Archive for October 16, 2011

Eric Reeves: “They Bombed Everything that Moved”

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Aerial military attacks on civilians and humanitarians in Sudan,
1999 – 2011
(report and data update as of October 15, 2011)

July 15 – October 15, 2011

Since this report and data spreadsheet were originally released on May 6, 2011, the Sudan Armed Forces—at the direction of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum—have continued their aerial onslaught against civilians in various regions of North Sudan. This savagery has now spread from South Kordofan to another northern border state, Blue Nile. At the same time, civilian villages in Darfur, without any military presence, continue to be targeted. I have argued that in aggregate, these many hundreds of confirmed, deliberate aerial attacks on civilians and humanitarians—going back more than a decade—constitute crimes against humanity. So, too, does the widespread, systematic denial of humanitarian access on an ethnic basis, something the UN first reported in Darfur in 2003 (in South Sudan the Nuba Mountains this had begun over a decade earlier). And yet these tactics, which have defined the military strategy of the Khartoum regime for so long, show no signs of being curtailed. Nor is there any sign that these atrocity crimes will confront meaningful action by international actors, who know full well their deadly consequences—and hence the consequences of their own acquiescence.

In South Kordofan the bombing continues to be particularly intense in the Nuba Mountains, and for months has prevented planting and tending of crops; continued bombing now endangers even a meager harvest. Khartoum has prevented all international humanitarian access to a vast population that is now squarely facing starvation. Many people have made the dangerous trek to South Sudan, some 8,000 as of mid-September, and the UN High Commission for Refugees estimated at the time that there were some 500 new arrivals per day.

Civilians in Blue Nile—another region with a long history of marginalization, violence, and tyranny at the hands of the NIF/NCP regime—are consistently reported as enduring daily bombing attacks. Civilian casualties have been high and the number of civilians displaced by bombardment is enormous. Elected governor Malik Agar estimates that half of Blue Nile’s 1.2 million people are now on the move. This is harvest season and it appears increasingly unlikely that those forced from their lands by aerial military violence will be able to survive without international humanitarian aid—which Khartoum has again denied categorically.

Lacking food and humanitarian assistance, and facing increasing violence, civilians from Blue Nile have begun to pour into neighboring Ethiopia, with no end to the exodus in sight:

"The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says 27,500 people have fled the conflict in Blue Nile State to nearby Ethiopia since early September. The agency is due to open a second camp 200km from the border with a capacity of 3,000 people, as fighting and SAF aerial bombardments continue." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [IRIN] [dateline: Kurmuk], October 13, 2011)

In South Kordofan, the SPLA/M-North leader Abdel Aziz el-Hilu reports that as many as 500,000 Nuba have been displaced, and he has assembled locality data to support this claim. The actual figure for displaced persons can’t be known, but now—after more than four months of intense bombings—it is almost certainly more than 300,000, and the number of conflict-affected civilians much greater. Khartoum’s military assaults on Abyei (May 20), South Kordofan (June 5), and Blue Nile (September 1) may now have displaced 1 million civilians.

Origins and character of conflict in Blue Nile

Violence in Blue Nile was initiated by Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on September 1, 2011 in yet another well-prepared assault. Such an assault was predicted in a previous iteration of this update (July 15, 2011), as it was by the elected governor of Blue Nile, Malik Agar. Malik insisted to all who would listen that the longer conflict and ethnic targeting of civilians continued in South Kordofan, the more likely it was that Blue Nile would be drawn into the fighting. Unsurprisingly, Malik’s residence in Damazine was the first target of SAF shelling. Such shelling has now extended southward toward Kurmuk as Khartoum increasingly engages in "stand-off" military actions against the forces so effectively led by Malik (the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement-North; SPLA/M-N). Large-scale, long-range, and indiscriminate shelling has many of the same effects as aerial bombardment by Antonov aircraft, which are inherently incapable of achieving bombing accuracy sufficient to be militarily effective. It is now the greatest fear of many on the ground in Blue Nile. UN IRIN reports from Kurmuk (October 12, 2011):

"The priority is to move patients from the hospital as quickly as possible, either back home or across the border to Ethiopia where other aid agencies can care for them. ‘The fear that an Antonov might bomb [the hospital] is terrible,’ [Dr. Evan] Atar said, adding: ‘Most of the people who were injured are people who were running. The bomb usually explodes upwards in a conical form, so if you keep down you are fine.’"

But fear in such circumstances can be extremely difficult to control; and the fact that Khartoum is notorious for its deliberate bombing of hospitals is widely known among the people who endured more than 20 years of civil war (see original May 6 report, pp. 14 – 15, 23 – 24). Moreover, as Dr. Atar also notes:

"’In the [civil] war, there was peace in the villages; now they [the Antonovs] bomb even the villages—that’s the problem; and the increasing accuracy of the bombing is leading to rising patient numbers as the weeks go by.’" (UN IRIN [dateline: Kurmuk], October 12, 2011)

While still not sufficiently accurate to be militarily effective, there have been repeated reports of Antonovs increasing their accuracy through crude bomb-sighting mechanisms, and their destructiveness by using bombs with greater explosive power.

Atar, who is the only doctor in Kurmuk, notes the connection between bombing and shelling by Khartoum’s SAF and the looming food shortages: "Food would also become a problem [ ]. ‘First of all the war will continue and the second thing is, now, hunger will come and it is not going to spare anyone unless the people go and become refugees to be helped, but for the people left within, it is going to be a big problem.’ Artillery fire directed at rebels could be the last straw. ‘For now it is the Antonov bombing, but I don’t think I would be here if there is shelling … and no patients could be brought here,’ Atar said" (emphasis added) (UN IRIN October 12). And even now, a major SAF force is on the move toward Kurmuk. A highly alarming report from the Satellite Sentinel Project (September 23), based on substantial satellite photography, indicates a massive formation of armor, troops, and military aircraft: "heavily camouflaged, mechanized units comprising at least a brigade—3,000 troops or more"; "these forces appear to be equipped with heavy armor and artillery, supported by helicopter gunships." Once they are in artillery range, they will likely engage in annihilating shelling, which will compel the SPLA/N to withdraw or risk large numbers of casualties among civilians who have remained (a rapidly dwindling number).

The experience of civilians who are bombed and shelled is captured in an important dispatch from Agence France-Presse (also with a Kurmuk dateline, October 10):

"Anima’s eyes flicker and weep as the doctor sews up the stump of his left arm, before he rolls back on the hospital bed, one of the latest victims in Sudan’s relentless bombing campaign in Blue Nile state. Dr Evan Atar says he has done seven amputations since war broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and fighters loyal to the SPLM-North in Blue Nile state last month. He has treated more than 600 others for shrapnel wounds. ‘We are really now running out of supplies. We have been running here and there and crying…. But now where to get it from is really an issue,’ he said. President Omar al-Bashir has blocked foreign aid agencies from entering Blue Nile and nearby South Kordofan state, where a separate conflict between the army and SPLM-North rebels has raged since June."

"Kurmuk’s is the only hospital between neighbouring Ethiopia and Damazin … and Dr Atar is the only doctor. He says the hospital will run out of vital supplies such as saline solution, cotton and gauze this week if no aid arrives, after using up six months’ supplies in one [month]. In another hospital bed, 65-year-old Altom Osman is recovering from a deep shrapnel wound in his back and one in his arm after a bomb hit the village of Sali an hour north of Kurmuk. ‘I was taking some sorghum flour to my wife. We were passing our farm and then the Antonov came immediately and bombed,’ Osman whispered."

[full report and data spreadsheet at]

Steve Paterno: Africa Finally got a Winner in Quality Leadership

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Socio-Cultural

By Steve Paterno

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has finally announced its recipient for 2011 Achievement in African Leadership award, after no winner emerged for the last two consecutive years. The foundation was established in 2006, by a Sudanese native and telecommunication mogul Dr. Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim. The foundation is aimed to support good governance and to recognize as well as celebrate excellence in leadership in Africa.

The Achievement in African Leadership prize is awarded to a democratically elected former African head of State who has served their term in office within the limits set by the country’s constitution, has left office in the last three years, and has demonstrated excellence in office. The prize consists of five million dollars, disbursed in a period of 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter. The foundation can also consider granting a further $200,000 per year, for 10 years, toward the cause espoused by the winner for the purpose of serving public interest.

Since its inception, the winners of the prize included Joaquim Alberto Chissano (2007), Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (2007) as an inaugural honorary recipient, Festus Gontebanye Mogae (2008), and Pedro Verona Pires (2011). Joaquim Alberto Chissano was democratically elected as President of Mozambique in 1994, in the country’s first multi-party elections. He was reelected for the second term in 1999, and then, he stepped down from presidency, refusing to seek reelection, even though the constitution did not restrict him from pursuing the third term. Chissano was instrumental for ending Mozambique’s 16 year-old civil war and he allowed for establishment of multipartism to flourish in the nation. He managed and oversaw the country’s post conflict reconstruction, which was characterized by great reforms in economic, health, education and empowerment of women.

Nelson Mandela was awarded the prize as an honorary laureate for his role model and for being one of the greatest statements of the time who will continue to inspire generations. Mandela endured personal sacrifice and dedicated his life for the struggle to end a racial apartheid regime of South Africa. In 1994, Mandela was elected President of South Africa, in what was the country’s first ever multi-racial elections. After forming a national unity government and serving only for one term, Mandela resigned, and never wished to seek a second term in office. Mandela’s chances to continue in presidency for life was unchallengeable.

Festus Gontebanye Mogae is the third President of Botswana. Mogae first became president in 1998. After his party, Botswana Democratic Party won the elections again in 2004, he went on to serve for the second term, ending his reign in 2008, in accordance with the country’s constitution. During Mogae’s tenure, Botswana experienced steady economic growth, better management of resources, and improved social services. His strict enforcement of anti-corruption measures, puts Botswana among the least corrupt countries in the continent.

Pedro Verona Pires won his first presidential seat in 2001, and then prevailed again in 2006 for his second term. Despite wide publicized speculations that Pires could amend the country’s constitution to allow him to run for the third term, he instead stepped down in the end of his second term, saying, “this is a simple matter of faithfulness to the documents that guide a state of law.” While in office, Pires instituted significant reforms that transformed Cape Verde into a model for democracy, stability, prosperity, good governance, and respect for human rights. Under Pires stewardship, Cape Verde has become only the second African country to graduate from the United Nations category of the Least Developed.

In spite of these winners, who all posses impeccable track records, the fact that the foundation was not able to find any African leader who meets the criteria for the award in year 2009 and 2010—demonstrates a disturbing trend of an Africa inhibiting the progress of practicing good and quality leadership. This means the Dark Continent is still long way to improve performance in excellence in leadership.

Even though the Mo Ibrahim Foundation initiative is a noble cause, intended to encourage good governance and excellence in leadership, the award has its shortcomings. For example, the whopping awarded monetary amount is misplaced, because it is in the presidency that African leaders earn most of their cash; not when they leave the office. Hence, these leaders cannot simply be enticed by cash in order to leave office, when they can just snatch more of such money on their own. In essence, the award is rewarding the rich of the rich in Africa. Normally, African leaders transfer power peacefully after negotiating and securing hefty package for themselves that will ensure their livelihood for eternity. Otherwise, these leaders cannot see any incentives in giving up power, which is actually generously fuels their wealth.

As much as it is important to recognize and reward excellent in leadership in Africa, more attention should focus on empowerment at the grassroots, which in turn can hold the leadership accountable. There are enormous need to support functions of institutions and sustainable self reliance programs to ensure human dignity and equality as well as elevate poverty and prevent diseases. By solely recognizing only the elites, the Mo Ibrahim Achievement in African Leadership prize will continue to reaffirm the “principle of the big man,” where rich people rewarding themselves with their wealth.

South Sudan: The Scramble For Land – Analysis

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

October 16, 2011

By Nisrin Elamin

On 9 July 2011 South Sudan became Africa’s 54th nation, after the vast majority of its people voted for secession from the North. The ink has barely dried on the documents formalising South Sudan’s self-determination, but the scramble for its land is already in full swing. Over the last two years, researchers estimate that approximately 10 per cent of Africa’s most fertile land in over 20 countries, has fallen into the hands of foreign companies and speculators seeking to exploit its resources.[1] South Sudan has simply become one of the latest investment frontiers for foreign speculators, prompted in large part by its newly found independence.

The struggle for Southern Sudan’s independence began in 1955 and cost the lives of millions, displacing many more within their own homeland. At the centre of this struggle for independence was the desire for the people of South Sudan to control and benefit from their own resources and land. Yet according to a report released by the Oakland Institute earlier this year, 9 per cent of South Sudanese land has already been bought or rather leased to foreign companies and governments.

North and South Sudan

North and South Sudan

The irony of the situation is astounding and deeply troubling. According to a Norwegian People’s Aid report authored by David Deng over ‘28 foreign and domestic investments are planned or underway across the ten states of Southern Sudan totaling 2.64 million hectares of land in the agriculture, forestry and bio-fuel sectors alone.’[2] The total land area is larger than the entire country of Rwanda. The investors include several North American, British, Finnish, Egyptian, South African and Emirati companies.

A brief history of US and European involvement in Sudan’s peace process can shed light on the current scramble for land. It appears the same governments –and the corporations affiliated with them – who took an interest in Sudan’s peace negotiations over a decade ago, are now involved in acquiring some of the South’s most fertile, oil and mineral rich regions. Before the discovery and flow of oil in Sudan beginning in 1999, the Sudanese peace process was dominated by neighbouring African countries. The Clinton Administration was in fact criticised by Jimmy Carter for previously undermining the Sudanese peace process by militarily supporting Southern Sudanese rebels in an effort to destabilise and overthrow the Northern regime.[3]

Once it became clear that 80 per cent of Sudan’s oil was located in the South, the calculus for US and European oil interests and policy shifted towards supporting a peace process which would likely lead to the South’s secession. Clinton-era sanctions, had previously made Sudan’s oil, mineral and agricultural sectors off limits to North American and European investors. As a result, these sectors were dominated by Chinese, Malaysian and Indian companies. With the emergence of an independent South Sudan comes an opportunity for US, Canadian and European companies to now invest in these sectors.

The fragility of South Sudan’s transitional period and the legal ambiguity that surrounds it is a big draw for investors. A recent Rolling Stone article[4] on foreign landholders in Africa appropriately refers to them as ‘Capitalists of Chaos.’ Phil Heilberg, who was interviewed for the article and now owns over 800,000 hectares of land in South Sudan through the New York based Jarch Management group speaks openly about his motivation to invest in the region. ‘I saw the Soviet Union split up,’ he recalls. ‘Saw it up close. I realized there was a lot of money to be made in breakups, and I vowed that the next time I’d be on the inside…The world is like the universe – ever expanding,’ he adds. ‘I focus on the pressure points.’[5]

Due to South Sudan’s fragility and underdevelopment, foreign businesses that are purely profit-driven, can seize opportunities to operate under the guise of agriculture or infrastructure development while capitalising on the nation’s resource wealth. While some foreign companies are supporting the development of the new nation by building schools, roads and hospitals, others are undermining the creation of democratic institutions and laws that will protect its citizens from exploitation. A closer look at a deal struck between a US-based investment firm and a local cooperative three years ago, reveals these dynamics poignantly.

In 2008, the Texas-based firm Nile Trade and Development and the local Mukaya Payam Cooperative negotiated one of the biggest land deals in South Sudan. ‘The 49-year lease of 400,000 hectares of central Equatoria for around $25,000 allows the company to exploit all natural resources including oil, timber and minerals.’[6] According to the Oakland Institute, it also allows the company to engage in agricultural activities and to sublease the land to a third party.

A key element in this deal, as well as other similar deals, is that they all relied on one determining factor: South Sudan’s imminent and inevitable independence. In February of 2009, two years prior to South Sudan’s referendum, US and British business executives co-founded Kinyeti Development a company dedicated to supporting the ‘emergence of the human resource, logistical and economic basis for a new South Sudan dedicated to improving the living standards of its people within a framework of civic peace, free market economies, democratic institutions, and regional cooperation.’[7] Nile Trade and Development is one of its subsidiaries.

The company’s website includes maps of Sudan’s oil concessions and ethnic make-up along with rather extensive biographies of its three foreign partners. In May of 2009, a delegation of South Sudanese government officials interested in developing a green economy was invited to a smart-grid fact finding mission in Texas. The effort was headed by former US Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs Howard Eugene Douglas. Douglas made the seamless transition from diplomacy to international business in the 1990s and now heads both Kinyeti Development and Nile Trade and Development. In brief, he has put years of diplomatic experience and political knowledge[8] of the region to use in developing lucrative business ventures for prospective foreign investors in Africa’s newest nation.

But contrary to its stated mission, Kinyeti Development has done little to ensure that these land acquisition ventures take place in a transparent, lawful and democratic manner. The Mukaya Payam cooperative, which originally negotiated the lease of land in Central Equatoria for instance, is said to be fictitious according to the Oakland Institute’s research findings.[9] The agreement, which guarantees the cooperative will receive a percentage of the lessor’s profits, was in fact signed by ‘one Mukaya Paramount Chief on behalf of the Cooperative, and witnessed by two others – a judge and a lawyer’ without the knowledge or input of the community affected.[10] The Government of South Sudan has not officially recognised the deal, which is currently under scrutiny due to pressure and protests from members of the affected community.

The Southern Sudanese government also has yet to establish land and mining laws that would protect the nascent nation from foreign resource exploitation. Most importantly, no laws have been created to ensure that the communities affected by land acquisitions and foreign investments are protected from imminent displacement. The area designated for Nile Trade and Development has a population of approximately 90,000, largely dependent on land for survival.[11] According to the Norwegian People’s Aid Report:

‘Even if companies were to invest in a manner that does not require resettlement of local communities, such extensive development would still significantly affect patterns of land access and use for tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people…. a number of the investments are located in highly populated areas where tens or even hundreds of thousands of people rely on land and natural resources for their daily livelihoods. If the project proponents choose to deny local populations access, it could have devastating impacts on rural communities whose lives have already been sorely affected by poverty, food insecurity, and conflict.’[12]

While Nile Trade and Development agreed to finance the development of the land they leased by building roads and schools for the community, these promises have failed to materialise over the last three years.[13] Moreover, an upsurge of post-referendum clashes between the South Sudan army and militia factions, has already led to the displacement of hundreds, in areas leased to Jarch Management. According to a Sudan Tribune article published in April of 2011, ‘hundreds of civilians were displaced in Mayom County as a result of clashes between the South Sudan army (SPLA) and militia loyal to Peter Gatdet, Unity state officials say.’[14] Peter Gatdet incidentally serves on the board of Jarch Management. One can only speculate about the role Jarch Management has been playing in the recent events that have occurred.

It becomes clear from these examples that some foreign interests have never been committed to true self-determination for the people of South Sudan. Instead, they supported secession in order to clear the way for resource exploitation. To recover from decades of war and promote development, South Sudan is in need of both foreign and domestic investors. But they must operate within a legal framework, which ensures that its citizens will benefit from their country’s resource wealth. Without such a framework, the scramble for land and resources will continue, with potentially devastating effects on the new nation’s most vulnerable communities.

Nisrin Elamin is a Sudanese educator and activist living in New York City. She is the coordinator of the Support Darfur Project which documents and supports Sudanese-led grassroots initiatives and blogs at

East Africa appeal hits £72m

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

6pm UK, Sunday October 16, 2011

British aid agencies have raised £72 million for drought victims in East Africa.

The Disasters Emergency Committee launched an appeal in July after Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the Republic Of South Sudan suffered one of the worst droughts in 60 years.

One hundred days since the appeal’s launch, the total raised is the third largest in the charity’s 45-year history.

Only the Asian tsunami (£392m) and the Haiti earthquake (£107m) raised more.

It comes as aid agencies warn the crisis is deepening for some of the 13 million East Africans hit by the drought.

World Food Day is being marked nearly three months after the United Nations declared a famine in parts of Africa.

The UK’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said: "It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

"We’ve got to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future, as well as helping those who are at great risk today in the Horn Of Africa."

The Disasters Emergency Committee says the British government was among the first to respond to the crisis in East Africa.

Naomi Nakorudi’s baby daughter Kinyonga is among the millions needing aid, which she is receiving at Lodwar District Hospital, in Kenya’s poverty-stricken Turkana county.

"Before we came here, my child couldn’t eat," she said.

"Now if she sees someone else eating, she will eat. I’m pleased that my child is doing so well."

Children treated at the hospital receive high energy meals and have a chance of recovery.

But even before the region’s drought, 95% of the population in the poorest parts of Kenya lived in poverty – on less than a dollar a day. They are reliant on the land to feed the animals.

While schemes continue to help locals feed themselves, aid agencies insist the global response to their alert for East Africa has been slow.

South Sudan Urged to Learn From Experiences of Other African Countries

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Matata Safi

15 October 2011

press release

Juba — The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK-based research institute has urged the Republic of South Sudan to learn from the experiences of other African countries which have come out from serious conflict to thrive both socially and economically.

The call was made yesterday by Mr. Marcus Manuel, the ODI director in South Sudan while releasing the findings of a global research project conducted at Home and Away in Juba. Mr. Manuel said that South Sudan has the potential of a complete transformation like many other African countries with the same difficult conflict background which have witnessed tremendous progress in development in the past ten to twenty years.

He said the purpose of the presentation of the findings in Juba was to share with South Sudan the lessons gleaned from development progress in over 200 countries all round the world. He added that the presentation was also intended to inspire development players in South Sudan to ask themselves as to what has driven these remarkable development changes in these countries.

He said among the countries that may share the same challenges with South Sudan is Ethiopia. For instance, he explained that Ethiopia has excelled well in education despite it emerging from a conflict background just a few years down the road. He also mentioned Rwanda that has recorded tremendous progress in health despite the genocide of 1994. Mr. Manuel also mentioned Uganda which he said has managed to provide clean water to its rural population in spite of its challenges emanating from its past conflicts.

Mr. Manuel stressed that to realize progress in development calls for what he described as "drivers of development" which include smart leadership, smart policies, smart institutions and friends that can be able to set road-signs that guide people or countries towards development.

He asserted that realizing development progress is not a case of "cut and paste" from other countries that have seen progress being pasted in South Sudan. He said that there is need to customize the development lessons and apply them selectively in South Sudan. He explained that the workshop provided a platform for the stakeholders to develop a sense of reflection and opportunity to learn from the challenges of other countries and see how they managed to turn them around to development.

Mr. Manuel cautioned that the challenges may at times seem overwhelming but affirmed that this should not make people lose focus. He said that if other countries have managed or are managing then South Sudan can also make it.

Sudan’s Economic Insolvency: Who’s responsible?

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Published October 16th, 2011 – 10:16 GMT via

Following in the footsteps of the other
Following in the footsteps of the other "Zenga-Zenga" Arab regimes [in reference
to Gaddafi's infamous speech], Al-Bashir tried to say that all the failures and problems his regime is facing have been caused by a "foreign" conspiracy
Enlarge Image

In an interview with this newspaper, and in some of his latest statements, it seemed as if Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir was relinquishing his responsibilities but not his position. For example, when he was asked about the suffering of the Sudanese citizens as a result of the high cost of living – something that the majority of people in Sudan have complained about, and which resulted in some people staging anti-government protests, Al-Bashir did not offer any solutions to reassure the people. On the contrary, he deemed the rise in prices as being justified as a "result of the price hikes in petroleum products, which is basic for the production whether it is industrial, agricultural, or services production."

He then proceeded to talk about the campaign which many Sudanese had taken part in – whether voluntarily or involuntarily – to boycott meat products due to the soaring price of meat. Al-Bashir said the best way to fight the rise in the prices of commodities is to boycott them, although he said that the "ideal" way of handling a problem such as this is to reduce consumption.

When the state proposes boycotting – or reducing the consumption of – a food staple that has become unattainable to many people due to skyrocketing prices, this means that the state is incapable of offering solutions other than selling illusions and empty slogans. It is the responsibility of the ruler or government to provide the people with food, medicine and security, not to propose deprivation and suffering instead of prosperity and welfare, especially if people see the regime’s cronies getting richer and richer whilst hearing about corruption which has spread throughout the entire state structure.

The problem is not just the price of meat, for all food staples have been hit by the rise in prices and the economic crisis that has affected all walks of life, and which is expected to get worse during the coming period. The regime tried to deceive the people by getting on board and endorsing the wave of protest and adopting the meat boycott and calling for a reduction in the consumption of meat. Al-Bashir was not the only senior state official to offer his support for the meat boycott; in fact he was joined by other senior officials including Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha who rushed to welcome the committee advocating the boycott campaign, announcing his support for its cause.

The response to the government’s move could be seen in a series of jokes circulated online. One joke goes "a man brought a fish home to his wife and asked her to fry it. She said: there is no oil. So the man asked her to grill it and she answered: there is no flour. The man finally asked his wife to boil the fish, but she answered: the water has been cut off for the past seven days. So the man finally took the fish and threw it back into the sea, the fish cheered: Go, go Al-Bashir! You have my vote!"

Ridicule was not the only reaction to the crisis which has affected people’s necessities. Demonstrations were also organized to protest this, but these were met by suppression on the part of the authorities that tried to portray them as possessing ideological dimensions. Sudanese presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie – who is famous for his controversial statements – said that a wealthy communist who is paying people to take to the streets is behind these protests. Such talk is not just insulting to all those who took to the street to protest against the harsh economic conditions in the country, it also includes a clear shirking of responsibility on the part of the government, an attempt not to deal with the reality of the crisis facing the people of Sudan.

However it seems that escaping from reality and evading responsibility has become an official policy, especially with regards to the succession of crises that have struck the country, since the greatest failure of the regime, namely the secession of South Sudan and its inability to achieve peace. When President Al-Bashir – in his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat -was asked about the conflicts that have broken out in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, he tried to shirk all responsibility, saying that he had previously warned of this scenario, that a referendum in the south would lead to secession and then civil war. However if he foresaw all of this, why did he continue on this path? Is the ruler’s responsibility to warn against something, but then blindly go ahead with this, particularly as the regime moved ahead with the secession, and did not even bother to hold a referendum for the people of the north regarding the future of their country?

Al-Bashir supervised all the negotiations via his vice president, senior aides and advisors, and personally signed the peace treaty which led to the secession and even participated and danced in the celebrations marking the birth of the state of South Sudan. Before that, the regime wasted six years in wrangling and delay, and did not take advantage of the decisive years between the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 and the self-determination referendum in the South in 2011 to put forward the appropriate conditions to make unification an appealing prospect. Indeed some of the regime’s loyalists contributed to enthusing people regarding the prospect of southern secession, saying that this would be "all for the best" for the north. So where is this "best" that they promised the people?

Peace has not been achieved and relations between Khartoum and Juba are still very tense, and there is even the threat that we could see a return to war. Instead of bringing a measure of stability to the north or resulting in any promised "goodness", conflicts have broken out along its new southern border extending from Darfur to the Blue Nile, including South Kordofan. The country is also facing a suffocating economic crisis after losing more than 75 percent of its oil resources which went to the South, particularly as traditional state resources like agriculture has been affected by negligence, haphazard policies and irrational taxes.

Following in the footsteps of the other "Zenga-Zenga" Arab regimes [in reference to
Gaddafi's infamous speech], Al-Bashir tried to say that all the failures and problems his regime is facing have been caused by a "foreign" conspiracy, and that he knows who is behind this.

To spice up his theory further, Al-Bashir said that someone was trying to abort the Egyptian revolution and besiege it from Sudan and Libya. Al-Bashir did not forget to refer to Israel in view of the fact that political developments in the region are going against its interests. Of course Al-Bashir is not the only one attempting to ride the wave of Arab revolutions by saluting revolutionaries and protesters in other countries while quelling demonstrations at home. Moreover, he is not the only one holding onto the reins of power and hanging all his problems and failures on foreign "plots and conspiracies". This is the mentality of "I rule but I am not responsible for anything."

South Sudan to tighten control over govt spending

Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

(AFP) – 10 hours ago

JUBA — South Sudan will tighten control over government spending with a series of reforms that limit monthly cash expenditure and increase transparency of payments, an official statement said on Sunday.

The changes come after Finance Minister Kosti Manibe Ngai and his staff met with government spending agencies last week “to discuss key reforms including immediate implementation of monthly cash limits for agencies,” the statement said.

South Sudan, which gained formal independence from the north on July 9 after decades of civil war, is one of the poorest countries on earth.

“The reforms would allow agencies to better plan their expenditure, as well as giving them more power over the implementation of their budgets,” said Finance Undersecretary Salvatore Garang Mabiordit.

It also allows for increased transparency in the way that payments are made by the government,” he added.

The fledgling nation faces a host of daunting challenges, including the rampant corruption new President Salva Kiir has repeatedly vowed to confront.

Other reforms to be introduced from November 1 include “payments being made directly to properly registered vendors rather than through government agencies, more rigorous controls over the signing of government contracts, clearing of arrears, and improved accountability procedures for petty cash expenditure,” the government statement said.

In an open letter last month, Kiir said new measures, including regulation of land sales and publication of government officials’ finances, would lead to greater transparency and accountability.

Opposition leader of the SPLM-DC party Lam Akol has said that tackling graft and ensuring that people “see the fruits of peace” with improved services is key to the new nation’s socio-economic success.

Akol, who this month pledged his support in helping Kiir build the new nation after years of bitter rivalry that pushed him out of the country, said a proper crackdown on corruption was necessary.

“The level of services that have been done in the last six years is not commensurate with the amount of money that has come into the coffers of the south,” said Akol.

He called for stricter controls on oil revenues and donor money, fearing a donor pullout unless the international community’s goodwill is met “not only through lip-service but through action.”

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

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South Sudan’s $200 million monthly plan to save fledgling economy

South Sudan central bank governor, Mr Kornelio Koryom. |
By MACHEL AMOS in JubaPosted Sunday, October 16  2011 at  13:04
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South Sudan’s central bank will double its monthly economic support plan to $200 million as it fights to stabilise a rapidly devaluating local currency that has seen the price of goods double since independence in July this year.

The government has been injecting $100 million every month but this was not enough as the newly independent country struggles to find its economic footing in the region.

The South Sudanese Pound has been exchanging at 4.0 to the dollar against commercial banks, from 2.75 before independence.

Even the black market rate has taken a battering, exchanging at 4.2 to the US currency, up from 3.0 before July.

This has seen the prices of goods and services that are mostly imported from East Africa on a high.

Central bank governor Kornelio Koryom blamed the rapid devaluation of the Pound on a limited supply of hard currency, forgery and the repatriation of the local unit by foreign workers who account for a significant portion of business in the country.

Prices doubled

Mr Koryom said prices have doubled since independence due to multiple taxation on goods and services, an expansionary fiscal expenditure, poor border controls and hoarding of commodities.

The interior ministry blames cash extortion points across the country for fuelling the price rises which have seen the Finance and Economic Planning ministry directed to get a handle on fiscal factors weakening the economy.


Posted: October 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Today we look at the roles and contributions played by Mustapha Ceesay former member of the Gambia Police Force. Mustapha was deployed to the United Nations Mission in Sudan in May 2007 as part of an 18 men contingent to South Sudan. After completing his initial induction training in Khartoum, he was deployed to the regional Headquarters in Juba where he was part of the team that set of the South Sudan Police Service SSPS registration database. After the successful establishment of the project which was officially launched by the SSPS Inspector General on June 22nd 2007, and after training the local police officers on the operations of the database, Mustapha was briefly redeployed to Juba team site to supervise the registration of the SSPS in the Central equatorial State, a state of over 7,000 officers.

But even before Mustapha’s transfer became effected, he was again redeployed to the Mission Headquarters in Khartoum by the UNMIS police commissioner Kai Vittrup on 18th July on the recommendations of the Reform and Restructuring Coordinator Surendra Sharma to be part of a 5 man team to set up the UNPOL Strategic Analysis Cell within the R&R Unit at MHQ. The team’s role was to among other things access, evaluate and analyse the impact of the UNPOL conducted activities on the South Sudan Police Service as well as to monitor and access the activities of the UN police in line with Mission mandate Implementation Plan. This was a new unit ever to be set up in any peacekeeping mission. The team was to be compiling quarterly Strategic Evaluation Reports which will highlight successes to be replicated, challenges and lessons learnt. Their first SER was to be published by the end of August in accordance to the police commissioner’s Directive 25 that set up the unit. Other members of the team were R&R Coordinator Surendra Sharma (Indian), Ary Laksmana Widjaja (Indonesian), Ignacio Cumigad (Philippine) and Emmanuel Ruvurajabo (Rwanda).

Though a daunting challenge with no previous baseline to start on, Mustapha and his team worked day and night and draw on personal experiences and knowledge of the environment (Sudan) to meet this dateline. His personal role of compiling and collating every report on the south, on daily sitreps, flash reports, MHQ weekly, incident and training reports helped to provide sufficient data for the team to interpret, translate and analyse to draw conclusions for the first strategic report at the end of August which was to look at the SSPS from 2005 to July 2007.

The publication of this first ever strategic Evaluation Report by SAC did not only gained the team recognition within the UNMIS leadership but even by UN DPKO in New York who wasted no time in marking it as a best practice and uploaded it into its website after an After Action Review for viewing and replication by other missions around the world.

In December 2007, Mustapha was again featured by the UNMIS Police in Action newsletter magazine after the police commissioner presented them with commendation certificates following the production of his team’s Democratic Policing Index DPI on the South Sudan Police Service. The DPI was introduced by the SAC team to evaluate and place the South Sudan Police on a scale of 1-100 on Democratic and International Policing Standards. The index looks at key areas of policing such as operations, administration logistics, Community Policing, Human Rights amongst others. This index show SSPS on 14% in terms of democratic and citizen focus policing. It was a very useful tool which was even welcomed by the SSPS leadership in helping them to reorganise a police force the majority of whom were former SPLA combatants with little or no training or education.

In April 2008, Mustapha was again part of the team that produced the SSPS 3 years Strategic Development Plan covering June 2008 to June 2011. The other contributors to the plan were the UNDP Rule of Law Office in South Sudan. The document which was produced on the request of the SSPS leadership highlighted the key development needs of the South Sudan Police which required urgent attention. No sooner than the plan was published, it caught the attention of the South Sudan Multi Donor Trust Fund which came to sponsor key projects highlighted in the plan such as Gender and Community Policing. The plan was as well uploaded in the UN Best Practices intranet following another After Action Review. This was the 3rd time Mustapha’s contributions were being recognised by the DPKO and UN Best Practices, highlights were uploaded on their respective intranets for viewing and replication by other missions.

On April 24th 2008, Mustapha was delegated by the UNMIS Police Commissioner to address the visiting Technical Assessment Team from the UN Headquarters at the mission HQ in Khartoum on behave of the UNPOL on the successes of UNPOL in Reforming and Restructuring the Police Service in South Sudan. The team was in Sudan as part of its annual inspection of UN peacekeeping missions around the world. Having a young Gambian officer to address this important team was not only a pride for him and his colleagues in the mission but the entire Gambian nation. This lecture was attended by all contingent commanders in UNMIS as well as other senior military and civilian official.

His Tour of duty was due to end by November 2008, but due to being a key member in the production of the quarterly Strategic Evaluation Reports and the Democratic Policing Index, the fifth volume of which was to be published by end of the month, a technical extension was requested for him to complete this task. As a result he could only be released by December 08. Throughout his deployment at the mission headquarters, he was a key lecturer at the UNPOL Induction Cell on Police Reform and Restructuring and Community Policing. These were mandatory subjects that must be attended by all newly deployed peacekeepers. He used to conduct training programmes for UNPOL officers throughout Sudan and was even once invited to carry out a training programme for UNAMID officers in El-Fasher Darfur in March 2008.

On his return from Sudan in December 2008, he was posted to Police headquarters in Banjul where he used to work prior to his deployment. He also served in Fatoto PIU before resigning voluntarily from the police in 2009.