By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan's coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

South Sudan’s coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

April 20, 2015 (SSB)  —-   President Salva Kiir is the head of state; the Republic of South Sudan. There is no one, not even the most fearful religious leader, above him, according to our Transitional Constitution 2011. President Kiir represents South Sudanese including the rebel sympathizers.

Take one example, in May 2014 during the Oslo Humanitarian pledging Conference for South Sudan, Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin was the lead representative of South Sudanese including rebel officials who attended the three day event.

However, not everybody understands this and that is why there is a proud group calling itself Jieng Council of Elders. This is duplicated in other tribes, regions, Payams and Bomas in different codes.

Take the case of Bor county. The Commissioner is the head of local government in the county. Civil Administrator heads the Payam and his/her deputies head Bomas.

Then traditional, chiefs represent different sub-clans, communities’ sections excreta. Traditionally, Bor county is currently led by Paramount chief Alier Aluong. Alier was elected by head chiefs, known as ‘Alamaai.’ I must repeat that he is the overall traditional leader representing Bor county; an equivalent to the county commissioner appointed by the governor.

I am of the view that paramount chief Alier is even powerful than the commissioner because he was elected by the people through the head chiefs. President Kiir cannot use his decree to remove our paramount chief, leave alone the commissioner who is leading at the mercy of the governor.

But as that is not enough, another dubious leadership known as ‘Bor community’ currently positioned itself above the commissioner and the paramount chief of Bor county. This is duplicitous in my view.

If there is any issue that requires local government intervention, the county commissioner, currently Isaac Mamer Ruuk, is competent. For any cultural controversy that needs interpretation, Paramount chief Alier is entrusted with that task.

The ‘Bor community’ group should only act as a pressure entity and lobby behind the scene. Unfortunately, this group claim authority over the commissioner and the Paramount chief. Recently, Bor Community called a meeting in Bor and deliberated many issues of Bor county citizens for three good days. Though I was in Bor at the time, I never devoted my time to attend the meeting to the letter.

But I noticed the absence of chiefs representing various sections. Instead, some town dwellers represented various sections and sub-clans. This bothered me a lot and I asked one of the traditional chief his view about this. He plainly dismissed the meeting as ‘useless’ because, he said, it serve no purpose to elect somebody only be represented by a different person.

In essence, such vital gatherings ended successfully but with likelihood of no implementation of the resolutions. One such resolution of the Bor community meeting died before delegates left the hall at Central Star Hotel in Bor: – limiting the area of jurisdiction of commissioner and the town municipality.

I never imagined how anybody on earth would think of determining what he or she does not have authority! But that is it. Somebody thought about it and then it met a dead-end there and then. I am told the conferees also resolved to place a limit on dowry at 60,000 SSP only to be multiplied ten times a week after the conference ended when some bridegrooms were competing over a bride.

So I think it is time the intellectuals rethink about how to run a society. If being a community leader would mean serving people better, then the intellectuals should go to the village, get elected as head chief and consequently become a paramount chief to represent the people. But creating various leaderships groups would render the South Sudanese societies ungovernable.

Perhaps is it time for President Kiir to dissolve the Jieng Council of Elders? Can the Equatorians sit and decide on the so-called Greater Equatoria political group that has failed to even eradicate the effect of Guinea worm disease in Eastern Equatoria state? Or is it time for the Greater Bahr Al Ghazal to dismantle that body which has failed to address local internal feuds in Lakes state?

Some radical decisions should be made and save the country from dubious, duplicated leadership structures so that somebody in authority is held accountable.

© Philip Thon Aleu 2015

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

By Simon Yel Yel, Juba, South Sudan

gov't or rebels?

gov’t or rebels?

April 19, 2015 (SSB)  —-   Strange things are always happening in South Sudan that leave everyone flabbergasted what the hell is going on with the families of our elites? Some families have prominent members in both the government as well as within the rebel movement. Do they want to dominate South Sudan’s politics even in the rebellion?

The recent incredible defections left people in peculiar whether this is the beginning of an end or end of the beginning of the government. We are caught in disbelief that some family members of government heavy-weights are rebelling to fight against the government of their fathers, mothers, brothers and wives.

It was late March and early this month when we witnessed the defection of Mr. Agel Riing Machar, the former youth political parties leader and leader of national youth union who is the son of national MP Hon. Adhaar Arop; the defection of Capt. Joseph Clement Wani kong’a who was an officer in the national security, and the son of Governor Clement Wani of Central Equatoria State, and the defection of Brigadier General Gatwech Puoch, the brother of Upper Nile state Governor Simon Kun Puoch, joining the rebels.

People also wonder to see the wives of some leaders who are against the government holding big positions. I will give few examples to my readers,  Mrs. Angeth Acol De Dut , the undersecretary for the ministry of labour, public service and Human development is a wife of Majak Agot who is the member of G10 or ( SPLM-Uhuru); Nadia Dudi Arop whose husband is with the rebels, and Rebecca Joshua Okwachi, the wife of Dr. Lam Akol.

Is it about serving two masters at ago or what? Why there is no single statement being released to tell the public that the families in question are not part of decision taken by their members to rebel? No press statement have been released by Simon Kun Puoch to distance his family away from the decision taken by his brother or press statement by Clement Wani nor Hon. Adhar Arop to disown their sons’ decision joining the rebels and tell public that they are not happy with the decision taken by their sons to fight the government that they part of.

No statement also released by Hon. Angeth Acol to tell the public that she is not part of her husband’s decision. Am afraid that the sons, wives, husbands and even fathers or mothers of the ministers, and advisors will also rebel and still no one will question them. What a great demoCRAZY in South Sudan!

The current war against the legitimate government of South Sudan has been given different version or definitions by the people from within and outside the government. It was on 8th January this year when the governor of Central Equatoria, Hon. Clement Wani Konga, defined the ongoing rebellion of Riek Machar  in his own jurisprudence literacy, telling Equatorians: “who are you going to fight, are you going to fight Dinka or Riek Machar? Equatorians should remain neutral as to be able to bring peace. Equatorians should stand for peace“ and he went further again, saying “It is only chance for the people of Equatoria coming together so as to bring  to an end this war between Dinka and Nuer.”

Here we go and the question is, did the son of governor Clement Wani become Nuer for joining Riek Machar to fight Dinka? Or is he going to mediate the peace between Dinka and Nuer in Pagak? The dad will tell the readers and me.

Clement Wani also talked about the instability in Equatoria region being caused by the people who have joined Riek when he said “If Lado Gore wants to be vice president as he is now with Riek Machar, why shouldn’t he wait for elections or contest the election? If Riek Machar comes then he will be vice president without bloodshed.”

Here is the question that asks itself, what’s Konga’s advice to his ambitious son? What does he want to become? Let’s guess, he wants to become the head of internal security like Gen. Akol Kor Kuc or minister of national security in the office of the president, Gen. Obote Mamur because he is a captain in the national security and those are the highest offices in the national security.

serving two masters at ago

serving two masters at ago

What is your advice to your son captain Joseph Mr. Governor?  Do you (Wani) know the main reason that led to defection of Alfred Lado Gore? Let me tell you because it is five (5) years from now and you might have forgotten what you did in 2010 elections. It is not his heave-ho as a Minister for Environment that made him rebel like Peter Adwok Nyaba and the rest but deeply rooted in 2010 elections.

The chief enemy of Alfred Gore is not Salva Kiir but you “Wani“ for denying him his 2010 elections victory. He doesn’t want to become vice president as you think but he wants to become governor of Central Equatoria state by all means, be it presidential decree or elections if Riek becomes president. What is your advice to your son for associating himself with your principal enemy wanting to unseat you?

The current rebellion is made up of many discontent elements wanting to achieve different goals and we have seen recently the defections of many rebels, high profile commanders and politicians to the government. Many rebels don’t have a single problem with the system of Kiir’s governance but they have problems with individuals within the government, be it national government, state, county and even Payam.

In conclusion, many top officials in the government have connection with the rebels and they always feed them with government’s plan of the day. The rebels always get news four days before SSTV announce it and it is through families who are holding big positions within the government.

Frankly speaking, there is no secret in the government that rebels don’t get and it is due to their relatives holding big positions in the high echelon of the government.

The writer can be reached at

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

The fruition of the CPA

The fruition of the CPA

April 19, 2015 (SSB)  —  I am glad for being a friend to PaanLuel Wël, David Aoloch Bion, and Simon Yel Yel . Base on my close observation on the writings of these gentlemen, I’ve realised that people don’t just write for the seek of writing. Instead they write in response to something already made (claims) or to enter into certain argument or conversation.

Nevertheless, to them, writing is intended to evaluate, recommend, called readers to action, to change attitude, persuade, argue, to analyze, provoke thoughts, and etc.

Well, if those are what writing is all about, then this is a slap on my face and that of those folks that are in my know. But If I may asked these admire writers , however, how should we be reacting to the postings of those sellout elements in exile, who almost all the time appear enemies of the nation by doing exact things that the enemies of South Sudan want them do (the destructive criticism and propaganda of already made evil wishes on our country and government of the day)?

Secondly, how should my likes and I response to those Dingos and greyhounds who pick stuff near our playing ground and sometimes provoke and drag my likes and I up to our comfort zone?

PaanLuel Wel, Aoloch and Yel Yel are patriotic citizens of South Sudan, who could possible be trusted now and in the future. They have won honors and respect in the hearts of citizens who are fair enough to give them credits they deserve for their excellent roles of being so critical thinkers, productive writers, plus their keen to seeing what external powers intended to do to our beloved country.

Their knowing of those who have intention to erase the history of South Sudan and rewrite it to their advantage, must be taken as a blessing to a country that is so vulnerable in the international field of writers.

As a matter to be worried of, those external powers, how ever, don’t stop there, they wanted to own everything in this our “country Blood Including its history!”, can you imagine? Will our history be dictated and our country taken by Wall Street monsters just because our government does not know the importance of writers?

Any way, what I love about these brothers is that, they always demonstrate what should have been our national slogan as we seek for good government which is slogan that sounds “Country First!”

If you follow them closely you won’t detect them as naysayers of democracy nor would anyone accuse them of being hands clappers of Kiir’s Banana government. All that can be possible seen from them is that they are few of beloved brothers who have at hearts and minds both love and history of our country.

They know that nation’s image is patray to the outside world by its medium and writers which is always in organised cases means working closely of the two. If there is one thing Kiir’s government does not understand its power, it would be none other than the role of citizens who think, talk, and write good about their beloved country even when they are not under the irrigation or part of the government.

I am talking about those that are not please with the government, but still know that country’s safety is first always, to be exact. Back to my early point, no doubt, it makes a lot of sense to write things for purposes as always inferred by PaanLuel wel, Aoloch Bion, and Simon Yel.

Therefore in honor of these role models, I would from now on, be writing in response to already made claims even if those claims may have been made long before I was born.

Thank God, there are good number of them to respond to. But that doesn’t mean I should hesitate visiting my friends specially those Australian dingos and North American Greyhounds who provoke me with writing of stuff in my comfort zone.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

Sanctions loom for Juba if deal is not signed


The Troika has come up with a new arrangement giving the government 40 per cent, the rebels 40 per cent, former detainees 10 per cent and other political parties 10 per cent. But Mr Duku says that Juba will not accept anything below 60 per cent because that is rewarding rebellion.

By Deng Lueth Yuang, Canada

South Africa, like Boko Haram, White Army, ISIS and Janjaweed of Darfur!!!!

South Africa, like Boko Haram, White Army, ISIS and Janjaweed of Darfur!!!!

April 19, 2015 (SSB)  —-  I am a worried man. Why? Because my birth country, South Sudan is creeping into South Africa’s xenophobic attitudes towards foreigners residing and working in that country.

It is not uncommon to see hopes of African siblings fallen between rocks and hard places with their dear lives clasping at the last straw so as to revisit and rediscover their own sense of redefining ‘homeland’ – a place they can call home and that ensures their entitlements/rights are recognized and achieved.

This is observable in Northern Africa (Arab Africa); Sahel/Central Africa/Francophone Africa sandwiched between Arab Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

Now, some African countries in Sub-Saharan Africa i.e. South Africa at most, are exhibiting the sad realities of what these lads and lasses face once they (il)legally gotten onto shores of Europe and at times the Jewish state of Israel.

That’s what happens when vulnerable people feel Forgotten, Disempowered and Isolated from the ‘Main Society’!

More than 95% of South Sudanese citizens are helpless lots – a trait of a societal stratification that can easily culminate into xenophobic thinking that foreigners are to blame for their woes. South Sudan’s leadership under Pres Kiir should timely act on this looming human catastrophe. This country cannot afford to fight overboard attacks from her sisterly nations in East Africa or beyond who are her blood lifeline.

Imagine an Africa where her children risks their precious lives to cross waters of death of the Mediterranean Sea so that they reach the shores of heaven of manna — slave Europe!

African Unity under AU is a sham, hypocrisy and no-brainer. Africans will always be causalities of today’s modernization as long as their own leaders build themselves societal enclaves which tend to detach them from the Main Society.

It is time our siblings rather better die tilling and changing their birth soil than imagining that bonds of siblings’ togetherness or glittery lights of Europe and America!

I’m not advocating for dissolution of AU or disengagement among African states. I’m an ardent supporter of pan African principles as means to solve Africa’s fundamental problems.

We only differ in methodology approach – each of AU member nations has got to first build her own societal systems before championing Africa’s collectiveness. South Sudan or Nigeria for this case has to put her house in order before reaping the fruits of pan Africanism.

The opinion here only opines that ‘Africans be Africans’ and must therefore promote common unity of purpose to foster economic growth and social progress.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

By Kachuol Mabil Piok, Juba, South Sudan

who is eating who?

who is eating who?

April 19, 2015 (SSB)  —-   The quest for peace in South Sudan started a month after the country descended into the current abyss following political bickering within the SPLM which culminated in the bloody December 15.2013. Concerted attempts by the TROIKA (US, UK, and Norway) and the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to bring peace to South Sudan have been continuously frustrated by the warring parties-the Government of Republic of South Sudan (GRSS), and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO).

The cessation of hostilities agreement which was signed on the 23rd January, 2014, by both parties has never been implemented hitherto despite both parties pledging to abide by it.  Attacks and counterattacks have been mounting in some parts of Greater Upper Nile (particularly Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States). Political rhetoric and ethnicization of communities has been scaled up to unprecedented levels as both sides rally their strongholds to their cause.

The pursuit of zero-sum politics by parties to the conflict continues to diminish hopes for attaining peace. This has been as a result of both parties rejecting any proposed deal that does not guarantee the access to excessive amounts of power for either side. This elucidates the hard line positions adopted by the two parties. Hence their refusal to adopt the proposed deals calling for the placement of South Sudan under UN Trusteeship for certain period of time and the establishment of a transitional government that excludes both principals should be nuanced with lens. Instead both parties have engaged in blame games against each other or lashing out IGAD, and TROIKA as biased towards the other party when terms do not favour them.

From the outlook as things currently stand, South Sudan is on a steep road to collapse, unless the world resolves to take resolute action to salvage humanity. I concur with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s assertion about the irrelevance of legitimacy in the ongoing crisis. There is nothing sovereign or legitimate about a state that does not afford to protect its citizens, or provide basic services and yet is completely indifferent to the appalling situations in the country.

Instead of bitterly protesting threats of sanctions or placement of the country under UN trusteeship, why can’t both leaders dredge up the courage of their convictions for the love of their country and its people and strike a deal without much ado?  Isn’t it unwise for both leaders to lash out at other nations who are trying to salvage their people from this senseless war? What does IGAD or TROIKA owe to South Sudanese that warrants condemnation? Isn’t Riek and Kiir who were elected on the same ticket in Sudan April 2010 general elections? Instead they should appreciate the efforts exerted by TROIKA and IGAD for peace to revisit South Sudan again. What if they lay back and say who cares, the people dying are your citizens. Will they not seek their help in bringing peace to South Sudan?

Given the above scenarios, it is prudent for the International Community, TROIKA, AU, and IGAD to impose peace on South Sudan. It is pretty much obvious that the two leaders have subordinated the common good of their citizens to their own pursuit for power.  It goes without saying that coercing them through punitive measures is the only viable approach if South Sudan is to be saved.

Zero-Sum Politics is an Antithesis to Peaceful Settlement 

It is writ large that both sides have no political will to end the current crisis. Instead they have chosen to remain blind to the appalling humanitarian situation in the country. In Upper Nile State, mammoths of civilians are still sheltering in deplorable conditions in UN camps in Melut, Palloch, and Malakal Counties. Thousands more have sought refuge in UNMISS Camps in Bentiu and Juba respectively. There are also reports that thousands more are starving in Greater Bhar El Ghazal, particularly in Warrap, and Northern Bhar El Ghazal Stat, needless to mention the perpetual inter-communal violence as a result of the power struggles spillover to the local terrains.

It is unfortunate and intolerable that both parties are unrelenting on their demands. With the SPLM-IO presenting unrealistic demands of power sharing, two armies, dissolution of national assembly, and financing of the debts they have incurred. President Kiir nonchalantly recounted how he turned down rebels’ demands in his recent state address during the rally organized by the SPLM in March 2015.

To the disappointment of the nation, which awaited a message of peace, the President continues to flex his muscles, in sheer disregard of shocking plights the people of South Sudan are facing.  Thousands are wallowing in despair within and beyond the country’s borders. Why would those who claim to be genuine and not surrogates leaders cling to power?

With both parties pursuing their own interests at the expense of national interests, it unwise for the world to play spectator’s role as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Instead the two warring parties have perfected the art of “scapegoating”, castigating and lashing out at those nations and individuals who have remained indifferent to or rebuffed their positions and rhetoric and in the process hoodwinked the international community into inaction.

All the while, the country expected peaceful and quick resolution of the ongoing current crisis as opposed to a unilateral military settlement of the crisis. A defeat of either side will never be a win-win solution and will not augur well for long term stability of South Sudan. The world is full with history of wars that ended through military victories of some parties over others but still face recurrent wars as the vanquished sides still seek revenge. South Sudan will make no different, as a military victory by either side cannot guarantee long lasting peace.

The presumption that the government will crush the rebellion has informed its reluctance to compromise. The opposition has on the other hand been bolstered by incessant criticism against the government by the International Community- which they naively translate as a justification and legitimization of their campaign. All these misperceptions have relegated primacy of peaceful settlement of this crisis to the periphery.

If the government were to crush the rebellion today, will the Nuer nation support it? Or if the rebels oust President Kiir today, will that make Dr Riek Machar the president of South Sudan? If neither side is certain of what fate lays ahead of it, it is prudent for the warring parties to discard their hard line positions and double their efforts to a negotiated settlement to secure a permanent long term deal.

Given the impracticalities of the demands of both parties, it is important for the International Community and other regional organizations to coerce both parties to reach a deal sooner than later so as to salvage the civil population from war auxiliary catastrophes like hunger, and ethnic cleansing.

Avert State Collapse in South Sudan

Imposing peace will also serve to avert state collapse in South Sudan. South Sudan Finance Minister David Deng Athorbei made a plea recently to the donors, the International community, and the Regional Countries to help South Sudan from imminent economic ( this comes at a time when the minister is in negotiations for $ 500M loan with Qatar’s National Bank (QNB) to help cover the budget deficit.

The minister also acknowledged that the current war has depleted countries’ coffers. The conflict has seen the government recorded an all time low in revenue collections in both the oil and non oil sectors. Continued inaction of the world to the continuing economic crisis in South Sudan, the government will not be able to pay her employees in few months time. This will exacerbate the situation in South Sudan and the repercussions will be costly to the region, better the world acts now rather than later.

State collapse in South Sudan will be a source of regional and international security threat. It will be characterized by massive crossover of refugees to the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. Already these states are hosts to millions of South Sudanese who fled after the outbreak of the current crisis. Consequently, allowing the current situation to continue unabated will haunt the world in terms of security, military, economic and humanitarian costs as well as diplomatic efforts.

South Sudan is of great strategic importance to the world especially in the war against terror as the country provides a buffer to sweeping waves of terrorism across Sub-Sahara Africa. This is because of it virtually Sui generic socio-cultural and religious homogeneity; hence it cannot be allowed to descend into anarchy and sanctuary to the aggressive Jihadist elements in the region.

Economically, South Sudan has accumulated huge amounts of debt since the onset of the conflict. Some sources which preferred anonymity estimated the debts to accumulate to $15b two months ago. And if the conflict continues unaltered, the world will pay dearly in terms of mobilizing funds for reconstruction of the indebted nation. The earlier the world intervenes, the better because further accumulation of debts will mean depletion of the country’s resources. The oil rents and the borrowed money are being spent on arms, and financing of disastrous patronage networks. This will be an enormous setback to realization of millennium development goals.

In the military and security fronts, continued conflict will force world to contribute and finance troops, and other personnel to protect civilians and provide humanitarian services.  Currently UNMISS has stationed thousands of troops and personnel in South Sudan because of the deteriorating humanitarian situation. The maintenance bill is already in $ billions. Had the world contributed for infrastructural development, South Sudan would be some few miles behind the developed world.

In the diplomatic front the TROIKA countries are estimated to have spent about a $ 1 billion on the tortoise paced negotiations in Addis Ababa. Thus failure to impose peace will undoubtedly lead to more resources being spent in the future. Will the tax payers in these countries be happy putting up the bills of some people who want to lynch themselves over reasons best known to them?

To prevent repeat of Rwanda in South Sudan        

Signs of a repeat of Rwanda in South Sudan are glaring to both parties in conflicts. The Nuer nation will realize after the end of this war that it has lost a generation in a not worthy cause. The Dinka on the other hand has lost a significant number of its population in an equally unworthy cause.

But the impending Armageddon of the two tribes lies in the continuation of this war. Undeniably this conflict is a function of continuous reproduction of hatreds by selfish elites to perpetuate their existence in power. This has resulted in endemic ethnic mistrust that continuously shrinks the development of inter-ethnic social capitals.

Back to repeat of Rwanda in South Sudan, both Dinka and Nuer are vulnerable to possibilities of genocides if this senseless war is not halted. In regards to the Dinka nation, threats are abound, particularly from those other tribes who see the current crisis as an opportunity to avenge historical injustices. Anti-Dinka sentiments are rising each day because of the bullies meted against others by its rogue elements from the regular forces or vulgarity of utterances made by some of it members.

However, that does not exonerate other tribes from all sorts of vulgarities against each other or against the Dinka. Thus continuation of this war will polarize the country enormously. Whilst it continuation means subjecting mostly Nuer to the barrels of sophisticated weapons which devour quite a huge number of poorly armed and ill trained young people.

In a nutshell the continuation of this war will cost South Sudan its young energetic youth which it direly need for development. Given all the above undesirable situations, it is prudent for the International Community to seize this opportunity and impose peace to save the souls of South Sudanese from going to waste.

How to impose peace: Coercing the warring parties (coercive diplomacy)

The possibilities of the warring parties striking a deal unforced are currently next to impossibilities. Therefore, it is high time for the regional countries under the umbrella of IGAD, and the International Community to weigh pros and cons of a failed or belated peaceful settlement of South Sudan crisis.

This author favors a concerted coercive strategy by the IGAD and TROIKA against the warring parties. Coercive diplomacy has been used in various countries, Liberia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Libya among others. Military interventions were undertaken in order to safeguard freedoms, and security. The aftermaths of military interventions in Iraq and Libya notwithstanding, military interventions have had positive impacts in Liberia and Columbia due to strong commitments shown by ECOWAS and UN respectively.

The coercive strategy should not solely use empty threats to force the warring parties to reach an agreement. If inducements are proven futile, then it is prudent to embark on change of strategy. It is time to actualize the threats of targeted sanctions, arm embargoes, and boots on the ground among others. Sanctions that include freezing of assets, and travel bans will force the warring parties to make a U-turn toward peaceful mechanisms.

Imposition of arm embargoes on both parties will reduce casualties and the arm trafficking across the regional borders as witnessed in the nineties. Boots on the ground will be required to enforce peace by deterring any party that will violate the agreement. It has worked in Liberia when the nine member states of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened militarily in Liberia. Their intervention paved the way for successful conduct of the peaceful elections which enthroned Charles Taylor. Thanks to the Nigerian military.

The author acknowledges the challenges poses by the absence of hegemonic power in the Horn of Africa like Nigeria in West Africa. Nigeria was able to deploy her troops and contributed 90% of the funds for ECOMOG. State collapse in Somalia was largely a result of the lack of state that would play big boy’s roles in the Horn of Africa. The dearth of the big boy is now playing out in Addis Ababa in regards to resolving South Sudan crisis.

TROIKA’s restlessness behind the scenes micro-managing the negotiation processes is not helpful at all. Instead it encourages intransigence from both sides and has hardened them on pursuing military approach. Better for the TROIKA to come out and crack the whips on the warring parties. It is then that shall peace be realized in South Sudan.

Engaging the external patrons

The two warring parties have received supports from the neighboring countries in terms of arms and finances. For instance, no sooner had the war erupted in Juba, than President Museveni sent in Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) to help President Kiir dislodge the rebels headed by his erstwhile Vice President Riek Machar, who were advancing toward Juba, after overrunning the town of Bor, Jonglei State Capital.

Sudan, on the other hand, has renewed it support to Machar as it did in 1991 during the infamous split in the SPLM/A. Sudan is giving support to the SPLM-IO along the borders in terms of guns and logistics. Until today, the SPLM-IO is launching attacks on government positions in Northern Upper Nile from the Sudanese territories.

Thus, it is important for the international community to engage the external patrons of the warring parties to cease supporting their allies. And if they are intransigent, the international community ought to adopt other measures such as labeling them as rogue states or states sponsoring terrorism, terminating financial supports (foreign aids) or imposing sanctions on them if need be. Such measures will apparently engender compliance of both the warring parties and their external patrons.

Charles Taylor was pressured by the UN, UK, and ECOWAS to cease supporting the Sierra Leoneans’ Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sanko Foday against the government following their intransigence despite signing an agreement with the rebels. Some states like Sudan, and Libya were sanctioned under the same conditions.

From the above analysis, it is imperative that the benefits of an earlier settlement of South Sudan crisis are immense. Continuation of war will impact greatly on the regional and international security. Because majority of South Sudanese will cross over to other countries seeking refugee, with the benefits of hindsight from the security situation in Kenya, hospitality has been massively abused, the Kenyan population is becoming the victims of their own hospitality to Somalis. This is largely due to militarization and radicalization of the refugees by Somalis militant group-Alshabab.

Second security threat will be the exacerbation of cross border cattle raid between South Sudanese pastoralist communities bordering countries like Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia among others. This will happen against the backdrops of the non-existence of an authority to enforce order.

The third threat to the region will include massive reduction in trade volumes between South Sudan and East African countries, particularly Kenya and Uganda. The shutdown of significant number of oil wells in Upper Nile and Unity states at the onset of this crisis has subsequently depleted sources of revenues. South Sudan, as an importing economy, has run out of hard currencies to import more goods and services from the neighboring countries.

While in the domestic fronts, South Sudanese communities get polarize everyday along ethnic lines. Imposition of peace will be a face saving move because the retreating social capitals will be dredge up before sinking deep amidst hatreds. Now is the time the world should act.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

By Hon. Taban Abel Aguek, Rumbek, Lakes State

Dr. Lam Akol of SPLM-DC

Dr. Lam Akol of SPLM-DC

April 18, 2015 (SSB)  —-   In a press conference in Juba last week, the leader of South Sudan Opposition Party SPLM – DC, Dr Lam Akol criticized the government of South Sudan on being against the West. The issue seems to weave around the involvement of TROIKA in the upcoming IGAD Plus talks in Addis Ababa. The Government has since made it position clear that TROIKA should only be involved in observer role, and nothing else. And for that government spelled out its concerns which are convincing to the South Sudanese public.

I believe this position of the government on TROIKA’s role is what Dr Lam has perceived as being against the West. Those people who know Dr. Lam well are now left confused on seeing him swapped his attitudes towards the West in 2015. Dr. Lam, by the time he was National Minister for Foreign Affairs – was a hard critique of the West. Both Lam and Beshir had to depend on Russia and China to thwart the West’s effort for peace and civilians protection in Darfur in 2006.

Now that Dr Lam publicly condemns the government of South Sudan on being harsh to the same West that he used to scorn during our days of the ‘united Sudan’ is quite interesting. Perhaps, it does justify the long-held notion that in politics “there are no permanent enemies, but only permanent interests”. That remains that. But what is trending now is the developing perception among the South Sudan’s public that Dr. Lam Akol might have developed the ‘strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde’.

This was coined from the novel by a Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, “The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. And it is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often called “split personality”, referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. Now this has been taken to describe a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to another.

In politics it becomes even much worse. If one cannot agree with himself, then how does he expect people to agree with him? I heard him speak over the Miraya FM the other day and there he made me think about how many faces he has changed over the period he has been in contact with our national issues.

As mentioned earlier, in the prime years of the CPA, when Dr Lam Akol was a powerful Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Government of National Unity, he was a hard critic of the West.

I remember one of the hotly contested issues between the West and Sudan was whether the UN should deploy its forces in Darfur or not. President Beshir opted to term the UN civilian protection in Darfur as an invasion of a ‘sovereign’ state of Sudan. And Dr. Lam worked for him and agreed with him even when he said that he would ‘rather lead the war against a foreign invasion than allowing them abuse the sovereignty of the Sudan’.

The person that was doing all the shuttle diplomacy was none other than Dr. Lam Akol on behalf of President Beshir. Both Dr Lam and President Beshir lost faith in the West; and therefore, they inclined to go to the East and got sanctuary in China and Russia. Yet, in doing that, he was going contrary to the position of his then nominating party, SPLM and the then semi autonomous government in Juba.

In one of his diplomatic trips abroad, Dr. Lam claimed having achieved ‘victory’ on behalf of the Beshir’s NCP when he came back with a green light for the formation of dysfunctional hybrid force “UNAMID” for Darfur. Judged by current events, the deployment of UNAMID became a victory to Khartoum and a bad loss to the people of Darfur.

Working for Sudan Tribune Daily Newspaper in Khartoum, which some circles claimed was sponsored by Dr. Lam himself; I had no any other avenue to lodge my pleas than to take to the internet. I wrote an article titled, “South Sudan: dumped in the mouths of some Khartoum SPLM Traitors” and it was posted in Sudan Tribune. The SPLM traitor was Dr. Lam Akol and his associates that benefitted from CPA but allowed themselves to be used as walking sticks by the same old foe – the NCP.

I thought Dr Lam would stick to his old hard criticism against the West. Or else he needs to tell us what made him change his mind now to be a sympathizer of the same West he stood against during the days he was serving as a minister of Foreign Affairs in a united Sudan. That Dr. Lam has changed face to be a supporter of the same West he fought fiercely against is to me a surprise. That is Dr. Lam’s Change of face number two.

One may wonder why this should be change of face number two. Get it here again fast tracked! Dr. Lam was the architect of the document known to most literate South Sudanese as “ Why Garang must Go!”. Together with Riek Machar they decided to launch a ‘bush coup’ against Dr. John Garang. They proudly announced a coup which did not only end in shambles but, like the current war, caused skirmishes and reduced gains of SPLM/A and South Sudan.

Dr Lam, few months after accepting to work under Riek, opted to form his own party in complete betrayal to Riek. He failed to work with Dr Garang, chose Dr Riek and divorced him again in a very short time. That represents swapping of faces in very short time by him but we can call it Dr. Lam’s Change of face number one that we came to know.

Shortly after the failed coup in Juba on December 2013, Dr Lam Akol appeared to condemn the actions of Dr Riek Machar. He got the public support to lead the team of opposition parties at the Addis Ababa talks. But a few days into the talks Dr Lam changed immediately from standing with South Sudanese public position to confusingly spreading his legs over on the IGAD proposals and bilaterally chose also to hold ‘secret’ meetings with Dr. Riek Machar.

Maybe those people who argue that he was lured into an idea that both President Kiir and Dr Riek will not be allowed to participate in the transitional government impacted his decision. But still he could have been advised but he took the decision. That might have prompted him to lodge himself into possibility of replacing Kiir as the President of South Sudan. From condemning coup to supporting Riek, Dr Lam left many of South Sudanese confused. That is Change of face number three!

It was all announced that South Sudan wanted to hold elections in June this year. But backed up by the International Community and Civil Society Organizations, Dr Lam led a campaign against the conduct of elections. Dr Lam even went further by leading a coalition of political parties to court to challenge the decision. South Sudan, under that pressure, rescinded the decision to hold elections. But the decision not to hold elections also carried legal implications.

There is no way elections can be called off and put nothing in the vacuum. That would lead to constitutional crisis. The best way to accommodate the peace talks without a constitutional vacuum is seeking the parliamentary extension of the term of the Government and parliament to give room for Addis Ababa negotiations with a legitimate ruling system. That there was one Dr Lam Akol who ask for postponement of elections and the same Dr Lam who again oppose the suspension of elections represents an amusing change of mind in the swiftest of times. Change of face number four!

Dr Lam Akol ought to know – and I believe he knows – that the South Sudanese he is dealing with are not the same South Sudanese of the last decades. If Britain were to colonize South Sudan today, they would have found it very difficult. There is no way we can allow any move to go uncalculated and people are so vigilant nowadays.

It is a fact that Dr. Lam has been relevant with the South Sudanese politics since the inception of SPLM. It is a big credit to South Sudan and Democracy that there has always been an opposing voice. According to me, that is healthy politics. But it must be noted that criticism must rightfully be placed. And one should not oppose just for the sake of being in opposition.

The Opposition and all the groups that led a campaign against the holding of elections should not look at the extension of government as means for Kiir to earn extra years in power. Rather, it should be viewed as a concession by the government. President Beshir of Sudan has been constantly extending his rule through bogus elections.

South Sudan has tried to avoid such a case. Kiir would have contested elections and likely win a five year term in office. But the decision to delay elections was taken to give time for peace negotiations. By God’s grace, if the final peace deal is signed, then its terms may take complete precedence to what was done by parliament.

Someone needs to tell me how we can pass peace documents without a functioning Assembly? We need the assembly to enact into law the agreed terms of the peace agreement.

South Sudan is not against the West as alleged by Dr Lam. It’s him who holds records for being so ardently against the West. For him to change sides now is simply foxing.

Nevertheless, Dr. Lam Akol is a role model for so many young people. He is indeed a capable leader. But the society we are in is one of the most difficult ones. Every act is placed under a scrutiny. Therefore, one needs to calculate his actions and take decisions that garner the public support and then stay by them.

To change is not bad, but to keep changing is not healthy. It’s high time that Dr. Lam tries to make up his mind and tell us one thing. South Sudanese should not be told to move to sun and when they are there someone again says come to the moon.

Taban Abel Aguek works in Rumbek – South Sudan as a member of State Legislative Assembly. He can be reached at