Archive for April 17, 2013

We have no Confidence in Governor Louis Lobong of EES, Says MPs

Posted: April 17, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Press Release

                                                                                PRESS RELEASE
Date: Wednesday April 17, 2013
On Monday April 15, 2013, Governor Louis Lobong of Eastern Equatori sent troops to siege three Bomas of Betalado, kikilai and Lorema in the Budi County Eastern Equatoria. This was following raid by Youths from the Villages last Saturday April, 2013 at Napeyase where troops sent to retrieved cattle fell into an ambush and 8 were killed.
It was agreed that the raided cattle are returned to the rightful owners and the guns handed over to the government. This was to be done through the chiefs. Unfortunately, Louis Lobong found an opportunity for punitive mission.
On Tuesday April 16, 2013, the troops entered Lorema and started firing at young men herding the goats, then they went to Lorema Hospital and burn down. The medical officers’ responsible for the hospital, Mr Peter Lopotongu, was dragged out of the Hospital and killed together with two other medical personnel. Another patient, Mr Marko Aboho Nakabale was also killed. A female Nurse was wounded as she was fleeing. The whole homestead around the Lorema Hospital was burnt.
The native in the overlooking mountains reacted and fired at the troops. War ensued all day until evening yesterday. In the dark of the night the troops retreated back to Chukudum. We have no information about the casualties’ from the soldiers. The troops may be still planning for reinforcement and counter attack today or next.
Whereas insecurity over cattle raids is acountinuous source of insecurity in many states of South Sudan, it is regrettable that Governor Louis Lobong ordered for OPERATION contrary to what was supposed to be done peaceful collection of stolen cattle and guns .
We the members of the National Legislative Assembly From Budi County are appalled by this reckless approach to issues of insecurity in the state, and hereby issues the following statements:
1)   Call upon the National Government to stop the Operations and to cease future escalation immediately recall these troops out of Budi;
2)   That Louis Lobong has been the causes of all build-ups and multiplication of cattle raids in the Kidepo Vally, Kaliba, Ngauro, Chawua on one hand and Riwoto, Machi, and Namorunyang on the other. Efforts for ethnic reconciliations have collapsed since he is dismissed his erstwhile Deputy Hon Nartisio Loluke Manir.
3)   That reckless disposal of troops where people have have already perceived Louis Lobong as “ a partial and unjust ruler” open unnecessary corridors for conflict.
4)   We regret that we are withdrawing our trust upon him as our Governor.
Hon. Dr David Nailo Mayo
Hon. Lt Gen Peter Longole Kuam
Hon Louis Willy Atyol
Hon. Lucy Iyaya Loki

By Stephen Par Kuol
United by common struggle against common oppression, the people of Southern Sudan’s three provinces of Bar-El -Gahzal, Equtoria and Upper Nile had been clamoring for federalism since the sudanization period. They had been exacting that with protracted tenacity untila sortof quasi federalism was introduced with the signing of the Addis Ababa Accord in March 1972 granting the three provinces regional political autonomy. Although such a federal arrangement temporarily resolved the South- North Conflict, it ushered in another conflict (South – South Conflict) transpiring into Kokora. The Kokora (re-division) as we knew it then meant different things to different political factions of Southern Sudan. To its proponents, it was meant to introduce a more meaningful federal system with equitable sharing of power, resources and employment opportunities. To its opponents, it was a malicious project to politically fragment the South as one geopolitical entity.
Whether the Kokorists meant well or not, the unfortunate truth was that it brought about vicious infighting resulting in the eventual loss of the very hard won regional autonomy in 1983. Uncle James Agor, one of the veteran politicians and intellectuals of that generation described it in one of the recent discussions on SPLM-Diaspora Network as a politicsof greed and tribalism. Both General Joseph Lagu and Mr. Abel Alier, the key players of that game also confessed it in writings and public pronouncements as a life time political blunder. The only progressive experience out of that federal arrangement( regional autonomy) in my own view was that it helped shaping the Southern region into a separate and distinct sub-national entity within the Greater Sudan setting the stage for the next round of the national liberation struggle that culminated in CPA and Independence on July 9, 2011 .Other than that, the politics of the High Executive Council set in motion an extremely divisive political tribalism which eventually brought to the fore the intra-Southern factional politics that manifested itself during the last round of our national liberation struggle spearheaded by the SPLM/A.
Despite all the political infightings and divisions, the SPLM leadership upheld the historical aspiration for self- rule. Ironically, the NCP system of federalism that divided the southern region into ten states was confirmed. In practice, this federal arrangement for the most part created ethnic based states and counties calling for ethnic boundaries. This federalism system is characterized by highly localized politics that tends to take bitter sectional divisions from boma level up. Along this direction, the tribes, clans and sections have been demanding more counties and ethnocentric states. Every section demands its own small administrative entity in the name of federalism and devolution of powers to the grass roots. As the history repeats itself, the Juba politics of the day is dreadfully gathering regional and ethnic streams. Regional conferences have been convened not only to express ethnic and regional solidarities but also to table ethnic political demands in a very divisive tone. In those regional and ethnic platforms, national fraternities are clearly subordinated. Prominent national political figures take the stage to stoop low and sound like tribal demagogues. Evidently, the raw tones of those forums have created a negative sentiment that tends to further polarization of the national politics along ethnic and regional lines. Cheap unity of purpose to promote localism has thus prevailed over timely issues such as food security, human resources capacity building and national security.
The political science scholars who contend that every politics is local have gotten it more than right in the case of South Sudan. Presently, local political voices call the shot even in affairs that are supposed to be exclusively national. Everything political affair is openly influenced by the tribal chiefs and the so called community leaders. “It is our turn to eat” is the name of the game. Merits matter less in such matrix-es as the voices of the communities override them. Public posts whether at civil service or constitutional levels are allocated to tribes, not qualified and competent individuals. Federalism is scientifically defined as a system of government in which political powers are decentralized and devolved to the peripheries. This way, the peripheries become autonomous centers of political powers in their own right. I lived the beautiful experience of that in the United States and enjoyed the benefits that come with such system. The peril in our case is the ethnic nationalism behind the drive for it as things stand now. What is even more perilous at the core is the politics of ethnic boundaries which has been violent by the day since the year 2005. Any astute observer of the current political affairs in South Sudan can easily agree with the author that the prevailing intra-tribal boundary politics is a ticking time bomb clock hanging over us at the time of this writing.
In blatant violation of their constitutional right to move, settle and own properties anywhere in their vast country, South Sudanese are treated like illegal aliens in their own land by their own fellow citizens as citizenship rights are politically confined to ethnic enclaves. Borders conflicts have then been raging every since. The last eight years in South Sudan has witnessed a war of man against every man over the land issues in the entire country. It has been tribe against tribe, county against county, clan against clan. Thousands of people have been killed or displaced as results of those intera- tribal or inter clans’ conflicts. In Upper Nile State, it wasDinka of Baliet versus Shilluk of Panyikang counties over Malakal, Nakdier and Lul Payams. Lou Nuer of Akobo County in Jonglei State and Jikany Nuer of Ulang and Nasir Counties over Barmach and Wanding Payam.
In Jonglei State: Uror county and Duk County over Pajut Payam. Shilluk of Panyikang versuss Dinka of Piji/ Korfolus counties over Piji area. Shilluk and Lou Nuer over Obel Payam. Even in one ethnic community of Twic East County a conflict erupted between Ayuaal and Dachuek clans over Wangeli Payam. In Greater Fangak, it is the prevailing border dispute between Piji and Fangak counties on one hand and Ayod and Piji on the other over Kolanyang and Bielewiech respectivelly · There is also Ker or Aker conflict between Ayod and Duk counties . In CentralEquatoria, it wasMundari and Bari community at Jebel Lado Payam. Dinka Bor of Pariak and Mundari of Jamaza Payams. In Juba Bari community has been fighting constantly against unlawfully land grabbers. In EasternEquatoria, the counties of Parajok, Budi, Numle and Kapeota have also been experiencing several fighting over land issues between the communities of Acholi, Madi, Didinga and Taposa and Dinka Bor settlers.
In Lakes State, different Dinka clans have been fighting among themselves over land issues which resulted in lootings of livestock and death of people on both sides. Rumbek County in Lakes State and Morobo County in Western Equatoria over land issue in which several people died. Most recently, it was Balanda Community against the Government of Western Bar Elghazal over Wau town.These mini inter-communal conflicts are not storms in a tea cup. They can quickly plunge this country into the state of Somalia. It is very unfortunate that our people have misconceived federalism as a creation of independent tribal states and that is where comes what I call peril of ethnic federalism in South Sudan. It is a menace that could sinks the ship of the new republic if not treated with the diligence and vigilance it deserves.
True, federalism is a globally the accepted trend but my own humble observation is that South Sudan has had a false start with federalism from the word go! It is not creation of ten states and 79 counties that bring about true federalism. It is rather the practical application of democratic federalism that goes to the bottom of issues, not quasi federalism whose constitution contradicts the basic tenets of federalism (decentralization). You can call it anything but in my book; it is ethnic federalism which is not only divisive but also expensive to run. A traumatized and young nation like ours should have started small with democratic unitary system with strong central government that regulates land issues to serve the best interest of the national public security, not loose empowerment of tribal chiefs to run the countryside like their private backyards. Excising their absolute domain over the land, the ethnic groups have gone as far as interfering with town surveys and allocation of plots for development in several capitals throughout South Sudan.The mockery of the whole is illustrated by the fact that the same people who blame Bari Community for not allowing other South Sudanese ethnic groups to settle in Juba are practicing the same thing in their home state capitals.
Depending on what we want to achieve with this loose ethnic federalism, we will ripe what we have sawn so far. Experiences elsewhere have proven that “Ethnic Federalism has not dampened conflict, but rather increased competition among ethnic groups over the land, natural resources, administrative boundaries and government budgets. The case in point is the experiment of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi which transformed the previously centralized state into the Federal Democratic Republic in the 1990s, redefining citizenship, politics and identity on ethnic grounds. The stated intent was to create a more prosperous, just and representative state for all citizens. The economic aspect of that project might have been achieved as planned but it has resulted in deep polarization of the national politics. That is exactly what is unfolding now in South Sudan. Take a deep look into the
trend of regional alliances of today in South Sudan to see where we are heading to.
Too often, analysts in South Sudanese media confuse democratic federalism with ethnic federalism. There is also a naïve belief that democracy can be attained only through federal constitutional making. Writing from a practical experience, I respectfully differ. A very personal journey in my previous career as a diplomat took me to the United Republic of Tanzania which happened to be the most democratic and politically stable unitary state in this region. It is also the only country without tribal chiefs in the continent. So democratic federalism does not have to be ethnic to perfect or maximize its benefits. It can still work even better if we all share Juba, Malakal and Wau as multi-ethnic counties.
As we move inexorably towards a permanent national constitution, South Sudanese must reflect again on the federal character enshrined in the existing transitional constitution. It is important to note that although the country is structurally federal at the moment, the sentiments and passions behind the drive for it has a tribal character that needs to be remedied through a creative and accommodative political mechanism, which must include encouraging multi ethnic-states and counties for the best interest of peace, security and national integration. Otherwise, we can continue with the course charted so far, but at a very high peril.
The author is the current State Minister of Education in Jonglei State. However, the views expressed in this article do not represent the official view of Jonglei State Government but his own as citizen of South Sudan trying to contribute to the ongoing constitutional making..
The Dinka Problem in South Sudan: Part I  
Tongun Lo Loyuong, SOUTH SUDANESE

As promised, in this sequence of pieces, I reflect on what I referred to in a previous discussion as the “Dinka problem in South Sudan.” I figured I had to rush my views out, before petro-dollars hit Juba streets from the world market following the resumption of oil production and export. This is mainly because the viability of the argument presented here hinges in part on the petrodollar drought and the now popularly dubbed “Kostirity measures” —a phrase used to describe the austerity measures taken by GoSS following the termination of oil production in January 2012.

At stake to be explicated in some detail is, therefore, mainly the seeming impotence exhibited by our political leadership in tackling head-on the ills of wanton corruption in the Republic. Part of this weakness emanates from what can be argued as a moral dilemma, a divided loyalty, or an apparent disconnect between the moral ideals and practice of the Dinka society, which I see as the Dinka problem in South Sudan.

However, to be frank from the onset, the issue of corruption is not unique to the Dinka society, nor is the Dinka society its sole benefactors. It is a national problem, and as such all South Sudanese tribes have also found themselves wanting in combating this issue. In that sense singling the Dinka tribe out in this piece may raise eyebrows, draw ire, or some of our brothers may even rush to call for my head, if they have not already done so.

But, the objective here is to show how the Dinka society being the big brother or sister of South Sudanese by virtue of being the largest tribe that also dominates the Kiir regime, is required to lead by an example for the smaller tribes to emulate.

To be sure, I am no tribal bigot. In fact I come from a family whose relationships cut-across several ethnicities in South Sudan, including Dinka and Nuer. One of my favorite cousins, who I harbor much respect for as an older brother, and who mentored me as a boy on survival mechanisms and how to be independent and navigate the famine-ridden and unforgiving environment of Juba, hails from a Dinka father. I also have younger cousins from Nuer mother, cousins married to Dinka individuals, and cousins hailing from Mundari tribe, and the list is long.

If anything, therefore, the intention is to mitigate and if possible neutralize public wrath and ire that is indiscriminately directed at the whole Dinka tribe for the failures of individuals within the current regime under the leadership of his Mr. President Salvatore Kiir Mayardit.

However, the corrupt individuals within the current regime would not have excelled in this vice without cover and impunity from above, as well as from below, namely the various South Sudanese ethnic groups, not least the communities from which these individuals hail from, and more so from our Dinka brothers and sisters, for the reasons outlined hereafter.

In the past, when questions were raised about unaccounted for missing funds, the concerned political authorities were quick to divert the blame and argued that the instructions to allocate the funds in that questionable manner came from above. Moreover, the culture of impunity from above can again be seen in how the Kiir regime has failed to grab the endemic corruption in the Republic by the throat, and all under the pretext of Pax-South Sudan.

Where is this peace that needs to be maintained, while the baby state is degenerating across ethnicities? There is no need to remind ourselves of Kiir’s weak political leadership as exemplified in the “open tent” appeasement policies, and his 75 feeble memoirs written to the corruption cartel in South Sudan to “bring the money back” to a secret location, but which went unheeded, precisely because of the seeming impunity from above.

By the same token there is impunity from below. Until recently for instance, when a simple criticism was expressed against the Kiir government, even without making mention of Dinka, our Dinka brothers are immediately irritated and found it extremely offensive, as if the Dinka tribe was under attack. There was no distinction made between the tribe and the government.

In recent months, however, there is a growing trend within the Dinka communities to distance themselves from the President. Most have started arguing that the whole tribe must not be blamed for the shortcomings and the rampant corruption in the Kiir’s regime, and rightly so.

Thus, the promising side is that at least there is now an acknowledgment of grave mistakes being committed in the governance of the country, and there is a deliberate attempt to distinguish between the government and the tribe. Others have even started emphasizing the plurality of the Dinka tribe, redirecting the blame to Warrap State where the President hails from, which I think is equally ill-informed.

In all this what is clear is that the President’s support base has dwindled in recent months. The President’s popularity has evidently dipped within the various Dinka clans, particularly within the Bor Dinka, for what they see as isolation and marginalization from rightful entitlement to holding key political leadership positions, and the alleged violation of the right to life by Kiir’s custodians, namely the “kitchen boys” or the “tigers.”

One only needs to look at the strong widespread public condemnation of the Kiir’s regime by the Dinka Bor specifically, following the unfortunate assassination of (Abraham) Diing Chan Awuol to see how Kiir’s popularity within the Dinka society is on the decline.

An added reason for this in my view is also related to the decision to shut down the oil production. The surge in political dissidence against Kiir within the Jieng society one would argue, therefore, is equally reinforced by the drought in petrodollars and the drying out of the Ministry of Finance, which means not enough money to go around to silence disgruntled Jieng’s voices.

But again it is important to note that this is not only a Jieng problem that voices of dissent can be muted through cash handouts. The Jieng society is not the only society in need in the country.

Moreover, it is not entirely our fault or the fault of those who have found themselves rooted in perpetual poverty as a result of the civil wars and destitution in the country before and after the Southern independence to trade prophetic voices for money. This considered, it is, therefore, not surprising that when there is need and cash is being splashed out, you are likely to take your cut and turn the other way.

Only few people in this world are able to resist accepting cash handout without prior explanation regarding the source of the money. I mean let’s be real, in South Sudan with the current difficult living conditions and the skyrocketing commodity prices, and without adequate cash flow in return, mounu yao bi aba gouroush (who will refuse free cash handouts)?

In fact the corrupt official will be hailed for coming to the rescue, regardless of the strings attached.

In a sense then, the oil shut down and the ensuing ‘Kostirity’ measures came as a blessing to rescue the South Sudanese society from morally decaying as a result of the ills of wanton corruption.

Understood this way, the current pressing concern for many South Sudanese watchers is that when the oil dollar starts raining in Juba again, the resource curse of corruption is likely to rekindle and gather momentum. Additionally, with oil production back up and running again, our fear is that the security situation in the country is likely to worsen rather than improve and criminal activities are equally likely to resume business as usual and escalate rather than ebb.

I hope I am wrong, and our government owners have learned their lesson, and more transparency and accountability measures will be taken, to ensure the resources are better managed and evenly distributed this time around, and security and effective social and economic services are efficiently overseen and delivered.

But until that happens, one is justified to argue that the oil shut down and the ensuing ‘Kostirity’ measures are lesser of an evil that may have mitigated the greater evil caused by the preceding rampant corruption practiced by some of our civil servants and government owners, who have lost their way.

Currently, word on the street in Juba is that everybody has a price tag, and a buy-out clause in the case of our political leadership, which makes it even all the more pertinent for South Sudanese to team up and in unison and say no to corruption.

Buying and selling of leadership positions is currently the hot topic in relation to the power struggle brewing over who is to claim the top spot in the SPLM party. Unfortunately, the resumption of the flow of petrodollar revenues from the oil production and export is likely to aid in the task of buying out contestants for the top seat in the SPLM organization, encourage corruption, and render democratic exercise within that party meaningless, which may foreshadow a similar fate in the 2015 national elections.

It seems President Kiir is adamant to carry on for a third term in the first office that will take his tenure at the helm of the Republic to the year 2020, if not beyond. I hope these are baseless rumors, and will have to write an apology letter to the President if it turns out he is not running for the first office again. But in South Sudan, there is no smoke without fire!

If this is true then South Sudan must brace itself for a long and arduous journey ahead, unless there a miraculous change of policies and heart in the President.

The signs will be on the wall when the SPLM party displays its dirty linen to the public in the upcoming party convention in May 2013. This convention will determine the fate of our people, whether to make a nation called South Sudan or break the nascent state, which, God forbid, may in worst case scenario culminate in Balkanization, or Rwandanization, and Somalization or a combination thereof of our endeared Republic.

But lest I be misunderstood, I am no warmonger or a prophet of doom, and I don’t have children overseas. I only ignorantly whine, bicker and reflect based on the reality on the ground that the Dinka problem in South Sudan is the moral dilemma or the divided loyalty currently exhibited by our brothers with regards to their clear position towards the President Kiir’s leadership and policies.

Do we support the tribe or the clan, and therefore, the President at all costs? Or do we conclude from the conclusive evidence of the past 9 years that a fresh leadership and impetus is needed to steer the country forward, in order to create a nation called South Sudan?

This is the lingering moral dilemma our Dinka brothers and sisters, and all South Sudanese will have to grapple with and wisely choose between in the days and months ahead.

That said it is not enough to disown a member of our ethnic group when all is not well, and to beat our breasts and claim him when he excels. What is needed is a collective unified position that reprimands this member of our society when grave mistakes that tarnish the image of the whole ethnic group are being committed based on the traditional beliefs and moral ideals of the ethnic group, but the individual must also be commended when he is doing the right thing.

Nonetheless, and this is the heart of the Dinka problem, due to a moral dilemma or divided loyalty, the Dinka tribe as a whole is yet to issue a public statement outlining their assessment of Kiir’s performance or at least in a manner similar to the Equatoria 2013 conference, underscoring their fears and grievances.

How I consider this to be a practice that exhibits a deviation or disconnect from Dinka moral ideals and the nature of these ideals is the burden of part two of this exercise. Stay tuned.

I am just a concerned South Sudanese citizen, and happy to entertain questions and concerns