Category: Politics

Gov. Kuol Manyang and Lt.Gen. Kuol Deng Kuol have miserably failed Jonglei State.

BY: Awumtiaidit, RSS, DEC/31/2012, SSN;

While Bor community is still regrouping to digest and embrace the bitter departure of Isaiah Abraham, who was allegedly gunned down by Kueth-piny’s loyalist, this community has again lost seven lives from Duk County to Murle scavengers on 30/12/2012.
Bor community citizens inside and outside must immediately arrest their differences and rescue Pan-Bor from being entirely displaced. We have a failed governor, a failed president and a failed disarmament chief who seemed to have no clue how to run South Sudan Nation, Jonglei State and successfully disarming civilians effectively.

I hope the trio must have known by now that being a combatant general in an army doesn’t necessarily mean the same as administering civilians. They are distinctive loyalties. Lt.Gen. Governor Kuol Manyang and Lt.Gen. Kuol Deng kuol, have miserably failed Jonglei State.

For my novice, it was March 2012 when the disastrous president by the name of Salva Kiir Kueth-piny, traditionally known as Mayardit, launched a disarmament campaign in Jonglei State when tribal conflict in this region reached its climax. The Dinka Bor and Lou Nuer were exhaustively disarmed leaving Murle tribe of Pibor heavily armed.

The tribes that are disarmed were left vulnerable to the Murle marauders. The first mistake the so-called Kueth-Piny did was putting in charge of disarmament the failed general whose citizenship is in crisis, Lt.Gen. Kuol Deng Kuol. Kuol Deng hailed from the disputed Abyei’s area of which the Republic of South Sudan and Republic of Sudan are scrambling upon a messy tracing back to his grandparents.

Without strategical stratagems in place, this oblivious officer flew into action disarming communities that are, and never were a major threat to Jonglei ecosystem of Dinka Bor and Lou Nuer. The two only go for revenge when Murle hit and run.

This job would have been given to a truly South Sudan general whose citizenship is free from ambiguity. I love my Ngok Dinka people but not this Kueth-Piny stalwart who seems happy to hear daily loss of life in Jonglei.

I doubt Kuol’s impartiality in bringing peace into this bleeding part of the region. A real and true soldier in charge of 15,000 troops meant to protect and disarm civilian, would have sat down and charted out clearly how to go about disarming all civilians in the region uniformly. 15,000 troops are hell lots of soldiers who could even disarm the whole South Sudan let alone Jonglei.

What lacks here are tactics and strategies to carry out the mission. Why are civilians still killing themselves in numbers as such? Why is it very hard to protect those that are disarmed? Why always waiting orders when Murle marauders attacked and took cattle before responding?

From reliable source, according the latest attack in Jalle Payam, Murle were within a reach and instead Kuol Deng ordered the pursuers to stop and get back while the assailants were about to surrender. The soldiers were asked to give their guns to Jalle youth so as to continue the chase but instead these youths were threatened to get shot if they failed to listen to retreat orders from Lt.Gen. Kuol Deng. I just believe Lt. General Kuol Deng is not for peace in Jonglei.

Bor community from Cuei-keer to Cuei-thon have lost lots of lives as the result of this unnecessary and un-uniform disarmament. From unknown reason, the disarmament was left in limbo, Murle was left untouched. If anything, then this was a nincompoop decision by Kuol Deng. He deserves denouncement for it.

On the other hand, Lt.Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk, the Jonglei governor has just proven to be an unreliable governor of all times. He has failed his duties and he deserves to go and rest before many more lives are lost. The people he is governing have been butchering themselves under his watchful eyes and he can’t do anything about it.

First of all, Jalle community has been an epicentre. It is raided on number of occasions; countless herds of cattle were driven off while lots of unarmed and innocent civilians lives were lost.

Second, four gentlemen from Anyidi, Makuac and Kol-nyang Payams smuggled themselves into Murle’s territory and stole 68 herds of cattle. Murle owners followed the trail of cattle and reported their stolen cattle to the governor with imaginary and bloated numbers insinuating the stolen number cows to be up to 480 herds of cattle. Without wasting time to check any reference, and sourcing evidence, Kuol Manyang took the case head on, he exercised his sheer onus similar to his then guerrilla behaviors and ordered under threat the three Payams local chiefs to recollect the stolen cattle give them back forthwith.

My people including the previous Bor County commissioner tried to give the case a second hearing, and Kuol was just terribly arrogant and couldn’t listen to any other side of the story. These Payams were made to pay extra 412 herds of cattle, while exact number was 68 according to the cattle rustlers.

These cattle were sent to Pibor within a very short period of time. Equally, Jalle Payam byre was attacked and several thousands of cows were stolen to Pibor, report was given to Kuol Manyang to do the same, and as I write we are yet to hearing from this failed governor.

On a personal note, I am calling Bor community citizens from Cuei-keer to Cuei-thon wherever they are to come back to their own rescue. I heard our community was once ruled by Achiek Mabior and Ajang de Duot simultaneously, there was a reason for such conformity, and I guess one those reasons are such as this (external threat).

That previous unity has to be re-established again if Bor community should remain in its traditional setting. Politicians have let down this community terribly and we have to resort to our people outside to arm our youth as President Salva Kiir, Kuol Manyang and Kuol Deng converge to destroy us using the Murle.

I ask every Payam from Kol-nyang to Duk x2 has to recruit 200 strong youths from their localities that will be armed and deployed in the Payam to protect civilians’ properties. When this is done, we will let our people from outside especially in America, Canada, Australia, Uganda, Kenya and you name it, pay them their monthly dues.

Let this not be taken as a rebellion, this community has no history of betraying South Sudan cause. We are desperate, and desperate time asks for desperate measures, my people. SPLA soldiers we have here are not able to protect lives and retrieve our stolen cattle, let’s try something different.

You come home and you would be astonishingly shocked and sorry to see our community is clearly uprooted by the insecurity while we have 15,000 doves (SPLA) on the ground in Jonglei plus divisions of Bol Bol and Bol Koang. What are these troops are doing in Bortown if they can’t protect the disarm civilians is what you and I need to ask?

Personally, I believe the etiology of Jonglei insecurity is a setup ploy by the failed Juba government whose hypothesis is to engage Bor community so that it doesn’t keep an eye to the hobgoblin and dysfunctional government in Juba, and ignominiously Gov. Kuol Manyang is sightless to see this conspiracy by Kueth-Piny and his secluded gangs.

Get back our guns and we will protect ourselves.

Happy New Year 2013, my people.

This is Awumtiaidit, he is on awumtiaidit@ymail.com

The death of Isaiah Abraham marks beginning of second liberation

BY: Michael Thon Mangok, JUBA, DEC/31/2012, SSN;

The mysterious death of prolific writer, Isaiah Abraham Diing Chan Awuol, who was assassinated few weeks ago spurred up what would be seen as a second liberation in this country. His death sent heart-broken shock waves and hair raising experience with tough questions on whether South Sudan is really independent. The situation rudely made people to begin questioning the freedom, justice and liberty that were the core fundamental values of the long struggle. Such backslides normally turn and terminate the real goal for democracy in a country that had long suffered from lack of self-rule.

Well, the circumstances surrounding the death of Isaiah are not clear. But of course, few days later many Journalists and writers have found themselves locked up under the threat of intimidation; especially not to say or form opinions about his death proving the old English saying that, “Only the guilty one is afraid.”

This climate is not conducive particularly to those in the information business; doing what the public expects out of an independent media, where democracy and human rights are systematically intertwined. With our security trying to silence everyone does not constructively bring out the truth. The only approach would be allowing an independent commission or private investigators to prove the truth that might be satisfactory to the public.

During the funeral rites, people of south Sudan spoke clearly and their voices were the loudest. The immediate message was that they cannot tolerate any injustice done to them at this earlier time after such a long struggle to free themselves from the garrison of dictatorship. Isaiah’s daughter sent the crowd to tears when she read her eulogy to send off her beloved father, it demonstrated the practicality of a father who admiringly had the nation at heart; put the public interests first and considerably loved the truth through the display of his well thought writings.

Though many in this line including myself are facing security threats, the death of Isaiah is just an inspiration to the journalists and the writers to save the country from collapse. As journalists, the aim is to inform and report unquestionable information for public consumption. With such a tragic demise, journalists, writers and analysts should focus on matters of national importance that generates debate which fully creates awareness that can bring change in this country.

As the public eagerly prepare to usher in the New Year 2013, there is a lot of pending issues on the agenda for the national debate which demands for the practical journalists to compose much attention and fulfill their principle role of informing the public.

One of the issues will be the SPLM convention; the party will be put to test on whether the vision to lead the country is as good as it is now on the paper. People will ask where the model of taking town to the people is. Perhaps, they will too ask whether the system of governance is centralization or decentralization.

In the process, people of south Sudan would be stunned by the way SPLM party have become. They would ask if the movement still sticks to its values. The party they knew as the most disciplined guerrilla party in the world where the law took its course and corruption unheard of has now become the den of thieves.

Another importance debate journalists will focus on is the constitution review process, the great road to the new permanent constitution looks bleak now, the review commission mandate elapsed and the government looks relaxed with no sign of commitment to ensure that the country practically implements the permanent constitution before elections in 2015. The current constitution seemingly looks to be designed to fit certain political and ideological class not the interest of the people of this country.

This troublesome indicator suddenly puts doubt and questions the legitimacy of the current government. The elections that were held in 2010 were meant for the interim period and the mandate given by the people ended on 9th July 2011. This contradicts those who speaks on behalf of the government that this is an elected government. Let’s be straightforward; by whom?

Endlessly, the census might also take the centre stage; no country in the world has ever developed by making planning based on imagination without knowing the statistical population. One of the challenges right now is that the government gives the same grant to Ten States irrespective of their populations and this is a true source of financial inequality.

Every state contains its known population that might be greater or lesser compared to other states. Calculatingly, it is out of order for anyone to think that whatever you give to western Bhar el ghazel with three counties can produce the same developmental results in Jonglei State for example?

My crystal ball predicts that certain individuals are planning to let go of the vital census and permanent constitution which means there will be no elections in 2015. If this exercise is postponed and a permanent constitution process derailed, the current government will continue with unquestionable mandate from themselves to the year of their choice. To this, their answer is simply austerity measures as if this is the only country in the world facing the toughest austerity.

Their intention would be to explain it to the public how the country has lost 98% of the revenue from the oil which has negatively paralyzed largely the economy. But to predict it right, this is an irresistible weakness of the country’s leadership with poor planning coupled with weak policy formulations and implementation strategies.

Are they so ignorant about history? Ghana and Ivory Coast economies collapsed in 1960s and 70s respectively because of dependency on one commodity.

Accordingly, the expected debates might deliver a conclusion which leaves the country at the road junction. As an option those in the driving seat will have a choice to make, either to drown the country by their abortive clinging on to power, corruption, tribal politics characterized by “we-fought syndrome” and bureaucracy; or to press a forward button by practicing equality, rule of law, meritocracy, liberty and freedom for all. These constructive fundamentals are outlined in the constitution that needs to be approved, without it the truth is being obscured.

Like Wadah Khanfar, former director of Al-Jazeera, said, “in the media we shoulder a mission, which journalists should remain aware of as they perform. This mission is about serving the public interest without bias for one particular opinion or party or current or ideology.”

Isaiah Abraham’s death should not make the defenders of such a noble mission drop their vigor. It only should cement our commitment to the truth that liberation success has not been fully achieved. There is need for a political will from all individuals to actively defend the people’s right to useful information, deliver a devastating blow that will make impunity a foreign culture in South Sudan.

Michael Thon is a journalist and political analyst based in Juba. He hosts a talk show ‘Wake up Juba’ with Radio Bakhita.
Kochadit@gmail.com

Kiir: Burning National Flag in Wau isn’t a crime, it’s freedom of speech!

BY: Mulana D’Duot, USA, DEC/28/2012, SSN;

Lately, Mr. President has missed a penalty kick that he could have scored easily. Kiir bitterly ordered his security personnel to hunt down the suspects behind the burning of the national flag in Wau and to bring them to justice for burning a piece of cloth painted with colors that we supposedly like (our national flag).

But, Mr. President, which is more important, the arrest of Isaiah Abraham’s killers and of those who stole billions of dollars, that should be brought instantly to justice?

We must, however, remind him that he’s totally failed to bring people who have stolen billions of dollars to justice, people who’re killing people in Juba (including the assassination of Isaiah Abraham), and killings all over South Sudan; and he has miserably failed to defeat a man who suffering from cancer in Khartoum (President El Bashir), and inexcusably failed to deliver the needed political or economic development to the people of South Sudan, only to name a few.

Unfortunately, this man is clearly sick in mind. He is also out of touch!

Can someone seriously tell him that burning of the National Flags falls under the freedom of speech? How can you can go so hard like crying that, “these people must be hunted down and be brought to book because what they have done cannot be compromised. They are not against Rizik [Zachariah Hassan] as governor; they are not against me as the president. They are against this country. Burning national flag, which is our symbol, is unacceptable.”

But, for your information, Mr. President, if I may remind you, what about the lives of innocent people who are being killed or those 75 people whom you have sent them letters for stealing billions of dollars?

All we know till now is that none of these individuals, neither those killing people nor those who have stolen billions of dollars have ever been brought to justice, yesterday, today or tomorrow.

Mr. President, if you really care, you should primarily focus on a meaningful and good governance much more better than what you are doing today.

Whenever you made such a blunder, you compelled Isaiah Abraham to say something that he sincerely thought that South Sudanese should all know.

Even if he is no longer alive among us today, there are, for your information, many more ‘Isaiah’s’ today than they were before he was killed.

They are ready to write and to criticize you whenever you make unthinkable moves.

Finally, our people need smart leaders and hard working individuals, not a gang of thieves and killers.

Voices of Concern: A Position Paper on the Assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol

To: The President of the Republic of South Sudan
General Salva Kiir Mayardit

From: Greater Bor Community USA,
Greater Bor Community, Canada
C/O Governmental Affairs Committee

Date: December 21, 2012

Re: Voices of Concern: A Position Paper on the Assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol;

Dear Mr. President,
SHOCKED by the recent senseless cold blooded assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol and by the massacre of peaceful demonstrators in the City of Wau as well as by the killings and harassment of journalists, human rights activists, innocent citizens and foreigners;
DISCOURAGED by the deteriorating security situation in rural communities of our “free” homeland of South Sudan without an end in sight;
MINDFUL of the sacred promise we have to our martyrs like Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol who continue to give the ultimate sacrifice to show the importance of holding one’s government accountable for its own failings;
RECALLING the original founding principles and timeless creed of the SPLM/A to commit itself to guaranteeing freedom of expression including criticizing one’s own government;
BELIEVING that in an independent South Sudan, every South Sudanese deserves freedom of expression without fear of retaliatory measures including cold blooded murder;
COGNIZANT of the fact that few elements within the national security apparatus are substantially suspected to have murdered Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol and are creating havoc among the fearful citizenry in the Capitol of Juba;
RECOGNIZING the indispensable role all South Sudanese need to play as stewards of our society; and
PROUD of our Community of Greater Bor which prides itself of an all-encompassing human virtue of self-restraint “Kon Madang” when reacting to tragedies;
We hereby resolve to send you, Mr. President, an unambiguous message with clear and unmistakable demands.

I. Introduction
Mr. President, in the midst of unbearable tragedies and difficulties, we the people of South Sudan remained firm in our pursuit of peace, equality and justice for all. The brutality of the last 21 years of conflict in Sudan bears tragic evidences of an immeasurable destructive war. Our long for justice and equality was spontaneously confirmed by our Nation unanimous endorsement of C.P.A, and your unwavering commitment to lead our nation through a well-executed south Sudan Referendum in 2011.
Despite your successful guidance and vision in leading our nation through Referendum and Independence, the people of South Sudan and of Greater Bor by and large believe that you have knowingly abandoned the nation’s founding principles of freedom, justice, equality and prosperity. Mr. President, your government is currently at its worst state of affairs, evidenced by rampant corruption, violence, oppression, mistreatment of citizens, poor delivery of services to our people, and worse of all, bad governance across the board. Thus, the assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol cast a final verdict for a deteriorating security situation in South Sudan. Major Isaiah Diing was brutally murdered on December 5th, 2012, an act we unequivocally condemn. We also condemn the killings and harassment of other citizens of this country as well as foreigners who are peacefully residing in the Republic of South Sudan. Sadly, the tragic assassination of Major Diing is undeserved, unwarranted and certainly should not go unpunished. The perpetrators of this intolerable heinous crime against humanity should quickly be brought to justice. Major Diing was a man of great accomplishments; among them he was an SPLA/SPLM decorated war hero, and a patriotic man who has given the Republic of South Sudan all his dues.
Guided by the principles of a religiously devoted mother, Rev. Rebecca Nyalueth Wel Akau, and a fiercely admired chief from Kongor, the family of Chief Chan Awuol is amongst the very first families to suffer from the painful grief by losing three of their sons during the liberation for the country they so dearly love. His mother is a devoted pastor who prayed hard for the freedom of South Sudan and peace amongst all South Sudanese people. In fact, on the day of her son’s assassination, she was on a mission to Rumbek to pray for peace in Lakes State when she had to be rushed back to Juba for the news of her son’s death. Several written articles showed that Diing received several threats from unknown telephone numbers before his death. He knew that he was being threatened because of his criticism of the government for its failures. He also understood that he had a responsibility as a citizen to criticize government policies that would take the nation in a wrong direction. His death in the hands of his own people is a national tragedy!

II. We cite a few incidences of worsening security situation and crackdowns on freedom of expression
In the wake of Isaiah Ding’s assassination, there is an acute need of concern for your attention to address issues that are affecting our new country, issues that may very well derail our fragile and infant democracy. Since our independence, there have been mounting evidences of brutality by security forces and rampant ethnic violence that has elevated alarm to an unquestionable high level of fear. However the government in Juba under your direction fails to do anything as a matter of resolving our most serious issues namely: insecurity, freedom of expression and human rights violations. The fact that these incidents, stated below, are carried out by security forces show someone in the administration has either approved the executions of these actions with your knowledge, or you have lost control of your administration.

Mr. President, our bottom line is a complete accountability. We ask you to hold those who carry out these heinous acts to account for their actions so that others who are inclined to follow their suits are deterred. We are focusing on the big picture. And here, we only highlight a number of selected key incidents to capture the gravity of the situation now in the Republic of South Sudan.
1. Since independence, about 2,400 people have died due to ethnic violence mostly from Jonglei State, according to Al Jazeera. We appreciate your administration’s bold step in launching disarmament in Jonglei early this year. However, it is not enough as cattle rustling, child kidnapping and killing of innocent civilians are still continuing as witnessed recently in Alian village in Bor County. A major problem is that South Sudan’s security forces do not intervene when elements of one tribe attack another. For examples, militias from Pibor have on numerous occasions raided and killed people in villages in Bor area while the SPLA in Bor Town never intervened to protect the civilians. Last year, about 8000 armed Lou Nuer attacked Pibor but the SPLA did not intervene. Before that, Lou Nuer areas had been attacked by Murle Militias but the SPLA did not intervene to protect the innocent civilians. The fact that 8000 Lou Nuer youth went to Pibor for revenge was due to the failure by your government to protect the people and have monopoly over the use of force in apprehending criminals;
2. Another one of the most damming brutality of security forces came just three days after the assassination of Major Isaiah. Security force shot and killed about 11 innocent people while peacefully protesting on December 8, 2012 in Wau. Their crimes were nothing less of raising their voices and matching on street in demand of something in the practice of freedom to protest as a citizens of South Sudan, the very idea to which you fought for your entire life;
3. In 2009 alone, about 2,500 people were killed, and more than 350,000 were displaced by inter-tribal conflicts, according to small arms survey report released in October 2012;
4. The recent abduction and torture to near death of human rights activist, Deng Athuai, for protesting against corruption by asking for the firing of 75 current and former government officials responsible for stolen $4 billion;
5. Regular mysterious killings in Juba (it will not do justice to even give any specific example because this happens regularly). In the week in which Late Isaiah was assassinated, Miraya FM had reported 50 people were murdered in Juba under various circumstances. This means the security forces are either responsible or they do not protect the people;
6. Mading Ngor Akec Kuai was harassed and thrown out of national parliament and had been receiving threats from the national security for hosting dissenting voices on his radio talk show and he has now left the country to protect his life;
7. Mabior Garang de Mabior has been assaulted by members who identified to be from the security forces and has been threatened on numerous occasions for his political activism (freedom includes freedom to exercise political right and right to freedom of expression);
8. Professor Jok Madut Jok, of Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), on leave, was tortured by security forces last year. Many people believe he was targeted because of his critical views of the government in the media, especially his interviews with Al Jazeera TV;
9. Dr. James Okuk was arrested, detained and tortured on accusation of writing articles critical of your government;
10. Wiyual Manytap has disappeared without trace;
11. Mayol Kuch Duoi was tortured to death by the SPLA soldiers (many sources believe the soldiers were jealous of his US citizenship or the anti-diaspora sentiments played a role in Mayol’s death because the SPLA soldiers started torturing him after his identity documents showed him as a US citizen);
12. John Akuach Jook, a law graduate from Makerere University was killed in a mysterious car accident and the killers have not been brought to book. Akuach was a vocal critic of the government and many people believed he lost his life because of that;
13. Dengdit Ayok, a columnist and Ngor Arol Garang, Editor in Chief of the Destiny Newspaper were arrested, tortured, detained and their paper was suspended by the South Sudan National Security on charges of publishing an article which criticized you for allowing your daughter to be married to an Ethiopian. We agree with you that any South Sudanese is entitled to marry whoever he/she loves but the use of state authority to stifle freedom of expression puts the very freedom we fought for into jeopardy and those columnists shouldn’t have been dragged to Security Station for questioning and detention without you immediately intervening to save them from being tortured in jail. And neither should their newspaper have been suspended;
14. Richard Mogga, managing editor of the New Times Newspaper, was briefly detained on January 13, 2012 by security forces for allegedly writing an article that questioned security organ knowledge of the South Sudan cabinet;
15. Badru Mulumba, a news reporter with the New Times, was arrested on January 18, 2012 and briefly detained for writing an article that allegedly defamed Nunu Jema, Minister of Housing and Physical Infrastructure;
16. Three Citizen Newspaper Journalists were arrested in January 2012 by police officers and beaten and detained and released after five hours. What is so alarming is how the security forces start treating people guilty and begin torturing people even before they are proven guilty. Didn’t we fight to achieve rule of law and to achieve freedom from torture?;
17. Citizen Newspaper Editor, Nhial Bol, has been warned on several occasions about what not to write about and what not to publish. This is a Khartoum-style media censorship and should stop;
18. SPLA Military Intelligence beat up the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Onyati Adigo, during South Sudan’s Independence Day Celebration for “hanging posters without permission” and a senior security official told newspaper editor, Nhial Bol, not to write about the incident. If your security forces are so ashamed of the incident being read by the public, why do they commit such an illegal act in the first place? Hanging posters is part of freedom of expression. Why should anyone ask for permission from security to post an information material? This is Khartoum governance style which we fought against;
19. Security officers beat a driver from the Citizen Newspaper and raided the paper’s office after the Editor, Nhial Bol, wrote details about how police had not received their salaries for three months;
20. Manyang Mayom, a Rumbek based journalist, has been detained by police three times on various occasions. What is mind-boggling is how these incidents of freedom of press happen so often and the culprits are not warned by the top authority not to repeat or apprehend;
21. Nasir Fazol, a Citizen Newspaper reporter, was detained in September 2012 by security and later released without charges, according to South Sudanese media and the Committee to Protect Journalists;
22. 35 Eritrean citizens have been killed in Juba, according to Deputy Chairperson of Eritrean Community quoted by the Sudd Institute;
23. As of the end of September 2012, about 15 Kenyans have been killed in South Sudan within duration of one year, according to Kenyan Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister. This included Ms. Tabitha Musangi, a teacher at John Garang International School, who was shot dead for not stopping for the lowering of the South Sudan National Flag. This is a shameful act, why would someone take away a human life just for not stopping for the lowering of a national flag?;
24. And several Ugandans and Ethiopians have also been murdered in Juba.
These are disturbing incidences but they do not account for unreported cases since we just listed those that are out in the public domain. Mr. President, the best question to ask you is what have you done to ensure that these things never happen again? Of course, nothing! Another question is will your government change the course if we do not fight for the reform? No, especially now in the wake of assassination of Major Diing Chan Awuol in which your administration has shown a lukewarm response. The only way your administration will change the course is not to shut up but loudly demand a meaningful reform now rather than later. Our nation is taking a wrong direction and we, the governed, must rescue it!

III. We know your failed governance is a South Sudanese problem
We the South Sudanese, as one people, must understand that the above mentioned incidents are cases of individuals who stood up to the most powerful for the sake of all South Sudanese to have a nation that is worthy of their sacrifices. They are as well cases of citizens being killed in their villages and in Juba with your government doing little to protect them. They are cases of individual journalists and civil rights activists who are doing their parts to ensure South Sudan is on the right track. We aspire to raise our nation up to a more perfect union where freedom of expression on all sorts of issues important to our nation are respected and valued. We aspire for a nation in which the citizens can independently express their views including sometimes using incendiary words without fear of overreach by the State. For example President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and many others were called idiots, yet they had successful administrations. Why not you too, President Kiir, because this is what it means to lead a democratic nation in which freedom of expression is cherished and protected?
We want to say no to borrowed bad governance styles from Khartoum, Nairobi and Kampala. Please, import only the good stuffs! We are seeing a nation in which enough material resources have been looted and innocent lives have been taken away without your administration holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Once accountability and freedom of expression are prohibited, your administration and its inner circle will live in a bubble and group-think and you will only be told what you want to hear instead of what you ought to hear and that is a national problem for all South Sudanese.
We are taking a stand now rather than later for the sake of freedom from your autocratic rule. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: with rampant innocent killings, a red line has been clearly crossed and the people of South Sudan are setting a zero tolerance on your autocratic rule and failed policies of your administration.

IV. We believe elements within the security apparatus are key suspects for Major Diing’s assassination. The politics of intimidation rooted in the philosophical attitude to silence political opponent or critics, is not a secret practice by your security personnel. As we look at this case of deteriorating security situation in South Sudan, we have to look at no other entity but security personnel of your administration as the suspects of killings and harassment of innocent civilians, South Sudanese and foreigners alike. Incidents prior to the assassination of late Diing make us to believe some elements within your security forces are major suspects. It is worth noting that Major Diing wrote several opinion articles which criticized you including an opinion piece critical of your administration’s foreign policy decisions particularly on the Malwal Dinkas’ 14 miles land corridor conceded as a demilitarized zone although it has never ever been contested by the North before because it is Malwal Dinkas’ Land right inside South Sudan. The piece was well liked by South Sudanese across the board but hated by your Morons, Mr. President Kiir!

Here are some of the evidences why we think your security personnel are the suspects and as someone in charge, you should arrest them:
* Major Diing received death threats from individuals at the national security with warning to him to stop or face elimination;
* He was shown his printed articles by the security personnel and warned to stop writings against the president or he would be eliminated;
* After these warning from your security forces, a few days later, Major Diing was shot dead. The public, including this committee, think that this is not a mere coincidence.
South Sudanese have also seen you as someone who has increasingly become intolerant to the freedom of expression. Not arresting those suspects would make South Sudanese believe you have a hand in the incidents of suppression of freedom of expression because of your reaction or lack of action. For example, during the demonstration against Mile 14, you appeared in public and geared your anger at the returning diaspora with a hate speech making the case that the demonstrators against 14 mile land concession were returning members of South Sudanese diaspora instigating lawlessness in South Sudan. Mr. President, how dare are you to insult the intellect of all protesting South Sudanese who never set foot on foreign lands? Don’t you think that they get it when their land is being conceded to the North inch by inch? How about the returning South Sudanese diaspora’s right to protest South Sudanese government’s incompetence to negotiating favorable terms for the South Sudanese? Are they only South Sudanese when they protest against Khartoum in foreign capitals? Major Diing’s assassination was a tragedy that shook the whole world but what was the reaction from your administration? A lukewarm and crocodile tears to say the least!

There were cases of weird reactions by your administration’s officials and by you, Mr. President, that raise a question as to whether or not the administration might be more knowledgeable of Major Diing’s killers; for example:
1. The Minister of Information, Marial Benjamin Bil, confirmed and we paraphrased here that there was 70 percent chance that Major Diing’s unfortunate pointblank fatal shooting was an assassination. How and Why? Well, Mr. Minister, you have to make elaboration more on the assassination thing because it appears as if you could say more right there about the culprits of this unfortunate assassination of Major Diing Chan Awuol, one of the most outspoken administration’s critics. Are we pointing fingers at Minister Bil? Of course not, but 70 percent is a heck of a probability that someone must be closer to being sure about such an eventuality;
2. The Minister of Interior confirmed that it was due to the inexperience of the police officers that this incident happened. But Minister, can you tell South Sudanese under whose authority are these police officers? What have you done in the recent past to reverse the lawlessness and senseless killings in Juba and other major towns across the Republic of South Sudan? The responsibility to keep law and order rests squarely on no other person but you;
3. Then we had this example, Mr. President, where you were coolly telling the police force to the effect that “This is what I have been telling you…” Telling them to do what? And now that they have not been listening to you in order to keep law and order, what happens next? Mr. President, don’t you know that nobody else has power if your security personnel are made all powerful to override everybody? It is now clear that your security forces are focusing on silencing South Sudanese than confronting David Yauyau and other security threats facing South Sudan;
4. Then, Mr. President, you who should have called the press conference and not only condemn this senseless assassination but also promise to commit yourself to bringing those who committed this heinous crime to book had to be chased down by the media to make comments on the incident. But to add a salt to the injury, Mr. President, you never showed up at Major Diing’s funeral a few days ago. The question we ask is why didn’t you come to Major Diing’s funeral, Mr. President? You had nothing to be afraid of, otherwise your absence raised eyebrows. We don’t kill; if we do, Bashir couldn’t have come to the funeral of Dr. Garang and left safely last time, remember! What we would have liked to see is you coming and explaining to the nation what has just happened; that is all! Really, so, what picture do you think your absence showed to the United States ambassador? We had the same observation during Jonglei ethnic violence last year when Johnson of the United Nations had to be the one to visit the area and you neither showed up nor said a word!
What a catastrophic leadership! Mind you, in the state of panic and hopelessness in a nation, it is the president of the republic that has to appear and show courage and comfort to the whole nation — not the other way around. Just look at your video screen to see President Obama shading tears at his press appearance following the senseless massacre of little children in an elementary school in the State of Connecticut, USA. Why didn’t you show up for heaven’s sake, Mr. President?
Your incompetence reminds us of 1991 Gilo River debacle following the relocation of South Sudanese out of Ethiopian border when lots of South Sudanese and Nubians drowned and you had to be rushed to the other side of Gilo River to escape being captured by the advancing Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Forces.
The takeaway from those few examples regarding the assassination of Major Diing is we have a reason to believe he was assassinated by security personnel close to your inner circle, Mr. President. It is either you have lost control over the security personnel or they are committing these crimes with your full backing. The only way South Sudanese could be convinced otherwise is if you actually bring these individuals to justice for your inner circle cabals know who these culprits are, period.

V. We believe concentrated power in the presidency stifles checks and balances.
One has to question our strong indictment of the president’s inner circle wondering if we are being balanced and sensible. But what else could we say especially if the power to govern the nations rests with the president and his inner circle? Mr. President, nobody else shares the responsibility with you and your security apparatus.

In our November 2011 position paper on cabinet appointments, here is what we concluded as far as the balance of power was concerned, “There is no question, the three branches of the South Sudan government: the legislature, executive, and judiciary are not independent from each other as the executive seems to have veto powers over all the decisions to the detriment of the other two branches.”

We then recommended that “The constitution needs to set up a system of checks and balances to help ensure that no one branch can be more powerful than the other. Each branch has powers that it can wield to keep the other branches in check. If the system of checks and balances were in place, the executive would have arranged to have all the president’s cabinet and judicial appointees scrutinized and confirmed by the legislature.”

Unfortunately, our recommendations fell on deaf ears and we are making a further conclusion that in the days when government’s critics such as Major Diing are cold-bloodily murdered with impunity, the power now rests with your inner circle cabals and security personnel, Mr. President. We now can categorically say that the assassination of Major Diing is a tip of a bigger iceberg. It is a wake up call to all South Sudanese; what happened to him is an indication of a fate for every South Sudanese who walks in Isaiah’s shoes. It is an indication of a turning point in South Sudanese history from a true democracy that so much blood has been spilled to a one man’s timeless dictatorship.
Mr. President, this is the beginning of the implementation of the plans that you put in place when you formed your first cabinet a year ago and aggregated power within your circle and championed a constitution that gives you absolute powers to be able to commit blunders of this nature and still get away without accountability. It is a first sign that billions of dollars spent in South Sudan every year are being used to build a system that is dangerous to humanity and the world over. We have to ask you to change course and lead as people’s president — Not as your inner circle cabals’ and security personnel’s president!

VI. We ask you to change course now rather than later.
You have and will have a very hard time convincing the people of South Sudan that you are the man we knew during the liberation struggle. The Commander Kiir we knew was calm, patient, laid back and loathed vengeance. Your personality during struggling years made people forget your colossal strategic and tactical errors such as River Gilo’s tragedy we already alluded to.

But President Kiir we know today is clearly different in terms of personality and governance! Mr. President, you seem to have been spoiled by money and lust for unquestionable powers. As we stated up front, we are unmistakably asking you to commit yourself to correct the ills and wrongs that have been done to South Sudanese on your watch if you are serious about reestablishing your credibility and reassuring the wronged and victimized South Sudanese.

Mr. President, we reiterate, the following must happen in order to rescue this hopeless and anarchic state of affairs in South Sudan:
1. Establishment of a rigorous system and culture of accountability that ensure those who commit crimes are brought to book and those who abuse power and fail in their duties are fired;
1.2. Establishment of an independent tribunal to work with the FBI to investigate the motive behind the assassination of Isaiah Abraham and apprehension of culprits as well as delivery of justice. We ask for a maximum cooperation and restraint from interfering with the investigation;
2.3. Establishment of an independent committee composed of South Sudanese known for impartiality, sound judgment and level of expertise to investigate the Wau Massacre and restore peace;
3.4. Suspension and prosecution of those suspected to be responsible for the disappearance of 4 billion US dollars;
4.5. Removal of chiefs of internal and external security branches (Akol Khor Kuch and Thomas Duoth as well as Brig. Gen. Mou Thiik (Internal Security) and Brig. Paul Nang Majok External Security)). Why? These individuals are responsible for all the intelligence and failure gaps as well as deteriorating security in our major towns and troubled states such as Juba, Wau, Lakes, and Jonglei respectively. The case of Isaiah Abraham is one among many failures or stark involvement of death/hit squads affiliated to these institutions;
5.6. Immediate removals of Police IGP Acuil Tito Madut and CID chief and replacements with credible individuals vetted by the parliament of the Republic of South Sudan;
6.7. Dismissal of those in the presidential protection unit and replacement with fresh members and leadership team;
7.8. Urgent reform of the security sector – especially the armed forces and notorious Military Intelligence. This will include enforcement of accountability on the security forces. For examples, officers who take law into their hands such as torturing and beating people should be fired and punished in accordance with the law to deter others;
8.9. Immediate passage of media and access to information bill including protection of freedom of expression with illegalization of media monitoring and censorship by the national security;
9.10. Establishment of a clear road map on nation-building and peace and reconciliation in the country in order to foster unity and national cohesion;
10.11. Clear definition of division of powers between executive, judiciary and legislature as well as between states and the federal government. This will promote checks and balances and will promote efficiency in services delivery and security;
11.12. Reshuffling to accommodate for power sharing within the cabinet and the re-examination of the constitution to balance the powers of the government branches;
12.13. Enacting of a law to combat child abduction, cattle rustling and tribal killings. The law should declare any armed tribal elements who engage in child abduction and cattle rustling and killing as criminals who should pay the harshest punishment possible;
13.14. Protection of civilian population in Jonglei State by the SPLA forces by preventing attacks or fighting those who attack civilians regardless of where those attackers are from;
14.15. And passing a law defining the role of national security and what constitute a threat to national security, of which freedom of expression is not one of them.

Mr. President, once these changes are effected, South Sudanese and the world over may give your administration a second look and there is always a period of redemption. Your legacy which is what should be your most important focus may be redeemed. But it is up to you to choose to make those changes on the timeline provided. This is the final and last chance we give you and your administration before we bring the issue to the international stage. And it will be your foreign policy nightmare. Mr. President, if nothing changes in the foreseeable future, we have the recourse to wage a diplomatic campaign against your administration and it will take different forms noted in the following section of the paper.

VII. We will resort to peaceful recourse if you do not change course
Mr. President, we say we have the recourse to campaign for changes within your administration because we know where you stand on the international stage. You are very close to isolating yourself already. It is now a known fact that the sour relationship between you and our important allies in the west is an indication of your failures in governance across the board. Mr. President, you need to be reminded that gone are the days when, you and other government officials were greeted with flowers when you come to the West. Those days will be over until you change the course of directions of our country. You will be greeted with voices, signs and all sorts of expressions through peaceful protests that will make you so uncomfortable. So, you have two choices, change or don’t and our peaceful protests against you begin immediately. Mr. President, if you do not change the course within a foreseeable future, we will no doubt resort to the following measures, among other peaceful options:

1. We will start to demonstrate in Washington D.C. and New York City and other western centers of power against the dictatorial system of government put in place by you in the Republic of South Sudan;
2. We will begin to talk with our Congressional delegations from our own states and write our petitions to the entire Congress, White House, and the United Nations asking them to put pressure on you to change the course of governance in the Republic of South Sudan;
3. As alluded to earlier, we will protest at any of your public gatherings should you come on your official visits to the Western Capitols;
4. We will begin to consult our lawyers to think about an ICC option for suspects responsible for assassinating innocent South Sudanese including Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol;
5. And Egyptian and Tunisian like protests and demonstrations will be options to consider as well.

We will not rest until you change the way you and your security personnel are running the country today. It is a cause larger than ourselves and we, South Sudanese, are entitled to call for another revolution. Why not? Even the Egyptians that brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak are now back on Tahrir Square asking for Mohammed Morsi to step down because his dictatorial signals weren’t apparent when they went to election booths this year to elect him the President of the Republic of Egypt!

VIII. Concluding summary
We conclude our position paper with message to all South Sudanese. Dear South Sudanese, we need to reflect on what we told the disaffected South Sudanese Youths in our November, 2011 position. We told our Youths that “[B]e reminded that you are the conscience and stewards of this very young nation. Our fervent plea to you is this: Let us be the generation that saves South Sudan from the wrath of tribalism, where leaders and communities, large and small, are constantly set against one another. A nation does not belong to those in power. Let us not wait for all leaders to come and empower us to help our people and communities. Start wherever you are to help children and the elderly in whatever small way you can. Such a small measure inspires hope. Plus, you know it takes sustained activism to bring about social change. If the entire youth fraternity works in our communities by sharing all the ideas for increasing opportunities and reducing poverty, our nation and the way of life can surely change.”

Given what we have seen so far since the formation of the government of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan when we had to make a stand on cabinet appointments, we were right then and we are still right today because things have even gotten worse than when we wrote our position paper. We now modify our position to argue that not only the Youths but also all South Sudanese must work hard to force the administration to reform and make meaningful changes within its ranks and files as laid out in the above demands.

Dear South Sudanese, what we now face is a clear demonstration of complete autocracy that knows no tribes or clans. It is our problem all of us as South Sudanese and it is us who will force the government to make meaningful reforms. It is not our desire to cause the disintegration of the little progress that has been made since CPA but common sense tells people of South Sudan that it is better to fight this corrupt government now rather than later when it takes roots and becomes stronger and harder to fight. That is why we are going to work with you, the peace and democracy loving people of South Sudan and the world, to make sure that this government changes for the better or get out of the way to give the people of South Sudan a long overdue prosperity. We will have to establish a solidarity networks for democracy among ourselves as people of South Sudan around the world and work tirelessly to empower the grassroots citizenry and will never stop working until democracy reigns in the Republic of South Sudan.

PREPARED AND SIGNED BY:
Governmental Affairs Committee
1. Akol Aguek Ngong, Chair; USA; akolngong.aguek@gmail.com
2. Agok Deng Agok, Member; Canada; agokarok@yahoo.com
3. Pager Ajang Kur, Member; USA; ajangassociates@gmail.com
4. Agok Manyang Agok, Member; USA; jimalfa@hotmail.com
5. Ayuel Leek Deng, Member; USA; ayuelleek559@hotmail.com
6. Anok Makech Diing, Member, Canada
Advisory Board to Governmental Affairs Committee
1. Nhial Tiitmamer, Advisor; Canada; nhialtiitmamer@gmail.com
2. David Dau Acuoth, Advisor; USA; davidacuoth@yahoo.com

REVIEWED AND CONFIRMED BY:

Executive and Oversight Committee
1. Abraham Deng Lueth, President GBC-USA, brhmlueth@gmail.com
2. Chiengkuach Mabil Majok, Vice President, GBC-USA, chiengki@gmail.com
3. James Maluak Malou, General Secretary, GBC-USA, jmaluakmalou@hotmail.com
4. Francis Chagai Bol, Chairman of Bor Community, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Board of Trustees
Reuben Guguei Panchol, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Reubenpanchol@hotmail.com

Committee of county Presidents
1. Mabior Achiek Chaw, President, Bor County
2. Kuol Anyieth Kuol, President, Twic East County
3. Yol Goch, President, Duk County

What does independence mean for the people of South Sudan?

BY: Akech Marol Nun, RSS, Juba, DEC/18/2012, SSN;

South Sudan attained her independence last year on the 9th of July 2011 through the referendum process which granted South Sudanese peoples a diligent right and golden chance to determines their fate through the ballot box in which the 98 % of South Sudanese peoples overwhelmingly voted in the favor of independent Country of their own which championed the birth of the newest nation in the Africa.

The author is hereby featuring this article opinion with the aim of questioning the population of South Sudan whether the just attained independence means anything to them. Moreover, there are numerous questions to be answered by South Sudanese people who voluntarily cast their votes for the separation of South Sudan from the then republic of Sudan plus the forgotten 2.5 million people who died for the course of liberation.

The simple answer is that all of the efforts being put forward by the peoples of South Sudan to achieve independent nation of their own ended up as a nonentity. So independence means nothing to the local population of South Sudan, it was good when the Arabs were the ones mistreating black South Sudan than the current unexpected U-turn whereby a small linage hold the entire power of oppression within the country whereby everybody suffers from!

The peoples of South Sudan has been in mysterious suffering from the then Sudan which was owned by the Northern Sudanese who defined it and ruled it at their will, the suffering was incurred in many forms, for example, lack of political and democratic freedom, oppression of freedom of speech, regional and economical imbalance, Arabization and tribalism plus divide-and-rule politics of Khartoum and the list is long.

Today the Sudan peoples liberation movement (SPLM) which is the major and leading political figure in the country is making the opposite by killing its own cadres like the assassination of brilliant opinion writer, late ISAIAH ABRAHAM, the fingers are pointing and still pointing at government because nobody else is responsible for that death of the late writer.

By the way, the government of South Sudan has been taken over by the region whereby the plan for duos and elimination of the people who hail from the other regions. Is this the meaning of being independent?

The question to be answered by whoever believes that the independence of South Sudan has the full meaning is why did we take up arms against the Arabs rule since 1955 up to independence in 2011?

Whatever atrocities being committed today by the SPLM own government plus its small regional lineages were the same practices done to South Sudanese by the Khartoum Arab government. These atrocities are being done to the citizens of South Sudan by the so-called government. I personally doubt whether the independence is being enjoyed in South Sudan.

In fact, the so-called independence of South Sudan is nothing and a nonentity to its citizens who’d voluntarily voted for it. If government cannot offer security protection to its citizens, why do we proudly call the failed tribal rule and ethnic ideological country an independent nation?

The eight million population of South Sudan voted for Separation to enjoy the fruits of independence, citizens of South Sudan need to be fully protected from militias, night robbers, tribal fighters, and the unforgettable the national security which is responsible for the killing the citizens.

South Sudanese should have a country which offers a free environment whereby the citizens can express their views without being threatened or killed. Therefore there is no meaning for South Sudan being called an independent country.

This country is not totally independent because it has a mafia-type practice of criminality which is fostered by regional interests than patriotism.

Where is the freedom of expression in South Sudan if Journalists and writers are killed? Where is the right of being a citizen? Does Mr President with his regional advisers and tribes-mates work for the second separation of this country into three more countries or for the disunity of this great nation?

The country where president is advised by his own regional peoples, state, tribe and clan, what do you think they can advise him about? Simply he can be advised about killing and elimination of the peoples who hail from the other regions or tribes; about nepotism, corruption and discrimination.

If children, orphans, widows and war-wounded are dying due to starvation and also in the hands of the national security and militias, what does independence mean to us the people of South Sudan?

If the blind government of the stupid majority can kill nationalists, the strong SPLM party cadres who act as the die-hearted of SPLM/A, then what does independence mean?

The daily deaths of South Sudanese people are the result of the national government being vision-less and taken in by the stupid and narrow angles of the region or tribe.

However, it could be viewed as the national property of all South Sudanese without being ruled with the internal intention of tribes.

South Sudan can accommodates all its citizens without fear and favor.

In conclusion, government should act separately as the peoples ruler without the regional or tribal influence, it could serve the protection of citizens from the external and internal attacks, and it can reflect the positive meaningful independence of South Sudan.

(The views expressed in this column belong to the writer and the author can be reaches for comment at akech.marol@yahoo.com)

The Disturbing Intolerance in South Sudanese Society at all Levels, including the “Top”

BY: Professor Nyantung Ahang Beny, USA, DEC/19/2012, SSN;

Earlier this month, we learned with great shock and sorrow of the wanton murder of Isaiah Abraham at his own home by unknown gunmen. While I did not know Isaiah Abraham personally, I had often seen his writings online and even read a few of them. While I did not always understand his position, or necessarily agree with it, he had every right to express himself in the way that he did. South Sudanese fought and won against the forces of oppression and brutality after a long and brutal struggle. And, it was freedom for which they fought. It was freedom that should have been Isaiah Abraham’s oasis and protector. Sadly, however, he faced just the opposite on the morning in early December 5, 2012 when he was viciously gunned down.

While it may be sheer coincidence that an outspoken writer and commentator was killed in such a cold-blooded and unanticipated manner at a place where in normal circumstances he should have felt the most safe, it is very unlikely to be mere coincidence. It is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that he was gunned down precisely because he was often critical of the political system and individuals within it in South Sudan.

Some of his commentaries were bold and abrasive to the ruling elite and even the political opposition. That being so, however, the freedom for which South Sudanese fought tirelessly, I thought, included the freedom to be critical and outspoken against the system. As I wrote elsewhere, if the powers that be (including oppositional elements) took (or take) issue with Isaiah Abraham’s or any other person’s writings the best approach would be to hold a public discussion regarding the contested issues, not resort to wanton violence.

Isaiah Abraham’s sad demise, rather than being sheer coincidence, is more likely a product of the systematic breakdown of the South Sudanese political system and social fabric, both at home and in the Diaspora.

Over the years, and especially after Independence in 2011, I have observed with horror a disturbing trend of intolerance, lies, deceit, anti-intellectualism, violence and deep misogyny or hatred of women (particularly educated and outspoken women like myself). Viewpoints that are outside of the so-called mainstream are frequently not dealt with on their own terms but rather the person holding those viewpoints is often subject to malicious verbal attacks, lies and even at times threats of physical violence.

I personally experienced these things in late August and early September 2012 when I expressed my opinion about a new “think tank” recently founded in South Sudan. This “think tank” is the Sudd Institute. In late August 2012, as I was doing my usual early morning reading of the Sudanese news online, I came across an article on insecurity and ethnic violence in South Sudan (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article43742#forum196993).

Curious about this new organization and its membership, I searched online for information and was quite shocked, to say the least, to see that an organization that claims to be promoting inclusivity, anti-tribalism, and perhaps gender equality in the society was led by all Dinka men. Not a single woman was on their team at that point (perhaps they have changed since then but I have lost interest to follow them).

Therefore, as I often do, I decided to post a comment and wrote the following pithy opinion: “The Sudd Institute is shockingly run by a team of all Dinka men, while it purports to promote inclusivity in the society… I’d have expected a more diverse team on their website, in light of their theoretical claims.” I sent the same comment to the USIP’s email address and to a few of the founders of the new “think tank.”

I was expecting a well-considered reply. What I received, instead, was a barrage of jaw-dropping personal insults and even one thinly veiled physical threat if I did not “stop running your mouth,” which I duly reported to U.S. federal law enforcement authorities.

At no point did I receive the rational, well-considered reply befitting of a “think tank” receiving international funding and claiming to promote safe and open discourse in South Sudan. The two founders to whom I had directed my initial comment forwarded the comment to another founder who was at the time in charge. That founder responded in an arrogant, dismissive and nonchalant fashion with the curt remark: “I am sorry I do not see anything here that merits my response.”

I responded that this was an arrogant remark, and further that as a U.S. taxpayer (who partly funds USIP via government funds), I have every right to express shock and concern. I will spare the reader the rest of what followed. But suffice it to say that I was showered with a barrage of personal insults, including dragging my child and my marital status into the discussion. In short, their replies, and those of a number of their supporters were very disturbing.

In that exchange, I saw and experienced firsthand what South Sudanese writers and intellectuals are now experiencing – a culture of exclusion, intolerance, anti-intellectualism and even, sadly violence. In addition, as a woman, I painfully experienced firsthand the deep misogyny of South Sudanese culture and many of its men.

Rather than taking women on in debate as equals, many of these men feel that they have every right to besmirch a woman’s reputation to silence her and, if that does not work, to then set the forces of violence (or threatened violence) against her. I would expect such behavior in a retrogressive society, but not from so-called “enlightened” individuals who receive Western funding.

Most appalling perhaps was the silence and/or complicity of many of the online observers.

South Sudanese are by and large intolerant and tolerate intolerance and brutality against one another. So nobody should really be shocked about incidents such as the recent cold-blooded murder of Isaiah Abraham. It is, unfortunately, par for the course in the kind of society we are building and tacitly accepting.

I, for one, will not tolerate it and I will not be silenced as an educated woman whose late Father, Ahang Beny, raised me to participate courageously and freely in public discourse. So they may continue to spread their malicious lies about me but they will not stop me.

May Isaiah Abraham rest in God’s eternal peace and may the rest of us who are able to continue where he left off. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and children.

Nyantung Ahang Beny, United States, December 19, 2012

General George Athor’s first anniversary: He stood against bullies!

BY: ElHag Paul, RSS, DEC/17/2012, SSN;

19th December 2011 is the day the SPLM/A lynched Gen. George Athor in Morobo district at the foot of Poki Hills. The gruesome pictures flashed over SSTV as evidence showed the general on the ground in civilian clothes with gaping bullet wounds. It is an unbelievable to see a body of a well experienced military officer on mission to recruit in that part of the country. Ironically, this very location, Poki hill locally is renowned mythically for felling the mighty of the mightiest.

The narrative aired on the media channels in RSS on that day rang hollow. The information could not add up and this is what makes the killing of Athor a very controversially disturbing thing.

On Wednesday 19th December 2012 Athor will have been gone for one year. The real story behind his presence in Morobo district at the time where he met his fate may only be known in future. Truth has a way of coming out no matter how it is managed. Nature has decreed that human beings even the best of friends at one time will fall out and it is during such a time that the truth will then come out.

South Sudanese just need to patiently wait for the mendacity of SPLM Oyee to fall apart and the truth to burst into the open for everybody to see.

Gen. Athor’s quarrel with his own organisation,the SPLM/A, was triggered by discrimination. The SPLM body responsible for selecting candidates for general elections of April 2010 (for reasons best known to itself) barred the general from contesting for the post of governorship of Jonglei state in favour of Gen. Kuol Manyang Jouk.

Had the SPLM/A had policies and rules in place for selection of candidates, perhaps the situation would not have gotten out of control leading to unnecessary loss of life. As is always the case with SPLM the selections were solely based on personal opinions of the members of SPLM politburo which is heavily clouded with clannish and tribal bias.

It is doubtful whether this lackluster organisation now has any written rules and criteria for future internal contest for positions. As 2015 election looms the same scenario is likely to recur.

In response to this discriminatory act, Gen. Athor opted to contest the election as an independent candidate. He had massive support locally and opinion from the ground suggested he would win the gubernatorial seat. However, having lost favour of his organisation the elections were rigged in favour of Gen. Kuol Manyang Jouk. Gen. Athor asked for recount of the votes but without any good reasons this was rejected outright by SPLM confirming the electoral fraud.

With this, Athor’s recourse to justice was snuffed off. Aggrieved without an outlet like a dog pushed into a corner he rebelled and the rest is history.

To make his point, violence broke out in Jonglei highlighting the poor governance of the SPLM. This is a party that yells loudly about democracy yet intolerant of democratic practises. Democracy is a beautiful shinny garment that even Lucifer wraps himself in it. The current dictators of SPLM Oyee sang it when they were rebels only for their behaviour to exhibit their true characters as totalitarians.

The instruments of dictators fortunately are shrinking by the day. The monopoly of violence enjoyed by dictators is gradually being erased by people’s power. For instance the Arab spring and before it the various revolutions in Europe attest to it.

The control of the media similarly has been shattered by advances in information technology. Lies churned out by dictators are instantly deciphered by the public exposing the failures of the system and the incompetence of the leaders. Deception is by the day proving to be a difficult thing for leaders to manufacture. Thus the internet is proving to be their nemesis and there is nothing they can do about it.

Kleptocracy, the process by which the thieving leaders enrich themselves to maintain power for generations too is becoming difficult to hide. Stashing of stolen cash abroad is now affected by the international measures in place – transparency and anti-laundering instruments which expose culprits.

For example, president Bongo of Gabon recently found himself in deep troubles after his assets in France were made public with questions as to how he acquired them. All these developments are replacing the paraphernalia of oppressors and overpowering them in the process.

Fareed Zakaria in his book ‘The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad’ published by Norton in London in 2004 argues that when dictators as is the experience now in RSS and many African countries begin to hold sham elections the signs are on the wall that democracy has beaten them. The sham elections that they hold are a way of trying to escape reality and delusionally hold on to power because what the democratisation of every sphere of life has done is to strip them of their oracles of control, namely media, knowledge, violence etc.

Let us take the case of RSS, in April 2010 it held bogus elections in which it rigged its way into power. This was followed by bulldozing the shoddy constitution now used to abuse the people.

The fact that they stole the elections and put in place an undemocratic constitution did not give the SPLM/A the legitimacy it hoped for. Conversely, the fraud energized the people, at the time through the leadership of Peter Sule to point out the imbalance in the distribution of powers of the three arms of the government. This infuriated the rulers. Who was Peter Sule to challenge them?

In the bush they got used to exercising the ultimate power without criticism and restraint. Those who dared open their mouths like Benjamin Bol, Martin Majier, etc… were killed in cold blood. Now having gotten acculturised to mindless brutality and having acquired the reigns of state power they can not stomach any criticism positive or otherwise from anybody.

Here, Sule’s positive criticism was mistaken and he got framed. The allegation leveled against him is something that should be taken with a pinch of salt. Mendacity runs in the blood arteries of the SPLM Oyee.

As with all totalitarian regimes, the SPLM Oyee detests intellectuals, especially journalists. Since South Sudan gained independence journalists and opinion writers reporting from the country have been subjected to harsh conditions. Decent people doing this very important work which constitutes one of the major tenets of democracy in South Sudan have found themselves imprisoned, tortured and terrorised.

For instance, Ngor Garang and Dengdit Ayok of Citizen Newspaper and diplomat Dr James Okuk. The government did not stop here it even went as far as trying to terrorise international journalist working for international news organisation such as Allan Boswell of McClatchy News of USA.

The stifling of freedom in South Sudan is a serious issue and we have a painful example in the sad story of Diing Chan Awuol with the pseudonym of Isaiah Abraham. His life was tragically cut short on 5th December 2012 simply because he expressed himself. Now regardless of his political belief, association and what he wrote.

Did Diing not have a right to life like all of us? Does writing and expression of an opinion constitute a first degree crime? Was his writing about corruption, mismanagement and foreign policy blunders of the government not a fact? Why kill him?

Supposing that expression of opinion constitutes a crime, why did the authorities not charge him in a court of law? Is lynching not against the shoddy constitution that the SPLM Oyee forced on the country? If the constitution is not applicable, why have it?

Importantly, who has the power of life and death? This particular question must be explored in depth in light of the terror unleashed by SPLM Oyee in the country to silence the people. Is it the president and his henchmen who decide who should live and die, or is it the people of South Sudan as sovereign in the form of the state who decide through proper judicial process?

Don Salvatore and the SPLM can not have it both ways. They can not behave like bush rebels and also claim to be statesmen. When all these questions are taken together would it be wrong for us the people of South Sudan to conclude that president Kiir and his group collectively are criminally liable for crimes against us the people of South Sudan?

Paradoxically, late Diing was a committed member of the SPLM Oyee. He dedicated most of his life to nurturing and protecting it. The largest percentage of his writings is in support of this very organisation that brutally took away his life. He believed in working within the SPLM Oyee to transform it, unfortunately it costed him his life.

For those who think that being a member of this joint can transform it they need to think again. It is better to desert it now and avoid being tainted beyond cleaning. By deserting it you will do honour to late Diing Chan Awuol and also register a strong vote against violence in South Sudan.

SPLM Oyee’s power and strength comes from you the members. Without you this organisation would be nothing as it should. Therefore, the massive corruption, the mismanagement, the failure in foreign policy and the terror they unleash indirectly and directly has your blessing. In a sense you are an accomplice. Think about it.

If you are a decent person who espouse democratic values and respect the right of life as enshrined in the various international instruments especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10th December 1948, you to distance yourself from this murderous machine.

The sooner you do so the quicker democracy, true freedom and peace will dawn on our country thus considerably minimizing the possibility of injustice such as the one foisted on Gen. Athor which resulted into a tragedy.

Athor rebelled to fight SPLM Oyee injustice. Like Diing who used the might of the pen, he was a well known popular personality in the SPLM/A. He gained respect from the rank and file of the liberation movement following the Nasir coup of 1991. Opposed to the coup and cut out from the main force of the movement in Equatoria, he managed without any support to hold his ground in Upper Nile for some years against SPLM Nasir faction until he later linked up with his HQs in Eastern Equatoria.

Reputed as brave and fierce man, the late leader of the SPLM/A Dr John Garang respected him and reportedly occasionally invited him to join in foreign trips.

Both Athor and Diing were killed by SPLM/A in cold blood during the Christian holy month of December a year apart. This month which means a lot to the citizens of South Sudan as Christians has been defiled by the barbaric behaviour of the SPLM Oyee – all the reason why we should reflect whether we want to continue being governed by this lot.

As for some of us we have overwhelmingly voted with our pens to see the back of this murderous organisation.

As Christians we hold the noble value of forgiveness. We do not believe in violence. We do not believe in shedding blood. Our Holy book tells us that if someone slaps you on the right cheek turn the other cheek to him. We believe in talking and solving problems amicably.

The culture of violence must stop in South Sudan. We all need to sign up against it. Killing serves no purpose at all. Some of the worst regimes in Africa like the Apartheid regime of South Africa saw sense in not killing the leadership of its opponents at the height of their struggle.

Please see ‘Killing is not a solution, uphold the rule of law’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/killing-is-not-a-solution-uphold-the-rule-of-law

This article was written early this year and late Diing may have read it but he did not comment on it. Its contents now more than at any time is relevant due to the reign of terror engulfing our country.

Regardless of what Athor did, good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable he did not deserve to be killed in cold blood without due process of law. He should have been accorded his right to defend himself in a South Sudan court of law for fairness to be seen to be done.

Again, regardless of what people think, Athor took a principled position against electoral theft and political bullying. His only error is that he chose violence; trusted foreign powers and got convinced that he was safe. This led to his demise.

Fundamentally Athor was brave but not shrewd. He was ignorant of political dynamics especially the constant shifts in politics in relations to interests. The only thing that remains constant in politics as articulated by the British is interest, all others are expendable. Diing in his last article tried to articulate this point vis-a-viz RSS and SPLM North and perhaps this was the bone of contention that sealed his fate.

May the people of South Sudan learn one or two things from late Athor’s first anniversary about the importance of holding on to values and principles even if it means losing one’s life. Athor in 1990s remained loyal to SPLM when he was cut off and surrounded by adversaries.

Athor in 2010 said no loudly to injustice and SPLM bullying. He deserves to be remembered for the hero he was for being principled and taking a stand against bullies, a very rare quality these days in our country.

[Truth hurts but It is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
Elhagpaul@aol.com

Wau casualties of taking towns to people

BY: Martin Garang Aher, AUSTRALIA, DEC/15/2012, SSN;

Just like the time of Jervas Yak Ubangi, acting governor of Bahr el Ghazal during the premiership of Mohamed Ahmed Mahjoub (1967-1969), and on a completely differential paradox, the city of Wau on Sunday 9th December 2012, witnessed death in yet another horrible setting.

It had all began with Western Bahr El Ghazal State governor, Mr. Rizik Zakaria Hassan’s cabinet decision to transfer Wau County headquarters to Bagari, about 12 miles Southwest of Wau town, in an apparent reckoning of taking services closer to people. The decision had made the local town dwellers uneasy, prompting them to take to the streets in protest. The ensued drama was a horrendous nightmare. A video coming out from Aljazeera English Channel clearly shows people with guns firing into the crowds of unarmed civilians, many on foot, some on bicycles and others on motorbikes. The dead are seen on the ground in pools of blood in the aftermath of the shooting.

South Sudan government and the police are yet to agree on who did the killing. Whichever side will take the responsibility; the action was unacceptable and unpatriotic. The defensive governor, Rizik Zachariah Hassan is on record in denial that demonstrators were killed in the clash with the police – or the army. Earlier the minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Derik Alfred Uya, said that about eight people were killed. Numerical flaws sway between 25 deaths and the number that Mr. Derek had put forward. In fairness he had outperformed the governor who denied in totality that any of the protesters were killed.

Why did a simple street protest that teargas with batons might solve attract the full gallantry of the police? The anger shown by protesters, as alleged, in setting ablaze what was in the way could have risen to such height due to slackness in conveying to the people the decision of the cabinet to move the headquarters out of town.

One was stunned to see the repeat in South Sudan of South African police heavy-handedness, which characterized the apartheid regime and more recently, during the Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in which the police gunned down thirty-four miners in cold blood. South Sudan government and Western Bahr el Ghazal government in particular ought to do better than allowing civilians to die for the decision that should have been communicated smoothly to the people.

Had the transfer of the headquarters been thoroughly put to the people, this incident could have been averted. The wanton use of force by the police will serve as a signal that life of the citizen is of little value. Wau and its authorities must chart a different trend in order not to bring to memories massacres that nearly made it the city of death in the past.

Similar incidences had occurred in Wau before, in which authorities had acted out of malice on people. But the circumstances were different. One of these incidences is easy to recall from history. On the night of July 11, 1965, two cousins, Cypriano Cier and Ottavio Deng Maroro Rian wedded two sisters and daughters of a prominent chief, Benjamin Lang Juk. The wedding took place in Wau cathedral whereupon a double wedding party was announced. Many southern intellectuals were invited to the party.

The government of premier Mohamed Ahmed Mahjoub saw it fit to exterminate southern intellectuals at one sweep since southern Sudan was then a war zone and activities of the Anya Nya needed to be curbed. The difference between a southerner in town and those of the outlaws Anya Nya in the bush was proving difficult. To end the southern quest for a free country, the best way to do it was to cut off the heads of southern region through her knowledgeable cadres. It follows that the wedding party was surrounded at night by the army and everyone, including the brides and bridegrooms was massacred.

Wau woke up on the 12th July 1965 to a sobering count of seventy-six dead people, forty-nine of whom were southern government officials.

Jervas Yak Ubango, the acting governor who was revered as a high quality public administrator, was forced by the government to deny the occurrence of the incidence. He, in his own right, luckily escaped death earlier that night by leaving the venue just minutes before the killing occurred. In facts twisting, typical of Sudanese politicians, Sayed Ahmed al- Mahdi, minister of interior said the army had to shoot because some of the outlaws were planning to attack the armed forces and were using the wedding as a launching pad, and that they searched the party venue and have found weapons and munitions.

Al-Ayam newspaper on the ground disapproved minister’s allegation of the plan to attack the town as well as the presence of the outlaws in the wedding party. The paper was shut down for its defiance.

Unlike Wau of 1960s, home to wolves and sheep, Wau of the modern era is expected to play a critical role in spreading development, not to serve as a city of terror anymore. If Dr. John Garang were to be alive, his astonishment in witnessing the first casualties of his aphorism of taking towns to people vis-a-vis the popular expectation of the reverse would be eminent.

Garang suggested the idea in president Kibaki’s State House, Nairobi in 2005 and in presence of many African and world’s dignitaries and heads of states and governments during the signing of Six Machakos Protocols. For South Sudanese present at the time, it was sweet on the ears. The harbinger of towns coming to the villages was what was needed, or expected so as to realize the fullest of freedom.

When Garang made the statement, however, the pressing issue was the reality of peace coming to old towns. General Lazarous Sumbeiywo, IGAD envoy in charge of the Sudanese peace process had just completed his tactical knowledge of bush dashing and had managed to bring the parties to peace together to sign the penultimate documents, which were to pave the way towards the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It was at the State House in Nairobi that the merry-go-round came to full circle.

Because of fear that the Sudanese were infiltrating the negotiating delegations every time an agreement was about to be struck and causing delays and possible stalling, Sumbeiywo had moved the negotiations venue from Naivasha, Machakos, Nyanuki and finally to Nairobi, thereby confining the fly in fly out parallel negotiators from Khartoum to hotels.

This, for records, saw the success of peace, and as a consequence made CPA The Nairobi Agreement. It would have been Washington Agreement had the IGAD committee accepted president Bush’s request to have it signed in the White House.

In truth, peace was coming. To many who had never been to towns in the old Sudan, the idea of towns coming home in the villages was just right. At least the overweening behavior of town folks would come to an end when the country achieves independence. No one would again ask anyone about having been to Juba, Wau, etc. In fact, it would be the village folks that would be asking themselves if towns have come to their villages.

But a few must have given it an in-depth reflection if it would involve administrative reordering and shifting. Indeed, following this lack of knowledge, what happened in Wau has doled out that there must have been a belief in a cheeky hypothesis that towns would be built from scratch and people asked to inhabit them in full functionality. It is a terrible misunderstanding! However, Wau is a city of controversies where death en masse had horrific historical precedence.

Martin Garang Aher is South Sudanese living in Western Australia. He can be reached at garangaher@hotmail.com

Silence may be taken for complicity: An appeal to Mr. Oyai Deng Ajak, Dr. Majak D’Agoot Atem, Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial and Dr. Riek Machar

BY: Kuir e Garang, CANADA, DEC/13/2012, SSN;

For those of us familiar with American war against Fundamental Islam, or as some people euphemize it, War on Terror, the silence of moderate Muslims is believed to be the problem. Their silence is believed to be the problem because Muslim fundamentalists are a vocal minority. The majority of Muslims are law-abiding citizens, who also respect the value (or as religious people say, sanctity) of life.

In South Sudan the same general sentiment applies. South Sudan is a country that could act as an example for the rest of Africa if not the rest of the world. Unlike other African countries that came out of independence with little to no African political culture to learn from, South Sudan has a wealth of political and economic information to learn from.

We could avoid all the factors that led to economic stagnation and political volatility from the post-independence years to the present. Issues such as tribalization of national interests and suppression of free speech are some of the examples. So far, it seems we’ve not learnt anything from that.

But my main concern is that the country will soon be branded by the rest of the world in unflattering light while clear-minded people like you remain silent or indifferent. Why? Why? Have freedom fighters become callous villains?

Recent incidences such as the assassination of political commentator, Isaiah Diing Chan, the disappearance of Wiyual Manytap and the senseless killing of over twenty young people in Wau (which reminds us of Wau massacre of 1965), are a few of countless counter-productive issues worrying us.

We love this country and we’d want it to prosper to its utmost potentials. Our hearts are bleeding as we see the country drift into a POLICE STATE. Who’d want to invest in such a nation?

Why is voicing a personal opinion treated disdainfully with a draconian steel? And a colleague of mind today wrote: “…this president has been gradually becoming more and more royal before our very eyes!!” That is true but sad, really sad!

It’s not that you’ve forgotten the principles that engendered the birth of SPLM/A, it is that there is something happening within the government; something we don’t understand. Another colleague of mine recently wrote an article in which he painted SPLM as a medley of micro-factions with competing interests. That is scary.

In such a situation, SPLM will not be productive unless those competing interests are either reconciled or the party disintegrates. There is something happening within the government that outsiders don’t know. But how and when is that going to end so that meaningful democracy and development you all fought for can start?

The agents in the National Security have actually become the agents of the average citizen’s National Insecurity. People with different opinions aren’t national security issues we should watch.

Are we building a nation-of-a-single-opinion dictated by the state?

Your silence, while the average citizens are terrorized or killed by people, who are supposed to protect them, will be taken for complicity in the current reign of terror against our people.

The guns didn’t go silent; they turned against the very people who were supposedly liberated. As others pull the guns to kill, you’re killing our people thorough omission, as they say in Ethics. Your inaction is as brutal as the action of those terrorizing our people.

The legacy of SPLM as the party of the people is fast fading as people have become disillusioned with the party that has turned into a death processing factory. I don’t see why any conscientious South Sudanese would vote again for a party that cares not a bit about the very people that put it there.

You have to come out and tell South Sudanese what is happening within the government (good or bad) that is keeping you quiet. If there is nothing major keeping you quiet, as the country is almost off the cliff, then it’s high time you change the direction of the country.

Your silence is crippling the nation. If you can’t change the system then resign so that South Sudanese can see your clean conscience. If you continue to serve in a system that is callously killing people and leading the country nowhere as you watch, then some of us would question your moral outlook.

As the National Security Minister, Mr. Oyai Deng Ajak, the killings are in your hands on principle unless you, with the president, exonerate yourselves, or reform national security for the better.

I heard about you as a teenager living in Western Equatoria (now Central) when you bravely headed Operation Jungle Storm (OJS) in early 90s. People applauded you as a flawless hero. Why are the people you fought to protect being killed by people under you?

Because you are inside the government, it is sometimes hard to see things clearly from within. You have to remember that the government of South Sudan is looking more like the government of Sudan in structure, functionality and intentions: torture houses, political assassinations, disappearances of vocal citizens, national security censorship of newspapers, total powers of the president, intimidation of opposition members, willful corruption, nepotism, ruling of the country by a small powerful few, governance (Council of ministers, Council of States and National Legislative Assembly) and the list continues.

Please, protect our people!

Kuir e Garang is a South Sudanese poet and author living in Canada. For contact visit www.kuirthiy.info or follow him on twitter: @kuirthiy

Requiem for Isaiah Abraham

QUOTE: “One man with courage makes a majority.” Andrew Jackson, 7th President of U.S

BY: Fanwell L. Edward, Accra, Ghana, DEC/11/2012, SSN;

Grief-stricken women wailed uncontrollably as the coffin sank slowly into the deep grave on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Like the setting sun sinking behind the hills yonder, the coffin finally rested at the bottom of the dark, cold grave to announce the end of a bright day and the beginning of a long, starless night that shall forever remain dark and dreamless. Their faces distorted by pain, sweat glistening on their distraught foreheads and tears of bitterness and loss streaming down their aged cheeks, the men sat motionlessly as a speaker struggled to offer a befitting eulogy. The shock has been unbearable because death came unannounced in the small hours of Wednesday morning. The shock has been profound because death came probably in a vehicle purchased by the precious blood of the citizens of this tormented land. The shock has been great because death came probably by orders from someone(s) whose duty was to protect the deceased and other citizens from unwarranted, senseless death. The shock has been heartbreaking because death came in the dead of the night specifically to silence the steady voice of Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol and ours, too.

It was of no consequence at all whether one concurred or disagreed with everything he wrote, but Isaiah Abraham, as he was known on the Internet, was no doubt a very prolific writer of opinion on issues related to South Sudan and Sudan. His in-depth familiarity with current affairs and their minute details befitted a well-versed, versatile opinion writer. His articles, written in impeccable English, beckoned one to read them to the very last word on the page.

However, it was neither the wordsmithery nor the clarity of thought that almost always enticed one to read Isaiah Abraham’s opinion pieces. On the country, one was more often than not led hesitantly to the bottom of the articles rather by the writer’s unyielding propensity not only to serve a smorgasbord of often unrelated and downright contradictory issues on a single plate but also by his unusual ability to glide comfortably from one glaringly contradictory opinion to another in the same breath.

His articles might have at times married contradictory views and positions, causing many readers to misunderstand him at times and perhaps miss the salient points of his articles in the process. But since when has it become a crime for a writer to have his/her own style of writing and his/her own opinion on matters related to current affairs of the new republic?

It is telling that by aiming their bullet to the brains of Isaiah Abraham, the assassin(s) deliberately or inadvertently sought to send an unmistakably strong message to the rest of opinion writers that their brains will be wasted physically too unless they refrain from writing articles that are critical of the government or the so-called SPLM-North, for that matter. The new centurions could not be more wrong.

In fact, it could be stated with a great deal of confidence that the bullet that penetrated the skull of Isaiah Abraham has also pierced every heart of conscientious South Sudanese both in the writers’ community and in the community at large. Instead of killing our brains, the bullet of the assassin(s) has acted as a light bulb, illuminating thoughts that have thereto lied dormant in some dark corners of our brains.

Now that Isaiah Abraham rests peacefully in his grave in his village, his assassin(s) have joined the ranks of the walking dead men whose consciences have been forever darkened and hardened by their evil deeds. The new tormentors of the people may soon discover, to their horror, that although we each have only one earthly body that they can kill, good ideas do not possess a single brain that can be killed at will. On the contrary, as good seeds germinate in several soils, good ideas also germinate in a multiple fertile brains, with which South Sudan is blessed.

Therefore, the earthly body of Diing Chan Awuol might have succumbed to the assassins’ bullet, but many of the ideas that percolated in his brains are currently germinating in many a brave mind in South Sudan.

My heart goes out to his immediate and extended family, relatives, friends and those who knew him as a writer and as a person. One would also wish to console Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba who has been unfairly attacked by some writers for his latest article which was critical of the deceased’s style of writing. I have no doubts that Dr. Ambago is as dumbfounded and shell-shocked by the brutal murder of Mr. Isaiah Abraham as we all are.

Instead, we should by all means and unequivocally direct our condemnation to the writers and government officials who constantly use inflammatory rhetoric to impinge upon the patriotism and nationalism of fellow South Sudanese espouse different political viewpoints. Indeed, each time we consciously or unconsciously dehumanize fellow countrymen and women through our words or deeds, we unwittingly encourage the unscrupulous among us, and they are many, to cause bodily harm to equally patriotic citizens who are wrongly perceive to be ‘traitors.’

President Kiir has promised an immediate investigation into the murder of Isaiah Abraham. The government has promised to spare no effort to apprehend the culprit(s) and to bring them to book. Some $50,000 reward has also been announced for information leading to the arrest of the assassin(s). As sure as the sun will rise from the east, we are sure that neither the official crocodile tears nor pretentious presidential promises will result in the capture and prosecution of the assassin(s).

Unfortunately, our government and its ‘irrelevant’ organs lack credibility because of the numerous unsolved cases of murder, beating and kidnapping that occur in our country on a daily bases. Why would this one, which has the marks of ‘security’ organs and SPLM-North written all over it, be different from the myriad unsolved murder cases?

Hence, it is one’s sincere prayer of supplication to the Almighty that we, as a people, find rays of hope and consolation in the midst of this colossal loss to engage in an honest soul-searching with the view of regaining our inner moral compass so that we internalize the sanctity of human life and the inviolability of human dignity and liberty.

That would be a fitting requiem for the soul of Diing Chan Awuol who left us too soon. After all, before we are identified as opinion writers, doctors, teachers, pro-government or members of the opposition, it is necessary to remember first and foremost that each one of us is someone else’s spouse, brother, sister, father, mother, grandparents or distant or close relative.

Therefore, it behooves us to become acutely conscious to the fact that by killing one person we kill not only his/her innocent relatives and friends but we also kill both the spirit and conscience of this young country in the process.

May Isaiah Abraham rest in eternal peace, and may other writers of political opinion and commentary keep the spirit of the deceased alive by soldiering on and writing boldly until the assassins and oppressors of public opinion realize the futility of their own murderous actions.

There is no political opinion dangerous enough to warrant the illegal or legal taking of human life!

Farewell, Comrade Diing Abraham!

The author is a South Sudanese working and living in Accra, Ghana, West Africa, and can be reached at edwardfanwell@yahoo.com