Category: Politics

Machar Versus Kiir: Two dangerous enemies who can’t work together

By Michael Abraha, Kenya, JAN/17/2017, SSN;

We know Pres Kiir and Dr. Machar are not only political opponents but dangerous enemies who have no heart for each other. The reality is that their self-serving rivalry has cost South Sudan so much bloodshed and the nation is at a stand still because neither side is willing or able to play a fair political game.

I believe it was wrong, ab initio (from the beginning), for these two ambitious men to try to work together as president and Vice President.

Machar should learn from Kenya’s Raila Odinga and be only an opposition leader without any portfolio. This would give him ample time to articulate inclusive ideas and policy agendas with the forthcoming elections in mind.

Meantime, some of his SPLA/IO members should be allowed to serve in the various branches of the interim administration under Kiir.

Given the current hostile environment, Machar and his party should be given full security guarantees. And there are many ways he and his organization meet their financial needs.

Equally crucial in this equation is for Kiir to try to emerge as a renewed statesman devoting more of his time and energy to the task of healing and unifying the nation. No external force can bring peace and unity for S. Sudan.

He can achieve statesmanship of the Mandela stature if he can convince himself and his ardent supporters that their economic benefits and privileges cannot be permanent and may have to be sacrificed for the sake of the nation.

Finally, Kiir and Machar should realize there can be no South Sudan without the Nuers or without the Dinkas. Ethnic violence is a shame in the 21st century.

Collo (tribe) must mend fences or face ultimate doom!

By Gwado J. Ador, United Kingdom, JAN/12/2017, SSN;

The snobs are out again managing an atmosphere of hate and fear amongst sons and daughters of one mother and father. With the heroes falling one after another, the battle for Malakal is certain just at our doorsteps and will soon be decisive.

Brave Collo young men and women are ready to respond to the calls of liberation in Collo land. As natural soldiers by birth, it was possible by the grace of our ancestors for Collo youth to defeat forces of occupation at every available opportunity. Collo would surely determine the outcome of war. They will eventually win the battle for Malakal in just a brief encounter on leveled ground.

Beforehand, Collo will have to come to terms with the inevitable consequences of vulgarism and fatal consequences of infighting among themselves, which benefits none other than prophets of doom in South Sudan.

The issue at stake is the claim staked by Dinka Apadang on a chunk of Collo land. Apadang said Malakal and other Collo areas lying East of the Nile belong to Dinka. This claim which was based on a false ground was duly effected by Kiir’s Presidential Order No. “36/2015” which enhanced the practical annexation of Malakal town to East Nile State.

Since then, Collo young men and women have formed armed resistance movements. Training centres were opened and started to spring up in many areas. Collo were ready to wage armed struggle against Dinka Apandang’s forces on legal and moral grounds.

Many bitter wars have been fought along the Nile and in Collo areas. Agwelek forces managed to put up fierce resistance and defeated the heavily armed SPLA and its Dinka militias of Abu Shok and Darfur Rebels on numerous occasions. Juba however, sustained defeat and embarrassment of losing battles on high tech military equipment to Collo liberation army.

Against all odds, the regime in Juba and its strategist from Jieng Council of Elders “JCE” have become hysteric and paranoid about the ensuing revelation in Upper Nile. A new strategy to deal with what they have termed as “Shilluck menace” have been adopted.

Skillfully, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Jieng Council of Elders ‘JCE’ started to move buying off some wicked elements who were adept to serve selfish interests. A congregation of disgruntled groups in Juba known for their lust for power and money relentlessly competed for kiir’s trust and favors. Some of them ended up being appointed into fake positions of elusive states.

Hence, sharp divisions coupled with military provocation started to surface among Collo sons and daughters. Competing factions who were pledging to fight for ancestral land turned the barrels of their weapons against one another.

Shot by friendly fire, heroes and heroines started to fall one after another. All have happened as a result of lust for power and money. The enemy exploited this and the issue of Collo land confiscation has become even more real than at any time before.

Collo military leaders from both sides have been engaged in polarising public opinion to the extent that desperate Collo natives and victims of injustices became confused. They were sharply divided antagonising one another and on social media platforms.

In order to win our objectives for which we have taken up arms, Collo should vigorously start mobilising youth to face Apadang aggression aimed to confiscate our ancestral land. By now we should have learned how to live together in peace and harmony especially following last incidences of which we lost fine lives of our young men and women. At our political and social spectrum, we must always strive to avoid provocation at all cost.

The fact that Collo traditional leaders worked tirelessly to mediate between the opposing Collo forces but unfortunately these forces often agree to work together half-heartedly. There are threats still casting a shadow on peaceful coexistence among Collo forces, which were bound to fight for our heritage and values. The ensuing threats in the Collo Kingdom might likely cost serious setback and loss of our ancestral land to our enemies.

What struck me further is the amount of death and the quality of fine lives of our young men and women being lost in ‘Upper Nile killing fields’ as a result of the work of twin evils within our midst, which turned Collo people into a laughing stock.

Undoubtedly, this has set a record that some Collo elements could even stride further to accept being bullied or used to fight in order to protect the interest of the enemy for food and positions. Overwhelmed by power, they were ready and could even be fooled to butcher themselves to the finish.

While nothing is being done to stop the bloodshed in the Collo Kingdom, some circles with ulterior motives started to move horizontally causing more chaos and mayhem and the latest is Hamara incident.

How many hero’s and heroin would we want to see falling before we could come to our senses and to conclude saying enough is enough?

On whose account are we paying the high price in terms of lives being lost in the course of our struggle?

Why do unnamed politician(s) and some food lovers keep on provoking the situation of hatred and unnecessary blood being spilt within Collo circles?

Until when will we remain to dig our heads into the sand, and be in utter denial about the threats surrounding Collo motherland?

Fair enough, under the auspices of Collo Kingdom, Reth (King) Kwongo Dak Padiet made several attempts to bring Collo youth together so as to discourage acts of defiance, especially sentiments of hatred and antagonism within the same members of one family.

Thus, Collo competing forces of Agwelek Under Gen. Johnson Olony Thubo and New Tiger under late Yoanes Okic were ritually bound to harmonise their aims and objectives so that they could bottle up their differences. They were set to fight shoulder to shoulder should there be any threats from outside, mainly from forces of marauding vulgarities surrounding Collo land.

But, on many occasions than not, the spirit of unity forged with the blessings of our great grand ancestors of which the two sides pledged to respect have often been a waste. It is abrogated in mysterious circumstance unleashing thus terror and latent hostility in the area. Collo young men and women arrogantly revert to challenging and savagely killing one another.

The sad news is that, following the latest incident, Agwelek and Tiger staunch supporters on social media, instead of investigating the circumstances under which this incident took place, they reverted to antagonising and abusing one another in stark contrast with the past incidences. This situation has unfortunately let to hurting and savage killing among members of one family. This situation has never been witnessed before.

Subsequently, supporters of both parties on social media were seriously embroiled and engaged in cyber warfare. Blame game flared up making most of them busy to mock one another. They often point fingers of accusation of siding with Juba’s “Mathiang Anyor” making it further hard for some of us to believe and digest the ensuing revelation.

But thank God, nothing serious has been advanced to substantiate the wild allegation made against our gallant forces and their leading figures in the battlefield.

It is being rumoured, however, that Kiir’s regime has mysterious hands behind what was going on in Upper Nile because, his forces have failed miserably to achieve their military objectives in the Collo Kingdom and now would want to attain these objectives through other means, including playing each individual against one another.

The question being raised today is how much success has Kiir achieved his military objectives in Collo land? The answer is perhaps a score of 75% certainly because his forces of Mathyang Anyor and other militia allied with the rebel groups in Northern Sudan are still occupying Malakal town including the entire Collo land on the Eastern part of the River Nile.

However, Mathyang Anyor and Dinka Apadang are entrenched in Collo land since Presidential Order “36/2015” of which Malakal was illegally annexed to what they named as “East Nile State”. Stephen Dhieu who comes from Baliet area makes necessary funds available.

The portion of war efforts is estimated in Billions of US Dollars to advance the cause of land confiscation in Collo areas. Dhieu was appointed in various lucrative economic positions to ensure the blazing fire is kept blowing and burning everything in the Collo Kingdom. It should consume the last soul and must erase traces of Collo heritage in that part of Upper Nile.

Strangely enough, others are still leaving in delusions and in abject denial arguing that things will soon become normal under Kiir’s leadership. They said only 25% of objectives have been realised and that explains why Kiir and his ‘JCE’ resorted to discreetly buying-off some top politicians and high ranking military officials who in turn would unconditionally join the government later as part of Gen. Taban Deng Gai’s IO ‘desperate mission for power and recognition’.

Although Gen. Taban Deng Gai was the top leading figure at the negotiating table on the side of IO during peace talks; both ‘SPLA IO and IG’ sides have explored to renegotiate the deal and resolved to settle the issue of decentralisation and federalism based on the new reality on the ground. Kiir and JCE stuck fast on the 28 States and for now, they were not ready to back down.

Taban was warned not to touch the issue of 28 States but allowed to operate within the small margin. He was given an opportunity to slightly improve on the deal by proposing additional states so as to resolve competing interests in certain areas.

Thus, Taban was forced to speak a different tongue. He would want to appear that he was still in control. Taban however, wants to pursue another phase altogether with risks to his safety, guarding thus against any threats which could jeopardise his newly acquired position.

After joining the government following July 2016 Palace Coup conspiracy, Taban alleged success in ousting his former boss Riek Machar Teny. As First Vice-President, he wants to put on a brave face to show his supporters that he was still capable to protect and to safeguard their interests. But sooner doubts started to overwhelm him, especially His uncertainty to take up his responsibility and poor perception on how to follow in his boss’s footsteps.

He embarked on subtle campaign to challenge Riek Machar in an attempt to keep him out of politics in Juba. Taban ensured that Riek is kept away as far as possible, and preferably in exile so as to prevent him to come back and to resume power as the legitimate IO Chairman.

Shortly, Taban became disillusioned with his position, he was in constant nightmare about Riek’s come back. At every opportunity he seizes, Taban vigorously started to dismiss Riek as irrelevant, who is like ‘a vehicle parked in exile without wheels’. President Kiir confided in him and entrusted him to chattel flights abroad to pursue this strategy, which will make Riek confined to one place in exile.

Simultaneously, Taban started to chattel flights between Juba and Khartoum on official visits to iron out issues of bilateral nature, including meeting with some opposition groups active at the border with Sudan.

Observers believe that Gen. Taban managed to strike a deal with some top military (IO) officials, including Collo high-ranking commanders in the area. His mission to attract followers and boost support for his leadership has yielded very little results and subsequently managed to barely lure Nuer or Collo forces to his own camp.

Implausibly, Taban with his bizarre character proposed to create Upper Nile Central States, which will include Panyikango and all areas of the Collo Kingdom lying on the Eastern bank of the River Nile joining thus, Dinka Areas of Akoka, Baliet and Adong with Malakal as the capital city. But, ironically, Dinka Apadang forced Taban to shut-up hinting, “non-coexistence with Collo people under one roof in Malakal.”

Emerging reports have obviously revealed that Taban has thoroughly discussed the issue of Malakal at different forums including church centres showing a clear departure from his previously held position to maintain JCE interests in Upper Nile.

Apparently, Taban would want to bring about peace and tranquility in the remaining conflict prone areas through newly set strategy provided that his proposal would not anger his new boss Salva Kiir Mayardit, and his Dinka supporters who maintained saying the issue of Malakal is non-negotiable. He has appealed for both Collo and Apadang to accept coexistence in Malakal as before, but neither side would want to back down on held positions.

Interestingly enough, Kiir’s recent expression which revealed saying he has done nothing wrong and that he seeks forgiveness for mistakes he might have committed unknowingly has cast doubts about his genuine search for peace and reconciliation.

It was rather unpalatable because of the nature of his approach and the character of his appointees whom some of them under no delusion were people with past bad records on the management of public resources and peaceful coexistent.

Take, for example, Simon Kun Pouch who served as the governor of Upper Nile State for more than two decades has been presiding over the ruins in Malakal. His reign as Governor during those days showed wanton destruction on physical infrastructure, including social fabric in the area. Thus, Malakal was reduced to just a mere rubble.

What could we expect from a bunch of idiots who knew nothing besides hatred? Simon Kun in league with other like-minded Nuer and Dinka individuals destroyed the whole town of Malakal beyond recognition. They massacred thousands of innocent people, including children, women and elderly in just a matter of some few days, what a farce!

Similarly, Bona Malwal who is currently serving, as a leading member of JCE is known for his avid dislike for unity and non-sharing resources with other non-Dinka in South Sudan. He strongly believes in disunity, and a tribesman at heart.

In fact, Bona Malual is the very person behind the idea of ‘Dinka absolute power for two hundred years to come’. He has relentlessly traveled around the world to preach for Dinka super power and imposition of the policy of divide and rule in the Republic of South Sudan.

However, both men and some more others are posing real threats and insecurity for the people of South Sudan. They will certainly defeat the purpose by which any genuine call for dialogue and reconciliation. With their likes on top of affairs, the prospects for dialogue will not only become harder to realise, but it will be a more risky venture in the context of South Sudan.

As devoted Churchgoer, President Kiir is still far away from the spirit of true repentance, thus he is not worthy to receive the divine of forgiveness or remorse yet. God the almighty saviour has not yet come any closer to his side, because of the amount of sins he committed against innocent people of South Sudan.

Honestly speaking, if he were serious about his recent intention, he would have at least scrubbed his establishment order No. “36/2015” as a gesture to attract sympathy and to remove suspicion and doubts still lingering around his neck.

Secondly he would have accepted without any precondition to dismantle all the illegal establishments crippling political, economical and social welfare institutions in the country.

Thirdly, he would have taken a courageous stance to dismiss JCE as unconstitutional non-existence.

Lastly, he would have shown signs to step down voluntarily, paving the way for the advent of real democracy and unity of the people in the country. But instead, President Kiir ignored all these vital gestures. Therefore, he was not really serious about his latest call.

The good news is that many people, however, have not taken him seriously, because he was known for such misleading and compelling appeals. Obviously, he was making a mockery of the system. However, fighting against injustices will still go further. We will preach and call for unity of all the tribes to rise up against policies of ‘Kiir’s fascism’.

Albeit, Collo must be prepared this time to fight for survival. Collo must come together united with other communities facing the same enemy to fight against injustice, corruption and malicious antagonism within South Sudan. Threats are real and will go nowhere any sooner. Collo forces should take the lead and put its forces on alert to response rapidly for calls of duty against forces of disunity and destruction.

The established social spectrum on various media platforms must observe the spirit of brotherhood and desist from making unnecessary provocations or irresponsible move. Collo various military forces must abide by pledges made before the King of Collo people and paramount chiefs in respect for the spirit of our ancestors and for the sake of our motherland.

Let us stand side by side for the protection of our traditional values and our rights to leave decent life. Let us reject forces of evils in our midst by assuring that we wouldn’t be intimidated or misled by forces of darkness again.

The spirit of our ancestors reinforced by the blessings of Jesus Christ will always be upon all the Collo people, especially those who have taken up arms to fight for our rights against forces of occupation and disunity.

Finally, the issue of Malakal is central to everyone in the Collo Kingdom. This is not a private affair or a monopoly of politicians or groups of individuals armed or otherwise. We will never accept any bargain that would not place Malakal at the centre of final peace to resume its role as inherent Collo commercial town.

Certainly, Agwelek and New Tiger forces, including the entire Collo people won’t take any further provocation or aggression lightly while lying down. Victory is ours and certain.

To our fallen heroes, have mercy and rest in peace.

Pres. Kiir and Dr. Machar 1st Presidency 2005-2013: An Analysis of its Achievements, Failures and Weaknesses

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, Kenya, JAN/08/2017, SSN;

The first presidency between president Kiir and Dr. Machar began shortly when the movement lost its historical leader, the great Dr. John Garang De Mabior on 30th June 2005 in a helicopter crush. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr. Garang long time deputy, immediately got installed as the FVP of the Republic of the Sudan and the President of the Government of South Sudan, as per the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005.

Consequently, Dr. Riek Machar, being the second man after Kiir immediately became the VP of the Government of South Sudan until in July 2013 when the later went on rampage against his boss subsequently causing divorce to their political honeymoon.

In this article, I intend to bring to forefront the achievements, failures and weaknesses of the first presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar 2005-2013. Quite obviously, there are major achievements that the 1st presidency of Gen. Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar achieved.

The first and foremost achievement, though it was a common interest of the people of South Sudan was the peaceful and successful conclusion of the conduct of referendum on self-determination for the people of South Sudan. The right to self-determination made all the people of South Sudan of all walks of life to make sure that South Sudan break away from the Sudan.

We successfully voted for an independent state of our own, the republic of South Sudan. We cared less about under whose leadership that the region broke away but what was important was to break away from Sudan and have our own country. We did achieve it for it was our common interest.

The SPLM leadership may brag about it but for sure it was not the making of SPLM but the people of South Sudan for the number of people of South Sudan is greater than the membership of SPLM. We were tired and fed up of all mistreatment in the hands of our brothers and sisters in the north.

President Kiir may brag about it that it’s his success but the fact remains that his only vote can’t determine the fate of a region inhabited by millions of people. But we do give him his credit for although he wasn’t that wise but his being a leader at the time earned him that credit and all its veneration.

The second achievement though it back fired, was his numerous presidential pardons and amnesties issued to pardon all those who took up arms against their own fellow brothers and sisters, notorious warlords and militias and their integration into the national army, the SPLA with which the region relatively had a bit of peace though it didn’t last longer than usual.

The aim of all these presidential pardons and amnesties was to reconcile the people of South Sudan and forge a new beginning in an attempt to build the would-be new state in the map of the world. Quite obvious that his good intentions were taken for granted in which numerous militias took up arms, killed and caused havoc but still they were pardoned and integrated.

These notorious warlords and militias would have surely destabilized the region and caused more havoc and devastation if he had pursued the path that was about to be taken by our late leader Dr. John Garang with all southern militias when he refused to meet with the then known militia leader and the most notorious one, late Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial, in the presidential Palace in Khartoum and threatened to deal with all militias who failed to join either side of the parties to agreement as per the terms and clauses of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005.

However, despite the achievements and successes mentioned above, there were unaccountable failures of the 1st presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar, as manifested by the overall records of President Kiir and Dr. Machar 1st presidency, there was a complete failure of the government in maintaining durable peace and security, respect for human rights, human and infrastructural development were disappointing.

The government failed to minimize incessant communal violence and cattle raiding that were rocking Lakes, Jonglei, and Unity and Warrap states, if not putting them into a standstill.

Hence, these failures and several other factors accounted for these poor and disappointing records of the 1st presidency of the two gentlemen.

There were weak institutions of government established along ethnic lines, for instance, if a minister comes from a particular tribe or ethnicity, then eighty per cent of the ministry’s staff comes from his tribe forthwith.

The government failure coupled with weak institutions was responsible for an unspeakable corruption at unprecedented scale where millions of pounds and dollars were siphoned to foreign bank accounts overseas. The president allowed all the state resources to be looted at day time by his ministers, senior civil servants and senior army generals at his watch.

There was complete lack of political will from the president and his deputy to initiate institutional reforms and curb rampant corruption and bring to book of shame and justice all corrupt officials.

During its nine years in office from 2005-2013, the government was marred by a couple of scandals one after another including the famous Dura saga, the four billion dollars stolen by known thieves in which secret seventy-five letters were written to seventy-five officials who were presumed to have stolen the money.

The other scandal was the eight million stolen from the public coffers which led to the dismissal of the former ministers of cabinet affairs and finance and economic planning and the current one being tried before the high Court involving the office aides of the president.

However, many writers argued that not much can be accredited to the 1st presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar since they both took oath of office in 2005 until the duo got politically divorced and parted their ways in 2013. It was a kick-backing presidency.

In a nutshell, it can be argued that the 1st presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar succeeded in overseeing the smooth, transparent, peaceful and successful conduct of the referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan but failed in curbing human rights violations, communal violence and cattle raiding, corruption and democracy, rule of law and infrastructure development.

That was the nature of the government we had in South Sudan before the duo quarrel over the national cake in 2013, its achievements, failures and weaknesses.

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

Kiir’s Dialogue for peace offers rarest opportunity to achieve lasting peace and a durable constitution in South Sudan

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, JAN/02/2017, SSN;

On December 14, 2016, the President of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, gave one of the rarest and the best speeches in the history of South Sudan. What made that particular speech stand out and the best among all his other speeches in my opinion, was the fact that not only did the President give what is required in order to achieve peace in South Sudan but he also gave a method of how to achieve it.

The three stages of how dialogue should be conducted as proposed by the President in that speech is the proper approach to achieving peace because we should not at this time go to the neighbouring countries to search for peace when we have the country.

The reason the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005 was made in Kenya was that South Sudanese did not have the country.

Moreover, the Peace that is always made outside South Sudan limits the participation of the rural people, which explains why a peace process takes only the views of the warring parties without considering the needs of our rural people as the government and the SPLA-IO are presumed to represent the people which are not true.

Contrary to the belief as stated in the above paragraph, the Government and the SPLA-IO represent their own interests and this explains the fact that any slight friction between the two parties will always result into deadly clashes. Because each party jealously protects its own interest and forget the needs of the people they are presumed to be representing.

However, the initiative of the President on how to achieve peace in South Sudan through dialogue will help the people to contribute their views in the peace process and how peace should be achieved.

This will further make the people own the peace and protect it and will also make it hard for anybody whether the government or armed oppositions to break it without risking to lose the support of the people on the ground.

This point alone makes the approach of the President important in achieving peace in South Sudan.

In addition, the President in that speech as indicated by his choice of words (or diction) showed that he is the head of the nation and he is ready to lead and protect the nation and her citizens and to achieve peace by all means.

The fact of the assertion as I have just made in the foregoing sentence is illustrated by the following repetitive but important words of the President:—

“I am deeply concerned about the direction our country is heading to: tribal hatred and divisions. I am deeply concerned about the parents who cannot feed their children due to the shrinking economy. I am deeply concerned about the street children and all the citizens of this country. We shall work to preserve and protect the unity of our people. As your President, I will not allow this suffering to continue. I shall be the patron of the NATIONAL DIALOGUE. We fought for the unity of this country but not to tear it apart. We shall guarantee its unity. Let us embrace the unity. I am initiating the national dialogue. It has been the hallmark of the Liberation struggle…”

The words of the president as quoted above shows the seriousness of the president with the peace dialogue this time because he accepted responsibility as head of the State as he has seen the suffering of the South Sudanese and even apologizes to them.

Even though many people are skeptical with the initiative of the president on how to bring peace in South Sudan and even dismissed it as political gimmicks, but as far as I am concerned, the choice of words shows that the President meant what he is talking about and ready to stick to it.

Thus, I really appreciate the humbleness of the president as exhibited in that Speech. In other words, it was a great speech in the history of South Sudan.

What makes it a great speech is its practical aspect. The speech outlined the objectives, goals and the procedures to be followed if the peace in South Sudan were to be achieved.

Therefore, the President seemed to have realized that if the lasting peace in South Sudan is to be achieved, then, it must be not externally but internally driven.

As has been in our case since the civil war broke in 2013, the effort to achieve peace in South Sudan has been externally driven, which always ends up in failure.

The reason for the failure of externally driven peace process has been explained by some writers who have observed that externally driven international efforts to resolve the conflict in Africa are often faced with the limitation that local parties are sometimes unwilling, or unable, to relate to such initiatives.

Hence, the local people are always left out in the process of peace making and are unable to relate to such initiatives geared towards achieving peace lasting peace.

This is premised on the fact that the peace process is conducted on the official high-level diplomacy hence marginalizing the local population. As a result, the peace process becomes alien to the local people.

Another weakness of the externally driven peace process or liberal peace project as some of the writers have termed it is that it is an intervention designed to facilitate the establishment of durable peace and prevent recurrence of violence. These include peacekeeping, peace support operations, disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration.

As seen above, the externally driven peace process leaves out the local population and only concentrates on the warring parties and how to stop peace at conflict level.

For this reason, the peace accord is always drafted based on the views of the leaders on both sides of conflict and by consequence, it leaves out the local population or the supporters of the two parties.

The consequence of the externally driven peace is that it can easily be terminated by stronger party when it feels threatened by the content of peace agreement. This was the reason why the Compromised Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2015 of South Sudan easily gave way to another deadliest conflict in July 2016.

The whole thing is that weaknesses of the liberal peace project as explained above might have conditioned the decision of the President to call for national dialogue. The national dialogue as the president envisages is intended to be a means of finding out the views of every South Sudanese in rural areas other than relying on the views of politicians who only wanted the peace agreement to be drafted in a way that brings them closer to power and resources.

After coming to power and the resources, they forget the people, only to remember them when their interests are threatened.

Nonetheless, proposing the national dialogue as a means of achieving peace in South Sudan, the President of South Sudan has got it right. This is because the president is going to kill two birds with one stone.

The dialogue is going to bring the war to an end and at the same time the views of the people as obtained in the process of dialogues will provide the basis for the constitution. When we talk of the constitution we mean the supreme law of the land.

The term “supreme law of the land” has its origin from English Common law. In other words, the supreme law of the land refers to the English customs that were associated with the values found in English land and later those customs or English values were adopted by the Norman Kings through the adoption of common law or common customs that were turned into law by Norman Kings beginning in 1066 AD.

Norman Kings were kings who came from France to colonize England in 1066 and in the process of colonization, they adopted common customs. Such customs were later applied throughout England and Wales as common law because they were common customs applicable to all the people in England and Wales.

Thus, because those were common customs, the common law was and it is still respected today in England and Wales. In the same way the dialogue may bring up the common law to all South Sudanese that may be the basis for the common law of South Sudan or strong constitution respected by the local population.

At the same time, the peace process achieved through such a dialogue cannot be easily abrogated by any of the parties to the conflict because all citizens will own it and defend it.

In regard to the need for justice as many people have been making as a point of doubting viability of such a dialogue, I would like to point out that the local people have the rights to decide and express what they need during the dialogue and the President as the patron will be forced to adopt such views.

Hence, if they say they need justice and in a given form and to be achieved through a given manner, then the authorities will accept it because they were the ones who proposed the method of peace making process.

In short, the presidential initiative on dialogue for peace in South Sudan offers the rarest opportunity to achieve lasting peace and durable constitution in South Sudan. The only condition South Sudanese should put as a condition for dialogue is that the speech be implemented as it is.

NB// the author is South Sudanese lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through:; +256783579256

South Sudan, My Country: A Nation at the Mercy of Madmen!

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei , DEC/23/2016, SSN;

The tears shed and suffering experienced by those who have lost loved ones in South Sudan brutal civil war will be a curse on all the actors. Each morning comes with bad news, highway killings and disappearances credited to the Juba’s unknown gunmen.

The leaders who are supposed to be custodians of the nation are not living up to people’s will and expectations. Their thirst for overarching powers doesn’t yield to the call by people who have known nothing but deaths and hunger throughout their existence.

The population so dependent on what they hear from leaders verbally have their hopes subsidized, and the joy supposedly associated with independent South Sudan disappeared before delivery. Taking issues by the hierarchy of importance, South Sudan security situation must be addressed before anything else can be resolved.

The political elites and their bloodsucking cohorts are directly responsible for the current crisis. With the situation so volatile as entailed by the records, not even the strongest men/women in the country can stop the little known gangs from wrecking the nation apart.

It’s never too late for the citizens to reach to the bottom of South Sudan’s fundamental governance problems. The callousness and political cult that instigate fighting among different ethnic groups in South Sudan must be dealt away with.

To begin with, this article is about the madmen of South Sudan. Who are they, by the way? The madmen in the context of South Sudan present political anarchy are those politicians and warlords who have had a joint venture, and on the rampage of killing everyone who disagrees with them.

If anyone has to ask some of the Dinka/Jieng’s Army officers & youths who joined the death squad on behalf of the SPLM-IO, and why they chose such political path, their answer would not be different from those who had taken up arms against South Sudan’s government in the recent years.

Obviously, it would be presented as a call to reform the corrupt and decayed system of governance in the country. And from the perspective of bystanders(South Sudan political commentators), it’s a quick move to rise to the top without merits.

As I write this piece, key Jieng’s youth leaders have relinquished their allegiances to the SPLM-IO, and are either returning to South Sudan or continuing to reside in East Africa according to unannounced amnesty offered to them by the Government of South Sudan.

Just a day ago, an eloquent colleague online pointed out that some Dinka/Jieng’s youths who left for the bush empty handed are returning home empty handed. What a scar on their names?

On the other hand, if an outsider has to ask the Oil suckers why they labeled their own as being Rebels, threatened their lives and forced them to choose SPLM-IO as an alternative, they would be like… the whole thing was very confusing, but we just need them back badly.

Give us a break, madmen, you have destroyed South Sudan, and have shamed our independence.

More than a decade since South Sudan gained self-governce, different armed groups have operated in the countryside, killing, looting and raiding livestock. And there is more to what emerged after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA).

As a matter of records, South Sudan’s current governance problems dated back to those days when the Region was governed in Khartoum, and when Southerners believed/claimed to have no freedom to realize living side by side as one people.

In the olden days, successive Khartoum based regimes used “divide and rule”, the very method that worked best to the advantage of the people in the north (rest of the former Sudan). The elites, both northerners and southerners to some extent, exploited ethnic differences and ignited the fire that kept Southerners in a constant fight for many decades.

When the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army emerged in 1983, the political fault lines shifted, and those who once considered themselves pro-Arabs became enemies of the State(Sudan). It was rather a well calculated drastic change that crippled the nation’s economy and displaced millions within the first five years of the war.

There were steep resistances by Southern Sudanese politicians who relocated themselves to northern Sudan, chasing town life. Despite that, the momentum was so huge that other marginalized Sudanese joined the guerrilla warfare.

It was something never seen by the Sudanese Establishment, and majority never thought that a Southern political & military front would ever force Sudanese government to make sense of some of the proposals put forth by the SPLM/A in negotiations that never materialized.

With all of that being an eye opener, proxy war strategy which made Southerners to fight themselves along ethnic lines continued to tear apart their social fabric wherever they lived around the world. Knowing where we all came from can help us deal with future governance challenges of our new country.

Following through with series of events before South Sudan’s independence, tribal conflicts were usually apolitical, fierce fight over resources(pastures & waters). While war raged in the South(1983-2005), power struggle among the officers of the Movement led to internal fighting, and Khartoum gave hands to those who chose to fight the SPLM/A in the South.

In the heart of what was northern Sudan, three fronts(Nuba Mountain, Southern Blue and Eastern Sudan) stayed intact with the SPLM/A Mainstream and helped the Movement to survive until major breakthrough was reached in 2002.

The same Allies who fought alongside South Sudanese in the war of liberation, and who are now known as members of the SPLM-N helped the current Government of South Sudan from being overwhelmed by SPLM-IO fighters in northern South Sudan(2013-2015). Localized wars are hard to win, and defeating armed rebellion has proven to be the hardest thing since guerrilla fighters usually have nothing to lose.

In practice, there are things that don’t come to surface when nations are in peace and doing well economically, but do become exposed in times of war. It serves great importance to point fingers at paranoids who are used to fighting wars on behalf of their masters.

Chunks of the back and forth wrangling in the country would have been settled peacefully if leaders were not too busy off-shoring public money. In every level of the South Sudanese society, grudges built up and matured into actual war.

Deep down the villages in South Sudan, the actions of madmen are seen through crooked officers who often take sides in local conflicts. The tribal elements seen in South Sudan’s many fights aren’t necessarily the launching pads for all the conflicts in the country.

For example, former Lakes and Warrap states scored high in Jieng killing themselves. It was just a matter of time, and the whole situation was expected to explode. Foreign organizations and Journalists based in South Sudan all these years described events as catastrophic, but authorities didn’t take serious notes.

Now come the big bomb, a rift between President of the Republic and his former Vice President whom he sacked after trying to challenge him in a ruling Party democratic exercise. The rhetoric right after December 6, 2013 were very alarming, yet people chose to be muted until mass-killing became the new reality in South Sudan’s major towns(Juba, Akoba, Bortown, Bentiu and Malakal).

Just to stamp on the historical account of the events leading to the independence of South Sudan, quite a number of incidents showed that running the new nation would be hell of a job for those who never had a real government.

Khartoum never had interest in training responsible leaders, and its actions have backfired on them in Dar Fur, Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In 2006, an extension of the Popular Defense Forces resulted into a lethal fight in the garrison town of Malakal.

The long time militias of “divide and rule”, allied to Sudanese government in Khartoum, and commanded by Gen. Gabriel Gatwech Chan(Tangynyang), and Gen. Mohamed Chol felt left out in the central command, and staged a door to door gun-battle.

That conflict should have been an eye opener for authorities in the South, but they failed to take serious notes despite the fight being an entrenchment by the untamed militias to join the organized forces without some kinds of power-sharing.

In the same Region of the Sudan, now South Sudan, junior officers in the SPLA formed their thoughts, flocked to the bushes and started fighting the Government of Southern Sudan in Juba.

The political rivalry among different groups in South Sudan is a syndrome in its own right, and blame had always been on Khartoum. Slowly by slowly, a blame game between largest tribes (Dinka and Nuer) in South Sudan started to gain popularity, and military confrontations ensued.

But with SPLA not being national enough, soldiers turned guns on their closest colleagues in the Army. The skirmishes of the political flip-flopping have left deep marks on all South Sudanese, and Representatives of different ethnic groups in South Sudan, and at different levels of the governments should take blame for failing the country.

As the world watches South Sudan disintegrating and descending into bitter political pieces, the ethnic intolerance shown by politicians holding higher positions in both the Government & the opposing sides is very troubling.

When madmen are termed as being corrupt, organized criminals and so forth, they want to reach for guns or hire a Hit-man to kill the person who talk sense. Duh, they cannot win the fight until they are disengaged from repetitive nature of their deeds. There shouldn’t be any illusion about the current state of affairs in South Sudan because suffering has always been the work of madmen.

Lastly, the recently announced “National Dialogue” as being discussed across the board is rather a new thing given unsettled legitimate leader of the SPLM-IO. I’m afraid that those who termed the new political Machine as “National Monologue” are describing the would-be national reconciliation as a one-sided.

The first few signs of the promised dialogue are troubling, and that has been the nature of things in South Sudan for quite too long. No doubt, the Dialogue include prominent and veteran politicians who have served South Sudanese on different fronts, but it is a little too sketchy for anyone to envision success of such mechanism.

Already, concerned citizens and opposition parties have voiced their fears, and saw nothing tangible coming from the so-called “National Dialogue.”

On its face, it is an assurance to supporters of the Government that power isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. The President has doubled-down on many agendas. Lack of genuine interest in resolving the conflict is a serious challenge, and must be dealt with before lost hopes can be resuscitated.

Had top leadership of South Sudan’s Government and the Rebels put the interest of the nation first, this senseless conflict which has consumed much of our resources, would have ended on January 24, 2014.

The arrival of Advance Team in Juba after the August 2015 Peace Accord (ARCSS) was promising, but skepticism turned into shoddy hope, and faded away when fighting erupted again around the Presidential Palace (J1).

In making the concluding remarks, South Sudan’s ongoing political and military turmoil can be traced back to many things that have gone wrong over the years, and those in charge of the nation’s affairs have failed numerous times to address them appropriately.

With so many mixtures of what make South Sudanese fight themselves, ethnicity need not be ignored when dealing with the country’s central issues. The warlords who come from all tribes in South Sudan are the madmen, and South Sudan is at their mercy.

Unless citizens look after their lives and properties, these energetic ruthless killers plus aged egomaniacs, Council of Elders from all tribes must be scrutinized and sidelined from making decisions on behalf of those who seem to give them everything they want.

As we move into 2017, we should all be thinking about proper ways for fixing the mess in the country. The huge vacuum left by security apparatuses failing to discharge their functions and uphold their responsibilities accordingly has brought the nation to where it is today.

It is important that solutions be availed to solve the complex issues that keep setting South Sudan ablaze.

The Author here is Mayak Deng Aruei, he holds undergraduate degrees, a graduate degree, and currently a Doctoral student in Organizational Leadership & Organizational Development, and can be reached at

South Sudan: Too Many Problems but So Many Hopes

BY:Taban Abel Aguek, MP, and Govt. Chief Whip, Easten Lakes State, DEC/18/2016, SSN;

South Sudan is a country that emerged to be an independent State from a wave of turbulent eras of uncertainties. It’s history is largely an account of a series of protracted conflicts. In fact, South Sudanese people have, for the past centuries, invested more in wars than any other thing.

The history of the struggle of the black people of Sudan and South Sudan goes back to as early as prehistoric time. According to some recorded materials, the black people of the ‘Sudans’ were continually pushed way beyond Egypt until they found themselves in the present day Sudan and South Sudan before and after the 14th Century, following the collapse of the Christian Nubian Kingdoms of Makuria and Alodia.

Then the South Sudanese continued to wage bitter wars later against the Anglo-Egyptian colonization and then again against successive Arab Islamic regimes in Khartoum. And for all the wars the South Sudanese fought both in the ancient days down to most recent ones, there was one chief cause among all other things: Identity.

Generations, one after the other, lived in an environment of war. So basically, South Sudanese have lived with a culture of war of identity to an extent that war itself has almost evolved into a habit of settling their issues.

On January 9, 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan led by its ruling party, National Congress Party (NCP). Finally, a brutal conflict that started in 1983 (and cost millions of lives) was brought to an end.

Peace was just a general thing but out of all the protocols in the agreement, there was only one clause that actually meant peace; and that was the ‘South Sudan Referendum’.

For the first time in history of the struggle of South Sudanese, they would get a chance to choose to either remain in a united Sudan or secede and become an Independent State. In that, the referendum presented a choice of Identity (for which South Sudanese had fought for so long) or remain in an Arab dominated United Sudan and continue to live as second class citizens.

South Sudanese, on 9th January, 2011, voted 98.83% in favor of separation and passing over the 60% turn-out threshold for the Independent South Sudan. On July 9, 2011, the flag of the world’s youngest nation was hoisted to the wild jubilation of South Sudanese of all ages and of all creed.

But two years after Independence, the new country descended into another terrible conflict, this time against itself. Anyone who saw the exultance of the crowds in the streets of all major cities in the country could not believe their eyes.

A dreadful conflict has just broken out. What began like a simple game of politics had swayed from the peripheries of talks to the barrel of guns just in a very short time. Major towns were raced down, hundreds of thousands of people displaced and lives lost in huge numbers.

South Sudan, as an independent state, had come along with a plethora of problems. The old problems have coupled with new ones, and the burden is sure heavy. From independence it started from scratch. There is very little or no infrastructural development at all. Poverty is wide spread. Its healthcare is one of the worst in the world. Illiteracy is so high and so many things are just at an infant stage.

The region of Upper Nile and some parts of Equatoria have been left devastated by rampant insecurity. Targeted killings of people of certain ethnicities continue unabated. Tribalism has heightened and the economy is all but in tatters. This has not only left South Sudanese disillusioned but also very much forlorn.

With these facts, it is hard to deny that we are in problems. Yes, South Sudan is a country in deep problems but we are also a country with so much hope too. Pessimism is a disease that possesses the same effects as war itself.

As a result, south Sudanese should not give up faith in themselves and in their beloved country. South Sudan has so many problems, but people fail to realize that her hopes greatly outweigh her problems.

People should be mindful that we are not the only people fighting on earth. The problems in our country are the same problems associated with every new African country.

Chinua Achebe once said that there is nothing difficult than telling people that have been fighting for freedom for so long that you are now free; they will not know where they will begin.

Moreover, we still have the destiny of our country in our hands. We have not squandered all our chances. One only has to look at Syria, Somalia, Iraq or Libya to see the difference.

Much as our people suffered and continue to suffer today, not all is lost. Many times in the past, our revolutionary movement used to be written off, but we defied all odds until we reached to the ultimate goal.

Just like the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang de Mabior struggled through thick and thin for over two decades and survived, South Sudan will make it.

We are where we are (as an Independent Country) because of things we did right; but there are things that we did not do well, and I believe we have time to right all the wrongs.

One of the key battles we lost from the word go is the fight against corruption. Secondly, we never made the right policies or properly implemented the policies that existed.

This, I believe, is because of the confusion of amalgamation of political ideologies and work forces that had been of distant methodologies, competences and experiences.

After the signing of the CPA, South Sudanese choices for vital public offices came from various people who did not have any agenda for the country. The convergence of different SPLM chapters from SPLM-Bush, SPLM-Khartoum, SPLM-Diaspora and SPLM-Former Militias culminated into one unit that was good at theft, and not formulating a strong ideology for the country.

The worse then is; these people were recycled over and over again as they climbed the ladder to a point of the Biblical Tower of Babel, where they finally disagreed.

However, much as the country was terribly failed by the members of various groups, we must acknowledge that we exist and we are not totally off the mark. We have not lost it all. The situation South Sudan is facing has happened before and is still happening today in other countries that were established long, long ago.

As reported last week by CNN, Brazil and Greece, for instance, are suffering the economic problems just like South Sudan. Government workers in Nigeria go for months without salaries just like in South Sudan. War in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq are worse than the current unrest in our country.

Meanwhile, there’s no government in Somalia, South Sudan has a fully functioning government. Meanwhile we suffer fuel shortage in the country, people in Zimbabwe, according to one witness testimony aired by BB, experience severe water shortage for drinking and bathing.

Nothing is too late for South Sudan. We may be down but having fallen down is not the problem. The problem is if we fail to rise up against each fall. We have the potential to turn things over. Our people are among the world’s strongest people.

Our land is large and fertile. We have enough annual rainfall. Our natural resources are largely untapped. No situation is permanent. We shall not depend on imports for all our entire existence.

Generally, our identity project is not a failed endeavor. One of the strongest hopes South Sudanese have is their ability to reconcile. We have done it in the past and we can do it again.

One more time we need to stand strong and prove our skeptics wrong. With that we can surmount the challenges we face and one day we will build a nation that we aspire for. What we need now is to shun tribalism, foster unity, work hard in our different capacities to stitch together a working solution for the problems of our country.

The initiative by President Salva Kiir Mayardit for National Dialogue provides the chance to reinvigorate our combined efforts to make peace and reconcile our people. People of South Sudan need to embrace this initiative, give their full support, enrich it and own it.

We must put our hopes above the feeling of despair; for we have more hopes than problems in this country.

Taban Abel Aguek (MP) is the Government Chief Whip of Eastern Lakes State. His views do not represent the position of the Government of Eastern Lakes State. He can be reached at

A Dire Warning: Ethnic war looms as South Sudan marks three years of clashes

By AFP, The East African, Posted DEC/15/2016;

***The international community, which strongly backed the country’s drive to independence in 2011, has been powerless to stop the worsening violence, with the UN issuing stark warnings of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing.
***Neither government nor rebel sides seem able to win militarily or to turn battlefield gains into political ones.
“South Sudan’s regional neighbours could stop this, really, at any time if they wanted to and collectively saw the interest. The problem is that their interests are often competing,” Alan Boswell, an independent analyst, says.

Despite a brief truce, hopes for peace have crumbled in South Sudan as its civil war hits the three-year mark with ethnic violence only getting worse and no end in sight.

“South Sudan’s war continues to escalate and engulf more and more of the country,” said Alan Boswell, an independent analyst, who expects further major offensives with the imminent start of the dry season.

The international community, which strongly backed the country’s drive to independence in 2011, has been powerless to stop the worsening violence, with the UN issuing stark warnings of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Both sides have been recruiting new soldiers — sometimes by force and including children — and are preparing for full-on war, said Boswell, while diplomats struggle with how to prevent it.

“There’s no actual peace process or political plan right now. So there is no framework for the international community to even pressure the parties to stop,” said Boswell.

“The international community has more less accepted that (more) fighting is about to break out,” he added.

War broke out on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy and political rival, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.

A peace agreement signed two and a half years later raised hopes of an end to a conflict marked by atrocities which has left tens of thousands dead and more than three million displaced.

The deal’s implementation, however, lasted just over two months.

Traditional fighting season

Machar returned to the capital Juba in late April to form a government of national unity with Kiir, but violent clashes broke out in July, leaving hundreds dead.

Machar was forced to flee through the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is now exiled in South Africa — isolated but still the bellicose leader of the rebellion.

After its outbreak in Juba, the war was largely restricted to the northern states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei but has in recent months expanded into the southern Equatoria region surrounding Juba.

As the rains draw to a halt and the traditional fighting season is set to start, Kiir on Wednesday called for a “national dialogue” in a speech to parliament, urging an end to hostilities and calling for forgiveness “for any mistakes I might have committed.”

However he made no mention of his foe Machar and it is unclear how his call would be received by the rebels.

Ethnic killings have intensified in recent months, particularly in and around the southern town of Yei, pushing tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in neighbouring Uganda.

These atrocities have drawn the attention of the international community with UN experts in early December reporting “ethnic cleansing” in several parts of South Sudan.

Weeks earlier the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, warned of “a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide.”

That view is widely held.

“What is happening now, there is clear ethnic targeting and if it grows, if it becomes massive, it will not be different to what happened in Rwanda,” said James Okuk, a political analyst at the University of Juba, referring to the 1994 genocide.

In southern Equatoria, “now the main theatre of the war… the government basically has almost no control outside of a few garrison towns,” said Boswell.

But at the same time, “the rebels have proven unable to actually launch offensives against major government strongholds,” because they are “way, way out-resourced” by the government.

“The government is militarily stronger but politically weaker,” said Boswell, while “the rebellion has strong sympathies in much of the country, yet militarily the rebels are quite weak.”

International pressure forced the South Sudanese government to accept the proposed deployment of an additional 4,000-strong UN “protection force”, but months later it remains on paper only and the fighting continues.

The key to peace, said Boswell, lies with South Sudan’s neighbours, if they can find common ground.

“South Sudan’s regional neighbours could stop this, really, at any time if they wanted to and collectively saw the interest. The problem is that their interests are often competing,” he said.

Since July’s fighting there has been diplomatic disarray, with no regional policy or agreement on what to do. Foreign powers, led by the US, that were heavily involved in ending the long war with Sudan and then ushering in South Sudan’s independence in July 2011 seem equally at a loss.

“The US basically doesn’t have a policy on South Sudan right now,” said Boswell, and that has left “a huge vacuum for international policy”. END

The SSDF VISION for Equatoria and South Sudan

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF, NOV/28/2016, SSN;

The struggle for an independent South Sudan was pioneered by the Equatorians as evidenced by the Torit Mutiny on 18 August 1955. Subsequently, the struggle took the shape of a full-blown liberation movement under the leadership of Fr Saturnino Ohure, Aggrey Jadden, Joseph Oduho, Gordon Mortat and Joseph Lagu. Then the South Sudanese were seemingly one people united around one common goal which was getting rid of the Jallaba rule.

The tribal prejudices and inclination to tribalism were kept at a low level. Tribalism was bound to disappear or remain insignificant had we kept the nationalistic approach of the Equatorian leaders.

South Sudanese nationalism was on the rise since the Torit revolt only to be hampered by Alier’s administration following the Addis Ababa Peace Accord, impeded by Garang’s SPLM/SPLA and totally derailed by Kiir’s regime, thanks to the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

South Sudan would have been in a better place by now had the government put the people’s business as its top priority. Instead, it pursued a policy that lacked impartiality, favouring the interests of one ethnicity (the Jieng) and pitting communities against each other.

The Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians on 15/12/2013 was a mortal blow to the South Sudanese nationalism. The Equatorians, the Chollo and the people of Western Bahr Ghazal were subjected to atrocities and heinous crimes as well. The regime has destroyed the social fabric of the country.

Now there is a great concern among the Equatorians and the international community as well that the government in Juba is preparing to commit genocide. Many human rights organisations have sounded the alarm bell and most important was the statement of Adama Dieng, the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide on the 11/11/2016. Mr Dieng confirmed that all the ingredients for genocide, do exist in Equatoria at present. He has urged the international community to move fast to avert a catastrophe.

It’s clear that there is no such thing as South Sudanese nationalism at present. You will be deceiving yourself if you think the contrary. However, the SSDF believes that Equatoria is already a nation. South Sudan is not yet a nation but has got the potential to become one.

There is peaceful coexistence among the Equatorian communities despite diverse ethnicities. They have developed a unique common language (Arabi Juba) which is spoken all over Equatoria and beyond. They have a common psychological make-up or culture.

When you add to the above the fact that they come from a territory with well-defined boundaries, then the conclusion is that a nation is in existence. There is no ambiguity here, but many Equatorians seem to lack awareness of this fact just because they never gave it a thought.

There are reasons to believe that the JCE and some among the Jieng elites knew it and are working day and night to see it unravelling. It’s not a coincidence that the name Equatoria has been removed and never featured in the newly created 28 states.

We have seen the attempts to avoid using the name Equatoria and the increasing tendency to address the Equatorians individually according to their respective tribes. An undeclared war is being waged against Arabi Juba to stop it from spreading all over South Sudan. These desperate acts would come to no avail.

Between the late 1950’s and the second half of the 1960’s, a policy of cultural and religious assimilation was adhered to by the Aboud’s regime and the democratically elected governments. Some South Sudanese were coerced into changing their religion and names to Arabic names.

But as soon as the first winds of relative freedom blew over South Sudan after the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement – those South Sudanese swiftly discarded their coerced names and rapidly abandoned the adopted religion they were made to believe in. It’s too obvious that going against an insurgency or an army is a lot easier than fighting a culture.

Turning the country into a big prison, bugging people’s phones, torturing and eliminating perceived opponents, will only strengthen the people’s resolve to topple the regime. The JCE plan is bound to fail but would, unfortunately,
come at a high cost for the country both in human lives and material.

Our vision revolves around two central points. Firstly – Equatorian nationalism does not work against South Sudanese nationalism. In fact, it facilitates and enhances the process towards that end. The presence of Equatoria as a Sovereign State within a stable South Sudan would set the ground for peaceful coexistence, more cultural interactions and the emergence of one dominant language (Arabi Juba).

In essence, Equatorian nationalism would be the Launchpad for the greater South Sudanese nationalism.

It’s evident that the regime in Juba which is heavily under the influence of the JCE has its agenda for transforming the country into a Jieng State. The Dinka Development Plan (DDP) is at odds with fostering a South Sudanese nationalism.

The domination of the government by the Jieng and the operationalisation of the 28 states all point to the implementation of the DDP.

Therefore, a confederacy is the only way to salvage Equatoria and the other states as Sovereign entities and at the same time to safeguard the evolution of South Sudan into a nation where unity in diversity is upheld.

Secondly – We are not poor people but impoverished by poor policies and the absence of visionary leadership at the helm of the government. We do own vast swathes of fertile lands, numerous water resources and massive untapped mineral reserves.

South Sudan was lucky to have a reasonable number of technocrats at the time of independence as compared to the other African countries. With a visionary approach and the right policies in place, South Sudan would have leapt several steps forward in the way of development by now.

The formula for a rapid growth and improvement in services delivery to the populace encompasses three things. Prioritising the objectives, proper planning and setting up achievable targets within a specified time-frame.

The SSDF has ambitious plans for a robust economic growth and development guided by the principles of fiscal conservatism and a small government. We believe that with peace, the right policies and well-placed efforts, South Sudan could become a stable and wealthy country in the middle of Africa similar to Switzerland in the midst of Europe.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,
Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

Kenya’s Pres. Uhuru too far away to hear wails of South Sudan women, children

By Anne Kiruku, KENYA, Posted THEEASTAFRICAN, NOV/26/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: East African Community, EAC, Secretariat and other partner states have remained worryingly silent on the issue. When a member state, Kenya in this case, negates on its mandate to promote peace within the bloc, should other partner states remain unconcerned?

In a highly insensitive move, Kenya has made good its threat to withdraw more than 1,000 troops from South Sudan despite the worsening security situation in Africa’s youngest nation. Already, more than 100 troops arrived in the country last week, with 100 more expected in the coming days.

Most of the troops that have been withdrawn were deployed in hot spots of violence where deaths, rape and fighting is the order of the day. A total of 995 of the soldiers had been deployed in Wau, 166 in Aweil and 304 in Kuajok.

Essentially, Kenya reneged on its mandate for humanitarian engagement, putting innocent lives at stake. Since the war broke out in South Sudan in 2013, more than 2.5 million people have fled their homes due to the brutal conflict. Out of these, 1.6 million are internally displaced, while more than 830,000 have sought safety in neighbouring countries — mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

Despite South Sudan’s historic independence in 2011, the country still remains divided. In December 2013, it descended into civil war when disagreements between President Salva Kiir and his former first vice president Riek Machar led to fighting between government soldiers in the capital, Juba. The violence, which later spread across the country, left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Cases of human-rights abuse have been rampant, with women and children bearing the brunt of it. A report by the African Union cited rampant violation of basic rights, with civilians routinely raped, killed, dismembered, and even forced to eat and drink human flesh and blood. Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter at United Nations compounds, too afraid to return home.

Kenya’s decision was criticised by the country’s opposition coalition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) through its leader Raila Odinga, because it is in effect abandoning a fellow member of the East African region. Moreover, Kenya’s own peace and security is affected negatively by a crisis in a neighbouring country.

However, the EAC Secretariat and other partner states have remained worryingly silent on the issue. When a member state, Kenya in this case, negates on its mandate to promote peace within the bloc, should other partner states remain unconcerned?

The withdrawal of troops, who were seconded to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss), came as a response to the dismissal of Kenyan Lieutenant-General Johnston Mogia Kimani Ondieki, the Force Commander of Unmiss.

General Ondieki was dismissed by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, following an “independent special investigation into the violence, which occurred in Juba in 2016 and Unmiss’s response.”

According to the report, the violence caused the deaths of many civilians, two peacekeepers, and led to the collapse of the fragile peace agreement between President Kiir and Dr Machar.

Investigators attributed the shortcomings to “lack of leadership on the part of key senior mission personnel, which culminated in a chaotic and ineffective response to the violence.”

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta reacted with anger to the dismissal, saying the mission had failed in its mandate and had instead resorted to scapegoating Kenya.

But whatever the reasons are that led to Kenya’s withdrawal of troops, and regardless of the circumstances that led to the lieutenant general’s sacking, the innocent people of South Sudan continue to die as the world watches.

Already, there is an ongoing crisis in the health sector, with doctors in South Sudan staging a three-day strike every week to protest the poor working conditions, lack of medicines and poor security.

Cases of attacks by frustrated patients and their families have increased, and doctors have refused to perform non-emergency duties until their demands are met. Naturally, this has made a bad situation worse.

The lives and safety of regional citizens takes precedence over any diplomatic row. All partner states must actively participate in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan.

Withdrawing troops is not part of that solution.

Anne Kiruku, East African News Agency.

South Sudan’s Problems extend beyond Kiir & Machar

BY: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba , NOV/11/2016, SSN;

Of recent, some prominent South Sudanese elites who once served under the visionless leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit are busy trying to distance themselves and their roles as individuals or groups from being partners in the genesis and indeed the sustenance of the ongoing crisis in the world’s newest country.

Their ultimate wish is to escape being held responsible for their roles in a regime that took off right from the start as one that pays no attention to any democratic practices. It violated the human rights of its citizens at will, disregarded good governance, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the rule of law.

Now these same iconic figures of the ‘rotten-to-the-core’ SPLM/SPLA in their attempts to distance themselves at this period, would want to fixate all eyes on Kiir and Machar while taking eyes off them.

By putting all the blames on President Salva Kiir and his former deputy turn rival Riek Machar alone, these SPLM/SPLA hypocrites hope to re-invent their tarnished political careers and wish to remain relevant to the future of a country they very much through omission or commission played pivotal roles in its destruction.

However, they might have partially succeeded in convincing some international players who are used to quick fixes often not successful in handling an otherwise very complicated problem as is the case of South Sudan.

Those regional and international players who seem to have bought into this oversimplification of the crisis in South Sudan are more keen on their interests than to address the root causes of the crisis.

Of course, this narrative should not be allowed to overshadow the search for a good solution. Nobody should believe them, for a wrong diagnosis naturally leads to the wrong prescription of treatment.

South Sudan’s current problems extend well beyond the overstated narratives of just Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. Thus, it can be misleading to assume that the duo represents the only culprits and probably the sole sources of the multifaceted evils that have befallen this country.

Moreover, no one should believe that these complex problems can altogether disappear once they voluntarily or otherwise succeed to see the two rivals are out of the country’s political center stage.

To part ways with the misleading assumptions about the root causes of the South Sudan’s ongoing crisis will require a thorough understanding of the various factors involved and the historical relations between them. Top of the list of this elements is tribalism and the politicization of ethnicity.

Talking about tribalism and the politicization of ethnicity in Africa often tends to sound familiar all across the continent. However, while South Sudan’s problems are mirror-able with situations elsewhere in other parts of Africa, much of the similarities seems to end just there.

For even though it is true that this type of problems exists everywhere on the continent, other African countries have managed to find the best ways to contain them.

In South Sudan where the adverse impacts of tribal politics and politicization of ethnicity ubiquitously express themselves in the form of political instability and a general mistrust in the state, a way out is yet to emerge.

Also given its very violent and traumatic history, South Sudan is yet to see how best it can address this issue of multiple nationalisms which are all calling for maximum attention and self-expression.

Again, the political realities that gave birth to each African country’s unique political system allow no room for generalization across the board. South Sudan borders Uganda and Kenya, and despite the commonality dictated by this geographical proximity, yet their different colonial experiences can be seen to have shaped the politics in these other two East African countries in ways that are incomparable to the South Sudan’s expertise.

It is this uniqueness in the historical, colonial and political heritages that has led to the different forms in which issues of ethnicity in politics tend to manifest at the national stage. Unlike its other East African neighbors, South Sudan has historically given a central stage for the expression of both narrow ethnic and regional nationalisms.

It is all too common in South Sudan for people to refer to themselves as members of a geographical location or an ethnic group. For example, groups like the Dinka (both in Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile regions), and the Nuer (Upper Nile region), would often identify themselves ethically i.e. the Jieng and the Naath respectively.

The situation is not the same with indigenous populations of Equatoria, the country’s most southern region. People of Equatoria are more keen to identifying themselves as Equatorians, although they belong to nearly thirty different ethnicities.

Virtually all the mess South Sudan is in now is the brainchild of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders. The JCE is a self-appointed group of influential Dinka politicians and close relatives and allies of President Salva Kiir who act as informal advisors to the president. It is not a group of traditional leaders.

The official ascend of tribal politics to the central stage in South Sudan, came on the back of the the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). In the wake of the December 2013 Juba Massacre, where thousands of ethnic Nuers met their fates in the hands of the notorious ‘Mathiang Anyoor,’ a pro-regime Dinka tribal militiamen, tribal politics became an open practice.

Since then South Sudan has existed in people’s minds, locally, regionally and internationally a country of violently competing nationalities of Dinka, Nuer and to borrow the words of Professor Peter Adwok Nyaba, “and all the rest are lumped together as Equatorians.“

In an attempt to accurately describe the current situation, it would never be an overstatement to say that, South Sudan is precisely now a hostage to the rising tide of multi-ethnic and regional nationalisms all triggered by the regime’s recourse to Jieng (Dinka) nationalism.

The crisis in South Sudan is a direct consequence of the state-sponsored rise of the Dinka nationalism, which is also the central project of the Jieng Council of Elders agenda. Whether this in itself is a good thing or not, shall be judged based on the results.

However, the reality on the ground strongly suggests that this increase in Dinka nationalism is incompatible first with the basics of any peaceful coexistence between the Dinka and the rest of the other 64 South Sudanese ethnic groups.

Secondly, the country’s existing highly centralized system of governance can not allow for any single ethnic group whatever the justification, to use its ethnic, nationalistic tendencies to override the rights of the other ethnicities.

Unless a better alternative to this system prevails, those seeking to overtly display their ethnic nationalism are bearers of hegemonic and expansionist agenda, to say the least, and invite upon itself the wrath of the others in the form or resistance and confrontation.

The question as to whether, one day the volatile situation in South Sudan might explode into an outright genocide as repeatedly expressed by Dr. Majak D’Agoot, who once served a the former SPLM chief spy and then the deputy minister of defense and veteran affairs or not is everybody’s guess.

However, in principle, there now exists a nationwide polarization that pits the Dinka (Jieng) against the rest of South Sudan’s other 64 or so ethnic groups. Nonetheless, there are still other sources, predominantly outsiders who for reasons better known to them, still continue to portray the situation as Dinka (Jieng) versus Nuer (Naath) conflict.

On the whole, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the surge in Dinka (Jieng) nationalism lies behind the senseless war currently tearing the new country apart. It cannot also escape a keen observer that the widespread ethnic polarization among South Sudanese today emanates from the prominent position and closeness of this tribal council to the corridors of power and decision-making in the country.

In everyday life, this polarization has now become so now palpable that it is felt all across the towns in the country.

It is the same case inside the UNIMISS’s Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites or the refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya, DR Congo, Ethiopia, and the Sudan and neither has it spared the South Sudanese communities in the Diaspora.

Given the fact that, for all actions, there are bound to be reactions, we now see that what had started as an expression of Jieng nationalism, has in no time triggered survival instincts amongst the other ethnicities.

In many parts of Equatoria, the state-sponsored ‘Mathiang Anyoor’ Dinka tribal militiamen are regularly carrying out military raids on villages and settlements in a scorched earth policy. Regardless of how tiny, some ethnic groups are, their initial knee-jerk reactions have taken the forms of vigilante youth groups to counteract the Jieng’s aggressive campaigns and what they perceive as Jieng tribal hegemony and expansionism.

The way forward for South Sudan would be about the best management of the flare-up in ethnic and regional nationalism in response to the surging Jieng nationalism.

Much can be done to address this crucial issue which lies in the center of the country’s ongoing crisis without having to recourse to that Biblical scale ethnic cleansings. Every ethnic, linguistic or regional group in South Sudan have the right to express their real or perceived identity without encroaching on the rights of others. to live as well.

The sooner we acknowledge that South Sudan is already set on its way to a violent disintegration and seek to bring about a system of governance that can allow the various ethnicities to express themselves to their fullest without necessarily causing the demise of the others, the better.

Hence springs the necessity to reconsider an alternative to the existing unitary and centralized system of government. Without the least doubt, this also brings to the forefront the much-overdue discussion on Confederation.

The situation in South Sudan today can never be compared with other countries where confederalism is considered inappropriate. South Sudan is a highly tribalized and ethnically polarized country. Hence, a confederal system of governance will suit it perfectly well.

For confederalism is a system of governance in which the various groups, even those with unparalleled uncontrolled zeal for ethnic nationalism can still find the right space to satisfy their political egos and pride.

Why not give confederalism a serious thought instead of insisting on this recipe for disaster, call it ethnic cleansing or genocide or what, not that comes with the current heavily centralized unitary system.

Three confederal regions based on the former provinces of Equatoria, Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile with the internal federal administration is the only possible way out for South Sudan The bottom line is we can still coexist side by side peacefully and save all the innocent lives that are otherwise going to perish.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. A concerned South Sudanese and a voice for the millions of other voiceless compatriots. He is also an active member of the grassroots’ ‘Give Confederation a Chance’ movement.