Posts Tagged ‘south sudan’

BY Dut-machine De Mabior, Kenya

June 2015 elections

June 2015 elections postponed

February 14, 2015 (SSB) — Today I am punching the keyboard of my machine in a jovial mood for having learnt that the government of H.E Gen. Salva Kiir has heeded to the calls of many and analysed the civil conditions in the country and concluded that the 30th June 2015 elections are not as important as the lives of those citizens in dire need of peace. Others perhaps had developed a myopic feeling towards my concerns but I will always be inclined to where the truth lies. So, today; I stand like I have always done with the government right decision.

Extending the presidency and the elected position for two years is the popular decision made by the GRSS since the hell got loss in Juba in the mid of December 2013. This is the decision that will be applauded by whichever side of the political divide because it’s indeed in the best interest of the nation. Elections can’t be priorities when the electorates are starving in the IDPs camps. No human being will ever wake up to attend to political responsibilities when the basic needs are not catered for. Am glad to eventually point out that off late sense is being restored and my sincere hope is that this decision was not made to please the western nations who had confirmed their disappointments in the poles but to rather benefit the locals.

I hope those in my brackets of being opinion givers, indeed the very people who condemned me on this very platform on my article “SOUTH SUDAN’S 2015 ELECTIONS: AN EPITOME OF FAILURE” will now take to this podium once again and condemn the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) for making a decision in favour of the concerned nationals. My friends dismissed my opinion to hell when I cited that peace is paramount before the poles; the same reason why H.E and his cabinet prolonged the validity of the government term in office.

I will never on any ground dismiss my elected government on the basis of being illegitimate when the decision has been made to favour me; the common man. I hereby declare my approval to the extension of the Twic East County Parliamentary seat and the Roor State Mp occupied by Hon. Deng Dau Deng Malek and Hon Amuor Kuol Ager.

Your Excellency, this decision has once again restored the confidence of South Sudanese in you. You have demonstrated that the hell you suffered in the bush to have them a free home was not in jeopardy. It’s a clear indication that indeed you are committed to the better living conditions of everyone even if it has proved difficult to implement. It’s always a good ordeal to think of people before taking and public decision, a practice I would wish to have been there in place since the inception.

I am pleased on my own behave and on behave of those who hold the same opinion that postponing the elections is the ultimate choice for now.

If indeed my colleagues are independent minded, if they support the government’s decisions not blindly, if their stand is not compromised by situation, then; I am waiting to see their writings here dismissing the decision of the mighty government to postpone elections. Sycophancy will be proved here in this situation if you don’t cling to your initial opinion about “MUST ELECTIONS IN 2015”. But if you agree this time, the cabinet cited the same reason as me, why didn’t you say yes then?

As I concluded, I have no much to write but only to affirm my position once again that the grounds you have made the decisions on are valid. Thank you Mr. President.

The author is a student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Kenyatta University; Nairobi Kenya.

 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 E.E. Dantès

Firstly, if one cannot stand up by putting a face or their name to a statement they believe in, maybe they should not state or write it at all. That said, I would like to respond to some things raised by the unnamed author of “South Sudan: In Jonglei, David Yau Yau is not the Problem.”

(1)  The author wrote, “In post-independence South Sudan the majority of rebel leaders have been Nuer and there have been no, insignificant (sic), Dinka rebel leaders; the biggest tribal group in South Sudan, occupying both presidential posts to date. Why should they rebel?” 

This is a laughably sad condescending statement. For the record, (a) In post-independent South Sudan, there has been only one president, so the both” the author is referring to does not make sense. (b) Equating a presidential post to be a satisfactory factor of not having a grievance is as an absurd statement as saying that African-Americans have no grievances because Obama is the president. It is plain silly to say that Jieng (aka Dinka) have no reasons to rebel because the president is a Jieng. This statement infers that Jieng are the SOLE beneficiaries of the presidency, this is a falsehood something many NGOs working in Jieng homeland can corroborate. (c) Ido not know how one determines significance of rebel leaders but I think there was a certain George Athor not so long ago whose personal grievances were not amalgamated to mean a greater cause of Pigi his home county.

(2)  …“but at a much lower scale the motivation of the Murle is the same as Palestinians, who want their own state within South Sudan.The Murle and DYY are also not the only ones in todays South Sudan who are campaigning for greater self-determination – just take a look at the ongoing low-level shilluk rebellion against the Dinka in Upper Nile State.”

Wow! Really? (a) There is an ocean between Palestinian issues and Murle – they cannot be compared whatsoever even in a context of this supposed notion of self-determination by the Murle people. The two causes are incomparable – even the ideological definition of self-determination is different among the Palestinians and the Murle (on a personal note, I think it is an insult to the Palestinian cause). (b) In addition, the supposed rebellion against Jieng for self-determination in Upper Nile is just a palpable fib. This is perpetuating falsehood of big bad Jieng,hell bent on destroying and colonising the minority. Firstly, the Upper Nile State is a home to three peoples, Collo (aka Shilluk) Kingdom, Jieng and Naath (aka Nuer). The Collo Kingdom is the home to some of the most influential people in the history of Sudan namely: Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, Pagan Amum, Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, Dr. Lam Akol (leader of SPLM-DC) and Baguot Amum (Pagan’s sister and wife of late Nyancigak, SPLA Commander from Murle). Secondly, historically the Collo lived on the west bank of the river Nile during the British colonial times while Jieng and Naath lived on the eastern bank. However, during the wars, people were continually displaced and subsequently Collo settled along the eastern bank resulting in frictions with Jieng around the areas of Lul and Anakdiaar. Thirdly, in relation to various rebellions in Upper Nile, namely that of Gabriel Tanginya and Johnson Oliny, these were not specifically against Jieng or Nuer but against the government in Juba. Tanginya was unhappy with the terms and rewards of incorporation into the SPLA. Oliny on the other hand was unhappy how his ancestral community was treated. Oliny’s community straddles the Sobat River, which marks the southern border of Upper Nile State and northern border of Jonglei State. During rainy season, the people migrate from one side of the river to the other, essentially crossing state borders. The community therefore fell through the bureaucracy as the two state governments passed them back and forth and not accepting them into one state. This was not the fault of Jieng or Nuer community but that of the government. Fourthly, no Jieng has ever been a governor in Upper Nile in post-independent South Sudan. Therefore using Upper Nile State as an example shows how the author has no understanding of the issues in South Sudan.

(3)  “I have no sympathy for DYY I don’t know how many crimes he has committed and few people do……….. Very few Murle people actually subscribe to DYY’s political agenda, if such a thing can be said to exist, but he has become a last resort for community protection among the Murle.”

This is a glaringly contradictory statement from the author who equated Murle’s grievances with Palestine’s cause and Yauyau’s stated political agenda as similar. The author stated that Murle wanted a state of their own in South Sudan something, which Yauyau actually said was an objective of his rebellion. Therefore, how can the author back away and say that Murle do not subscribe to Yauyau’s political agenda? The author also says, Yauyau has become a resort for community protection, against whom?

(4)  …“the forced disarmament campaign exacerbated the tensions targeting the minority group, the Murle.”

 This is an astonishingly dishonest statement from the author. I do not know whether the author is aware that Anyuak, Jieng, and Lou were the first to be disarmed in 2006 in Jonglei and Murle were not. Small Arms Survey reports are quite insightful. Just to give a bit of context, in 2005 Lou Nuer and Jieng of Duk clashed for the first since peace was agreed between Jieng and Nuer. The government for whatever reasons decided between January and March in 2006 to forcibly disarm people. It conducted a preferential disarmament campaign targeting in Jonglei, Nuer, Jieng and Anyuak. Jieng and Anyuak handed their weapons in peacefully although woman, girls and children suffered abuses in the rural areas and were promised compensation by then Governor Philip Thon Leek. That promise was not kept. Nuer on the other hand refused citing the fact that Murle and Jikany Nuer of Upper Nile still had arms. This led to a confrontation in May in which 400 SPLA and 1,200 Lou Nuer were killed. SPLA committed many atrocities as a result while the UN, many NGOs and commentators turned a blind eye. Nuer blamed Jieng and the government because the General, Kuol Dim, who was in charge of disarmament in Jonglei was a Jieng.

Thereafter, Lou repeatedly harassed Duk County until in May 2007 Jieng of Duk ë Padiet retaliated and looted 20,000 heads of cattle and killed unknown number of people. Here is a summary (Most of it from Small Arms survey, News Reports, IRIN Website, International Crisis Group and academic journal articles):

Jan – May 2006:

SPLA disarms Jieng and Anyuak peacefully, Lou resists, and 1,200 are killed. Lou Nuer rearms within 18 months (ICG).

May 2007:

Duk ë Padiet clash with Lou over grazing rights resulting in Jieng looting 20,000 heads of cattle.

July 2007:

Murle attack Akobo. Hundreds are killed (no concrete figure is given).

October 2007:

Murle abducts two children from Bor County.

Nov. 2007:

Murle kills 8 and steals, 7,000 heads of cattle in Padak in Bor County. The Murle raiders are pursued but they ambushed the pursuers and kill 21 Jieng while they lose only six.

Jan 2008:

Murle attack Anyuak in Pochalla County, kills 26, and takes 105 cattle.

Then due to census and other things 2008 threats by Jieng of Bor County to raid Murle things quiet down.

Jan. 2009:

Murle attacks Lou in Akobo kills 300.

March 2009:

Murle attacks Wuror and kills 600-750

March 2009:

Lou attack Murle in Lokuangole and kills 450

April 2009:

Murle attacks Lou in Akobo and kills 250

May 2009:

Lou attacks Jikany in Upper Nile and kills 71 (Nuer against Nuer).

August 2009:

(a)  Lou attacks Jieng in Wernyol in Twic East County twice killing 11 and 47 on each occasion.

(b)  Murle attacks Lou in Mareng killing 185.

Sept 2009:

Lou attacks Duk ë Padiet killing 167.

Then everything goes relatively quiet because of referendum and the elections and 2010 passes without major incidents in Jonglei.

Feb. 2011:

Murle attacks Wuror County and kills eight.

April 2011:

Lou Nuer attack Lokuangole, in Pibor County kills 200 Murle.

June 2011:

Lou Nuer attacks Gumuruk and Lokuangole, in Pibor County, 400 Murle and 398,000 heads of cattle looted. Nuer Youth also reports on the Internet that Jieng has joined them.

August 2011:

Murle attacks Wuror County and kill 750 Lou Nuer.

Dec 2011:

Murle attacks Jalle in Bor County and kills 42

Jan. 2012:

(a) Lou Nuer attacks Lokuangole and Pibor and kills between 1,000 – 3,000 Murle.

(b) Murle attacks Duk county and kill 47 people while they are under attack! One thought they would be busy defending themselves!

Feb: 2012:

Murle attacks Anyidi in Bor County and kills nine Jieng and in retaliation, Jieng in Bor Town kills seven.

March 2012:

Murle attacks Nyirol County and kills 30 Lou Nuer

March 2012:

Murle attacks and kills 225 in Ethiopia and within Jonglei.

If one does the math, it is quickly apparent that the Murle are not a targeted victim minority that the author makes them out to be. It is quiet clear that they are very aggressive and have been the primary source of instability in Jonglei at least since the signing of CPA in 2005.


Jonglei State has many problems stemming from weak governance at both state and national level. Certainly, taking sides and misinforming the world will not help the local people whether they are Jieng, Naath or Murle. The fundamental problem in Jonglei lies in the fact that the state is vast with no strong civil administrative institutions. (1) All ofSouth Sudan is aggrieved, from a bad government. (2) Ethnicity is used as an excuse for impunity. When Abel Alier was the Head of HEC in 70s following Addis Ababa Peace Agreement, the Equatorians cried “Dinka! Dinka! We want Kokora (re-division of Southern Sudan).” When Joseph Lagu headed HEC everyone cried, “Madi! Madi! How many are there? (Madi being a minority group).”Since 70s, South Sudan is being slowly Balkanized. (3) Nobody knows why Murle is fighting unarmed Jieng civilians. When Athor went to the bush, he had personal grievances and the whole of Atar (his home constituent) did not follow him because their issues are not personified in Athor. However, Yauyau has been used to excuse Murle’s atrocities against other civilians. People say Yauyau has a grievance (what is it? And against whom?), and then they add that he is standing up for his community (really? What if those in Pigi, Duk, Twï, Bor, Wuror, Nyirol, Pochalla and Akobo – frequent victims of Murle start standing up for themselves, what happens?). (4). All guns must be laid down at all cost either voluntarily or forcefully and people have to talk or else everyone should be left to their own devices the latter being Somalianization of Jonglei.

(5) David Yauyau is a problem in Jonglei State if not the major problem in Jonglei State primarily because of his sponsors in Khartoum (see Eric Reeves’ blog from comprehensive analysis). He is exacerbating pre-existing tribal tensions into something much bigger by politicising it with illogical demands of separate statehood for the Murle. If the UN and NGOs want impunity to end in South Sudan and all rebellions to die out like the M23 inD.R. Congo, then they must do to Khartoum what UN did to Rwanda. The West must impose embargoes and sanctions to deny people like Yauyau supplies and sources to continuously fuel the rebellion. The UN and NGOs must stop the glaring biased approach with they have adopted in South Sudan and must stop undermining the South Sudanese government in the name of selective human rights protection.

Welcome and Rally for Dr. Lam Akol’s home coming.

Fellow South Sudanese, 

We encourage every member of SPLM-DC and South Sudanese from all walks of life to join president of the Republic of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit in welcoming Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, our brother, father, and leader back to South Sudan. His home coming means a lot to our government, economy and democratic transformation.
We have all called and asked for his return, let us all rally behind him, give him the necessary support he needs and together we will make a difference in our beloved and new country The Republic of South Sudan.
We wanted to share with you this short message early so that you will make a time and a day to welcome him. Your role is important. For us, his coming home will not only reinforce and strength President’s effort to transform South Sudan to a fully Democratic Nation but also to irradiate and uproot pressing and triggering challenges of corruption “mismanagement of national limited resources”.
The call for Dr. Akol’s return is a right decision, in right time and in right direction. The demand for the supply of transparency and accountability has been over due to most of our Financial Institutions. The system needs to change; it is un sustainable and we can’t continue manage RSS that way.
Perhaps we can judge that God have answered our prayers that RSS institution needs to be reformed to prevent further constitutional crisis and to address the core consent and resolve of South Sudanese aspiration. One need not be an economist or mathematician to figure out what different policies of quantitative and qualitative easing and forward guidance Dr. Akol is capable of, what is important is our consistent stanch support voices for democratic Change is key.

Unity of our diversity is paramount; controversial messages of politics of personal destruction aiming to divide our diversity for personal interest should not be entertained. we are convinced beyond and above reasonable doubt that South Sudanese have a right to know what RSS institutions is doing with their nations oil/non oil money.
We may pose a different views, approaches and solutions but the underline expectations of South Sudanese is one.

Best Regards

Abyei Residents Consider Unilateral Referendum, SaysSouth …

Voice of America-
South Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said residents of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region are restless and contemplating …

SSHURSA Press Statement: For Immediate Release: October 20, 2013

The South Sudan Human Rights Society For Advocacy(SSHURSA), condemns in strongest terms possible the deadly attack on the people of Twic East County in Jonglei State that happened today October 20, 2013. The attack targetted one cattle camp at Ajuong Payam and two cattle camps at Paker Payam. SSHURSA sends also  its most heartfelt condolences to the entire Twic East Community  and particularly to all families of  the victims. Sources SSHURSA spoke to on the ground stated 42 persons including children and women have been confirmed dead and 44 people wounded with 5 children abducted.
 “The situation is deadly, the attackers used AK 47 and Rocket-Propelled Grenades(RPG)” the County Commissioner sadly told SSHURSA. He believed the attackers were rebels of General David Yauyau operating in Jonglei State as in response by the limited police force against the attack, one person among the attackers has been killed and identified as from  the Yauyau’s rebels. Sources on the ground revealed to SSHURSA that the presence of the rebels was realized in the area and appeals were raised to the higher authorities of governments in the state and National levels  to deploy the national army, the SPLA but nothing was done.
As SSHURSA strongly condemns the attack, it also gets concerned with the reckless handling of the security of the citizens by the Government of South Sudan. The attack on Twic East would have been prevented if South Sudan has a caring  government. The negligence in protecting the people and their property is a fundamental failure of the government. The security of the people always remains as a first and serious responsibility of a responsible  government but South Sudan’s, has shown the contrary. Article 53  and Schedule A of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 directly task the Government  with the responsibility to provide the security to the people and their property in South Sudan. The right to life is the first right which leads to the enjoyment of all other human rights and as provided under Article 11 of the Constitution and under international human rights law and isntruments which oblige the state to observe. Such a failure  is unacceptable because the government  cannot exist without the living citizens. SSHURSA condemns in strongest terms possible such negligence by the people’s government.
(a)    To the  Government of South Sudan to:
(i)                  immediately deploy  the national army in Twic East County to protect the citizens and prevent regular attacks in the area.
(ii)                strengthen the presence of the SPLA forces in Jonglei State’s insecure Counties that have suffered frequent and preventable attacks by the rebels and cattle rustlers.
(iii)               devise honest and peaceful mechanisms to address the rebellion in Jonglei state to bring frequent attacks permanently to an end.
(iv)              continue working genuinely to reach peaceful solutions to tribal conflicts in Jonglei state and deliver tangible services that will change the lives of the warring tribes to abandon savagery.
(v)                maintain continued presence of the SPLA in all insecure states in South Sudan.
(b)   To United Nations Mission in South Sudan(UNMISS) to:
(i)                  deploy immediately UN troops in Twic East County to prevent further  attacks.
(ii)                maintain continued presence of UN peacekeeping troops to protect people and their property in insecure and vulnerable areas which the government of South Sudan has always failed to provide with security.
(c)    To the States and National Legislative Assemblies to:
(i)                  raise a hot motion against the government for its inability and negligence to protect the citizens which is its first responsibility under the Constitution.
(ii)                impeach any Minister or any personnel of any office whose responsibility is to protect the people and their property in South Sudan but has failed to do so.
(iii)               genuinely get concerned, leaving politics aside, think about the lives of their constituents and viability of South Sudan as a state in transition,  work with grassroots communities and put tough pressures on governments for peaceful solutions to stop the frequent deaths  in Jonglei state and South Sudan generally.
(d)   To the Twic East and other Communities in Jonglei State to:
(i)                  remain calm and avoid any revenge attacks despite the deadly attack on them
(ii)                respect all the times the  importance of human dignity and life.
(iii)               work for unity and peaceful co-existence with each other for better South Sudan.
(e)   To rebels of David Yauyau and others in South Sudan to:
(i)                  respect human rights and respect closely the right to life
(ii)                respect the norms, rules and principles of the International Humanitarian Law.
(iii)               end rebellion and pursue peaceful means  with the government as the only best solutions to resolve conflicts among the civilized people.
SSHURSA is a non political and nonprofit making National Human Rights Organization founded in 2007 by South Sudanese Lawyers and Law Students at Makerere’s Law Development Centre (LDC), Kampala Uganda. For more information on this statement or about SSHURSA contact: 1. Biel Boutros Biel: Executive Director, Tel.  +16464318960, E-mail:,, New York, USA. 2. Beny Gideon Mabor: Senior Project Officer: E-mail:, Juba, South Sudan. 
South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) is an incorporated non political and non profit making Human Rights organization founded in June 2007 by South Sudanese Lawyers and Law Students at Makerere Law Development Centre (LDC), Kampala-Uganda. In 2009, it became operational in South Sudan with its head office in capital city Juba and co-ordination offices in the states. It membership composes of individuals and organizations who believe in its human rights protection mandate. Its vision is to advocate for a democratic and human rights abiding South Sudan and with its mission to monitor, document and publish human rights status in South Sudan and also train general public on Constitution, the importance of human rights, fundamental freedoms of an individual, Rule of Law, democracy, Transitional Justice and International Humanitarian Law , all geared towards creating a more responsible, justice and good governance oriented South Sudan. SSHURSA pays special focus on the rights of children, women and other vulnerable groups.It also keeps close attention to the strict observance of the supreme law, The Constitution.
For more information, contact us on:
Website: under construction)
        Tel: +211955300382/+211921114362;
Juba, Republic of South Sudan

Jonglei state is making international headlines again due to all the bad things happening there – severe flooding and deranged murderous rampage. Rivers of blood continue to flow in the country almost 10 years after the bloodiest conflict in our living history ended. Pulses of violence continue to erupt again, and again and the response of the security agencies has been extremely preferential, tardy and utterly unprofessional indeed nationwide.

The 20th of October unprovoked massacre of unarmed women, children and the elderly in Ajuong and Pakeer Payams of Twï County is profoundly sad beyond words. The casualties are staggering with 78 dead, 88 wounded with most in critical conditions, 24 children and women abducted, 25,000 heads of cattle looted and 144 houses burnt to ashes. Yet, there has not been a single word from the Presidency, which is quiet telling. President Salva is busy preparing to welcome Bashir (the chief financier of the murders and Butcher of Khartoum) and could not spare to lift even an eyelid for the people in Twï County. Wani Igga, his wallowing Deputy, is busy celebrating “World Hands Washing Day”. Apparently, he is too busy teaching people in Juba how to wash their hands to avoid getting diarrhea. How about those who are dying and will not be able to welcome Bashir, or the dead and the dying who will not mind a bout of diarrhea in exchange for life?

Leadership is severely lacking in general but it is not the lack of leadership that innocent, unarmed people are massacred repeatedly; rather it is the wanton murderous behaviour of a group of people which must be stemmed at all cost. The army has had many things to say and done absolutely nothing except to let loose their lips. The SPLA has failed to carryout its function of protecting the citizens and their livelihoods. It categorically refused on 20th of October to airlift the wounded for medical treatment or even fly in medical aid. Its reasons being, that only two helicopters of the 10 in the fleet were airworthy, the area being under severe flooding, lack of fuel and a litany of other excuses. The citizens of Ajuong and Pakeer in Juba and diaspora contributed money and hire planes to fly the wounded to Bor and Juba and provide medical aid and supplies.

SPLA’s often cited reason of lacking resources and means of responding timely is a brazen lie and an insult because it receives more than forty (40) percent of the national budget. What do the Generals do with the money? In a self-respecting nation, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Defence would have resigned in disgrace because they failed in their most fundamental duty, that of protecting the citizens. In this case, they must resign starting with the Minister of Defence who is continuing his legacy of “tragedy of errors” first as the Minister of Transport, then as a Governor and now as the Minister of Defence.

The peoples of Twï, Duk and Bor counties are victims of their own government. The MPs from these constituencies know this very well and continue to serve in a government that does not care, provide and or facilitate for the security of their constituents. It begs the question – whom are they serving? Are they serving themselves or the constituents who are being butchered? They too should resign their government posts in Juba and return to rebuild Jonglei State. The peoples of Twï, Duk and Bor have suffered and endured relentless unprovoked assaults on numerous times from Murle community and its affiliate militia over the last five years. This unfortunate statehood is reinforced and the disturbing amount of casualties keeps rising thanks to a preferential disarmament policy by the government in Juba.

The four counties of Jieng and Anyuak were the first to be disarmed. The communities in the other seven counties have been left with their arms and have gone on to butcher each other and the disarmed citizens of Twï, Duk, Bor, and Pochalla Counties. Ethnic strife in the country has been justified, dismissed and many excuses have been provided to explain it. Hostile tribal and clan rivalries that predate the present nation state, competition for resources, banditry, mercenary rebellions championed by Khartoum are some hypotheses put forward. The government, NGOs and many other observers can put forth all sorts of explanations but we all know it boils down to a basic point – Lack of an accountable government. All problems of insecurity would fade away gradually if there is a strong, effective and efficient government and protective security apparatus among the people. It is as simple as that. The government must fly the flag equally in all parts of the country and provide all necessary security and administrative authority and requisite equal economic and social support in all states and not just the seat of government in Juba.

The government must also level the playing field in Jonglei, it has to either disarm those who have arms or protect those who do not have arms. If the government selectively protects its citizens, the unprotected must look at protecting themselves, it is only fair and their natural right they do that. Therefore, Twï, Duk and Bor civilians must rearm if the government is not capable of protecting them due to lack of resources.

By PaanLuel Wel

President Kiir is said to have decreed the ‘forgiveness’ of Dr. Lam Akol, the leader of South Sudan official opposition party (SPLM-DC) and the man who ran against him during the last presidential election. What is newsworthy about the case is not that the President has pardoned Dr. Lam; rather, it is the fact that not many of us were aware about any pending case against him.

Dr. Lam has been residing in Khartoum prior to and after the independence of South Sudan. Though he had been accused of having link to the renegade militia leader, Johnson Olony, there was no proof of the case other than that they hail from the same community.

Among the beneficiaries of the ‘Lord’s Mercy’ are some renegade militia leaders–Gabriel Tanginye, Gatwech Dual, Mabor Dhol, Gatwech Gach and Peter Abdel Rahaman Sule–who were jailed over various times and for various reasons, ranging from an outright rebellion against Juba to mere suspicions and hearsays.

While most South Sudanese have welcomed the ‘pardonment’ as a great step towards peace, unity and reconciliation, and thus political stability and economic prosperity in South Sudan, some could not stomach the unsettling fact that the worst that can ever befall anyone who rebel against the government of President Kiir is to get ‘pardon’, ‘military promotion’ and ‘unspecified amount of money’ to get settle down after killing spree.

This article that I wrote about Dr. Riek Machar’s ‘repentance’–which I still believe was a genuine one since he didn’t do it for promotion or to curry favor with the power that be–would shed more light on the dilemma of seeking national reconciliation and promoting unity versus the danger of incentivizing rebellion and wanton killing of civilians by these militia leaders and their would-be counterparts.

President Kiir has to strike a right balance lest it might reach a point where leaders would be rebelling against the government just to secure a ministerial position. While National Unity is paramount in a fragile state like South Sudan, it is imperative that we should never be seen to be rewarding evil instead of punishing the wrongdoers.

Deterrence is divined; appeasement is kicking the can down the road!