Archive for October 30, 2011

South Sudan dismisses rebel warning of looming advance

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan


JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan on Sunday dismissed a rebel group’s warning it was poised for a fresh assault in oil-rich Unity state and neighbouring Warap, a day after an attack left more than 80 people dead.

The South Sudan Liberation Army late on Saturday gave the UN and aid agencies three days to evacuate Warap state, saying it was about to launch an offensive. It followed a similar warning for Unity state on Friday.

“SSLA forces, under the command of Major General Bepean Machar, are now going towards Warap state to liberate it from corrupt government in Juba,” the group warned in its statement.

“Within few days, the people of Warap will be liberated from abject poverty, corruption and abuse of human rights,” the group said, adding that its fighters were also advancing on the Unity state capital Bentiu.

“The SSLA advises all NGOs and UN personnel to leave Warap state within three days for their own safety. We would also advise the civilians to evacuate all towns and move to villages in order to be safe.”

The government dismissed the rebels’ claim that they had captured the Unity town of Mayom in Saturday’s fighting, giving them a spingboard for the threatened advances on Bentiu to the east and Warap state to the south.

The authorities said that the clashes killed 15 civilians, 60 militiamen and nine members of the security forces.

“The SSLA have been contained and thrown out of Mayom, so there is no way they are advancing towards Warap,” Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.

Military spokesman Philip Aguer too insisted that the southern army remained in control of Mayom and surrounding areas.

“I don’t think there is a threat to Warap. The only threat that we know from time to time in Warap is cattle-rustling,” Aguer said.

The southern government said it had deployed extra troops to both Unity and Warap to protect civilians and to guard the border with Sudan, which it accused of training the SSLA.

“They have only been targeting civilians. They have been avoiding army bases in their attacks,” Benjamin said.

“They have been trained by the Sudan government. We know because we have captured some of them and they have admitted it”, Benjamin said.

The minister said that South Sudan intended to appeal to the UN Security Council over its allegations of involvement by Khartoum in violence against civilians.

The SSLA is made up of renegade rebel fighters who refused to accept their commander Peter Gadet’s decision in August to accept a government offer of amnesty.

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What has Luck Got to Do With Success?

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Philosophy

Marc Phares/Epic Studios

MICROSOFT: A TURN OF THE PC TIDE In 1980, Digital Research developed the leading non-Apple operating system for personal computers. Luckily for Bill Gates, it failed to impress I.B.M., so Big Blue turned to Microsoft. At the time, Microsoft didn’t have an operating system — and Mr. Gates had no plans to create one. But he recognized the moment and committed his young company to a brutal schedule to develop the system for the I.B.M. PC.

And maybe that’s true — if you just want to be merely good, not much better than average. But what if you want to build or do something great? And what if you want to do so in today’s unstable and unpredictable world?

Recently, we completed a nine-year research study of some of the most extreme business successes of modern times. We examined entrepreneurs who built small enterprises into companies that outperformed their industries by a factor of 10 in highly turbulent environments. We call them 10Xers, for “10 times success.”

The very nature of this study — how some people thrive in uncertainty, lead in chaos, deal with a world full of big, disruptive forces that we cannot predict or control — led us to smack into the question, “Just what is the role of luck?”

Could it be that leaders’ skills account for the difference between just meeting their industry’s average performance (1X success) and doubling it (2X)? But that luck accounts for all the difference between 2X and 10X?

Maybe, or maybe not.

But how on Earth could we go about quantifying something as elusive as “luck”? The breakthrough came in seeing luck as an event, not as some indefinable aura. We defined a “luck event” as one that meets three tests. First, some significant aspect of the event occurs largely or entirely independent of the actions of the enterprise’s main actors. Second, the event has a potentially significant consequence — good or bad. And, third, it has some element of unpredictability.

We systematically found 230 significant luck events across the history of our study’s subjects. We considered good luck, bad luck, the timing of luck and the size of “luck spikes.” Adding up the evidence, we found that the 10X cases weren’t generally “luckier” than the comparison cases. (We compared the 10X companies with a control group of companies that failed to become great in the same extreme environments.)

The 10X cases and the control group both had luck, good and bad, in comparable amounts, so the evidence leads us to conclude that luck doesn’t cause 10X success. The crucial question is not, “Are you lucky?” but “Do you get a high return on luck?”

Return on luck: We call it ROL.

SO why did Bill Gates become a 10Xer, building a great software company in the personal computer revolution? Through one lens, you might see Mr. Gates as incredibly lucky. He just happened to have been born into an upper-middle-class American family that had the resources to send him to a private school. His family happened to enroll him at Lakeside School in Seattle, which had a Teletype connection to a computer upon which he could learn to program — something that was unusual for schools in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

He also just happened to have been born at the right time, coming of age as the advancement of microelectronics made the PC inevitable. Had he been born 10 years later, or even just five years later, he would have missed the moment.

Mr. Gates’s friend Paul Allen just happened to see a cover article in the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, titled “World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models.” It was about the Altair, designed by a small company in Albuquerque. Mr. Gates and Mr. Allen had the idea to convert the programming language Basic into a product that could be used on the Altair, which would put them in position to be the first to sell such a product for a personal computer. Mr. Gates went to college at Harvard, which just happened to have a PDP-10 computer upon which he could develop and test his ideas.

Wow, Bill Gates was really lucky, right?

Yes, he was. But luck is not why Bill Gates became a 10Xer. Consider these questions:

• Was Bill Gates the only person of his era who grew up in an upper middle-class American family?

• Was he the only person born in the mid-1950s who attended a secondary school with access to computing?

• Was he the only person who went to a college with computer resources in the mid-’70s? The only one who read the Popular Electronics article? The only one who knew how to program in Basic?

INTEL: GOODBYE AND HELLO Japanese companies unleashed a price war in DRAM computer chips in the mid-’80s, driving down prices 80 percent in two years. The business offered nothing but misery — bad luck for Intel, as DRAM chips were its main business.

Gordon E. Moore, right, and Andrew S. Grove (shown in 2001) asked themselves what new managers would do. The answer: Get out of DRAMs. So Mr. Grove suggested that he and Mr. Moore leave the company, metaphorically speaking, and return as those new managers. They exited memory chips and committed Intel to the new market for microprocessors, for which it’s known today.

No, no, no, no and no.

Lakeside may have been one of the first schools to have a computer that students could use during those years, but it wasn’t the only such school.

Mr. Gates may have been a math and computer whiz kid at a top college that had computers in 1975, but he wasn’t the only math and computer whiz kid at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, M.I.T., Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, U.C.L.A., the University of Chicago, Georgia Tech, Cornell, Dartmouth, Southern Cal, Columbia, Northwestern, Penn, Michigan or any number of other top colleges with comparable or even better computer resources.

Mr. Gates wasn’t the only person who knew how to program in Basic; the language was developed a decade earlier by Dartmouth professors, and it was widely known by 1975, used in academics and industry. And what about all the master’s and Ph.D. students in electrical engineering and computer science who had even more computer expertise than Mr. Gates on the day the Popular Electronics article appeared? Any could have decided to abandon their studies and start a personal computer software company. And computer experts already working in industry and academia could have done the same.

But how many of them changed their life plans — and cut their sleep to near zero, essentially inhaling food so as not to let eating interfere with work — to throw themselves into writing Basic for the Altair? How many defied their parents, dropped out of college and moved to Albuquerque to work with the Altair? How many had Basic for the Altair written, debugged and ready to ship before anyone else?

Thousands of people could have done the same thing that Mr. Gates did, at the same time. But they didn’t.

The difference between Mr. Gates and similarly advantaged people is not luck. Mr. Gates went further, taking a confluence of lucky circumstances and creating a huge return on his luck. And this is the important difference.

Luck, good and bad, happens to everyone, whether we like it or not. But when we look at the 10Xers, we see people like Mr. Gates who recognize luck and seize it, leaders who grab luck events and make much more of them.

This ability to achieve a high ROL at pivotal moments has a huge multiplicative effect for 10Xers. They zoom out to recognize when a luck event has happened and to consider whether they should let it disrupt their plans. Imagine if Mr. Gates had said to Paul Allen after seeing the Popular Electronics article: “Well, Paul, I’m kind of focused on my studies here at Harvard right now. Let’s wait a few years, and then I’ll be ready to start.”

When we examined less successful companies, we saw a generally poor overall return on luck. Some of the comparison cases had extraordinary sequences of good luck yet showed a spectacular ability to fritter that luck away. When the time came to execute on their good fortune, they stumbled. They didn’t fail for lack of good luck. They failed for lack of superb execution.

WHILE getting a high return on good luck is an essential skill for 10Xers, getting a high return on bad luck can be a truly defining moment. Consider the 10X case of Progressive Insurance.

On Nov. 8, 1988, Peter Lewis, the chief executive, received news that shocked the insurance industry. California voters had passed Proposition 103, a punitive attack on car insurance companies. Prop 103 required 20 percent price reductions and refunds to customers, plunging a huge auto insurance market into chaos. Progressive had significant exposure, with nearly a quarter of its entire business from that one state — bang! — severely damaged by a 51 percent vote on a single day.

Mr. Lewis zoomed out to ask, “What the heck is going on?” He placed a call to a former Princeton classmate, Ralph Nader. Mr. Nader had long been a consumer rights activist, at one point leading a sort of special forces unit nicknamed Nader’s Raiders, and he had championed Proposition 103. The message that Mr. Lewis heard: People hate you. Or, in other words, people simply hated dealing with insurance companies, so they revolted, screaming with their votes.

“People were saying, ‘We hate your guts. We’re going to kill you. And we don’t give a damn,’ ” Mr. Lewis said.

Chastened by what he had heard, he called his staff together and told everyone, “Our customers actually hate us.” He challenged his team to create a better company.

Mr. Lewis came to see Proposition 103 as a gift, and he used it to deepen the company’s core purpose and to reduce the economic cost and trauma caused by auto accidents. The company would create its “immediate response” claims service: No matter when you had an accident, Progressive would be available — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Claims adjusters would work from a fleet of vans and S.U.V.’s dispatched to policy holders’ homes or even directly to an accident scene.

AMGEN: HELP WANTED, AND FOUND In 1981, Fu-Kuen Lin, a Taiwanese scientist, happened to see a classified job ad from Amgen, then a small start-up company. Mr. Lin happened to be looking for a job — and that lucky break became a defining moment for the company. George B. Rathmann, its founding C.E.O. (below left, with Mr. Lin), recognized the scientist’s talent and drive and built an environment where he could thrive. Mr. Lin logged 16-hour days to isolate and clone what is known as the EPO gene, which led to one of the biggest biotechnology products of all time.

By 1995, Progressive could note this achievement: in 80 percent of cases, its adjusters would have visited the customer, ready to issue a check within 24 hours of an accident.

In 1987, the year before Proposition 103, Progressive ranked No. 13 in the American private-passenger auto insurance market. By 2002, it had reached No. 4. Years later, Mr. Lewis called Proposition 103 “the best thing that ever happened to this company.”

Progressive and Mr. Lewis illustrate how 10Xers shine when clobbered by setbacks and misfortune, turning bad luck into good results. They use difficulty as a catalyst to deepen purpose, recommit to values, increase discipline, respond with creativity and heighten productive paranoia — translating fear into extensive preparation and calm, clearheaded action. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness.

Nietzsche wrote, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” We all get bad luck. The question is how to use it to turn it into “one of the best things that ever happened,” to not let it become a psychological prison.

WE came across a remarkable moment at the very start of the history of Southwest Airlines, described by its first chief executive, Lamar Muse, in his book, “Southwest Passage.”

“The very first Sunday morning of Southwest’s life, we narrowly escaped a disaster,” Mr. Muse wrote. “During the takeoff run, the right thrust-reverser deployed. Only the captain’s instantaneous reaction allowed him to recover control and make a tight turn for an emergency landing on one engine.”

What if the jet had smashed into the ground in the first week of building the company? Would there even be a Southwest Airlines today? If we all have some combination of both heads (lucky flips) and tails (unlucky flips), and if the ratio of heads to tails tends to even out over time, we need to be skilled, strong, prepared and resilient to endure the bad luck long enough to eventually get good luck. The Southwest pilot had to be skilled and prepared before the thrust-reverser deployed.

There’s an interesting asymmetry between good and bad luck. A single stroke of good luck, no matter how big, cannot by itself make a great company. But a single stroke of extremely bad luck, or an extended sequence of bad-luck events that creates a catastrophic outcome, can terminate the quest.

The 10Xers exercise productive paranoia, combined with empirical creativity and fanatic discipline, to create huge margins of safety. If you stay in the game long enough, good luck tends to return, but if you get knocked out, you’ll never have the chance to be lucky again. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive.

After finishing our luck analysis for “Great by Choice,” we realized that getting a high ROL required a new mental muscle. There are smart decisions and wise decisions. And one form of wisdom is the ability to judge when to let luck disrupt our plans. Not all time in life is equal. The question is, when the unequal moment comes, do we recognize it, or just let it slip? But, just as important, do we have the fanatic, obsessive discipline to keep marching, to push the opportunity to the extreme, to make the most of the chances we’re given?

Getting a high ROL requires throwing yourself at the luck event with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life and not letting up. Bill Gates didn’t just get a lucky break and cash in his chips. He kept pushing, driving, working — and sustained that effort for more than two decades. That’s not luck — that’s return on luck.

Jim Collins is the author of the worldwide best seller “Good to Great.” This article was adapted from “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All,” which was written with Morten T. Hansen and published this month.

South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan


Juba/Nairobi/Brussels, 17 October 2011: Unity State, a territory of unique importance and complexity in the fragile new country of South Sudan, faces a perfect storm of political, social, economic, and security dilemmas.

South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines a series of inter-related pressures and a governance crisis – with a national subtext – which together threaten continued destabilisation in the state. Some challenges are specific to Unity, but others exemplify concerns across the republic that gained its independence from Sudan in July.

“Instability must be considered in light of the complicated history of this frontline state within the “old” Sudan, the strategic interests of national powers, and the complex web of relationships and shifting alliances among the state’s political and military actors”, says Zach Vertin, Crisis Group Senior Analyst. “Some troubles have festered for years, while more recent developments – prompted by the partition of Sudan – have exacerbated instability and intensified resource pressure”.

Since 2005, the lion’s share of attention was focused on national issues such as the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the Sudan’s long civil war, volatile North-South politics, the referendum that brought about Southern independence and negotiations toward a constructive relationship with Khartoum beyond partition. Now this focus is shifting to the latent stabilisation agenda at home, and the challenges deferred are nowhere more evident than in Unity.

Recent rebel militia activity has drawn attention to the state, highlighting internal fractures, a familiar dilemma of army integration, and the need for reforms in both the political and military arenas. But the fault lines in Unity run deeper than the rebellions. Polarised politics, territorial disputes, cross-border migratory tensions, economic isolation and a still tenuous North-South relationship also fuel instability, each one compounding the next. The influx of tens of thousands of Southern returnees from the North and war across the new international border in neighbouring Southern Kordofan likewise complicate a rapidly evolving post-independence environment.

As new political realities emerge, many state constituents have high hopes for more stable, more accountable and more democratic administration of government. “Now that independence has been achieved, long-suppressed grievances will increasingly surface in an already tenuous political environment”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director. “Untangling Unity’s web of intersecting challenges will prove no easy task”.

Executive Summary | Full PDF report


Message of the Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC)

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Socio-Cultural

The Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum Based in Calgary, Alberta – Canada




You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (John 8:32)

We, the bishops of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, covering the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, met in Plenary Assembly at the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan, from 19th – 28th October 2011 to pray and reflect about the new situation in our two nations, and to discern “the Church God wants us to be”.

We remain one bishops’ conference covering the two countries. As we wrote during our meeting in April 2011: “We are all children of God, regardless of geographical boundaries, ethnicity, religion, culture, or political affiliation, and we insist on respect for diversity”. The Church in the two nations will continue to be in solidarity due to our shared history and the very real practical and human links between us. We have set up two secretariats, one in Juba and one in Khartoum, to implement the pastoral policies of the bishops in each nation.

During nearly five decades of war, the infrastructure of the Church stayed with the people through its bishops, clergy, religious, catechists and other personnel, alongside our brothers and sisters from other churches. The Church is the people of God; wherever there were people, the Church was there. For much of that time it was the only institution which remained intact on the ground. As well as its pastoral and evangelical role proclaiming the Good News, the Church delivered basic social and humanitarian services and provided leadership and security in the absence of government or in the face of a hostile government. The Church mediated local and national conflicts, and played a decisive role in giving the voiceless a voice in the international arena. The Church will continue to play a public role in both nations. Our role is not political in any partisan sense. Rather we hold our two nations, both governments and citizens, accountable to Gospel values. We confront them with Truth.

To the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan, we repeat what the bishops of South Sudan wrote in September 2011: “we recognise that ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and that the development of a new nation is a process which will take time. While constantly holding the government to account and always expecting progress, we nevertheless caution citizens to be patient in their demands, to be fair to the government and to allow them time to move forward carefully and in good order.” We emphasise that not only the government, but also all political leaders and citizens, have a responsibility to build the new nation.

To the citizens of the Republic of Sudan, we assure you of our continued presence. The Church is with you and will continue with its programmes which bring hope. We will pray and work for the rule of law, and particularly for a just solution to the question of citizenship.

We remain united in our concern for human dignity, the sanctity of human life, the common good, solidarity and basic human rights. Truth is indivisible. We reject talk of “protection of minorities” and instead insist on the rights of all citizens. We call for respect of human diversity, created by God, whether ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious. Human beings are created with God-given dignity and rights, which are spelled out in Catholic Social Teaching, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Union Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Our people have displayed great strength, courage and fortitude in the face of war and hardship, but they have been traumatised and cycles of resentment and revenge have been created. Trauma healing is an immediate priority. The Church, by its nature and mission, is a sign of reconciliation, and South Sudanese have demonstrated a remarkable ability to reconcile, both through traditional mechanisms and in the Church-led “People to People Peace Process”. Reconciliation within South Sudan will be essential in building a new nation, addressing the grievances and pain of many individuals and ethnic groups who feel they have been mistreated even by the state or those who misuse the powers entrusted to them. However a number of necessary conditions must be in place for this to happen successfully. These include education, security, and a degree of stability and political maturity. Eventually, when the time is ripe, a truth and reconciliation process should be developed. It is to be hoped that, with time, reconciliation (as opposed to mere absence of conflict) will also be possible between the two Republics. The Church will continue to do whatever it can to bring people together in Truth, Justice, Peace, Mercy, Love and Forgiveness.

We are deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in our two nations. Civil war has broken out in the Nuba Mountains / South Kordofan State and in Blue Nile State, alongside the ongoing war in Darfur. We have consistently warned of the danger of a return to hostilities if the legitimate aspirations of the people of these areas were not met. Civilians are being terrorised by indiscriminate aerial bombardment. There is an urgent need to open humanitarian corridors to allow food and medicines to reach those in need. The dispute over the status of Abyei has been militarised. We urge the international community, and particularly our brothers and sisters in the African Union, to ensure that these conflicts are resolved peacefully through the full implementation of the remaining protocols of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for these three areas, and to assist with outstanding issues between the two nations including citizenship and demarcation of boundaries.

In various parts of South Sudan, ethnic groups and individual leaders resort to violence to resolve their real or perceived disputes. Even as we meet, we hear of fresh conflict in Eastern Equatoria amongst some Madi and Acholi communities. We call for restraint from all concerned to allow their problems to be resolved peacefully. We are aware of tensions over land and boundaries in many parts of South Sudan, and we call on government, traditional leaders, youth and all stakeholders to acknowledge that there is a problem and to use peaceful and legal means to resolve these issues.

The people of Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal and neighbouring countries continue to suffer due to the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army. We reject further militarisation of any of these conflicts, and call upon governments and the international community to work for negotiated settlements. We call for increased protection and humanitarian assistance for the affected populations.

We call for open, transparent and democratic governance in both nations. The two nations must learn to live in peace with each other, but also with their own citizens. We reject all policies which oppress, marginalise and dehumanise any citizens. Both countries are poor, and all their energy should be devoted to development and peace. Government, like Church, is called to exercise responsible stewardship. Leadership should be viewed as service to the community, not personal power or profit, and corruption is unacceptable. Delivery of basic services to the citizens must be prioritised, and the Church will continue to play a major role, particularly in health and education. We recognise new problems of urbanisation, economic hardship, land grabbing and more, and we call upon all stakeholders to address these issues honestly and transparently.

“The Church God wants us to be” is at peace with people of good will in all Christian denominations and all faiths. We thus reaffirm our commitment to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. As a founder member of the Sudan Council of Churches and Sudan Ecumenical Forum, we look forward to playing a leading role in the restructuring of ecumenical bodies to reflect the new situation.

At the root of everything are the values of Catholic Social Teaching: human dignity, the common good, a recognition of both rights and duties, option for the poor, care for creation, solidarity, subsidiarity and participation, good governance, and the promotion of peace. Without these Gospel values to inform our consciences, we will not succeed.

We want to give a special word of encouragement to our pastoral agents. We recognise the selfless witness of our priests, religious men and women, catechists, teachers, health workers and other Church personnel, both local and missionary, who are the pillars of the Church. We are aware of the toll it has taken upon them. There is still much work to do: The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). Go forward with our gratitude, our admiration and our blessing, with renewed commitment for evangelisation.

We call upon the faithful to pray continually, building on our 101 days of prayer for a peaceful referendum and our season of prayer for the Independence of South Sudan. Prayer is at the heart of “the Church that God wants us to be”.

May God bless you, through the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita and St Daniel Comboni.

Given in Wau, Republic of South Sudan, this 28thday of October 2011

Qatar National Bank Group opens its first branch in Juba, South Sudan

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group, the financial institution in Qatar, announced the inauguration of its first branch in Juba, the largest city and the Capital of the Republic of South Sudan. The country which came into existence in July 2011, is the newest independent nation in the world.

QNB Group obtained the necessary license and approval form the Central Bank of South Sudan to commence business from its first branch in the capital, Juba.

QNB is the first GCC and foreign Bank to open a branch in Juba, after its official independence.

The branch will offer a full range of banking services and products to corporate entities, and government, such as advisory services including corporate, project and trade finance. In addition, it will provide various services for individuals, including fixed deposits and current accounts and wealth management.

QNB’s new branch will contribute to the development of the Economic sector of the Country focusing on the business and banking relationship between South Sudan and the international banking and Business communities.

QNB’s corporate finance, asset management and investment banking services are accompanied by advanced advisory capabilities and a long track record of success in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where the Bank has advised and participated in numerous high profile transactions. The Bank has extensive experience in research, economics and analytics in the region.

Since newly independent, Juba has become an even more important city. South Sudan holds strong economic potential and is expected to develop rapidly. Key factors among these areas are infrastructure development projects and the overall elevation of GDP per capita through the promotion of international trade and commerce by the government.

QNB’s long term expansion plans in the region involves providing corporate banking and project financing facilities to leading organizations and governments.

QNB is one of the highest rated banks in the Middle East and North Africa Region based on leading credit rating agencies including Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, and Capital Intelligence. The Bank has also been the recipient of many awards from leading international specialized financial publications for its innovative products, services and remarkable performance.

Statement on Yasir Arman Visit to Germany

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Press Release:

Upon his Visit to Germany, the Secretary General of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North  calls that any move by the International Community to provide Economic Aid and Debt Relief be linked to Improvements to the Khartoum Regime’s Human Rights Record, ending the War, and the Resolution of the Governance Crisis in North Sudan.

On a two-day visit to Berlin, the Secretary General of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement held a series of important meetings with senior officials in the German Government, Parliamentarians, heads of research centres and church leaders.

On Thursday 27th October 2011, the General Secretary met Mr. Gunter Nooke, Representative of the German Chancellor on African issues at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. He also met with Johannes Selle, the  Christian Democrat Bundestag MP and a member of the Committee for Economic Cooperation and Foreign Aid, who focusses on Sudan. These were followed by a meeting with Christoph Strasser, an SPD Bundestag MP and the party’s spokesperson on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid. On the same day, he also met with Mr. Michael Flugger, Deputy Director General for Foreign Affairs, Security and Policy on Global issues, at the Federal Chancellory. He concluded his Thursday schedule with a working dinner with Karsten D. Voigt, a former Government Coordinator of German-American relations, who also worked under the internationally renowned Chancellor Willy Brandt, as one of leaders of  SPD Youth. He also had an input in designing the SPD’s foreign policy.

On Friday 28th October, the Secretary General met with Dr. H.E. Volker Faigle, Commissioner of the EKD Council on Sudan. As a result, the Council will soon issue a clear statement in support of the Sudanese Peoples’ quest for democracy and respect of human rights and religious freedom, outlining their position on the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, and calling for the linking of any economic assistance to the NCP government’s respect for human rights and providing immediate humanitarian relief to the needy in those areas.

The Secretary General was next received by Mr. Jan Bittner, senior Foreign  Policy Advisor and Policy Planning Staff CDU/CSU Planning Group, in the office of the chairman of the ruling parties’ caucuses. He also met with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of the Horn, East Africa and Sudan. He further met with Associates of the Middle East and African Division SWP/ Foundation of Science and Policies Division, and Prof. Volker Perthes, Director of Middle East and Africa Division. He concluded his second day of appointments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a meeting with Amb. Dr. Heinrich Kraft, the German Government’s Special Representative for Dialogue between Civilisations, in the presence of the head of the Sudan Desk at the Ministry. The Secretary General gave a detailed briefing on the political situation in Sudan, and urged those he met to side with the Sudanese people in their search to end the war, stop human rights violations and atrocities, and resolve the country’s chronic crises of governance, which can only be ended by restructuring Khartoum as the centre of power.

The Secretary General called upon the German officials and legislators to support the demand of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement in opening  corridors of humanitarian assistance in order to bring food to the needy. He urged that an International Committee of Inquiry into human rights violations be set up.

He further argued that the regime currently commits more than 70% of its budget to security and on its war effort. Therefore, any economic assistance whilst the country is in the grip of dictatorship, corruption and war is unpardonable. He encouraged the adoption of a holistic approach to the Sudanese crisis: that improvements of the regime’s human rights record, the ending of the conflict in the ‘New South’ in North Sudan should be preconditions of any economic support and debt relief from the international community.  Any such economic support from the International Community would be collusion with an unjust war and war crimes. Therefore, holding an economic conference on Sudan in Turkey, without such preconditions, sharply contradicts the position of the international community on war crimes and the indictment of the Sudanese President and other officials. They should rather support the Sudanese people, whose efforts have now turned to ending dictatorship, the war, and achieving democratic transformation as a precondition to sustainable economic development and thus the end of their suffering.

At the end of his visit, the Secretary General highly commended the efforts of the Sudanese Diaspora, SPLM-N chapters and friends of the Sudanese peoples in the United States and Europe for their unwavering support of the aim to refocus international attention on the grave atrocities, human rights violations and war crimes committed by the NCP and its leaders and urging an end to the war and the resolution of the governance crises. He finally called for speeding up the efforts to unite the forces of change in Sudan.

The Office of Secretary General
Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement- North
29th October 2011

South Sudan must be a Safe Haven for Northern Sudanese Refugees

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Steve Paterno
The recent escalation of conflicts orchestrated by the regime in Khartoum against the people of bordering states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, have yet added a catastrophic humanitarian crisis to an already perilous atmosphere. By comparison, Sudan was already leading the world, with the highest population of internally displaced persons. Unfortunately, the country seems to be taking pride in breaking its own record so that it remains featuring number one in the world as it continuous displacing its own citizens through the act of unnecessary wars.
With the eight year old war still raging in Darfur, which already resulted into displacement of millions, the recent conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, show stream flows of refugees fleeing their home areas; crossing into South Sudan and even as far as in Ethiopia, with many more people are trapped behind in a war zone under intense bombardments, where they are left without access to any humanitarian assistance.
Experts as well as humanitarian agencies are sounding alarms of more calamities to follow in the near future, especially in the upcoming dry season, which will likely witness increase on ground offensive, supplemented by massive air bombardments against targets in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. In such an event, many people in these regions will be affected and forced to seek safety, shelter, food and basic social services outside their current harsh environment. South Sudan as a sovereign neighboring country presents fertile ground for a place to be for those negatively impacted by this onslaught.
Therefore, South Sudanese authorities along with humanitarian agencies must urgently devise strategies so as not only to welcome and settle refugees within South Sudan territorial integrity, but to also encourage free flow of refugees into the neutral South Sudanese zones for their safe upkeeping. By allowing settlement of refugees within South Sudan, all the parties involved that include the South Sudanese, humanitarian agencies and the refugees are stand to mutually benefit.
First, as a newly established state, South Sudan will boost its national status and prestige among the nations of the world by joining the club of refugees hosting countries. This gesture will go along way in fulfilling South Sudan’s moral and international obligations as the world’s member state that contribute positively to the advancement of humanity. Another added advantages is that, as a result of hosting refugees within its boundaries, qualify South Sudanese will gain employment opportunities and skills with humanitarian agencies that will be delivering services to these refugees. South Sudan as a whole will also benefit from the infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals, constructed to cater for the refugees. The advantages are pretty great, including the fact that South Sudan government will have leverage and influence over Khartoum’s affairs, since the country will be hosting significant population of Northern Sudanese who are in essence oppose to the regime in Khartoum and are natural allies of South Sudan. This will eventually lead into peaceful settlement of these conflict as well as ease hostilities between South and North of Sudans, unless the regime in Khartoum desires to continue with aggressive posturing.
Second, the humanitarian agencies will end up operating under much more hospitable conditions within South Sudan. These agencies will encounter limited restrictions on their movements and be able to cover more ground in their operations to reach those in need of assistance. By operating within South Sudan, humanitarian personnel will be less susceptible to intimidation, kidnapping or getting killed while on duty. In short, the humanitarian agencies will be in better positions to deliver optimum services to their capacities.
Third, by fleeing and settling in South Sudan, the refugees from these marginalized sections of North Sudan will finally breathe a sigh of relief. They will not have to constantly worry dodging bullets and taking covers from falling bombs. They will be able to gain access to food, shelter and basic services. These marginalized people will once again acquire back their human worth and dignity. They will have hopes for the future and plans for leading normal life of freedom, peace and prosperity.

In conclusions, the South Sudanese authorities, the humanitarian agencies, and the potential refugees must make this a practical reality. The South Sudanese authorities must work in creating conducive atmosphere for hosting those who are in need. Humanitarian agencies must develop contingency plans for possibly servicing large scale refugees; settlement in South Sudan. And for those affected by Khartoum’s orchestrated crisis, they must make a run for it by literally escape across into South Sudan for safety.

Why the Minister of Labour and Public Service resigned from South Sudan cabinet

Written by Mading Ngor, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
Monday, 31 October 2011 16:07
awutdengMinister of Labour and Public Service, Mrs. Awut Deng Acuil, resigned over the weekend upon rejection of her civil service reform agenda by the cabinet..

(Juba South Sudan NSV) – The issues surrounding the unexpected resignation of Awut Deng Acuil, the former Minister of Labour and Public Service from the first cabinet of South Sudan have been scanty.

Although hasn’t read Mrs. Awut’s reasons for quitting, accounts from two cabinet ministers, some MPs, and others familiar with the story, are offering us a rare glimpse into why she opted to submit her resignation.

An acrimonious debate ensued at last Friday’s Council of Ministers concerning Minister Awut’s proposal for retrenchment in civil service, one of the sources told The New Sudan Vision Monday on condition of anonymity.

Mrs. Awut was campaigning for far-reaching reforms in the civil service to scale down the bloated workforce. She proposed to replace those serving in the civil service without certificates, diplomas, degrees, or PHDs, with workers with credentials. This process was to affect those employees who served in the SPLM/SPLA during the liberation struggle, under the banner of Civil Authority for New Sudan (CANS).

In 2005, an exemption was passed to exclude this group of “liberators” from any future reform.

Read the full report from New Sudan Vision website below

Breaking: South Sudan’s Minister of Labour and Public Service resigns

Written by The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
Sunday, 30 October 2011 11:36
awutAwut Deng Acuil, the outgoing Minister of Labour and Public Service has reportedly tendered in her resignation on Thursday, allegedly due to crisis in public service reform. (Juba South Sudan NSV) – It has come to the attention of The New Sudan Vision that the Minister of Labour and Public Service in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, Awut Deng Acuil, has tendered in her resignation on Thursday.

Read the whole story at NEW SUDAN VISION WEBSITE

Confusion over resignation of South Sudan’s public services minister

October 31, 2011 (JUBA) – Awut Deng Acuil, South Sudan’s minister for labour, public service and human resource development, was relieved from her position over the weekend with no clear reason being given by her or the government.

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South Sudan’s minister for labour, public service and human resource development (ST)

Acuil is reported to have resigned from the cabinet days before the state television (SSTV) announced President Salva Kiir’s decree, which relieved the minister from her powerful portfolio, just weeks after she was re-appointed in the Kiir’s post-independence reshuffle.

The presidential decree does not, however, explain why she resigned or when Kiir will appoint her successor.

An official from the public service ministry, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the minister’s woes mainly stemmed from her recent decision to form a committee that would be tasked with nationwide screening of all civil service employees both at the state and national level.

Acuil’s screening committee, which was to be headed by the minister herself, he added, was reportedly endorsed by president Kiir as was scheduled to begin immediately.

“We all knew that the decision to form such a committee would rub many people the wrong way. There are scores of people in public service who lack qualifications and removing them will not be an easy task,” said the official.

A similar project in Unity state established by governor Taban Deng Gai, was met with considerable resistance.

Acuil’s committee, consisting of three people, was to be headed by the ministers for labour, public service and human resource development.

“The whole concept of public service reforms was bound to face challenges once the implementation process got underway. Not many people have properly comprehended the policy,” the official further noted.

The outgoing minister, recently came to prominence when a former governor of Warrap state alleged that Acuil had threatened his life during a political power struggle.

Lewis Anei Madut, now an advisor in the country’s ministry of culture and heritage alleges that there is “deliberate attempt” by the former labour and public service minister to politically destroy him. Acuil, however, denies the accusation and instead says Madut, whom she defeated in last year’s election simply had a grudge against her.

A renowned gender activist, Acuil, an MP for Warrap’s Tonj county, holds a BA in international relations from the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. She was also a co-founding member of the Kenya-based Sudanese Women Association.

In 2002, she was awarded the prestigious Inter Action’s 2002 Humanitarian Award; an accolade annually given to an individual who has demonstrated “extraordinary” leadership in support of non-governmental organizations and the people they serve in the developing world.

Five years later, Acuil and Margaret Alva, an Indian national both received the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for their humanitarian work.


Dr. Riek Machar’s Attitude is an Indictment of South Sudanese News Media

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in PaanLuel Wël

Are our Politicians Paying Close Attention to the News Media in the Country?

I have no “beef” with the VP [Machar] for not remembering me. But what I have a “beef” with, clearly, has to do with why is it that our politicians do not give a damn about what writers stay up all night long writing in order to draw their attention and to connect them with their constituents? So, the compelling question is: where does the VP get his news from since it’s self-evidence that he cares less about the media?—By Luk Kuoth Dak, a former anchorman at Juba Radio.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA.

In the articleBetween Riek Macher, Daniel Abushery Daniel and me!,” Luk Dak, the author, wonders why it is, it appears, the case that “our politicians do not give a damn about what writers stay up all night long writing in order to draw their attention to and connect them with their constituents.” As someone among the said writers diligently burning the midnight oil to draw our leaders’ and politicians’ attention to the most pressing issues of the day in our country, as well as to connect them with the urgent problems, needs and aspirations of their respective constituents, I have been thinking too about Mr. Dak’s poignant question, trying to decipher, if any, the reason why it is apparently the case!

The revelation that some of our leading politicians might not be paying deserving attention to the news media came from a midnight conversation between the author, Mr. Dak and Dr. Machar, the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan. According to the aforementioned article, Mr. Dak, upon obtaining the VP’s cell phone number from Daniel Abushery—his cousin, rang up the Big Man, Dr. Machar, who happened to have been in town on a private jaunt. Although Mr. Dak haven’t made us privy to the reason (s) he was calling the VP, it is safe for me to surmise here that it might have been on national matters, the VP being a public servant, and hence, owe it unto the citizenry what and how things are churning up in Juba city.

But the conversation never took up, at least as per the gist of the article. The VP, either because he was too sleepy—which could be a plausible reason—or totally ignorant of the caller identity—as the author seems to have concluded—never recognized nor recalled Mr. Dak’s names or identity. Mr. Dak’s attempts to remind the Big Man that he is a well-read South Sudanese columnist, a former anchorman at Juba radio and a former press secretary to Daniel Koat Mathews ( D.K.) or even about a visit the author had paid him at his hotel room some years back, all did not bore any fruit. The VP was categorically honest: “Sorry sir, I don’t remember you! Please leave me alone to enjoy my sweet sleep” to paraphrase what might have been going on in the Big Man’s sleepy mind.

That the VP could not recall him was both bamboozling as well as being outrageous to and for Mr. Dak! This was for two main reasons. Professionally, Mr. Dak is a public figure in his own right, having been a radio anchorman in Juba and being currently an ardent observer and weekly columnist on South Sudan important subject. On personal level, Mr. Dak is someone who has met Dr. Machar before, possibly on more than one occasion, and even gave him a book as a gift. Mr. Dak, as he explains in the article, had come to “his defense when [the VP] was subjected to a barrage of some vicious attacks by some journalists from the Bor area over his (admitted) responsibility on the tragic massacre in Bor in 1990” and even “most recently lauded the VP for coming out clean, and by publicly taking responsibility for his actions against innocent civilians in Bor.”

If the VP could not know nor recalled such kind of a close friend and a supporter, Mr. Dak reasons, who could he possibly knows and remembers? Secondly, here is the No. 2 most powerful individual in the entire country, if he could not have read about the articles written and posted on all the major media outlets in the republic of South Sudan: “so, the compelling question is: where does the VP get his news from since it’s self-evidence that he cares less about the media?” From that illuminating question, it is crystal clear that Mr. Dak conclusion is that Dr. Machar is either not remotely interested in reading news on South Sudan media or is either too busy or lazy to find time to read them.

But Mr. Gordon Buay, in his “Dear Nuer” message on the SPLM-Diaspora Forum, takes a different view. In his opinion, it is not that the VP does not care to read the news; it is rather that “Riek Machar is not a good reader and he is intellectually behind the rest of the world for 10 years.” Mr. Buay goes on to declare that:

“In the entire SPLM/A High Command, the good readers are John Garang and Lam Akol who used to travel with books even in frontlines. Any good reader who talks to Riek Machar will find him very boring and a waste of time. But when you talk to John Garang or Lam Akol, you will discover that their brains are full of knowledge. You cannot be a good writer without reading and you cannot know things without reading many books in every field.”

While Mr. Buay’s claim would be hard to corroborate—someone need to [have] call up Dr. John Garang and/or Dr. Lam in the middle of the night to verify if they could remember the caller and recall some of the articles written about them on South Sudan’s media—it, nevertheless, once more reinforces Mr. Dak’s earlier analysis of and conclusion on Dr. Machar’s tepid relationship to the written/printed words.

But for the sake of the argument, let me first grant that Dr. John Garang was a crafty politician who was capable of making a big deal out of nothing—and everything—to gain a political mileage over his real and perceived political opponents. And secondly, that Dr. Lam—the calculative-in-chief—could have just pretended to remember or know Mr. Dak to avoid appearing “not in the know.” After all, Dr. Lam is a learned man: who said that a learned man must not know the exact location of a needle in a haystack? Evidently, it appears that the VP honesty (if you are his supporter) or naivety (if you are his critic) generated the wrath he incurred from Mr. Dak and Mr. Buay.

But is it really accurate and warranting to judge and condemn the man—Dr. Machar—on just one incidence? Does failure to read or recall anything from South Sudan media necessarily translate into not being an avid observer of South Sudanese affairs? Does the VP failure to recognize Mr. Dak and his articles automatically mean that he may not be reading other South Sudanese commentators, online newsletters, printed newspapers in Juba, or even international news which might be worth his taste, considering the pathetic state of our news media in general? In essence, is our news media safe enough for our decision makers to consume without poisoning their minds, rendering them national bigots and serial tribalists like most commentators are on Sudan Tribune, South Sudan News Agency, South Sudan Nation, Gurtong, Borglobe, New Sudan Vision etc?

Whatever the case and the circumstances in question might be, there is no doubt that our politicians need the media to reach the public and to receive informative and correctional feedbacks from their constituents. Although the ruling class and the media do have an antagonistic relationship sometimes, I still wholeheartedly concur with Mr. Dak’s observation that “the news media can be a very important tool for direction and guidance for anyone in a public office” because “the news media provide [them] with a mirror that reflects what [their] administrations has done right, [and] of where it fell short of” the public expectations. Indeed, in this age of modern technology, our politicians have no lame excuse, whatsoever, not to access the news media.

While that might be the case, the kind and the extent of the news media in question do still matter to both the politicians and the public. It is arguable to note that most South Sudanese news media contain nothing but mere divisive personal opinions from unreliable writers. Do we expect the honorable VP to faithfully keep track of such stupendously personalized and tribalized vendettas? Of course not, unless we wanna poison his mind and spoil his decision-making ability on pertinent national matters. In other words, it is comfortingly safe and reassuringly better for the VP to be entirely oblivion to and ignorant of the bad news media for the sake of the nation and the welfare of its people.

Moreover, it is hard to make the case that our news media do actually and accurately reflect public expressions from the rural constituents on most issues. Much of the written, opinionated commentaries and reporting do originate from the Diaspora community who have no access to much of the reality on the ground other than rumors and “bush telephoning.” For the politicians to rely on such limited facts in their decision makings and personal deliberations would be a national tragedy because there is a great mismatch between what our infant news media carries and the actual reality on the ground. Therefore, our VP tentative avoidance of the news media might be a premeditated move, taken in the best interest of the nation itself.

Thirdly, the VP is a learned man, with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bradford, UK. Even if it is granted that he has not been reading news from South Sudanese media, it may not inescapably be the case that he has not been reading at all. For one, Kuormedit could still be more interested in his Engineering books, which are, of course, of more urgent utility to our underdeveloped and war-ravaged young nation. Won’t it be a great honor to have the VP as the chief engineer for the new national city of Ramciel (say Rhamchieel)? Secondly, Kuormedit could be reading international news and reports about South Sudan to gauge the opinions of the citizens and make appropriate decisions. Why international news? Simply because he might not have any faith in the local news media.

But most importantly, do we really want those leaders who have been reading, often selectively, from South Sudan news media? To illustrate that point further, consider the remarks President Kiir made in Washington DC in his 2009 visit to the USA in which he ended up threatening people critical of his government on the internet. If I could recalled, his threat was to the effect that whoever pens those critical articles must remember that he/she will one day be in South Sudan and the government would call him/her to account for his writings. With Dr. James Okuk still languishing in prison for his political writings, I guess we the writers might be better off with more Dr. Machars who are not interested in the news media and less President Kiirs who are too inquisitively investigative!

My conclusion, though, is that, instead of reading too much ignorance in the VP’s failure to recognize Mr. Dak and his writings, we should rather consider it as a strong indictment of the quality of the news media in South Sudan. It should be a wake-up call for journalists and political commentators to double their efforts and produce better news coverage that would be palatable enough to entice our ‘choosy’ VP!

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at, PaanLuel Wel (Facebook page), PaanLuelWel2011 (Twitter account) or through his blog account at:

Dr Riek Machar�s Attitude is an Indictment of South Sudanese News Media.pdf