Category: Uncategorized

LATEST: Kiir’s Govt. declares famine in parts of war-torn South Sudan

By AFP, FEB/20/2017;

IN SUMMARY:
*** The famine classification is according to an internationally recognised sliding scale of hunger in which an extreme lack of food has lead to starvation and death.
*** According to the joint press statement, the number of people facing hunger is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the spread of the food crisis.
*** While the famine in South Sudan is man-made, millions more across the Horn of Africa are going hungry due to a devastating drought following two failed rainy seasons.

President Kiir’s South Sudan’s government said Monday that more than three years of war have led to famine in parts of the nation, a tragedy aid agencies criticised as “man-made”.

Isaiah Chol Aruai, the chairman of South Sudan National Bureau of Statistics, said some parts of the northern Greater Unity region “are classified in famine, or… risk of famine”.

A joint press statement from aid agencies said 100,000 people were affected by the famine, which threatened another one million people in the coming months.

“A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago,” said the statement signed by the World Food Programme (WFP), UN children’s agency UNICEF and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was engulfed by civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup against him.

An August 2015 peace deal was left in tatters when fighting broke out in Juba in July last year.

Violence — initially between ethnic Dinka supporters of Kiir and ethnic Nuer supporters of Machar — has since spread to other parts of the country, engulfing other ethnic groups and grievances.

The United Nations has warned of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing, and there is no prospect of peace in sight.

Humanitarians under attack

Unity State, a traditional Nuer homeland and birthplace of Machar, has been one of the flashpoints in the conflict.

“The convergence of evidence shows that the long term effects of the conflict coupled with high food prices, economic crisis, low agricultural production and depleted livelihood options” have resulted in 4.9 million people going hungry, Aruai said.

That figure represents 42 per cent of the country’s population.

The famine classification is according to an internationally recognised sliding scale of hunger in which an extreme lack of food has lead to starvation and death.

“The main tragedy of the report that has been launched today… is that the problem is man-made,” said Eugene Owusu, the United Nation’s Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan.

“The underlining drivers have been there for some time and we have all known that we have a major food crisis.”

He said conflict and insecurity for humanitarian workers, who had suffered attacks while carrying out their work, and the looting of “humanitarian assets” had exacerbated the crisis.

“I would like to use this opportunity to call on the government, the warring parties and all actors to support humanitarians to provide the necessary access so we can continue to bring lifesaving services to those in need,” he said.

Agriculture disrupted

According to the joint press statement, the number of people facing hunger is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the spread of the food crisis.

“Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” said FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot.

“The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”

While the famine in South Sudan is man-made, millions more across the Horn of Africa are going hungry due to a devastating drought following two failed rainy seasons.

Famine early warning system FEWSNET has warned that if 2017 rains were again poor in Somalia — as forecast — “famine would be expected.”

The Death of the Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights: The Case of Eastern Lakes State

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, FEB/19/2017, SSN;

The rule of law is a cornerstone of contemporary constitutional democracy as underscored by its role in cementing good governance and respect for human rights. The rule of law requires that the state only subject the citizenry to publicly promulgated laws and that no one within the polity be above the law. The rule of law doctrine envisages that the power of the state and government be only exercised in consonance with applicable laws and set procedures.

The three essential characteristics of modern constitutionalism are limiting the powers of the government, adherence to the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights.

However, in the absence of the rule of law and respect for human rights, contemporary constitutional democracy would be impossible. Beyond that however, it is not clear what characteristics the rule of law must possess to help sustain its folds and respect for human rights, what specific role it must ensure with regards to individual rights and liberties, and how it might ultimately contribute to help respect human rights of the people and protect their lives in Eastern Lakes State.

In this article, I shall labour to bring to forefront why upholding respect for human rights and the rule of law matters for the present and future Eastern Lakes State.

I know many people, who are aligned to the present government in the state will fail again to comprehend the essential dynamics of what it means to respect human rights of the people and thus misconstrue the essence of this article for their good conscience tells them not to tolerate any criticisms regarding all mistakes and shortcomings of the government.

Their good conscience do tell them not entertain any critical intellectual writing about failures of the government, instead of taking, for their beneficial use, such ideas which they misconstrued as dissenting, and hence disparaging the good image of the government forgetting other people’s rights to freedom of expression in matters that affects them.

This is author isn’t bothered by such empty rhetoric. However, as the title to this article suggested, it is to be pinpointed with dismay that the callous brutalizing way our state government has been dealing with human lives is in a blatant violation of international and regional human rights principles and standards to which South Sudan is a party as provided for under article 9(3) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (as Amended in 2015).

There has been series of shocking events where many citizens lost their lives just in the hands of the government which is indeed tasked with an obligation to defend and protect their lives and properties. A sizeable number of innocent people (innocent until otherwise proven by the court of law) have lost their lives in the hands of government officials since the current government came into existence.

The words of Martin Luther King from Birmingham jail truly remind me that there is a distinction between law and justice. The law, even if it is uniformly applied does not in itself guarantee a just result. This is supplemented by article 39 of the most celebrated Magna Carta (1215), which states clearly that ‘No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land’.

I humbly concur with Dr. King who submits that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

This is true in the sense that the application of the uncodified, unjust and draconian law which the government of Eastern Lakes uses on the perceived criminals is different from how it should have been used to deter those perceived criminals, if at all they exists.

This is so because the rule of law is intended to promote stability, not impunity, but as a society that has subscribed to operates under the rule of law, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the rule of law serves the interest of justice because the continued strength of the rule law depends on individuals who are willing to risk punishment in pursuit of justice.

Under rule of law and respect for human rights, neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret, and the laws must not be arbitrary. From the very beginning, our national constitution and other laws have laid down great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law.

This noble ideal clearly laid down by our constitution cannot be realized if poor man in Eastern Lakes State charged with petty crimes has to be shot dead by the authorities without any due process of the law. This is a clear violation of the right to life and human dignity as provided under article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (Amended 2015).

Our jurisprudential understanding of the rule of law is the protection of certain basic rights because the rule of law is linked to efforts to promote protection of human rights worldwide. Respect for human rights and the rule of law is a platform for community’s opportunity and equity and is essential to addressing the most persistent harmful ills that existed and which are commonly meted onto the most innocent in our State.

Yirol was the most peaceful and stable area in greater lakes before the partition of Lakes State into three States. Our people are both law abiding citizens and peace loving communities. They have coexisted peacefully until they got their share of demand for the state. However, while under the leadership of their own sons and daughters, our people continue to face a myriad of repressive treatments.

People in Yirol are subjected to intimidation, subjugation, arbitrary detention, torture and killing. Government response to these myriad of rights violation has been disappointing, marked by lack of political will and accountability, blatant malevolence and a disregard for human life.

Yet, international human rights advocates remained tenacious, not inciting massive protests and public condemnation in an effort to demand for an end to the culture of impunity that has cropped up in Yirol.

Some of the most outrageous travesties of justice that captured our attention and had us up in locking horns with the state government remained unattended to and many atrocious violations and abuses are continuously being meted on the innocent people.

The law presumes everybody to be innocent until proved otherwise by the duly constituted open court of law. Nobody has the power to take away other people’s lives except and unless it falls within the ambits of the law. The law is very clear. There are standards and procedures laid down by the law in both criminal and civil matters.

It is a serious violation of the provisions of the constitution which is the grundnorm governing this country if someone sited somewhere decides to take away innocent people’s lives without any adherent to the due process of the law as laid down in our constitution and other legislations governing the conduct and proceedings regarding criminal and civil matters.

It is indeed a travesty of justice if people are extra-judicially executed by a body not designated by law to impose such penalties and sentences. There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary.

If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, then every man can, and this first means chaos and then tyranny. When we talks about rule of law and respect for human rights, we assume that we’re talking about a law that promotes freedom, a law that promotes justice, and a law that promotes equality.

With current violations and abuses of human rights in Eastern Lakes State, the true meaning of the rule of law has been diverted from and its special meaning has been distorted and immersed into the mud of injustice.

As based on our historical constitutional jurisprudence of looking to the law to fulfill the promises of freedom, justice and equality set forth in our nation’s founding document, the true meaning of the rule of law and respect for human rights has been lost.

#Bring to Justice the Murderers of Pokic Madit Maker# Rest in Peace brother for your innocent life will hunt those who took it away for the rest of their lives.

The writer is a Master of Laws Candidate at the College of Law, University of Juba and a Practicing Barrister at Law before all courts in South Sudan. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

Lt. General Thomas Cirillo’s Resignation Exposes The Tribal Regime Of President Kiir

Press Release, SSDF, FEB/19/2017, SSN;

The resignation of Lt. General Thomas Cirillo Swaka (Mogga Lo Cirillo), the SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, sent shock waves in all directions. The news is still reverberating in all corners of the Republic of South Sudan. It’s too early to gauge the full impact of this significant development. The glaring fact is that the resignation was welcomed by the majority of the South Sudanese people and probably some of the General’s well-wishers outside the borders of South Sudan.

Lt. General Thomas Cirillo, is a living hero and a role model to many Equatorian and South Sudanese officers and soldiers. His resignation can only encourage more of the same from the real patriots amongst the armed forces.

The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) applauds and celebrates the selfless and patriotic decision taken by our renown General by preferring to be on the side of the people over remaining loyal to an illegitimate regime that’s permanently infested with corruption and tribalism.

His brilliant resignation letter has confirmed what we have been saying all along that the SPLA is not a national army and the government is implementing a divisive policy aimed at domination and hegemony of the Jieng tribe over the other ethnicities of South Sudan.

It’s clear that the General took the decision following plenty of patience and a lot of thought. It was perceived that the General has been under enormous pressure to quit the government from his community and the Equatorians on the one hand, and as a result to the mounting crimes committed by the SPLA and the militias affiliated to it against the civilian populations, on the other.

The General’s resignation letter has exposed what has been hidden away from the public regarding the running of the so-called government of South Sudan. It’s apparent that there is no real institutional work and those at the top of the regime do not adhere to any procedures or regulations. They are above the law, and South Sudan is more or less being run as a Chieftaincy of the Jieng tribe.

The ridiculous attempts to discredit and tarnish the name of Lt. General Thomas Cirillo will all be despised and ignored. His reputation would ever remain immaculate and unscathed. These attempts are cheap and are being propagated by food lovers like Brig. General Lul Rui Koang, the spokesperson of the SPLA , who is not even a real General.

Regarding military education, training, courage and integrity, Lt. General Thomas Cirillo is superior to Kiir, Kuol Manyang Juuk, and Paul Malong. Of course, there are those with twisted minds who seem to tolerate commanders who commit atrocities and kill innocent civilians. Their followers and beneficiaries even call them as brave men and heroes. Well, ruthlessness and savagery are not bravery and massacring unarmed civilians, is not heroism. They are criminals.

Perhaps the only field in which the trio could beat Lt. General Thomas Cirillo without contest – is the field of thievery. Therefore, it was not a surprise that the names of the trio appeared in the Sentry report while the name of Mogga Lo Cirillo was nowhere to be found in it.

In fact, many in his community, who know him very well, have been worrying that his name may get soiled in the course of serving the people of South Sudan in a government full of thieves. His departure is a great relief to his friends, community and the people of South Sudan.

Even if he decides to do nothing more, he has already done the single most important thing which is the unveiling of the fact that we neither have a national army nor an impartial government.

At the time of writing this piece, the social media circulated the resignation letters of Brig. General, Henry Oyay Nyango, Judge Advocate General, Director, Military Justice and Col. Khalid Ono Loki, Judge Advocate, Head, Military Courts.

Now, what would the government say about these resignations? Would the two military judges be accused of misappropriation of funds to blemish their reputations? It’s unheard of that judges resigned their jobs in protest of the absence of the rule of law and widespread impunity in a government. These are testimonies confirming that matters have reached the lowest low. The SSDF commends the patriotic move by the two military judges and encourages others to take similar decisions.

Thomas Cirillo’s departure appears to have the Domino Effect on the course of events within the SPLA. It’s a game changer and would certainly not be confined to the military sector but would include some politicians.

Hence, the SSDF takes this opportunity to appeal to our people in uniform to desert the SPLA and all the armed forces as they were shown beyond doubt to be nothing but tribal and oppressive institutions.

As for the politicians, it’s time to abandon the sinking boat of Salva Kiir and his mentors who are members of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

Lotole Lo Luri,

Deputy Press Secretary – SSDF

Freedom Fighters or Terrorists: The SPLM /A-IO Equatoria Groups

By Mading Gum, FEB/12/2017, SSN;

Of all the leadership qualities that made Dr. John Garang, SPLM/A leader, one of the greatest freedom fighters in Africa to stand out was that Garang was a great thinker. Garang offered a new nationalism of Sudanism, opposed to divisiveness and separatism. He imagined a political community in New Sudan in which democracy, equality, economic and social justice and respect for human rights is the core.

In his mind, the enemy was clear: all the institutions of oppression that have been evolved in Khartoum to oppress the masses of the Sudanese people. ‘The masses of the Sudanese people’. Remember that.

But why did Garang define the enemy as the institutions of oppression rather than Arabs? Was the Dien Massacre of 1987 not carried out by armed Arab Baggara militias who killed and burnt to death hundreds of Dinkas? Were Arabs militias of Rufa in Jabalyin not responsible for the massacre of over 200 Shilluk civilians in 1989? What about over 90 Shilluk victims who fled for safety but were killed in cold blood at the nearby police station manned by Arabs?

The tragedy in the South Sudan brutal conflict is lack of political imagination beyond tribes, hatred, revenge and self-enrichment. Garang offered New Sudan that transcends tribes in the past. None does today.

Political violence or terrorism, the missing link:

South Sudan conflict can be read in different ways. If you read from the perspective of my friend, Professor Remember Miamingi, the Juba regime is a terrorist state that has expanded the concept of “enemy combatant to the tribes and communities from which the principal enemy comes from.”

For Miamingi, the rebels are the principal enemy, the presumed freedom fighters. Another perspective, underrepresented in the mainstream media, views rebels as nothing but terrorists who “exploit the relative vulnerability of the civilian underbelly” in the dark forests and highways of Equatoria. I will focus on the latter as much has been written about the former.

Although the difference between political violence and terrorism is still unsettled, it is Paige W. Eager book “From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists: Women and Political violence,” that offers a striking contrast between political violence and terrorism.

Political violence is distinguished by three key features. First, it is a broader category that encompasses guerrilla warfare, national liberation movements, violent strikes and demonstrations.

Second, political violence aims to re-order the political and social set up of the society. To overthrow a tyrannical government, to redefine and realize justice and equality, to achieve independence or territorial autonomy are key examples.

Third, violence does not intentionally target civilians but is directed toward property, law enforcement and political authorities.

Terrorism is distinguished primarily by the intentional or threat to use violence against civilians targets for political goals. Intentional targets, who are civilians, differentiate terrorism from broader political violence where civilians are rarely intentional targets.

Bruce Hoffman offers five criteria that set terrorists apart from other criminals. First, there are political motives and second, violence or the threat of violence is utilized. Third, the violence act is intended to have psychological consequences beyond immediate victim. Fourth, organization with chain of command structures conducts the act. Fifth, and the last, the perpetrators of the act are a subnational group or non-state entity.

Terrorists in Equatoria bushes
At the height of December 2013 conflict, SPLM/A–IO prided itself as an alternative to Juba regime and they almost succeeded before tribalism, hatred and revenge engulfed them. IO existence is of contradiction and this also applies to the IO in the Bush. It preaches one thing and its members practice different things.

It is undisputed that IO Equatoria groups have political goals underpinning the terror on the highways and bushes. Equatorains have long harboured feelings for autonomous status for their states under federal framework.

However, July 2016 fighting in Juba and subsequent clashes with IO forces in the bushes of Equatoria as Riek Machar escaped to DRC aggravated the situation. Now, these groups have nothing to do with liberating South Sudan or fighting to realize justice and good governance. The primary aim is to revenge.

And to them, the enemy is not the oppressive Juba regime but Dinka as a tribe. Miamingi observation illustrates this: “…right now we are having ethnic groups within Equatoria region have taken up arms predominantly in response to abuse they have received but also the government’s targeting other ethnic groups on response of their ethnicity”.

The assertion makes two things clear. First, the received abuses are first attributed to Dinka tribe. The line between the government forces and ordinary Dinka civilian is blurred. Second, the act is primarily revenge motivated other than liberating the masses of South Sudanese from all the institutions of oppression in Juba. Here, the political poverty of the freedom fighters becomes apparent.

Unlike liberation movements which target property, government officials and law enforcement agents, South Sudan is witnessing the emergence of terror groups hell-bent on wiping out members of ethnic group perceived to dominate the government in particular areas.

Whether this increases civilian suffering or not is not their point. As long as the targeted ethnic group can be drawn into the bloodbath for genocide to occur, they are fine with it.

The trumped Ethnic nationalism
In late 2016, Alan Boswell gave a dramatic personal account of the rising ethno-nationalism in South Sudan. In Upper Nile, an ethnic Shilluk defence militia marched new graduates to war with songs against Dinka. At the Western end of the country, a Zande rebel leader derided a Zande governor as “Dinka”, a handmaiden for a “sell-out or traitor”.

To understand these ethnic nationalists’ sentiments, one has to look at Benedict Anderson book ‘Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism.’ Anderson defines nations as social constructs, imagined political communities that live in the imagination of its members and belonging to it is about a sense of connectedness to those imagined people. In South Sudan, there is no an imagined political community beyond Naath nation, Shilluk nation, Jieng Nation etc.

One imagined political community that offers a classic example is Equatoria. Although there is no ethnic community called Equatoria there lives in the minds of almost all people in that region of the existence of such political community, separate from Dinka and Nuer. There is a tendency to regard Equatoria as a “deep, horizontal comradeship”.

Dr Justin Ambago, one of the Equatoria prolific writers, admitted “The situation is not the same with indigenous populations of Equatoria, the country’s most southern region. People of Equatoria are more keen to identifying themselves as Equatorians, although they belong to nearly thirty different ethnicities”.

Now, the Moru rebel leader remarks become clear. Equatoria nationalism is ethnic nationalism which carries with it the seeds of xenophobia towards Dinka, the enemy. The freedom fighters have failed to imagine a political community beyond tribe and region. And here, sadly though, the IO Equatoria groups have succumbed to terrorism, wallowing in the miasma of ethnic nationalism.

The writer can be reach at madinggum@gmail.com

Peace can’t be imposed but a home-grown concept: The case of South Sudan

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Lawyer, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/12/2017, SSN;

In most of the African countries that have been at war for a very long time, peace remained elusive. This is because peace and development have proved far more difficult and complex to achieve than the Afro-optimists envisaged in the immediate post-independence period, owing to a range of domestic and external factors (see; Peace & Conflict in Africa edited by David J. Francis).

Externally, Africa is perceived as a continent stricken by wars, poverty, perpetual political instability and armed conflicts, unrelenting economic crises, famines and diseases. Because of that the external powers who try to bring peace to Africa see it as hopeless continent, which prompts their decision to impose the peace as they understand it.

Consequently, they end imposing what is called Liberal Peace Project Tradition, in which peace building is understood in term of intervention designed to facilitate the establishment of durable peace and prevent the recurrence of violence. Such intervention as it has been observed by some writers peacekeeping, peace support operations, disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration.

The above approach is contrary to African indigenous peace approach and explains the reason why the peace has remained a mere dream in Africa. This is due to the fact that the peace is not people centred. Instead, it is externally driven, which turns to favour two parties to the conflict or strong party and the third parties who attempt to satisfy their own interests at the expenses of the citizens of the country by imposing the peace as they understand it.

In that respect, peace becomes an alien concept to the people and consequently people do not own it. Hence, the chances of the peace collapsing easily are very high due to the failure to involve citizens in the peace making process.

What those trying to bring peace in Africa and in particular South Sudan fail to understand is the importance of the involvement of the people in the peace process, which is supposed to give rise to the new constitution. Such a constitution like the Compromised Peace Agreement of 2015 can only stand the test of time if it were people centred.

However, as it was the constitution between the two warring parties, which did have support from the citizenry, the main consequence was the failure of that Agreement to achieve peace to greater extent.

To complicate the matters, those who want to bring peace in South put criminal justice above peace based on an argument that without justice there will be no peace. Whereas, the argument of that kind may be correct in other developed or western countries, in South Sudan typical criminal justice may not be desirable in bringing peace for a simple reason.

The reason being that criminal justice does not promote reconciliation as it only deals with punishment. In a country like South Sudan, if punishment is considered as the only way of bringing peace by deterring the war perpetrators as many are proposing, I am afraid that the peace will never be achieved in South Sudan.

Why? Because peace is value-driven and people respect peace when they are psychologically satisfied that there is peace. For that purpose, it is important to digress a bit in defining and explaining the word “peace” before I advance my argument as to why the peace makers should not much concentrate on criminal justice, peacekeeping or on the removal of the government, instead they should promote reconciliation and South Sudanese traditional justice as a means of bringing peace.

The peace cannot be defined in the context of South Sudan but it can only be described based on customs and cultures of South Sudanese communities who need peace as their concept of peace is latent with the concept of justice.

For that reason, peace can only be achieved when specific conditions that sparked off the war in the first place are understood or the culture that the war emanates from is analyzed properly.

It is for that reason the peace in Africa and in particular South Sudan should be understood to emanate from the values of South Sudanese who think that such values emanate from both God and human beings.

Hence, peace is a spiritual and moral value located in the religious belief systems of the people of Africa as handed down from one generation to another (see; Peace & Conflict in Africa. ibid), which is very true in South Sudan.

Peace in the concept of Africans and South Sudanese in particular unlike the West which is based on prosperity and order, it is based on morality and order (see; ibid). This is the reason the death penalty never existed in most of the traditional African societies except those states that were ruled by Kings.

The reason the death penalty did not exist in most part of Africa is that the concept of justice was not based on the concept of individuality as it existed in the West. Rather, it was perceived in term of the communities and because of that a crime was seen as committed against the community but not individual.

Hence, when it comes to justice it was perceived in term of community justice but not individual as it exists under the criminal justice system.

Thus, it is important to understand the fact that when dealing with the issue of peace in South Sudan, the peace makers should not rely much on few educated elites and politicians because they are hybrid individuals who have mixed ideas and concepts about true values of South Sudanese as they do not understand them properly.

Because of that they struggle to see the alien concept of criminal justice imposed on South Sudanese.

The assertion I have just made in the above paragraph can be explained by the fact that majority of South Sudanese elites who acquired education from Khartoum, East Africa and the Western World do not have a clear understanding of what the true values of South Sudanese rural people are.

Moreover, the politicians of South Sudan have also failed to understand the values of the rural South Sudanese because of their personal interests. Majority of these politicians are not interested in achieving lasting peace as it is in their interests to see that their political opponents are punished through legitimate means such as courts so that they get an opportunity to get to power.

The above facts are the basis for various politicians such as the G10, SPLA/M-IO and the politicians in the government of South Sudan struggling to defeat each other so that their opponents are chased away from power or are kept far away from power or completely prohibited from taking power. The implication of the struggle for power is that the legitimate desire of South Sudanese is ignored.

The legitimate desire in South Sudan is to see that peace prevails. In fact, if the government and the opposition were genuinely interested in bringing peace to South Sudan, they would have compromised and the peace would have been achieved already, which is not possible now because of conflicting interests and loyalties exhibited by the main actors.

As I have already pointed out above that the concept of peace in Africa is based on morality and order, such understanding of peace has been the major factor that held South Sudanese together throughout the liberation struggle.

This is because they can easily come together to forgive and chart the way forward. For example, Nuer and Dinka people had never always been at peace with each other but every time they fought they could come together as members of one family and reconciled and then lived as before.

However, it is very difficult this time because the political opportunists on both sides have found a new trick of how to retain the power through war and to continue fighting for it. Besides, they are not ready to go into compromise to bring peace as their respective aims are to ensure that either of the side is defeated: a “cattle keeping mentality” coupled with politics.

I have mentioned words “cattle keeping mentality” above because the two parties are fighting like cattle keepers not people in charge of the nation. In cattle camp, for instance, there is no compromise as once the fighting has begun the two parties to the conflict will not compromise, which is disincentive to the nation building and unity.

Compromise is the first virtue in the nation building as interest of the nation must always be above the interest of any person. Thus, where the interest of an individual obstructs the national interest then the interest of the nation must prevail.

This is the basis for which some leaders resigned sometime back as it was seen in the case of Mubarak of Egypt and the President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 respectively who resigned from power because the future of their countries was at stake.

The recent example of Romania’s Prime Minister, Sorin Mihai Grindeanu, who passed decrees exempting decriminalizing little corruption and initially refused to repeal those decrees that critics said would free corrupt officials from jail early and shield others from conviction, despite international condemnation and the biggest popular protests since the fall of communism.

However, when he saw that his action was going to destroy the national unity he accepted the demand of the people to repeal the decree that was passed to decriminalize small corruption. This is the spirit the country like South Sudan wants.

I have labored so far to explain how the search for peace in South Sudan should be rooted in the spirit of reconciliation and compromise and in that respect the peace process should be based on the concept of peace as known by rural people not politicians and intellectuals who are concerned with power only.

The peace process should be based on traditional concept of peace among traditional South, which is based on the method of conflict resolution like any other African societies which is guided by the principle of consensus, collective responsibility and communal solidarity (see; Peace & Conflict in Africa edited by David J. Francis at page 113).

In summary, my argument is that in order to achieve lasting peace, national dialogue should the only way forward in South Sudan because peace is a product of dialogue achieved through mutual trust and understanding. It cannot be imposed externally.

The international community should take over the current “national dialogue” to make it national and neutral in character. In its current form, it is not national dialogue. The international community should also be tough on those who are fighting yet there is a dialogue in the process.

In terms of justice, restorative justice should be adopted to ensure that the victims and the offenders are brought together to mediate a restitution agreement to the satisfaction of each, as well as involving the community. This is different from criminal justice that aims at retributive justice, which is punitive and does not heal the community.

NB//: the author is the lawyer residing in Uganda and can be through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com; or +256783579256

Pres. Kiir and Jieng Council plan to hunt and kill General Thomas Cirillo: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Feb/14/2017, SSN;

In the latest hysterical reaction to the bold and spectacular resignation of Lt.General Thomas Cirillo from the SPLA ‘tribal’ army, President Salva Kiir, in a top secret meeting with some special members of his ethnic Dinka so-called Jieng council of elders, resolved on the following resolutions:

1- To dispatch secret Dinka security agents to the neighboring countries with the special mission to locate and assassinate General Thomas Cirillo;

2- President Kiir ashamedly has offered millions of dollars whoever can bring to him the head of General Thomas Cirillo, and finally;

3- President Kiir and his nefarious tribal advisers, in desperation, have conspired and decided on launching a nefarious and genocidal plan of killing members of General Thomas Cirillo’s tribe, the Bari community. Already, as widely reported by other media sources, Kiir’s tribal SPLA soldiers have been widely dispatched to all the areas around Juba up to the neighboring East African states, to hunt down and kill General Thomas Cirillo.

As reported by several media sources, the SPLA government soldiers, desperate on the wild hunt for General Thomas Cirillo, raided Kobi village on the Juba-Nimule road where they reportedly committed massive crimes of raping on the women and many of these victims were brought to Juba for treatment.

Gen. Thomas Cirillo precisely accused Kiir and his cabal of Dinka advisers of turning the country’s military into a Dinka “tribal” army that has taken part “in systematic killings of people, rape of women and the burning of villages in the name of pursuing rebels in peaceful villages.”
Stand by for more developments…

Lt.General Thomas Cirillo’s Heroically resigns from Kiir’s “Tribal government:” What’s next?

FEB. 11/2017, SSN;

The best and the most popular top SPLA general, war hero and freedom fighter, General Thomas Cirillo Swaka has finally decided to quit today the so-called tribal government of South Sudan led by Salva Kiir Mayardit. Below is his resignation letter:

To: President Salva Kiir Mayardit,
President of the Republic of South Sudan,
Commander-in-Chief, Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army,
Juba, South Sudan. Dated: 11/02/2017

I, Lt.Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, SPLA, hereby tender my resignation as Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, and from the SPLA.

It has been my honor and privilege to have served the people of South Sudan during the liberation struggle and during the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which led to the conduct of referendum on self-determination and attainment of independence of South Sudan. I am proud to have been part of the Liberation struggle and generally in having served the people of South Sudan in numerous military and political assignments over the last three decades.

I am resigning from the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and from the SPLA because of the following reasons:

1. I am convinced the violence which erupted in Juba in December 2013 and swiftly spread to several parts of South Sudan, in due course becoming a devastating war, was planned and orchestrated by design. This TRIBALLY engineered war resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent lives and the displacement of at least two million people….mainly innocent civilians, women and children currently living in miserable conditions either as internally displaced (IDPs), virtually prisoners in the UN camps or as refugees.
In August 2015, after almost 2 years of civil war and suffering of the people, the warring parties signed a deal, the ARCSS, brokered by IGAD. Unfortunately, the Government of South Sudan deliberately orchestrated violations of the peace agreements which led to fighting in Juba in July 2016, total collapse of the Agreement and resumption of war in the country.

2. I am dissatisfied and have lost patience with the conduct of the President and Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), the Chief of General Staff and other senior officers in the HQS of the SPLA as well as Unit Commanders. The President and these SPLA officers have systematically frustrated the implementations of the peace agreements and pursued the agenda of the JIENG COUNCIL OF ELDERS of ethnic cleansing, forceful displacement of people from their ancestral lands and ethnic domination.
I can no longer continue to be part of the ongoing destruction of our beloved country by the same army.

3. The SPLA is supposed to be transformed and professionalized into a national, non-partisan army as stipulated, however, President Kiir and his Dinka leadership clique have tactically and systematically transformed the SPLA into a partisan and tribal army. It’s a militia loyal only to its tribal leadership of Pres. Salva Kiir and Chief of General Staff, Paul Malong Awan. The SPLA has lost respect of the South Sudanese people and even the International community. Worst of all, it has shattered the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the people, and it has taken the lead or participated in the systemic killing of the people, rape of women and burning of villages.

4. Pres. Kiir and Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), which is the real Cabinet of the Government, failed to recognize the sacrifices and struggle of other nationalities and they even go to the extent of denying the contributions of other nationalities during the liberation struggle. The President and his tribal JCE have concentrated on entrenching Dinka ethnic domination, turning other organized forces and the SPLA into brutal tribal forces, terrorizing and intimidating their opponents.

5. To implement the above policies, the President and his clique systematically recruited Dinka in all security sectors and units, paying particular attention to promoting and appointing Dinkas from sections hailing specifically from Bahr el Ghazel region, the home area of the president and Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan. Most of these recruits are promoted to officer ranks and made commanders of most SPLA units. The same for the Police, Prisons, Fire Brigade, Military and National Intelligence, CID and Customs, all commanded by Dinkas. By design, other nationalist revolutionaries who fought the liberation war have been humiliated, demoralized and effectively demobilized from the service.

6. Mathiang Anyor and Dut ko-beng tribal militias who have taken over the SPLA have become an occupation force in some parts of the country, consciously in pursuit of a policy of ethnic targeting and a campaign of systematic rape, killing, mistreating, humiliating and torturing civilians. All these done in a culture of impunity. Mathiang Anyor have deliberately applied a policy of scorched earth by burning whole villages and grabbing land, especially in Equatoria, Chollo land in Upper Nile and the Western Bahr el Ghazel. For instance, during December 2013 and July 2016 violence, these tribal forces, including President Kiir’s own Tiger Division, brazenly went on the rampage killing, rape, torture and looting systematically in an unprecedented manner.

7. The continuous insecurity happening right now across the country is caused by the SPLA militia and other ethnically organized forces and security organs. They are the ones killing people in the capital, Juba, and other towns in the name of ‘Unknown Gunmen.’ In fact, these are ‘known gunmen.’ This is why many South Sudanese are fleeing to become internally displaced or refugees. The President and the Dinka political leadership only came out and condemned these kinds of atrocities when Juba-Yei road incident took place in October because the victims were from the Dinka ethnic group.

8. The SPLA militias and other security organs are looting government assets and hijacking government vehicles and taking those stolen properties to their states to use or sell, there is no remedy for the aggrieved.

9. Innocent civilians, especially Non-Dinkas, are being arbitrary arrested, detained and killed by the security organs all over the country. Those detained are subjected to torture and humiliation in what is called ‘Safe Houses.” In Jebel Luri, where the President’s special residence is built, and in Gorum military area controlled by Tiger Division of Kiir and the Mathiang Anyor militia, many innocent detainees are dying in these “prisons” falsely accused of either expressing opposing views or supporting rebels.

10. Until this time that I am submitting my resignation, many years have elapsed without holding official meeting of Command of the Army, especially after General Paul Malong took over command of the SPLA. There is total collapse of the chain of command; the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) and the Chief of Staff mostly meet in their own residencies with close and trusted officers who are their tribesmen (tribal commanders).
These officers are labelled as “Loyal Officers.”
*** Strangely, included in these meetings are some members of the Jieng Council of Elders, (perhaps as ‘non-uniformed officers’- essentially tribesmen directing or advising the army).
*** All the powers in the army are confined to the Chief of General Staff who uses them to build and consolidate the military strength of “SPLA militia” for implementing the “Dinka Agenda” of subjugating, humiliating or destroying any of the other tribes who dare to stand in their way.
*** The small number of SPLA soldiers are deliberately neglected, without deployment, unarmed, even during emergencies.

11. Since 2005, after CPA was signed, most SPLA from non-Dinka (mainly from Equatoria Region) are deliberately deployed out of Equatoria to Bahr el Ghazel and Upper Nile regions.
*** As a policy, they have been kept out of Equatoria since the signing of the CPA in 2005, and even denied leave or permission to visit their families.
*** Those who have been in the Eastern Sudan from during the liberation war and were subsequently deployed to Upper Nile, Abyei and Bahr el Ghazel areas after the war, are still in those places up to this moment.
*** They have lost contact with their families, children and parents. Many have lost their lives in those wars after the CPA, during the wars with Sudan, Gen. George Athor’s rebellion, the Cobra wars of David Yau yau and the 2013 by the split within SPLM and the fight over power.
*** Upto this moment, these dear sons of our nation who offered their lives for the liberation and freedom of our people are being treated in an inhuman way just for the sake of massaging the egos of a small clique of people pursuing a futile agenda of tribal hegemony.
*** On the other hand, SPLA soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group have been strategically deployed and posted in non-Dinka areas to support the policy of land occupation and enforcing the agenda of forceful DINKANIZATION and domination of the country.

12. This discrimination and crimes against humanity are committed not only on non-Dinkas alone but also visited on the Dinkas who are opposed to the policy of discrimination on ethnic bases and destruction of the country. Such Dinkas are regarded as enemies as well.
*** The policy of ethnic domination and subjugation being pursued openly by the President and his close associates has made Dinkas to be painted with the same brush by the other communities/nationalities, without making distinction between the good Dinkas and the bad ones.
*** As a result, the Dinka community has come to be hated by their own brothers and sisters from other communities. Pursuit of this wrong-headed policy has also destroyed the fabric of South Sudan society.

13. All this time we have been talking to and persuading the C-in-C and members of the Army Command hailing from the Dinka ethnic group, especially those who are known to be members of Dinka ruling clique, to refrain from this tribally oriented policy that cannot promote nationalism and unity, and which can only destroy the country to no avail.
*** All these efforts went in vain as they have fallen on deaf ears. Therefore, it has become important at this crucial moment of our history not to continue working under the leadership of President Salva Kiir that is intentionally subjecting the people of South Sudan to unprecedented and unacceptable cycles of violence and human suffering.
*** This type of inhuman treatment and the human agony it entails has never happened before, even during the time when Khartoum was ruling South Sudan.

14. IN LIGHT OF THE ABOVE AND IN CONCLUSION, YOUR EXCELLENCY, I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU FRANKLY AND IN HONESTY THAT IN MY VIEW,
*****YOU HAVE DISGRACED YOURSELF AND THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC.
*****YOU HAVE DISGRACED THE DINKA PEOPLE AND MADE THEM TO BE HATED BY THEIR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM OTHER NATIONALITIES,
*****AND ABOVE ALL, YOU HAVE BECOME A DISGRACE TO OUR COUNTRY BECAUSE YOU HAVE CONSCIOUSLY, WILLFULLY, PERSISTENTLY, DEFYING ALL SENSIBLE ADVICE, AND BY DESIGN, FAILED THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH SUDAN.

Given the above reasons that are by no means exhaustive, I hereby resign from the position of Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, and from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

Signed……………….
Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka,
Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, SPLA.

cc: Minister of Defense
cc: Minister of National Security
cc: SPLA Chief of General Staff
cc: Deputies of Chief of General Staff
cc: SPLA Inspector General
cc: Director of National Security
cc: Directors in the G/HQS
cc: Sectors/Division Commanders
cc: Specialized Units Commanders
cc: Gallant Women and Men of the Historical SPLA
cc: The Public

E_N_D

BREAKING NEWS: More than 52,000 South Sudan nationals enter Uganda in one month- UN

FROM: KAMPALA’S DAILY MONITOR & AGENCIES, FEB/09/2017, SSN;

More than 52,000 South Sudanese fled to Uganda in January alone as continued fighting risks creating a situation of mass atrocities, the UN’s special adviser on genocide prevention said Tuesday.

The displaced, primarily from towns south of the capital Juba in Central Equatoria state, have given accounts of the killing of civilians, homes destroyed and sexual violence, said Adama Dieng.

“President Salva Kiir has made a commitment to end the violence and bring about peace, yet we still see ongoing clashes, and the risk that mass atrocities will be committed remains ever-present,” said the special adviser in a statement.

Dieng said he was particularly alarmed at the situation in Kajo-Keji where fleeing civilians have said they fear mass violence.
After several delays, a team from the UN peacekeeping mission arrived in Kajo-Keji on Sunday to report on the situation.

After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than three million people displaced.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the rate of new arrivals into Uganda has increased, with a total of 24,277 South Sudanese refugees being received in Uganda between January 25 and January 31.

The influx peaked for the week on January 28, when more than 4,500 refugees were received. The average daily rate of new arrivals for the week was 3,468.

And as Uganda hit the one million refugee mark, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme, Rosa Malango, applauded communities for offering land to refugees to settle.

She said: “It is now critical to look at the quality of life of refugees and standards of living in the communities.”

There is growing alarm over the humanitarian crisis in the country where more than six million people — half of South Sudan’s population — are in need of urgent aid. Humanitarian organizations expect this number to rise by 20 to 30 percent in 2017.

South Sudan President Kiir to seek another term in office!

By JOSEPH ODUHA, THE EAST AFRICAN, FEB/07/2017, SSN;

President Kiir challenged his opponents, including rebel leader Riek Machar, to prepare for the elections and called upon armed groups to stop the war and return home to participate in the democratic exercises.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has announced that he will seek a new term in next year’s election.

The president made the announcement in Yei River State on Tuesday, as he disclosed that South Sudanese would go to the poll after the end of the current interim period.

The poll, said the president, would determine the future of the troubled nation as the people would make a free choice.

President Kiir challenged his opponents, including rebel leader Riek Machar, to prepare for the elections and called upon armed groups to stop the war and return home to participate in the democratic exercises.

“We must stop war now and prepare for 2018 elections in time,” President Kiir told the chanting crowd.

President Kiir has had a tumultuous reign stretching over 10 years, after rising to the helm in 2005 following the death of Dr John Garang.

He became an elected president in July 2011 after South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence from Sudan.

A major fallout between him and his deputy, Dr Machar, first occurred in 2013 sparking a war that mostly took the character of an ethnic Dinka versus Nuer conflict.

President Kiir is a Dinka while Dr Machar belongs to the Nuer community.

The president had accused Dr Machar and his 10 affiliates of attempting a coup d’état.

Dr Machar denied the allegations and fled, calling for President Kiir to resign.

Months of negotiations under the regional Igad bloc, saw the two protagonists sign a peace agreement in late August 2015.

The deal saw Dr Machar resume his number two position, only for the two to fallout again in July 2016, opening another round of conflict.

Use of force & governance: Is the use of force necessary for good governance in South Sudan?

By: David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/08/2017, SSN;

The readers of this article may find it odd for combining force and governance as the co-existence of the two is not always seen clearly in a democratic society. According to the Constitution of South Sudan, South Sudan is a democratic country that must respect human rights and democratic principles.

When we talk of human rights as seen in the above paragraph, we are simply talking of the respect of personal liberties and freedoms, and that is the reason why the use of force is not frequently observed in democratic country.

However, where the country is in chaos as we see in the case of South Sudan, then there is a need for the use of force to reform the people in order to maintain law and order, which means that the use of force is necessary in South Sudan.

It is due to the above arguments that we can give the meaning to the recent statement of the president of South Sudan in which he declares that force must be used against those who rape women and girls.

In the recent press report that was shown live on the television, President Kiir while he was in Yei called for execution of Soldiers who rape civilians as a human rights abuses in South Sudan. The statement has earned him praise and criticism from different circles.

Therefore, in this article I intend to take the statement of the president on the execution of rapists as the entry point to tell the public that the use force and governance are related and necessary in South Sudan if South Sudan is to achieve law and order and the rule of law.

In doing that I will first define force, then the governance, the importance of force in the process of governance and then I will conclude by recommending to the president on how he can use force without being held accountable by the international community.

As pointed out in the above paragraph, I now begin by defining what is meant by the term “force”. It should be observed onset that there is no clear definition of force as used by the government.

In simple language, it’s any action that changes the direction of objects to the desired direction. In relation to our case, force in governance is a process of establishing a new state or government through the use of force, which is also sometimes referred to as conquest theory.

In general, force occurs when a person or a group of people take control of an area, such as a state, and make everyone in that area or state follow their rules and beliefs. For example, if the leader is to be successful, then he or she must come up with a policy and rules and then make everyone in the country abandon their old ways and adopt new rules and if they insist on old ways, then force must be used to ensure that they obey the new rules.

When the rules as discussed in the above paragraph are obeyed and applied consistently and without discrimination, then we talk of the rule of law. By the rule of law, I mean the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.

It is important to note that lack of the rule of law can be found in both democracies and dictatorships, for example because of neglect or ignorance of the law, and the rule of law is more apt to decay if a government has insufficient corrective mechanisms for restoring it as seen in the case of South Sudan.

Importantly, the nature of law does not determine the rule of law but what determines it is the political will coupled with the observance of the laws of state. Hence, a law may be bad but if there is a political will to do what the law requires as guided by human rights then there will be no arbitrariness and people will even respect the law because of its certainty.

When there is a certainty of the law, the rule of law will prevail. Where there is a rule of law then democracy and human rights are respected. The respect of the two means that there good governance.

Good governance cannot be achieved unless there is an effective government, which is a body whose sole responsibility and authority is to make binding decisions in a given geopolitical system by establishing laws. Binding decisions are made when the government has enough power to implement the decision strictly. This can only be established when there is force.

In relation to the above, good governance is achieved through the legitimate use of force. Hence, good governance refers to the way the rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated in order to ensure accountability in the government.

In order to achieve rule of law and good governance that will result into the respect of human rights and democracy, there must be the use of force. For instance, state of emergency is declared in order to legitimize the use of force by the government.

As seen above, the importance of force is that without force there will be no rule of law and law and order. This is because the government is not able to control the citizens. In a country like South Sudan, there is a need for the use of force to maintain law and order.

The presence of law and order indicates the presence of the law of rule and good Governance. Good governance is ultimately concerned with creating the conditions for ordered rule and collective action. In that respect, it must be observed that the outputs of governance are not therefore different from those of government but it is rather a matter of a difference in processes.

In fact, the political theorists define the government in term of force as the formal institutions of the state and their monopoly of legitimate coercive power. In this respect, coercive power is in other word a legitimate use of force. Therefore, the government like that of South Sudan is supposed to have the ability to make binding decisions and capacity to enforce them if its decisions are accompanied by force in case of the failure by those affected to implement such decisions.

However, the problems of South Sudan have been caused by the failure of the Government to use force, and instead, the president always resorts into pleading with citizens and politicians no matter how clearly they are wrong. Hence, people grow horns and put themselves above the law and consequently cause chaos as they wish.

What the government of South Sudan should understand from today onward is that to be a good government the leaders should not be good or soft but they must be ready to use force where necessary to instill fear in trouble makers and then with time introduce the rule of law and democracy when some reforms have taken place.

It is upon the above fact, the government is understood to refer to the formal and institutional processes which operate at the level of the nation state to maintain public order and facilitate collective action.

Nonetheless and as I have already pointed out above, the absence of law and order in most part of South Sudan is due to the fact that the president is not willing to use force against the citizens which corrupt the system thus taking advantage of his good heart.

When I talk of corrupting the system I mean any bad works perpetuated by some citizens that affect majority of South Sudanese negatively.

In reality, a country like South Sudan will never develop without the rule of law and to ensure the rule of the law, there must be force. Hence, force is necessary in South Sudan to control people and to reform them. The fact is that in the country where there is no rule of law, it is stronger group that rules the minority and with time the other stronger group rules the weaker and the cycle goes on and on indefinitely.

In summary, in South Sudan, the President is not respected because they see him not a threat since he does not use force. The overall consequences of the failure to use force by the president are the anarchy, corruption, power struggle, land grabbing and disappearance of judicial system and finally the demise of the rule of law and democracy.

It was good that president realized recently that there is a need for the use force to stabilize the country. A country where everybody is above or equal to the government does not develop or progress as people will not obey the orders. In that regard, there is a need for military rule in South Sudan to ensure that reform and transformation of the citizens are achieved.

However, my advice to the president is that he should look for proper legal advisers to advise him on what to say in the public that affects international law or human rights law. This is because many human rights organizations are out there to do business with what the leaders say in regard to human rights and use of force. Hence, they are likely to take the words out of context although the president well intends it.

NB//: the author is South Sudanese Students staying in Uganda and can be reached through: dengchapath66@gmail.com

The OXFAM should be guided by principles & goals, not become a branch of South Sudan Govt.

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/06/2017, SSN;

The Organization called the Oxfam is a confederation of 19 affiliate groups of companies working in over ninety countries, all working as one Oxfam on six goals that support their shared vision of a just world without poverty.

The principle is that whether the Oxfam is running life-saving emergency responses, life-changing development projects or campaigning at the grassroots to tackle poverty, it’s work is always rooted in a vision of a world where women and men are valued and treated equally, able to influence the decisions that affect their lives and meet their responsibilities as full citizens.

In achieving the above-mentioned vision, Oxfam operates on six goals that put local communities and the voices of poor people at the centre of change. The purpose of these goals is to enable the Oxfam to end the injustice of poverty in the long run. (For more information visit: www.oxfam.org.uk › what we do › about us › How we work).

In sticking to those goals, Oxfam operates on the following principles as provided for under its constitution—

1- Humanitarian Principles:
In all their work, the Oxfam members aspire to uphold the humanitarian principles of humanity (responding to need), independence and impartiality. They comply with these principles when they give assistance to civilian populations. This is because the Oxfam and its affiliates are signatories and accountable to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct and the Sphere standards of humanitarian response.

2- Accountability and Learning:
The Oxfam and its members have internal control systems and professionally qualified staff to ensure that they are effectively using the funds of Oxfam. They aspire to be a learning organization, with real time evaluations, program reviews, a published accountability report, and complaints and whistle blowing policies. Through these procedures, the Oxfam and its members seek to hold themselves accountable to their supporters, partners, beneficiaries and the general public. The Oxfam and its members welcome all opportunities to discuss with any person their performance, and how they can improve. Oxfam is part of an on-going worldwide effort of nearly 70 international NGOs to assess their performance according to the views of the local partners that these NGOs help to fund and with whom they work.

3- Staff code of conduct:
Oxfam seeks to ensure that its entire staff is aware of its values and principles, and abide by them. Hence, the Oxfam has a staff Code of Conduct that forms part of its contract of employment. This Code establishes the behaviors that they expect staff to display in their work, and in their private life where this may affect Oxfam’s reputation. A staff member in breach of our Code may be disciplined.

4- Sharing Platforms:
Oxfam will not knowingly provide a platform to people or groups that engage in activities that are contrary to Oxfam’s values or principles. However, Oxfam may decide to share a platform with those who do express views contrary to its own, where the Oxfam believes it needs challenging and where sharing a platform is an appropriate and effective way of doing that. For that reason their decisions to provide platform is assessed on a case by case basis.

4-Political activities and campaigning:
The Oxfam allocates some of its resources to understanding the root causes of poverty. It does so to persuade governments, inter-governmental agencies, private sector bodies and citizens to change the policies and practices that are detrimental to its beneficiaries’ interests, and to encourage those that will improve their lives. The Oxfam undertakes its work in an objective manner, based on evidence and analysis. Some of the issues are controversial but the Oxfam will always seek to engage with its critics in a rational and open way, deploying argument and reason. This is because the Oxfam is a non-partisan organization and does not support any political party.

As seen in the foregoing discussion of the goals and principles on which the Oxfam operates, it may be realized that the intention of the Oxfam is good and it is an organization established to help vulnerable people over out of poverty.

However, the recent report I received from one of the States in South Sudan indicates that the Oxfam is not operating independently but being directed by the government officials on who and how to recruit the employees and how to give services. This is contrary to the Oxfam’s principles of humanitarian and human rights.

Sadly enough as seen in the above paragraph, the Oxfam, instead of protecting the right to equality, human dignity and values as provided for in its constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, it is now working according to the will of the government officials such as the commissioner and other county authorities in that particular State.

One of the disturbing issues I understood in that report was that the Oxfam staff accepted the demand of the county commissioner and other authorities to employ his wife and other people who did not apply for a job and sit for the interview or those who applied but failed the interview.

Unfortunately, and because of that, some of the applicants that applied for that job, interviewed and passed the interview were dropped in favour of the commissioner and county authorities. This created a lot of tension and hatred towards the government of that county.

Thus, I have found it necessary to remind not only the Oxfam and its members but also any other humanitarian organizations operating in South Sudan to stick to their principles but not to be influenced by the government officials to discriminate against South Sudanese in those states.

Of course, it is the duty the State governments to direct an organization like the Oxfam to employ the citizens of the State in which it is operating, however, it should not compromise its principles on fairness and equality through accepting the demand of the authorities to employ citizens they recommend to them because the authorities are not honest enough to give those who are qualified.

However, the State authorities act based on the political interests or motivation and are likely to recommend those who blindly obey them though not qualified. The Oxfam, therefore, should remember that in South Sudan all people are poor including the authorities and because of that they always work towards favoring their relatives leaving out the vast majority of citizens without anything.

Hence, it is the duty of the Oxfam and other Organizations to work in accordance with their principles and goals to ensure that the citizens of the State in which they are operating are treated and have access to services equally.

This means that the Oxfam and other humanitarian organizations should work on merit but not on political considerations.

Flowing from the above statement, it is logical to state that if the state authorities threaten the Oxfam or any other organizations to leave the states unless they have accepted their demands for who to employ or how they should deliver their services to citizens, then the best option is to leave those states instead of compromising their values and principles and creating division among the citizens of those states.

In other words, as long as they are operating within the laws of South Sudan, then, they should not accept any direction from the authorities on how to give services to South Sudanese because there is a risk of them becoming another branch of the government and because of that they may fail to follow their values and principles.

In summary, the Oxfam and any other organizations operating in South Sudan should try by all means to avoid becoming another branch of the government. They must be guided by human rights and humanitarian principles in delivering their services.

NB//: The author is human rights lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com; or +256783579256