Category: Uncategorized

The SPLM (IG) & FDS Latest Cairo Declaration: It’s Regional Ramifications

BY: Ambassador Emmanuel Aban Ajawin, NOV/20/2017, SSN;

On the 16th November, 2017 Cairo witnessed the signing of an agreement between two factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, in the government (SPLMIG) and SPLM Former Detainees (FDs), which became known as the Cairo Declaration.

This declaration, unlike previous declarations/agreements inked by the fractured SPLM factions in their quest for elusive unity, presents a significant strategic shift in Egypt’s approach towards issues of peace and security pertaining to the Republic of South Sudan and the region.

The strategic shift is so not much in the geopolitical position of Egypt within the region and its direct involvement with the SPLM factions, but rather it is based on Egypt’s propitious timing in light of the recent statement attributed to President Abdul Fattah El-Sissi on the 8th November, 2017 at a news conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The President stated that ‘We view positively the developmental needs of our friends and brothers in Ethiopia and we are capable of protecting our national security and water which to us is a question of national security.’

The same sentiment was repeated on the 18th November after Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia failed to approve a study on the potential effects of the Ethiopia GRED.

In televised comment where he attended the inauguration of a fish farm in the Nile Delta province of Kafr el-Sheika, Egypt’s President stated that ‘water is a matter of life or death and that no one can touch Egypt’s share of water.’

Considering these Presidential statements against the recently signed Cairo Declaration in the Headquarters of the Egyptian Intelligent Services (GIS Mukhabarat) and witnessed by both the Egyptian chief of (Mukhabarat) and his Ugandan’s Counter-part, it is abundantly clear that the Horn of Africa and particularly South Sudan, will be witnessing a portentous future dominated by proxy wars.

The Egyptians are sending an unequivocal diplomatic statement that they have decided, without any reservations, to support the government of South Sudan and its ruling party the SPLM, under the tyranny of President Kiir and his ethnocentric regime.

The unification of the SPLM and preservation of the status quo as the ruling party in South Sudan, has become a matter of great importance for the Egyptian national security strategy.

Instead of standing in solidarity with the victims and the oppressed people of South Sudan, Egypt has cast the dice on the wrong side of history.

It has decided to align itself with a government that lacks legitimacy and which is responsible for the on-going infernal civil war, commissioning of heinous war crimes, crimes against humanity, displacement of millions and genocide.

The signed Cairo Declaration between the members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM-IG and Former Detainees (FDs), and which was facilitated and supervised by H.E. Abdul Fattah El-Sissi, the President of the Republic of Egypt and H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the President of the Republic of Uganda, unfortunately, is just a pie in the sky and will not achieve durable peace and stability in South Sudan.

In fact, the political ills and quagmire that have befallen the nascent Republic rest squarely on the shoulders of the SPLM political and military elites.

Since the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, the SPLM members who signed the Cairo Declaration are the same leaders who failed to articulate and provide a comprehensive political, social and economic road map that would have scientifically addressed the prodigious and convoluted issues of state and nation building.

They became entangled in webs of corruption, embezzlement of public monies and money laundering with absolute impunity. Millions of dollars that were received from the international donors and from the oil revenues ended up in the pockets of the SPLM political and military elites leaving the majority of the population destitute, hungry and poor.

It is therefore, unfathomable and of poor judgement to think that salvaging South Sudan from imminent economic collapse, social break down and political disintegration, lies in the unification of various SPLM factions.

Solutions to social, political and economic ills in South Sudan are now beyond the confines of the SPLM political and military mafias.

The Arab Republic of Egypt in the distant past has played a positive and commendable role towards South Sudanese by providing academic scholarships to study in its various institutions of higher learning.

Currently, Egypt is hosting large numbers of South Sudanese refugees despite the economic constrain the country is facing. South Sudanese will always be grateful for the hospitality and generosity Egypt has rendered.

However, since the outbreak of the current civil war in 2013, Egypt has shifted its traditional approach towards South Sudan from humanitarian and educational spheres to political, diplomatic and military assistance of the oppressive regime in Juba.

In December, 2016 it has played an instrumental role at the United Nations Security Council in opposing an arms embargo resolution on South Sudan, introduced by the United States of America.

Militarily, South Sudanese opposition groups have allegedly accused Egypt of rendering logistical, technical and air support to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in its brutal war against the people of South Sudan.

Why is the Egyptian government spending its resources and tax payer’s money on a defunct and corrupt regime in Juba?

In answering the above question, it is imperative to note that Egypt’s foreign policy and security strategies towards South Sudan are heavily influenced by its strategy to ensure the uninterrupted flow of the Nile water which she entirely depends on for itsex istence as a nation.

Hence Nile waters have become the most important element of its national security strategy towards the Horn of Africa and South Sudan.

The notion that Nile waters could be shared amicably with the upstream countries, is an
intolerable reality for Egypt as it perceives such actions to be against its survival and
national interest.

The first serious attempt by Cairo to implement its water policy visa-vis South Sudan was the commissioning of the Jonglei Canal Project. In the 1980s, the governments of Sudan and Egypt embarked on an ambitious plan to build a canal that became known as Jonglei Canal Project.

The purpose of the hydro-construction project in Upper Nile Province at the time was to ensure the flow of 4.7 billion cubic meters of water annually, to be shared equally between Egypt and Sudan.

The problem with the Jonglei Canal was that the two governments didn’t consult the people of Southern Sudan extensively, and as a result it was unpopular, becoming one of the seminal reasons for the South Sudanese to take up arms against the regime of Jaafar Nimeiri in 1983.

What is left of the project is the destroyed $50 million gigantic bucket-wheel excavator, an enormous piece of German engineering. Its destruction was a testimony to the people’s resistance against imposed projects that didn’t take their views and concerns into consideration.

In fact the striking correlation between the doomed Jonglei Canal Project and the Cairo Declaration is that both were made with political allies that are unpopular, corrupt, undemocratic and dictatorial.

Egypt should have learned a valuable lesson from the Jonglei Canal that people and not governments should be its true strategic allies as far as South Sudan is concerned.

Supporting the illegitimate and dictatorial government in Juba would have negative ramifications on the future relations between Egypt and the people of South Sudan.

The Egyptian government should take a brotherly and catalytic role in bridging the prodigious political apogees between the various political groups in South Sudan, rather than supporting the unpopular SPLM regime.

The hosting of the SPLM reunification meetings in Cairo, and especially the involvement of its Intelligence Services (CIS-Mukhabarat) has created a perception, real or imaginary, that South Sudan could be used by Egypt in its proxy wars in the region, if diplomacy fails to resolve the current impasse on the Nile water negotiations.

In the past, Egypt has never hesitated to use its military might against countries that it perceived to be threat to its national security pertaining to Nile waters.

Egypt under the leadership of Khedive Ismail Pasha in 1875-76 invaded the northern region of
Ethiopia with the objective of controlling the source of the Blue Nile (Abay). Emperor Yohannes IV defeated the invading Egyptian forces at Gundet and Gura respectively.

Although, the battles of Gundet and Gura were the last physical confrontations between Egypt and Ethiopia, relations between the two countries for more than one hundred years have been characterized by deep suspicion, paranoia, diplomatic and proxy wars.

The Egyptian political gamble of supporting SPLM factions, will compel other countries in the region to search for allies within and outside South Sudan. This will undoubtedly compound the already complicated situation in South Sudan.

The battle ground for the region’s water wars would be fought in South Sudan with dire consequences on human lives and properties. South Sudan could slip into a perpetual state of war for many decades to come.

In the long term, these wars could lead to the collapse of South Sudan as a state, with its becoming a breeding ground for terrorist organizations including ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliates.

Given the strategic geographical location of South Sudan, the regionalization of conflict within its borders will pose a serious threat to the international peace and security.

Therefore, it is prudent and incumbent upon the international community, AU, UN and Troika to exert pressure on both Egypt and Uganda to leave the people of South Sudan to resolve their political, social and economic crisis without interference, or the presence of various political forces in the country to fight their proxy wars. Enough is enough!

The international community should put an end to unwarranted interventions by some of the regional countries into the affairs of South Sudan.

The African Union (AU) and the United Nations should consider punitive actions against countries that are prolonging and profiting from the war in South Sudan, otherwise if these unwarranted state of affairs are left to continue unchallenged, the envisaged IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) may end up dead before it even commences. END

Riek Machar is Failing the Opposition against Kiir’s tyranny

BY: Samuel Atabi, South Sudan, NOV/20/2017, SSN;

In her November 15, 2017 remarks at the Holocaust Museum, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said two things which gave me both hope and caused me despair on the war in South Sudan.

When she repeated the words of Elie Wiesel (a holocaust survivor and a Nobel Laureate) that “We must always choose side” in the face of extreme human sufferings, I became truly hopeful that this time round the US government will side with the people of South Sudan vis-à-vis their leaders.

But when she spoke of “….South Sudanese government is engaged in a brutal protracted military campaign against a FRAGMENTED (my emphasis) opposition,” I despaired.

We South Sudanese who have philosophically ‘taken side’ with the opposition forces are extremely dismayed by the divisive and fragmented activities of the group.

In any conflict, such as that which is taking place among the South Sudanese opposition, positive, unifying and magnanimous overtures are expected from those who wield the most power.

In this case, the majority of the suffering South Sudanese expects Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the largest and most powerful of the armed opposition, the SPLM-IO, to take the first initiative to unite the opposition.

However, information now available in the public domain unequivocally indicates that Machar and his outfit are the source of the internecine fighting within and the fragmentation of opposition to which the ambassador referred.

The consequence of this internal division is the weakening of the opposition forces which are now ranged against the brutal and tribal regime in Juba.

A recent report by John Young (Isolation and Endurance: Riek Machar and the SPLM-IO 2016-17) brings into the open what many have been suspecting about the true character of Dr Machar.

According to the report, Machar is opposed to the unity of all groups fighting the government in Juba; instead, he prefers to absorb all of them in his SPLM-IO, where he will remain dominant.

He has contrived to make SPLM-IO weak by resisting institutionalization of the movement and formalization of its policy.

This weakness can then ensure his grip on the power and therefore, marginalization of potential opponents.

Most of SPLM-IO nominees to the parliament in Juba, following the August 2015 agreement, are young and political novices; again this is contrived to ensure his monopoly of power.

Prior to the report, many people suspected that Machar was …politically and intellectually insecure;
…that he was distrustful of his peers and colleagues, even those from his own Nuer tribe (several Nuer Generals and leaders have abandoned him);
…that he was a control freak who took advantage of the politically inexperienced youth to enhance his dominance;
…that he disdained the advice of his colleagues and peers (a harsh and close associate describes him ‘as obdurate as a donkey’);
…and that he was militarily careless about the lives of his colleagues and those of his young followers.

The last point is abundantly proven by the death of thousands of Nuer and other South Sudanese soldiers who were his followers at different military confrontations.

In 1991, when Machar separated from the Garang-led SPLA, thousands of his followers were killed on his account.

When he changed his mind and left his erstwhile allies in Khartoum, again the man abandoned thousands of his soldiers at the mercy of the Arabs.

Prior to 2013 pogrom, during which thousands of Nuer and other South Sudanese civilians were literally slaughtered, Machar failed to recognize the risks when Kiir, Malong and others were recruiting private militias to carry out this slaughter; he criminally failed to plan countervailing measures against the impending genocide.

When he fled Juba in 2013, he gain abandoned his own body guards to the guns of the Jieng militias.

Following his return to Juba in 2016, as a consequence of the August, 2015 peace agreement, he again acted to type: he led hundreds of his own body guards to death traps when they accompanied him to the July 8, 2016 night meeting at J1.

As if that was not enough, it is now clear that Machar had no plan for his forces for orderly withdrawal from Juba in case of military confrontations; these confrontations were expected even by non-military observers.

In the disorderly withdrawal, which later took him to DR Congo, hundreds of his body guards perished. Among the dead was a senior general from Equatoria, Lt Gen Martin Kenyi.

This litany of military disasters clearly amounts to accusations of incompetence and extreme dereliction of duty and responsibility for which any military general deserves to be court marshalled.

In October (16-18) 2017, six of the South Sudanese groups that are opposed to the Kiir government met in the town of Nyahururu in central Kenya to consult on how to work together in their effort to liberate the people of South Sudan.

Unsurprisingly, the leadership of the SPLM-IO declined to send a delegation to the meeting.

The outcome of this consultative meeting is the ‘Nyahururu Declaration’ in which the parties, SPLM-FD, FDP, NDM, SSNMC, NAS, and NAM, have agreed to form a broad alliance to achieve their objectives; they have also agreed to respect the autonomy of each group to exist separately but as a part of the alliance.

Again, the suffering South Sudanese can only view with consternation the absence of the SPLM-IO, which they expect to have given leadership to the emerging alliance.

Ultimately, Riek Machar, in the wake of new political and diplomatic reality on the issue of South Sudan, will have to make up his mind as to his own future and that of his organization.

He has two main choices:
1- he can lead his group into the fold of the new opposition alliance and constructively contribute to the freedom of South Sudanese;
2- he can continue with the present, lonely, destructive and divisive trajectory and become politically irrelevant in the politics of South Sudan, both in the short and long term; unless, of course, he capitulates to Taban Deng Gai and rejoins the JCE-controlled regime in Juba.

The choice is his.

Divided Rebellion, Indifferent government & the Politico-Military Impasse in South Sudan

BY: Kuir ë Garang, Author and commentator, NOV/12/2017, SSN;

“I need blankets. It is cold at night and I don’t want my children to get sick,” said the 23-year-old Rebecca Barnaba, a mother at Doro camp in Upper Nile State. But who’s listening?

It’s very clear in South Sudan that none of the political groups that claim to be the one with the interest of South Sudanese at heart is actually playing their verbal claims. They only attempt to exonerate themselves from Juba failures while consolidating their positions and potential power-sharing as future stakeholders.

Undoubtedly, South Sudan has reached a politico-military impasse. The rebels have markedly confused politico-military agendas and they have no strong military means or strategies to oust the leadership of President Kiir.

Their personal interest-driven agenda is actually turning them against one another. If their interest is political reforms or rescuing the country from descending even further into the proverbial rabbit hole, then their interests would have been aligned and united in a concerted strategy to launch a single front against Juba.

Unfortunately, we know that liberating South Sudan is far from the agenda of these once power-players in Juba.

Like the tribalized government in Juba, these rebel groups become the abode of tribal agendas dressed-up as liberation forces. How can a national leader recruit a tribal army and expect to have a national appeal?

How can such tribal militias whose purported agenda is to remove the failed Juba regime fight one another and expect to succeed?

Essentially, rebellion, as conceptualised and exercised by the current rebel leaders, is by no means a panacea to our political ills in South Sudan as such a strategic move requires wise, solution-focused, military-political strategist and an individual with an appreciable sense of selflessness.

So far, most, if not all, the satellite rebel groups, are after creating a negotiation and power-sharing front in the future political process.

As Aristotle once said, “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

We are all angry in South Sudan – ALL OF US – but what are we using our anger for and who are we aiming it for? For rebel who purportedly took up arms against Juba, one wonders why they are ‘angry’ with their fellow rebels? It’s all about POWER!

However, these leaders will inundate us with exorbitant and ambitious claims of fighting to democratize Juba and bring freedom to the people of South Sudan.

By forming satellite, tribally-based rebel groups instead of uniting under a single force, these leaders have shown us that this is not about fighting for the people of South Sudan but power.

Since being a rebel with a fighting force makes one heard, rebelling to get a national and international profile, has become a normative, power-exercise reality in South Sudan.

However, the readers should know that I understand the reasons behind these leaders rebelling and I understand the extent to which president Kiir’s government is damaged and tribalized beyond redemption.

However, the manner in which rebellions are being formed and led will only lead to more suffering instead of positively bringing a complete political overhaul in Juba.

After forming his new rebel movement, National Democratic Movement in September of 2016, Dr. Lam Akol had this to say: “The National Democratic Movement (NDM) was born to wage the struggle, together with others in the field, against the totalitarian, corrupt and ethnocentric regime in Juba that is bent on dragging our country into the abyss.”

Akol added that, “It must be clear from the outset, the NDM is not just for change of personalities in Juba to replace them with others of the same feathers; it is out for a radical change in the country that will bring about genuine state-building and nation-building.”

In an interview with The Messenger in March this year, the leader of National Salvation Front (NSF), Thomas Cirillo Swaka, claimed that he is “Inspired by the spirit and need to create a new political dispensation in the country that is based on the principles of democracy, unity and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms anchored in a federal structure as the basis for uniting and rebuilding the country, the National Salvation Front is the movement determined to fight for a New South Sudan in which all its citizens will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”

While these leaders have strong reasons for leaving Juba and the words quoted above appreciable, I doubt if their chosen methods to change the system in Juba would work. Until such time when these leaders unite, they’ll just be some territorial warlords in the bush.

What makes Lam and Cirillo think that they can do better than Dr. Riek Machar of SPLM-IO is something I would want to see. Reduced to a prisoner in South Africa with his movement only nominally functional and forces fighting without clear strategic plan, Riek Machar will have to admit his failure.

If he cannot use his leadership skills to prevail on South Africa to free him, then how can Riek Machar help South Sudanese?

Again, as long as these leaders believe they individually are the salvation torch-bearers, then rebellion will only be a negative feature in our country not a solution strategy.

What makes the above rebel position even more saddening is the fact that Juba is in no better position to seek an end to this impasse. The Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) is dead, but the government operates as if it’s still something they are implementing or have implemented.

The National Dialogue, which actually admitted in its first document that it can only make recommendations to the president, is being pedalled by the government as another way to solve this impasse.

National Dialogues should only be used to heal not end wars. Since the president knows the grievances advanced by various rebel movements but he doesn’t want to sit with them, it’s clear that Juba isn’t interested in ending this impasse. It only wants to end the crisis in a manner that leaves its power-bases intact.

Besides, the treatment of General Malong Awan, the former Chief of General Staff, is a clear testimony that president Kiir isn’t interested in ending the country’s crisis. Creating more problems is not an act of a man who cares about his own people.

While I agree with the former political detainees about giving Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir an exit package, something I proposed a few month ago, the former political detainees need to understand that they are an opposition group and any of their proposals will only be seen as a self-interested agenda to remove the government.

No matter the soundness of their proposal, the mere fact that they oppose both the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO, will always project them as using their methods to get rid of them.

While SPLM-FDs propose a government of technocrats, they’ve not clearly explained who these technocrats would be even if we know that they also exclude themselves, like Kiir and Riek, in a would-be transitional government of technocrats.

However, the FDs should make clear if they are mere opposition group or solution providers. Their existence as part of the government in Juba and at the same time as fierce critics of President Kiir and Riek Machar, make me wonder what exactly they are doing?

They can’t be both a part of a failed government and pedalling as solution providers.

While FDs is one group that proposes alternative forms of government, their murky political stand compromises their proposals; and this makes it hard for them to be taken seriously. They should either remain as critics or become solution providers.

They can’t expect Juba to take them seriously if they bitterly criticise President Kiir as the problem and then again expect Kiir to respect their political settlement proposals.

Unless they pull out of the government, stop criticising IO and IG and only remain as a neutral, objective think tank that’s only interested in helping Juba and opposition arrive at workable solution models. But I guess this would make them politically irrelevant so they would not be stakeholders in any future power-sharing government.

So what’s the solution?

I propose that all the rebel groups unite under one leadership and fight against President Kiir. This would also give the international community, which already knows how rotten Kiir leadership is, an impression that a united rebel front is after a real political change in South Sudan not a mere cult of personality augmentation and tribal agenda-dressed-up as political reform.

Since this is going to be nearly impossible, then it’s high time for South Sudanese to dispense with IGAD and meet in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, or Kampala, to agree on a peaceful way forward.

While the latter proposal sounds naïve, one needs to remember the naivety of bitterly divided rebel groups who expect to defeat Juba.

A government that’s run out of ideas and only channels money into political intimidations, and a divided, tribalized opposition that’ll see no victory, is a classic impasse that will continue to prolong suffering of South Sudanese civilians, more than 4 million of whom haven’t fled the home; more than 2 million of those displaced being refugees in neighboring countries.

…………..
*Kuir ë Garang is the author of South Sudan Ideologically and Is ‘Black’ Really Beautiful? For more information or to contact the author, visit www.kuirthiy.com

“South Sudan president regrets secession from Khartoum”

BY: Toria, NOV/05/2017, SSN;

Isn’t this the moment that Khartoum was waiting for? People of South Sudan, please judge it for yourselves and just take a moment to imagine what this means. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63903.

Since 1955, when the first ever rebellion movement was started by mutiny in Torit. It was first lead by an ex-Catholic Priest by name Saturnino Ohure.

Today in their tombs our Founding Fathers are turning and twisting and boiling with anger that a worthless and lazy son of the nation that they dreamt of is kneeling down on his skinny knees to beg the Jellaba for forgiveness?

Pres. Kirr actually apologized for our Independence? Yes, he did. This is not a matter of jokes people; these idiots in Juba think they can play with millions of lives that perished in search of freedom and independence of South Sudan just like this?

Shame, shame, and shame, Salva Kirr brought the biggest shame upon us.

Salva Kirr and his groups with the crapulous advice from his Jieng Council of Elders have abandoned the people of Abyei right in front of our eyes, Kirr actually refused to discuss about the fate of Abyei because he was so scared that Beshir will not shake his hands?

Just because he wanted Omer al Bashir’s help to extradite his rivals and so “he washed his hands” from helping our Black African brothers and sisters whose blood poured on the soil of South Sudan just as much as South Sudanese with the hope that they too will one day live as free people in the lands of their ancestors.

The Nuba, the Blue Nile people, Ingasana and now Darfurians are originally African inhabitants just like us, but now Salva Kirr turned his back on them including our brothers in Abyei.

Nothing ever in our history like this has happened before, and so we must be very careful what is coming next.

I for one am under the impression that Salva Kirr actually might have sold us out already, and we should not be surprise in the near future if we see Sudanese Army marching back into South Sudan.

Because Salva Kirr has given up hope, he wants to go into grave with everyone.

GREAT PEOPLE OF SOUTH SUDAN OPEN YOUR EYES WIDE AND BE AWARE OF WHAT IS COMING. Pres. Salva Kirr is a traitor and he committed an unpardonable sin call TREASON. Only one option is left for Salva Kirr, to flee or perish.

Toria

South Sudanese in Diaspora thanks Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations

To: Her Excellency Nikki Haley- United States Ambassador to the U.N.

On behalf of the South Sudanese, we would like to thank you for your service to the global community in promoting international cooperation, peace, and security. The South Sudanese civil society group in the Diaspora would like to acknowledge your commitment to the people of South Sudan. As South Sudanese-Americans, we deeply appreciate your tireless efforts to bring a lasting peace to our country of origin.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, the South Sudanese civil society group sincerely applauds and commends you for your recent trip to South Sudan. Thank you for calling President Salva Kirr’s regime out for the suffering of the people of South Sudan; for telling him that the international community, and United States cares about South Sudanese lives. South Sudanese people support and appreciate the United States Government and the State Department for working with the parties to provide relief to the suffering people of South Sudan.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, as evidence by your trip, it is clear that the IGAD-led peace negotiations have not made any progress in bringing the war to an end. Tens of thousands of innocent South Sudanese have been killed and over seven million are displaced, with more than 100,000 IPDs living in dire conditions in UNMISS camps in Juba and around the country. President Salva Kiir, who has committed atrocious crimes against humanity, continues to defy the international community’s effort. It is time that international community stands up for the people of South Sudan and for the United States to take decisive leadership role in ending the civil war in South Sudan.

Lack of urgent action has the potential to destabilize the entire East African region, which could present a potential security threat to the rest of the world. The time has indeed come to help bring an end to what you have described as “senseless violence.”

South Sudan Community expresses their deep gratitude toward the American people and appreciates the United States Government for working with the parties to ensure lasting peace in South Sudan.

We thank you for your leadership and for making honest assessment of the situation. We ask you to take actions reflective of the concern you have expressed and witness.

NOV/01/2017

Respectfully,

Alliance for South Sudan in diaspora – Dr. George Phillip Imuro. imurot@yaoo.com
Equatoria Community USA – Lojing Rugang
Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan – Theresa Samuel, gappss.info@gmail.com
Human Rights activists – Simon Deng, sdengkak@yahoo.com
Nile Peace Development Relief Agency USA – Dr. Gatluak Deith, gatluakdieth757@gmail.com
Nuer American Christian Network USA – Rev. James Dak Rut, james.rut.rev@wisynod.org
Nuer Community USA – Michael Gai Chokchok
Pashodo Community Mutual Assistance Association (PCMAA) – William Atillio Ator, upernile@gmail.com
South Sudan International Advocacy for Human Rights (SSIAHR) – Peter Gatkuoth W. Kuel, peterkuel@yahoo.com
Western Bahr el Ghazel Community USA – Rabeh Dimbiti, westernbahr@gmail.com

CC:
U.N. Secretary General, António Guterres
U.N. Security Council
United States President, Donald J. Trump
U.S. congress

South Sudan at the Cross-roads: Give Gen. Cirillo a chance

BY: Toria, OCT/31/2017, SSN;

The two prominent leaders of South Sudan who have witnessed the achievements of their objectives are Joseph Lagu and Abel Alier, these two fought for two parallel visions but also very divisive political agendas, one is for separation and the other for dominance.

Lagu fought to see South Sudan become an independent country and also he wanted his people, the South Sudanese, to be free from being dominated by some ethnic hegemonies and hence the regionalism also commonly known amongst the Southerners as Kokora, which was born to prevent what is happening in South Sudan today.

Contrary to his counterpart, Abel Alier’s vision was to have his people the Dinkas to dominate the other ethnic minority groups based on population size and hence the phrase “born to rule” was born.

Judging from what culminated, Lagu got not only his desires to implement the regionalism agenda coined by the Jellaba in the North but also finally South Sudan got her independence from the Arabized Northern Sudan.

And also Alier got his desires of tribal monopolization in which his Dinka ethnic people became the new face of domination.

To this date these two leaders’ visions impregnated the minds of people in the new nation, it is reasonable to assume that the new generation of South Sudanese are unable to move forward and to come up with new visions.

Most of the new leaderships are embroiled in bitter disagreements of which ways to take to move forward.

Any kind of move to reform the old system is seen as a suspicious move by either side, trust has eroded in our communities so much that even within the same families and clans and tribes to national level, everyone thinks someone is here coming to get me.

The regime in Juba thinks the opposition is coming up with regime change agenda and to levy punishments on regime supporters for the past crimes, meanwhile the oppositions see the regime in Juba are vying for more control and to continue the oppression and to grab power by force in the next elections, if there will be any elections.

If there is anything that South Sudanese will never tolerate is being subjugated to policies that they don’t agree with. This is evident and can be seen from the historical backgrounds of our people’s struggles.

They would rather opt to suffer rather than being treated like second class citizens or more or less like slaves in a country which all our peoples suffered to liberate, they will never put up with dictatorships.

Since the period of colonial eras our peoples resisted the attempts to being ruled by systems that suppressed their voices and neglected their traditional norms.

The real question to ask ourselves and this includes those foreign entities who are trying to implement lasting peace in South Sudan. As much as they have well intention to save the suffering people of South Sudan, but what they need to realize is that any system that they force upon the people without consensus will just be another breeding grounds for hatreds creating more challenges and it will backfire in the future.

By now; we as South Sudanese should understand that forcing each other’s opinions and traditional systems upon other ethnic groups will not work.

By the same token, since Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu are still alive I suggest that it is about time these two need to sit face to face and make genuine peace, to initiate the national reconciliation. For both of them have already have seen the fruits of their initiatives.

Before they leave us they need to make peace and denounce the negative aspects of their visions, namely “Kokora” and “born to rule” visions were their worst failures.

But their vision of independence of South Sudan was the best achievement that 99% of South Sudanese agreed with and that should be the legacy that these two leaders need to leave behind.

Just as recently as we saw in his tours of the US, the leader of National Salvation Front or NAS, Gen. Thomas Cirilo, called for new system, which we as a nation should look at his visions more closely and examine his intentions with some keen interests.

Gen. Cirilo personally declared that his movement is to restore peace and bring about a system that will bring lasting peace, in what he claimed will make every South Sudanese be a shareholder.

We must not just blindly oppose his visions just because Thomas Cirilo comes from Equatoria. You might have heard some people on social media opposing his visions especially those supporting the government are antagonistic that Gen. Cirilo is trying to breakaway Equatoria region from the rest of South Sudan.

I am sure the opposite is true, and I challenge everyone opposed should give a listening ear for once as the General is crying out to everyone. He even mentioned about that they “Dinkas need to be rescued from the grips of the regime in Juba,” there are many examples but that Dinkas are suffering just like everyone else.

Look at what is happening to the former Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong Awan. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63857

There have never been many leaders who eloquently can admit that the very people who are oppressing his own people and robbing everything like the regime in Juba grabbing his own ancestral soil in Rajaf.

How could anyone still stay calm and call for rescue of the people who torment his people?

This is a unique character of leaders in our time that we haven’t seen for a long time. And perhaps only seen in the context of scriptures that was displayed by two people; Stephen in Acts of Apostles was being stoned to death and yet prayed that “forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing”.

Again Jesus Christ was nailed onto the cross, even at the excruciatingly painful moments of his life he looked up and said “father forgive them.”

These are the real and true hearts of people who today have left lasting impacts on countless believers we call Christians today. I am not comparing Thomas Cirilo to Jesus or Stephen but only giving examples.

I believe part of the solutions of multi-ethnic society like South Sudan should be a secular system in which religion and personal beliefs should be left to individual choices, all that I am referring to are the ideals of self-sacrifice.

Genuine leaders must deny their personal interests and put the national interests first. As opposed to what we have witnessed in the hands of SPLM party, starting from the time of peace agreements with the North to the referendum, until today instead of progress all that we see is digressions.

Hence forth, from their own words we should be able to hold leaders accountable if they fail to deliver as what they promise. https://www.facebook.com/NASAnyaNya2017/videos/1741819869446652/

Putting tribalism aside, Thomas Cirilo went further admitting that his own Bari people are divided and others would say “he is from Rajaf”, and some Equatorians would say “he is from Bari… it’s a Bari movement” and yet some South Sudanese would say “he is from Equatoria, it is an Equatorian movement”.

These are very painful and saddest moments in our lives, as a nation of multicultural heritage we are not the first to experience such downward spiralling, all our neighboring countries are no different but they have learnt to coexist, we should borrow from their experiences to resolve our differences.

In conclusion, Mr. Cirilo has displayed a unique character far from a tribal leader like Salva Kirr and some others, he again reiterated in an interview; https://www.facebook.com/GatKoang20/videos/1440167149392193.

That he wants to see the best of everything to ALL South Sudanese people regardless of who you are. I bet you will disagree with me but I also think many have disagreed with what is happening in our country now but yet we allow it to continue.

And so why don’t we give Thomas Cirilo a chance to prove himself? If he is really who he claims, his fruition should be put to test by giving him our supports.

Thomas Cirilo said a lot of things and I cannot analyze all of them here. Without prejudices anyone should take a moment and listen to his speeches and interviews. Perhaps we have a man of peace right here before us and let us give him a chance.

Just as we have given our previous leaders the chances to prove themselves and when we don’t like them we can as usual remove them from the seat.

I urge the great peoples of South Sudan and particularly the two majority groups of the Dinkas and the Nuers to give Thomas Cirilo a chance so that we could maintain the unity of our young nation. If we don’t act fast enough then we may be risking the inevitability of disintegration.

LATEST: Gen. Thomas Cirillo calls for new leadership without Kiir & Machar

Radio Tamazuj and Various News Agencies, OCT/24/2017, SSN;

Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS), has called for global support to a new leadership that excludes President Salva Kiir and his main political rival, Riek Machar, from power configuration, saying the two leaders have apparently failed to manage the national crisis after the outbreak of civil war in December 2013.

“We believe the old political configuration of Kiir and Machar is not capable of addressing the national crisis. A new leadership should be supported to introduce genuine political and socio-economic transformations in the country,” Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the NAS rebel group, said in a statement dated October 17.

The former army official told the UN Security Council that South Sudan under Salva Kiir has been tribalized and the army has been turned into ethnic militias and that the art of good governance is unknown and non-existence.

He said the role of the regional and international actors, including the UN Security Council should not only focus their mandate on saving lives by halting the violence and assisting the supply of aid, but also creating an enabling environment for long-term stability to prevent future conflict and loss of lives safeguarded by holding those who have obstructed the implementation of the peace agreement and engineered the violence accountable.

The South Sudanese rebel leader urged the UN Security Council to empower UNMISS with clear mandates to protect civilians and enforce its own resolution on the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF).

“We urge the UNSC to play a leading role in making sure that any new peace agreement is fully implemented. It is not enough to allow the regional actors to supervise the implementation of the agreement. They have already failed in implementing the signed 2015 peace agreement. It is important for the Security Council to speak with one voice on issues pertaining to peace and security in South Sudan. We noticed that different member states have different positions on how the conflict should be addressed,” Carillo said.

The rebel leader asked the United Nations Security Council to hold those obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement and committed crimes against humanity in the country accountable including the top leaders.

In March, Swaka resigned from his position as the deputy chief of staff for logistics and formed a new rebel group to fight against opposed President Kiir’s administration.

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South Sudan’s government bears “primary responsibility” for incessant violence in the country, according to a new United Nations report that also criticises East African and US mediation efforts.

A UN Panel of Experts presented the starkly negative assessment in an update on the South Sudan conflict issued on Thursday.

The five-member panel established by the UN Security Council cited an absence of political will to implement a 2015 peace agreement and to address “the destructive governance practices and historical grievances that continue to drive the conflict in South Sudan”.

SALVA KIIR
The experts attribute these failures to “the political and military elite of the country, with the primary responsibility for the ongoing violence resting with those in the government, led by the president, Salva Kiir, and the first vice-president, Taban Deng Gai”.

Neighbouring nations continue to experience adverse impacts of the nearly four-year-long civil war, yet are making no effective efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting, the report says.

RESOLUTION
Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and the four other member-states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) have not generated “a coherent political process backed by genuine pressure on the parties”, the experts found.

“Each Igad member is dealing with significant national challenges that, coupled with long-standing and complex regional rivalries, continue to undermine consensus on South Sudan,” the report adds.

An ensuing proliferation of uncoordinated diplomatic initiatives has enabled the warring forces to “forum-shop”, the panel warns.

The government and armed opposition groups “engage selectively in various processes while buying time for military operations, and avoid attempts to enforce a political settlement to the conflict”, the report says.

PEACE
The Trump administration is implicitly criticised for failing to sustain US attempts to resolve the conflict.

“The leadership of the United States and other nations that previously exerted leverage in the region has also waned considerably in 2017,” the panel said.

The report makes note of complaints concerning US support for the continued exclusion of opposition leader Riek Machar from peace-making efforts.

Some opposition groups view this refusal to include Dr Machar in the search for a settlement as an impediment to a neutral mediation approach by outsiders, the panel states.

FOOD INSECURITY
The political impasse, along with government military offensives in recent months, have substantially worsened an already dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan, the experts conclude.

“The population faces intersecting threats of violence and insecurity, large-scale population displacement, extreme food insecurity and an escalating national economic crisis,” the report notes.

“The actions of South Sudanese leaders have done nothing to address these threats, and there is unlikely to be an improvement in the foreseeable future absent a significant change in the national and international approach to the conflict.”

LATEST: Businesses close as South Sudan Civil War takes its toll

By NJIRAINI MUCHIRA, THE EAST AFRICAN, OCT/18/2017, SSN;

Kris Mbaya, the managing director of UAP Old Mutual South Sudan, who was posted to the country in early 2013, is among business managers who have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of South Sudan’s business landscape in its short history of 11 years as an independent state.

Indeed, UAP Equatorial Tower, the tallest building in the country at 15 storeys high, is a fitting analogy of how businesses that flocked into South Sudan following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord in 2006 have crashed.

UAP was among the first companies to venture into South Sudan at Independence, and invested $30 million in putting up the building in 2011 to provide foreign investors with ultra-modern office space.

But the breakout of violence in 2013, following the fallout between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar meant that the building could not be completed on time and as such had no tenants for a long time.

The tower — with only 23 per cent occupancy —is a painful reminder of a strategic investment decision that went awry.

Occupancy will rise to 35 per cent when the Kenyan embassy in Juba relocates to the building by end of the year.

Although it generates minimum revenue, the building generates costs. Every month, UAP spends $15,000 for diesel to power the generator, which is the only source of power, and $5,000 for satellite Internet. In Kenya, it would cost only $400 for the same Internet capacity.

However, the building also represents the long term view of South Sudan opportunities.

“We believe in the long term potential of South Sudan. This country represents the mantra of high risks, high returns for us as a business,” said James Wambugu, UAP Old Mutual Group managing director in charge of general business.

While UAP believes in the potential of South Sudan, other companies have fled because of insecurity, political uncertainty and a struggling economy.

Sme’s close down

Several small and medium enterprises owned by foreigners have also closed down, while traders bringing goods into the country, particularly foodstuffs and other consumer products, are operating in a difficult environment.

“Business in Juba used to boom, but things have been tough since the crisis,” said Peter Kaikara, a Uganda national who supplies alcoholic beverages to several outlets in Juba.

Considering that South Sudan largely depends on imports, the cost of living and of basic commodities is high due to the poor state of roads and lack of electricity. The country has only 400 km of paved road.

A bottle of 500ml Kenyan beer brand Tusker that costs $1.9 in Kenya is $3.3 in Juba. Rent for a one-bedroomed apartment ranges from $1,500 to $2,000 per month.

Juba has one mall, City Mall, which is a pale shadow of those found in other East African capitals.

Unemployed young people crowd the streets in Juba, idling away and drinking strong tea; motorcycles (boda bodas) are the main source of earning a living for many.

The unemployment crisis has been exacerbated by the exit of numerous foreign companies while others have scaled down their operations after experiencing losses.

Kenyan multinationals like KCB Group, Stanbic Holdings, Equity Group, Co-op Bank and CIC Insurance are some of the businesses that have significantly reduced their operations in the country.

The hopes of prosperity and opportunities that came with the signing of the Peace Accord in 2006 have been diminished.

Three years of political instability and prolonged fighting between government forces and rebels, particularly in the oilfield states of Paloch, Upper Nile and Maiwut, have crippled the economy that is highly dependent on oil.

Cash crunch

The cash crunch from oil earnings has made it impossible for the government to meet even basic financial obligations, including paying salaries of civil servants, teachers and the police, some of whom are earning $20 per month.

The government has no money to finance key programmes like health, education and agriculture to secure food production.

Despite its huge tracts of fertile soil and water resources, South Sudan remains largely a subsistence agriculture state. Currently the country imports 70 per cent of food from Kenya and Uganda, and humanitarian organisations say that about half of the population is food insecure.

“Food security continues to deteriorate across South Sudan with life-threatening hunger spreading in scale and scope, making 2017 the most food-insecure year in the country’s history,” states a report by the United States Agency for International Development.

By July, approximately six million people were experiencing crises or higher levels of acute food insecurity and were in urgent need of emergency aid.

Despite being a significant oil producer, South Sudan depends on imports of petroleum products for local use, with diesel in the country being among the most expensive in East Africa at $1.05 per litre, compared with $0.95 in Kenya.

The government has established a fuel subsidy programme to ensure fuel trades at $0.2 per litre.

Kiir’s Juba regime forces using starvation of civilians as method of combat in Yei River State

On Friday 13-10-2017, a convoy of humanitarian agencies operating in Yei attempted to deliver humanitarian consignment to SPLM/A (IO) controlled areas where most of the civilians have taken shelter, but it was blocked by Kiir’s tribal and merciless security elements at Lutaya.

We are outraged at this disgusting and unacceptable denial of access to humanitarian corridors.

It is a clear indication that in addition to its scorched earth policy and ethnic cleansing, the regime in Juba is using starvation of civilians as a weapon of war.

On similar note, Juba regime continues to terrorize civilians through indiscriminate use of weapons.

On Saturday 14-10-2017 the brutal and murderous regime forces sneaked out of their base in Ombasi and invaded Wundukori village and the market square with usual intent to cause additional atrocities against the civil population in the area.

They sprayed bullets randomly in the market and the entire village causing panic among the civilians who have settled in the area and were carrying out their economic activities.

However, the gallant SPLA-IO forces in the area intervened to rescue the innocent civilians from their brutality thereby repulsing them and killing three on the spot.

We once again want to categorically condemn the government’s cowardly action of denying access to humanitarian agencies and its widespread attacks, torture and ill-treatment against civilians.

We call upon the United Nations right bodies to take serious measures against Juba regime for its non-compliance behavior to respecting and upholding the relevant provisions of the International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and the United Nations’ guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance.

The government must equally cease its continuous attacks against civilians and their objects, and should be reminded that humanitarian agencies have the right to cross conflict lines in a move to render humanitarian relief to the thousand victims of the situation regardless of their location of shelter.

PRESS RELEASE, 17/10/2017.
Lt. Col. Wayi Godwill Edward
Spokesperson, Office of the Governor
SPLM (IO) Yei River State.

Accountability, National Dialogue, and Elections: Which one of them comes first?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, OCT/14/2017, SSN;

Conflicts or wars are the offspring of failures to have constructive dialogues in resolving problems between parties. The parties could range from countries, groups of allies, organizations, and others.

Even the mafia outfits and the drug cartels do fight wars among themselves. Civil wars are no different but are often the result of revolutions by peoples against their governments. They all represent the end of diplomacy and a way to bring into play new dynamics and realities on the ground or to strengthen the position of the winners in case of future negotiations.

Carl Von Clausewitz’s famous aphorism “War is the continuation of politics by other means”; is not always right. Terrorist organizations like AL Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS believe in conquering the world to impose their ideology. There is no room for any democratic dialogue with them. It’s either their way or the highway.

Of all the civil wars that had happened in the world, the one happening in South Sudan right now; stands out. It’s unparalleled and senseless when you ponder over its causation. The American Civil War was triggered by controversy over slavery and States’ rights. In Europe, the Spanish Civil War was a struggle between ideologies – the Republicans, Communists and anarchists on one side, and the Conservatives and the Monarchists under General Fransisco Franco on the other.

What is seen in South Sudan never happened anywhere in the world. A bitter power struggle within the SPLM party; degenerated quickly into widespread hostilities. In the world of cool heads and common sense; a domestic fight would not be allowed to spiral out of control to involve the neighborhood let alone the city or the whole country. The irresponsibility and recklessness displayed by those who issued the orders and ignited the war are mind-boggling.

War is a grave and expensive undertaking. Thus, it’s the responsibility of the leaders to avoid it at all costs and more so when a Civil War looms. The Commander-in-Chief needs to think wisely before endangering the lives of ordinary citizens or sending troops in harm’s way.

Likewise, the high-ranking politicians and Generals have duties and obligations towards the citizens of South Sudan and shouldn’t allow themselves to be led like a flock of sheep by the Commander-in-Chief. Presidential orders that are against the Constitution and the interests of the South Sudanese people are non-binding.

The December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians embodies the situation when leaders abandon their essential duties to the people and go against the Constitution. Instead of safeguarding unity and doing the people’s business, they got embroiled in a power struggle in pursuit of personal interests.

The South Sudanese people did not participate in starting the war but fell victim to it. The appalling lack of concern by the SPLM party leaders regarding what befell the common man and the country as a whole; amounts to treason.

Now the people who opened the gates of hell and pushed the country into a brutal civil war that was uncalled for, are very vocal regarding an urgent need for a National Dialogue. Let it be clear, national dialogue per se is not an option but a necessity because the very existence of South Sudan and indeed any viable State hinges on a vibrant national conversation.

In fact, national dialogue is not a one-off exercise but rather a continuous process. The moment that process stops, the State ceases to exist and disintegrates.

National dialogue, however, needs to be conducted within the context of full accountability and transparency. It’s only by doing so, that reconciliation and healing could be achieved.

It’s evident that the perpetrators of the conflict are working hard in a bid to use the controversial national dialogue as a vehicle to evade justice. They want the country to open a new page with the status quo maintained.

The tens of thousands of lives that have been lost seem not to matter to them. The destruction of the meagre infrastructure, people’s homes, and properties are to be swept under the carpet. No one is to answer for those heinous crimes.

They are propagating the lame argument that accountability and justice for the victims, would create more instability and impede national dialogue. Unfortunately, this notion is shared by some influential opportunists in the international community and the regional powers.

The fact of the matter is that national dialogue will never materialize in the absence of full accountability. It’s outrageous that the same leaders who brought death, disease, and famine upon the people of South Sudan, have the nerve of wanting to continue ruling the victims.

There are people within the SPLM party and government who are true nationalists and patriots. They do not bear the responsibility for the atrocities committed by the regime though they carry the moral part of it.

Such people, who constitute a significant number of the government followers, would not be affected in a major way by the accountability process. The reason is that when Human Rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity do occur, you don’t go after the low-ranking officers or officials but after the leading officers and the prominent politicians.

In simple terms, if a battalion commits a massacre of unarmed civilians, you do not prosecute the foot soldiers but the commanders who issued the orders.

The Nuremberg Trials, over half a century ago, saw the prosecution and sentencing of top Nazi leaders. Goering, Ribbentrop, Keitel and others received capital punishments. The low-ranking Nazi officers and officials were spared.

In the far east, General Tojo, the Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army and afterwards Prime Minister of Japan and 5 of his colleagues ended up being hanged for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Closer to home, the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide were prosecuted, and some were handed down death sentences. Still closer to home, in April 2012 former Liberian President, Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison at The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

People across the globe already know that gross Human Rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in the Republic of South Sudan. Our country is not an isolated island in the middle of nowhere.

We are part of this world and fall under the prevailing international law. The people of South Sudan expects the international community to desist from cutting corners or applying double standards.

What it needs to do is to follow the above precedents since they have yielded the desired results. The same remedy that brought peace and prosperity to Germany, Japan, Rwanda, and Liberia should be good enough for South Sudan.

Thus, many South Sudanese are dismayed by the mixed messages emanating from IGAD, the Troika, the regional powers and some in the international community. There appears to be a concerted effort by some well-known players to overlook accountability and allow the current regime to continue ruling the country.

In essence, they want more of the same with a bit of spices added to it. It all boils down to the fact that a regime change would bring along undesirable consequences to them. In the presence of a responsible government in Juba, their meddling into our internal affairs would abruptly cease.

Also, the unprecedented trade deficit coupled with the corrupt and unjustified leniency in government dealings would come under heavy scrutiny by qualified and competent South Sudanese. It would be the end of the extended honeymoon that they have enjoyed since 2005.

The policy of exuberant support to an unpopular regime by a neighbouring country is short-sighted and risky. It’s even much worse when the government of a neighbouring country engages in doing the dirty work for the regime at hand. It creates animosity between the oppressed people and that government which could spill over to instigate hatred between the two peoples.

Dictatorial regimes do get overthrown; people don’t. Hence, for the long-term, it’s wiser to be in people’s good books rather than being friendly with the regime while hated by its populace.

We all know how the unlimited support by the USA to the Shah of Iran played out. That policy not only failed to save the Shah regime from collapse but created extreme animosity for decades between America and Iran. Also, as a result, the US incurred trillions of Dollars losses in trade, and arguably the ordeal bred international terrorism.

Last February, while on a visit to Yei River State, Kiir announced his intention to stand for elections in 2018. It must be remembered that Kiir’s Presidency was never straightforward. He was elected as President of the Transitional Government of Southern Sudan in April 2010.

Presidential elections were never carried out following the independence of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. Sabotage by the SPLM party and the joy of freedom that blinded many South Sudanese, somehow, allowed Kiir to become the first President of the Republic of South Sudan without elections.

As we all know, no elections were conducted in 2015 and Kiir extended his tenure in office for three years along with the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). In reality, Kiir has been all along a de facto President rather than an elected one since independence from Sudan.

Many see Kiir’s contemplated candidacy as an audacity of the highest order. They wonder what achievements would the President run his election campaign on?! And most importantly, how would he rid himself of the responsibility for the Civil War to meet the requirements for candidacy?!

Free democratic elections need an environment of full security, free speech, free press and free movement across the country. Those elements are lacking in the prevailing situation in South Sudan.

With millions of citizens in the refugee camps across the borders, and more in the famine stricken parts of the country, how could the participation of such groups be guaranteed?! Moreover, where would the money to fund the elections come from if the economy is already in tatters?!

Genuine national dialogue cannot take place in the absence of accountability for the simple reason that, it’s all about resolving issues that fall under it.

Matters relating to atrocities and land grab must be settled before national dialogue could be realized.

Hence, in the context of the civil war, accountability and national dialogue are inseparable.

In my view, accountability should precede national dialogue, or both be conducted simultaneously. It must be understood that accountability does not only mean bringing suspects to book but also weeding out criminals from ever taking up public offices.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok