Archive for July 31, 2011

“Let’s build the nation as a tribute to the heroes. The heroes did not die in vain. Though we cannot reward them materially, building this nation is a befitting tribute to them”,—South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayaardit.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

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The Martyrs’ Day: Who are the South Sudanese’s National Heroes and Heroines?

“Wounded veterans of the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army march” [AP/Pete Muller].

“Let’s build the nation as a tribute to the heroes. The heroes did not die in vain. Though we cannot reward them materially, building this nation is a befitting tribute to them”,—South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayaardit.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

July 31, 2011 (SSNA) — Today, July 30th,2011, marked the first-ever “Martyrs’ Day” for the new Republic of South Sudan, just three weeks after declaring her independence from the Old Sudan. Martyrs’ Day is the day to commemorate and to “celebrate the selfless sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of liberation who paid the ultimate price for the liberation of the [new] country.” In Juba and other major cities across the country, as well as amongst the South Sudanese communities in the Diaspora, “people will light candles in the [living] memory of the martyrs” to pay “tribute to the people who lost their lives fighting for the independence which the country officially won this month.”

As reported on the official website of the government of the Republic of South Sudan, “the celebration is a demonstration of the fact that even though the martyrs are dead their memory lingers on in the hearts of all South Sudanese who appreciate the sacrifice they made for their homeland.” In short, South Sudanese Martyrs’ Day, just as it is normally the norm all over the world, is a day to remember and to immortalize the self-sacrificial patriotism of the martyrs: a befitting “tribute to the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle.”

But who are the South Sudan heroes and heroines of the long liberation struggle? As an independent nation gearing up for political and socio-economical development, South Sudan would sooner than later be compelled to write official school textbooks for her school-going children to study in schools across the country. Inevitably, South Sudanese leaders and their socio-political constituents will have to sit down and grapple with the dilemma of deciding who the heroes and heroines are or are not.

Determining who the would-be national heroes and heroines for school textbooks would, undoubtedly, be problematic and controversial than anything South Sudanese have seen or been subjected to for a while. This is because our long war of liberation, from 1955 to 2011, was embroiled in numerous brotherly antagonisms among our own-selves more than, or in addition to, fighting the main common enemy that was recurrently oppressing us in all aspects of life. Since logic dictate that not everyone can be a hero or heroine lest the meaning is diluted, South Sudanese are consequently heading for one-yet biggest fight of their lives as picking the national heroes for educational purpose beckon, possibly this year or the next one.

With the right to withholding my views on this issue being fully exercised by me at this moment, I am going to name some names and why I presupposed them to be potential candidates for the national heroes and heroines’ list depending on the indispensable roles they variously played or continue to play in the war of liberation and national development of the Republic of South Sudan.

To start with, the first candidature goes to the brave warriors and leaders of the different South Sudanese communities and tribes who resisted and strove to repel, successfully or not, European colonization of their ancestral lands. By these communal resistances to the British rule, I am talking of the Nuer, the Zande and the Aliab Dinka, to mention but just a few. These communities are among the very few South Sudanese tribes that successfully fended off colonial powers in the early 20th century. In order to recognize and to pay tribute to their patriotism to our motherland and the ultimate price they tragically paid for their resistance, their leaders must be considered for school textbook and national archives for the national heroes and heroines of South Sudan.

The second groups are the South Sudanese representatives to the 1947 Juba conference that sealed the fate of South Sudan in the United Sudan that later miserably failed to be a workable political system. Because many of them were under-educated or had relied too much on the British for their national welfare, these South Sudanese were cheated and out-foxed out of their better choice of two state solutions. However, they did represent South Sudanese and therefore demand recognition at the national level. By these leaders I mean people like: Kamyangi Ababa, Sgt. Major Philomon Majok, Clement Mboro, Hassan Fertak, James Tambura, Chief Cir Rehan, Chief Gir Kiro, Pastor Anderea Apaya, Chief Ukuma Bazin, Edward Adhok, Buth Diu, Chief Lolik Lado, Chief Lappanya, Father Guido Akou, Ciricio Iro, Chief Tete, and Chief Lueth Ajak etc.

The third groups for the candidature for South Sudanese national heroes and heroines goes to the veterans of the 1955 Torit Uprising. Courageous veterans of the Torit Uprising such as General Emilio Tafeng and Ali Gbattala, among others, deserve a place in the hall of fame of South Sudanese national heroes. They were the first to fire a historic shot at the enemy, which heralded and culminated in the 2011 South Sudanese independence, notwithstanding the long period of time it took to materialize.

The fourth class of candidacy goes to the Anya-Nya One groups. It is to be recalled that Anya-Nya One was wrecked by perennial internal dissents and rebellions from the outset and it is therefore proper to class their leadership according to each governmental stage of the succession. The first government was the South Sudan Provisional Government (SSPG) headed by Aggrey Jaden as the president. The leading members of the SSPG were as follow: Agrey Jaden, Camilo Dhol Kuaac, Akuot Atem Mayen, Gordon Muortat Mayen, Elia Lupe, Clement Moses, Balieth Kuak, Gabriel Kaau Ater, General Emilio Tafeng, Ali Gbattala, Joseph Lagu Yanga, Paul Awel, Emanuel Abuur Nhial and Frederick Brian Maggot, among others.

After the collapse of the SSPG due to internal political wrangling, the second Anya-Nya One government, the Nile Provisional Government (NPG), was formed with Gordon Muortat Mayen as the president. The main leaders under him were: Marko Rume, David Kwak, Bari Wanji, Camilo Dhol Kuaac, General Emilio Tafeng, Ali Gbattala, Joseph Lagu Yanga, Frederick Brian Maggot, Paul Awel and Emanuel Abuur Nhial. Unfortunately, the illness of the SSPG caught up with the NPG and it too disintegrated as soon as it was formed and launched due to political squabbling over leadership.

In the wake of the demise of the NPG, General Joseph Lagu Yanga, with the solid backing of the Israelis, reconstituted the remnants of the SSPG and NPG under his new political movement: South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) with Anya-Nya Forces as its military wing. Besides General Lagu, the other prominent leaders of the SSLM were: Frederick Brian Maggot, Joseph Akuon, Habbakuk Soro, Joseph Oduho, Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, Enoch Mading de Garang and with Father Saturnino Lohure acting as their spiritual leader.

In the event and time that South Sudanese would sit down to deliberate the final list for the national heroes in the national archive, the leaders of the Anya-Nya One Movement—the South Sudan Provisional Government of Aggrey Jaden, the Nile Provisional Government of Gordon Muortat Mayen and the South Sudan Liberation Movement of General Joseph Lagu Yanga—must all be considered for the award of the national heroes because they are part and parcel of our armed and political struggle.

The fifth group of candidates for the national heroes and heroines goes to presidents and various leaders of the successive government of the High Executive Council (HEC) in Juba after the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement and before the outbreak of the SPLM/A war in 1983. There were three presidents, at various times, of the HEC: Abel Alier Kwai, Joseph James Tombura, and Joseph Lagu Yanga under whose leadership, and upon whose insistence, kokora was decreed and implemented by President Jaafar Nimeiri.

Other leading members of, or MPs under, the High Executive Council were: Clement Mboro, Bona Malwal, Joseph Oduho, Hilary Paul Logali, Peter Gatkuoth Gwal, Samuel Aru Bol, Ezboni Mundiri, Eliaba James Surur, Dr. Lawrence Wol Wol, Daniel Kuot Mathews, Benjamin Bol Akok, Samuel Gai Tut, Akuot Atem Mayen, Dhol Acuil Aleu, Mathew Obur, Elijah Malok Aleng, Michael Wal Duany, Natale Olwak Okalawin, Venansio Loro, Philip Obang, Abdel Latif Chaul Lom, Zakariah Wani Yugusuk, Archbishop Paulino Lokudu, Andrew Wiew Riaak, Martin Majier Ghai, Toby Maduot, Malath Joseph Lueth, Kawac Makwei, Brigadier Andrew Makur Thaou, Brigadier Joseph Kuol Amuom, Colonel Habbakuk Soro, Colonel Alison Manani Magaya, Colonel Saturnino Arika, Colonel John Kaong Nyuon, Colonel Peter Mabil, Colonel Alfred Deng Aluk, and Major General Samuel Mabor Malek.

The sixth groups for the award are the members of the Underground Movement/Resistance or the Clandestine Group/Resistance formed by, among others, the former members of the Anya-Nya One who were either opposed to the Addis Ababa Agreement or were suspicious of the Nimeiri government intention and had gone underground to protect South Sudanese interest. In case the agreement is rescinded, they were ready and willing to resume the war. Among these were ex-Anya-Nya members such as Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, Alfred Deng Aluk, Alison Manani Magaya, Habbakuk Soro, Stephen Madut Baak, Disan Ojwe Olweny, Camilo Odongi, Paul Awel, Albino Akol Akol, Captain John Garang de Mabior, Joseph Kuol Amuom, Thomas Dhol, and Santino Ajing Dau.

Later on as the Addis Ababa Agreement was teetering on the verge of collapse, this Clandestine Group included people such as Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, Arok Thon Arok, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, William Nyuon Bany, Francis Ngor Makiec, Dr. Lam Akol, Chagai Atem, William Abdalla Chol, Salva Mathok, Gordon Kong, Bullen Alier etc

The seventh contestants for the prize are the Anya-Nya Two leaders among whom are people such as Samuel Gai Tut, Akuot Atem Mayen, Vincent Kuany, James Bol Kur, Bernard Bakam, Thaan Nyibil, Gordon Kong, and William Abdalla Chuol. They kept the flame of the war of liberation burning while Southerners were squabbling over leadership and Kokora in Juba.

The eighth groups for the candidature are the founders of the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army. This leadership was initially composed of the Clandestine Resistance Members, Southern Sudanese Students and Teachers, Abyei Liberation Front members and people who came from abroad. These are some of the leaders: John Garang, Kwanyin Bol, William Nyuon Bany, Arok Thon Arok, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, Francis Ngor, Benjamin Bol Akok, Chagai Atem, Lam Akol, Riek Machar, Joseph Oduho, Martin Majier, Awet Akot, Lual Diing Wol, Pagan Amum, Deng Alor Kuol, Chol Deng Alaak, Ladu Lokurnyang, Nyachigag Nyachiluk, Stephen Madut Baak, Elijah Hon etc.

The ninth group are the leaders of the 1991 Nasir Declaration—an attempted coup against Dr. John Garang bad leadership in the SPLM/A. The coup was led by three key leaders: Cdr. Riek Machar Teny, Cdr. Lam Akol Ajawin and Cdr. Gordon Kong Chol who were dissatisfied with the leadership of Dr. John Garang within the SPLM/A which they termed as dictatorial and personalized.To this group we can add such prominent leaders as John Luk, Taban Deng Gai, Paulino Matip, Peter Gatdet, Telar Ring Deng, Dr. Adwok Nyaba, Simon Mori Didumo, Dengtiel Ayuen Kur, Elijah Hon Top, Dr. Achol Marial Deng, John Kulang Puot, Gatwec Yiec Ruom, Peter A. Sule, D.K. Mathews, Barri Wanji, Dr. Costello Garang Ring, Afred Lado Gore, George Maker Benjamin etc.

The tenth candidates for the prized spot are the so-called Garang Boys. I would define Garang Boys as those SPLM/A leaders who stuck to the Movement, under Dr. John Garang leadership, from the 1980s when the SPLM/A was formed and membered till the CPA was signed in 2005. Therefore, Garang Boys would include such leaders as: Dr. John Garang, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, James Wani Igga, Pagan Amum Okiec, Nhial Deng Nhial, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Isaac Mamuur, James Hoth Mai, Lual Diing Wol, John Koang Nyuon, Awet Akot, Dr. Justin Yac Arop, Salva Mathok, Stephen Madut Baak, Dominc Diim Deng, Chagai Atem, Ping Deng, Samson Kwaji, Oyay Deng Ajak, Anne Itto, Bior Ajang Duot, Paul Mayom Akec, Madam Nyandeng Garang Mabior, Michael Makwei Lueth, Paul Malong Awan, George Athor Deng, Gier Chuong, and Deng Alor Kuol, among numerous others.

Last but not the least, the other contesting group are the so called the Lost Boys and Girls of South Sudan. The history of South Sudan could not be complete without the inclusion of the Lost Boys, many of whom, in their capacities as the next leaders of the Republic of South Sudan, would be the very people debating and writing the history of South Sudan itself. The harrowing tales of the Lost Boys journeys and stories epitomizes both the personal struggle and the untold suffering of the people of South Sudan during the war of liberation. Therefore, in one way or another, they are in the league of the national heroes of South Sudan.

South Sudanese, the ball is in your court now. Make your choices as you commemorate this first ever Martyrs’ Day in the Republic of South Sudan. Who are the national heroes and heroines of South Sudan in your opinion?

South Sudanese, the verdict is over to you as the honorable judges and shapers of your own destiny and the destiny of the future generation as far as history of our liberation struggle is concerned. This is a debate that we can hardly wish away, by burying our heads in the sand, because it is just around the corner; the sooner we started with cool heads, reasonable opinions and substantive debate, the better off we shall be as a nation

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Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic Speech on the Occasion of Martyrs Day
July 30th, 2011
Juba, Republic of South Sudan
Compatriots and Fellow Citizens,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
·        Today is the First Anniversary of Martyrs Day in the new independent Republic of South Sudan – a dream that has come true!
·        Before proceeding to commemorate this heroic day, let us rise up and pay tribute (by observing a moment of silence) to all those who perished in order for us to become independent and join the family of nations on top of whom is our leader and hero, Dr John Garang De Mabior.
Thank you!
Distinguished citizens,
·        I would like us to reflect and ask ourselves as to what would be the best way to honour our fallen valiant heroes and heroines?  What can we do as a reward to all those who have lost parts of their bodies?  What about for those who have been orphaned or widowed because of the long struggle for Justice, Liberty and Prosperity?
·        To me personally, there is nothing material worth the sacrifices of our fallen martyrs other than working to build this nation for posterity.   Nation building requires cohesion, hard work, honesty, and self-sacrifice.  It is even more than that – it is building a national conscience!
·        We are all now South Sudanese and being Fertit or Luo of Western Bahr El Ghazal, Pojulu or Mundari of Central Equatoria, Didinga or Acholi of Eastern Equatoria, Burun of Upper Nile or Murle of Jonglei, Dinka or Nuer, name them, what will only differentiate us is our cultural heritage.  Unless we cultivate the spirit of nationalism, cemented by the blood of our martyrs, we cannot prosper.  Therefore, I appeal to all, especially the younger generation, to cease from tribal tendencies.  Remember always that we will not be the only people to live in a diverse society.
·        As people who have endured suffering for so long, it is now time for us to become the exemplary nation of peace.  This way, we can testify to the World that we have learned with distinction that war is bad and peace is good!  As a free people, there will be no reason for war!
·        We have got a daunting task in front of us – development, development and development.  How do we achieve development?  Through hard work and discipline. I said it during the formal Declaration of our Independence on July 9th that: ‘let us celebrate but we must get to work right away’.  We must till the land to produce food.  As an independent nation, we must not depend solely on food imports.  This is a moral responsibility for citizens – work, work, work and work!  A prosperous nation is not made up of indolent citizens because laziness is useless.  Let us fight to overcome all kinds of trauma and rebuild our human dignity.
·        Therefore, from now henceforth we should every year have something – say an achievement – dedicated to our martyrs.  From today onward, we are in for very serious business.  Nothing will be as usual – there is need to redouble our efforts to develop.  Moreover, to be modern or to become developed it is not easy to earn.  We will combine government efforts with private sector investment to optimize productivity.
·        As for transparency and accountability, we always spoken about these and they will remain critical in every conduct of business in our nation.  We will strengthen the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Audit Chamber to ensure that there are no loopholes for people who are addicted to mishandling public resources.
·        As soon as the new Independence Government is formed, we will outline our priorities and embark on them with more rigour and commitment.
To our gallant army and other organized forces,
·        I call upon them all to honour their fallen colleagues by emulating the discipline that enabled us to succeed throughout the struggle.  The values of our struggle for justice, liberty and prosperity must be shown in the behavior of our forces and security agencies.  In order to reward our martyrs for the hard won independence and to earn a place at the helm of the world, there must be respect for the rights of citizens.  The role of our army is to defend our sovereignty and that of the organized forces is to ensure law and order.     
·        Now that we have the Ministry of Defence, its main role is to ensure the physical security of our sovereign nation.  The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry for National Security should take charge of the safety of our citizens.  Criminals should now become attentive and those who are naughty terrorizing the public must now stop. Criminality should cease or else those who perpetrate suffering to others will be subjected to the strong arms of the law.  In fact I have declared war on criminals!  I would like to announce that as I talk to you now, senior officers who misbehaved in discharging their duties are now locked up in jail.  I also call upon the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court to expeditiously process prosecution cases because ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.
·        As for our foreign policy, we now have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.  Thus, in our relations with others in the family of nations, we must safeguard our image by behaving civilly.  We will build a robust human resource to match the demands of modern diplomacy and statecraft.
·        Last but not the least, I urge all our citizens to take advantage of the difficult experiences we have undergone over the past 60 years and turn them into treasures for nation-building.  It is not time to blame the past but rather it is time to focus on what to do today, tomorrow and the future. It is time to consciously ignore things that would destruct or detract us from building our new nation.  While we may continue to encounter difficulties on routine basis, we will take the advantage of beginning from scratch.  The Republic of South Sudan is like a white paper – tabula rasa!  We will think, plan and implement!  It will not be easy and it will take time before we start reaping the fruits of peace.  As it is said: ‘Rome was not built in one day’.  We will develop gradually just like we have done from 1983 to 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed.  There are people who would like to agitate but for how long have we been independent?  What can a child do in twenty one days? Cannot even hold the breast of the mother live alone trying to walk.  So we should give ourselves time to do things in order to develop.
·        We must become an exemplary of patience and tolerance.  We have surmounted every difficulty, particularly with regards to the implementation process of CPA.  The Six and half years were full of turbulence but our jet never succumbed to bad weather.  I would like to reassure you that we will continue to navigate through every difficulty with optimism to build this new nation.
·        Finally, the formula for us to succeed is unity and harmony of our people.  We will never be a nation if we retreat to our clans, tribes or regions.  I appeal to grandparents, mothers, fathers and children.  Let us stand up as a nation and begin to work.  Let us believe in ourselves – yes, we can make it because we have made it.
·        Let us salute our martyrs for their sacrifices have earned us pride and humility.
Long live the memory of our martyrs,
Long live our wounded heroes and heroines,
Long live the disabled, orphans and widows,
Long live citizens of South Sudan,
Long live Republic of South Sudan,
God bless South Sudan.

Thank you!


Dr. Majak D’Agoot’s speech at Red Army (Jesh Ahmar) Thanksgivings in Juba

Your Excellency Vice  President of the Republic
Honourable Ministers, Governors, and Advisors
Generals of the SPLA and other Organized Forces
Our Gallant Red Army/ Jesh Al-Ahmar
Distinguished Guest
Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me immense pride and honour to be accorded this opportunity to speak at this magnificent occasion recognising the tremendous sacrifices made during the protracted years of liberation struggle by this unique group/segment of our combatants – The Red Army. The purity, innocence and sublimity of their hearts, planted in us as “freedom fighters” a peculiar subculture. This attribute caused  an enduring  spirit of nationalism and patriotism among us that did not only transcend our ethnic and age barriers but even the limitations of young age and feebleness of physical bodies.

Your Excellency The Vice President
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although “The Red Army” as a nomenclature attributes its origin to Eurocentric Military Tradition of the early twentieth century associated with the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution,  its usage in our context was, however, more generic: it connoted young or fresh-blood, tender, greenhorn, etc. Its antonym – although used restrictively, perhaps for risks of racial connotation that  it implied –  was Jesh Al-Asoud; referring to The Black Army or the rest of the SPLA forces who are grown-up and strong to fight.    Often, when I ponder over  what had bonded us together throughout the years, a range of memorable experiences about you come to mind:

Ribs protruding out of your emaciated concertina chests; and small swollen bellies from malnutrition; soar feet from long distances walk; unattended leg ulcers under constant invasion from swarm of flies; constant fights over trivy; merciless massacres and wholesale displacement of innocent children from Pochalla in March 1992; all of it represent scenes of misery and despair.

We also remember:

Mutilated  dead bodies of young combatants from bombings in  Mongalla and Liria in December 1991; exceptional gallantry and martyrdom of young officers like 1st Lt Bol William Garang and 1st Lt. Michael Elijah Hon Tap; and determination of many of you who have climbed the repelling social ladder of prestige through difficulties to obtain advanced degrees from World class institutions in various disciplines of human knowledge. Simply stated, you have turned adversity into advantage, despair into hope, misery into happiness, and slavery into liberty. How else you could have done us proud than this!

Even though most of these nerve-wrecking and exciting tales about our experiences have already dwindled to a peck and disappeared among scudding clouds of luxury that many of us enjoy following the end  of the war;  we will soon write our own history glorifying our fallen heroes and shaming those inaccurate  pens (sometimes from genuine amateur historians or just political mavericks)  who have already rushed to publishing  misrepresented and distorted versions  of our tale. As a matter of fact, we will tell it more excitingly and authentically!

Your Excellency The Vice President
& the Gallant Jesh Al-Ahmar,

Tomorrow, July 30th, we celebrate the seventh anniversary of passing of Father of the Nation and liberation icon – the Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior. In August 2005 when we came to this town to lay him to rest, South Sudan was a devastated and tormented nation; despairingly crying out “Who shall save my people?” But because we stayed focused and goal-oriented throughout the CPA years under the able leadership of Comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit, South Sudan has gained its independence and is free at last. Briefly stated, we have restored that hope and dream of a free people; just and prosperous country.

The CPA was achieved because the SPLM had correctly identified its objectives and set a well articulated strategy to achieve them. Because the SPLM vision was strategically stable and self-enforcing than any other weak and dominated strategies devised in the course of southern struggle since Torit mutiny of August 1955, we were able to build a national liberation movement with wider appeal and membership transcending tribal, religious and regional boundaries.

Your Excellency The Vice President,
Ladies and Gentlemen

For us to deliver prosperity, this vision must stage a comeback and must assume primacy in our politics. It must  triumph over  ethnoregional sectarianism which has now come to dominate political clubs of Juba. It is only that vision that embodies critical elements for a game change and departure from risks of dysfunctionality. Although our long struggle was to some people unacceptably costly, the  course that we took was strategically false-safe.  It is by adherence to it that we may generate compact dynamic for effective governance and avoid “death and  decrepitude of body politic”  to quote words of Maximilien  Robespierre.

As meandering through the struggle and the difficult process of CPA implementation  can clearly attest, that critical mass is always in our collective action and unified effort; not in our disaggregated ventures. That promise is not farfetched; it is  with you Jesh Al-Ahmar. It is you who can help us avert the risk of a failed or dysfunctional democracy where the powerful promulgate laws but are not subject to them. Counting on you, we can easily mobilise a huge stock of critical skills that will ensure  creation  of key institutional capabilities necessary for the formation of a  strong state/nation. We must take serious note of the fact that fixing a failed  state is not an option for  us; for there is no substitute to  a functioning state.   It is you – The Red Army – who will straighten our paths from plunging into state where the powerful maintain a watch on the weak while there is no one to guard the guardians!

Finally, may God uphold us united in peace and harmony, Amen!

Thank you



According to the Southern Sudan Centre for Statistics, Census and Evaluation, Africa’s newest State has a spread of 644, 329 square kilometres. This is bigger than the size of Kenya, which stands at 582, 646 square kilometres. Some 80 per cent of South Sudan is arable land. Kenya’s arable land is barely 20 per cent.

From the 2008 Census, the population of Southern Sudan was stated to be 8.3 million. But the figure could be higher. This is though just about 20 per cent of Kenya’s population which stood at 38.6 million in 2009. And Southern Sudan has oil.

Quick thinking reveals that a country bigger than Kenya in size, with vast arable land, a sparse population and with oil deposits bespeaks great economic potential. Much as our neighbour Uganda recently discovered oil deposits and is well endowed with agricultural land, South Sudan, if well managed, packs the potential to quickly emerge as the economic powerhouse of Eastern Africa. Sadly, South Sudan is landlocked; sandwiched between Sudan to the North, Ethiopia and Somalia to the East, Kenya and Uganda to the South and the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West.

South Sudan must therefore optimise on the shortest and most effective communication routes for its global trade. This calls for good planning. To fully harness its potential, the new State must in addition ensure that physical infrastructure, which unlocks rural and urban development, receives primary attention.

Road and rail links within and beyond national borders will need expansion. Power, water and sewer services will need to be improved. Telephone and internet services will also be required for global connectivity. Planning and construction of physical facilities to accommodate State and private agencies will be required too. All these are preserve for infrastructure professionals.

Foremost are land surveyors, a.k.a geomatic or geospatial engineers nowadays, who will ensure the mapping of South Sudan at various scales to facilitate planning. Sound planning cannot proceed without a good map base. These professionals will be required to support the setting out of utility services like roads, power, water, sewer and telecommunication lines too.

Highway, rail, electrical, telecommunications and water engineers have lots to do in the new State too. Then Architects and planners will be helpful in planning and construction. Luckily, Kenya is well endowed with most of the above skills. In fact, there has been an oversupply in some. South Sudan should exploit this.

On the other hand, infrastructure professionals from Kenya should take advantage of the excellent bilateral relationship between Kenya and South Sudan to move ahead of the global community in servicing the new nation.

Kenyan professionals are not only favoured by geographical proximity but will easily understand the cultural mindsets of the citizenry in South Sudan after years of fraternizing with many of its nationals to whom Kenya played host.

For sustainability, South Sudan could consider short-term apprentice courses for its nationals in some of these critical disciplines. Arrangements with firms and institutions in Nairobi could be made to take small groups of trainees through basic technical skills necessary to support infrastructural service provision.

What’s obvious is that Kenya’s advantage in this regard won’t last long. Global giants like the US, UK, Germany, China and Japan are working hard to bridge this obvious capacity gap. It is therefore incumbent upon Kenyan infrastructure professionals to harness the narrow window of opportunity while it lasts.

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South Sudan in massive infrastructure strategy

Sunday, 31 July 2011 16:12 Stephen Asiimwe
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Kampala, Uganda – Following South Sudan’s independence recently, the country has embarked on massive development programmes, according to the new country’s Finance Minister David Deng Athorbei.
Athorbei, speaking to East African Business Week in Kampala last week, said his country of about eight million people was concentrating on three major development agendas. The first, he said, was physical infrastructure mainly roads, railways and airports. The scale of the rehabilitation is expected to cost billions of dollars, the majority of which will be drawn from the country’s oil wealth.
Much of the country’s roads, airports and rivers are in a poor state or non-existent following a lack by northern Sudan to develop this potentially wealthy nation.
“We are also working on getting electricity. There are places on the River Nile that have great potential for generating hydro-electric power in two sites that have falls,” Mr. Athorbei elaborated.
Electricity is a major challenge as many parts are using generators to power production and services. He said the country is planning to embark on short term measures like heavy fuel oils to generator bigger volumes of electricity. Mr. Athorbei added that there were already in talks with Ethiopia to buy electricity from their grids, which are currently generating over 2,000 megawatts.
The new nation, which has a new currency, the South Sudan pound, (three pounds to the dollar) also has plans to fix a new railway network linking Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia the DRC. Mr. Athorbei added that the Juba establishment was also looking at venturing into large scale agriculture since it has large swathes of fertile land. He was optimistic that investors would find the country favourable for business.

South Sudan’s jitters over Kiir’s powers

Posted: July 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World
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South Sudanese celebrate their Independence in July. Picture: File

South Sudanese celebrate their Independence in July. Picture: File


Hardly a month after South Sudan officially broke away from the North, there are murmurs over the suitability of the interim Constitution that was signed into law by President Salva Kiir during the declaration of the republic.

A number of South Sudanese are concerned that it is not ideal for a young nation set to embrace democratic ideals after 50 years of suppression.

One of the most contentious issues is that the renewed regional Constitution that governed the South as a semi-autonomous entity makes the president of South Sudan one of the most powerful in Africa: He or she cannot be impeached by parliament. The president has the power to prorogue the parliament of any of the 10 states, sack the governor and call for elections within three months.

“The president and the governor all draw their mandate from the electorate. What happens if after three months, the electorate of the affected state choose to vote back to power the sacked governor?” Agency For Independent Media executive director David De Dau asked.

No cause for alarm

But some argue this will work just fine saying, as a young nation, South Sudan needs a strong executive to oversee the maturation of the 10 states.

According to Mr Dau, the structure of the government is broad-based, requiring the president to be as inclusive as possible, which in effect means there will be no opposition.

The interim Constitution is meant to govern the country for the remaining four years until the next general election. The new nation is expected to come up with a more representative constitution within the stipulated period.

However, Bishop Gabriel Roric, a member of both the Technical Constitutional Review Committee, and the National Congress Party (NCP), argues that even though the committee simply lifted the powerful presidency from the Khartoum Constitution and placed it in the interim South Sudan Constitution, it is understandable at this early stage of nationhood.

He noted that some of the Southerners wanted a federal system in which all the 10 states become autonomous and stay in a federal system.

“After a protracted debate, we agreed that South Sudan is a newborn child and we cannot have two children being born at the same time,” said Mr Roric, and added that the presidential powers to intervene should only be exercised when things go out of hand.

While some people might have misgivings over the interim Constitution, the SPLM top command has assured the new republic that the four years of the republic will be used for wider consultation that will culminate in a permanent Constitution of South Sudan.

The debate started immediately the Technical Constitutional Review Committee was constituted in March. The outcry then was that the Sudanese people did not only nominate the first 16 members’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) at the expense of 23 other political parties, but was driven by a clique around the president who were becoming increasingly powerful.

The civil society and faith-based institutions were initially left out. However, the outcry led to the increase of the number of committee members to 25 where every stakeholder was included. Still Mr Dau argues that the outcome means that the executive has usurped law-making functions and powers of the National Assembly.

He cited the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) that forwards the bills to parliament as one institution that is dominated by the SPLM. It is natural that a Bill brought to parliament would be automatically passed in a legislature that is 75 per cent SPLM.

The other contentious issue was the name of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) be changed to South Sudan Nation Armed Forces, to include those who fought for freedom but were not necessarily SPLA members.

The committee resolved that SPLA continues in the meantime as the country grapples with the security sector reform and the DDR (Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation) processes. The other compromise was to allow the 99 MPs who were elected in 2010 to represent the South in the Government of National Unity in Khartoum to join 170 others that were elected in the South and continue being MPs until the four-year interim period is over.

The first one was held early last year, before the split, which Salva Kiir overwhelmingly won and was appointed Vice President by President Omar Al-Bashir in accordance with the interim constitution.