached by the rebels can only imagine what they would have done to their towns had the war gone beyond the Upper Nile region.

Riek Machar and rebels’ intention is to see the whole of South Sudan engulfed in flame. The uprising rebels want to see in Equatoria will not be good for Equatoria and all Equatorians must shun it.

Debate about federalism should not be denounced. There is always going to be the “forbidden fruit” craving. When the government seems to restrict talks about federalism, the more people have the urge to talk about federalism.

And if there continues to be incidents like the one that happened in Maridi County, the government will continue to see the already lower political stocks plummet.

However, before debating federalism, we need to have peace in South Sudan. Whether or not to have federalism in the country is second to stopping the bloodshed taking place right now.

It is my belief that anyone who has not taken up arms and who insists that an endorsement or acceptance of federalism by the government at this time must be a prerequisite to ending the war is a rebel.

The demand for federalism by the rebels is a cheap political maneuver to drag out the war and no one should fall for it. First thing first, let the war end. Then we can talk about federalism.

There are law-makers in the Parliament who represent all sections of South Sudan. They must be part of and parcel to this debate about the system of government.

Federalism is not and will not be the solution to South Sudan’s problems. War didn’t break out in Juba because Riek Machar wanted to have federalism implemented but Kiir refused.

Let’s not deceive ourselves that ushering in federalism will produce an economic mobility in the country. The gap between the haves and the have nots will predictably stay the same no matter what the system is.

What is needed is a political will by the leaders in the country to put people first. Putting the system on paper is not going to change anything as long as the leaders want to seemingly show to the ordinary people that they are extraordinary.

The system the country has now needs to be tinkered with. Presidential powers must be shrunken. For example, the power to remove or appoint governors must be taken away from the president. All states should be allowed to carry out the powers enumerated in the Transitional Constitution.

Proponents of federalism who think that adopting it (federalism) alone will accelerate development and lead to equitable distribution of resources are hallucinating.

Federalism coupled with creation of more states, as Machar and his group propose, would not stop the select few from pocketing the oil money as they did since the signing of CPA. More states would definitely balloon the already huge government’s payroll. And it will be just another recipe for division of the country already divided tribally.

China has 1.3 billion people with only 34 provincial-level administrative units, which are working just fine. The USA, which midwifed South Sudan’s independence, has over 300 million people with 50 states and it is the envy of the world. The notion that creating more states will solve South Sudan’s problem is false.

The campaigns or so-called “charm offensives” Machar is pursuing are self-serving. He knows the atrocities committed by the rebels are going to implicate him. Therefore, he is lobbying the leaders of the region who would work behind-the-scenes to help him avoid going to the International Criminal Court.

Telling people that he is there to explain the genesis of the problem to those leaders he visits with is a pure lie. Knowing very well that he got away with the 1991 Bor Massacre, Machar would be a damn fool if he does not put up some fight diplomatically. And it is the reason why his schedule is loaded with plans to meet African leaders. I would be surprised if he does not take his campaigns to the West.

As I said before, what is needed now is a complete stop to the senseless war. To have federalism or not ought to be debated after guns are silent. The child soldiers dying as we speak do not deserve to die. They want peace and they want it fast.

Prolonging the war will make it difficult to achieve peace. Here are things that will likely happen if peaceful settlement to the conflict is not achieved in short time.

First, the rebel movement could disintegrate into several factions, which will likely turn against themselves.

Second, the mistrust among the rebels’ commanders living lavishly in hotels in Addis Ababa and those in the trenches will start to grow if the war lasts for long. As a result, the ones in the trenches might not honor the agreement even if peace agreement is reached. And that will create militias for South Sudan to deal with long after this conflict comes to an end. Sudan would be there to nurture the militias.

Third, Sudan will start creeping into the disputed areas because it knows South Sudan is a divided house. And sadly, Abyei issue will be shelved for good.

Both government and rebels’ negotiators, this coming round, have to be serious about bringing this war to a halt. How, what and who started the war are of no use at this time.

What the country is longing for is peace. No introduction of new conditions such as federalism and creation of more states are needed to be discussed in order to return the country to normalcy. END


To Bishops Lukudu & Santo: Please stop the desecration of the Catholic Church by Kiir & Igga

EDITORIAL ANALYSIS: JUL/21/2014, SSN;

Whilst the nation profusely bleeds and people keep dying daily, the Holy Catholic Church in Juba seems to be in some spiritual and moral confusion by inexcusably perpetuating its insensitive policy of allowing the two habitual ‘sinners’ in the forms of president Kiir and his vice Wani Igga to continuously desecrate the Holy Catholic Church.

Every Sunday and on other holy occasions of the Catholic faith, since 2005 when they came to town, Kiir and Igga have been accorded the un-sanctified privilege to spew from the Holy pulpit what can only be classified as mendacious and un-Christian statements without any shame or compunction.

But more importantly, however, since the start of their war of genocide on December 15, 2013 when they embarked on the killing of innocent citizens which continues up to this moment, Kiir and Igga have obviously been accorded absolute impunity by our Kator Bishops to keep committing the sin of lying against the 8th Commandment, which clearly states: “THY SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.”

Every Catholic and Christian, for that matter, has been taught since childhood by our priests and bishops that this particular Commandment absolutely forbids a Catholic or any Christian from ‘telling lies’ which is an abomination against the Lord and one’s own Christian faith.

Furthermore, the Eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relationship with others, doing otherwise means refusal by an individual to commit oneself to moral uprightness.

The opposite, sad to say, is what the poor parishioners are exposed to every Sunday from these two leaders’ regime of duplicity, dissimulation and hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, every Holy Sunday, right from the sacred pulpits of Kator’s St. Theresa Catholic Cathedral and at St. Joseph Catholic Parish Church, either President Kiir or his vice, Igga, has been needlessly accorded the privilege to annoyingly regurgitate lies upon lies that are then widely beamed across the world via SSTV.

Personally, as a Catholic from the cradle, baptized in that Church in Juba, and amongst the first generations of Catholic children educated at Kator Catholic parish, our Italian priest in the late 50′s steadfastly ensured that we never ‘lied’ or stole even a peanut at home (then our poor parents never had any money around).

In Psalms 120:2, it’s says, “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” Unfortunately, our two heroically popular bishops in Juba seemingly are failing to deliver and save the poor souls of those devout Church goers being lied to and deceived by Kiir and Igga every Sunday, Christmas and Easter in perpetuity.

Moreover, never in the world, not even at the Holy See at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, has any Pope ever allowed crimes-tainted, genocide perpetrators or morally questionable Catholic and non-Christian presidents, politicians or even princes, ever step into that most Holy pulpit to commit a sin against the Eighth or any Commandments.

The problem, my most dear Bishops, is that, sincerely speaking and after hearing the speeches of those of Kiir and Igga for years, these two are the poorest motivational speakers one can ever think of.

Seriously, there is nothing ever that is inspirational or spiritual in those church speeches ever delivered by either Kiir or Igga, a sincere assessment is that all their tirades at that holy pulpit are very despairing, annoying, irritating and in most cases belligerent.

Whilst most Juba kids who attend these speeches describe Kiir as mundane, boring, confused and rumbling a lot of gibberish not completely understood, a chronically pathological liar who on many occasions promised ‘heaven on earth,’ but only to break his promises and instead brought terror and death, a true Lucifer!

On the other hand, Igga is a national disappointment whose comical and clownish theatrics especially in the church are utterly incongruous, deprecating and embarrassing but above all, boring; even children in the audience only sneeringly laugh just to please him. What a disgrace!

The point, my dear bishops, is that you and the Holy Catholic Church cannot continue being oblivious of the underlying sensitivities and emotions of your devoted church goers, who, let’s be frank here, sacrifice so much just to go to church every Sunday so as to have their down-cast spirits uplifted in the uncertain future looming and the difficulties they confront daily in the country.

Every Sunday, both Kiir and Igga un-repentantly stand before the faithful promising to do so much but deliver nothing, while the people especially your devoted church-goers are starkly faced with harassment, insecurity, hunger and anxiety whether they and their families will wake up alive the next morning.

In all fairness to both your holiness, Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro and Bishop Santo, and with my utmost personal respect as an unwavering Catholic faithful, I wish to reiterate my utmost commendation of the great roles you played in saving the lives and souls of Juba Southern citizens during the long war.

Undoubtedly, as individuals and men of God, your Holiness have been exemplary and well-respected personalities across the country and history most certainly will laudably vindicate the great roles and sacrifices you both made in the country’s evolution to total independence.

But, however, in the nation’s current predicament, whereby the SPLM leadership of Kiir and Igga is allowing innocent lives to be needlessly eviscerated, where everyday living has become a life-or-death struggle, South Sudanese are certainly looking at you, my holy bishops, for salvation and divine intervention.

Surely, the Catholic Church is fully cognizant of the lies, the immorality and deviousness of the Kiir-Igga regime as visibly exemplified by the stubborn refusal and callous intransigence to concede to popular national and international appeal that they step aside and allow a transitional government be formed as resolution to the political and military stalemate.

On that fateful Sunday December 15th, 2013, before Kiir-Igga conspiratorially embarked on the genocide against fellow citizens, it must be recalled that His Grace, Archbishop Paulino Lukudu himself was at president Kiir’s side during the SPLM Convention, praying for reconciliation with him at the church and at Nyakuron.

But, what happened that very shameful night? Kiir and Igga, as pathological liars, whilst publicly assuring your Holiness Archbishop Paulino Lukudu and other bishops of their willingness to peacefully and consensually resolve the internal contradictions within the mis-ruling SPLM and mis-governing GOSS and follow the rule of law, they instead unleashed their killer tribal SPLA and thousands were instantly butchered that very night.

Kiir, obviously, was totally subsumed with tribal hatred of a particular people in Juba and that can’t be tolerated from a leader pretending to be a pious Catholic for that fact, a man freely accorded a privilege he never dreamt about, that of weekly addressing the faithful at St. Theresa Catholic Cathedral, Kator.

Critically, in the aftermath of the murderous SPLA campaign, the Catholic Church at Kator became a refugee camp for the victims of Kiir-Igga’s terror and once again, Archbishop Lukudu and Bishop Santo, you exhibited your true Catholic virtues in saving and placating those poor souls now refugees once again inside their own supposedly independent country.

Psalms 31:18, reads, “Let the lying lips be put to silence.” That, my dear Bishops, is what is now required from you, as representatives of God on the land known as South Sudan nation to speedily withdraw those ‘lying lips’ and terminate the misplaced privilege accorded these two presumed power-hungry leeches the use of the holy pulpit.

This is the gist of this article from a Catholic who considers himself a life-parishioner of Kator, that your holiness MUST stop those lying lips of Kiir and Igga misusing the church for their empty and irritating rhetoric, aka, lies.

Furthermore, Your Holiness, your close association with the Kiir-Igga leadership can be rightly or wrongly presumed that you have become inadvertently involved in the realm of the dirty politics of the nation by supporting and abetting this regime, and as such, must be prepared to expect some criticism.

Of direct relevance, your Holiness can’t replicate the moral ineptitude of Pope Pius XII who despite colluding with the Hilter’s Nazis in Germany in 1939, kept his silence while the Nazi persecuted even those Jews who had converted to Christianity.

In the face of the looting, failed leadership and killings across the country and especially in Juba today where fathers and mothers are shamefully forced to doing their toilet in bottles and cans in the bedroom at night in the presence of their children during the rampant insecurity, the Catholic Church cannot remain oblivious, or at worst, complicit in this criminality.

Whilst common people are barely scratching a living, Kiir and Igga are ostentatiously riding to Kator in expensive fleets of Mercedes limousines, their wives and children living in East Africa like princes and princesses driving nothing less than a Hummer or Porche car.

Destitution is rampant, thanks to failed government of Kiir-Igga, that generations of South Sudanese children are now inevitably condemned to life of misery in perpetuity.

If Jesus Christ ever came to Juba, certainly he would do us and the South Sudan nation the honor of driving these inept, corrupt and sinful leaders from Kator and St. Joseph, just as the Lord drove those exploitative tax-men from the ‘house of His Father.’

Rightly, as reportedly circulated, one of your Catholic priests one Sunday years ago declared how some of these leaders came to Church on Sundays directly from their concubines’ beds unashamedly ‘uncleansed’ and dare to stand up to lecture to the Sunday faithful about ‘morality?….. that was deservedly a bitter statement that sent Kiir into self-imposed exile from Kator for nearly one year.

Finally, quoting again from the Holy Bible, Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

How can the Holy Catholic Church, your lordships, Lukudu and Santo, be a mouthpiece and platform of a regime bent on perpetuation of terror and disaster on your very parishioners?

Silently and unquestionably, the majority of those parishioners are quietly begging your Lordships, Lukudu and Santo, that your continuous propping of these two on the holy pulpits is a painful and unforgivable reminder of their aggravated agonies.

One thing is sure, my most holy bishops, is that these opportunistic and unpopular duo, Kiir and Igga have found a free avenue and are expeditiously exploiting it for their deadwood speeches.

I bet both your Holiness, that in reverse, if Kiir and Igga were the Bishops instead in your places, nobody would ever voluntarily enter their churches. Take my word!

Seriously, your Holiness, our Bishops, the question is, are these two, Kiir and Igga, really morally sanctified and exemplary, or even motivational and inspirational, to be accorded these holy pulpits to vomit their lies every Sunday, and the next, and the next….?

In conclusion, the Holy Scripture tells us in Proverbs 13:5, that “A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.”

Don’t we all hate lying and lies, especially coming from so-called leaders?

I beg for Your Forgiveness and blessing. Amen


Proposed Federal system for future South Sudan: Let’s serialize it Part Five

BY: SINDANI SEBIT, NAIROBI, JUL/18/2014, SSN;

Part 5 of these series focuses mainly on the sources of financial resources for both the Federal Government and Federal states and how the federal resources can be distributed between the federal government and states. It will further illustrate how state resources can be distributed within the states. It will also outline the role of the body that will be responsible for financial resources distribution at the three levels of government.

Before discussing the sources of revenue for both the Federal and State Governments, it’s important to point out here that South Sudan is endowed with vast resources that if managed well, would spur rapid economic development in the country and perhaps transform the country into a middle class country within 15 to 20 years.

With a population of nearly 10 million and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 1,858 in 2011, there is no reason why the economic transformation in South Sudan cannot supersede its neighbours because South Sudan has the highest GDP compared to all countries in the East African Region.

It should also be mentioned here that the GDP referred to above is calculated based mainly on oil income that accounts for 98% of the production in South Sudan. However, South Sudan has other resources that could increase rapidly the GDP if these resources were exploited.

These resources include copper, gold, diamonds, uranium, chromium, manganese, iron ore, zinc, mica, silver, tungsten and hydropower. In addition, one would also need to mention some of the potential economic areas, namely agriculture, forestry, fishery, trade and commerce which could have vastly contributed to boast the economy of the country. Sadly enough these resources are yet to be exploited.

In addition to failure to exploit all the potential of South Sudan, rampant corruption and poor resource distribution by the regime in Juba has, severely stagnated the economic development of the country.

This is due to concentration of resources in the hands of the central government, poor planning by the central government, incompetent leadership, weak governance institutions at the center, lack of separation of powers between the executive, parliament and judiciary so as to ensure accountability, transparency and prudent planning and implementation.

Therefore, as the situation exists now in South Sudan, most of the country resources are used rightly or wrongly in Juba and its environs while the so called states have been neglected.

Judging from the 2014 budget of 17.3 billion SSP whereby a total of 14.098 billion (81.5%) (6.590 billion, to repay doubtable debts, 4.130 billion for central employees and soldiers and 3.130 billion for security) was allotted to the central Government, no kind of imaginable development or services can been rendered at state level.

Therefore, the proposed federal System for South Sudan is a deliberate effort to correct the gross failures created by the current constitution and form of government that exists now.

This can only be done by establishing independent governing institutions at all three levels of federal government. These are aimed at guaranteeing accountability, transparency and prudent planning and resource management.

Secondly, by establishing mechanisms that can distribute resources equitably and equally, to all the federal states as per the population sizes. The objective here is to ensure that these resources reach the intended populations and guarantee that the resources are used for the intended purposes.

In relation to a country, resource is defined as “the means available for economic and political development such as minerals, labour force and armaments” (Free dictionary) or “a country collective means of supporting itself or becoming wealthier as represented by its reserves of minerals, land and other natural assets” (Oxford dictionary) or “is a source or supply from which benefit is produced.

Typically resources are materials, energy, services, staff, knowledge, or other assets that are transformed to produce benefit and in the process may be consumed or made unavailable” (Free encyclopedia).

Therefore in a federal system, the right to collect revenue from resources must also be divided according to the levels of government namely Federal resources and state resources.

1. Federal resources
The federal government resources will include among others that may be regulated by federal law:
a) Natural resources such as mineral and petroleum
b) Customs
c) Immigration
d) Federal courts (federal Supreme Court and Federal Court of Appeal)
e) Value Added Tax (VAT)
f) Assets such as airports, railways, weight and bridges
g) Services such as Federal employees, investments

Therefore, the Federal Government will collect revenue from mineral resources, immigration, customs, courts (Federal courts), VAT, federal investments, income taxes on federal employees, service taxes on airports, railways and weight and bridges. The revenue collected by the Federal government shall all go to the national consolidated fund.

The funds collected by the Federal government are for whole nation and the federal government is not entitled to use it until it is distributed between the federal government and the states. The distribution of this fund shall be done by the Revenue Allocation and Distribution Commission.

This is an independent commission which is set up under a constitutional provision purposely to ensure that national resources are collected and distributed between the Federal Government and the federal states according to a formula defined by the constitution which should be 30% for the Federal Government and 70% for the Federal States.

This ratio is purposely established because Federal States are the service delivery organs in the country and so they must be provided with enough resources to effectively and efficiently deliver services according to the needs of the states.

This is meant to offset the current system in Juba where the regions are designated to deliver services to the people yet they helplessly depend on the central government on what is given to them as grants. As usual these grants have always being less than 10% of the national income. As a result the regional governments have failed to deliver services to the people.

2. Federal state resources
The federal state government resources will include among others that may be regulated by state law:
a) Land
b) Games and parks
c) Courts
d) Royalties
e) Services
f) Taxes
g) Loans

Therefore, the federal states revenue sources will include land and housing rates, market taxes, licenses, agriculture, court fees, game and game parks, tourism and recreation services including parking fee and income taxes from state employees and residents. Others are vehicle registration fee, service taxes such for water, sewerage and electricity, road tolls and import and export taxes. However, interstate taxes such not be levied. The states will also get resources from royalties, federal contribution and loans from local banks.

3. Distribution of federal resource between the Federal Government and states
In sharing the national resources at whatever level, the principle of public finance is underpinned by the fact that there shall be openness and accountability, including public participation in financial matters.

The public finance system shall promote an equitable society, and in particular that the burden of taxation shall be shared fairly and revenue raised nationally shall be shared according to the federal constitutional provision of 30% to 70% in favour of the federal states and that distribution of resources at state level is equitable.

Expenditure shall promote the equitable development of the country, including making special provision for marginalized groups and areas in addition to ensuring that the burdens and benefits of the use of resources and public borrowing shall be shared equitably between present and future generations.

The principle shall also guarantee that public money shall be used in a prudent and responsible way. Financial management shall be responsible and fiscal reporting shall be clear.

However, while sharing the federal resources, the following additional criteria should be taken into consideration:

a) The national interest and obligations shall be a priority particularly such as in a state of war and national calamities. This means the Revenue Allocation and Distribution Commission must ensure that resources are made available to the Federal Government to meet these challenges before distributing the federal resources according to the formula set out in the constitution. In such situation, the federal government is required to come out with concrete budget proposals that shall be reviewed by the commission to ensure that they meet legitimate needs that are in the interest of the nation. Thereafter the commission with present such request to the Federal Parliament for debate and approval. Once approved these funds shall be credited to the emergency fund account created for this purpose.

b) The need to ensure that State governments are able to perform the functions allocated to them
In order to ensure that the annual federal resources are shared between the federal government and the state governments according to the stipulated formula, this money shall be calculated on the basis of the most recent audited accounts of revenue received and approved by the federal Parliament.

4. Distribution of 70% of the federal resources among the states
The distribution of federal resources among the states shall be shared according to population size in each state. This is to ensure equity in distribution of resources among the states and guarantee that every citizen in each state gets its correct share of the national resources and services.

This means that states with large populations will get more money than those with low population. This is because high population density means there is greater need for more services such as health, education and road infrastructure. Demand for housing, water and electricity increases with increasing population in addition to other social demands such as recreation, sporting and urbanization.

Therefore once the 70% of the Federal funds is credited to state allocation account, the Revenue Allocation and Distribution Commission shall calculate the amount to be allocated to each state according to the population of the state. This shall be done independent of the state governments so as to avoid undue pressure exerted on the commission by the state governors. The population of the state shall be calculated according to the latest census taking into consideration the country’s average annual population growth rate.

5. Distribution of state resources to the counties
The state resources that shall be distributed among the counties of each state shall include funds received from the federal government and the funds collected by the state. All these constitute the state revenue.

While distributing these funds, the Revenue Allocation and Distribution Commission should first consider the state government budget which should not exceed 30% of the total state revenue. This must be the budget approved by the state parliament. Having allocated the amount to the state government, the rest of the funds (70% of the total) shall be distributed among the counties based on the following criteria:

a) The fiscal capacity and efficiency of county authorities to absolve the funds;
b) Developmental and other needs of counties are ensured
c) Economic disparities within and among counties and the need to remedy them is considered seriously
d) Affirmative action in respect of disadvantaged areas and groups is upheld

Revenue Allocation and Distribution Commission

This commission shall be established through a constitutional Act like other independent commissions established under this Act. This means members of the commissions are:
• Subject only to the Federal constitution and law
• Independent and not subject to direction or control by any person or authority
The Commission members shall be nominated and appointed by the President/Prime minister subject to approval by the federal parliament. It shall be composed of:
• Four persons who are not members of parliament nominated by various political parties represented in the federal Parliament according to their strength
• Permanent Secretary in the ministry of finance
• Two persons nominated by the Public Service Commission. These should not be members or employees of the commission
• One person nominated by the Judicial Service Commission who is not a member or employee of the commission

Person nominated to be appointed to this commission shall have extensive professional experience in financial and economic affairs or should be a qualified lawyer in case of the representative of the judicial service commission

The commission shall be charged with the following responsibilities
1. Ensure that the revenue raised by the federal government is shared according to the constitutional stipulated sharing formula of 70% revenue going to the states and 30% remaining with the federal government
2. Make recommendations concerning basis for the equitable sharing of state revenue to the counties
3. Make recommendations on the matters concerning financing of, and financial management by state governments
4. While formulating the recommendations, the commission should seek to consider the following:
• National interest
• Public debt and other national obligations
• Ensure that state governments are able to:
a) Perform their functions
b) Development needs
c) Economic disparities within the counties in each state
d) Affirmative action in regard to the disadvantaged areas and groups within the states
• Population density of each state
• Desirability of the county and predictable allocations of revenue
• Need for flexibility in responding to emergencies
• When appropriate define and enhance the revenue services of the federal and state governments
• Encourage fiscal responsibility
5. Determine, publish and regularly review a policy in which it sets out criteria for disadvantaged or marginalized area within states
6. Submit recommendations to the senate, federal parliament, federal executive, state assemblies and state executive

In conclusion, the proposed federal system intends to deliberately establish a robust and independent revenue allocation and distribution mechanism that first aims at fighting corruption and money laundering at any level of the federal government. The objective is to ensure that national resources are distributed equitably and transparently between the federal government and states and among the states.

The second objective is to curtail or obstruct the federal Government from garrisoning funds in the Federal capital instead of ensuring that states have resources for development and service delivery.

The third objective is to ensure that all federal states get equal chance for rapid and equal development. This means all South Sudanese will have access to basic services regardless of where they live or settle. The overall intention is to avoid the current constitutional loopholes that have resulted in amassing all the national resources in the hand of the central government giving no chance to the regions to access resources and foster development.

Currently the regions are totally dependent on Juba government for their existence but the federal system aims to put the states in-charge of their own affairs and promote equal development and growth.

Due to the fact that many South Sudanese have misunderstood Federalism as a system aimed at sending other South Sudanese away from Equatoria or other parts of the country though is absolutely far from it, part 6 of these series shall focus on the rights of individuals and citizens in the proposed Federal Republic of South Sudan.

The aim of serializing this system is to enable South Sudanese fully understand what is being proposed. We try here and there to compare the proposed system with the current one so as to see the advantaged and disadvantages.

Sindani Sebit
Nairobi; Kenya