Archive for December 9, 2011

Posted  Friday, December 9  2011 at  18:00


  • A recent social study discovered that women are inherently wired to stab each other in the back. Felista Wangari explores the impact of this behavior in the workplace.

There are two types of women in the workplace: those who are genuinely supportive of other women, and those who seem bent on undermining their female peers.

A recent, controversial study on intra-female hostility highlighted how women react to other women and brought this subject into sharp focus.

The study seeks to explain women’s dressing as a possible cause of hostility among women at work. Researchers from the University of Ottawa, Canada conducted a social experiment to find out if women are more hostile to other women who they perceive as being physically attractive.

Respondents hardly noticed a woman who was dressed conservatively in khaki trousers and a t-shirt. But majority of the respondents, who saw the same woman in a miniskirt and a low-cut top but didn’t recognise her as the same women they had just seen, criticised her outfit and speculated about her promiscuity.

Professor Tracy Vallaincourt, one of the researchers, attributed dressing in a certain way as one of the possible causes of female hostility in the workplace.

Though the credibility of the study has been questioned in some quarters, that women sometimes face hostility, unhealthy competition and sabotage from their female workmates is not in question.

Intra-female nastiness is the theme of the book: I Can’t Believe She Did That! Why Women Betray Other Women at Work by American author Nan Mooney.

Mooney writes that women who feel threatened by their female peers shy away from direct conflict opting instead to engage in unhealthy competition, such as talking behind one another’s backs, and sabotaging a peer’s success.

Green-eyed monster

Some studies show that women with low self esteem may be dissatisfied with the work environment or may be experiencing difficulties expressing themselves to others leading to miscommunication or indirect aggression towards other women.

Asenath, a 26-year-old Masters student at Kenyatta University believes that it is a feminine trait for women to plot against each other in fits of jealousy. The meanness stems from envy that another woman is getting something that one lacks but desires.

Since women share so much information about their lives, one may feel left out when the other gets what they both aspire to, leading to conflict and indirect aggression in the form of backbiting, and sabotage.

And while some see nothing wrong with a small dose of jealousy as a source of motivation to do better and propel a woman to her goals, jealousy is a cause of sabotage plots by women against other women.

“If a woman is promoted her female colleagues are the first to spread rumours about how she slept her way up,” Asenath admits. Women who are excelling also face exclusion by envious peers.

Beatrice Wachiuri, a banker, has heard people make snide remarks about a woman being arrogant because she advanced her professional skills and got a promotion.

As if that is not enough, peers may exclude her from activities, claiming that she no longer wants to associate with her juniors. But Beatrice does not buy into the school of thought that women have an inherent desire to undercut each other.

“It is about how you perceive another woman’s success. You would think that your female colleagues would be happy for you when you succeed because they stand to benefit from your success, but that is sometimes not the case.”

That aside, the undercurrent of negative competition makes Beatrice prefer working with men.

“With men the focus is on achievement, but women, on the other hand, want to compete with you on how you dress, where you live and all manner of petty things. It is this unhealthy competition that makes it more difficult to work with fellow women,” Beatrice says.

Unhealthy nature

Nyota Ndogo, the coast-based crooner who sang on the phenomenon of women being unsupportive of each other in the soulful Watu na Viatu, sees it as feminine nature for women to nose into their peers’ affairs.

It is this nature which leads to frequently unhealthy competition, characterised by backbiting, slanderous rumours, sabotage plots and generally behaviour that is less than sisterly.

Nyota points out the unsupportive streak in women as the very one that keeps them from advancement. And it is mostly those who are perceived to be successful, or on their way up, who are on the receiving end of meanness from their peers.

“Even in the music industry a woman may not want to share credit for the success of a song with another. There is that fear that some sort of conflict will arise if one of the artistes seems to be gaining more mileage from a song done in collaboration,” Nyota says.

Rachel, a sales executive at an insurance company, says that there are some women who are naturally unsupportive. She refers to a former colleague who tried to undermine her at work.

Her colleague would discredit Rachel by telling her clients how they were not getting the best service, and doing everything to dampen the cordial relationship Rachel had with her clients.

“I knew my colleague was behind the strained relationship with my clients, as she was the kind who used underhand ways to make sure no one outperformed her. But there was no one else to handle my clients when I was away on other assignments,” she explains.

Putting up

Rachel, 33, would not confront her colleague as she felt it would only make the situation worse. She contemplated quitting rather than work with a woman who deliberately tried to undermine her in the eyes of her clients, but she soldiered on.

“That is her nature and as I could not change her, I decided to stay put and keep doing my best at work. We no longer work together but she is still my friend and she has not changed.”

Professor Elishiba Kimani, a gender and development studies lecturer at Kenyatta University views the idea that women do not support each other as a myth. She states that there are many women who actively support other women in their bid to succeed at work.

However, she admits that in some cases the Queen Bee syndrome takes over.

The Queen Bee syndrome refers to women bosses who are not supportive of other women to help them rise up the ranks and may even be involved in sabotaging their progress. This is especially evident in a male-dominated workplace.

Ms Boss

“When a woman is in a position where she is receiving all the glory, she may not want to share that platform with another woman. She may claim she is supportive of more women getting to where she is, but she practically does nothing to shore up other women,” Professor Kimani explains.

There is a feeling that there is not enough to go around which brings about rivalry and competition for positions. However, the gender professor is displeased that though men engage in similar undercutting, which can even grow into physical aggression, their behaviour is seen as normal and ignored.

“The same behaviour in women is shouted from the rooftops because of certain stereotypes about women,” she adds.

The solution, Prof Kimani says, is not in seeing it as an inborn feminine trait, but rather by women beginning to believe in each other, mentoring each other and providing an empowering environment which allows them all to thrive.

The little secrets and politics of being a modern African man

By Charles Onyango-Obbo
Posted  Friday, December 9  2011 at  22:00


  • The 13 items every African man must own, and how they define what we are. Plus, the evolutionary value of a torn T-shirt or pair of socks

My mother (bless her soul) was a great storyteller. When we were little, we lived for her endless stories of the clever Mr Hare, Mr Rabbit, and all that.

Later, she regaled us with stories of eccentric relatives. There was my great grandfather, a warrior of his time and leading cattle owner in the village.

He worked on the assumption that every heifer born in the surrounding villages and resembled any of them bulls in his kraal could only have been sired by one of his bulls. So he would seize and add them to his collection.

Then there was the story of one of our aunts, a woman of great spirit. One dark night she was walking home along the village path.

Relaxed in the cool wind of the night, she broke wind. Unknown to her, one of the men in the village was walking behind her. The man scolded her: “What kind of woman are you who fouls the air as you walk?” suggesting she had failed the standard of being a lady.

My quick-witted aunt shot back: “What kind of man are you who walks at night without whistling?” Her point being that if he had whistled, she would have known he was there and been more modest. The fact that he didn’t, meant he was a coward who feared the darkness.

This reality that there are things that society expects women to do, and those that men are duty-bound to observe, will always be with us. The only things that change are the basket of items that they are allowed or expected to do.

In old conservative times, African women were not expected to ride bicycles or wear trousers. That is history.

What society allowed and what it didn’t might, on the face of it, be considered culture. It wasn’t. It was very political and determined who wielded power.

Take bicycle riding. A bicycle allowed two things. First, it enabled rural Africans to cover distances more quickly. That meant that men, who were allowed to ride, travelled more efficiently and had time to spare for other activities.

Women, who travelled similar distances on foot, spent a lot of time on the road, and had little “me” time left for themselves to pursue other interests. This led to more male than female innovators.

Bicycles also took people beyond their villages, and widened their knowledge and horizons. This knowledge, in turn, conferred power. Thus men, who were free to ride far, broadened their knowledge more than women who couldn’t.

Thus when it came to the election of a chief, men would always take the job because they were considered “wiser”. That was wrong, because while society thought that “wisdom” was a measure of a man’s ability, it was actually a measure of his opportunity.

The same thing happens with possessions. There are things that were gender specific. A “real” African man, for example, was incomplete if he did not own a spear or a cow.

And an African woman of old was not quite a woman if she didn’t own beads or an earth pot.

Question then is, what about the modern African, nay, East African, man? What must he have in his “male toolbox” for him to be one of the boys? What do these things say about him? Or, better still, why should he own some of them?

My understanding of the political economy of being an East African man today tells me one needs to own AT LEAST THREE of the following props:

1. A small Swiss army knife: A Swiss army knife suggests that you were a Scout once, a man of the outdoors.

Secondly, it implies that you have the skills to use one of its many elements — in other words you are a Do It Yourself (DIY) kind of guy. It is the equivalent of our grandfathers’ spear, but more suited to the modern human rights age.

It is more difficult to kill a fellow man with a small Swiss knife in an argument in the bar over the woman or a Manchester United vs. Chelsea match, than if you used a gun, dagger, sword, or spear.

In short, a small Swiss Army knife allows you fake being a macho man, while not getting in the trouble that comes with it. (My wife gave me my Swiss knife as a birthday gift well before we got married 21 years ago. I still have it. This is important because an aged-look gives it pedigree).

2. A wallet: If your daughter or sister ever asks what type of man she should never marry, and you were allowed only one answer, tell her: “One who doesn’t carry/own a wallet”.

A wallet is a sign of organisation, or at least a desire to be organised. Through a wallet, a man sends the vibe that he can put together and manage his worth.

A wallet also does something else; it functions as a brake. It tells you that when you have run out of money and you are in a pub, go home. It is a border line between responsible and reckless citizenship.

3.An old school, university, or club tie, club badge: History defines us as human beings; the history of our societies, of our families, and our countries. But those histories are thrust upon you. You don’t choose them.

Any worthy man needs to have a history that he has constructed himself. That will happen while you are in school; while you are on your hobby (e.g. climbing mountains); or during leisure (e.g. at a place like Parklands Club).

Thus a man must ensure he has something from his school (a tie or sweater), from his hobby (a Rotary badge or Darts trophy); or from his recreation life (a club tie, or club polo or T-shirt).

These things serve two functions. A true man does not need to speak for himself every time. A club tie or trophy speaks for you. Secondly, you need to communicate that you are good enough to belong to something other than your family (hence the club tie).

4. A white shirt: It is impossible to regularly wear a white shirt in Africa. The heat makes you sweaty and white will show stains very quickly. But the white shirt’s biggest enemy is the African dust.

In less than an hour, it can appear that you have worn the shirt three times without a wash. However, having a white shirt signals that you are not afraid to tackle the elements.

But most importantly, that you have sufficient competence to keep it white. One white shirt is enough to make this point.

5. A pair of shorts: When most men grow older, their legs generally become ugly and terrible to look at. If, in addition, they also have the custom pot-belly, they look even more unsightly in shorts. You would think then that no man over 30 should ever wear shorts in public.

Wrong. When a man with terrible legs wears shorts, he is telling all that there is more to him than his appearance — and that if we looked closer, we will find serious substance in him.

A man who wears shorts, is like a woman who is confident enough to go out with natural hair and no make up at the same time.

6. Open sandals: We live in the humid tropics, so at first you would think that it makes sense to have sandals because they are more comfortable than closed shoes.

Yes, but there is something else. For some unknown reason, many women get really upset at the sight of men wearing open sandals with socks — particularly if you bang on socks with them.

So sandals (worn with socks) are very good for a man if he wants to annoy his mother, sisters, girlfriend, wife, or female colleagues at the office, without seeming that it is your intention to do so.

If things get thick, and your wife gives you an ultimatum, it is easy to remove the socks before you are killed. And, beside, they are not as bad as the two male fashion items that can even break a marriage — brown shoes worn with a yellow suit!

7. A leather jacket: If I had to pick, I would put the leather jacket among the top three must-have male props, up there with the Swiss Army knife and wallet. It expands a man’s “interpretation canvas” dramatically.

Depending on the type of leather jacket, people might consider you a biker. A pilot. An army officer. A sailor. A rich farmer. A cool musician. A radical environmentalist. A naturalist professor. A nerd.

Whatever your thing, a leather jacket says that you are a well-settled in member of the vast male universe out there.

8. A hand-me-down from Daddy or Grandpa: Now though boys might play tough, still they all need to be loved.

So we men value something handed down by senior men in the family out of affection, but mostly because they think we are solid enough to be trusted to carry on the family’s great traditions.

It does not have to be a big thing. It can be a stained hat, an old clock or watch, the precious 40-year-old marvellously beaten leather bag, a pipe, or tobacco/snuff box that your grandfather brought back from World War II.

My father still has a brush that I found when I was born. The wood has a shiny rich patina I have never seen on another wood. It must be over 60 years old. Even at this age, my eyes would mist over if he gave it to me.

9. A private collection: We men used to be hunters and gatherers. We went out to kill the animal, brought it home, and the women engineered it into food for the table.

This gathering side is still very much part of our identity. Some African men, of course, gather wives. But that is a bit old-fashioned and our women are too educated and powerful to allow that nonsense.

So we have been reduced to safe: A man must have a CD (or better still vinyl LP) collection, a coin/currency collection, paint collection; book collection; or tie collection. The important thing is to collect.

10. Over the years, I have found one thing on which the women of Africa, Asia, America, Europe, Latin America agree on — they get freaked out by men who are too neat and orderly.

They suspect such men are psychos, closet murderers, cannibals, or even cross-dressers. Men know this, and they have at least two devices to comfort women — holed old socks or T-shirts.

Torn shirts are important because they make a man look primitive and disorganised, thus giving your girlfriend or wife an easy entrance point into “organising” you by throwing or burning them.

But there is something else; like the old leather bag, your grandfather’s pipe, they are wonderful connection to the ancestors, to things past.

11. There will always be a moment when a man who went to school must make an impression or prove it. A time will come when you have to reveal your favourite book; when you have to quote something from a great book.

This is a tricky one, but the last 60 years have largely settled that matter. An African man of substance must have (or be able to cite) either George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, or William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

There are few conversations an African man will ever be involved in where they will not make an impression by flinging in an Orwell, Achebe, or Shakespeare line. If you can’t, you are beyond help.

12A man needs paper: By paper, I mean a document that places you somewhere or ascribes ownership of something, however small, to you. This can be a birth certificate; a college or university degree, a share certificate, a land title, a discharge letter from the Army or Police, or even a firing letter from your last job. A man who doesn’t have paper is probably an alien from Mars.

13. Finally, a great overcoat: This is mostly for married men who have a reputation to protect with their in-laws.

Every so often, an African man will have to attend a funeral vigil in the home of his in-laws. This is the time when you need to look strong, so be prepared to spend the night outside sitting at the campfire or curled up manfully on a verandah.

For this you need a stoic overcoat to keep you warm. Never ever go to a funeral at your in-laws in something that might look like your wife’s shawl, or a throwaway blanket that you grabbed from the home sofa.


Sudan’s parliament authorizes confiscation of oil exports

Posted: December 9, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

December 8, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese national assembly on Thursday approved an amendment to article (5) of the law governing the oil transit fees which now authorizes the finance ministry to seize crude exports as a form of payment if necessary.

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China’s Special Envoy for African Affairs Liu Guijin (R) speaks to reporters after meeting Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti (not pictured) in Khartoum on December 8, 2011 (AFP)

The amended law appears directed at the landlocked South Sudan which is in disagreement with Sudan over the fair fee that should be assessed for exporting its oil through the north’s pipelines that extend all the way to the coastal city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

According to the new provision, the finance ministry is now allowed to confiscate any portion of oil exports should the party that owns it fail to pay the required fees. This clause would be evaluated in the contracts signed between Khartoum and oil companies as well.

South Sudan has threatened last week to stop producing oil if that measure is adopted.

Last month, Khartoum quickly reversed a decision to block Juba from using its pipelines until all arrears are cleared since South Sudan became an independent state last July.

Sudanese officials claim that the south owes $727 million on four shipments of oil released and transferred through the oil installations in the north.

The two countries have been locked in negotiations for months under the auspices of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

The parliament speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir accused South Sudan of not being keen on reaching an agreement on the fair fee per barrel of oil exported by Juba.

Al-Tahir disclosed that Khartoum demanded $36 while Juba stressed that it will not pay more than $8 per barrel.

The Secretary General of Sudan’s oil ministry Awad Abdel-Fattah said today that they will not accept any figure beside the one they pushed in their negotiations with South Sudan.

China which has the largest stake in Sudan’s oil has dispatched its envoy Liu Guijin in a bid to bridge the differences between the two ex-foes amid fears by Beijing of a disruption to its oil supplies.

The growing world power depends on South Sudan for nearly five percent of its oil imports.

The state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has pumped billions of dollars into developing oilfields in Sudan, 80 percent of which lie in the south.

Speaking to reporters after his talks with Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti, the Chinese envoy said that Khartoum and Juba have no option but to negotiate and offer concessions in order to resolve this issue and other outstanding ones.

“Due to the tensions in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, both sides have no option but to reach a deal,” Guijin said.

Guijin said that he will do his best to help the two countries agree adding that he informed South Sudan government and the mediation team led by Mbeki that he has a comprehensive vision of a solution.

The Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obaid Marwih said that his government has given the maximum concessions it could but confirmed that they will not close the pipelines under any circumstances.

“But if the intransigence of the other party continues there is nothing we can do and we have felt that the south is not ready to make concessions or even an objective proposal,” Marwih said.

South Sudan has been mulling a separate pipeline through Kenya to avoid using the ones in the north but analysts say that this will take years to build.

This week the French oil company Total suggested that it could build a pipeline to be shared by South Sudan and Uganda that exports oil through either Kenya or Tanzania.


JUBA, 8 December 2011 – An opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) has revealed that South Sudanese feel that their country is headed in the right direction. The poll results also showed that the citizens overwhelmingly approve of the national government leaders and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the country’s ruling party.
The poll results which were released last week also indicate that the majority of South Sudanese feel that the security situation in the country has improved in the past year. Crime and security – cattle raiding and local crime – alongside health were also identified as some of the issues that are of great importance to the citizens.
Although the poll results point to apparent gender-based inequality, the majority of the respondents expressed the willingness to support efforts to change the status quo. For instance, 79 percent indicated that women would make good legislators while 86 percent expressed readiness to vote for a female candidate in an election.
The nationwide survey sampled 2,225 South Sudanese adults from all the ten states of South Sudan. The study was organized and analyzed by Pechter Polls while the data collection was done with the support of Samahi Ltd, a local South Sudanese research firm. The survey was conducted in the respondent’s choice of language. The margin of error did not exceed plus or minus 21 percent.
A non-partisan, non-profit organization, the IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance, and the rule of law. The IRI has operated in South Sudan since 2002.

Government and private sector officials to attend top-level forum in USA

Posted: December 9, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

JUBA, 9 December 2011 – A high level delegation from the government of the Republic of South Sudan and the private sector is heading to Washington DC in the United States of America for a two-day conference with the heads of at least 300 leading American companies.
Announcing the conference to the press at the Juba International Airport on behalf of the private sector, the Secretary General of South Sudan Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture Mr. Simon Akuei Deng Garang said that the target of the private sector in the conference is to interact with the business community in the United States of America so as to learn lessons from them and also brief them on the investment opportunities and potential that the Republic of South Sudan offers.

Mr Akuei addressing the press.
[Photo: Matata Safi]
He said the government as well will also get engaged with their partners in the United States of America though he was quick to mention that the government will give their position. He said the business community of South Sudan is keen to open up South Sudan to potential investors so that they can engage in exploiting the investment opportunities in South Sudan. He mentioned investment opportunities in the petroleum sector, agricultural sector, roads and construction works, energy among other investment opportunities.
Mr Akuei noted that the delegation representing the private sector is tasked to talk to the American society to lobby for capacity building on issues concerning the private sector. “Building the capacity of the private sector is important because being efficient comes when you have the knowledge”, he said.

The delegation heading to Washington.
[Photo: Matata Safi]
The conference is expected to kick off on the Wednesday the 14th and will end on the 15th of December 2011.
Please, click here to read a press statement issued by the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for more details.
Reported by Matata Safi

press statement from South Sudan chamber of commerce.pdf press statement from South Sudan chamber of commerce.pdf
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South Sudan Nhial Deng Nhial: We are on brink of war

Posted: December 9, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

South Sudan Nhial Deng Nhial: We are on brink of war
BBC News
South Sudan’s foreign minister has warned his country is on the brink of war with Sudan following days of fierce fighting along the border. Nhial Deng Nhial told the BBC Sudanese forces had invaded the town of Jau, which was in the south.

Sudan: Rebels pose potent challenge to Bashir?
A herdsman from the Dinka tribe is pictured near South Sudan’s central town of Rumbek on November 13, 2011. South Sudan is coping with frequent bouts of cattle banditry while across the border to the north, Sudan President Omar al-Bashir is challenged

UN to Move Refugees as Fighting Nears South Sudan Camp
Voice of America (blog)
The United Nations says it is speeding up efforts to move refugees from a camp in South Sudan threatened by fighting along the border with Sudan. The UN refugee agency said Friday the violence appears to be nearing the Yida refugee settlement.

South Sudan: Central Equatoria Governor Inspects State Poultry Demonstration Farm
Juba — Central Equatoria State Deputy Governor Manase Lomole Waya together with seven state ministers paid an inspection visit Wednesday to Central Equatoria State demonstration Farm located east of River Nile from the heart of Juba city.

South Sudan: One Month Salary Will Not Make Our Institutions Bankrupt
One month salary to the people working in the Republic of South Sudan will never bring bankruptcy to our institutions or nation. The Citizen is weak financially but our human values are high and appreciation of these values will form a strong

SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN: Humanitarian crisis warning as thousands flee fighting
NAIROBI, 9 December 2011 (IRIN) – Aid agencies must now plan for worsening humanitarian conditions in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states where ongoing conflict pitting the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) against the Sudan People’s Liberation

South Sudan: Nation Has Made Tremendous Progress in Eradicating Guinea Worm
Juba — South Sudan though being the worst hit country in Africa by guinea worm disease is tremendously moving well in its journey to eradicate the disease from the country. Available data indicates that only one thousand and ten (1010) cases were

Dear all,
Have a read if you have time.
Peter Lokarlo Marsu
Open Letter to:
H. E. Salva Kiir Mayardit,
The President of the Republic of South Sudan,
Presidential Palace
South Sudan.
Date: Friday 9 December 2011
Mr. President,
Observing the sequence of the current unwholesome political developments in my country of South Sudan, I feel inclined to offer a contemplative comment which may assist in addressing the quandary afflicting the Republic of South Sudan. With this humble preamble stated, I would very much like to solemnly and honestly cogitate on the matters below:
1.     National Defence
The ability of the government of the Republic of South Sudan to steadfastly defend and sustain the country’s sovereignty, its territorial integrity, citizens and the broad array of national interests that includes practical attempts at deracinating the flourishing venality (corruption), as well as inventing pacific methods of resolving the rolling internal armed conflicts in the country would definitely be appreciated and should thus crest the official business agenda of your government.
One would intuitively presume that the government of South Sudan would swiftly embark on the defence of its citizens as a matter of exigency, a move which would have seen an instant halt to Khartoum’s incessant military forays and aerial attacks in the border areas of the new Country. Regrettably, the government of South Sudan has chosen to progressively remain passive and evidently feeble, in the face of Khartoum’s aggressive posture, and deplorably, saddling South Sudanese population with yet another stint of excruciating humiliations, after they (people) have endured nearly half a century of Khartoum’s, horrific brutality, maiming, rape and wanton killings in South Sudan. It is an utter shock to all to realize that the government of South Sudan is either incapable or lacks the willpower to defend its citizens from external aggression, contrary to the most rudimentary construct and phraseology in the country’s Constitution that calls for the defence of South Sudan’s sovereignty and its people. Needless to state here that under section 51 of the United Nations Charter, the country possesses the inherent right to defend its territorial integrity and political independence from external aggression. Alas, it is the unfathomable morass and lack of visible and viable acuity that have permeated the new country’s national strategic thinking which in turn has expounded Khartoum’s belligerent and arrogant attitude towards the new country.
Mr. President,
Your leadership has repeatedly on a number of occasions stated that South Sudan would never ever go to war despite Sudan’s relentless military aggression against South Sudan’s citizens. One is doubtful as to whether letting Khartoum aware of your government’s limitations in terms of military capabilities in defending the new country is the right thing to do. Disclosing to Khartoum that you will not respond to aggression from Sudan’s military does certainly embolden the NCP government to increase its assaults on the people of South Sudan believing that Khartoum would always get away with such criminal habits and practices, furthermore Khartoum finds it quite an effective stratagem and leverage to exert excessive military pressure on the Republic of South Sudan as a method of gaining maximum concessions at the current post-secession talks with your government.
This is not tantamount to declaring that South Sudan should adopt a confrontational resonance and stance towards its knotty northern neighbour, but your government should physically demonstrate to all and principally reassure the citizens of the new country that South Sudan would no longer tolerate brazen bellicosity and is set to repulse any incursions into its territory at all cost in order to shield its citizens from harm. It is discernably credulous and rather pathetic for your government to dwell on trumpeting distress signals to the international community for assistance without first taking an initiative, whilst it is abundantly clear that the new country possesses what it takes to militarily protect its citizens. The persistent raids along the South-North border areas have lamentably become moreover familiar phenomena to the extent that it’s now creating widespread sense of despair, anxiety and despondency among the citizens. While Juba strictly instructs its soldiers in those areas to absolutely do nothing that might provoke Sudan’s army into further action, Khartoum sends its air force to lay havoc mostly on civilian targets in South Sudan. Admittedly, you can’t unilaterally succeed in preserving peace if the antagonistic party doesn’t subscribe to it, and turning the other cheek with the intention of lessening the trouble does not actually work, it is futile and definitely counterproductive.
It would have worked out well without major protracted military engagements if the South Sudan border guards had immediately launched a counter attack on the intruders and driven them out of Abyei. The concerns being widely articulated in the highest echelon of government in Juba at the time  that Khartoum was prepared to thwart the independence of South Sudan was incontestably ill-conceived or rather gullible to state the least. An insightful leader constantly surrounded by a retinue of aides and supposedly erudite advisors would almost certainly discover that the intention of the attack on Abyei was purely a combined canvass of sabre-rattling and brinkmanship, solely designed for the purpose of extracting excessive concessions in future negotiations with the Republic of South Sudan, rather than a masked format of starting up a war. Al Bashir had already accepted the invitation to attend and give a speech at the South Sudan’s independence celebration, it is inconceivable that he could inanely turn around to spoil the show and risk the wrath of all those countries that had agreed to send delegations or representatives to attend the independence ceremony in Juba. A plan of that sort could possibly have worked much earlier, probably during the Referendum voting period or during the counting of the votes, but not when the representatives of the world’s sole superpower were preparing to attend the celebrations. Furthermore, Sudan wouldn’t start another war against South Sudan while it is fatigued or exhausted from battling the various mushrooming rebel groups in its territory. Sudan’s economy was and still in a shambles shape internal opposition to the regime is rife, a ticklish setting that could spark off another Arab Spring revolution in the Sudan at any slightest provocation. Not even China which is Sudan’s military guarantor would advise Omar Al Bashir to cuddle such imprudent and perilous spoor, as Beijing is more concerned with sustaining its economically rewarding dual-pronged policy of striving to maintain and palliate the two incompatible neighbouring countries in order to retain the flow of the oil to the insatiable Asian giant.
2.     Post-Secession talks
i.                    Abyei
Mr. President,
It’s quite hard to envisage the pattern and progression of South Sudan’s overall policy towards the Republic of Sudan with regard to the post-secession negotiations. This is where there has disappointingly been a muddle or lack of pellucid direction. The government of South Sudan is continually shifting positions, thus undermining the quality of its argument. The Abyei Boundary Commission’s report (ABC) drawn up by the team of experts, and largely known as the ABC Report, did state that Abyei territory belonged to the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms as of 1905, albeit Khartoum had long maintained that the ABC panel of experts had ‘exceeded their mandate’, the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague thought otherwise, affirming that the ABC did not exceed its mandate and that Abyei area belonged to the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms. It is therefore hard to understand why the government of South Sudan is now talking of ‘comprehensive package’ that is considerable fortune that could be offered to the government of Sudan in exchange for the later to relinquish control of Abyei. South Sudan won’t offer financial or monetary inducements for its borderline to get demarcated by Sudan. Bribing Khartoum to demarcate the North-South border signifies a fundamental shift from conventional logic to the realm of senselessness, The fully mandated negotiating team and the President must understand that the return of Abyei to the fold is not via soothing or mollifying the government of Sudan through offer of “financial packages”, it is through liberation struggle, as we are not engaging in a lucrative business of mortgaging our territory; Abyei is an integral part of South Sudan and must be united with the new country whether sooner or later. The argument of the SPLM that any Referendum vote in the enclave must be exercised only by the people of the Nine Ngok is perceptively valid, and this should be the stance of the government of the Republic of South Sudan, no swinging of position. Hence, any repudiation of or withdrawal from this is sound stand point is synonymous with betraying the people of Abyei. Furthermore, the government of South Sudan should never rely on the United Nations organization, believing that the world body would intervene on its side in any eventuality involving war with Khartoum. It is worth noting that this is the very organization with battered reputation and pervaded with series of dramatic failures in its 66 years of existence. While the Hutus slaughtered hundreds of thousands Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1984, the UN which had more than 25,000 soldiers in the country at the time had merely stood by in eerie watching the carnage unfolding as if it was a Hollywood movie. Identical gruesome scenarios occurred in Malakal in 2006 and Abyei in 2009 in which UN troops stood helplessly while Khartoum’s forces massacred and maimed hundreds of civilians. It has never been the tradition of the UN to engage militarily in conflicts. The government of South Sudan must defend its own citizens, territorial integrity as well as political independence.
ii.                  Sudan Demands $15 billion US dollars to fix fiscal gap
South Sudan’s designated chief negotiator with the government of Sudan and South Sudan’s conscientious official, had recently before departing for Addis Ababa to attend the latest round of talks with Khartoum, did indicate willingness to consider Sudan’s demand of $15 billion on condition that Sudan accepted a ‘comprehensive agreement’ on the outstanding issues, and he had boldly made the following statement: “South Sudan is ready to help the Republic of Sudan financially in order to fill its financial gaps.” Alike, the African Union did propose a modest sum to the tune of $5.4 billion to be paid to Khartoum by the Republic of South Sudan, for the so called fixing of Sudan’s fiscal gap. Arguably, there is hardly any single justifiable reason for the Republic of South Sudan to offer the government of Sudan such substantial sums of money. Such a capitulatory view won’t abet South Sudan, but spawns shattering outcome for the new country.   The people of South Sudan do not need to pay for seceding from the Republic of Sudan or for liberating themselves from Sudan’s horrendous misrule. The secession of South Sudan emanated from long years of sacrifices and bloodletting as underscored by Ms. Susan Rice, the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations who represented her country at South Sudan’s independence official ceremony on 9th July 2011, she noted that the independence of South Sudan was not a gift, but won through struggle. It’s thus tricky to twig the wisdom of placating the NCP rulers through awarding of princely financial compensation in order for Sudan to facilitate and accelerate the demarcation of the South-North borderline, or soften NCP’s stance in order for Khartoum to relinquish the control and handover the jurisdiction of Abyei to the Republic of South Sudan.
Presumably, Sudan has devised a perspicacious strategy of involving South Sudan to pay off part of the former’s foreign debts of 38 billion dollars. If that is the case, then South Sudan is at full liberty to demur contributing to Sudan’s debt repayments as it is an odious debt, that is, the debt was secured or incurred without the consent of the people of South Sudan and not for their benefit. The prodigal government of President Al Bashir had massively invested in procurements of advanced military equipment to vigorously pursue the war in South Sudan, killing and maiming millions. South Sudan which was an integral part of the Republic of Sudan was left in absolute ruins. The demand for the $15 billion made by Khartoum and seemingly accepted by the government of South Sudan represents nothing less than an act of downright profligacy and credulity on the part of the policy makers in Juba. Conversely, the government of South Sudan is not paying war reparation to Sudan to cover damage or injury, to the contrary, Khartoum should be declared the guilty party by the UN and the government of Sudan should be required to pay for the extensive destruction in South Sudan including the maiming and killings of millions by its unrestrained feral forces. At the Treaty of Versailles in July 1919, after the conclusion of the First World War, Germany was forced to pay war reparations for being the guilt party, but does South Sudan need to pay compensation for the triumphant manumission of its people?
iii.                Oil sharing/rental or transit fees
Little wonder that, as a commodity of increasingly strategic prominence in our time, petroleum has for a long time been an object of geopolitical wrangling as well as squall of confrontation in a number of areas around the world. Irrefutably, oil plays a central role in shaping global politics. It was used as a leverage tool in the 1973 oil embargo by mainly the Arab members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to craft and influence a political outcome in their favour.
In the case of the Republic of South Sudan, it is seemingly a lugubrious scenario as Khartoum confidently wields a huge clout over the oil industry at the moment. Sudan’s control of South Sudan’s oil was confirmed by Ali Ahmed Osman, the Sudanese state minister of oil who recently made the following bold press statements: “We are not going to shut the pipeline, we’re not going to shut any well, we are not going to stop any company, because we have an agreement with the companies”. “The share of the companies will be exported,” (Sudan tribune: Sunday 29 November 2011).
From the preceding conceited remarks of Sudan’s oil minister, it is amply plain that Khartoum exercises boundless control over South Sudan oil which constitutes the mainstay of the latter’s economy. The government of Sudan also maintains separate packages of oil agreements with various external parties on the oil resource of a supposedly independent country. If Sudan could freely shut down the oil wells in the Republic of South Sudan, does it any longer make sense to refer to South Sudan as an independent sovereign country? How would the new country survive, let alone develop itself, given the current poignant entanglements and perplexities of the country’s leadership? How far do South Sudanese have to travel along that tragic trajectory? South Sudanese shouldn’t be dragged on to share in moments of utter disgrace and silent embarrassment. The current ambiance of indecision that oscillates between whether to rent Sudan’s oil facilities or share oil revenue with Khartoum makes a great deal of mockery of the quality and orientation of thinking in Juba. This is because those wielding power are more often inclined to exercising arbitrary decisions, and consequently ampler consultations are hardly made in tackling matters of vital importance. A case in point was the undemocratic and controversial Resolution of the Council of Ministers that unilaterally decided for the relocation of the capital city of the country from Juba to Ramchiel without involving the National Parliament. This move by the Council of Ministers is neither a healthy proposition to pursue nor the correct thing to do at the moment. If we are settling in for a genuine democracy, then let’s do it decorously right from the start and not otherwise. Certainly, moving the capital city at this moment when the country has the most pressing priorities unattended to makes an amusing anecdote.
As oil features saliently in South Sudan’s economy and as a resource of critical importance to the oil-reliant country it follows that decisions vis-à-vis the oil resource should be handled judiciously and I must state here that direct and effective control of the oil through a South Sudan’s state oil company should be established and if realized, this would largely be seen as a prerequisite for asserting the country’s sovereignty. The country’s authorities should streamline a sensible and sustainable policy for dealing with the resource, in order that its citizens benefit from it.
The Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Republic of South Sudan is on record for asserting that the rental fees for Sudan’s oil facilities must be fixed in conformity with international practices. Propitiously, South Sudan’s leaders on this point are on the right track and the same page, this time, unanimously arguing and advocating for “rental fees” as opposed to” sharing”. It would be utterly incredible and quite absurd that any individual, group or organization would contemplate a split of South Sudan’s oil resource between the two neighbouring countries. The African Union and a number of countries outside the continent have more often made cryptic references to oil sharing rather than rental fees. Such unhealthy and unfair submissions should be dismissed by the people of South Sudan with scarcely any misgivings. South Sudanese must resolve their own problem and never ever think that someone somewhere would step in to present magic solutions to their problems. The African Union (AU) akin to its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) has always been of insignificant value to the continent’s population. Darfur is one of the lingering testimonies of AU’s chronicles of failures in Africa. It is morally incorrect for the AU to suggest that the government of South Sudan paid the sum of $5.4 billion dollars to Sudan to mend up the latter’s abysmal economy, while ignoring the bestial and inexcusable conduct and paroxysms of Sudan military in unleashing extensive and systematic murder, looting including a scheme of the deliberate spreading of HIV Aids through rape spree in South Sudan. It is the citizens of the new country that justly deserve the right to compensation or war reparation from the government of Sudan, and not the other way round. The next round of talks must seriously tackle South Sudan’s genuine concerns, not on the reading of the AU, UN or any other organization or country.
3.     Control of the oil wells of South Sudan
Mr. President,
It makes minimal or no sense at all for the continued occupation of South Sudan oil production regions and oil wells by the Sudan government’s forces It is equally an unpardonable blunder on the part of the government of South Sudan to be reclusive while Khartoum liberally steals the oil. The statement made by Khartoum that it will deduct 23 percent of the oil to cover for the costs of the use of its oil facilities is nothing but a revelation of state-sponsored grand theft in its classical sense, and this state of affair has been going on since Khartoum began exporting the first oil consignment to the international market more than 15 years ago. I have gathered from a trustworthy source that Khartoum has been pumping over 1,000,000 bpd of the oil over the years, contrary to the 500,000 bpd declaration. The government of Sudan has probably colluded with Chinese engineers and oil officials to report figures which are far below the actual production level figures, in order to defraud the people and government of South Sudan and derive handsome gains. Juba appears to be utterly in the dark about the scale of the oil theft. I would suggest that the government of South Sudan takes the first step of informing the UN Security Council of the development and formally request the government of Sudan to withdraw its forces controlling the oil wells. It is absolutely absurd to argue that Khartoum’s forces are there to safeguard the oil wells. How much do we pay them for doing that sort of work in our territory? Unless the government of South Sudan deploys its own troops on the ground to secure the oil wells, and Juba takes up the real supervisory and administrative work on the ground Khartoum will continue with its robbing splurge, until the oil wells run dry.
4.     Stymieing Politics and the Alternatively Pipeline
Recent media reports have surfaced with incredible stories suggesting that the oil of South Sudan would not justify a construction of pipelines to alternative seaport of a another country other than Port Sudan, and the flimsy excuse offered is that the oil reserves are dwindling fast and would not be of a commercial quantity. It would be worthwhile for the government of South Sudan to solicit the assistance of independent experts to conduct an assessment and determine whether or not these stories carry any credible weight. A cursory look appears that both Khartoum and Beijing are behind those uncorroborated fables and anecdotes, While Sudan would like to keep on stealing South Sudan’s oil that flows through its pipelines, China prays that there are no modifications to its current scheme of things that might turn out to be unpleasant to Beijing rulers. So such a strategy might involve officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to disclose to the world media of the depletion of the oil reserves of South Sudan. Such a story would persuade the government of South Sudan to abandon or suspend the pipeline project, making Khartoum the winner, which would further bilk South Sudanese and purloin their oil. The construction of the pipelines should be prioritized and built by a foreign company in collaboration with the government of South Sudan. Three to five years’ time could witness the end of our country using the extortionate or usurious facilities of the government of Sudan. It is up to the government of the Republic of South Sudan whether to pursue the right course by advancing on to initiate the alternative pipeline project to Kenya and instantly dismiss what appears to be a coordinated scheme of deception and dupe or continue with the status quo and risk the outcome.
5.     End the sporadic rebellion Peacefully
If the government of South Sudan invests substantially on pursuing some pacific methods to prevent the escalation of the undulating internal armed conflicts in the country; it would immensely contribute to serenity and long lasting stability that comes with all the consequential spin-offs of a stable country. Seemingly, it is hard to do so at the moment as Khartoum embarks on a grand scheme of recruiting, training and arming some sections of the South Sudanese community with the aim of creating instability in the breakaway part of the former Sudan, while Sudan army annexes the oil-rich border regions, and declaring those areas as defining the January 1, 1956 colonial configuration. The government of Sudan being the main player has always sought to control the resources of South Sudan. Oil which has become the citadel of Sudan’s economy is at the centre of the conflict. The claims made about the causes of the rebellion, cannot be substantiated, because the various rebels groups have become militia forces aligned to Sudan military, launching joint operations with Khartoum’s forces of doom. As an exercise of national duty, the government of South Sudan should always drive back any incursions from across the border while concurrently engaging some of the rebels in peace talks. The prevalent assumption that driving back any invaders from across the border would result in war between South Sudan and Sudan is visibly flawed. The amnesty granted to the rebel leaders by your government is quite commendable. Engaging the rebels in peace talks could deprive them from their local supporters who swell the ranks of those rebel groups, thus benefiting and bolstering the efforts of the Sudan armed forces.
In view of the aforesaid matters, the government of South Sudan either proceeds on swiftly to stand on the cusp of making one of the most sanguine decisions ever made that could shape the destiny of the citizens of the new country for the better, or else risk an unpalatable sequel. However, it might be a lot safer and worthwhile to ruminate on the following counsels:
(A)  Defending the country, its citizens and territorial integrity is the rudimentary duty and responsibility of the government of South Sudan. To progressively remain docile and militarily drained in the face of Khartoum’s aggressive practices demonstrates futility and an utter lack of responsibility. Sudan is applying both brinkmanship and sabre-rattling game to extract maximum gains from South Sudan at the negotiating table. Furthermore, it would be better for the authorities in the country to refrain from telling Khartoum that South Sudan would never go to war with the north whatever the level of provocations, this is quite awful and is definitely playing into the hands of the enemy. It is better to say “we are capable of defending ourselves” and truly mean it than to say “ we are not going to war”
(B)   South Sudan should streamline its overall policy towards the Republic of Sudan with regard to the post-secession negotiations. The issue of Abyei enclave was decided by the Hague-based Arbitration Court. What remains to be executed is the border demarcation, while the question of voting at the Referendum in the area remains the sole prerogative of the Dinka Ngonk People. The government of South Sudan should ensure that this solid stance is maintained. Offering Khartoum substantial sums of money to relinquish control of Abyei and hand it over to the government of South Sudan is manifestly an absolute failure of the authorities in Juba.
(C)   The government of South Sudan being misled by the African Union has shown willingness to offer $15 billion to Khartoum for what commonly known as the “fixing of fiscal gap”. If this grand fantasy is realised, it would constitute the worst letdown and a catastrophic financial mistake in Africa’s contemporary record. Khartoum does not deserve any compensation, equally Juba does not need to compensate the Jallaba for destroying and enslaving South Sudanese, to the contrary Sudan should pay war reparations to the government and people of the Republic of South Sudan.
(D)  No sharing of oil revenues between Juba and Khartoum, but negotiations on oil facility rental and transit fees are the issue to discuss. The transit fees, as stated by the South Sudan’s SPLM General Secretary must be in harmony with universal practice as opposed to Khartoum’s oafish and stroppy demand. The government of the Republic of South Sudan should immediately initiate the processes of constructing oil pipelines to a Kenyan seaport for the export of South Sudan’s crude oil. Sudan and probably other parties might have been responsible for the falsehood and story that South Sudan’s oil is depleting fast and would not warrant a construction of pipelines any longer. This action is to prevent South Sudan from independently controlling its oil resource and make Port Sudan the only possibility that South Sudan would rely on for oil exports. Khartoum must not be allowed to steal South Sudan’s oil by deducting the 23 percent that the NCP leaders have agreed upon. The legal action to be taken by the government of South Sudan will certainly not work. The single most effective solution lies in the removal of Sudan’s army that controls the oil wells and to be followed by the deployment of South Sudan army contingents so as to guard the oil wells, thus making it practically impossible for the Jallaba to steal the oil. Absence of such a stern measure will categorically be a complete fiasco. The Abyei Court verdict should feature as a reminder.
(E)   There is no alternative to talking to the various rebel groups’ leaders, more fighting will only engender brutality and counter brutality. The NCP leaders must be made to understand that it doesn’t pay to continue sponsoring rebellion in South Sudan as they too have a soft belly to explore.
Thank You Mr. President
Peter Lokarlo Marsu
Former casual Lecturer,
Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL),
RMIT University
Copies to:       Vice President,
Dr. Riek Machar Teny
Cc.                   Hon. Mr. Pagan Amum Okiech
                        SPLM General Secretary
Cc.                   Hon. Mr. James Wani Igga,
                        Speaker of the National Assembly
Cc.                   The respective State Governors of the Republic of South Sudan
Cc.                   Hon Lt. Gen. Nhial Deng Nhial
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation