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Address by Ambassador Mesfin

Kenyans must stop their scaring tactics and bullying: south Sudanese are your business partners not your subjects
By Kur Wel Kur
Bullying equates to oppression; it pushes the victims, to  the edges of their emotions, to the edges of their dignity, to edges of their integrity and to the edges of their lives ( they become suicidal)!  victims endure bullying from bullies due to their (victims ) negligence; however,  in an actual sense, the victims exhibit the best qualities than the bullies, only that they fail to identify their strength.
How many wake up calls do the government of South Sudan needs to counteract the bullying from neighbours?
To answer this question,  I send you back to scroll down the history of our beloved country.  2005,  seems a month ago in lenses of  corrupts who rebelled when made redundant;  however,  in eyes of the villagers whose lives worsen far more low than when Arabs controlled the country with its resources, seems ages ago.
Eight and three-quarters years  represent a step of thousands miles if  utilised by the hearts of the builders; however, it takes us a problem to run around for a solution.  This makes us bunches of re-actives than ‘pro-activatives’.  This short  article will comment on the current debate about immigrants with working visas in our country.
I won’t elaborate  the document that states GOSS position about the foreigners working in the country because it has circulated more than any other document. The article will  submerge in answering the above question.

How many wake up calls do we need?  The CPA secured  our wealth; with our resources,  no evil would come our ways,  be it,  in the way of development, or in the way of employment,  or in the way of education,  or in  the way of health care/medicare, or in the way of insecurity  from within or in the way of insecurity from without!

However,  The document that conceived and delivered our beloved country mingled with useless other documents just like a Bible or Quran of a backsliding believer, which the dust silhouetted the holy writings (  its tittle).
It takes us Panthou to  see through with blurring visions,  the power of air force, the first wake up call;however,  what did we do about it? Absolutely nothing! The government of South Sudan dived into negotiations after humiliating defeat from the air by the government of Khartoum.
In negotiations,  we begged them to allow us transport our crude oil through their pipelines. After appeasing them with many thing such as luxurious pipelines charges, 14 miles,deaf ears to A byii’s referendum and  turning a blind eye to Bashir’ s ICC charges,  they granted us a second chance.
Our government resumed its businesses as usual until the government almost internally collapsed due to  a ‘sit back and sip the coffee  style’ . Then, a daring dream came to the president to sack the entire cabinet;  a dream that saved us a country because if the president could have respected the status quo, the rebellion would have fermented to the highest level that would have resulted in a total burial of legitimate government.
A  hard cycle to break;   a country whose citizens dumped leadership by coup, always calls for coup to change its ( country) leadership!

As a result(of redundancy),  Dr. Riek initiated a  miscarried coup;  he sprinted to the bush, calling for the president to resign; a second wake up call. Riek calculated his political and military strength.

He knew that 65-70 % of armed personnel belong to Nuer and he preached his fake democracy to the breeds of the SPLM including the son and the wife of the founding father of our country.
In both politics  and military, he aimed to kill the president. With this immense powers (in politics and in military)from Riek, our president made a call to Ugandans’ president to save ” the government of the people, for the people and by  the people from perishing !”

With that call, we made a contract in which our decisions must respect the obligations in the contract. Do we regret this contract?  Absolutely not, the Ugandans earned our trust because they have been consistent with our brotherhood in the darkest times (the liberation struggle almost collapsed in late 1990s).

They stood with us though thin and thick; we can always rely on them. However( the third wake up call),  the opportunists  like Kenyans, assumed rights  in this contract; they want to milk any cow or want to settle on the most  fertile land in our country. But they must know, they offered the most barren land( Turkana) in Kenya, a land where dust-storm terrorised the inhabitants. Our resilience saved us in that desert!
What niches do they occupy in our hearts?  A few rooms, because Kenyans  are ruthless opportunists who cannot differentiate between rights and privileges;  if they need reminding, then privileges can be withdrawn if they’re abused.
Kenyans think like babies who believe that every other children’s toys belong to them regardless they came visiting without toys!  So forgetful,  why? The other days,we felt victims to their croaked police system: the police tortured our people and and asked for ‘kitu kidogo'( something small = bribe); the police sexually abused our ladies  by searching for hidden money as far as in their under-wears and bras! Shame on you, Kenyans!
You always go low for money so your howling on your TVs because of the misunderstood document, weighs less. If you are so educated and so civilised, then why didn’t you Lodge a letter of complaint through ministry of foreign affairs? Instead of crying babies on your national TVs!

You (Kenyans) sing the following choruses: we accommodated your people as refugees in our country; we facilitated and hosted your peace in our country;  we admitted your students in our schools and universities;  your people live in our cities  and your people come to our country for treatment.

All these,  cost us money; we rent houses in your cities;  pay fees at your schools and universities, pay for our medication and you accommodate refugees because hosting them give you employment and as a member of  UN,  you’re obliged.
We need respect, so act like business partner not as a parent who (‘sssh’) scolds the children when they complain of something!
In conclusion,  we cannot afford to live like this, where every neighbour bully us. They take advantage of our situations,  situations such as internal conflict and position of our country (our country being a land-lock). They believe we have no options so they can do anything in our country.
We must prepare all fertile lands in our country for agriculture,  reserve lands for commercial and domestic poultry and animals husbandry.
We must settle our internal conflict and militarised the country especially the air force ( no much worry with ground troops)because the triangle( oil hub at Marengepe) dispute will need it!


Posted: September 22, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary

By Hearty Ritti, Washington DC, USA

The statement issued by Suzanne Jambo of the SPLM today shows the panic gripping the government in Juba in relation to their ill-advised decision to stop Dr Lam Akol and the delegation of the political parties from travelling to Addis Ababa on the 13th instant.

She is writing from Addis Ababa where she went yesterday as part of the government’s second delegation masquerading as ‘political parties’. They were rejected by IGAD on the grounds that they were not selected under the auspices of IGAD and hence cannot be accepted.

They spent the tax-payers’ money to go to Addis Ababa when they were in receipt of IGAD’s response to their letter requesting changing the current delegation of the political parties.

The following facts are a rebuttal to Suzanne Jambo’s lies and disinformation.

  1. If the government did not stop Dr Lam Akol and his delegation at Juba airport from travelling to Addis Ababa, then who did? Can other political parties she claims to have removed Dr Lam Akol from the Chairmanship of the PPLF stop him from travel?
  2. Dr Lam Akol was elected Chairman of the PPLF in February this year when the PPLF adopted its Conduct of Business Regulations. These regulations were approved by the parties that are members of the PPLF. The SPLM and the SSDF of Dr Martin Elia were not attending the meetings. In fact, Dr Martin Elia who claimed to have removed Dr Lam Akol from the Chairmanship of the PPLF did not attend a single meeting of the PPLF.
  3. Which are the 19 parties Suzanne is referring to? It is these 19 parties that in Addis Ababa on the 8th of June that chose the current delegation of seven members under the auspices of IGAD. What happened later is that when the political parties presented to IGAD a position paper that was not to the liking of the SPLM, the latter instigated the parties in the government that were members of the PPLF to pull out. They did so and chose a new delegation of seven exclusively from parties in the government including SPLM that is represented in the delegation by Suzanne Jumbo. The same parties nominated another member of their own to join the government delegation. Let Suzanne deny these facts so that we publish the names and other details.
  4. It is commonsense that a government is made up of the political parties that are represented in or supporting it. If that be the case, what do you call a delegation made up entirely from parties in the government? If the plot of the SPLM and its allies was to go, then the government would be represented by two delegations: one official and another in the name of the political parties. To think that this transparent lie can pass, the government underrated the intelligence of our people and that of IGAD.
  5. Neither Dr lam Akol nor the SPLM-DC need to apply to IGAD for admission because Dr Lam Akol and the delegation of the political parties he has the honour of leading were indeed invited by IGAD Secretariat and would have been in Addis Ababa on the 13th if the government did not stop them at the airport. What is Suzanne talking about?
  6. The SPLM’s continuous reference to the ‘level of education’- first by the Presidential Press Officer a few days ago and now by Suzanne Jambo – for no good reason, is indicative of an inferiority complex. Education is essential for the progress of any nation and should be encouraged and promoted. However, it should not be misused as a means of blackmail to prevent educated people from voicing legitimate concerns. If the SPLM was “committed to bringing an end to this senseless war and bloodshed and restore law and order to our People” why is its government preventing an accredited delegation from taking part in the search for peace? Actions speak louder than words!
  7. Minister Michael Makuei denied on the 16th instant that the government did stop Dr Lam Akol from travelling to Addis Ababa claiming that the reason for his failure to travel was that he is holding a diplomatic passport and did not clear the required procedures with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This explanation was an obvious lie because Dr Lam Akol is currently holding an ordinary passport which he used several times to travel to Addis Ababa for talks including the last round in August. The details of this passport are with the Immigration Department in the Ministry of Interior. Again, Suzanne Jambo is denying government’s action.
  8. If the government is sincere in its denial, the way out is simple. The government should just inform members of the delegation that they are free to travel.

Hearty Ritti


20 September 2014

What are the Prospects of South Sudan Turning Over a New Leaf?

Posted: September 22, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

By Apioth Mayom Apioth

There are two African proverbs which go: “A snake becomes a useless rope when its head has been cut off”; and, “a herd of sheep led by a lion can defeat a herd of lions headed by a sheep”: in these two proverbs, having a capable leader or someone who is overly ambitious can mean a great deal to his/her followers. In South Sudan, since the rise of Salva Kiir to the helm of the Juba government in 2005, we have had a nightmarish time, making us question where our central government has been hiding all this time, while our civil populace was busy shouldering one crisis after another. It has been known throughout history that stable states are created after going through detrimental humanitarian disasters and wars, because history allows states to reflect and chart new paths to improvisation of their people. Furthermore, the people of South Sudan came out of the war that claimed 2.5 million of their people, and fell prey to yet another devastating civil war. I guess history wasn’t so kind to us this time around in that it made us turn against one another after we freed ourselves from our common enemy Mr. Umari.

Much of the developmental debate in Sub-Saharan Africa has been centered on our inability to catch up to the developmental standards of the rest of the world; for example, a country like Ghana is often compared to South Korea, who both had the same GDP in the 1950s, and now is often ranks among the top thirty countries in the world. South Africa is not seen as a leading example to how Sub-Saharan Africans have fared in the international economic pecking order since the dawn of the modern African state because our adversaries always say, “if wasn’t because of the Western people who initiated the developmental projects, South Africa would not be the same today.” People around the world sometimes ask, “Why are people endowed with numerous natural resources seen struggling like they don’t know how to take care of themselves.” We, Africans, pride ourselves as dignified peoples with a cleared character, however, one of the most embarrassing contaminated habits we have been recycling for many decades now, is the stealing of foreign aid resources.

We talk about how we were terribly wronged by past grievances caused by enslavement and colonization of our peoples, and yet now our leaders go around the world charming donors to pass the begging plate to our impoverished peoples, and once they do give us a little, our leaders turn around and divert the same monies to their Swiss banks. How long are we going to do this? Kenya just turned 50 this year, and, are our next breed of leaders going to continue on the same path of robbing charities of the poor for the next 200 years? The donors’ moneys we receive in our home countries are tax deductibles and hard-earned income from ordinary people just like us; they see people stricken with poverty, and a pity of conscience runs through their veins to give a helping hand; and yet we come around embezzling these funds as if we grow them on trees in our own backyards. Where has the so-dubbed “African Pride” gone? We want our future generations to be able to stand up and go head to head with whoever he/she is conversing with and say, “I am an African, my people are a down to earth bunch, and our achievements are known the world over.” It has been over half a century already and we are still dragging our feet continuing to pass the begging bowl around. History is being written as we speak, and by the prospects of things, history books will remember us as peoples who depended on foreign aid for some two hundred years.

I believe it has become crystal clear to everyone by now that high-powered economic development is coming to Africa, but the way it is progressing is too slow to make everyone restless. With the exception of South Sudan, countries like Kenya, Zambia, and Ivory Coast, are the typical African states with slow economic growth; before the current political malaise, South Sudan was some fifty years behind these countries, and at this moment in time, we are about sixty years behind, because we took a step or two backward toward our future prospecting chances of development.

By my estimates, it is going to take the above typical African states some two hundred years or more to reach the current developed stage of Singapore. It took Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, about 31 years to take his country from a third world ghetto status to a first world poster boy of the rags to riches’ story of the developing world. Kuan Yew employed the following five strategies to change the fortunes of Singapore: (a) He maintained the currency from plunging into the pitfalls of deflations and inflations (b) He said “No” to foreign aid: The advice of our late Burkinabe brother, Thomas Sankara, rings true here, “He who feeds you, controls you” (c) He established first-class private enterprise environment, where free trade was the norm (d) He made sure his government was accountable to human security, public order, and respect of the private property (e) To achieve all these goals, he created a tiny, open government that was less prone to big dramas, and its public servants were paid top-tier wages.

Out of the rising stars of Africa, Rwanda is currently dubbed as the “Singapore of Africa” in that it took up the “Singapore Model”, added some few innovations to it, and now it is called the “Rwanda Model.” The Rwandans are innovators to the Singapore Model, because where the Singaporeans said “No” to foreign aid, they are now saying “Yes” to well-intentioned philanthropists. Sixty percent of Rwanda’s annual budget comes from foreign aid. Rwanda is slated to turn its economic fortunes around in the next thirty years. All this will come about after a few group of Rwandan citizens came together and thought about what they would do to improve the welfare of their citizens. Paul Kagame put it nicely: “If you believe you are worth more, you will achieve more.” On the flip side of the same coin, South Sudan is bound to follow in the footsteps of other typical African states like Zambia or Ivory Coast; why is this so? The administrations of Kiir and Amum are not going to be much different to either of Laurent Gbagbo’s, or Frederick Chiluba’s.

Another odd worry to all of us, including Rwanda, is that we constantly live in a dangerous neighborhood known for its infamous notoriety in wars and public disorder. That is probably the reason why Paul Kagame is seen more often around Museveni and Kenyatta; he is playing politics to these guys so to avoid high cross-border tariffs and high costs of shipment from the coast to Kigali. When the neighborhood is this dangerous, it is the ordinary citizens that pay the grunt of a disrupted economy; in other words, their economies could come to a standstill at times. So, Kigali is playing good politics to try to let them see sense about how economic development comes about.

The two important messages to take out of this critique is that our leaders are the major causes of: (a) Poverty, and of why Africans continue to linger in the bottom pit of the global pecking order; and by this we continue to die of diseases, and war-induced famines (b) Indignity – our leaders have developed a culture of begging for their people, and then turn around to pocket those same donations they were crying about a little while earlier.

Our leaders must know that this game of begging people in the Western countries, is out of touch with our moral realities of our contemporary world. Do they even ask themselves sometimes about where the donors acquire the charities they happily hand to us? Those monies come from painstaking labors and sweats of ordinary people who come to realization that our humanity is no less than theirs. To live a lavish lifestyle is not worth playing with the precious savings of another person who wished to send his or her offspring to school, or buy a house. A mere following in the footsteps of the likes of Zambia and Kenya, to achieve economic prosperity some two hundred years later is a bitter pill to swallow. Within that time, our people are going to continue to languish in inhumanely deplorable conditions. People are going to get tired to see the face of another suffering African from one century in and one century out. Time is up for our policymakers to chart new paths to put an end to this interminable cycle of indignity of losing face.

Why can’t some few patriotic South Sudanese patriots rise up and change this sickening order of things? The poverty that our people are going to continue to experience, if things stay in stalemate as they are, is worse than the indignity of becoming the laughing stock of the whole word. To take things at a face value, it is easy to sense that we don’t really have much of a choice during the times of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. As the above proverbs have demonstrated, change doesn’t occur in a power vacuum, there must be a visionary at the top of the heap who can administer strategies for anything substantial to take place. Someone who can administer sound policies, and send some people after those policies to make sure they are followed through to the end.

We don’t have much hope for either Kiir or Machar to be our new Lee Kuan Yew, Paul Kagame, or Thomas Sankara for that matter. They are infected with incurable diseases of politics; basically, they are just in politics to make a name for themselves; the welfare of the common people is none of their concern. They say we are going to do this and that, but in the end, nothing really happens.

By Gabriel Pageer Ajang

South Sudanese generation Y are group of youth that were born in the midst of two Sudans war. There were born in 1980s and grew up in wars. Disproportionate number of these young persons were born and raised in diaspora knowing little or almost nothing about their cultures, and traditions. And social and behavioral patterns of Millennial and are trying to devise, and decrease intergenerational estrangement, and increase relationships of reciprocal understanding between older parents and Millennial, while at the same time making Millennial more comfortable.

This is clear in renown’s Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory in which he conceded that in the later stages of development of children’s social environment could influence the developmental process. Well in in the midst 1960s, James Marcia chimed in with his identity status theory. Perhaps more importantly, these theories could assist South Sudanese children to recognize the inter-related aspects of development while providing a platform from which to measure and investigate the various dimensions of adolescent development in western countries. Lives of south Sudanese in diaspora are illustrated in Erikson’s theory that clearly enunciates that the entire lifecycle as a developmental process, to be an ongoing, life-long process. According

to Erikson’s theory, people must pass through sequential developmental stages known as “crises”, during which they either develop the necessary skills to become successful, happy members of society; or, they will fail to successfully navigate the crisis and remain “stuck” at that developmental stage.

The above theories could potentially guarded child development in most of South Sudanese families in the diaspora. However, the struggle to educate a child is real because there are other factors that impede bringing of children in the west. In this month of September 2014, youth from United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia launched several videos in social networks in an attempt to revive core cultural values. This was done partially because some of south Sudanese youth are caught between adapting their cultural traditions and western values. Disproportionate of number of youth long for assimilation; they want to fully embrace western values, i.e. life styles, values, norms, and compromised their traditions and cultural norms. However, the majority of South Sudanese families seek integration into the western main stream culture while retaining South Sudanese core essential cultural values.

Significant percentage of South Sudanese youth are in predicament and caught in serious dilemma. These youth know little about their culture but at the same time, brawl in process of integrating into western culture. Hence, the prevailing struggle of preservation of fundamental African values could not be underestimated. There are several existing theories suggest that child brought up in a family with rich cultural values is most likely to succeed in all his/her endeavors. Bringing up healthy children require healthy and loving family’s environment.

However, the odds are real, and challenges facing many families are existential, and these demands develop cohesive responds to resolve unrelenting national crisis. I am not by any mean in any position of blaming affected families; this was simply bound to happen. South Sudanese choses to fight for independence with Khartoum government, and as consequences, thousands of families were displaced. The challenges facing Generation Y are components of the postwar issues that South Sudan government never comments on or maybe, this was never brought to her attentions.

Besides, thousands of precious lives claimed and immense destructions of properties in two wars in the two Sudans, however, the generation who was born in these two wars remains at risk. Good number of Generation Y are neither going to school nor working. This makes them highly susceptible to crimes. To some extent, they are susceptible crimes and failures in life because they were not encouraged to deeply comprehend dignity of work, important of education, the important of culture, and individual responsibility in family.

They were also not encouraged to dream bigger, and given reasons to succeed. They were not taught to transcend challenges and barriers. The classical of example of factual story of success in the whole African continent: is the story of lost boys of Sudan’ education. This is true success story because it is rare for children without parental supports to attain such magnificent educational achievements.

The journey of lost boys’ education that landed them in tops finest universities in the West started in unpenetrated remote regions of Great Upper Nile, Bhar el Ghazel, and Equatoria of South Sudan. As kids, lost boys were mold by their parents to prioritize their careers. They were told numerous advices times, and times, again and again about the significance and imperative of becoming medical doctor, lawyers, engineers, leaders of tomorrow. While in Ethiopia and Kenya these advices were reinforced by South Sudanese leaders who made the lost boys’ education a mission, and successful one. Today, most of the lost boys have realized their educational dreams,

Although impacts of wars are immense on this younger generation, the story of lost boys affirmed that even in the midst of unbearable difficulties, one can thrive and succeed. Some of South Sudanese in generation Y have lost their cultural norms and values that usually build lasting self-esteems in children (child developmental theorists suggested). These youth have lost very essence of their culture that sustains vital values in human beings.

So what is culture? This seems to be simple question but it is fundamentally important in comprehending significance cultural values that are lost by South Sudanese Generation Y so that the stakeholders can charter new recourse for Generation Y. There is may be diverse definitions of culture but culture is defined as cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the community or tribes, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

However, I still want to define culture in context of challenges that are facing South Sudanese Generation Y (youth). And in this context, culture is defined as coherent sets of answers that confront us in the passage of our lives. We can be able to seek for coherent answers in order to address issues that confront Generation Y.

What are these challenges that warrant coherent answers? Here are some samples:

Cultural dilemma, this is situation in diaspora where South Sudanese youth do not fit in the western cultural main stream, and had no culture to fall back on.

Lack of effective communication in the family, this is a graving situation where some children born in diaspora speak English and their parent do not speak English. In these particular families parents do not effective communicate with their loved ones. In such case, children go outside social channel to find loves and cares.

The loss of rich endearing norms and traditional values take huge toll on children, and immensely affect parents.

NB: I witnessed several case studies while working for the Nebraska Office of Juvenile Services (OJS). A disproportionate number of minority children were in the juvenile system because of cultural dilemma or parents do not speak English, and children do not speak in dialects spoken by their parents. I personally visited homes of these juveniles to confirm this information. I witnessed it in the first two families where children played videos, and watch TVs constantly because of lack of communications with their parents. It is a sad reality. However, the news was the South Sudanese community, Lincoln and Omaha public school liaisons join their hands in the process of integrating children in the juvenile’s systems into their communities. By the time I left this Office of Juvenile Services, we had cut the number of minority juveniles into half. However, I believed that more is needed to be done in this area to ensure mutual benefit between South Sudanese and America communities. It is important to point out the Nebraska hosted the largest South Sudan Population in the United States. According the census conducted by Mary Willis, professor of anthropology, and Ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, almost 10, 000 South Sudanese resided in the state of Nebraska.

Issues facing south Sudanese youth in diaspora are not new but they were triggered by ice bucket challenges. The ice bucket challenge was initiated to raise funds, and created awareness to combat chronic disease, e.g. ALS but South Sudanese challenges were meant to create cultural awareness. Several of my close friends launched their videos, and premiered their auditions in the Facebook that illustrates their integral held values and talents in one own culture or different cultures. I was challenged but I opted out, and deferred my challenge to others, and choses to write this article to ensure challenges that were made to reach larger public.

In conclusion, we have learnt immeasurably at contemporaneous times that the core cultural values of one community remains as underpinning resources upon which one can use to climb ladders of success. For instance, prides in many songs sung, cited various idioms and tongue twisters in videos that were made, encouragement of hardworking, pride in dignity of wok, humility in treatment of each other, joy and love of one family, empathy and sympathy express to people that are not related to you, willingness to put yourself into situation of those who are suffering, maintenance kinship net workings, abiding faith in development of healthy children to be seeds of tomorrow, these and more are what make our communities unique, and allow them to thrive for thousands of years long the River Nile. The chart below outlines performances of those who joined their hands and responded to various challenges.

I am proud of many folks that have made their videos and posted them on social networks. However, I selected these individuals to demonstrate skills of addressing challenges that are facing generation Y. Two were born in diaspora, and two were born in South Sudan, however all of them have validated and proven their ability to sing songs in their mother’s tongue, and others recital tongue twists to indicate that they still embrace and hold their cultural values closer to their hearts.

Dr. James Yai Atem, sung a song that is mostly use in Dinka community to train a child about their traditional dance. Yai also performs tongue twisters to prove that he retains his expertise in his own rich tradition of Dinka.

Esther Kuer Mabior sung two songs, one in Dinka, and other one in Nuer to demonstrate her skills in both tribal dialects. She is attempting to build relationships among Nuer, Dinka, and Lokaiya. She is Dinka, she knows Nuer dialects, and her mother is from Equatoria. Esther is embodiment and threads and needles that bind South Sudanese communities in her songs in sung.

Akur Geu Deng sung two songs that demonstrate pride in gorgeous tradition, and endearing legacy of her own community. She takes prides in communal living that revealed respect and dignity to those who are living side by side

Yarr Achok Deng expresses her humility, and loyalty of her community people in a song. She expresses prides, kindness, and loves of one community in her excellent volumes. The success, and humility is founded in rich tradition, and culture, and songs she sung illustrate it.

This chart illustrates your cultural challenges that you responded to. I selected these individuals that premier their auditions in the social network.

  • Gabrial Pager Ajang, Political and History Instructor at Wright Career College He can be reached at

Why I think Mr. Ateny Wek should not be a columnist

Posted: September 22, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

By Mapuor Malual Manguen

The press Secretary of the President of South Sudan, Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny announced publicly last weekend that he his coming back with his writings; not for previous “beating the drum of trust” of The Citizen newspaper but, on the “Serious Observation” column in the newly established, The Juba Telegraph. So far, couples of his articles are published by The Juba Telegraph on his “Serious Observation” column.

Mr. Ateny is a great prolific writer as he has shown during his time with The Citizen newspaper before his current assignment. Although he was a fierce critic of government, his articles were largely researched, constructive and objective. No doubt he can perform much better in his new column with The Juba Telegraph.

However, the assignment he has in President’s Office will put him in awkward position. He is the Press Secretary in the highest political office of the country, a very sensitive position. It is sensitive because he is dealing with communication of which anything he says is taken seriously. Moreover, President’s Office is always under public scrutiny by the citizens and even beyond country’s borders. With President’s Press Secretary writing regularly on public issues, he is likely to be taken out of context.

We may say that it is his constitution right to express his personal thoughts, but Mr. Ateny will find it difficult to draw a line between his personal opinions and those of the Presidency or government. Obviously, his current job is likely to blur out all these borders. And whatever he might be writing in his “serious Observation” page would be seen as views of the government or Presidency per se.

Apparently, Mr. Ateny’s job is basically communication on behalf of the President. Writing articles for newspaper publication may fall within his job description. However, to do this kind of job regularly on private or personal level while holding such sensitive position is a difficult situation to undertake without causing controversy.

The author is journalist, blogger and political commentator based in Juba. He can be reached at

By Agok Takpiny, Melbourne, Australia


The minister of labour Mr Ngor Kolong Ngor in the government of South Sudan issued a circular last week demanding that NGOs and other private businesses in the country must expel those expatriates who are doing jobs that can easily be done by the host country nationals (HCNs) by 15 October 2014 and filled those vacant positions with South Sudanese nationals.

This sparked an overly malicious outcry from our neighbours particularly Kenyans and Ugandans with some media outlets in those countries going as far as calling South Sudan a “kid who don’t know how to appreciate” and or a “person who bit a hand that feed him”. In addition, some individuals in social media from the aforementioned countries call South Sudanese primitives and monkeys.

However by looking at the current Kenyan president, his vice president and two former presidents and not to mention the influential opposition leader Mr Raila Odingga, I see myself (black South Sudanese) not so different from Kenyan in term of colour. Thus the monkey-like insult is simply misplaced and phony. Calling us people who don’t appreciate is also hypocritical, because if I sit down and try to reflect on what Kenyan people have done to South Sudanese during our 21 years civil war, I will not come up with a single good experience.

Kenyans have never been hospitable to South Sudanese despite the fact that the exponential growth of their economy in the last decade or so can be directly or indirectly attributed to South Sudanese. In 1990s UNHCR opened up a refugee camp in the middle of the most inhospitable part of Kenya (Kakuma) for South Sudanese refugees. Kakuma became the largest refugee camp in the world which created thousands of jobs for Kenyans.

The same UN turned Lokichoggio (a remote town in northern Kenya) into a coordination centre for South Sudan relief. Again thousands of Kenyans were employed, many small businesses including brothels were booming and Lokichoggio became a thriving major economics centre in Turkana district overtaking Lodwar. Furthermore other better-off South Sudanese flocked to “down country” including Nairobi, Eldoret, Kitale etc. and rented thousands of houses, they also took their kids to schools and pay schools fees.

Nevertheless, without appreciating the fortune which South Sudanese brought to Kenya, South Sudanese were openly subjected to some despicable harassments and police brutality. For South Sudanese, walking down on a street in Nairobi became a warrant for a kidnap-like arrest and to be release one must pay ransom/bribe to the police, it became a way of life for South Sudanese living in Kenya.

It was only after the signing of the CPA in 2005 when Kenyans began to treat us like brothers and sisters. The change of behaviour came about because Kenyan saw the opportunity to exploit South Sudanese, it works. The exodus to South Sudan has begun, vendors, “professionals” with fakes certificates, thieves, prostitutes, you name it, flocked to South Sudan in search for wealth.

You could hear them saying “look at these stupids South Sudanese, we are sucking them up kabitha and they don’t see it” “hahah” and they laugh. But can we blame them? We led ourselves down in the last nine years of combine autonomy and independent. Had we built at least three major cross country highways, had we built at least one major dam for both water and electricity, had we upgrade at least two major universities to the level of modern universities, had we at least laydown a foundation for modern farming, had we at least built one major food processing centre, and more importantly if we had been loving and treat ourselves with respect, Kenyan would have at least showed us some respect.

However, at the moment they don’t see themselves in equal term with us, our government may think there exist bilateral between Kenya and South Sudan base on mutual respect but in real sense there is nothing like that. Kenyans know whatever we import from them including goods, health, education, and holidays is a result of desperation and not that we prefer them over other countries. This perception will continue until the time they see us producing 50% of the things we normally import.

We must give credit where it is due, Ugandan were the only people who treated us with respect when we had nothing. No one was ever arrested on the street in Kampala because he/she was a South Sudanese, we were given the same right that Ugandan citizens have. Therefore they are the only people who have a very right to get angry with us if they feel they are being targeted or mistreated in South Sudan.

Back to the circular, the intention of the minister of labour was good, South Sudanese are loitering in Juba doing nothing while all the jobs are taken by the foreigners. No government in any country in any continent that would tolerate what is happening in South Sudan where the percentage of expatriates in the entire workforce is higher than that of the HCNs. However as usual, the minister of labour like many of his colleagues in ROSS just woke up in the morning and begun issuing the circular without thinking it through. The circular was poorly planned and badly written which subjected it to multiple interpretations, assumptions and misconceptions.

Firstly, jobs that the minister would want to be reserve or vacate for South Sudanese should have been precisely defined. The continuous attempt by the foreign minister to clarify the circular make it even more confusing. For example the foreign minister in his effort to clarify the circular explained that “by executive directors, we mean executive secretaries and secretaries, and by public relations positions, the circular meant receptionists and other front desk workers, as well as protocol officers” (

This is embarrassing, where on earth can EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR mean EXECUTIVE SECRETARY? Yes English language is not our language and nobody expect us to speak it like the English people do but in writing, the errors we are expected to make would be grammatical but not writing different words with entirely different meanings and expect people to know what you mean which is totally different. Executive director is the very top person who is responsible for steering the company, he/she is the one who make decisions.

Executive Secretary on the other hand is a person who keep the executive director’s briefcase (office manager). Mixing or confusing the two positions indicate the lack of deliberation on the circular and that should be enough to discontinue it.

Secondly, the circular should have never been retrospective, that is, it need not to apply to those foreigners who are already employed. The process of employing a new employee and train him/her take a minimum of six months before he/she can do the job independently with confidence. Thus giving businesses and NGOs one month to terminate their existing workers and hire new workers is dreadful. It will send a very bad message to businesses and that can simply scare away potential businesses from investing in South Sudan.

If the labour minister and the government led by president Kiir is genuinely caring about the rampant unemployment among South Sudanese and they want to tackle it retrospectively? Here is what need to happen: the government need to introduce graduate program. To eliminate the chronic nepotism, the government can hire internationally renowned companies like Deloitte which is already in Juba to run the graduate program; or if the money is an issue, they can also ask UN or its affiliate like USAID to help in running the graduate program.

The government will need to enter an agreement with all NGOs and private businesses in regard to how the graduate will be employ. In the agreement, businesses and NGOs will have to give the government the list of the positions which are currently occupied by expatriates’ employees, the government will then take the list to the graduate program coordinator. The graduate program coordinator who must not be South Sudanese will then advertise the positions and conduct all the employment process. The only graduate need to apply will be South Sudanese, both at home and in diaspora.

These graduates will then be taken by NGOs and private businesses and assigned the very person (expatriate) who is holding the position to train and make the transition as smooth as possible. This apprenticeship like training will need to continue for one year and after that the expatriate will need to be redundant and get his/her payout. While in training with the business or NGO, the government need to pay this graduate for one year until he/she take over from the expatriate.

Businesses or NGOs must not be compel to pay the wages of South Sudanese graduate while in training because the whole thing is not their initiative. To prevent private businesses and NGOs from exploiting such a system, any position that has become vacant must be advertise separately, it need not be included into graduate program although it must as well be given to South Sudanese nationals.

The aim of the graduate program would be to find competent South Sudanese who would replace expatriates in private businesses and NGOs, it would continue until there are no more expatriates holding common positions (positions other executive director) in those private businesses and NGOs which are operating in South Sudan.

As with other expatriates who are holding nonprofessional positions, the government can just sit back and wait for each one of those expatriates to have his/her work permit expire and then refused to renew it again.

Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is a concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on