It is becoming increasingly clear that the IGAD-led mediation process in Addis Ababa will not lead to a definitive resolution to the conflict in South Sudan in the near future. Three months after the cessation of hostilities agreement, there has been no progress on implementation modalities, tabling of an agenda and declaration of principles. And yet the talks have been adjourned (yet again) to April 31st 2014 ‘to give time for the mediators to consult with the heads of IGAD’. We have fully prioritized this externally driven process of mediation as the sole response to the current crisis. This, despite misgivings about whether those currently at the negotiating table fully represent the needs and fears of the communities affected and impacted by the conflict. Indeed, there have been numerous calls for inclusion of various stakeholders in the Addis Ababa talks, but fewer calls for a parallel mediation process that engages the grassroots. This must change. It will be important to recognize that the victims and perpetrators of this conflict are interchangeable to an extent, numbers involved are huge and in the case of the Nuer, impact entire age-set(s). Conversely, reasons for sustained violence continue to evolve; for some this is retaliation – albeit, seemingly no point at which they are sated – others would like to overthrow government, while for those in Addis, it is about political reform(s). It is presumptuous to believe that all these differing viewpoints will be addressed solely in Addis Ababa. In addition, this conflict has impacted entire communities: over one million persons displaced, there is no valid estimate of the numbers of civilians dead but we do know that they are many and entire towns burned to the ground. This has intensified an environment of distrust amongst communities who will have to continue living side by side. There are also fears that this conflict, if left to escalate further, could lead to splits within the greater Nuer community, and that communities on the sidelines of the conflict will become embroiled in it. We must de-escalate this situation. Community-led processes of dialogue, truth, justice and restitution can potentially tackle outstanding issues including how to re-establish law and order at the grassroots; disarming or rehabilitation of armed youths and processes for the return of the displaced persons – including perhaps compensation. They allow communities to identify their missing and dead, and redress grievances. Community-led peace agreements can inspire a lasting peace, leading perhaps to a new definition of CPA; Community-led Peace Agreements. Numerous examples of community peace-building and conflict resolution processes exist in South Sudan. This article draws lessons from these past efforts (see appendix), in an attempt to offer modalities for engagement at the grassroots.
By Reng’o Gyyw Reng’o, Addis Ababa
Just over a month ago, a well placed individual in the system, South Sudan, confided in me and told me the information I did not understand, – Khartoum had been supplying weapons to Juba, during and after the December 2013 crises. The gentleman was very happy. The only question that I asked, was, ” don’t you think Khartoum is doing the same thing to the other side?”. His answer was no. “Why would they?” He asked. I said ” for the same old reasons, wanting to fail South Sudan and now that we are fighting each other, Khartoum might be interested in seeing us annihilating each other!” I was assured Khartoum now needs Jaath [oil] flowing.
While my fears were not addressed, the gentleman sentiments were not isolated. Khartoum’s ambiguous hibernation during the crises, made many regional and international analysts happy. They were praising Khartoum , believing a new era has dawn between Khartoum and Juba. The notorious Islamist Ali Karti, Sudan’s foreign Minister gave concrete assurances of his country’s neutrality in the conflict. He had also taken part in the IGAD’s mission to South Sudan to resolve crises.
However, piecing together number of evidences and occurrences today between South Sudan and Khartoum, it makes me believe that my misgivings then are coming home. First of all, Khartoum was kept out of the countries interfering in South Sudan current conflicts. This is in spite of the fact that it was ferrying weapons to the government in Juba. As long as it was supporting Kiir’s government clandestinely, public relations placard dictates that it was a neutral friend.
You know President Kiir has been accused by his colleagues of flirtation with Beshir, NCP and Khartoum. It was evident in the press release during the December 2013 when the SPLM opposition accused Kiir of wanting to establish a new party that will work the NCP. Only serious minded citizens did not believe that. Otherwise, the gullible groups took the message serious.
There were other developments that were convincing that a new beginning has just arrived in the relationship between Juba and Khartoum. Juba had requested Khartoum to deploy troops in South Sudan to protect oil fields. To effect this, Minister of Defence, Hon. Kuol Manyang Juuk, had to pay a visit to Khartoum just over two weeks ago. Sudan thus has become one of the two neighbouring countries that are seen publicly to be supporting President Kiir. The other being Uganda.
Last week, President Kiir paid a visit to Khartoum to meet President Beshir. It was assumed number of issues were discussed, peace talks, implementation of cooperation agreements, oil protection, etc. However, Abyei, and border demarcation were not mooted. The two issues were not on the table for discussion. Juba read into the mind of Khartoum,-raising these would be a red line. After all, they are “not crucial issues” at the moment.
As soon as President Kiir left Khartoum for Uganda, Sudan’s AirForce bombed Panriang and other areas in Unity State. People were shocked. What was it that Kiir had gone to fetch in Khartoum, “peace or bombs?” I discussed this with my friend Paanluel on the facebook. Below were our exchanged.
P: Khartoum bombing Panrieng county. Kiir was in Khartoum 1-2 ago.
Me: They were welcoming him with bombs.
P: Apparently, yes.
Me: Who might they have targeted? Are there Riek’s rebels in the area, therefore helping Kiir?
P: No. Bombing the civilians.
Me: Hahaha…He has lost it all. That is a message for Kiir to interpret.
Me: Have they condemned it?, I mean the Kiirs.
P: Aguer Panyang was doing the laundry.
Me: I do not know when Kiir will wake to the reality of politics, and development. He has revejuvanted Beshir to strength and potency, and now Beshir is slapping him incessantly on the face.
P: Yeah and Beshir is consolidating his position. While kiir is fighting everyone in the RSS. Beshir is wooing his political rivals.
Me: That is what I have seen over the media.
p: Consolidation and with consolidation comes the exigency of creating distraction. Possibly a conflict with RSS wud be a perfect one.
Me: A sound politician would that, to consolidate at home? I mean I would do that.
P: And create trouble abroad to keep the consolidation intack, and the public occupied with “cockroaches in Juba.”
Me: Hahaha… Kiir is a toddler when it comes to that politics. I would have done just that, when crises where developing in Juba, to divert the rebels.
P: yep. Beshir [is] doing it, perhaps.
Me: We would be fighting along the border now, while seeking international mediation
Khartoum in its crafty ways, was quick in denying any bombing. That was one negative development.
Just few days ago, Juba announced that its intelligence reported massive movements of the Sudan Armed Forces along the border. The Military Spokesperson Philip Aguer made an alarm. However, Khartoum through its armed forces spokesperson denied the allegation. Yesterday but one, Sudan Tribune website published Khartoum or Sudan’s reservations on IGAD’s mediation, accusing IGAD’s process of being bad. We noticed something that was growing.
On Tuesday 14th April 2014, all of a sudden, Bentiu, Capital of Unity State fell to Riek Machar rebels that were alleged to have come from Sudan. South Sudan Military Spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer, accused Sudan of not only offering sanctuary to the South Sudan’s rebels but also training and supporting them. Still, Khartoum has denied that accusation as if there is going to be a day they will accept any accusation.
We knew something was developing when rebels went silent. It might be that they have now made another agreement with Khartoum over the oil. I had just raised an alarm the other day, that the Juba’s way of handling Khartoum is wanting in all aspects. That type of foreign policy relations would definately backfire. Juba wake up. I am missing Mading Ngor on that.
From Karach Deng: Sparkle in Crowd
By David Aoloch Bion
God created three unchanging beauties
Sun in the sky,
Cherub in the Heaven
Love on the Earth
I drew my Love on Tulip leaf
I love the painting. I obsess about…
The leaf dried, wind blew it off
She left me with hallucination
In day, she appears, I cuddle the bosom
But, in my hands illusion
At night, she appears, I fondle waist
But, abreast a dream
She disturbs me grimacing
But “I am not sorry”
The Love that do not cause pain
To it author is nothing but shadow of…
Men come to world with nothing
Men leave with nothing
I will go to soil with nothing
But screaming “Karach”
In eternity I will recite infinitely
Karach Deng: Sparkle in Crowd is the title of unpublished collection of poems about love, beauty, courage, faith …etc
By Malith Alier
Stand on the banks of the River one lovely evening like this and watch the River flow north in one style, progressively determined for its destination. The cadet blue water takes after the River valley silts. The Riverbanks are lush with evergreen grasses that drink from the River day and night at no cost. Huge green trees parade calmly morning and evening along the course of the River. They play with the mighty wind during the day in contrast to the morning and evening posture.
Stand on the banks and watch the shadow of the trees cross to the other side of the River during sunrise and sunset. The sun mysteriously throws plant shadows across to commune with one another on the divide in a spiritual union.
The River attracts every creature, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and above all people who develop inseparable association for millions of years with the River. The River is their life and their life is the River.
Crocodiles, hippos, fish and insects dominate the second longest River in the world. The crocodiles are the strongest of the reptiles. They police the Nile down to the bottom. They are master swimmers and live longer than any other creatures in the Nile. Their teeth grow continuously. The new ones push the old ones out in gradual replacement. They must have the strongest jaws in the world to support the long teeth that are in perpetual growth.
Walk on the Nile one evening and notice amazing scenery, the nature’s gift of water that nourishes flora and fauna. The water swirls on the deepest spot as it moves with speed like a dancing crane. This is one of the latent powers that enable the water to redefine the River course. The water has the power to carry away soil and vegetation in its passage. It soaks hard ground and dissolves it despite resistance. The rocks underneath are laid bare by the same power that dissolves and erodes the less compacted soils.
The Nile feeds and keeps alive the Mediterranean Sea in Arabian Egypt. The people of Egypt who demand exclusive use of water also regard it as a give from the almighty. This false entitlement perception is a result of the Anglo Egyptian treaties of 1929 and 1959. These not only deprived the upstream peoples of their natural accession but also set a dangerous course for the future generations to contend with.
River Nile is like a great serpent moving from highlands to lowlands. It dug a trench million years ago where water collects from the mountains through the valleys and eventually to the sea. It waters the fields that feed mankind.
Lake Victoria joins the countries of East Africa of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. This is thought to be the important source of the Nile. The city of Jinja is the first exit point of the River. The River meanders through Uganda, DRC, South Sudan, Sudan and finally Egypt. Egypt is the self-appointed mother or father of the Nile River who has never been.
The total length the River is approximately 3,700km or 2,300 miles from the city of Jinja to the delta.
The Nile is given names in sections from the Lake to the sea. From Lake Victoria to Lake Albert is Victoria Nile. Albert Nile is after Lake Albert in Uganda. Bahr El Jabal is from Nimule to where it is joined by Bahr el Ghazal River and that section becomes White Nile. It eventually becomes River Nile from Khartoum where it is joined by Blue Nile, which emanates from Ethiopian highlands.
The Busoga People in Jinja continuously collect water hyacinth (Eichhonia Crassipes) barred by a dam immediately after the River exit. This is one way of keeping the Lifeline River from pollution this strange weeds whose native abode is South America. A few metres upstream after the bridge are Bujagali Falls. This is where Uganda generates much of its electricity supply. The water holds back, collects and superimposes on the rock forcing its way and creating incredible energy as it falls. Man has realized that this can be harnessed to generate power for lighting and industry usage.
The other waterfalls on the way from Uganda to south Sudan are Karuma falls, Murchison falls and the lesser Fulla rapids. Water features like these are not only for power generation but are also tourist attractions. Towns or cities with waterfalls serve as tourist attraction sites. The incredible sights and thrill or sport are difficult to erase in the memory of those who witnessed them forever.
Listen to water roars as you approach Murchison or Karuma falls. The mountain devils unleash wails for help as water splash mercilessly between the rocks. This is a rite of passage with force even the mountains cannot deny. The Nile creatures dare not to be careless on the falls for their lives may be in danger. The canoe people and the swimmers exercise extra care over the falls. And then there is the Murchison Falls National Park. Uganda is blessed with plenty of animals in the wild. These animals are threatened by urbanization, pollution and poaching. It has become a habit for all countries to provide protection to these wild creatures in game Reserves and Parks. This is the age of harnessing nature in modernity. Waterfalls are for sports and generation of energy and wild life generates income through tourism. Poaching is the killing of endangered wildlife for meat or parts like tusks for sale. This is illegal in most countries including Uganda.
The Nile associated vegetation are in form of papyrus, tall bamboo like grasses, reed mace (Typha Latifolia), water lettuce (Pistia Stratiotes) and water hyacinth (Eichhonia Crassipes). Large fruit tree like mangoes are a feature of the River valley.
River Nile is not the only source for fresh water, fish fruit trees but it also used in other beneficial ways. Watch the people mould bricks on the banks in Juba. Young men build huge hillocks of moulded earth, which is burnt to increase strength for construction of shelters. This is an important source of income in Juba in particular. Young people who are unemployed successfully engage in brick molding which in turn make them useful contributors in the development of their country. Self-employment is the word.
Stand on the Nile and look at the fishermen traversing the River in canoes morning and evening. These are called “atooc” in Dinka. They have special skills in dealing with the River. They hollowed logs for use as canoes. They are usually seen rowing canoes with small oars or bamboo, which is lowered down to push the canoe forward in shallow sections close to the banks. This is also the case in rocky and shallow sections in the middle of the River. The catches include tilapia, Nile perch and other variety.
In South Sudan, the nomads depend on the River like no one else. Crossing to either side seasonally is like a sport. This usually is motivated by the search of green pasture during dry season. The cattle owners envy the greens on the western side of the River known as “toc” the night before the crossing is a colorful night. Certain rituals are performed like those of the Israelites when they crossed the Red sea. This is usually to avert disasters like the refusal of a herd to successfully cross all in one accord. Someone volunteers to kill a cow. Others perform prayers, usually someone whose ancestors were the ones who led such activity. In this way, crocodiles and other animals that have potential to destroy the epic journey are put to rest that day.
The leader of South Sudan’s rebels has vowed to attack the capital Juba and target crucial oil fields, warning in an exclusive interview with AFP that the civil war will not end until the country’s president is removed from power.
The conflict in South Sudan has left thousands dead and forced around a million people to flee their homes since fighting broke out on December 15 in the capital Juba, before spreading to other states in the oil-rich nation.
The fighting is between soldiers loyal to Kiir against mutinous troops who sided with Machar, who was dismissed as vice-president in 2013. The conflict has also taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting Kiir’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer people.
By Amer Mayen Dhieu
I apologize. I might end up with a different interpretation of your beautiful poem. Forgive. But as simple as you have stated, all you need is a village girl: somebody in the village. Indeed, you describe some reasonable attributes you love to see in your future village-girl-wife.
That has triggered a burning question ringing on my mind. Are you indeed looking for the actual village girl or a particular type of woman with your desired-attributes? Are you aware that a village may just be a place to live, which might have minor influence on individuals?
Good on you, you really know the type of woman you want to marry. But I suppose you failed to state clearly the actual type of woman you need. Let’s squeeze it between two warring terms: “village and modern girl”. You have chosen a village girl but the attributes you have stated are not for a village girl but for a reasonable and well educated modern girl.
Your description is that of someone who knows how to operate a bank a/c and know how to save your money; of someone who can read and write and who can appreciate and enhance your ambitious way of writing; of someone that can be devoted to your ideas since you are too devoted to them too. This is not a village girl but a well-educated modern girl. That’s the one you need.
Modernity judging on its parlance has been mis/overused. I guess this is what makes you abhorrence to the term itself. But I assure you that those who like to bend their loves one like their belts are not the modern one.
The modern ones are those who aim to push their husbands to the limit; those who encourage them to be who they are; those who support them to reach their potentials and possibilities; those who value and appreciate differences and partnership of teamwork on the family level; a woman that can lead you through your learning journey.
Do not shy away from the truth. With what I read from your point of view, you do not need a village girl. You need a girl with the above-mentioned experiences; a woman with compassion to provide you with understanding and empathy; to bring you hope and inspiration.
If I am not wrong, if I am not ending up with a different interpretation of your beautiful poem, then this is the woman you describe but might have been given a wrong name of a “village girl”.
She’s not a village girl. It’s a girl that got banking experience to save your money. She’s a girl who have read, “person centred care approach” from the academic books to let you rises to your ambitious way of thinking. She is the modern girl, not the village girl.
By Mama Junub
Oh my God! It is sickening. How some grown up and well educated adults struggle with self-insecurities. I never struggle to understand what services SBS DINKA and other South Sudanese News sites are giving back to the society. I found nothing but an amazing, commendable job in what they are doing. How do you feel when someone makes you a bed and invite you to have a rest on it? Do you hate that person for giving you free space to lie down and have a rest?
Come on people; let us be honest with ourselves. These guys are giving you and I a space to share our points of view, debate our own issues, express ourselves and our views through articles and letters and press releases. Again it is free of charge. We read and listen to this program and other news sites for new ideas. What is really the issue with people attacking individuals behind these great services? Something I completely do not understand.
So many direct attacks have been made publicly toward individuals working behind these services. Did you ever ask yourself what is it that you are really attacking them for? They are not the one who only expresses their views. The only prepare ground for people to come and communicate their views and opinions. If you think they are not doing well by allowing those you do not like to come and participate in the program or blog. Fair enough go and established your own program or blog to help you choose the people you want to share ideas with.
I do not want to go deep, but I think you are struggling with your own insecurities, if you hate what they are doing then do not turn that radio channel on or do not open the webpage. Easy brezy! There is no point of giving them negative feelings when we all know that they are doing a great job to our community and us. Why do we really care whether what SBS DINKA is doing is part of the role in its contract? Why do you want to know all that anyway? It’s a good service so enjoy it; if not, then do not be bothered and just stay away baby.
Remember no one ever promise us that views opinions are always the same. They are not. You come with yours and I come with mine. This will give us all a bigger picture to look at thing in hand in an inclusive manner. If I didn’t say what’s in your heart, that didn’t give you a right to hate. You are not against each other; it’s that you have different opinions on given topics.
Please let’s us all be courageous and appreciative of each other. Let your heart admits that they are doing these things for us. All in all I love my PaanLuel Wël and that’s all I care.