Archive for December, 2013

The Fabricated Coup in Juba: An Insider Account

Posted: December 30, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, History

The Fabricated CoupThe Fabricated Coup

By Jean Camfort Bodin

The Fabricated Coup: A Confession from a Party insider


The fate of this young nation is in the hands of two men whose rivalry and distrust goes back to the beginning of SPLM/SPLA.  What started out as a political problem is now threatening to take this young nation to the brink of a civil war. Dr. Machar having lost his vice presidential seat realized that his only mean of ascending to power is through the democratization of SPLM. Pres. Kiir, on the other hand, understood that democratization of the party is a threat to his regime. The demands put forward by Dr. Machar and Pagan Amum at the most recent party meeting were aimed at weakening the powers of the presidency. The long-term goal was multi-partism and democracy in South Sudan. But Machar, Pagan and their other ten colleagues understood that; South Sudanese would deem forming their own party as betrayal. And they are reluctant to leave a party, which they have been participants in building and nurturing. Pres. Kiir demands the same level of reverence and respect that was accorded to the late Dr. John Garang. However, Kiir unlike Garang is not a consensus builder. He tends to be very frustrated by political process while Dr. Garang did not personalized politics, Kiir keeps political grudges and demand complete loyalty. His failure to enforce the appointment of Telar Riing as justice minister made him very skeptical of a democratic SPLM. After all, Kiir is a military General who abides by the Military code of conduct.

In short, out of fear of democratic process and Dr. Machar’s presidential ambitions, Pres. Kiir has resorted to his last option: amilitary rule. This was why the presidential Guards – a majority of whom are from Kiir’s very own subclan-was formed in the first place. The Guards main job was complete loyalty to Pres. Kiir, not to the South Sudan’s president or to the Rep. of South Sudan but to Kiir himself. The only reason there were some Nuers and  a small numbers from other tribes  within the group was due to fear of disintegration within the SPLA. In order to nationalize the army, it was necessary to integrate the military. This was supposed to weaken likely potential rebels. In particular, the late Gen. Matip Nhial, Gen. George Athor, Gatdet Yaak and Tanginye. And also to entice YauYau, who is still rebelling against South Sudan. The overall objective in forming the presidential Guards, was to ensure Pres. Kiir remains in power by any means necessary. The aim was to ruthlessly silent the democratic voices within the party led by Dr. Machar. It must be noted that Machar was only a de facto leader of the group due to his seniority within the party.

(b) The Plan: a fabricated Military Coup And why a Coup? 

A fabricated coup was the only mean of ensuring Pres. Kiir remains in power as a “failed coup” in African context is almost always justified with an establishment of a brutal military regime. The plan was to either arrest/prosecute or assassinate some the 12 politicians. An emphasis of “dead or alive” was placed in Dr. Machar’s case. During this upheaval a strict curfew was to be established in juba, malakal and Bor. An immediate order was to be given to govt. Montytuil and govt. Kun pouch in unity and Upper Nile to protect the oil fields while re-inforcement arrived.

So what went wrong? For once the dreaded presidential guards being mostly young recruits and given their limited military experience in SPLA were extremely indiscipline in their execution of the presidential orders. A number of them having long held personal grievances against Machar and the Nuers in general for the Bor massacre of 1991, decided to carry out revenge attacks on the Nuer civilians in juba. This gave Machar time to escape. The guards also completely destroyed Dr. Machar’s home in juba and there was a speculation in the presidential circles that he might have been killed in the rubbles. This meant a couple of hours were wasted trying to find out machar’s whereabouts. And before long Gen. Gatdet in Bor had received intelligence about the massacre of Nuers in juba. Gatdet is well known for being a nationalist but a pro-nuer at heart. His objective was always to fight for Nuer first. His support for Machar is a consequence of his loyalty to Nuer and not on shared principles. As a result, Pres. Kiir and his confidants hope that Gatdet- given his new found faith in South Sudan Unity and his elevated status within the party- would take a couple of days before he get a wind of what was actually going on in Juba and make a decision to defect. During this time he would either have been persuaded to stay within the rank and let the judicial process take place or implicated in the “Coup”. Perhaps, Gatdet’s military experience and distrust of Koul Manyang and Kiir told him otherwise. Another major blow was the defection of Gen. Koang in Unity State- This was never anticipated by the high command. Kiir’s inner circle was generally inept in their execution of this plan. The major mistake was the luck of understanding of Nuer’s sentiments in the SPLA and in the populace. And the desire to deny the Nuers any elevated status within the movement by some of the staunch supporters of Pres. Kiir. There was a fear that the Nuer would coalesce around Machar upon his arrest but that ultimately Gen. Hoth Mai might be in a position to re-establish order if needed.

(c)  IGAD/Geopolitics: Kenyatta & Museveni

Once, the high command received the information that Machar had escaped and that Gatdet had defected. Two objective were put in place:

  1. To immediately put down any potential mutiny within Juba. This means the execution and imprisonment of some of the senior members of SPLA who were deemed loyal to Dr. Machar. Particularly, those from Lou Nuer and Bentiu.
  2. A call was made to Pres. Museveni and to Pres. Kenyatta for support. Museveni and Machar have a long history of distrust given that Museveni believed Machar “financed” the LRA. A rebel group that created havoc in northern Uganda. And Machar is not very fond of Museveni’s dictatorial tendencies and interference in South Sudan’s politics.

Mr. Kenyatta, on the other hand, wants Pipeline through Kenya and Pres. Kiir promised to deliver. Major investment plans have already been put in place to this effect. Kenya would immensely benefit from the pipeline. Machar was reluctant about the cost of building such a pipeline and believed that Kenya will hold South Sudan hostage once the pipeline has been built. Kiir would rather see a pipeline through Kenya, as he didn’t trust Bashir regime. Ethiopia was not contacted until Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Museveni had made guarantees. Once support was established Mr. Kenyatta was used to woe Ethiopia’s prime minister. Note that Ethiopia is generally seen as sympathetic to Machar as there is a large population of Nuers in Ethiopia. In fact, a whole sub-clan of Nuer (Gaajak) live in Ethiopia. Furthermore, Kenyatta having been a beneficiary of tribal politics and a victim of Mr. Odinga’s political maneuvers understood Pres. Kiir’s sentiments on Dr. Machar’s presidential ambitions. Note that Kenyatta was very supportive of Moi’s anti-multipartism in the early 1990s. He was a product of KANU- a party very much like South Sudan’s SPLM- and a beneficiary of one party rule and tribal politics. The results of the two recent elections in Kenya provide a strong evidence of tribal politics and Uhuru’s desire to transcend such politics. A goal he ultimately failed. He has been accused of instigating tribal violence that killed up to 1500 people and displaced more than 25,000 civilians. Kenyatta’s case was recently dropped due to “insufficient” evidence. However, Kenyatta’s reputation is still tarnished and the West does not trust him. Any positive efforts in helping solve South Sudan’s crisis would be welcomed by the West. There is also Chinese economic interest in East Africa and there is fear that Kenyatta’s effort might not be genuine. He is likely to be on the side of the Chinese/Khartoum.

Once this two objectives had been achieved. The next goal was to convinced the international community and in particular the US government that indeed Dr. Machar carried out a coup. The problem however, was persuading Susan Rice and John Kerry to this fact. Dr. Rice having interacted with both Pres. Kiir and Dr. Machar was very skeptical. She does not believe it was in the best interest of Machar to carry out a coup. How was he going to do so without an army at his disposal? Why would he carry out a coup given that he was winning the political battle within the party? And why would Machar wants to use his tribe to face the army of South Sudan given the painful memories of 1991 and his current support from some Dinka leaders? And who would finance him given China and Sudan had made a deal with GOSS? There were too many unanswered questions. The US government did not buy into the coup allegations. The explanation given by Dr. Adwok, that there was infighting in the presidential Guards, was deemed more plausible.


The next step was to re-take Bor from Gen. Gatdet. Pres. Kiir then gave UPDF- Uganda’s military- the permission to bomb Gatdet’s strategic position in Bor. Machar did not want a repeat of 1991 and asked Gatdet to pull out. The truth is there was no “re-take of Bor” by the GOSS troops. Gatdet had already pulled out some hours before the government troops arrived in Bor. The skirmishes in Bor were from a small group left behind by Gatdet as a decoy. This allowed him to escape. But not before he made a major mistake in mistaking US aircraft for UPDF Planes. This was both unfortunate and very costly to Machar’s effort in persuading the US of his non-participant in the alleged coup.

(e) The Strategic Stalemate: is Machar Cornered?

Right now, the objective is to re-take the oilfields and to counter any move Machar is likely to make. Pres. Kiir has succeeded so far in winning IGAD to his side. Machar is left with Khartoum and some oil fields.  Machar’s demands on the surface seem basic and reasonable but in the bigger scheme of politics; they constitute a great threat to Kiir’s objective of a military rule. Machar wants the detainees to be released. He wants Pagan Amum – a nationalist and a shrewd negotiator- on his side. Pres. Kiir would be foolish in releasing Mr. Amum. And he has used Pagan’s past alleged corruption charges to keep him under arrest. Machar also wants a “credible ceasefire” to be negotiated. This would give him enough time to re-established his contacts and re-group with his detained colleagues giving them an equal status on the negotiating table and taking Kiir’s a long step-on

Any form of power sharing would mean Machar would achieve his objective of democratizing the SPLM. In short, Machar- being the strategist -is thinking three steps ahead. But for Machar’s plan to work, he needs some leverage. Currently he has three options: The oilfields in Unity/Upper Nile, The White army and Bashir/Chinese. Given Machar’s overall goal – complete independence of South Sudan from the North- the third option would be his desperate and last move. The use of White army would lead to unnecessary bloodshed in Bor and Akobo. There are some Lou Nuer in Akobo segments who are skeptical of Machar but given John Luk Jok- Akobo’s son- is in detention, Machar can persuade the Lou Nuer. And Machar needs both the Bor/twic and Lou Nuer on his side. Creating a war between the two sub-clans would leads to a result very similar to 1991. This would ultimately undermine Dr. Machar’s presidential ambition and little support from the international community. Most of his colleagues in detention are mostly Dinkas. He needs to convince the world and the Dinka community that he is not weighing a tribal warfare. While he might not be entirely convincing, he would create some doubts within the Dinka community. He needs to be seen as a non-tribalist.

The best option and the most credible move Machar is likely to make is holding Pres. Kiir’s government hostage. Machar will in effect attempt to control the oilfields in Upper Nile and Unity. But for him to get financing he needs to be able to re-direct the oil revenues to a bank account he can control. This would mean he must either make a deal with Bashir/Chinese or simply use both the oilfields and a negotiated ceasefire as a “credible threat”.

In order for Machar to retain his current control of Unity oil fields; he must control Mayom County and make a direct threat to overtaking Warrap state. He must tempt Pres. Kiir to direct all effort to Warrap state and maintain a hold of Kuajok. This would leave Jonglei vulnerable, as the SPLA with its limited resources will be overstretched.  Machar will then solidify his control of Akobo and use Bor as a ploy to keep hold of Mayom while being in a good position to negotiate. It should be noted that Machar is a product of the civil war and can be very resourceful. It would be a mistake for Kiir to undermine any proposals he make. Even if these demands seem rather odd. Machar is a shrewd strategist. He will not admit to defeat. The tribal politics of south Sudan dictates that both the Dinka and the Nuer be participants, if there is to be any national building. Otherwise, civil war is likely to occur.

(f) What is the best outcome for South Sudan?

The best outcome for the country is for Pres. Kiir to negotiate right away with Dr. Machar.  Eventually, the SPLA will democratize and Pres. Kiir can still win election under a democratic South Sudan. He is likely to garner at least the majority  (51%) in any given election. Perhaps, he won’t negotiate due to influence from his close confidants (Telar Ring, Hoth Mai, Mr. Makwei Lueth, Mr. Juuk) who have more to lose in a democratic SPLM.

An immediate release of all political detainees (particularly, Mr. Amum and Mr. Alor) is a very unlikely outcome in the short run. The truth is the stalemate is likely to continue until Dr. Machar is in a strong negotiation position. A scenario I don’t foresee anytime soon. In so far, as Machar is not in a position to procure external financing, he is unlikely to achieve his short term objectives: a negotiated ceasefire settlement and the release of ALL detainees. If indeed Dr. Machar manages to somehow negotiate for himself a favorable result, it will only speak volume of his strategic capabilities and the loyalty he commands from the Nuer people. As the situation stands, Pres. Kiir is in a winnable position, but a position that could ultimately lead to the very dreaded civil war if he overplay his hand and tempt fate. Makwei and Kuol Manyang are currently persuading him in that direction. This would be an ill-advised move, as it would simply prolong the stalemate and led to civil war.

After many decades of warfare, 2014 should be a year of re-unification for South Sudanese. It’s upon the two leaders to put aside their differences for the sake of national interest. Politics must stop at the water’s edge.

You can reach the author here: jean camfort Bodin <>

25,000-strong ‘White Army’ disbands, returns home after Nuer leaders intervene

Posted: December 29, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History




Over 25,000 ‘White Army’ militia marches toward Bor

Posted: December 28, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, History

Twenty-five thousand young men who make up a tribal militia known as the “White Army” are marching toward a contested state capital in South Sudan, an official said Saturday, dimming hopes for a cease-fire. There is a looming battle for Bor, the provincial capital of Jonglei state that briefly fell to rebels before government forces took it back this week, said military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer. Pro-Machar forces are believed to be preparing a fresh offensive to retake Bor, he said. Bor is the town where three United States military aircraft were hit by gunfire while trying to evacuate American citizens on Dec. 21, wounding four U.S. service members. An estimated 25,000 youths from the Lou Nuer sub-clan — the same tribe Machar is from — are marching on Bor, said Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth. The “White Army” gets its name in part from the white ash fighters put on their skin as a form of protection from insects. “He has decided to mobilize the youth in the name of his tribe,” Lueth said.

Press Release from the IGAD on the Situation in South Sudan

Posted: December 28, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Press Release

Communique Of The 23rd Extra-Ordinary Session Of The IGAD On The Situation In South Sudan

28 December 2013


27th of December 2013

The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held its 23rd Extraordinary Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on 27th of December 2013, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of the IGAD Summit to discuss the situation in the Republic of South Sudan.

The Assembly was attended by H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; H. E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; H.E. Bakri Hassan Saleh, First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan; and H.E Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan.

The Assembly was also attended by Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, the Executive Secretary of IGAD and Ambassador Erastus Mwencha, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

The Summit received a briefing from the President of the Republic of Uganda on his country’s efforts in securing critical infrastructure and installations in the Republic of South Sudan as well as in evacuating its citizens.

The Summit further received a briefing from the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Tedros Adhanom on the emergency three-day visit to Juba, Republic of South Sudan by the IGAD Council of Ministers on 19th December 2013.

After consideration of the reports and its deliberations on the overall political and security situation in South Sudan,

The summit:

On South Sudan

1. Recalling the hope for freedom, justice and prosperity that the people of the Republic of South Sudan expressed with joy on 9th July 2011 on occasion of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan

2. Cognizant of the peace, security and development that has been achieved in the Republic of South Sudan since independence in the midst of various challenges

3. Noting with satisfaction the positive development between the brotherly countries of the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan and in that regard, commend H.E. President Omar Al-Bashir and H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit for their tireless efforts in bringing peace, security and prosperity to their two peoples.

4. Concerned by the unfortunate events that took place on the 15th of December 2013 and the subsequent escalation of the conflict and deterioration of the humanitarian situation;

5. Further Concerned about the reported widespread atrocities, deaths and displacement of civilian population;

6. Expressing their solidarity with the people of South Sudan at this hour of distress and tribulation;

7. Condemns all unconstitutional actions to challenge the constitutional order, democracy and the rule of law and in particularly condemns changing the
democratic government of the Republic of South Sudan through use of force

8. Further Condemns the violent escalation of conflict in South Sudan and calls on all parties to refrain from steps that will inflame the conflict further particularly along ethnic and sectarian lines and particularly strongly condemns the bankrupt and opportunistic ideology of ethnic and religious sectarianism

9. Calls on all humanitarian actors to act quickly and provide all necessary assistance to all civilians and specifically calls on the government of South
Sudan and all armed groups to open humanitarian corridors and ensure protection of civilian population;

10. Notes with satisfaction the IGAD Council of Ministers emergency visit of 19 December 2013 and the discussions with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and other stakeholders;

11. Commends the expressed commitment of both sides to engage in dialogue and reiterates the imperative of an immediate pursuit of a political solution including an all inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders concerned;

12. Commends the UN Security Council Resolution 2132 of 2013 which it notes as a prudent and timely move to complement ongoing political efforts in alleviating the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the country.

13. Commends the effort of the Republic of Uganda in securing critical infrastructure and installations in South Sudan and pledges its support to these effort;

14. Reaffirms the strong commitment of IGAD countries to assist in the pursuit of a speedy political solution to the crisis;

15. Made the following decisions:
Stakeholders in the Republic of South Sudan:

  • • Welcomed the commitment by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan on immediately beginning unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders;
  • • Welcomed the commitment by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to an immediate cessation of hostilities and called upon Dr. Riek Machar and other parties to make similar commitments;
  • • Determined that if hostilities do not cease within 4 days of this communiqué, the Summit will consider taking further measures;
  • • Requested all parties to accept a monitoring, verification and stabilisation mechanism;
  • • Undertake urgent measures in pursuit of an all inclusive dialogue including reviewing the status of the detainees in recognition of their role in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Sudan, and in creating a conducive environment for all stakeholders to participate and determines that face-to-face talks by all stakeholders in the conflict should occur by the 31st of December 2013;
  • • Ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers including those from neighbouring countries;
  • • Strongly Condemns criminal acts of murder, sexual violence, looting and other criminal acts against civilians and unarmed combatants by any actor and demand that all involved by be held responsible by their de-facto and or de jure leaders
  • • Liaise with IGAD envoys and the Council of Ministers to support the process of dialogue and related political and technical reforms;

16. The United Nations, the African Union and the International Community to:

  • • Support the IGAD process;
  • • Ensure that humanitarian assistance is immediately delivered to all affected;
  • • Support constitutional and other political reforms in South Sudan;

17. IGAD Member States:

  • • Direct the Council of Ministers to continue working with the Government of South Sudan and make contact with Dr. Riek Machar and other leaders

critical to bringing about peace; and keep the Summit appraised;

18. Directs the IGAD Secretariat to transmit these decisions to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Security Council;

19. Decides to remain seized of these matters.

Issued this 27th of December 2013 at State House, Nairobi, Kenya

By Malith Alier
The Prophet of Doom has Defiled Bor, other Towns Again in the Name of Democracy

The 25 Dec. 13 is our humblest Xmas ever in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. The Christmas day is very important to all Christians around the world including South Sudan. The average South Sudanese usually organises elaborate Christmas celebration by purchasing new set of clothing by November and early December. Homes are decorated with new paint and flowers. The family then prepare particular food, cookies, sweets and refreshment for kids on the 25th day, the supposed birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ. All this has been disrupted by the attempted coup ten days earlier.
15th December was like the twelfth anniversary of the 1991 massacre of Bor people if ever this day was commemorated.
Though it began in Juba, the South Sudanese capital as an attempted coup, it went all the way to this unfortunate city inhabited by the most peace abiding people, the greater Bor People. By any standard, nowhere in the world is the phrase ‘‘history repeats itself’’ more apparently tragic than Bor, the capital of Jonglei State. The massacre of 1991 had touched everyone’s life in many ways. The orphans still enjoy disarray in their lives to date. It is insignificant to talk about lost property because life is more precious. Any living being can gain when peace is first established.
The talk of professionalising the SPLA has been discussed many times but little is done so far. What we see in this vital security service are rebellion by spending a few months in the bush and later be reintegrated in to the army with various acquired ranks in the wilderness.
This is a catastrophe in the supposedly guerrilla army with little room for professionalism. What remains of the SPLA as a result, are indiscipline and side switching as was the case after that failed coup attempt. Two Divisional commanders, both Major-Generals, switched sides instantly on hearing the rumours of ethnic cleansing. One of these commanders may be paranoid. He had been a notable dissident and had more than ten side switches to his name. The other one had not been linked to any rebellion prior to this.
It is often said that the truth, is the number one casualty before, any war and this coup attempt that might develop into a senseless war was no exception.
South Sudan may be on the brink of war. This was the opinion in and the beyond the region. The IGAD foreign Ministers of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan arrived in Juba on 22nd December to try to initiate dialogue between the government and the coup plotters some of who are arrested.
The government insists on detaining them despite calls for their release by human right activists and their supporters. The ring leader or the mastermind behind the coup and the rebellion is also urgently calling for the release of his accomplices’ colleagues before, any meaningful talks to negotiate their return to power.
This is premature and is unsustainable in the current situation. The arguments of who started what and who kills who are also irrelevant but the solution of the matter is crucial to stop more bloodshed and sliding back to civil war.
As things stand, the solution is a kind of compromise that maybe in form of power sharing between the key antagonists or tribes.
The power sharing, accommodation and the policy of appeasement had been in play since CPA. You never know what the human mind is made of. The Dinka people believed that the hyena does not touch or eat a human head/brain because it had no knowledge of what it contains. This is apparently true because human relations are complex when it comes to dealing with one another.
Once a human-being has achieved a certain stage he/she is no longer motivated by it. This explains what is currently happening in South Sudan.
The former Vice President was no longer motivated by his position and the kind of wealth and resources he had accumulated. The same to the rest of those behind bars who have been in the government since 2005 in various capacities.
This group is the one now crying foul against corruption in the government and lack of democracy in the party, SPLM. Notably, all of them were part of the rot in the government of Southern Sudan and the government of the Republic of South sudan but they can’t acknowledge their part of the rot in the system.
One South Sudanese commentator blamed them for failing to accept their share of wrongdoing and clearly articulate the new path they would take during their news conference on December 6 2013. Instead of bringing forth higher ideals that day, they remained as simple as ever before. The talk of corruption, anti-Garang, NCP and other parties’ members taking over the SPLM led government, liberation generals have been dismissed from army and President surrounded by bad people are nothing new. What did they failed to articulate these points while in government.
This is the reason why some of us are sceptical of what this group can offer now and in the future. Most of them are as dirty as pigs in the mud of incompetence. I suppose all of them have been served with letters to return loots to a government chest but failed to do so. They are among the notorious 75 who misappropriated funds from the government. Here, we lie in our misery caused by the insatiables.
On this stage, I partly agree with Princeton Lyman that the failure to democratise by the SPLM has brought the current crisis. But this is not the simple matter of democratising the party, it is something more. There are many other political parties operating in the country. This group should have simply exited the SPLM and form their democratic party they can run as they wish. For if one cannot form and run a party how can he claim to democratise an undemocratic party. There is no way. The events of 1991 and formation of SSIM and SSDM are a testimony.
The president after quelling the coup and unrest needs to crack the whip this time round. We all have seen the fruits of unsuccessful democratisation. This ideal is not the most important currently in the new nation; service delivery is the most important. Some of us have been critical of the policy of appeasement and open-ended amnesties. Taking up arms and coming back for positions received undue praise in the past. However, this is what is killing democracy and therefore, the country. Our view is that, South Sudan is not ready for liberal democracy. Check South Sudan Feigning Democracy and Human rights by this author on and There are many other alternative suggestions to liberal democracy by South Sudanese on the net and other publications.
There is an urgent need to stop too much focus on democracy. It was tried but less was achieved. There is need to do away with elections because there are no resources to manage them. People can be appointed like what the president had done in parliament and that of some State governors.
It is observable that many commentators want the old system of posting individuals to different locations in the country regardless of their ethnic origin. The Jonglei state government already implemented it. County and Civil Administrators are the case in point in that state.
Democracy is really blackmailing this country. Individuals can do some nasty things but invoke the name of democracy. This is the second time now for Riek to kill civilians in the name of unknown democratic ideals.
The Citizen Chief Editor proposed that the country be led by a military leader for ten or fifteen years after which democracy can set in gradually. Many misinformed people blame the president about lack of democracy but it is actually our misunderstanding of democracy that should be blamed.
You can see why those against the so-called liberal Western democracy couldn’t be more right. They clearly perceived that our people are vastly illiterate. They can be cheated in the name of democracy they don’t understand. They even don’t understand very well their customs that have long been handed down by their great ancestors. These customs have never been firmly put in to books and are not even properly explain to posterity. They are therefore, subject to manipulation by those in charge to suit their needs.
Dr. Riek Machar is not even an average leader South Sudan wants. Many South Sudanese voiced this concern in the past and the calls will only grow louder this time with these events.
What we know of this prospective president is diabolical smile most of the time in public arena. What we don’t know is how much is the hatred or love behind the monotonous smiles. I was of the opinion that the guy must be an action oriented man because he is highly unconvincing when it comes to articulating matters through speech as a political leader. On one instance, when he was quiz by journalist why he accepted another position when the constitution was against another appointment besides that of VP. His answer was that, his bodyguards advised him to do so. You can see the kind of a leader he is. He is neither action oriented nor comprehensible politically.
Dr. Riek is a tribal leader in every sense of the word. He endeavours to articulate one thing, but does something different altogether. The events of 1991 illustrated this point. He purported to fight for greater democracy in the movement but nobody can remind you that he failed miserably and ended up in Khartoum. He let loose his Nuer tribesmen to lynched Dinka officers under his command. His atrocities culminated in the invasion and annihilation of Bor Dinka.
This is clearly the case in 2013 in an independent South Sudan. One can’t comprehend why some folk like Rebecca and Dr. Agot follow him. They were not aware that the whole saga will end up in Bor as usual. This was a blackmail disguised in the fight for greater democracy in the SPLM party. The two not only have erred to be disciples of someone who wields a tribal card but also accepted to be part of a team assembled through quick and dirty methods.
Riek is now firmly back in his tribal fiefdom. For how can someone explain his escape to Leer, his birth place and then to Bentiu were he commands massive support. He will now negotiate on behalf of unwanted militia dotted with many generals outnumbering foot soldiers. Many militias have already benefitted through reintegration since CPA. This is nothing new but how long shall it continue. It is done on the expense of faithful SPLA soldiers. It will be too much to integrate self promoted militias and promote other officers who have been faithfully in the service at the same time. The budget is prohibitive.
You can see that Dr. Riek has miserably failed the test of democracy the second time. If elections are held today, the knowledgeable Doctor can hardly garner Dinka vote particularly if Dinka vote as a block. However, Dinka has never been known to be a solid single vote block. it is not difficult to distinguish a tribal leader despite other gestures they make.
For these reasons, neither liberal democracy nor dictatorship is the ideal form of government for South Sudan. The warring leaders for positions should endeavour to stop the ongoing bloodshed and move quickly to defuse tensions they have helped tribalised.
The leadership of this country should be modelled on our traditional forms relevant to South Sudan. Give peace a chance once again.
Remember to play without your too much reliance on a tribe for you will not succeed on this shaky ground. God bless South Sudan and a happy new year 2014.

IGAD ‘considering power sharing’ to end strife in South Sudan

Posted: December 27, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History

The release of political prisoners and a coalition arrangement are some of the key issues set to be discussed by regional leaders converging in Nairobi to help stop the violence in South Sudan. A source close to the 23rd Extra-Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting happening in Nairobi on Friday has told the Nation leaders will consider power sharing as one of the options to help end the chaos in Africa’s youngest nation. “There is a strong desire to end the violence and leaders have seen this is a political problem which can be solved if everyone is brought on board,” said a source who requested to remain anonymous but who is privy to the meeting indicated. IN ATTENDANCE: By 2pm Kenyan time, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir, Somalia’s Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn and Ismael Omar Guelleh were in attendance. Representatives from Sudan were also attending the State House meeting.

Why South Sudan has exploded in violence

Posted: December 26, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, History

This was the dilemma that confronted Salva Kiir. The SPLM was supposed to hold its general convention in 2013 to elect a chairman and the party’s presidential nominee for the 2015 election. The holding of the convention would help to regulate the competition for power that was building among top regime elites. If it were to reaffirm Kiir’s chairmanship of the party, it could also go a long way toward consolidating Kiir’s power vis-à-vis his rivals. But Kiir increasingly feared the possibility that the party might not reelect him as party chairman and would instead swing its support to Machar or Amum, the secretary general. In the face of such a possibility, Kiir maneuvered to undermine the party’s institutions. For example, he refused to call to order party organs in which he might be outvoted, such as the SPLM’s political bureau. He also tried to manipulate the convention rules to prohibit the secret ballot.Finally, he dismantled party structures and postponed the convention indefinitely. In short, Kiir rejected party rule for personal rule. In doing so, he managed to maintain his position as head of the SPLM, at the cost of leaving the power struggle at the apex of the regime unresolved and intensifying his own strategic uncertainty. The cost is that he has now brought South Sudan to the brink of civil war.

Geneva, Kampala, New York, Tuesday 24 December 2013

We, the undersigned, representatives of civil society organisations from Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan wish to express our deep concern about the military confrontations that erupted in the Republic of South Sudan on 15 and 16 December 2013. We are utterly disturbed that the violence, which started in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, has now spread to other parts of the country. This unexpected development threatens the foundation of the nascent nation and puts to jeopardy the safety and well-being of its citizens.

We wish to stress our conviction that violence and the destruction of lives and livelihoods serve no purpose and deepen the humanitarian and human rights challenges faced by the government and people of South Sudan. It is also our belief that open and free dialogue that yield a mutually accepted agreement reached through the informed opinion of all the concerned parties, constitute the only way to resolve the current political differences in South Sudan.

We appeal to the political leadership of the Republic of South Sudan to put the interest and aspirations of the populace for peaceful coexistence, progress, development and happiness as their prime objective and mission. This requires greater political sacrifices from all the conflicting parties in South Sudan and we are confident that all those concerned in that part of our country are bestowed with the necessary courage and wisdom to pursue such objectives.

We appeal to the President of the Republic of South Sudan to release, with immediate effect, all persons held for expressing political views critical of the government performance and to start, without conditions, a process of national reconciliation and political dialogue with such persons and with those who are currently under arms against the government.

We appeal to the Heads of State and Government members of the African Union, particularly members of the IGAD countries, to continue to place the situation in South Sudan as a top priority on their agendas and to consider rendering their good offices and personal intervention with the parties to the conflict in view of reaching a negotiated peaceful settlement of the on-going conflict.

We appeal to all States neighbour of the Republic of South Sudan to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs or to extend military or similar support to any party to the conflict or to take advantage of the situation for ulterior motives, but to play instead a role of promoting dialogue and reconciliation between the parties for a peaceful South Sudan.

We appeal to the humanitarian community to redouble their efforts in providing the necessary humanitarian assistance and make available basic materials needed by a growing number of civilians in different parts of the country.

We pay due tribute to all the victims of the on-going conflict, including UN staff and peacekeepers, who lost their lives on the line of duty.


1. Abdelbagi Jibril: Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre
2. Dr. Abdelgabar Adam: Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA
3. Abdelmageed Haroun: HAND
4. Biel Botrous Biel: South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy
5. Bushra Gamar Hussein Rahma: South Kordofan Human Rights and
Development Organisation
6. Faisal El-Bagir: Journalists for Human Rights (JHR-Sudan)
7. Dr. Farouk Mohamed Ibrahim: Sudanese Organisation for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms
8. Hafiz Mohamed Ismael: Justice Africa Sudan
9. Hala Alkarib: Regional Director, SIHA Network
10. Dr. Hamid El-Tigani Ali: Associate Professor, American University in Cairo
11. Jimmy Mulla: Voices for Sudan
12. Dr. Luka Biong Deng: Kush Inc.
13. Mahjoub Mohammed Salih: Editor-in-Chief, Al-Ayam Newspaper
14. Mohamed Abdalla El-Doma: Darfur Bar Association
15. Dr. M. Jalal Hashim: Sudanese Association for the Defence of Freedom of
Opinion and Conscience (SADFOC)
16. Nabil Adib Abdalla: Sudan Human Rights Monitor
17. Dr. Nada Mustafa Ali: Visiting Professor, Women and Gender Studies, Clark
18. Nasredeen Abdulbari: Columbia University
19. Niemat Ahmadai: Darfur Women Action Group
20. Osman Hummaida: African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
21. Rashid Saeed Yagoub: Journalist , France
22. Shamsaddin Dawalbait: Project on Democratic Thought and Islamic Reform
23. Professor Sidiga Washi: Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women
24. Sabri Elshareef: Center for Democracy and Peace, New Jersey
25. Dr. Suliman Baldo: Sudan Democracy First Group
26. Suliman Hamid: Blue Nile Center For Justice and Human Rights

For media contacts:
1. Geneva: Abdelbagi Jibril: +41 79 737 97 49 and +41 76 360 95 26
2. Kampala: Biel Botrous Biel: +256 778 89 67 45
3. New York: Suliman Baldo: +1 646 467 37 24 —

The Sources of South Sudan’s Problem

Posted: December 25, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, History

By Lam Jok

Going back through history could provide us withclear understanding on where the source of problem that lead to Dec 15, 2013 incident in Juba lie. There are several variables of mischiefs if compiled together can be discerned as the leading causes of the crisis our country is facing now. However, to make it short, the major factor that haunts our young nation currently result from incomplete and misguided Transitional Constitution where President was given absolute power to fire or dissolve parliament without parliament approval or vote.

South Sudan’s Salva Kiir needs to put his black hat back on, by Aljazeera

As we have witnessed in the past few months, the President was so blinded and so intoxicated with power by starting to ignore his own ‘Constitution’ he blessed. One of my Criminal Law professor back in 2010 told me that “if your country’s Constitution is not written inclusively and democratically, then your country will be in turmoil for many years to come.” Well, it seems true that the source of our problem come from disgruntled Transition Constitution which givespresident too much power to do whatever he wants to do in term of running the country.

If President Kiir, for example, had not been granted absolute power as was bestowed to him by Constitution, he would not have to fire his cabinet in the first place without parliament approval.

Analysis: How South Sudan leaders squandered nation-building effort, by Reuters

Another source of our country’s problem can be attributed to the oil especially oil money. There are many actors behind the scene who have different interests regarding how our oil can be exploited and controlled. First, Bashir is number one culprit whose objective is to destabilize South Sudan so that he can prove to the world that Southerners can’t and will not be able to govern themselves.

By doing so, he threatens Kiir that he would shut down oil flow to the port/market if Kiir doesn’t concede issues that were not settled or completed between two Sudans. For example, he wants Kiir to stop supporting and abandon the people of Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains and Abyei. Also, he (Bashir) wants Kiir to concede the entire oilfields that lie within the South boundary and recant their claim to the South.

Why South Sudan has exploded in violence, by Washington Post

Finally, he persuaded Kiir to take in or absorb his agents so that the so called ‘hardliners’ by Khartoum would be removed from the government so that no one will talk about the above mentioned issues. However, these hardliners as Khartoum inferred are those young men back in 80s left their parents and their schools to fight and liberate our country.

Even if they (SPLM heroes) are thieves, corrupt as Kiir put it, they are the ones that give us our freedomand they deserve to enjoy their hard fought victory. I know we will come back together and forgive each other once morebut I would advise our politicians that they have to make sure that the next Constitution doesn’t givepresident whoever he or she may be too much power as Kiir has or use to have.

But whatever President Kiir’s shortcomings, Dr Machar should know better than to attempt to ascend to power through the barrel of the gun. Such a move is certainly not tenable currently, and not in the foreseeable future. It can only beget a long-drawn bloody ethnic conflagration. Like in Kenya where political power is essentially a struggle between the Kikuyu and the Luo, with the other tribes merely allying themselves with either, in South Sudan, it is a game between the Dinka and the Nuer. President Kiir belongs to the majority Dinka group, while Dr Machar is a Nuer, the number two ethnic grouping. South Sudan’s other ethnic groups include the Nilotic Shilluk, Madi, Bari, Lotuko and Toposa. In the mix are also the minority  Azande and Balanda, the inhabitants of the Western Equatoria region. The Dinka dominate the military and the government and formed the core of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army that spearheaded the Southerners’ struggle against subjugation and domination by the north.  During the struggle that spanned several decades, the Dinka were consistent and paid the heaviest price. Dr Machar and his Nuer forces played opportunistic games, teaming up with either Khartoum or the SPLA, depending on expediencies of the moment. It will be remembered that in 1997, Dr Machar signed a deal with Sudan President Omar Bashir, and Khartoum was able to construct the 1,500km pipeline from the oil fields in Unity State to Port Sudan in the north. The pipeline was then used exclusively by Khartoum to exploit South Sudan’s oil resources.  Dr Machar had way back in 1991 bolted from the SPLM/A together with Dr Lam Akol, a Shilluk, accusing the liberation struggle leader, Dr John Garang, of dictatorship and human rights violations. It is the above reality that makes Dr Machar’s ascendance to power by force a near impossibility. The Dinka can simply not fathom one of their own being overthrown by a Nuer.

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit says he will only release political detainees, who accuses of participating in an alleged failed coup, if it can be proved that others were in fact responsible for atrocities committed over the last week.

“Whenever I receive a call from some members of the international community, one of the things they tell me is to release political detainees”, Kiir said his first address to South Sudanese members of parliament on Monday since the violence began on 15 December. “I am ready for dialogue and to release […] these people. I can pardon them if you can [show] me someone who would be held accountable for atrocities they have committed in this senseless war. If I leave them to just go, who would be held responsible?” Kiir asked. “You have heard conditions Riek Machar had given. One of these conditions is that I should step down. The other is that political detainees should be release before going for dialogue”, Kiir told members of parliament. Kiir said he was not surprised to hear the conditions because it was not the first his former deputy has called for the resignation of someone above him. “I was not shaken because this was not the first time. He made similar conditions in 1991 when he attempted to depose John Garang. One of the first conditions was that Garang must go and the release for the political detainees. Democratic reforms and human right issues also came up but what happened when he formed his own movement? He became the worse” offender, Kiir said.

South Sudan army ‘recaptures key town of Bor’

Posted: December 24, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir says his forces have recaptured the key town of Bor, days after it was seized by rebels in a week-long conflict. Forces loyal to Mr Kiir’s ex-deputy Riek Machar were “on the run”, the information minister said. The rebels have not commented on the claim. There has been a week of fighting amid a struggle between Mr Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and Mr Machar, of the Nuer.

From Biel Boutros – Human rights champion and Lawyer

The Madness in South  Sudan

The Madness in South Sudan

“Dear all friends and relatives,

I would like to thank you all for the care and support that you have all offered me and my colleagues in our ordeal in Juba. The incident occurred just two hours after my arrival from New York. I am glad I survived and grateful to God for reaching Juba to be one of the primary eye witnesses to the Juba massacres.

I had left Juba yesterday evening after an 8 day ordeal, sleeping in the car at UNMISS compound while spending the afternoon hours hearing tales from the survivors of Presidential guards’ massacres , witnessing the tears of kids who have remained without parents, parents without kids, wives without husbands and husbands without wives plus those families which will never be the same anymore. As I write this note, I just can’t imagine where the bodies of uncles Martin Kueth, Dak Riek, and my missing maternal cousins Peter Gai Jiel and Gatluok Tot could be!

Some of my human rights colleagues are with me and also safe, others are still within Juba, trapped. We have lost relatives and friends, some confirmed murdered while others are still missing and I don’t believe they are alive knowing what had happened and how I survived narrowly the same. We the survivors of Khartoum regimes, have again become the survivors of our own government—–who will wipe tears off on our face!

As a human rights defender and lawyer, I have nothing to do with fights in the army or political feuds but because of my ethnicity as Nuer, I become one of the targets to be eliminated by my fellow citizens in uniform from Dinka Bahr El Ghazal’s Warrap and Northern Bahr El Ghazal while my own president makes public jokes of our situation!

Dear friends, though I left Juba, I know the dangers I left my people in particularly the Nuer being the primary target of Kiir’s security agents and some few members of Dinka from Lakes and Bor’s Twi East. How sad to see them languishing in pains imposed on them by their own government and by the President whom they had elected to power!

Friends, I feel guilty leaving them, for it is like a moment of greatest betrayal to my people while leaving them in blood—-I had no option as whether being with them or not doesn’t subtract any hitch of their sufferings yet the more I am in safe place, the more I am traumatized and reflecting much on what happened; crying kids plus the accounts of the survivors and how I escaped the fate in my house, all can’t leave my thinking!.

Those especially the international community who don’t know what happened would continue accusing Riek Machar of the attempted coup and assuming the allegations prematurely but the issue is, President Kiir’s General Marial, the leader of the Presidential guards, engineered the fight to get rid of Riek and his group and to kill the Nuer whom they regard archenemy to turn the country into war between Nuer and Dinka so that those leaders and majority of supporters from Dinka community at Riek’s side may turn to Kiir’s side if he succeeds to make his plan successful on tribal ground. This is the whole matter of why President Kiir has been looking for war against Riek Machar and his group which they implemented in the evening of Sunday December 15, 2013.

Despite the ordeal, my message to Riek Machar’s forces is, never revenge the Juba Massacres of Nuer on any unarmed Dinka because Kiir’s crimes and atrocities by his militias don’t represent the position of Dinka Bahr El Ghazal Community but his own and his group made up of Riek Gai Kok, Marial Benjamin, Makuei Lueth, Wani Igga, Kuol Manyang and the company.

My tears, heart and prayers for those whom the Juba dictatorship has finally killed, so sad that a war that sane South Sudanese had tried to avoid since March 2013 has finally succeeded. Though independent, we have not attained our liberties and it is what all South Sudanese must stand up for now not the foolery of some caged media and international figures!

President Kiir must be vicariously directly held responsible. He and his security agents have no better argument to dismiss the evidence of killings witnessed in Juba. It was well calculated to turn the Nuer against Dinka.

As I hope for a tribalism-free, just, equal and democratic South Sudan, it will be a cause for future instability in South Sudan if the massacres plotters headed by Kiir are not held to account just because in the name of peace. There can never be peace without justice and the international community that has been watching what was surely looming to happen in South Sudan, must stop pretending when they knew the road South Sudan was going through11 months down the line and never acted to tell President Kiir point blank when he has been looking for any opportunity to cause a war which he finally did as that!.

God will show the way to South Sudan to true freedom not mere independence and we will continue to call things by their very names not the rhetorics of the international Community and Juba Ministers with their President, Salva Kiir.

Thank you all for saving us and the only way to pay you back and overcome the pains as well as to pay tributes to the deceased relatives and friends, is to reveal what truly is happening in South Sudan!

Goodness will triumph over evils of Juba government.

Biel Boutros Biel

Ethnic narrative of South Sudan conflict obscures real causes

By Mabior Garang de Mabior

Saturday, January 11  2014


  • As regional leaders seek an end to the crisis and pull South Sudan back from the brink of civil war, they, and other international actors, must focus their efforts on an agreement for a constitutional convention of all social and political actors in the country.
  • Regional and international leaders must urge an end to the hostilities and a return to democratic competition. In particular, SPLM leaders should complete the work of a new constitution as a basis for future stability.

The present South Sudanese crisis originated as a political and not an ethnic one. The regrettable loss of life and its impact on the economy and national harmony is a blight on the hopes of all South Sudanese regardless of ethnicity, creed or party.

As regional leaders seek an end to the crisis and pull South Sudan back from the brink of civil war, they, and other international actors, must focus their efforts on an agreement for a constitutional convention of all social and political actors in the country.

It is the attempts of the present leadership in Juba to sabotage this process that culminated in the crisis of two weeks ago. However, it is only a return to this path that can save the country from total collapse.

Negotiations for the right and exercise of self-determination have historically hinged on a new constitutional basis for statehood and governance. This is what the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), since its inception in 1983, and led by the late Dr John Garang, negotiated for with successive Khartoum governments.

Following Independence in 2011, a review commission was set up to broker a new constitution to replace the transitional one. However, the government in Juba withheld financial and material support for the commission’s work, which required wide consultations with all South Sudanese on a new path.

The reasons for this can only be political. The lack of support had the effect of extending the control of the government led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

By January 9, 2013, the mandate of the Constitutional Review Commission had expired before achieving its objective. The review was clearly important for the SPLM, the movement in power, which has been in transition from an armed organisation into the new reality of operating as a political movement.

Its bush war guiding documents for example, envisioned a united Sudan. With Independence, the geopolitical realities had changed.

However, the SPLM is at war within itself. Its political bureau could not agree, separately, on a new constitution for the party, let alone the country. President Salva sought to control the process by insisting on appointing delegates to the party’s national conference and thereafter on an open voting process — as opposed to delegates being chosen at the grassroots level and a secret ballot.

He also did not sign a new political organisations law that had been passed by parliament, raising fears that the national elections would not be held.

The majority of those he arrested on Sunday on allegations of a coup made up the group that was opposed to these increasingly autocratic excesses of the executive.  They were in open and not a secret challenge to his way of doing business. For example, they opposed the unconstitutional sacking of elected governors and their replacement with presidential appointees, such as in Lakes and Western Upper Nile states.

The crisis may have come to a head when Salva sacked his entire Cabinet including his long-time rival vice president Dr Riek Machar, on the pretext of corruption charges for which he sought no prosecutions nor did he bring any evidence before the public.

Thus a political confrontation within SPLM is the reason for the crisis today. On December 6, a group of 13 senior SPLM members of the National Liberation Council called a press conference and announced their intention to hold a rally. The rest is now history.

In the toxic atmosphere, rumours circulated that Dr Machar would be arrested, leading to a gunfight between government units — the events that were later characterised as a coup attempt.

There was no coup attempt. None of the alleged conspirators has been charged with any offence. The narrative taken by Salva has been to refer to SPLA’s old but bitter feuds — in so doing casting the contemporary political crisis in tribal colours.

Political dissent is now synonymous with treason. Those dissenting have also been labelled supporters of Dr Machar and therefore complicit by association in past blood-letting, in particular the 1991 killings in Bor.

There is an attempt today to purge the present conflict of the recent political competition within SPLM. What has resulted has been a humanitarian crisis of pre-war levels, and a reversal of SPLM’s and South Sudan’s democratic gains.

While individuals must be held to account for today’s crimes, the coup narrative and the characterisation of the conflict as essentially ethnic must not be allowed to win.

Regional and international leaders must urge an end to the hostilities and a return to democratic competition. In particular, SPLM leaders should complete the work of a new constitution as a basis for future stability.

Mabior Garang de Mabior is a member of the delegation representing Dr Riek Machar at the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa

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Mabior Garang talks to New Vision in depth about the ongoing fighting in South Sudan.

 By Samuel Ouga and Raymond Baguma    

Question: In your view, where did the events in South Sudan start from?

Answer: We have to go back further than December 6th. The problems in South Sudan started way back in 2011; after South Sudan independence.  A constitutional Review Commission was formed in South Sudan. After the signing of the CPO there was an interim constitution. The interim constitution was for the interim period from 2005 to 2011.

In 2011 we now had a transitional constitution. By 2014 we are supposed to have a permanent constitution. For this a constitutional review commission was formed and mandated to consult the people of South Sudan on a wide range of issues including how they want to be governed. But the Commission was poorly fundedand its mandate expired in 2012 without achieving much.

It’s time was extended but still poorly funded, therefore making it impossible to fulfill its objectives. To me this was an indicator that there will be no national elections and a sign that this government is moving towards a dictatorship. After independence there was a lot of euphoria that many people of South Sudan failed to see the subtle moves towards stifling democracy.

The SPLM was in a period of transition from a liberation movement into a new reality of operating as a political party. SPLM was reviewing its Bush war guiding documents whose geo-political context had changed. Back in the bush way days the SPLM articulated in its documents a context of a united Sudan. But South Sudan gain independence and the context changed.

With this were also problems as the Chairman of the party; President Salva Kiir, frustrated efforts to review the current constitution, rules of procedure and how the national convention would be held.  For instance, in the convention, one of points of contention is the system of voting for the Chairman by show of hands rather than through secret ballot.

The group of 13 progressive party leaders led by Dr. Machar rejected this among other provisions, because people could be intimidated by security during the voting process. So the document was not passed because after the passing of this document SPLM would then be registered as a political party. So SPLM today has not yet been registered as a political party.

The parties act; an important instrument that will regulate party activities, was passed by parliament and forwarded to the president for signing. But up to now it has not been signed into law. These are indications that the president is becoming more authoritarian and that there will be no elections. Because you can’t just wake up one morning and say let’s have elections.

There are due processes that have to be followed. For those who are more educated and understand political science, they knew a long time ago that things were not going well, but sometimes you have to give people time to see what the realities are.

This group that has now been accused of mounting the coup has over time also raised concern over among other things the unconstitutional sacking of governors deemed critical to the current government and imposing handpicked governors on the people of South Sudan because he wants all governors to be on his side so that they can doctor the results of the national convention.

According to our constitution when a governor’s seat falls vacant there should be elections within 60 days.  But instead Chairman Salva Kiir unconstitutionally imposed handpicked Governors on the people of South Sudan.

When he sees a governor not doing his bidding, he removes that governor by first accusing him of something. Like he did to the Governors of Lake state, Western Upper Nile statewho were falsely accused and sacked.  Like when he sacked the whole cabinet. He accused the top leaders of having stolen money yet he had no evidence. Why would you do that? It’s like defamation. Why didn’t he charge them in courts of law? He was just doing this to ruin their political image in the eyes of the people.

When in reality the office of the president has borrowed US$4.2 billion. Members of parliament are not aware of details of this loan because they were not informed about it. Nobody knows where it was borrowed from or what the money was used for.

There is nothing to show for it and yet the people of South Sudan are left to finance this loan. Since the oil started flowing government employees have not been paid. It’s a situation where somebody has to say something. Like the Americans say, you can’t keep pissing on people and then you tell them its raining.

This group of 13, on the December 6th, called for a press conference. Before that we all know that he sacked the entire cabinet. He sacked the Vice president. Actually the national convention was supposed to happen before that.

It was so close to the national conference where if you didn’t want Dr. Machar to be your deputy, because you chose him in 2005 and again you chose him in 2011 as your running mate, didn’t you know about the atrocities of 1991 for which he accuses Dr. Machar?

When were reconciled as a movement in 2002 we had left that behind us in 2002 and we had started a process of reconciliation. Until 2005 we came together with Dr. Machar as a movement. When the CPO was signed we came with Dr. Machar as a member of the SPLM.  So why would he bring up the 1991 massacre now?

President Kiir now keeps referring to Dr. Riek Machar as the prophet of doom and keeps mentioning the 1991 massacre. The 1991 incident is being used to politicise things on tribal and to remove attention away from his mismanagement.

The Group of 13 are not saying that they are the benevolent ones, what they are saying; for instance during the press conference The Governor of Lake state who was sacked by Kiir said; “we have all failed including us seated here together with you in government. It is only our children who are going to study in good schools in East Africa. When we fall sick we are air lifted out of the country. It’s our children

who are eating ice cream. The children of the local people are not eating ice cream Lets us all seat down and have a dialogue and see how to resolve the leadership crisis and see how we can move forward.” So they were calling for a peaceful reconciliation, because after sacking the entire cabinet there was mounting tension.

Presedent Kiir, after meeting Khartoum allied militias who were fighting South Sudanese people, he came back and sacked top Generals of the SPLM who had fought in the bush and instead integrated the people from Khartoum into the army. This created a lot of tension.

The group of 13 said, let us resolve this issues from within the party, instead of us forming another party through dialogue. But President Salva Kiir saw all this as a threat. Because he is aware that what happened Thabo Mbeki in South Africa, could also happen to him in a national conference.

Because if he is unseated as the chairman of SPLM that another person like Dr. Riek Machar or any other person would become the new leader of the party before the elections. He knows he will be defeated. If he Chairman Salva Kiir claims that Dr. Riek Machar is the prophet of doom then why not go ahead with the elections?

Because it’s up to the people of South Sudan to decide. He should have faith on the people of South Sudan. If he knows he is popular then why can’t he let the convention go ahead?  If you want to stay in power you don’t throw away your party.

He is trying to compare himself to other African leaders who have stayed in power for long. Saying the “So and so has stayed in power for long so why not me.” But those people have not thrown away their parties. Those African leaders who stay in power for long use their parties. It’s the delegates in their parties who vote them to come back.

It was not unconstitutional but the sacking of the cabinet was bad politics. The national conference was so close. If he dint want the vice president he would have gone to the national conference.  By doing this, you formant tribal divisions.

After the sacking of the president you would expect an outbreak of tribal conflict. But the vice president pleaded with his people not to orchestrate violence.

It would not have been a smart move to mount a coop since he has support from most of the delegates and Dr. Machar, had the president cornered diplomatically. Salva Kiir wanted to foment tribal violence by sacking the vice president. Any lay person in South Sudan would have known that if you sack this person you would foment tribal violence.

So Salva Kiir has now achieved through this alleged coup what he wanted to achieve through the sacking of the vice president because this draws attention away from the problems, he can now declare martial law and suspend civil liberties. He has now achieved what he wanted. What really happened in Juba, the 13 political prisoners on the December 6th, declared that they would hold another press conference to tell the people of South Sudan about what is really happening.

Tell them how the President was running a one man show, micro managing the government and not allowing other people to do their work.  After hearing this, President Kiir scheduled a national liberation council meeting on the same day.

The group of 13 then said since we want a peaceful means of solving these issues lets then go and have dialogue within the same meeting. But when they went there they were informed that the only issue on the agenda was the passing the basic document and nothing else.

When it came to discussing other business they kept insulting them. The same thing happened on the second day. Realising that the meeting was not constructive the group of 13 decided not to show up for the meeting on the 3rd day.

Coincidentally there was an argument between members of the republican guard. A small argument between the presidential guards escalated into a gun fight that spread to other units. Apparently there was a rumour that an arrest warrant had been issued for the arrest of Dr. Riek Machar.

On Monday the president appeared on TV in full military uniform saying he had foiled a coup attempt. That he was in full control. There should have been more investigations. Because you can’t go and arrest politicians when there is a military coup. You first arrest the military commanders and find out from them. But the way they rushed to arrest the politicians and threw them in Jail raises questions. Up to now they have not been taken to court or allowed to access their lawyers. Our constitution states that suspects should be brought to court within 48 hours. They have not been charged.

They have not been given legal counsel. They are being detained illegally. One gets the feeling that everything was pre-planned because it happened so quickly. This is responsible leadership. The president of the republic started using genocidal language like calling people coach roaches.

Sometimes he speaks like it’s okay for some people to attack others. He can’t continue referring to people like “Those people of 91.” All the people of South Sudan know what he means. I will not tell you, but the people of South Sudan know what he means. There is a recording where he sanctioned violence. This is on record.

Recently during a memorial service of 80 people who were killed as result of cattle rustling by another tribe, while comforting the mourners, President Kiir told them in the mother tongue, that “You people have allowed this to happen and yet you are the ones holding the spears.” If you translate this, what he was actually telling them was that “the minister of defence is from your area. How do you let yourselves to be attacked?”

It’s like he has allowed the people of that area to use national resources to go against other people of South Sudan. He also mentioned that when such people use to attack “our villages my people came to me and asked what should we do? I told them organize yourselves.

And they orgnaised themselves and attacked those people. And up to now they have never come back to our village.” That is bad politics. That is inciting violence. So it’s the president who is the chairman of SPLA who has been inciting violence. He speaks one thing and does another.

Another important point is that the groups of 13 have been writing to the office of the president asking for them to meet through the office of party Secretary General.

The reason that made them call the press conference on December 6th was because they have it on record, of them sending letters to the chairman for dialogue several times but the chairman kept ignoring them and kept falsely accusing them. These people had reached out to the chairman for dialogue.

When the president kept on accusing them falsely and they would keep quite the president took it as a weakness. There was silence and the people didn’t know what was happening. He was the only one talking saying these people were thieves. But when does the buck start with you Mr. President? When do you take the blame?

You have been reshuffling your cabinet since 2005 and blaming everybody else. Can you take responsibility and say “People we have failed. What can we do?” These sacked people who fought for South Sudan have been humiliated. They have never been given any kind of military decoration. Nothing.

South Sudan You could say that south Sudan is a young nation Many African countries like Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa have offered us training opportunities for capacity building, but government selects and sends the oldest people who are going to retire in two years.

They are so old that they get bored in class and only go to enjoy the per diem. For a development of a country you develop the human resource and the human resource develops the country.

Question: But maybe the country is young with a largely untested constitution and laws. Could that be the case?

Answer: Many African countries like Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa have offered us training opportunities. But it’s up to the Government of South Sudan to show how serious they are. Yes, we could say South Sudan is a young nation but how serious have we been?

Look at some of these training opportunities for example. They send the oldest people to attend, yet they are going to retire in two years, and are so bored when they get in class. So they are wasting state resources. They are there because it is favoritism and a way of rewarding people for loyalty. They don’t get sent there in order to build a human resource.

South Sudan is two years old; but there was an interim period of five years when the guns fell silent and there was a time for nation building. On top of that, we did not just fall from the sky. We were in a liberation movement that had liberated territory bigger than the Republic of South Sudan today. We had a history of administration in the liberated territory that we could have transformed into the new political reality.

But what the President did when he took power was to first throw away the party. And that is a story for another meeting because that goes back to 2004. I am sure you are aware of the Rumbek meeting in 2004.

Question: You mean when Dr. John Garang apologized…

Answer: Yes, they had a meeting in Rumbek and they were reconciled. There was tension between Salva Kiir and Dr. John (Garang). When Dr. John died, they had just reconciled. In Kenya when Kenyatta died, President Moi said ‘Nyayo.’ But what happened in South Sudan is that Salva Kiir did not do ‘Nyayo.’

So, if we go back to 2005, this is where the SPLM got derailed. So we have to go back to 2005 and put the train back on the tracks. Otherwise the train cannot move.

Question: From what the Rumbek meeting and the reconciliation, do you think President Salva should have followed that path as well of reconciliation?

Answer: Definitely. Not only that; but even after the reconciliation with Riek Machar, there was a committee that was enacted to conduct something called the ‘South-South Dialogue.’ This is something like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. During the reconciliation with Riek Machar in 2002, the South Sudanese had their own way to come together and resolve their conflicts.

There were not outside forces or interests that came in. South Sudanese have the capacity, and they have proven it in the past, to come together and solve their differences. In 2005, we got derailed and the process of south-south dialogue did not continue.

This is what was supposed to be. But it did not happen. Why it did not happen, I don’t know. This tension has been there since before the independence of South Sudan. But people have been exercising responsible leadership. Nobody wanted to be on the bad side of history.

People were waiting for independence; and after we can solve whichever differences we have.

Question: To what extent has ethnicity contributed to the existing tensions?

Answer: There is that dimension and it’s very real because people are killing each other. But I will say that it is in the interest of somebody who is fomenting it. If you look at the 13 political prisoners, they are from different region of South Sudan.

The tribal dimension comes in when somebody is trying to use it as a way of escalating the violence. It’s almost like hate speech coming from the President’s mouth. The year 1991 is a sad chapter in the history of South Sudan. But the President is talking about the 1991 tragedy in the context of the ‘prophet of doom.’

Yet the President should be talking of the 1991 tragedy in the context of reconciliation and truth. It was the President’s bodyguards in Juba who went house to house executing people because of their tribe. Yes it has a tribal dimension but in the context of it being used by the regime in order to create chaos and declare martial law and suspend civil liberties.

Question: Do you think it would have been different if Dr. John Garang was still alive?

Answer: There are no ‘what-ifs’ in history. But of course it would be different. There would still be a lot of challenges but the difference is that he was a person who was committed to his leadership and took it seriously. He would not have slept. I watched him as a leader during the war days.

He was always constantly educating himself. This is what leadership demands. You have to always be ahead of the people. This is what our President lacks. He does not take his job as a leader seriously. Otherwise, he would have constantly tried to find ways of solving the challenges.

Question: And the current role being played by Dr. Garang’s widow, your mother Rebecca?

Answer: It is up to her, but I think she would rather be a business person. She has been in that leadership position for 20 years with my father leading the movement. She knows the stress and hardships of leadership. If the people of South Sudan were managing, you would not hear from her. Through the private sector, you can do more for the people.

Two years ago, she started farming, cultivating sorghum. In the first harvest, she made at 300-400 percent more in a year than what she makes in government. She can be a leader in the private sector. But it is because the vision of the movement has been hijacked by people pretending to be using the vision on one hand while doing another thing.

They are using the family of Dr. John Garang to say that Salva is doing the right thing. With this, you get a crisis of conscience at some point and have to say something. When you see something you have contributed to being deliberately destroyed in your name, you have to say something.

So, she has been forced back into politics because at least, not because of her desire for political power.

Question: There were reports that she had been arrested. Is she safe?

Answer: She is at home. They have not harmed her. But if you go out, vigilantes can do anything. I don’t think there is any kind of presidential order for her arrest. They have respected her because within that group there are people who are trying to advise the president that this is not the way.

The senseless were saying that she should be arrested. But I think sense prevailed and they said they would not arrest her. I think if she tries to leave the country they will arrest her. So, she decided to stay home until the situation subsides.

Question: How about you? Are you not threatened?

Answer: I am in danger. Not to say from direct orders of the president. When a leader makes reckless statements, I am in danger from vigilante groups. I could be mugged. I am in danger yes; but God is good.

Question: How do you think what is taking place in Sudan will end? Will it be an all-out war or reconciliation?

Answer:  It depends on the seriousness of the parties involved. Of course our priority is to have a peaceful resolution. We hope for the best. When we reconciled in 2002 with Machar, there were no outside forces involved.

I am confident the people of South Sudan will do it again and reconcile but it depends on the seriousness of the groups.

Question: Machar has been quoted as saying that the only negotiation they can have is to negotiate President Kiir’s departure. Do you think this will bring peace or escalate tension?

Answer: Well that’s what he said. We are all human beings. This is what negotiations are about. Now are going to enter into negotiations under IGAD. We shall see.

Question: Do you think President Kiir still has legitimacy given what has taken place?

Answer: He would not have legitimacy but for the sake of reconciliation and national unity, I think there are many components. In the case of Kenya, many people died but they found a way to resolve it. If mishandled now, it can lead to more violence.

There are people who said they would never allow Riek Machar to lead South Sudan. But if you say we are democratic, and then say that you can never allow him, you are denying people their civil rights and liberties. The people of South Sudan are not stupid.

Question: Do you have any political ambitions?

Answer: Sometimes you have to be what you have to be during certain situations. Under normal circumstances, I would rather be in the private sector. You go where your soul needs you most. If my country needs me I will not hesitate to answer that call.

Answer: Do you think from this crisis SS will emerge stronger?

Answer: Yes, people have been exposed and they will be stronger.  Whether it’s a case where we will reconcile, we will become stronger. Where the party splits, we will still be strong because the enemy within would have come out. Still the party will be strong.

Question: Is your mother Rebecca Garang supporting Riek Machar?

Answer: Mama Rebecca is not supporting Riek Marchar. Both of them declared their interest to contest for the chair of the party during the national convention. They became allies and what they are pushing for is for the national convention to take place.

And if the national convention takes place, they will compete against each other. And one of them will emerge victorious and the rest will shake hands. This is the spirit of democracy we want to bring to SPLM. So they have become allies. But they are trying to present it as if Mama Rebecca is putting her weight behind Riek Machar.

She is not putting her weight behind Riek Machar. They are allies. Their interests convinced and politics is about interests. The crisis began because people were denied their right. That they should not contest against Salva during the primaries because of some issues of 1991.

If Mama Rebecca had jumped on the tribal bandwagon, then ethnic violence that occurred would have been much worse. The fact that Mama Rebecca and Riek Machar are allies, gives people hope that there is national unity. There is a group that is supporting the President.

They call themselves Dinka elders. And their objective is not to allow the Nuers to take over power. In a way the alliance is what is making the situation not to break into genocide.

Meaningful dialogue more feasible if President Salva steps down and releases political prisoners says Mabior Garang

December 25th, 2013 

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Leaders of SPLM join their hands following successful reconciliation between John Garang and Salva Kiir in Rumbek, Dec. 1, 2004 (ST)Can the current leaders learn from this?

In a tale that leaves many heads wagging with incomprehension, the promised ushered in by independence for South Sudan three years ago may have been a mirage as a combination of inept leadership and power struggle have brought the country into what many fear could be a civil war. There are many who have pointed accusing fingers at President Salva Kiir for fomenting a crisis when there ought to be none. The loss of life has been senseless says Mabior Garang son of the late venerable South Sudanese leader Dr John Garang.Mabior who has been consistently critical of the present leadership in South Sudan for derailing the original vision of Dr Garang and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-SPLM says what is been described as a coup was nothing but a botched attempt by President Salva to purge political rivals. With the events which triggered the current crisis, President Salva squandered the authority he had to play a decisive role in putting the country back on the rails and the best option for him now is to step aside, and release political prisons for meaningful dialogue to have a chance.

Mr Mabior Garang, thanks for accepting to offer your perspectives on developments in Southern Sudan, what exactly is going on, was it a coup, and if it was why?

The events that took place in Juba on 15/12/2013 were not an attempted coup as was alleged by Gen. Salva Kiir and his government. I would instead call it an assassination attempt, designed to get rid of those that pose the greatest threat to the Chairman of the SPLM through the democratic process.

Opinion is divided now between President Salva’s camp that it was a coup and those who say there was no coup, but there was fighting, and there was blood shed, who was responsible for this?

I think it is important first, to pause and recognize that this was a senseless loss of life and that there are many families that have lost loved ones; my heart goes to them.

It is important to have a background of the events leading up to the violence that erupted on the 15/12, because people always see events at their precipice. In order to understand what led to the violence we must understand what happened on the 06/12/2013. This was the day that the current SPLM political prisoners held a press conference at SPLM House in Juba to inform the public about the stagnation in their Movement and the reason for the leadership crisis that had lingered for many months. The press conference ended with the Secretary General of the SPLM announcing that on Saturday the press conference would be followed with a rally by the SPLM to give further details to the public about how the Chairman had frustrated development programs within the movement.

I shall not go into the details of the press conference as it was made available to the press on that day; however, the main points that angered the President of the Republic (who is also the Chairman of the SPLM) was the charge by the 13 political Prisoners that the president had neglected the National Army and that he was building his own private militia. The other point that displeased the Chairman of the SPLM was the charge that his office had borrowed 4.5 Billion USD, yet neither the ministry of finance the Parliament or the public for that matter where aware of this loan; no one knew from whom it was borrowed, nor for what it was used.

The 13 Political Prisoners held this press conference after they had exhausted efforts to resolve the leadership crisis internally within the party, without going public. They had sent countless letters to the office of the Chairman via the office of the Secretary General, this is on record. These requests by the majority of the members of the SPLM Political Bureau where repeatedly ignored by the Chairman, leading them to go public on the 06/12/2013.

The leadership crisis within the SPLM was prompted by the fact that there were some senior members of the SPLM that had made their intentions known of their desire to contest for the Chair during primaries. This was in full exercise of their civil rights and liberties guaranteed to them by the constitution of the Republic and the SPLM constitution. It is also worthy to note that the Chairman had announced to members that he would not contest the 2015 elections, and he even confided this matter to President Thabo Mbeki when he was mediating during the Higlig crisis.

The Chairman then convened a meeting of the National Liberation Council (NLC) on the same day that the 13 Political Prisoners had scheduled their rally. Having been informed that the Chairman had convened a meeting of the NLC, the group of 13 was hopeful that it would be an opportunity for them to resolve their differences in a cordial manner. However, this was not to be. The meeting allegedly broke down to name calling which continued for two sessions over a period of two days, which prompted the group to boycott the meeting on the third day. This deeply angered the Chairman, and this is what he has labeled as a coup.

The truth; however, is that the president in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the SPLA ordered that the Tigers should be disarmed by their junior colleagues within the same unit. This problem was compounded by the fact that a rumor started circulating that an arrest warrant had been issued for the former Vice President. This series of events led to an argument, a gunfight ensued that rapidly spread to other units and has continued to cause massive desertions.

The President then quickly moved to call this mutiny a coup d’état, and arrest his comrades that had challenged him within the party without evidence. The government moved to bomb two of its own properties using T-72 Tanks, Mortar fire and RPG rocket launchers. These where the (government) houses in which Dr. Riek Machar resided and Hon. Gier Chuang, they were looted and destroyed; indicating that they were out to murder their victims.

These Political Prisoners have now been in government police custody since the 16/12/2013 without charge, they have not been provided with legal counsel, and have faced the police brutality that most of our citizens are so familiar with. I don’t believe that it was a coup d’état because there are no military commanders that have been arrested to link the coup plotters with the coup. There were some political prisoners that were at home sleeping when they were arrested; who mounts a coup and then goes to their home to sleep.

I would not say that what is happening in South Sudan was a coup d’état, I would say that it was an assassination attempt, the Chairman wanted to kill his political opponents by framing them.

It looks like this did not just come out of the blues, as people were forced out of government and the SPLM’s executive dissolved, why is these crisis?

The reason for the crisis apart from what I have explained above, is an accumulation of the dissatisfaction of the members of the SPLM with the slow pace of progress in the Movement. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ushered in a period of great hope for the people of South Sudan in particular and to everyone in the region and the world. The people expected to get their peace dividends and payback form government for their unwavering material and moral support.

The SPLM however, after the death of Chairman John Garang the new Chairman immediately began to undermine the CPA by abandoning some of the positions that had been so painstakingly reached during negotiations. The Chairman (on the political side) began to sanction the use of divisive terms such as “Garang Boys”, “Salva Kiir Boys”, “our government” etc. The system that had been evolved by the Movement in the liberated territories that it administered during the bush war (larger than the current RSS) was abandoned for a kitchen cabinet that has been directing the affairs of the SPLM ever since; a kitchen cabinet with alleged links to the National Islamic Front of Khartoum. The subsequent governments that have come and gone in Juba, every reshuffle of Ministers is done by this kitchen cabinet and is not done within the party.

These are other issues that led to the press conference on the 06/12…

We also get reports that much of the fighting or killings were along ethnic lines, is it true and why is the ethnic factor getting stronger when during the struggle, it was rare to hear about tribes?

It is true that the killings were along ethnic lines; however, it was the government that targeted its own citizens along ethnic lines. It started within the army, the Presidential Guards to be specific started the targeted killing when they tried to disarm their colleagues within the same unit. This violence ended up spreading to other units where the ethnic lines became clear; so, it must have started that way from the source (the President’s Guards).

The office of the President instead of exercising responsible leadership had decided to purge his force and the SPLA of supporters of the former Vice President and those of 91. It was a planned massacre by the Tigers (President’s Guards) and the National Security, the reprisals that followed where of those that had lost their relatives in the Juba Massacre. The Commander of the 8th SPLA Division lost many of his relatives in the Juba Massacre, which prompted his defection; as opposed to the propaganda being spread by the regime that they are loyal to Dr. Riek Machar.

I would say that those that are deserting from Salva’s army share a common interest with Dr. Machar, and so it is only natural that people with coinciding interests should work together. The mass desertions from the SPLA are another indication of the great dissatisfaction that the people of South Sudan have with their government. The regime has labeled any person that is against the government’s divisive policies as a supporter of Dr. Riek Machar, whom they have branded as the “prophet of doom”. I believe the crisis could have been worse had the opposition preached the same rhetoric as the government; however, the opposition has shown responsible leadership for the most part, and this has made the reprisals small in proportion to the Juba Massacre conducted by Salva Kiir’s Tigers (a private tribal militia).

How do you see this eventually playing out, what needs to be done for an end to the political crisis and a return to normalcy?

I believe in the people of South Sudan, we are a resilient and determined people that can do anything that we put our mind to; there is proof of this in our history. The SPLA/SPLM had been split in 1991 a dark period of our history when our people where divided giving our enemy the upper hand. The people of South Sudan managed to survive this crisis, and with no outside mediation where able to come together and put the past behind them; I believe that we still have this spirit and we can resolve our problems ourselves.

The SPLM under Comrade Salva needs to do what it should have done in 2005 after we lost our beloved Chairman Dr. John Garang, follow in the footsteps of the previous Chairman. The SPLM should have: “buried the man and continued the plan” – to paraphrase Dr. John Henrick Clark. This however did not take place; instead the Movement was abandoned and neglected.

The SPLM was at the time (before 2005) conducting several programs including the South – South Dialogue, Peace Through Development and SPLM Strategic Framework for War to Peace Transition. These programs spelled out what we needed to do to transition effectively into our new geopolitical and social realities. The South – South Dialogue would have gone a long way to heal wounds over the past eight to nine years.

It is to revisit some of the programs that we abandoned that we will be able to get out of this current crisis, and there will be no shortcuts, no easy fixes. The hard and tedious work of reconciliation must begin sooner rather than later and we must be serious about it, and with time we shall achieve the objective of “unity through struggle”. The Chairman should go ahead with the SPLM National Convention and allow free and fair competition so that the people choose their leader; it is the rejection of this democratic principle that led to the leadership crisis in the SPLM.

The SPLM should do what it should have done in 2005 and been the spearhead of nation building in the Republic of South Sudan. There are countries that we can use as examples for us to follow, countries that share a common historical reality as South Sudan. In this, South Africa comes to mid; what are some of the things that were done in South Africa that started the healing process.

The SPLM should hold its own convention, and also spearhead the calling of a national convention for the Republic. A national convention involving all political forces (political parties and interests groups) and social forces (religious, farming, sports, women, youth groups etc.) to determine the future of the Republic of South Sudan. The Chairman alone can’t determine the future of our country, the SPLM alone can’t determine the future of our Country. If the SPLM in 2005 had spearheaded such a process I believe the past eight to nine years would have been very constructive, instead the Chairman has been promoting division.

The fact that the Republic of South Sudan is so new dictates that such a convention should take place, so as to harmonize the structures evolved in the liberated territories during the bush war. These institutions were created under tuff conditions and only need to be reviewed to harmonize them with the current realities. The failure to do this has led to the country being defined in the image of those closest to the center of power, and this is a recipe for conflict. This is why my call has been for a national dialogue in the form of a National Convention of all the political and social forces in the country.

Is President Salva the right person to resolve these crises, if he had to regain the trust of the people or rekindle the kind of passion and excite Southern Sudanese had at the dawn of independence what does he need to do?

The answer to this would have been yes prior to the 15/12/2013; however, after this date it becomes very difficult for President Salva to be the right person to resolve the crisis. How do you regain the trust of the people when you have committed what history will later label as genocide in the Republic of South Sudan. The number of dead is still being compiled but so far the number is at 500-600 in Juba alone, with reports of death squads moving from home to home murdering innocent civilians in Juba.

This situation makes it very difficult for the President to be able to rekindle the kind of passion and excitement South Sudanese had at the dawn of independence. The best thing for him to do is step down and release the political prisoners held falsely by his authorities. This would create a conducive atmosphere within which meaningful dialogue can take place; this could arrest the situation as people would be able to see a way out. The convention should go ahead and members should not be intimidated for their wish to seek the nomination for the Chair of the SPLM and the people’s delegates should be allowed to choose.

In seeking the solution to any problem the solution must be provided in the context of what started the problem. The problem started when the president equated democratic pluralism with treason, when he frustrated the convening of the national conference were a new Chair for the party was to be elected; that convention should be allowed to go ahead. In addition to this, all the people of South Sudan must be engaged in a dialogue through a National Convention of all the political and social forces in the country so that we can determine the future of our nation. The alternative to this, God forbid, is total destruction.

South Sudan is young, it emerged from decades of war, could part of the problem be that people are expecting too much so soon, and are personal ambitions both on the camp of President Salva and his opponents taking precedence over national interests?

There is a degree of truth in the assertion that South Sudan is a new country and it would naturally face challenges; however, the seriousness of the Government of South Sudan and their determination to be successful is also another more important factor. The Republic of South Sudan did not fall from the sky, it has a history as the question suggest of decades of war.

The war created conditions for the people of the New Sudan, were they now controlled great swaths of ‘liberated’ territories greater than the area currently controlled as the Republic of South Sudan. These liberated areas had an administration and was recognized when it came to providing relief to those displaced by the conflict. This was the recognition by Operation Lifeline Sudan; this was the birth of the one country two systems idea and of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA). If the Movement during the bush war days had an administration more effective than the current one, I believe it is an indication of how far we have strayed from our objective.

The incidences of crime (cattle rustling), inter communal violence was much reduce than the current situation being faced by our civil population. The health care and education in the liberated territories was better than what our masses have now been subjected to; our people have been betrayed by their government.

The current crisis is being described by the regime’s media as a power struggle, and personal ambitions of rival camps. The blunt truth; however, is different. The crisis arose due to the President of South Sudan and Chairman of SPLM began to make increasingly unconstitutional decrees starting with the sacking of some democratically elected governors. This was followed by other incidents that although where constitutional where bad political decisions, like sacking the Vice President and the entire cabinet.

This was crowned by the dissolution of structures of the SPLM by the Chairman, when the only body that could make such a decision is the National Convention (the supreme body of the Movement). The 13 political prisoners where calling for a national dialogue to resolve a crisis in the leadership when the Chairman decided that contesting against him at the primaries was tantamount to treason. The former Vice President declared his intention, as did Mama Rebecca (Widow of late Chairman) and the Secretary General of the Party Pagan Amum Oketch to contest during SPLM primaries.

This declaration to contest by these three senior members of the SPLM was not in violation of the constitution of the SPLM, they are fully within their legal rights. It is the Chairman that is violating the SPLM constitution by dissolving the structures of the SPLM which he has no power to do, and he is violating the national constitution by holding the 13 political prisoners without charge, or access to legal counsel. It is the President that has violated the constitution by imposing unpopular governors in place of the sacked elected governors, who should have been replaced within 60 days of their dismissal.

In light of all this it becomes clear that it is the President that is putting his personal ambitions over that of the nation because he is the one in violation of all the constitutions, the national and that of the SPLM. It is the President that accused the political prisoners without evidence, not a single army commander has been arrested in connection to the alleged coup plot; and it is the president that is using inflammatory language that borders on hate speech. The president is the one that holds the monopoly on violence and the propaganda machine; therefore, he is the one in the position to reach out to his rivals. The course that the President has chosen is to deal with his adversaries militarily, and this is being resisted by those that feel victimized.

Does the present situation reflect anything that SPLM Founding President Dr John Garang ever envisaged?

This is not what was envisaged by Chairman Dr. John Garang; Comrade Salva could not have made a more complete change. The late Chairman was labeled by many as a ‘unionist’ and they believe that if he was alive that the country would not have broken up. This is not accurate; Chairman Dr. John was fighting for Self Determination. This as the word suggest is done by ‘self’, it is you that determines your destiny. The Republic of South Sudan has hardly determined anything for itself over the past decade; we have been and are still heavily dependent on the NIF regime.

The idea espoused by the late John Garang was that in order for the exercise and achievement of Self-determination to be complete in South Sudan, Khartoum should fall. It is only after this that the people of the New Sudan would exercise the right to self-determination, this did not happen. The late Chairman gave examples of Eastern European self-determination, achieved only after the collapse of the Soviet Union; the case of Eritrean self-determination, achieved only after the fall of Addis Ababa; and the case of Northern Somaliland self-determination, achieved only after the fall of Mogadishu.

The late Chairman explained that the independence of the South would not be complete without the demise of the NIF regime in Khartoum. The objective of the SPLM was the destruction of the old Sudan represented by the NIF regime, and we would dismantle it through war and/or through the peace process. The marginalized people after taking Khartoum could then freely and safely determine whether to remain as one country or to secede. The aspiration of the people of Southern Sudan to have their own state has never been in question; it was always known they would vote 99% for secession.

The regime of Salva Kiir has instead cooperated with the NIF regime, betraying the other marginalized Sudanese People who continue to suffer in abject poverty.

“Comrade Salva that he must step down before he does more damage to his legacy through this divisive politics” –Mabior Garang

The people of Southern Kordofan, Southern Blue Nile and Abyei have participated fully in the liberation of the Republic of South Sudan from Arab Islamist Imperial domination. The SPLM war time diplomacy reached out to the People’s Governments of East, Central and Southern Africa for support in this cause of their liberation. In this spirit, the SPLM Government in Juba could have championed the cause of the Africans of Sudan in the AU.

The President by cooperating with the NIF regime has jeopardized the independence of the Republic of South Sudan; and squandered the hard won freedom that our people paid blood, sweat and tears to achieve. The Independence of South Sudan was a shared victory of the marginalized people of the old Sudan (including the South), of Pan Africanism and Humanity.

A word of advice to the people of South Sudan at home and abroad, how can there be of help or contribute in bringing the country back on the rails?

I would advise my country men and women not to fall for the propaganda machine of the Salva-cratic state that is promoting ethnic divisions. The war machine of the regime is directed inwardly towards its own citizens and it is his regime that is promoting the violence. The people must unite and put pressure on the regime to go ahead with the SPLM convention, and in addition to this hold a national convention of all the political and social forces in the country so that the people determine their own destiny. It cannot be done by Salva Kiir alone or Dr. Riek Machar, or Mama Rebecca for that matter; it is the people of South Sudan that will collectively determine for themselves the destiny of their Republic. I would call (if they will listen) to all vigilante youth groups not to fall for the propaganda machine of the Salva-tocracy, unite and show Comrade Salva that he must step down before he does more damage to his legacy through this divisive politics coming from the supreme office in the land. The time for a National Dialogue is nearly a decade overdue but it is not too late.

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Blood in South Sudan: Can Kiir and Machar reach a deal?

Posted: December 24, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, History

The president of the UN Security Council, Gerard Araud, said that Kiir and Machar made a commitment to “unconditional dialogue” with the team. PaanLuel Wël, a South Sudanese blogger based in Juba, said that both camps should “realise and appreciate the obvious.” “None of them would militarily defeat the other,” Wël said, adding that such a balance of power is an incentive for them to negotiate and support mediation efforts. The blogger suggested that a “good political deal” could include reinstating Machar as vice president. “Likewise, Machar, who has a bad track record of rebelling against the SPLM/A and collaborating with Khartoum during the war for southern Sudan liberation — and whose forces committed the Bor Massacre of 1991 — should not try to re-immerse himself in his old political games. He is now a statesman and he should mind about how history will remember him,” Wël concluded.

Statement by President Obama on South Sudan

Posted: December 24, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Featured Articles, History

Statement by President Obama on South Sudan

In 2011, millions of South Sudanese voted to forge a new nation, founded on the promise of a more peaceful and prosperous future for all of South Sudan’s people.  In recent years, against great odds, South Sudan has made great progress toward breaking the cycle of violence that characterized much of its history.

Today, that future is at risk.  South Sudan stands at the precipice.  Recent fighting threatens to plunge South Sudan back into the dark days of its past.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  South Sudan has a choice.  Its leaders can end the violence and work to resolve tensions peacefully and democratically.  Fighting to settle political scores or to destabilize the government must stop immediately.  Inflammatory rhetoric and targeted violence must cease.  All sides must listen to the wise counsel of their neighbors, commit to dialogue and take immediate steps to urge calm and support reconciliation.  South Sudan’s leaders must recognize that compromise with one’s political enemy is difficult; but recovering from unchecked violence and unleashed hatred will prove much harder.

Too much blood has been spilled and too many lives have been lost to allow South Sudan’s moment of hope and opportunity to slip from its grasp.  Now is the time for South Sudan’s leaders to show courage and leadership, to reaffirm their commitment to peace, to unity, and to a better future for their people.  The United States will remain a steady partner of the South Sudanese people as they seek the security and prosperity they deserve.

Message from the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan
Dear Bishops Andudu and Poggo,
I wish you a warm greeting from Washington, and wanted to recall that we met there when you visited the State Department earlier this year.
I wanted to share with the urgent appeals that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have made concerning the situation in South Sudan.  Please feel free to share these messages widely so that South Sudanese know that the United States is following the situation closely and cares deeply about the future of South Sudan.
The United States is calling all sides to step back from conflict and seek political dialogue and reconciliation.  All attacks on civilians must stop, UN installations must be respected, and the large number of South Sudan citizens who have fled to UN bases must be protected.  We are working with NGO partners to provide humanitarian supplies for  those who have been displaced.
The United States has also made it clear that any armed attack on Juba will be seen as an unlawful and would be universally condemned.  We welcome regional and international efforts to seek an end to the violence and find a peaceful resolution.  Finally we join the African Union in calling for a cease-fire over Christmas.
Yours truly,
Lucy Tamlyn
Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan & South Sudan
Washington, DC
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                                                            December 20, 2013
Violence in South Sudan
The international community is laser-focused on the deeply alarming violence in South Sudan. We are all determined to continue standing for the aspirations of a people who have endured far too many years of conflict and sacrificed far too much to allow their young country to plunge back into turmoil. With the world watching and South Sudan’s people yearning for a country marked by peace and prosperity not conflict and division, peace is the only option.
Last night, I called South Sudanese President Kiir and urged him, as president of all of South Sudan, to protect all South Sudanese citizens and work toward reconciliation. We recalled the difficult decisions that led to the remarkable moment when so many stood in long lines for a referendum to give birth to South Sudan, knowing all too well that the toughest decisions were still to come. Now is the time for leadership that makes those decisions through dialogue.
Now is the time for South Sudan’s leaders to rein in armed groups under their control, immediately cease attacks on civilians, and end the chain of retributive violence between different ethnic and political groups. The violence must stop, the dialogue must intensify.
To help facilitate this process, we have asked our U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, to travel to the region and support regional efforts already underway.  He will be departing today.
The United States strongly condemns yesterday’s attacks on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Akobo County in Jonglei State, South Sudan.  We offer our condolences to the UN and victims of this attack.  We call on all parties to respect UNMISS, to refrain from any attacks on its personnel, and to help facilitate its mission to protect civilians who have sought shelter from the turmoil secure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need.
The United States and other partners are committed to the realization of South Sudan’s full political, social, and economic potential, but make no mistake: these cooperative efforts will be undermined if political disputes drag the country back into senseless conflict and strife.  Moreover, any armed attack on the capital will be seen as an attempt to achieve an unlawful usurpation of power, which would be universally condemned.  Those who seek to take or hold power by violence or division of South Sudanese along ethnic lines will not have our support.  Violence today will not pave the way for a more stable or prosperous tomorrow.




Posted: December 21, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Poems.

By Dennis E. Paul
Is there corruption in all of us?
Are Dinka so pure?
Are Nuer so pure?
Reinstate trust in all faces;
Dina and Nuer

Reinstate trust
for all of the children
Reinstate respect and dignity


Embrace again a tolerance
So that the bush does not return to us


We had made headway
slow   miserable    non violence    cooperation


We need to feed the children
not lock them in a camp in Juba or Bor
Contaminated history
years and years and years
of suffering and anticipated suffering
in two civil wars

Was it a few
that helped contaminate,
the many?
Did Riek Machar  violate the politic of Silva?  Kiir Did Silva Kiir violate politic of Reich Machar?
The politics of each

and damaged and dented and hurt the sensitivities of tribal pride

Accusations of attempted political coup
or a guise in an effort to secure a place in perpetuity

And a reaction the offered no forgiveness
And dimmed the hope for cooperation
We are looking for leaders.

Who is going to quell the disorder?

Yes there are tribal leaders
the burdens on them are more demanding
in this effort to apply order to disorder


But there is another search
A search for hearts that will tolerate
that will take steps toward understanding

that will remove the harsh pains of
an evil predicament

that will tolerate again and again
turning the other cheek
again and again

And reach out in kindness
one moment of kindness
across the ethnic boundary


What bedtime stories will you tell your children?
The children that deserve the comfort of political calm


South Sudan is shaken

Can South Sudanese shake back
with tolerance
with efforts to understand
Neighborhood meetings, work groups, discussions
efforts that seem small
effort that are small yet courageous

or is today’s hostility
the seed of misunderstanding
and hate
going to overwhelm the people of South Sudan

It is asked of those more tolerant and more understanding
– the moderates –
that can quell the deeper implications of festering hate
between Dinka and Nuer

and the imperfect government

We hear: wait until an election.
And we beg for honesty and integrity and a spirit of dignity
in the thing called Democracy

And those that can mend
in government
must mend!

and discuss the search for what is South Sudan
and discuss the fight for unity of purpose

Never more necessary than now

that my children are suffering
that your children are suffering

that our children are suffering

turn the other cheek
turn the other cheek

And transcend the ethnic divide
that can destroy our children’s future.


Disarmed guards and loyalty to generals?
common ground must be found

Amnesty is demanded

And the causes of dissatisfaction
of hostility
between Dinka and Nuer
must  revealed
and confronted

give South Sudan’s children the benefit of the doubt

Bravery is omnipotent in South Sudan
but compassion has been obscured

Youth murdering youth?
Is this South Sudan?

Are we courageous enough to restructure a multiethnic government
with negotiation.. and patience

Anatomy of South Sudan mutiny and the bad blood between Kiir and Machar

Posted: December 21, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Junub Sudan

The sound and stench of death that has engulfed Juba was caused by firing of the ex-VP, his allies— a move that pricked the wound that has been festering since the signing of the CPA that was not comprehensive after all. Was it an attempted coup d’état? That is neither fully established nor highly important, pretty much like the question as to whether this is a Nuer-Dinka clash. The president had issued decrees sacking the governors of Lake and Unity states at different times this year and appointing office holders in interim capacities. Secondly, the president should attend the talks wearing his traditional hat, and not military uniform. The symbolism will be important for the process. On his part, Dr Machar needs to abandon the tunnel vision that sees regime change as the only solution to South Sudanese problems.


Posted: December 21, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles

Long Terms –solutions Lies In Military and Power Sharing.

Written by Deng Elijah.(British Columbia, Canada)

Sudanese and their well-wishers have seen these dark days engulfing the youngest nation and many have tried to mitigate it. But since it has happened the critics, Ngundeng, Bashir, the prophet of doom, the West, Jesus or whoever prophesied it must be legitimate. However, the most appealing theory would align with Sir Isaac Netwon Law; “An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” The action is on motion because it was inevitable to keep it at rest. Perhaps, we didn’t apply a sufficient force to prevent the “Somalia-zation”, “the Rwanda Genocide” or ethnic cleansing, as predicted. However, we still have another chance as South Sudanese to mitigate, change the discourse or prevent the next stage unfolding. It requires collectivism, patriotism and sacrifices to prevent another genocide, using the national efforts. Unless we fail, any international or regional intervention would be a last resort. Without wasting your time, I will walk you through my recommendations.

Military Solution: In order to prevent the worse from happening, South Sudan Army, the SPLA, must seize the power with immediate effect from the current regime. The Chief of General Staff must save the nation and prevent the Juba Massacre from escalating. This would be the toughest but the quickest and the least costly retaliation to the ongoing crisis. If James Hoth Mai and his cadres are patriotic and loyal to the nation instead and would want to sacrifice for a nation, then they must act, and act now. The ongoing crisis, has no difference with a foreign attack, and shouldn’t be ignored.  The army must exercise their legitimate duty; they must seize the power until trust and hopes are restored in the country.

We understand that the current regime was elected by the people, however, it the same citizens they are discriminately butchering that elected them to power. They have failed their current mandates to protect the civilians, and they are incomparable to David Yau Yau. They are no longer unifying and if nothing is done, the civilians will take the law into their hands. If this happens, the army will divide instead of containing it, and the next civil war would cost more lives from both sides. This is the most effective intervention and be must be exercised to prevent further ethnic cleansing. It is an obligation.

Should this option be preferred, the army must share the power between the two factions, otherwise, we would only be spreading the same virus. We hope the negotiation for power between the two factions would be smooth, if the current regime is out of power.

In any case, if the current politicians have voluntarily given up the cake, who are we to dictate who to claim it, if it’s reasonable? It is only an euphemism that the remaining past or present repeats itself.

Consequences: Just like most of you, I believe that this decision would still cots lives, however, it would cost less than the alternatives. This approach would benefit the nation more than any of its completing alternatives. It is beneficial in the sense that it would give these politicians a chance to dialogue with the nation in heart. It would bring these politicians to their senses. Most of these politicians are currently dishonest trying to cover the truth and to please the authority in order to maintain their positions. It is “you are either with us or with them” senseless game. Without any power, the politicians will be honest and would compete to get the power back, which may or may not be possible. This may hurt some supporters but it is paramount. With limited selfishness, this alternative would lead the nation into a more promising election, we hope! So far, both sides, have shown willingness:

“We are for a peaceful solution, we are not for conflict, we want this country to catch up with the rest of its neighbours,” Machar.

“I will sit down with anyone who want to talk but I don’t know what the results of the talks will be.” Kiir

This would give citizens another opportunity to intellectualize the crisis and prepare them for the 2015 (or whenever appropriate) election without intimidation or fear of violence.

Political Solution: On the other hand, the citizens from the ten states could rally and mourn with the victims of Juba Massacre. This would calm down the victims and the tension would ease. This would ignite nationalism and unify the nation. However, who would organize such public rallies in the states? No one. Majority of Kiir supporters are instead celebrating or still butchering the remnants in Juba. Many politicians are still inciting the inter-tribal conflicts, calling it a coup when the president has denied it, saying: “shooting started in the head quarter of the presidential guards unit and that thing did not stop there”. Thus, we lack evidence to support the “coup” press, but even if this were a coup, still, certain ethnic groups, could not have been targeted. Therefore, the public rally would still subdue ethnic bathe.

Consequences: This alternative is unachievable because of the politically insubstantial ethnic abomination. Some individuals, civilians or security agents may take advantage and take law into their own hands. In the worse case scenario, the rally may turn into further skirmishes. Also, it is a base on a loose assumption that the victims may take heart and instead support the national cause. This is just a possible world, among many others.

Mediation, one side with powers: First of all, the politicians do not trust one another at this stage. They have worked together but failed to solve their differences before all these madness. Therefore, they must share power because whoever possess it, may misuse it against his/her opponents, as we have seen. The politicians would be trading countless grievances in expense of the current challenges facing the nation. If they couldn’t solve a few discrepancies before the attempted “coup”, “assassinations” or “arrests”, will they solve the aftermaths? This would be a waste of time and resources, and may even incite further massacres. The nation is tried of this. The politicians would be stuck in deadlocks, writing books of grievances. Utmost, the government sides would still intimidate the other side and no solutions would be reached.  This spirit – “”I will sit down with anyone who want to talk but I don’t know what the results of the talks will be” [Kiir] – is weary, per se. Why would we waste resources and time on these politicians after the massacre?

Consequences: The utilitarian calculus dictates that this option would only complement military [not UPDF] intervention. It would be unachievable, on its own, if one side has powers and the other doesn’t. Dr. Machar declares that “We want him to leave, that’s it,” … “If he wants to negotiate his leaving power… we can talk that over, but he has to leave, because he can’t unite the people when he kills them like flies and tries to incite inter-ethnic fighting.”

Incase of a dialogue, however, South Sudanese politicians should only accept to be moderated by renowned mediators. Not Mugabe, Museveni or any Northern Sudanese. The world has witnessed Museveni’s “dirty hands” in South Sudanese politics, both in July and in this crisis. The Ugandan army, UPDF has to leave Juba to allow mediation. Ugandans troops are not the solution.  Above all, long term and sustainable power sharing must be assured.

Mitigation: To reduce the consequences of the current crisis, the politicians must refrain from inciting inter-tribal conflicts. Terminologies that incite hate crimes, will account for further violence or ethnic cleansing. There was no coup and the governors should be warned to refrain from mobilizing the armies in the states. Hate speech is a crime and therefore governor should not follow the madness in Juba.

Furthermore, Dr. Riek and Kiir must encourage the warlords in their respective areas to protect and calm down the civilians instead. The commanders and/or politicians would be held accountable for the massacres, sooner or later. Unlike the past, we are independent and must adhere to the transitional constitution.

Army: The Chief of General Staff must call for dialogue with those of Maj. Gen Peter Gatdet Yakka, however, the army chief would have to expel the Ugandan army from within South Sudanese Borders. The two sides must know that further confrontations are not necessary if the situation would be managed through political dialogue. It would only intensify the situation and provoke a full-scale civil war. This must be treated differently from amnesties. The army must share the power to hasten the process; otherwise, civil war is inevitable.

The author, Deng S. Elijah, can be reached at

For immediate release: 20 December 2013 

Civilians targeted in South Sudan violence, as rebels take capital of Jonglei state

Global Witness today expressed grave concern about the escalating humanitarian crisis in the world’s most oil-dependent country, as violence spread beyond South Sudan’s capital Juba, to Jonglei and Unity states.

“This week’s fighting is a sober reminder of the fragile peace in South Sudan, where civilians are bearing the brunt of political infighting,” said Global Witness Campaigner Emma Vickers. “The government and rebel forces should cease hostilities immediately, and national leaders should begin talks to end the violence.”

The United Nations (UN) estimates that 400 to 500 people have been killed in five days of fighting and over 20,000 civilians have sought shelter at UN bases in Juba and regional capitals. A UN compound in Jonglei state was breached by rebels and two UN peacekeepers killed.

News of violence in Unity state, including reports of oil workers planning for evacuation, suggests a risk of siege by anti-government forces. Historically, South Sudan’s oil fields have been a target for rebel movements, raising concerns that competition over resources could be a key driver of the unfolding crisis.

On Wednesday, clashes were also reported in restive Jonglei state where an army spokesperson confirmed that the government has lost control of the state capital, Bor, to armed groups said to be loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar. Jonglei, believed to be rich in oil and minerals, has seen violence almost continuously since independence as state forces and rebels vie for control.

“The potential for oil wealth to exacerbate the current power struggle should not be underestimated,” said Vickers. “If rebel forces were to capture the oil fields, they could effectively hold the government to ransom.”

South Sudan reportedly earned US$1.3 billion through oil sales in just five months this year, dwarfing aid given by international donors. Global Witness has repeatedly expressed concerns about weak governance of oil revenues and related risks of corruption and conflict. The rapid disintegration of the rule of law in the face of armed opposition raises serious questions about the government’s ability to safeguard the country’s natural resources.





Emma Vickers on +44 7715 076 548 or +44 207 492 5838 or


For more information on the conflict in Jonglei over the last two years please see the Human Rights Watch Report ‘They are Killing Us’, which can be accessed here: