Category: Uncategorized

LATEST: Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) ready to deploy to South Sudan to monitor new peace deal

By FRED OLUOCH, SEP/23/2018, SSN;

The Eastern African Standby Force is ready to deploy troops to South Sudan if requested by the African Union, despite failing to intervene in the Burundi crisis in 2015.

The 5,800-strong force attained full operational capability in December 2014, but has remained in obscurity despite the conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi.

This is unlike its equivalent in the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which has been active and intervened in conflict-prone areas, with the latest intervention coming in January 2017 when the force removed Gambian president Yahya Jammeh.

EASF director Abdillahi Omar Bouh told The EastAfrican that deployment requires heavy resources.

“In South Sudan, the Igad must first deal with the mediation, which is already complete. The question now is, should Igad deploy troops or EASF? Igad has already given the task to Djibouti, Uganda, Somalia and Sudan. We have written to the chairman of Igad requesting that EASF be asked to go to South Sudan,” he said.

On the Burundi crisis, he said Bujumbura did not ask for help.

“In case a member state is in crisis, they are called to a Policy Organ Committee meeting to explain the situation because we cannot deploy without the permission of the affected member. Burundi said they had no problem.”

EASF is made up of troops from 10 partner states — Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Among the key challenges the force faces is that three countries—Burundi, Comoros and Somalia—are yet to ratify the agreement that established the force in 2014.

The future of the Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) is in doubt due to bickering between partner states and the slow pace of regional integration.

This is despite efforts by member countries to rejuvenate the force, which is mandated to enhance peace and security in the region.

The East African Standby Force (EASF) has begun recruiting civilians who will be trained, growing its numbers even before the force is deployed in the region.

Even though having a standby force to respond to regional or continental political crises is considered prudent, the large force is mostly seen as toothless and passive especially in the face of violence in Burundi and Somalia.

EASF director Issimael Chanfi said the ongoing recruitment is part of the African Union guidelines that civilians working for the force must fulfil specific training requirements for them to be included on the AU roster.

“This is an ongoing process, and we are going to all member states conducting interviews and recruiting. We are just preparing them for future deployment where they may be called by the AU,” said Mr Chanfi.

The AU determines where and when the force will be deployed.

“Responding in a crisis depends on many things: The force is made up of 10 countries; these have to endorse deployment, and then the final endorsement has to come from the AU,” said Joshua Kariuki, in charge of rostering and co-ordination at the EASF secretariat. “Ours is to make sure we have the required people, who are fully trained and equipped for the job. The rest we leave to the AU to decide.”

Pragmatic Patriarchy of the Sudan Over South Sudan

BY: James Okuk, PhD, Professor, University of Juba, South Sudan, SEPT/23/2018, SSN;

“We honor the human capacity to manage our collective lives with peace and even, at times, dignity” – Barbour & Wright

The political process of the Sudan and South Sudan has largely been determined by shifting situations of war and peace, traceable to the history of the entry of Arabs into the Sudan as legitimized by the Baqt (652 – 1323 AD). That treaty spelt out the patriarchal soft invasion, free movement and safe residence of Arabs under guise of trade—using Nile Valley, Route Forty of Sahara Desert, Mediterranean-Transatlantic Maritime Routes and Red Sea-Indian Ocean Routes with connection to Asian Silk and Belt Roads. It obliged the indigenous African natives to cease raids on the entering Arabs (Jellaba) in return of guaranteeing them the Peace of God and blessings of Prophet Mohamed. The local inhabitants had to build mosques, pay annual tribute of 300 slaves and deport fugitives or opposition elements back to the Arab Umayyad Dynasty in Egypt.

While the Land of Cush was grappling with effects of the unfair Baqt, the Treaty of Westphalia (1648 AD) was already marking a critical juncture of political secularism as sanctified by equal freedom of the powerful sovereign nations with ‘pecking-order’ for the less powerful ones. Within the trends of the nation state, Thomas Hobbes endorsed the idea of patriarchal authority in the Leviathan (1651) where he argued for necessity of absolute sovereign to enforce security and peace, to prevent “war of all against all”, and to avoid subjecting the citizens to “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” living. Also Sir Robert Filmer promoted similar thinking in the Patriarcha (1653) where he defended “divine right”of kings in the exercise of authority. But James Tyrrell wrote Patriarcha Non Monarcha (1681), John Locke wrote Two Treatises of Government (1689) and Algernon Sidney wrote Discourses Concerning Government (1698) to rebut the “divine right” theory. Their argument centered on the “natural right” and the “social contract” theories for justifying the legitimacy of any government.

I – TRACING PATRIARCHAL TRENDS IN ORIGINS OF SUDANESE STATE

Comparatively, the Sudan has been a patriarchal country since the time it was founded by Albanian-born Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1821 with objectives of extracting valuable resources (e.g., gold, ivory, ebony, ostrich feathers and strong black slaves) and expanding his political adventure internationally. Southern Sudan was laid loose when the Turkish Naval Officer, Captain Salim Pasha, crossed the tough mosquito zone of Sudd Region in 1841 to establish resources hunting posts along the Nile—Tawfiqia, Gondokoro, Rejaf, Nimule. Muhammad Ali’s successor, Khedive Ismail Ibrahim Pasha (1830 – 1895), tried to mend the sour relations of his patriarchal rule in the Sudan, especially with the ‘virgin tribes’ in Southern Sudan and Nuba Mountains who had been hunted intensely for slave trade since the Baqt era. He commissioned some European adventurers as military governors over there to help him in implementing the Anglo-Egyptian Slave Trade Convention (1877) and the Congo Act (1885)—freedom of navigation and commerce, notification in advance when appropriating newly scrambled territories for colony and suppressing slave trade.

Though the Mahdiyya uprisings (1881 – 1898) crushed the Turko-Egyptian Rule under Governor Charles Gordon Pasha in Khartoum (1885), Khalifa Abdullah al-Taishi’s Rule became marred with despotism as it regenerated into slave trade regime with forced islamization in Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Lado Enclave. The Shilluk and Azande Kingdoms were left with no option but to resist fiercely the deviated Mahdiyya Darvishes in their unethical rule. The French Congo-Nile Mission under command of Captain Jean-Baptiste Marchand found it receptive to advance into the Nile Watershed from Western Africa in 1896, defeating Mahdiyya and declaring Shilluk Kingdom as one of the French Protectorate in Africa but with autonomy to pursue its interests collaboratively.

The British had to send General Herbert Kitchener to Sudan in 1898 with heavy expedition to conquer it from Mahdiyya, to expel the French colonialists (“Fashoda Syndrome”), and to establish Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Rule (1899). Although the British Consul-General in Egypt, Lord Cromer, regarded Southern Sudan as a useless large tract of valueless land whose tribes were difficult and costly to govern fruitfully, the subsequent British Governors-General in Khartoum proceeded to apply multiple strategies—Punitive Military Patrols, Bribery Gifts to Strong Chiefs, Divide-and-Rule Rivaling, Locational Facial Identification, Closed District Ordinances, Passports and Permits Ordinances, Trade Permit Orders, Vernacular Languages and Structural Self-contained Customary Tribal Local Units with foreign Church missionaries allowed to provide catechetical services and limited literacy.

The World War I (1914 – 1918) and politics of the League of Nations; the invasion of Eritrea by Italy in 1935 and encroachment on eastern Sudan; the rapprochement of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (1936); the pressure by Northern Graduates General Congress to be involved in government with advocacy for lifting the restrictive British policies on Southern Sudan; the World War II (1939 – 1945) and politics of the United Nations; the formation of Northern Sudan Advisory Council in 1942 to bring the Sudanese elites closer to corridors of Condominium Rule; the enactment of Local Councils Ordinances in 1943 with ‘safeguards’ by the British for the uniqueness of Southern Sudan; and the Unilateral Declaration by the Penultimate King Farouk of Egypt for recognition as the Monarch of both Egypt and the Sudan, all these political developments shifted the paradigm and moved the British authorities to rethink their colonial neglect of Southern Sudan. They decided to empower the local population to stand united as unique Negroid African entity in case they got attached to Northern Sudan and Middle East, became annexed to East Africa, or remained autonomous and independent nation.

II – LEGACY OF COLONIAL TRANSITIONAL GEOPOLITICS

Unfortunately, London-Cairo-Khartoum geopolitics betrayed the expectations of Southern Sudanese for self-rule. London preferred appeasing the traditional elites in Khartoum to strike a blow on Cairo. The Egyptian Information Minister, Salah Salim who served under the Junta of Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, shuttled frequently to Southern Sudan to promote the unity of the Nile Valley and sabotage ‘Sudanization’ of the Sudan. The Thirteen-Man Committee (chaired by Justice Stanley Baker and with Buth Diu as the only member from Southern Sudan) drafted the Sudan Self-government Statute without consideration for special status of Southern Sudan. Northern Islamist Parties (patronized by Khatimya Leader Ali al-Mirghni and Ansars Leader Abdel Rahman al-Mahdi) spat on the face of Southerners by excluding them from the negotiations on the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium exit from the Sudan on justification that the South had no political parties or matured leaders to represent it independently without Northern patriarchy.

The tense situation of the pre-independence of the Sudan in 1955 spiked the Nzara and Yambio riots, followed by Torit mutiny of Equatoria Corp and wider unrest in different parts of Southern Sudan. Khartoum blamed the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium policies of isolation, mistrust and bitterness of Southerners against the Jellaba’s ancestral involvement in slave trade. Also miscommunication, rumors, propaganda, underdevelopment, illiteracy, ignorance and backwardness were identified to be the fuelers of the unrest. The Stanley Baker’s Self-government Statute was converted into Transitional Constitution of the Sudan (1956) but without ‘due consideration’ for autonomous government (federalism) as demanded by Southerners to preserve their multi-cultural, multi-customs, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tribal societies. Nothing much was done by the succeeding ‘Sudanized’ government to implement the feasibility studies for big developmental agro-industrial schemes and mechanized farming in Southern Sudan—Nzara Cotton and Cloth, Melut and Mongalla Sugar, Aweil Rice, Wau Fruits, Tonj Kenaf, Kapoeta Cement, Upper Talanga Tea, and Malakal and Bor Fish Freezing/Drying. Also Southern Sudan was not given a fair annual budget by Khartoum to run its affairs.

The young politicians in Southern Sudan got wary with the status quo and patriarchal politics of Khartoum. They won elections overwhelmingly in their constituencies in 1957 for campaigning enthusiastically on platform of newly formed Southern Federal Party—adoption of secular federalism, repatriation of Southern schools from the North, recognition of both English and Arabic as official languages, special economic programs for the South, formation of organized armed forces for the South, redefining the Sudan as an African country rather than part of Arab world. Though their leader Ezbon Mundiri was arrested, the young Fr. Saturnino Lohure challenged in Khartoum the Constitutional Constituent Assembly (1958):

“The South has no ill-intentions whatsoever towards the North; the South simply claims to run its local affairs in a united Sudan. The South has no intention to separating from the North, for had that been the case nothing on earth would have prevented its demand for separation. The South claims to federate with the North, a right that the South undoubtedly possesses as a consequence of principle of free self-determination which reason and democracy grant to free people. The South will at any moment separate from the North if and when the North so decides, directly or indirectly, through political, social and economic subjection of the South.”

The continuous betrayal of aspirations of Southerners and the crises of the civil war (“Southern Problem”) contributed immensely to the collapse of subsequent patriarchal governments in Khartoum: Ismail al-Azhari’s and Abdallah Bey Khalil (1956 – 1958), General Ibrahim Abboud (1958 – 1964), Sadiq al-Mahdi and Mohamed Ahmed Maghoub (1965 – 1969), Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiry (1969 – 1985), Sadiq al-Mahdi and Mohamed al-Mirghani (1986 – 1989) and Omar al-Bashir (1989 – 2011) whose government collapsed only in South Sudan though it remained intact in the Sudan. Among these patriarchal heads of states and governments only Field Marshal Nimeiry and Field Marshal al-Bashir managed to stay longer in power, maneuvering between war and peace in the South.

III- UNIQUENESS OF PRESIDENT NIMEIRY’S PATRIARCHAL POLITICS

Immediately after assuming power in 1969, Nimeiry acknowledged the “Southern Problem” and diagnosed it as being caused by backwardness and western imperialism (similar to the findings of Qotran’s Committee of Inquiry on Southern Unrest in 1955). He prescribed the solution by un-shelving the deliberations of the 1965 Round Table Conference and Twelve-Man Committee, which recommended for recognition of unique cultural diversity and formation of special autonomous regional government for the South. He endorsed the 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement with its implementation mechanisms—Relief and Resettlement Commission; Joint Ceasefire and Joint Military Commissions (12,000 integrated troops for South with 6,000 drawn from Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile on equal quota); High Executive Council and People’s Regional Assembly; and Public Service.

Juba stood firm in honor of Addis Abba Agreement when President Nimeiry started to dishonor it in favor of Khartoum’s interest on valuable resources in the South, especially by trying to annex oil and agricultural rich areas (Bentiu, Hofrat el Nehas, Kafia Kingi and Northern Upper, etc…). He awarded exploration licenses to American Chevron in 1974 and to French Total and Royal Dutch Shell in 1980 without consulting Juba. Oil refineries were planned in Khartoum to be constructed in the North with pipelines connecting oil fields in the North to Port Sudan. The digging of 360 kilometer Jonglei Canal (with involvement of Egypt) was launched with no care on the infringed community land rights and disrupted ecological setting of Sudd Region (blockage of 350,000 m2 of grassy marshes and lagoons of 30 rivers converging naturally to form an environmentally rich climatic lake and plenty of variety of fish).

After securing ‘National Reconciliation’ with Islamists in the North in late 1970s, President Nimeiry turned his political arsenals Southwards in early 1980s to exploit the politicized rifts of tribal and regional divisions (known as “kokora” in Juba). He considered the Addis Ababa Agreement as ‘Un-Qoranic’ and ‘Un-Biblical’ to be upheld sustainably. He interrupted the integration process for Anyanya forces by redeploying some of the battalions to the North against their will and with intention to keep them far from the redrawn South-North boundaries. He declared Islamic Law (Sharia) to be binding on all, including Christians and African traditionalists. Finally he decreed the dissolution of the unified regional government in Juba to replace it with disconnected fragile sub-regional administrative regions (Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal & Upper Nile).

The disappointed and angry South Sudanese were left with no option but to take up arms and organize for liberation cause, culminating in the formation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in July 1983 under leadership of Col. Dr. John Garang de Mabior and other colleagues. SPLM/A leaders defined the struggle as inherent in disadvantageous marginalization of the deprived people in the peripheries of old Sudan, not “Southern Problem” as such. Its war paralyzing the economy, caused humanitarian catastrophe and mobilized the professionals and trade unionists in Khartoum to up-rise against President Nimeiry. The armed forces sympathized with the people to overthrow him in April 1985 while he was on visit in Washington DC under the host of President Reagan and Vice President Bush Senior.

In a nutshell, President Nimeiry played both negatively and positively in his patriarchy on North-South politics of the Sudan with unpredictable bullying but courage to face tough situations head-on during his 16-years rule. He had direct links with influential and rivaling Southern political leaders (Abel Alier, Joseph Lagu, Peter Gatkuoth,, Bona Malwal, Francis Deng, Adwok Luigi, James Tambura, Mathew Obur, Clement Mboro, Hilary Logali, among others) with deep understanding of their political psychology as they were all part of the one party system of the Sudan Socialist Union. Also Nimeiry was intimately engaged with strong Kings and Chiefs of biggest tribes of Southern Sudan (Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Azande, Bari Speakers, etc…) and could get into a helicopter to land anywhere at the grassroots localities without fear of insecurity. The ordinary people in Southern Sudan, including school children, knew Nimeiry and could sing his name in admiration (recalling the song: “Abukum Miin? Nimeiry!”—“Who is Your Father? Nimeiry!” However, it was only after President Nimeiry betrayed the Addis Ababa Agreement that he lost the trust of Southerners. The SPLM/A composed hate song against him and the parasitic bourgeoisie of his regime. His patriarchy collapsed miserably in the face of the force of the people.

IV – PRAGMATIC PATRIARCHY OF PRESIDENT AL-BASHIR

Also upon taking power in Khartoum, President al-Bashir got the support of the National Islamic Front with Dr. Hassan al-Turabi as the regime’s ideologue for “Civilizational Project” (akin to the “Civilizing Mission” of the Crusades). The declared National Salvation Government waged more aggressive Jihadist (Holy) war against the SPLM/A and all infidels in Southern Sudan. As Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg Regime in Ethiopia collapsed, the SPLA/M also got split into Nasir and Torit factions. But as President al-Bashir failed to defeat or crush the SPLM/A militarily, he decided to engage its factions in rounds of peace talks—Frankfurt (1992) and declaration on self-determination, Abuja I and Entebbe (1992) and Abuja II (1993) on outstanding issues of participatory secular governance and inclusive development (e.g, taking towns to the people).

The regional Intergovernmental Authority on Draught and Development (IGADD), which later was renamed as the Intergovernmental Authority on (IGAD), took upon itself the mediation of the Sudanese conflict by declaring these Principles in 1994: dialogue for reaching a just political solution, right for self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan, attractive unity in diversity of the Sudan, separation of religion from the state via secular competitive democracy, guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and human rights, fair sharing of wealth and power, permanent ceasefire and interim security arrangements, and realization of sustainable peace in the Sudan.

Based on some internal peace initiatives, the SPLM/A Nasir faction signed Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 and Fashoda Peace Agreement in 1998 with self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan to be conducted at the end of 4-years interim period. The respite facilitated the security of oil fields in Southern Sudan where Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Canadian, French and Swedish companies invested in petroleum business despite the international concerns about human rights violations and scorched-earth policy. Zionic Lobbyists, Churches, humanitarians NGOs, and human rights activists persuaded the U.S. Congress and President Goerge Bush Junior to intervene with “Carrot and Stick” policy based on the Sudan Peace Act (2002), especially after the Islamist terrorists who were connected to al-Bashir regime attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (9/11/2001).

With the IGAD and its friends and partners (Troika, Italy, China, Netherlands, EU, AU and UN), pressing for resumption of peace talks, the SPLM/A factions of Dr. Riak Machar and Dr. Lam Akol got merged under the leadership of Dr. John Garang in 2001 and 2002 respectively. As a result of that, the Machakos Protocol (July 2002) was signed to mark a breakthrough. Later and after rigorous detailed negotiations more agreements were signed in Naivasha—Agreement on Security Arrangements (September 2003), Wealth Sharing (January 2004), Power Sharing (May 2004), Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (May 2004) and Resolution of the Abyei Conflict (May 2004). The signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi in 2005 established the National Congress Party’s dominated Government of National Unity in Khartoum and 15 states in the North, and also the SPLM/A’s controlled Government of Southern Sudan in Juba (2005 – 2011) and 10 states in the South. The oil wealth was shared equally between South and North. The multi-donor trust fund was established in Juba for coordinate the funding of post-war peace-building projects.

Despite the hitches and hiccups between Juba and Khartoum, the 2008 Census and 2010 general elections were conducted as agreed. The incumbent SPLM/A and NCP leaders got reconfirmed to their dominant political positions in the North and South. The people of Southern Sudan were allowed to overwhelmingly vote for separation in July 2011 Referendum. The African Union, the UN and entire International Community recognized the new Republic in July 2011 and mediated between the two countries to cooperate and assist each other to resolve the outstanding political and economic issues, some of whose mitigations were designed in the expense of oil revenues of South Sudan—Transition Financial Arrangements of 3.028 billion USD paid to Khartoum and hiring its oil pipelines and other facilities for 24.5 USD per a barrel of oil passing.

But border war over Panthou (known in oil mapping as Heglig) erupted shortly in 2012 with Juba deciding to shut-down the oil production, the consequence of which partly spiked the 2013 conflict with destruction and displacement of residents of Malakal, Bentiu, Bor and others. By flunking the country and entertaining tribalism the leaders of South Sudan betrayed the required stewardship for unity, peace, justice, liberty and prosperity for the people of South Sudan. Also the failure of the Transitional Government of National Unity and the opposition groups to commit themselves to the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) pushed the region to mandate President al-Bashir to take charge of High-Level Revitalization Forum, including reactivation of the paralyzed bilateral cooperation agreements between Juba and Khartoum in the oil and other sectors (border, trade, banking, debts/assets, labor, post-service benefits, freedoms for nationals and joint security). The slogan of “One People in Two Countries” became an adage for breakthrough in bridging the gaps in positions of the parties on outstanding issues of security and governance.

With the new approach adopted by Khartoum for mediated negotiations of the revitalization of the ARCSS, optimism was regained to put South Sudan back on the track of peace. President al-Bashir’s patriarchal pragmatic bullying and leverage on the leaders of Southern Sudan, and his declared moral responsibility for ensuring the welfare of South Sudanese as his extended family, has been seen working well for the negotiating parties to reach a final peace deal without more delays. The South Sudanese ‘oil for peace and development’ has become an attractive diplomatic policy, inducing the IGAD and its allies to entrust Khartoum with additional mandate to finalize the remaining details of the revitalized ARCSS and its implementation matrices as well as the mechanisms of funding so that peace is fully restored for general elections to take place at the end of re-scheduled transitional period of 40 months.

V – FRUITS OF PATRIARCHY OF THE SUDAN ON R-ARCSS

Will the patriarchy of the Sudan hold for longer over South Sudan and continues to be the catalyst during and after the agreed transitional period for the implementation of Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS, especially given the lessons learnt from the above-mentions historical experiences?

The success of the patriarchy of the Sudan over South Sudan, when it is utilized for peace, is expected to attract some tactical or strategic cooperation of the big international geopolitical allies (U.S, China, UK, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, etc…). It has already created some joint political ventures, though with Cold War tendencies, by the known veteran regional heads of state (al-Bashir at North Pole and Museveni at South Pole of South Sudan). However, the fact that the major parties agreed quickly to compromise for peace as mediated by Khartoum and with oil business as part of the deal alongside border security and governance, is a strong indication that Khartoum has a real leverage on Juba and on South Sudanese opposition leaders. Juba can’t survive for longer if Khartoum decides to block the oil passage to international markets or give the armed opposition of South Sudan at its border a direct support to go for battles in the oil fields in Upper Nile or at the borders in Bahr el Ghazal. Also the business of East African countries with South Sudan, especially Uganda and Kenya, depends much on revenues generated through oil that has to pass first via Sudan so that hard currency could come next flowing into Juba’s coffers.

Thus, President Omar al-Bashir’s patriarchal role would probably continue to have impact on the needed post-war checks and balances on the revitalized transitional government of South Sudan in the four years to come or even beyond. It is given that he will pass the elections in 2020, especially with peace restored to South Sudan and cooperation agreements operationalized for the Sudanese traders and labor force to get engaged in garnering back their lost benefits from the historical neighbor considered as one of them though inhabiting a breakaway country of a united past in the Middle East geopolitics.

The success of peace process in South Sudan is seen as a rescue card for the dwindling economy of the Sudan, especially after it has lost the assistance it used to get from the Gulf Countries and when it has adopted a new trend of diplomatic rapprochement with the United States of America on advice of China. Since the restoration of peace for the good of ‘one nation in two countries’ has become so personal for President al-Bashir, it is hoped that the 8-month Pre-transitional Period will be taken seriously by the principal parties to the R-ARCSS through goodwill gestures and honest preparation of levelled ground for new peace government to get inaugurated with participation of heavy-weights politicians. It shall remain a critical litmus test and defining critical juncture for viability of both Sudan and South Sudan.

Though doubts are real yet optimism is high that sustainable security, humanitarianism, economy, rule of law, justice and electoral democratization shall become possible best news for enduring peace with good governance in South Sudan with Khartoum at the lead and region behind as checked complementarily by the sustained pressure and partnership of international community.
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Dr. James Okuk is professor of political science in University of Juba, independent analyst and postgraduate alumnus of University of Nairobi. He is reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com.

Neo-Colonialism and a Faustian Bargain Undermine South Sudan’s Peace Deal

By John Prendergast and Brian Adeba, The Enough Project • enoughproject.org, September/20/2018, SSN;

Peace remains elusive in South Sudan. The latest in a line of peace deals – this one signed on September 12, 2018 between the South Sudan government and opposition – does not addressthe primary root cause of the war: the hijacking of governing institutions and the creation of a violent kleptocratic state that enriches senior officials and their commercial collaborators while doing nothing to provide social services, build infrastructure, create transparency, introduce accountability, reinforce the rule of law, or grow the economy of South Sudan.

Fueling this ongoing strife is a misguided focus on power-sharing instead of transforming the systems of governance.

By simply re-assigning positions of power, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), through its September 12, 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), has encouraged elites within the various warring parties to continue plundering the country’s economic and natural resources.

That some of the agreement’s official mediators, including Uganda and Sudan, stand to benefit politically and economically from this outcome reinforces the need for enforceable reforms that take aim at the kleptocratic system standing in the way of a sustainable peace.

The absence of a long-term diplomatic endgame allowed the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, and the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, each representing different sides in the conflict, to exploit the IGAD-led process for their own political and economic gain.

Fundamentally, this is a governance challenge, rooted in a political culture that views state resources as spoils, their value accruable to the elite alone.

Changing this mindset will require measures that force the costs of kleptocracy to far outweigh its gains.

Network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, for example, can disincentivize those at the top from prioritizing personal financial interests as their primary motivation.

Otherwise, political agreements like the one signed on September 12, 2018, will only provide a short-term stop gap to the conflict, not the long-term systemic change that the people of South Sudan need and deserve.

As personal financial gain takes precedence over common interests, political allegiances give way to the fragile alliances of self-serving kleptocrats.

Since these alliances are only as sustainable as their ability to siphon more of the country’s resources to rival elites, they hold little promise for forging meaningful consensus around the R-ARCSS.

A precursor to the likelihood that alliances will continue to shift during the peace accord’simplementation phase was the July 2016 splintering of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The move then was motivated, in part, by a feeling among some of its leaders that the ruling SPLM party should have offered them more of a stake in the then-Transitional Government of National Unity.

When such elites seek to obtain more power— and, thus, wealth— by defecting, many taking up arms, they send a strong message to others who might otherwise be inclined to support governance reform.

It is no accident, for example, that some of those who voiced reservations and refused to sign an earlier precursor deal on governance in June have now splintered into subgroups that signed the September 12 peace accord— the better to take advantage of the financial opportunities they are convinced it affords.

Nowhere is this model of financial benefit through powersharing better exemplified than in the case of South Sudan’s military.

The recent move by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to promote 123 officers to the ranks of major-generals, in addition to promoting numerous other officers of lower rankson the eve of the peace agreement, will be countered by similar promotions on the part of the armed opposition groups, leading to an even more top-heavy security sector.

This represents a “brigadiers, but no soldiers” approach, motivated by a fear among elites that they could lose allies to rival camps.

This fear, of course, is misplaced: a top-heavy military, anchored in the expectation of material reward, undermines stability in the whole of South Sudan, weakening the state and making it more susceptible to chaos. That outcome ultimately benefits no one.

Still, finding common ground on institutional reform remains too high a price for these kleptocrats and their supporters, making peace — or its pre-requisites, security and stability— as elusive as ever.

Complicating the situation further, the September 12 peace arrangement is unlikely to garner international financial support for some of its vital components, including the cantonment of forces.

This, in turn, may negatively affect the agreement’s security arrangements, leaving only a bloated government, marred by red tape and ill-equipped to deliver vital services or support development efforts.

The implications are clear: reconstruction will be slow or non-existent; refugees may still be stranded in camps, refusing to go home without financial support and security guarantees; and South Sudan’s future will remain in doubt.

A dangerous marriage of convenience: Two independent outcomes— the threat of financial network sanctions from the main sponsors of the peace talks and corruption-induced bankruptcy— brought President Salva Kiir and the main opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, to the negotiating table in June of this year.

As a result, President Kiir, who only a week earlier had refused to work with Dr. Machar in a transitional government, rescinded his decision after realizing that he was likely to be singled out by the international community as the main obstacle to peace.

Dr. Machar, on the other hand, has gone easy on the two-army arrangement and accepted the ultimate reunification of the armed forces while also playing down his principal demand for a federal system.

All indications are that Dr. Machar and President Kiir together forged a marriage of convenience with their Sudanese and Ugandan counterparts, whose influence grew as the Troika —the United States, Britain, and Norway— exited the peace process.

This left the process exposed to the influence, motivations and machinations of Sudan and Uganda, which prioritized their own interests.

Although this outcome allows Kiir and Machar to maintain their grip on power in Juba, retaining their titles as President and First Vice President, it amounts to a kind of Faustian bargain, with Khartoum securing the resumption of crude oil production in South Sudan as well as $26 for each barrel produced over the next three years, according to the Cooperation Agreement between Sudan and South Sudan signed in 2012.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s remaining share from each barrel sold will be spent buying goods from Uganda, creating a trade imbalance that vastly advantages Kampala.

Critics of these capitulations say they owe to coercive negotiating tactics, particularly by the Sudanese delegation.

Although key South Sudanese stakeholders attended the talks, including civil society, women, and youth, their participation was limited by Khartoum’s aggressive mediation strategy, which curtailed participants’ ability to provide input, critique the proposals, and serve as equal partners at the negotiating table.

When smaller opposition groups expressed reservations about the outcome, they were threatened into signing the accord, thus raising questions about their commitment to its implementation.

What is clear is that any “peace” arrived at through coercive and exclusionary tactics will only harden distrust between South Sudan and neighboring countries.

Just as this atmosphere led to the collapse of the August 2015 peace deal, it bodes ill for the current agreement.

True to form, the final text agreed to by al-Bashir, Museveni, Machar and Kiir glosses over numerous important issues that remain disputed.

These include the number of contested states, the quorum of cabinet and parliament meetings and the constitution-making process.

Each of these could spark a disagreement over boundary issues, which could reignite the conflict and delay the reintegration of rebel forces.

Neocolonialism:

While the realignment of relationships in East Africa has led to the normalization of ties between Eritrea and its former enemies Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan, cooperation between Uganda and Sudan in this case has regrettably come at the expense of the South Sudanese people.

The blatant attempt by Sudan and Uganda to control and dominate the future economic and political dispensation in South Sudan, together with the silence of IGAD and the broader international community, has emboldened both countries to take a new posture akin to that of a neo-colonial master.

The passive stance of South Sudan’s other neighbors as well as other international actors has allowed al-Bashir, a ruthless dictator, to gain an

What is clear is that any “peace” arrived at through coercive and exclusionary tactics will only harden distrust between South Sudan and neighboring countries.

unacceptable level of control over South Sudan’s oil sector, despite the fact that the country was born through a referendum in which 98.8 percent of South Sudan’s people voted for an independent and sovereign nation.

IGAD has given al-Bashir an opportunity to inject Khartoum’s influence into a peace agreement that was meant to end the suffering in South Sudan.

Instead, the deal ultimately has allowed the Sudanese regime to buttress its collapsing economy. Al-Bashir has been working hard to achieve this goal.

He has managed to see the core SPLM dismantled while also working to defeat or contain the myriad rebellions in Sudan by ensuring great influence over the flow of resources as well as the military of South Sudan.

Even the mechanisms for monitoring and verifying compliance with the September 12 agreement will be led by Sudan and Uganda.

After so many died for South Sudan’ssovereignty, Juba’s elites are returning power to Khartoum to further their own interests.

The powerful role that Uganda and Sudan have enshrined for themselves in the outcome of this agreement represents neocolonialism at its worst and serves as an economic coup by those in Khartoum and Kampala who seek to benefit at the expense of the people of South Sudan.

Once the implications are fully understood by the country’s population, further instability could ensue.

Dismantling the violent kleptocracy:

In South Sudan, power-sharing agreements have proven to be inadequate short-term fixes for underlying systemic challenges to governance.

It is of vital importance that South Sudanese leaders continue negotiating long-term solutions that directly address the causes of the conflict, transforming societal structures through internal dialogue and reform of the country’s security and financial sectors.

The international community must employ network sanctions targeted against the key military and civilian officials in South Sudan and their commercial enablers both inside and outside the country.

These network sanctions, along with robust anti-money laundering measures, can change the incentive structure for those benefiting from the cycles of violence and absence of rule of law.

Only then can South Sudan move from a weak, near-term power-sharing agreement to a framework for long-term change, one that dismantles the country’s violent kleptocracy.

For this to happen, South Sudan’s leaders must ensure that financial crimes, such as theft of state assets and exploitation of natural resources, do not continue with impunity.

Structural reform should focus on transforming the institutions of national security, including the military, the expenditures and abuses of which have hampered socio-economic development.

And instead of leaving economic sectors to be controlled by a handful of individuals who are well-connected to the country’s leadership, South Sudan must foster inclusive institutions at all levels of government.

This inclusiveness can be shepherded by civil society. By maintaining pressure on South Sudanese leaders during the implementation phase of the R-ARCSS, reform-minded civil society organizations can do what the international community has failed to do: hold these actors accountable for their commitments, lend transparency in resource management, and ensure participation in the constitution-making process.

Conclusion

*** As it stands, the R-ARCSS all but ensures that very little will change in South Sudan, with those in power continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of their country.

*** Government officials will continue to award themselves generous allowances regardless of the budget, those in power will continue to move the proceeds of corruption and natural resource exploitation outside the country and into the international financial system, and decision-makers will continue to grant virtually condition-free government contracts to their supporters.

*** Indeed, South Sudan will lurch from crisis to crisis until the levers of financial pressure, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, as well as the establishment and robust implementation of the Hybrid Court called for in the R-ARCSS, change the calculus of the self-interested power brokersin Juba.

*** Until then, rampant corruption and natural resource looting, combined with meddling from Khartoum and Kampala, will continue to economically exploit a young nation that fought so hard for its freedom.

John Prendergast, report co-author and Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “As it stands, the peace deal all but ensures that very little will change in South Sudan, with those in power continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of their country. Government officials will continue to award themselves generous allowances regardless of the budget, those in power will continue to move the proceeds of corruption and natural resource exploitation outside the country and into the international financial system, and decision-makers will continue to grant virtually condition-free government contracts to their supporters. Indeed, South Sudan will lurch from crisis to crisis until the levers of financial pressure, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, as well as the establishment and robust implementation of the Hybrid Court change the calculus of the self-interested power brokers in Juba.”

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “In South Sudan, power-sharing agreements have proven to be inadequate short-term fixes for underlying systemic challenges to governance. It is of vital importance that South Sudanese leaders continue negotiating long-term solutions that directly address the causes of the conflict, transforming societal structures through internal dialogue and reform of the country’s security and financial sectors.”

The Revitalized Peace Agreement is Unsustainable for South Sudan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Sept/19/2018;

On 16 September 2018, a group of leaders within SSOA who signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), issued a press statement reacting to the press statement of 14 September 2018 in which we, the non-signatories, categorically rejected the R-ARCSS.

In their press statement, they asserted and rightly so, that our people “are now reeling under a ruthless and unscrupulous regime that does not care a farthing about their plights.”

It’s tragic and very unfortunate that, after reaching such a damning conclusion, these leaders will opt to legitimize, entrench and agree to work with such regime to perpetuate the suffering of our people.

What is even laughable is that these leaders who caved in under the heavy-handed tactics of the Khartoum Government and opted to surrender for fear of being kicked out of Khartoum or the region and who themselves are stationed in foreign capitals, have the audacity to accuse us of fear.

We have taken the bold and courageous decision to say no to a mediation that is conflicted and parties in the conflict.

We opted to stand with our people and to continue the struggle until they are liberated from the hegemonic and kleptocratic regime and its policies.

Our objective as SSOA Leaders who rejected the surrender agreement, is not to engage in recrimination with our colleagues, but to set the record straight to the people of south Sudan and the international community.

The commencement of the High Level Revitalization Forum in December, presented a rare opportunity to learn from mistakes committed by the defunct 2015 peace agreement that eventually collapsed in July 2016.

Its agenda was confined to discussing two Chapters that formed the edified 2015 signed peace agreement. These were chapter (I) on the Governance and Chapter (II) of the security sector.

The opposition both SSOA and the SPLM-IO presented a joint position of all the various issues pertaining to the two chapters.

On the Governance, the Opposition demanded inter alia that:

–“the country shall adopt a federal system of governance during the Transitional period through effective division of powers and resources among the federal, state and local government; and lean government during the Transitional period at all levels of government;
— President Kiir shall not lead the Transitional government; and
— the annulment of the thirty (32) states and revert to the ten (10) states as stipulated in the TCRSS 2011 and ARCSS 2015.’’

Unfortunately, these noble and just demands to address the root causes of the current civil war raging in the Republic of South Sudan were poignantly rejected by the dictatorial regime in Juba.

Equally, the signed agreement on the 12th September doesn’t contain these fundamental demands (except for a passing reference to Federalism in the Permanent constitution making) that could’ve truly transformed our country towards a genuine democratic state and ushering of true sustainable peace agreement for our suffering masses.

We were shocked that in violation of the Charter of SSOA, inconsistent with our common position and the aspirations of our people, our colleagues went ahead and signed an agreement that ignored our fundamental principles and failed dismally to address our demands.

It is even tragic to vociferously claim that all the demands have been accepted and incorporated into the agreement.

We are not aware of a split within SSOA but differences of positions.

We the SSOA constituent members who refused to surrender and to legitimatize the corrupt and murderous regime of Kiir, will continue undeterred, with the struggle to free our masses from the tyranny and the ethno-centric regime of Kiir Mayardit.

Signatories:

Name Organization Signature
Gen. Thomas C. Swaka National Salvation Front (NAS) +256 771 938 721

Hon. Pagan A. Oketch okiechpagan@gmail.com

Dr. Hakim Dario People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) press@pdm-rss.org

Amb. Emanuel Aban
National Democratic Movement (NDM) ojwokj@hotmail.com
Tel: +1917-3279842

Dr. Gatwech K. Thich
United Democratic Republic Alliance (UDRA) +1(515) 771 3541

Contact: Amb. Emmanuel Aban
+44 7466 800244 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: jointoppositionpressrelease@gmail.com

South Sudan: Kiir’s Government troops and militias given free rein to commit new atrocities

SEPT/09/2018-Press Release, Amnesty International;

The staggering brutality of a recent military offensive in South Sudan – including murder of civilians, systematic rape of women and girls and massive looting and destruction – was fuelled by the authorities’ failure to prosecute or remove suspected war criminals, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

‘Anything that was breathing was killed’: War crimes in Leer and Mayendit, South Sudan is based on the testimonies of around 100 civilians who fled an offensive by government forces and allied youth militias in southern Unity State between late April and early July this year.

“A key factor in this brutal offensive was the failure to bring to justice those responsible for previous waves of violence targeting civilians in the region,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Regional Director for East Africa at Amnesty International.

“Leer and Mayendit counties have been hard hit in the past, and yet the South Sudanese government continues to give suspected perpetrators free rein to commit fresh atrocities. The result has been catastrophic for civilians.”

Civilians murdered in villages and swamps

Unity State has witnessed some of the most ruthless violence since the conflict in South Sudan started nearly five years ago.

The most recent wave of violence broke out on 21 April 2018 and lasted until early July – a week after the latest ceasefire was brokered on 27 June.

Dozens of civilian women and men told Amnesty International how the offensive was characterized by staggering brutality, with civilians deliberately shot dead, burnt alive, hanged in trees and run over with armoured vehicles in opposition-held areas in Mayendit and Leer counties.

Soldiers and militias used amphibious vehicles to hunt down civilians who fled to nearby swamps. Survivors described how groups of five or more soldiers swept through the vegetation in search of people, often shooting indiscriminately into the reeds.

Nyalony, an elderly woman, told Amnesty International she witnessed soldiers killing her husband and two other men:

“When the attack started, early in the morning while we were sleeping, my husband and I ran to the swamp together. Later in the morning, after the fighting was over, the soldiers came into the swamp looking for people, and sprayed the area where we were hiding with bullets. My husband was hit; he cried out in pain. He was still alive, though, and the soldiers caught him, and then they shot him again and killed him. He was unarmed and wasn’t a fighter; just a farmer.”

Those unable to flee – especially the elderly, children and people with disabilities – were often killed in their villages. Several people described how elderly relatives or neighbours were burnt alive in their tukuls – traditional dwellings – and one man over 90 years old had his throat slit with a knife.

Nyaweke, a 20-year-old woman, told Amnesty International she witnessed the soldiers shooting her father and then brutally murdering several children in the village of Thonyoor, Leer county:

“There were seven men [soldiers] who collected the children and put them into a tukul and they set the tukul on fire. I could hear the screaming. They were four boys. One boy tried to come out and the soldiers closed the door on him. There were also five boys whom they hit against the tree, swinging them. They were two [or] three years old. They don’t want especially boys to live because they know they will grow up to become soldiers.”

Other survivors described similarly horrific incidents, including one in Rukway village in Leer, where an elderly man and woman and their two young grandsons were burnt to death in a house. When their daughter ran out, carrying a small baby, a soldier shot her and crushed the baby to death with his foot.

‘They lined up to rape us’

Survivors also told Amnesty International that government and allied forces abducted numerous civilians, primarily women and girls, and held them for up to several weeks. Their captors subjected them to systematic sexual violence – as one woman put it, “the Dinka lined up to rape us”.

Many women and girls were gang-raped, with some sustaining serious injuries. Those who tried to resist were killed.

One interviewee said a girl as young as eight was gang-raped and another woman witnessed the rape of a 15-year-old boy.

A 60-year-old man described finding his 13-year-old niece after she was gang-raped by five men:

“My brother’s daughter was raped and she was going to die. When they raped her, we came and found her and she was crying and bleeding … she couldn’t hide … she told me she was raped by five men. We could not carry her and she could not walk.”

In one village alone, Médecins Sans Frontières reported treating 21 survivors of sexual violence in a 48-hour period.

In addition to being raped, many of the abducted women and girls were subjected to forced labour, including carrying looted goods for long distances, as well as cooking and cleaning for their captors. Some of those abducted – including women and men – were held in metal containers and were beaten or otherwise ill-treated.

Trail of destruction

Government forces and allied militias engaged in massive looting and destruction during their attacks in Leer and Mayendit, apparently aimed at deterring the civilian population from returning.

They systematically set fire to civilian homes, looted or burned food supplies, and stole livestock and valuables.

Many survivors returned home from weeks or months in hiding only to find that everything had been destroyed. They described how food supplies in particular had been targeted – with crops burnt, livestock looted or killed, and even fruit trees uprooted.

This deliberate attack on food sources came as civilians in Leer and Mayendit were just beginning to recover from a famine had been declared in their counties in February 2017 – the first time since 2011 that famine was declared anywhere in the world.

Vicious cycle fuelled by impunity

Amnesty International previously visited Unity State in early 2016 and documented violations that took place during the previous military offensive on southern areas of the state, including Leer county.

Following that visit, the organization identified four individuals suspected of responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity and called on South Sudan’s military chief-of-staff to investigate them. There was no response. Recent UN reports have suggested that some of these individuals may also have been involved in the atrocities committed during the 2018 offensive.

“It’s impossible to ignore the cruel reality – if the South Sudanese authorities had acted on our warnings back in 2016, this latest wave of violence against civilians in Leer and Mayendit might have been avoided,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

“The only way to break this vicious cycle of violence is to end the impunity enjoyed by South Sudanese fighters on all sides. The government must ensure that civilians are protected and that those responsible for such heinous crimes are held to account.”
Amnesty International is urging South Sudan’s government to end all the abuses and to establish immediately the Hybrid Court, which has been in limbo since 2015. The organization is also calling on the United Nations Security Council to enforce the long overdue arms embargo adopted in July.

Public Document
****************************************
For more information or to arrange an interview, please call:
Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on:
+44 20 7413 5566 or
email: press@amnesty.org
twitter: @amnestypress

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Have the Opposition’s “Reservations” been addressed in the revitalised peace agreement?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, South Sudan, SEP/16/2018, SSN;

Finally, the revitalisation process for the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) drew to a close. The South Sudanese people and indeed the world at large, witnessed the signing of the peace agreement on the 12th of September 2018 under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and in the presence of the IGAD Chairman, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed.

But the striking feature that emerged from the signing ceremony was that people were not all smiles. We saw how Dr Riek Machar extended his hand to shake President Kiir’s hand while the latter did the same but not looking him in the face.

It’s reminiscent of what we saw in Khartoum at the initialling ceremony of the Peace Agreement where President Kiir refused to shake hands with Dr Riek Machar.

If such an attitude could not be hidden away from the cameras on a world stage, is it realistic to expect a minimum of a healthy working relationship between the two leaders?!

People still do remember President Kiir’s statement that he can never work with Dr Riek Machar and that the latter can only be allowed to return to South Sudan as a citizen.

Would the attitude mentioned above not reinforce the fact that Salva Kiir hasn’t indeed changed his mind about working with Riek Machar?!

The South Sudanese people do not deserve such leaders to fill up positions doing nothing while plotting against each other. They expect a lot of hard work from those at the helm to move the country forward.

Our people want a government that would ensure the upholding of the rule of law, the provision of services, the commencement of development projects, and above all a lasting peace in the country.

It’s evident that such aspirations are to be put on hold in the presence of the current sort of relations between the President and his would-be First Vice President. At best, it would be more of the same if the July 2016 scenario doesn’t recur.

Mixed reactions received the peace agreement both from the South Sudanese people and from the international community. From the government side, it was quite obvious how jubilant was the Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, declaring that all have signed the peace agreement which was untrue.

The National Salvation Front (NAS), the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), the United Democratic Republic Alliance (UDRA), Former Political Detainee (FPD) – in opposition if you will, the National Resistance Front (NRF), and the United People’s Democratic Movement (UPDM) rejected the peace agreement.

The reason that the Minister of Information could hardly hide his glee is that those who signed the deal have handed the government legitimacy on a silver platter. Should things go wrong, and the agreement isn’t adhered to, it would continue as a legitimate government, and that would allow her to conduct elections on its own.

As for the majority of the South Sudanese people, it looks like a Deja vu of what happened in August 2015 albeit this time the reservations were from the side of the opposition. Scepticism is rife because as we speak, violence is underway in many parts of the country.

It’s only yesterday that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM IO) Deputy Spokesperson brought to our attention the on-going fighting in the Yei area and Unity State. But on top of that, there are new factors that weren’t there before complicating the whole situation.

The recent deployment of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) in Equatoria and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Upper Nile has introduced a new dimension to the conflict that could quickly degenerate into a regional war.

The great African war (aka the African World War) of 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is still vivid in the memories of many people. The notion of such a situation happening in South Sudan is not far-fetched.

These forces are there to prop up Kiir’s government making it almost impossible to establish any trust between it and the parties to the agreement.

The international community did send out a message of its own regarding the revitalised ARCSS. Firstly, we noticed that the Troika group of countries and the European Union (EU) did not append their signatures to the revitalised peace agreement.

Secondly, the Troika showed its scepticism concerning the deal unequivocally. In a statement following the big event, it said a significant change from the parties in the implementation of the agreement needs to be seen on the ground before it could support the deal. It also cited the repeated ceasefire violations that resulted in the recent death of civilians in Wau and the killing of 13 aid workers since the beginning of the peace talks.

Thirdly, it did cast some doubts on the implementation of the agreement in spirit and letter to the extent that it threatened to withdraw funding should nothing tangible happens.

Many international personalities thought what was signed in Addis Ababa on 12/09/2018 was a caricature of a credible peace agreement. John Prendergast, Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said I quote, “Today’s peace deal lacks meaningful checks and balances on a presidency that already wields immense powers, which are primarily used to loot the country’s resources and to deploy extreme violence against opponents.”

Such are the reactions of the majority of the stakeholders in South Sudan as well as the friends and well-wishers of the South Sudanese people. Those in the opposition who chose to sign the peace agreement are now trying vainly to sell it to the populace. They are saying that they signed the peace agreement because the IGAD heads of States resolved their 4-point reservations.

I do not believe in the first place that there were genuine reservations but rather a ploy to save face for abandoning SSOA’s stated positions.

I have seen a document purportedly written by Dr Lam Akol and also read what he said on Radio Tamazuj. He was trying to justify their decision to sign the agreement stating that their reservations were all met.

However, he was deliberately inaccurate as he said all the opposition groups have agreed to sign the peace agreement. But now we know that there is a split within his Movement, the National Democratic Movement (NDM).

Likewise, SSOA appears to have split up into two groups. Yesterday evening I came across the joint statement to the people of South Sudan and the international community issued by some members of SSOA explaining their reasons for rejecting the revitalised peace agreement. The group included NAS, PDM, FPD-in opposition, NDM, and UDRA. Ambassador Emmanuel Aban signed on behalf of the NDM.

But I would like to present a counter-argument to Dr Lam’s assertion that all issues were resolved. Lam Akol is presumably talking on behalf of SSOA being the person tasked with matters related to governance.

It’s apparent that the agreement takes care of the elites by the formation of a bloated government but not the problems facing the common man on a daily basis in South Sudan.

1. The number of States: ARCSS is based on ten states; thus it cannot be revitalised by legitimising a violation namely the 32 States. Dr Lam Akol talks of two committees one for tribal boundaries and the other for the number of States. It means that they have recognised Kiir’s 32 States.

Furthermore, they have accepted the use of tribal boundaries to resolve a political problem setting a precedent for creating States on that basis. Perhaps it’s the first time in contemporary history that tribal boundaries would now be employed to establish what is necessarily required for good governance, efficient administration, and equitable services delivery.

The move would likely open a Pandora’s box that would exacerbate the conflict. For example, what would they say if every tribe in South Sudan asks for a separate State? What would be their argument to deny the smaller tribes of having their States? Then would it be realistic to have 64 States based on tribal boundaries?!

2. Quorum in the council of ministers: The government still maintains the majority with the inclusion of 6 members from the opposition. It can decide on something without the opposition and enact whatever it wants. It would also be possible for the government to use covert means to recruit allies and achieve the quorum for a cabinet meeting.

Here; those members of SSOA seem to forget that Kiir and his government lack legitimacy. The solution would have been a rotational Presidency and insistence on increasing the quorum.

3. Constitution: The explanation given is that the government wanted a review of the Constitution while the oppositions demanded a Constitution-making process. The resolution is to commence a workshop on the matter that would be facilitated with a renowned international institute like the Max Planck. The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 (TCRSS 2011 amended 2015) never required a workshop, why now?! It’s a deviation from the main issues.

Strangely enough, there was no mention of federalism anywhere in the statement. It makes one wonders whether these leaders have fallen prey to the delaying tactics of the government or still worse, they might have foregone federalism.

4. The issue of the guarantors on the Security Arrangement: It’s untrue to say that no force can enter South Sudan without permission from the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) because of the Arms Embargo. Sudan and Uganda have sent troops into South Sudan while the Arms Embargo is in full force. I have seen a video clip showing the UPDF entering the Yei River area. Have the two countries sought UNSC permission before sending their troops into South Sudan? As far as I am aware and presumably all of you, nothing of that sort happened.

As the war rages on even during the signing of the revitalised peace agreement, the beginning of the end is not in sight. Hence, peace remains elusive in the views of the majority of the people of South Sudan.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Kiir-Machar’s Khartoum Peace Agreement: A Looming disaster

BY: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudanese, SEP/15/2018, SSN;

Throughout the South Sudanese peace process, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) has been faced with serious political issues. These issues make it nearly impossible for the armed opposition to come up with a counterproposal that could force the government to accept a genuine peace.

The armed opposition failed the people of South Sudan by accepting a pro-tyrannical peace deal that will only work in favor of Salva Kiir.

This Arab Sudan-mediated so-called revitalized peace agreement is designed to empower Kiir’s brutality, keep elites in control and deny democratic reforms to take shape. This peace agreement is not just wrong; it is a looming disaster for the people of South Sudan.

Why is the Khartoum’s power-sharing deal disaster?

There are many critical issues the East African regional peace mediators have ignored.

However, the failure to address the root causes of the civil war, expansion of the government, the issue of 32 states, proposed legislative body, and the failure to replace the current National Constitutional Review Commission with an impartial and inclusive body are the main issues that the SPLM-IO should have paid close attention to.

It is good to remind people that most of the SPLM-IO’s fundamental reform provisions were deliberately rejected by the mediators in late August.

Kiir’s regime and its regional allies are working hard to make sure this pro-Juba peace deal is materialized.

For instance, during the signing process in Addis Ababa, the government, SPLM-IO, and other political parties were forced to agree that the National Constitutional Review Commission, which is currently being run by Kiir’s loyalists, will only be restructured in the fourth month of the transitional period.

The new provision stipulates that an internationally renowned constitutional entity will conduct workshops for parties to the conflict and that the parties would then use the outcome of the workshops to draft a new legislation to amend the constitution.

Why would the armed opposition and other parties accept to amend the constitution four months after the transitional period begin?

It is important to remind people that Juba’s regime consistently refused to allow the proposed constitutional review committee to study and amend the current tyrannical constitution.

There are also logical reasons to believe that four months are enough for Kiir to formulate a strategy that could impede the constitutional review process to carry out its mandates, let alone the fact that the requirement is stipulated in the final pact.

This peace was pre-determined by the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). Everything in it was designed by Kiir to make sure he accommodates SPLM-IO’s leaders in exchange for his cruelty to continue.

What I find baffling is that the armed opposition keeps arguing that it accepts the agreement because it wants to end the suffering of South Sudanese refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The SPLM-IO is categorically wrong on this. Remember, the armed opposition did not cause the ongoing conflict. Its soldiers and supporters are technically living outside Juba and other government-controlled cities.

The idea that it wants to end the war by abandoning its reform agenda without giving a reasonable explanation is absurd.

The armed opposition fought for almost five years, claiming it worked for reforming the political system. It is now clear that the SPLM-IO is merely looking for ways to rejoin the very tyrannical system it once rejected. This is rather intriguing, to say the least.

There is a newly-found argument within the SPLM-IO that assertively claims that anyone who questions the viability of the peace deal is wrong or is against its doctrine.

Even some of the armed opposition supporters went too far, calling on those who questioned SPLM-IO’s peace strategy to either go to the bush or shut-up.

This is, again, one of the fallacious arguments being disseminated by clueless armed opposition supporters who seem to lack critical thinking.

For example, when Juba initially attached reopening of oil fields to Khartoum’s peace agreement, every sensible South Sudanese knew that Kiir was not working for real peace; rather, he was looking for ways to have huge financial power before the SPLM-IO and anyone who opposed his leadership to strike a deal with him.

He did this to make sure that he maintains an upper-hand, should the war resume in Juba when rebels rejoin his government.

This issue was raised by many South Sudanese political analysts—nevertheless, the supposedly democratic movement of SPLM-IO suddenly became hostile to those who questioned its political dogma.

Do you still remember when in August 2015 Kiir signed the agreement with a list of reservations?

The SPLM-IO has been committing serious violations by allowing Juba’s repressive regime to get whatever it wants.

For instance, the armed opposition released Prisoners of War (POWs) and political detainees and abided by ceasefire agreements while the government keeps prosecuting POWs and political prisoners and keeps attacking the armed opposition positions.

Kiir also refuses to accept SPLM-IO’s peace deal provisions he sees as a threat to his ruthless leadership. This systematic refusal of the armed opposition demands seems to work in Kiir’s favor.

For example, the most contentious issues in this peace agreement are the issue of 32 states, National Constitutional Review Commission, the consensus in the proposed incumbent government-dominated parliament, root causes of the civil war, security arrangements among others.

Kiir is truly a calculating dictator. After he realized in Addis Ababa that the SPLM-IO would refuse to sign the final deal, he then instructed his negotiating team to come up with a smart way to lure the armed opposition and other political leaders to accept the agreement.

He did this by downplaying that the issue of 32 states is not a big problem because a body proposed in the pact will be tasked to resolve it or the people of South Sudan will decide through elections.

Kiir also traps the SPLM-IO by claiming that constitutional amendments will be conducted four months after the transitional period began.

This is a monumental red flag that the armed opposition and other political leaders failed to examine.

The armed opposition must tell the people of South Sudan why it puts too much focus on wanting to secure a peace deal while the government is simply working hard to destroy its existence.

Is the recent peace deal really the democratic agenda the armed opposition has been singing for nearly five years?

It is increasingly becoming more evident that the SPLM-IO is prepared to sign-up for any deal if it is given its shares in any proposed transitional government.

This decision appears to be politically correct, but it can only be just if the armed opposition is simply fighting for its own viability, not on behalf of the people.

For nearly five years, the SPLM-IO vowed to either reform South Sudan’s political system or remove Kiir from power by all necessary means.

Now the very central idea the armed opposition drove its existence from is surprisingly vanishing. The SPLM-IO did not sign a good deal.

The Khartoum peace agreement is not a good deal. What the armed opposition signed is an accommodative pact — this is no different from exchanging your own freedom with an autocratic ring.

Kiir is an experienced and cunning tyrant. This peace is not a real peace, but a rather all about awarding positions to the SPLM-IO and other political parties.

Kiir wants these parties to abandon their political doctrines and rejoin this infamous Oyee’s band.

It is shameful and must be confronted by the people of South Sudan. The elites in South Sudan must be told by the people that they are working for their own bellies, not the people.

The SPLM-IO’s apparent deal with the government suggests that South Sudan’s current tyrannical leadership could probably continue ruling for years.

It must be made abundantly clear that the armed opposition has no legislative or constitutional power to amend the constitution.

Kiir rules by decree and he loves it. Any attempt to deny him such a one-man rule is doomed to failure because he will have a legislative number to overrule any attempt to democratize the constitution.

Constitutional changes are done through parliament or an established legal entity.

This peace deal is simply an empowering of the existing Kiir’s viciousness because the two important government branches, the National Constitutional Review Commission and the future transitional Parliament, will be controlled by Salva Kiir’s fanatics.

The SPLM-IO and some of its clueless supporters must stop waging a deceitful campaign to try to push people into believing that Khartoum’s power-sharing deal is the real deal.

The idea that reforms will be done after the armed opposition rejoined the government is simply a political blunder.

This seemingly twisted assumption can only be accepted by uninformed individuals. If the SPLM-IO is fully committed to this questionable deal, then it must prepare for a third political tragedy.

This is the 21st-century: the days of political cults are over.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

South Sudan’s New Peace Deal Could Bring More War

BY: John Prendergast and Brian Adeba, The Daily Beast, SEP/12/2018, SSN;

Wednesday’s agreement is at its heart simply a crass division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns which the authors described as ‘kakocracy- meaning the “rule or government by the worst of the people.”

The peace deal signed today, September 12, 2018, between the government of South Sudan and armed opposition groups has significant shortcomings that could easily lead the country right back to full-scale war.

The South Sudanese have endured immense suffering in the last five years as the fighting has brought on food shortages and massive displacement. Nearly five million people have been forced out of their homes, inside and outside the country. Uncounted thousands are dead.

The country’s economy is a write-off. Double-digit inflation has ensured that millions are on a knife’s edge of survival and the risk of famine still looms large.

At the root of the conflict in South Sudan is the existence of a state whose institutions have been hijacked and repurposed to benefit a few top-level politicians.

Other groups, each clamoring for a bigger piece of the pie—or the whole of it—then engaged in a violent contest to capture the state, plunging the country into a deadly war.

Today’s agreement is at its heart simply a crass division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns.

It lacks meaningful checks and balances on executive overreach in a country in which the presidency already wields immense powers that are used mainly to loot the country’s resources and deploy extreme violence against opponents, whether military or civilian.

Beneath the veneer of power-sharing arrangements on a host of contentious issues, including state borders being redrawn by the regime to reinforce its control among regional and ethnic bases, lurk several articles that grant undue advantage to the chief executive.

Worst of all, this peace agreement lacks realistic outcomes on many of the most contentious issues.

Over the years, South Sudan’s vast oil revenues have been pocketed by high-level politicians and their families, carted out of the country and invested in high-value property and other businesses.

An inquiry into the root causes of the conflict by the African Union in 2015 identified corruption as a major driver of conflict in the country.

This looting of the public purse requires a solution that will stop politicians dipping into state coffers for their own financial benefit.

Yet in many aspects, the new peace deal fails to undo the theft of government revenue by entrusting the same politicians with final oversight on revenue spending without any meaningful restraint.

Beyond checks on executive power, any peace pact between armed protagonists is underpinned by its security arrangements.

With ambiguous, unrealistic, and unsustainable expectations, the current security arrangements are a mish-mash of stipulations that create doubt and uncertainty for the leaders of armed groups on the critical matter of security in the capital, Juba, and funding for the cantonment of insurgent fighters.

These challenges could unravel the whole agreement and plunge the country into another cycle of deadly violence.

The regional mediators behind this deal succeeded in getting the protagonists talking again and persuaded them to respect a signed ceasefire, but this could be nothing more that the lull before the big storm with the consequences looming on the horizon like a category five hurricane.

However, it need not be this way.

The United States, Europe, and other friends of the South Sudanese people must build more leverage to ensure implementation of a peace deal that addresses the systemic problems fueling the war.

The U.S holds the biggest potential stick. Recent U.S targeted sanctions on individuals and entities behind the war in South Sudan had some impact, giving the government an incentive to sign the current deal, but much greater pressure will be required for its implementation, and for good governance to have a chance.

What is required, specifically, is for the U.S. and other willing nations to impose sanctions on the networks of South Sudanese officials and their commercial collaborators who continue to loot the country’s resources, and to combine those sanctions with anti-money-laundering measures designed ultimately to deny the war criminals and their commercial collaborators access to the international banking system.

America and Europe must raise the cost to those facilitating the destruction of the world’s newest country as well as those benefiting from it, in particular the banking and real estate sectors in countries neighboring South Sudan.

Until the costs of war and chaos outweigh their benefits, the deadly status quo will remain, no matter what pieces of paper are signed. END

Brian Adeba is Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project; John Prendergast is Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry.

BREAKING NEWS: South Sudan Peace deal signed today…. A Return to Full-scale War sooner!!

SEPT/12/2018, SSN;

Breaking News: South Sudan Peace Deal Signed Today – but Fails to Address Federalism, Corruption and other important issues pended in Khartoum that are the root causes of the perpetual conflict and division among South Sudanese politico-military groups.

September 12, 2018 will be remembered as a day the people of South Sudan have again been betrayed…yet again by fellow Africans (IGAD) and the World. Cynically, it must be recalled that in 1972, the Addis Ababa Agreement between the South Sudan and Arab Khartoum was signed in the same venue but it was finally abrogated by the Arabs.

The peace deal signed today in Addis Ababa between the government of South Sudan and armed opposition groups has significant flaws. In fact, just before the peace was signed today, it was reported the Kiir’s government forces attacked Machar’s SPLA-IO forces in Yei River State of Central Equatoria Region near the borders of Uganda.

Disappointingly, those of Riek Machar of the SPLM/A-IO and the Lam Akol’s and Changson’s of the so-called South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) have clearly in broad daylight proven that they are simply spineless and mindless of their unforgivable betrayal of the people of South Sudan.

Bravo to those of Dr. Dario Hakim of the PDM and General Thomas Cirillo of the NAS and others who steadfastly and rightly objected to the fake and dangerous peace deal that is an impending and delayed disaster in waiting.

Furthermore, this new peace deal will be monitored by Arab Sudan and Museveni’s Uganda, both of whom are great beneficiaries of this peace deal (more than the people of South Sudan), as well as the being the main benefactors and supporters of president Kiir of South Sudan.

They are all complicit with killer president Salva Kiir in their participation and destruction of the nation and they all will be made to account on the day of reckoning.

Most importantly, the IGAD Council of Ministers in its meeting in Addis Ababa this afternoon nullified the five reservations expressed previously by the warring parties and instead adopted the peace document initialled in Khartoum.

This agreement failed to address the looting done by South Sudan leaders of state resources and revenues.

The five reservations pended in the Agreement are the following:
1- Federalism… which is the preferred system of governance in the country.
2- Number of States… that would be established in the country, that’s a drastic reduction in the current unsustainable number of states established by dictator Kiir.
3- Referendum demand by others that must be carried out before the pre-interim period.
4- Establishment of a Commission to look into the number of states that are to be established.
5- Accountability for war crimes committed etc….

Inevitably, these shortcomings by these capricious and selfish so-called ‘leaders’ could easily lead the country right back to yet another full-scale war.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “Today’s peace deal lacks meaningful checks and balances on a presidency that already wields immense powers, which are primarily used to loot the country’s resources and deploy extreme violence against opponents. South Sudan’s vast oil revenues have been pocketed by high-level politicians and their families and carted out of the country.

This new peace deal fails to undo the theft of government revenue by entrusting the same corrupt politicians without any meaningful checks and balances.”

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “This peace deal is simply a division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns.

The signed agreement reinforces the status quo and increases the odds of a full-fledged return to war, in its failure to address state capture by these politicians or reform in hijacked institutions.

The U.S. and other willing nations should impose sanctions and anti-money laundering measures on the networks of South Sudanese officials and their commercial collaborators who continue to loot the country’s resources and to deny them access to the international banking system.”

Nonetheless, the new Kiir-Machar & SSOA Agreement apparently resolved these four outstanding issues as follows:–

1- On the issue of the States, Annex D was reinstated.

2- The Quorum in the Council of Ministers shall continue as 23 provided that at least six (6) of them are from the Opposition.

3- Permanent Constitution making process: Articles 6.7 – 6.9 are deleted and replaced with the following provisions:
6-7. During the 4th month of the Transitional Period, a Workshop shall be convened for the
Parties to agree on the details of conducting the constitution process.
6.8. The Workshop shall be moderated and facilitated by an institute renowned
internationally for constitution making.

4- The issue of deployment of the RPF shall be handled through the engagement of IGAD and the UN Security Council.

(More updates, details and fallouts coming soon on the signed Addis Ababa peace deal coming………….)

Human Rights and Opposing Political Opinions in South Sudan

BY: Kuir ë Garang, Poet & Author, Ph.D. Candidate, Toronto, SEPT/10/2018, SSN;

There is no question that South Sudan will take time to get used to civil societies expressing strong positions in sociopolitical issues and of strong personalities, that are not political players, to be strongly opposed to some government fundamentals.

As I’ve always reiterated, no one expects the SPLM to build Ottawa in Juba in ten or twenty years. This is a commonsense given.

Most, if not all of us, expect South Sudan to produce development results incrementally.

However, it would be foolhardy to expect South Sudan not to put in place economic and political structures that make prosperity possible. Starting structures, rudimentary maybe, should’ve been in place since 2005.

Sadly, all we’ve are rotten systemic models copied wholesale from Khartoum.

These copied governance models, such as too much powers vested in the presidency and the national security censorship of the newspapers, have shredded South Sudanese social and political fabric; that’s, what’s left by the North-South war up to 2005.

Amnesty International has argued that “Since the start of South Sudan’s internal armed conflict in December 2013, hundreds of people, mostly men, have been detained under the authority of the National Security Service (NSS) and Military Intelligence Directorate in various detention facilities across the capital city, Juba.

Many of those who’ve been detained have been held under the category of “political detainees” on allegations that they’ve communicated with or supported the opposition.”

These are usually assumptions made to scare people away from opinions that go against government narratives.

In June 2017, the Associated Pressed (AP) reported that “15 South Sudanese journalists have been arrested, beaten, jailed, threatened or denied access to information in the past four months, according to the Union of Journalists in South Sudan.

At least 20 members of the foreign press have been banned from or kicked out of South Sudan in the past six months, the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa says.”

However, there has to be a point at which we can sigh and say that ‘things are bad now but they’ll improve in due course.’

Undoubtedly, there must indeed be a point at which things should take a positive turn. For many South Sudanese, this positive turn would only come with the end of the civil war and the advent of peace.

This state of mind, for all intent and purposes, is a bad.

Waiting for the war to stop completely for things to start taking a positive turn is to do a great disservice to the country and the civil population. The civil population is already suffering like it has been for the past sixty years.

In the mid-1990s, the SPLM under the leadership of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, under intense pressure from international aid agencies, regional bodies and internal split in 1991, and the pressure to build civil structures and democratic governance, knew that it didn’t have to wait for the war to end to start institutionalizing its administrative infrastructures.

The Civil Administration for New Sudan (CANS) was one such response. Even if CANS was still subordinated to the military Modus Operandus of the SPLA like the SPLM was, its creation is a manifest testimony that war doesn’t have to end for the turning point to be created.

As Dr. Luka Biong argued in “Social capital and civil war:” The Dinka communities in Sudan’s civil war, wars don’t necessarily destroy communities’ social capitals. While some strong social fabrics are weakened during the civil war period, social capital isn’t completely eradicated because new social relations are built.

Biong writes that “recent thinking has begun to challenge the premise that civil wars undermine social capital, arguing instead that violence is less about social breakdown than about the creation of new forms of social relations.”

Since 2005, when the autonomous government was established in Juba, and more so after 2013 crisis that led to a vicious and costly armed conflict, there has been no respect for diverse opinions and human rights in South Sudan.

The Ruling SPLM has relied on the inexcusable and the now cliched “we are still a young nation” to get away with human rights abuses and incompetence.

While countries can be considered young in terms of capacities (human and technological), no country is too young to know moral imperatives such as respect for human rights and diverse political opinions.

While Juba prides in the fact that it’s a democratic state and that it doesn’t stifle political opinions, its practical actions say otherwise.

Intolerance to opposing political opinions, political intimidations, arbitrary arrests, political assassinations and media censorship have become the ‘new normal.’

They aren’t merely the subversion of the normative systemic functions but the system itself, to use Alex De Waal’s phrase.

The recent arrest of Peter Biar Ajak on July 28, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge and a very vocal personality and analyst in favor of younger leadership for South Sudan (which he dubbed ‘Generational Exit), is a clear testimony that Juba isn’t willing to take a positive turn.

Bashir Ahmed Mohamed Babiker, another South Sudanese activist, like Ajak, was also arrested on August 4 by the South Sudanese National Security in Yambio and he’s being held without any charges as his health deteriorates.

Kerbino Agok Wol, a South Sudanese businessman and philanthropist, is also being held by SSNS in Juba since April 27 without charges being brought against him.

Governments have every right to take any citizen to court if they clearly demonstrate that such a citizen has violated the constitution or committed a crime of any form.

And this is the work of South Sudanese courts and the judicial system. Charges need to be brought and proven in front of a competent judge before someone is arrested.

Sadly, the ghost of the SPLA militarized mentality is still ruling Juba. SPLM is a quasi-political party that is actually a military entity draped in a political attire.

So, when will the turning point begin?

The answer is now and e-very-day. As the peace agreement being finalized in Khartoum gives us hope for a peaceful South Sudan, it doesn’t follow that respect for human rights and diverse political opinions will come with it.

With no doubt, as it has been recently noted by some analysts, like Brian Adeba of the Washington-based Enough Project, South Sudanese agreements are usually pacts among powerful elites that don’t put the needs of the average civilian into account.

So, it’s common knowledge that the advent of the peace agreement wouldn’t guarantee respect for human rights and diverse political opinions.

It’s therefore time Juba not only speaks about the respect for human rights, but actually acts on it. Diverse opinions should be allowed as long as they’re conveyed in a respectful manner.

No country can develop — unless it’s a dictatorship — as a nation of a single opinion. Progress needs different and diverse ideas. END

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. He’s also a PhD student at York University in Toronto, Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.com