Archive for January 17, 2014

#MyTribeIsSouthSudan Website

Posted: January 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan
Tags:

http://www.mytribeissouthsudan.org/

Dear PaanLuel Wël,

I’ve created a website where people can share their messages for unity -www.mytribeissouthsudan.org. Please will you share it on the blog?

Thank you,
Lizzie, Consultant

The Political Struggle in South Sudan

Posted: January 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Featured Articles, History

Peace, Democracy and Reconstruction instead of war

Beijing.

In every society there are political struggles. However, when there are large reserves of petroleum and other resources these political struggles take on added dimensions and become regionalised and internationalised. On the very day that Nelson Mandela was interred in South Africa, the celebration of the life of the great African freedom fighter was not yet finished when the news came from Juba, South Sudan, on fighting and violence. This violence has since spread with over 200,000 displaced persons and more than 1,000 reported deaths. The quick intervention by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union pointed to the urgency to contain such militarized political struggles in Africa that could provide room for mischief by external forces.

The ongoing talks in Addis Ababa must be the basis for a credible ceasefire and the disarming of the factions. This political crisis involves a multiplicity of domestic, regional and international players with diverse interests and objectives that if not managed well could unravel the young nation and throw the region  into needless turmoil. Peace activists internationally must expose the duplicity of foreign forces that are covertly supporting this militarized disruption of the newest African state. There should be transparency so that what is said in public by leaders in China and the USA is what is being supported behind closed doors in the Security Council of the United Nations so that there is agreement on the need for peace and an immediate ceasefire. The Obama Administration and its constituent civil society supporters must demonstrate openly that the United States is not covertly supporting any side in this war. In this submission there is an attempt to place the political and military struggles in South Sudan in an historical context. In the conclusion there is the call for vigilance and commitment from the African Union to ensure that this political conflict does not take any more lives unnecessarily.

Background to the Recent Political Struggles

In 1955, just a year before Sudan became independent from Britain/Egypt, some members of the Sudanese army mutinied in the town of Torit in what is now the Republic of South Sudan. The mutiny led by Southern Sudanese soldiers was fuelled by fears that politicians from Northern Sudan political parties would lay exclusive claim to the spoils of a post-colonial state and exclude the Sudanese citizens from the South. Indeed, when independence came in January 1956, those who had struggled for self-determination against British colonialism did not believe that their brothers and sisters in the Southern part of the society deserved to be free from all forms of oppression and chauvinism. The distribution of political power in the new state confirmed those fears: British colonial power was replaced with political power based in the centre and northern parts of the country. The mutiny spread quickly, turning into a rebellion that lasted until 1972. This rebellion, known as  “Anya-nya,” mobilized the peoples of the South, regardless of ethnicity and religion.

After 17 years of war, a power sharing agreement with President Jafaar-el-Numeiry was reached in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in 1972, bringing to an end this first war.  The Addis Ababa Agreement was short-lived as the Sudanese central government revoked the autonomous status of the South in 1983. This revocation came in a context of increased oppression all over the Sudan. That same year, in the town of Bor, the capital of the present Jonglei State, an army officer and former member of the Dar es Salaam School of thought, Colonel Dr. John Garang, mutinied and escaped to Ethiopia with many of his soldiers, mainly from Southern Sudan. The second mutiny led to the second civil war that lasted until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was reached in 2005. At that moment, it was agreed that after six years there would be a referendum where the peoples of South Sudan would decide whether to be part of the larger Sudan or seek independence. A lengthy article last year revealed the extent of the machinations of “The Wonks who sold Washington on South Sudan.”[i] What this long and detailed article on the role of the humanitarian lobby failed to bring out was the role of the extreme evangelicals in raising South Sudan as a base for their proselytizing in Africa. For the keen eye it will also be discernible to grasp the level of investment that some sections of the strategic planners in Washington had placed in the division of the Sudan.

South became independent in July 2011.

The military organisation that emerged in this second war, the Sudan People Liberation Army(SPLA) and its political wing, SPLM (the Sudan People Liberation Movement) fought for fundamental changes in the structure of the Sudanese state towards a more decentralised system of government and equitable power sharing among the four regions of the country: South, North, East and West. Although John Garang’s vision of a federal but united Sudan was progressive and forward looking, the SPLA/M remained by and large a Southern Sudanese orgainisation. Ideologically the SPLA/M professed to be a progressive movement but its ideological orientation became compromised by its extension into the fundamentalist Christian political lobby inside the United States political system. In summary John Garang fought for a secular and democratic federal Sudan. In the peace agreement of 2005 between the Sudanese government and the SPLA/M, Southern Sudan would be governed by the SPLA/M for a transitional period of five years, after which its citizens would decide in a referendum whether to secede from or remain party of a united Sudan. In the 2010 referendum, Southern Sudanese overwhelmingly (99%) chose to go a separate state.  In July 2011, Africa’s newest nation was born with General Salva Kiir Mayerdit as its first elected president. John Garang, who died in a plane crash July 30, 2005 (on his way back from Uganda), unfortunately did not live to see his vision of a united Sudan demolished by his own fellow Southern Sudanese. Neither did he live to see how external forces had moved decisively to remove all vestiges of the ideas of secularism from the platform of the SPLM. Instead chauvinist nationalists and militarists were to preside over the transition of the self-determination project in South Sudan, and a new state, created on war rubble.

The first act of the new government was to apportion power among the many military factions, with the first prize going to Salva Kiir and second prize to Dr. Riak Machar, his Vice president. Other military leaders became governors of the ten states into which Southern Sudan had been partitioned by the North. Dr. Machar, who was apparently not happy with his reward, made his intentions known — to run for president of the party and state in 2015. Machar who had been removed from the position as Vice President in July 2013 was campaigning to become the President and leader of the SPLM in readiness for the planned elections in 2015. The secretary general of the ruling SPLM, Pagan Amum, also announced his intention to run against Kiir in 2015.

President Kiir moved swiftly to show that he was in charge and dismissed both politicians from the party executive and removed his deputy from the cabinet. When Salva Kiir sacked the entire cabinet in July 2013, there was adequate warning that this was not the end, but the start of a new power struggle inside the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, what some media claimed could turn into “a full-blown catastrophe”.

Constitutionally there was nothing wrong with what Kiir did but politically, it was one of the sparks that waited to catch fire in a nascent state where leaders were not committed to the reconstruction of society. Machar’s ambition to hold the highest office in the land and Kiir’s intention to occupy that position much longer represented the priorities of politicians who had not placed the reconstruction of the society as a priority. If the experience of some of past African presidents is anything to go by, political maneuvering is at the centre of the conflict that has divided the army and has led to widespread internal displacement of civilian populations across many states, especially in Bor the capital of Jonglei state, where John Garang started his movement thirty years ago.

Is This Another “Tribal” War in Africa?

The political crisis was sparked off by fighting that broke out within the presidential guard on 15 December 2013. That same evening fighting quickly spread to other army barracks in the capital. Security forces moved quickly and arrested 11 prominent politicians that were suspected of an attempted coup to install Machar as President. Significantly, Dr Machar was not among those arrested, as he had slipped through the security net and began a foot journey to his home state, the Unity State.

In Juba, security forces and militiamen went on the rampage targeting innocent civilians mainly from the Nuer community. Some days later dissident army commanders seized military installations in three states and declared allegiance to Machar. In Bor the mutineers in turn targeted innocent civilians purely on the basis of ethnic origin, being Dinkas. Without any further effort to understand the underlying causes of the conflict, international press went into turbo mode and declared the conflict as being an ethnic war between the Nuers, under Dr. Machar, and the Dinkas, under President Kiir. International media outlets continue to frame this political struggle in terms of ethnic or “tribal” war, with the stamp of failed state placed on South Sudan by such headlines as, “South Sudan: The State that Fell Apart in a Week.”[ii]

Attempts to frame the current conflict in terms of ethnicity are not only intellectually lazy but politically naïve and at best simplistic. Peter Greste, the international correspondent of Al Jazeera puts it so well: The fault lies not in the DNA of the South Sudanese tribes. It lies with the political leaders who use ethnic patronage to build their power bases; or who incite their ethnic kin to carve out a geographic or political niche”.

Out of the 11 politicians who were arrested following the alleged coup attempt, six are Dinkas, two Nuers while the remaining three are from different ethnic groups. Most news reporters have not mentioned that the widow of late John Garang, Ms. Rachel Nyandeng, herself a Dinka, was put under house arrest. In an interview with the BBC she makes the points that those arrested were concerned about the lack of democracy within the ruling SPLM party.

Key ministries in Kiir’s government are in the hands of ethnic Nuers. His right-hand man in the cabinet, Dr. Benjamin Barnaba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a Nuer. The Minsters of Higher and General Education, the Minister of Labour, the Speaker of Parliament, the chief of staff of the army as well as governors of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states are all ethnic Nuers.

The narrative of tribal conflict overshadows other critical questions that need probing, including the information that Dr. Riek Machar was for a brief moment after the failed coup was sheltered in  a western legation in South Sudan. This information that Dr. Machar was  for a few days holed up in a western legation in South Sudan places the burden on the western imperial forces to explain to the world that they were not complicit in feeding the ego of Dr. Machar and giving him encouragement for this armed “rebellion.” When the dust settles the Pan African intelligence circuits will have to provide evidence to the Security Council of the United Nations of any complicity of UN personnel in Juba in giving succor to those planning a military rebellion and assisting them in escaping from Juba.

Who Controls What?

Neither Kiir nor Machar should be spared in the critique of the bankrupt leadership that has plunged South Sudan into the current conflict. Kiir has demonstrated that he lacks a truly democratic vision and the capacity to manage the reconstruction of the nation, beyond personal political ambitions, in ways that could make him a statesman. In less than two years the levels of corruption has been astounding and Salva Kiir has not taken concrete steps to clean up this misappropriation at the top levels of the government. Thus far, the government of the SPLA has followed the austerity measures of Bretton Woods without conceiving of the kind of bold reconstruction effort that places the poor people first.

The political history of Dr. Machar is not one that comes with a good reputation. It is one of opportunism and self-seeking career building at all costs. In 1991 when his attempts to dislodge Dr. Garang from the leadership of the SPLA/M failed, he fled to Khartoum, the lion’s den, and entered into an agreement with the very regime he was fighting against. The defection from the liberation movement led to a large scale devastation in the South, most notably the massacre of thousands of civilians in Bor in 1991. Machar recruited gullible youths who raided cattle and raped women. Yet, this is the same Machar that some western NGOs choose to support in Juba in the past few years.

The army commanders who have now rebelled against the government were most likely acting on their own account. But Machar would like the world  to believe that they are under his command. The army commander, who seized Bor in December 2013, Maj-General Peter Gadget, is a notorious militarist, whose allegiances cannot be relied upon. He led a rebellion against the government in Juba, in which Machar was the VP. It was only after he was given amnesty in 2011 that he agreed to be integrated into the SPLA. He was rewarded by Kiir by being put in charge of 8th Army Division of the SPLA based in Bor. Dr. Machar claims Gadet has been installed as military governor of Jonglei. One militarist not yet spoken for in this present round of military/politico struggles is David Yau Yau who had campaigned in the elections in 2010 in Pibor County of Jonglei State. He had led a Murle insurrection against the Government of South Sudan in 2010 and was later given amnesty at the time of independence 2011. Yau Yau signed a ceasefire with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) in June 2011, which integrated him and his militia with the SPLA. In April 2012 he defected again, and has been leading a Murle militia in the South Sudan. Hundreds of people have been killed, property looted and thousands of others displaced from their homes in Pibor County, Jonglei State, since Yau Yau  took to the bush for the second time in 2011. In 2013 prior to the new political and military struggles David Yau Yau was again granted amnesty so that he would not be open to an alliance with the Machar forces. The contradictions between his youth army and the forces of Machar’s White Army has compounded the political battle lines since Machar is now fighting on two fronts, against the central government and against the  youths of David Yau Yau.

Politicization of Regionalism and Ethnicity

From the period of the study of E. Evans Pritchard on the Nuer, western anthropologists have worked with the political authorities to create ethnic boundaries in the Sudan. First it was the British who divided the regions of South Sudan along ethnic lines, then, the conservative forces in Khartoum redrew the boundaries to incite ethnic divisions. There are currently three main regional groupings in South Sudan. The three regions are:

Greater Upper Nile states: Jonglei,  Unity and Upper Nile

Greater Bahr Al Ghazal: Lake, Western Bahr Al Ghazal, Northern Bahr Al Ghazal and Warap

Greater Equatoria: Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria.

Map of the Republic of South Sudan

SOSUDAN MAP Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The strategy followed by the British and the administrations in Khartoum was to foment ethnic cleavages in these three regions. In terms of the political geography of South Sudan, Bor is in the South of Jonglei state, the very heart land of the those Dinkas who have identified with Bor as their ancestral base. The “rebels” are in control of a ghost town as the civilians have fled the city, fearing attacks by ill-disciplined soldiers loyal to Gadet and armed Nuer militiamen, the White Army. But there are ethnic Dinkas from Bor that are also fighting alongside Maj-General Gadet. These are soldiers who can be considered to be politically aligned and sympathetic to the widow of late John Garang, Ms. Rachel Nyandeng. The defence minister, Kuol Manyang, a Kiir loyalist and a Dinka from Bor, and the former governor of Jonglei state, is likely to play a key role in the attempts to recapture Bor. When Machar defected from the SPLA in 1990s, it was Mr. Manyang who was sent by Dr. Garang on a punitive military expedition against Machar’s rebel forces. Unless there is an immediate cessation of hostilities, the worst is yet to come. The battle lines in Jonglei State cut across ethnic loyalities. They are a mirror of the broader political struggles within the SPLM/A leadership for control of the state.

The situation in Unity State is slightly different. This is Machar’s home town. The military uprising there is being led by loyalists to Machar who have been induced by his blandishments and promises about the future when he captures state power. On 21 December 2013 the commander, 4th division of South Sudan’s army, Maj. General James Koang Chuol announced that “he had overthrown Unity State’s acting governor, Joseph Nguen Monytuel, after he was involved in plot to assassinate him.” He declared that he had deposed the governor and that his forces were no longer loyal to President Salva Kiir. There was no mention that this mini-coup was in support of Machar. But Machar, nevertheless, told the former BBC correspondent, James Copnall, that Koang was the new governor of Unity State, while Peter Gadet who was fighting for control of Bor was the military governor of Jonglei State.

The rebellion in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile, is less clear. It is neither under the central government nor under forces loyal to Machar.  The rebellion could be explained as well in terms of political topology of rivalry between Machar and Kiir, as two prominent ethnic Shilluk, Dr Peter Adwok and Mr. Pagan Amum, seem to have thrown in their lot with Machar. But one other person to watch is Dr. Lam Akol, who together with Machar broke away from the SPLA/M in 1991 and signed a separate deal with the Khartoum Government. Dr Akol like Machar changed sides frequently. In 1994 after having split with Machar he formed his armed movement, SPLM/A-United. Later both re-joined the SPLA/M. But in 2009 Lam broke away again and formed his own party, SPLM/A-United.

Although Akol’s party is represented in Parliament, he went into self-exile in Kenya and was not present at the Independence celebrations in July 2011. But he has been back since July 2013 after “amnesty” from President Kiir. At the outset of the battles in December, he seemed to have been conspicuously silent on the current political crisis, perhaps waiting to see the outcome of the power struggle between his former colleagues. By January 7, 2014 he emerged as one of the leaders of the SPLM government delegation in the IGAD talks in Addis Ababa. In this flipping and flopping of political and military actors many are watching to see if the western support for Machar will bear fruit and his military rebellion will be rewarded.

Regional Interests

It is into this complex political and military alliance that the IGAD negotiating team is entering. All of the member states of IGAD have a stake in the outcome of the present military and political struggles in South Sudan. The members of IGAD are Djibouti, Eritrea Ethiopia and Somalia (in the Horn) Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. In terms of the interests of forces these countries do not all agree. The same western forces that have been giving a loud voice to Machar in their news outlets have been in the past strong allies of both Uganda and Kenya. Yet, both societies have interests inside South Sudan that are independent of western economic interests.  Machar’s claim of “control” of Unity State gives him a strong bargaining position in the current conflict. Most of the oil production is in this state; the Unity state borders the Republic of the Sudan and the oil pipeline runs through the Sudan. Machar could cut a deal with Khartoum and starve the Kiir’s administration of its main source of revenue (95%). Given his checkered history, if Machar fails to dislodge Kiir as President of the country, it would not be far-fetched that he could enter into an agreement with Khartoum to declare a separate state in Unity State, a client state to the Bashir regime in the North. Such a move would cripple the South economically and politically. In such an event, a war between the South and North would be inevitable. Such military adventures would distract further the Northern Sudanese people from addressing the authentic demands for self-determination by the peoples of Darfur and the Blue Nile. The question that must be posed is whether this scenario had been planned by the forward planners in Washington who felt that they had not profited enough from the support of the SPLA since independence.

The South Sudan neighbours to the south – Uganda and Kenya – have much to lose in a renewed war north of their borders. The scourge of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda was brought under control when South Sudan became independent. It is therefore understandable that the President of Uganda has come out strongly in support of President Kiir threating to go militarily after Machar. Ugandan troops are said to be guarding the international airport in Juba and they have allegedly bombed rebel positions in Jonglei State. The contradiction in this rebellion is that the same US military that is supporting the Ugandan military to fight against the LRA is now being called upon to support IGAD against Machar who many believe is a western client. Inside Southern Sudan it was known that Machar had been a sympathiser of the Lord’s Resistance Army and disagreed with the military commanders from Western Equatoria who had taken a firm line against the LRA.

Of the regional neighbours, the situation of Kenya is the most complex. For about fifty years Kenya was a base for western destabilization in Africa. However, in the past ten years the levels of capital accumulation in Kenya have given the political and financial leadership in Kenya a level of confidence for them not to be simple puppets of the West. This newfound confidence of the Kenyan bourgeoisie has been compounded by the differences between a section of the leadership of Kenya and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Hence, although in the past it would have been expected that the Kenyan leadership would act in accordance with western military interests and support Machar, in this instance, the Kenyan position is one that serves the interests of Kenyan banking and commercial capital.

In terms of foreign investments in South Sudan, Kenya has the largest presence and the political leaders of South Sudan have boosted real estate prices in Nairobi. These same leaders have ensured that the financial sector of Kenya is thriving both in Nairobi and in Juba. According to the chief executive officer of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Habil Olaka, among the major Kenyan corporates in South Sudan are the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Equity Bank, Co-operative Bank and the financial services group UAP Holding and Resolution Group among others.

There are also projected joint regional investments such as the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSETT) and the standard gauge railway projects which would be adversely affected by a civil war in the world’s newest country. Kenya hopes to have South Sudanese oil exported through its ports, depriving the Sudan of needed income in terms of pipeline rental fees. It is thus, not accidental that the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been most vocal in calling for a ceasefire. In this instance, the interests of the US and the Kenyan leadership are colliding in South Sudan. Both Uganda and Kenya are the major trading partners with South Sudan. A fall back into war will not just mean another influx of refugees but also a real setback for their own economies.

An important segment of the Nile lies within South Sudan borders. The militarization of struggles over water has already been part of the discourse of the forward planners for war. Ethnicity does play a role as a convenient instrument by power hungry politicians to lay claim to a share in the state power. And in a country with weak social structures, as is the case of South Sudan, the politicisation of ethnicity offers an apparent coherent explanation of power struggles. Democratic forms of resolving contradictions seem to be an alien concept to people steep in militarist thinking, like the leaders of the varying political factions in South Sudan, including President Salva Kiir and his rival Dr. Machar. The party that John Garang founded, the SPLM, did not have the space for building real social bases among a people that had been exploited and oppressed for decades. The war between the North and South was mainly a militarist campaign against the central government of the Sudan. The religious and militaristic nature of the Bashir regime in Khartoum ensured that the struggles in the Sudan were based on the politicization of race, religion and ethnicity.

When President Kiir went on national TV to announce that there had been an attempted coup, he appeared not as the civilian president he had been elected by the people but as an army general of the SPLA. And this is where the problem partly lies. The armed wing of the SPLM was simply declared at independence as the national army and is nothing short of an amorphous collection of armed units with divided allegiance to different military leaders. The current crop of leaders in South Sudan has been shaped in the culture of war and militarism.

What is needed is mature leadership that is based on a true commitment to building strong institutions, such as an independent judiciary, a professional public service, trade unions and worker associations, a treasury that will be transparent, a professional army and police force. The temptation by individual politicians to use state resources for primary capital accumulation is what is destroying the social fabric in many neo-colonial states, where the ruling classes have no wealth of their own. As Frantz Fanon and Walter Rodney have argued, the ruling classes in Europe and North America had won economic power before laying claim to state power and hence could afford to relinquish power through the ballot box, whereas the African elites that have inherited state structures modelled along those of their former colonisers have no independent economic basis and hence the tenacious attempts to hold to state power even if that means rigging elections. South Sudan is not an exception but this does not mean that a democratic and just state is not possible.

Conclusion

South Sudan is rich in natural resources: large swaths of the country are arable, there are untapped mineral resources; oil reserves are estimated to be the largest in Africa after those of Angola and Nigeria. With a very small population of just over10 million people and a land mass the size of France, South Sudan can feed and care for its people and afford them a descent life free from war and hunger. What the people of South Sudan need now is shelter, hospitals, schools, roads and clean water. These services have hardly existed for over the last sixty years in which the Sudan has been at war with itself. A massive Pan African Reconstruction project is necessary to focus attention on the needs of the population.  Great societies have been built on diversity and not ethnic homogeneity, something South Sudanese politicians must know. As a multi ethnic and multilingual society, this newest state in Africa must be built on strong institutions and not around strong men. This was one of the limitations of John Garang’s leadership in a period of war. The SPLM and SPLA were the structures that were not sufficiently prepared to lead the new nation.

It is quite possible to critique the leadership of Salva Kiir for the absence of accountable leadership. This has been a problem with many liberation movements in the immediate period after self-determination. In the past, the African political leadership intervened to support peaceful resolution of political struggles in liberation movements. This current struggle in South Sudan has been compounded by the competing interests of the United States and China in South Sudan. It will be necessary to revisit the Council of the Wonks who lobbied Washington for the independence of South Sudan and interrogate the role of organizations such as the Enough Project and their allied celebrity advocates. There has to be a serious interrogation of the motives behind the accommodation of Machar by a western legation in Sudan. In her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 9, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the United States is making an “all-out effort” to resolve a “growing catastrophe” in South Sudan. She at the same time warned former Vice President Riek Machar that “neither the United States nor the international community will countenance the armed overthrow of the democratically elected government.”

At the same hearing, John Prendergast, Co-Founder of Enough Project called for a for cease fire,  binding agreement, and substantive structural approach which will include non-military forces. What is significant about this call is that this is the same call from progressive Pan African voices all over the world. The Peace movement in the USA must be vigilant to ensure that the US Government live up to its warning to Riek Machar that “neither the United States nor the international community will countenance the armed overthrow of the democratically elected government.” Some US Officials have the habit of talking peace in public while keeping in contact with militarist  forces in private. Given the extensive history of the Friends of Sudan (Roger Winter, Eric Reeves, John Prendergast, and Ted Dagne) and their history as documented in “The Wonks who Sold Washington on South Sudan,” there is urgent need for transparency by the Obama Administration to state that they are in no way supporting this military rebellion.

Urgent steps are required to bring back the country from what one member of the Council, Eric Reeves called the “tipping point.”[iii]

The political leaders of China will have to exert independence of action to ensure that the Council does not drag China into the unholy trinity of the United States, Britain and Norway that shepherded the long drawn out negotiations over the independence of South Sudan. China is a major investor in the petroleum sector and its foreign minister has traveled to Addis Ababa to support the negotiations. It is within the context of BRICS and the non-aligned forces where progressive Chinese officials can counter the plans for full scale war in South Sudan.

There is a need for a government of national unity that will include all the warring factions and others represented in Parliament; all political detainees must be released. Kiir must be restrained from any form of ethnic and selfish political maneuvering that could jeopardise democracy and reconstruction; he must put the interest of the people ahead of the temptation and quest to consolidate himself as a “strong man.” Everything must be done to entrench democracy, accountability and humanist management of ethnic diversity. If South Sudanese were able to fight for independence over six decades and unanimously vote for independence in 2011, there is no reason that they cannot vote for peace and stability in 2014. It is not about Salva Kiir or Riak Machar; it is not about the Dinkas or the Nuers; after all, there are more than 50 different ethnicities within the borders of South Sudan; it is about a common vision of a people who must live in peace and harmony within a stable state they can call their own.

In the past, military leaders have been adept at talking while fighting. The present talks in Addis Ababa being brokered by IGAD and the African Union must be supported by the United Nations and be pushed beyond the point where the militarists dominate the discussions. Thus far, the African Union and IGAD acted with speed to ensure that there are negotiations. Ultimately there are major contradictions with the members of IGAD because they are all implicated in their forms of extracting wealth from South Sudan. In fact, the presence of Khartoum within IGAD complicates all forms of negotiations because Bashir will be only too eager to militarize the conflict further to blunt the challenges from the oppressed citizens in the North. Hence, the African Union will have to be more forceful in their role in the present negotiations. The present politics of South Sudan will be the first major test whether Africans can prevent mass killings and give meaning to the fact that 50 years of African unity means a commitment to validating the lives of all Africans.

Horace G. Campbell, a veteran Pan Africanist is a Visiting Professor in the School of International Relations, Tsinghua University, Beijing.  He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya, Monthly Review Press, 2013. 

Notes.

[i] Rebecca Hamilton, “Special Report: The Wonks who Sold Washington on South Sudan,” Reuters, 11 July 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/11/us-south-sudan-midwives-idUSBRE86A0GC20120711

[ii] Daniel Howden, “South Sudan: The State That Fell Apart in a Week,” The Guardian, 23 December 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/23/south-sudan-state-that-fell-apart-in-a-week.

[iii] See Eric Reeves, “Has South Sudan Reached Passed the Tipping Point?” Pambazuka News, 9 January, 2014. http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/90075


South Sudan: Ethnic Targeting, Widespread Killings Civilian Protection, Independent Inquiry Needed JANUARY 16, 2014, Juba.

Appalling crimes have been committed against civilians for no other reason than their ethnicity. Both sides need to leave civilians out of their conflict, let aid groups reach people who need help and accept a credible, independent investigation into these crimes.

Daniel Bekele, Africa director.

(Nairobi) – Witnesses to the violence in South Sudan since December 15, 2013, have described how targeted attacks against civilians on an ethnic basis have taken place in both government and opposition-controlled areas. South Sudan’s government and opposition forces should both immediately end abuses against civilians.

South Sudan’s leaders, the African Union (AU), and the United Nations should also support an independent, credible, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged crimes since the conflict erupted. The UN should also impose a travel ban and an asset freeze on anyone credibly identified as responsible for serious abuses and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said.

“Appalling crimes have been committed against civilians for no other reason than their ethnicity,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Both sides need to leave civilians out of their conflict, let aid groups reach people who need help and accept a credible, independent investigation into these crimes.”

Between December 27 and January 12, 2014, a Human Rights Watch research team in South Sudan interviewed more than 200 victims and witnesses to abuses in Juba and Bor. Researchers documented widespread killings of Nuer men by members of South Sudanese armed forces in Juba, especially between December 15 and 19, including a massacre of between 200 and 300 men in the Gudele neighborhood on December 16. Researchers also documented the targeting and killing of civilians of Dinka ethnicity by opposition forces in other parts of the country.

The targeted killings of civilians, looting, and destruction of civilian property by both parties to the conflict in locations across the country have contributed to the displacement of more than 400,000 people, according to UN estimates, in the past month. Many of the crimes committed after conflict broke out are serious violations of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Fighting erupted in the headquarters of the South Sudan army’s presidential guard at around 10:30 p.m. on December 15, hours after a meeting of South Sudan’s leading political party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The meeting was marked by extremely high tensions between President Salva Kiir, who is of Dinka ethnicity, and former Vice President Riek Machar, who is of Nuer ethnicity. Kiir had dismissed Machar, a senior SPLM member, as vice president in July and fired his entire cabinet. Machar had earlier that year indicated his intention to run for president.

The government also arrested 11 prominent politicians and members of the SPLM’s political bureau on December 16 and in the following days, alleging they were involved in planning a coup. The politicians have been detained for four weeks without formal charges or access to legal counsel, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine.

Kiir has called the violence on December 15 an attempted coup by Machar and his allies, a charge Machar, who is now in an undisclosed location, has denied. However in the following days a number of senior army commanders from key locations in South Sudan rebelled against the government, leading to intensive fighting in Bor, the Jonglei State capital, and surrounding areas, the town of Bentiu and other locations in Unity State, and Malakal in Upper Nile State.

Delegates representing both Machar and the government are attending negotiations over a cessation of hostilities and other issues in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the auspices of the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). They have yet to agree to a ceasefire.

On December 24, the UN Security Council agreed to temporarily increase the troop ceiling for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) from 7,000 to 12,500 and to increase the mission’s police force to up to 1,323, from 900. The UN should accelerate the deployment of these reinforcements and take other urgent steps to improve the protection of civilians, including better security around UNMISS compounds sheltering some 66,500 civilians displaced by conflict, Human Rights Watch said.

Peacekeepers should also ramp up independent patrols to all accessible locations in areas where they are operating and where civilians are in need. The location and timing of patrols should not be subject to government approval.

Human Rights Watch said it had received multiple reports of looting of medical and humanitarian facilities, and of some government denials of flight authorization to areas where people are in desperate need of aid. The South Sudanese government and leaders of opposition forces should ensure unhindered access by UN and independent humanitarian agencies to displaced and other civilians in need of assistance and protection. Both sides should respect medical and humanitarian facilities, material and staff, as required by international law. Anyone who blocks or otherwise doesn’t cooperate with independent humanitarian activities should be held accountable.

The AU decided on December 30 to establish a commission of inquiry. The AU should avail itself of UN experience with commissions of inquiry by asking the UN to promptly provide staff and support a team of international investigators and experts to investigate serious crimes committed since December 15, Human Rights Watch said. The commission of inquiry should report to both the AU and the UN secretary-general. In addition, UNMISS should bolster the investigative capacity of its human rights section and report regularly and publicly on human rights and humanitarian law abuses by all sides.

“The South Sudanese and the international community should show that we have learned the lesson history has taught us that without justice and reconciliation, residual pain from gross violations and other crimes are all too easily abused by those seeking power at any cost,” Bekele said.

Killings, Arrests in Juba
In Juba, clashes between members of the presidential guard of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) erupted during the night of December 15, 2013, and spread the following day into neighborhoods around the army headquarters, also triggering serious fighting in at least two other areas of the capital. However, much of the violence in the capital the following week was targeted attacks by Dinka members of South Sudan’s armed forces, both the police and army, against Nuer males, including civilians, Human Rights Watch concluded after interviewing more than 150 victims and witnesses.

The witnesses and victims provided accounts of soldiers and policemen conducting house-to-house searches for Nuer men focusing on certain neighborhoods in northwest Juba, such as Gudele, Manga, Mangatain and New Site and around areas where fighting began in southwest Juba. Numerous witnesses described seeing male family members, neighbors, or others shot dead in or around their compounds or as they ran for safety to other neighborhoods or to UN bases. In most cases reported to Human Rights Watch, witnesses described multiple killings.

“The soldiers shouted at my mum that if (the men) don’t come out of the house they will start shooting all of us,” a 21-year-old woman from the Mia Saba area said, describing one incident. “When they came out they started beating them, and shooting. They shot my brother in the leg. My uncle ran and fell in a shallow ditch. They shot him in the face.”

A 42-year-old bricklayer from the New Site neighborhood described killings by security forces: “They brought out five of my neighbors and shot them in the street. We ran, the soldiers said ‘stop’, we refused and they shot at us. I stopped to pick my son but he was heavy and dead. When they reached him they shot him again.”

In the worst single incident documented by Human Rights Watch, soldiers and policemen from around the Gudele and other nearby neighborhoods gathered hundreds of Nuer men during the night of December 15 and the following day and detained them in a building used by the police, near the junction that divides Juba’s Gudele 1 and Gudele 2 neighborhoods. Survivors estimated that between 200 and 300 men were jammed into a room so crowded and hot that several people collapsed during the day on December 16. At around 8 p.m., gunmen alleged to be government forces began systematically shooting into the room through windows on one side of the building, killing almost all of the people in the room, a few survivors said.

“It was very dark,” one survivor said, adding that he survived because he was shot early in the massacre. “The windows were opened and then they shot through them. It was just light from the guns and the sound of the shooting. They shot me in the inner thigh, I fell and then dead people fell on top of me.”

About an hour later, armed men with torches entered the room and shot again several times at people, apparently anyone who appeared to have survived, leaving the door open after they left. At least two survivors escaped during the night. The following afternoon, members of South Sudan’s National Security Service freed 11 others who had been protected when bodies fell on them and who had spent the day with the corpses. Several of the survivors had severe gunshot wounds.

“I thought I would go mad … for three days I could hear the screaming and the shooting in my head,” said one man who had been hiding near the site of the massacre. “I knew my brother was captured in there.”

Human Rights Watch talked to neighbors of various ethnicities who described with great distress the huge number of bodies they saw at the site on December 17 and their removal in large trucks on December 18.

Human Rights Watch also documented mass arrests during the week of December 16. Former detainees said they were among scores of Nuer screened for their ethnicity and then held, usually for between three and seven days, most commonly in army buildings or in a national security building close to the Nile River in downtown Juba. Most were arrested in their houses or on main roads as they tried to reach family members or safe locations. Victims showed injuries from beatings and described overcrowding, extreme heat, and a lack of food and clean water in the detention sites. Almost all who had been held in Juba suffered from a similar skin ailment that may have been caused by the extreme heat and overcrowding.

Four Nuer men, interviewed separately, also described being tortured by members of security forces who demanded information about Riek Machar’s location. The men said security forces lashed them, beat them until they lost consciousness or smashed the victims’ faces into the ground with a boot to the back of their head. Security forces took the Nuer men’s cars, phones, and money in most cases, and house-to-house searches were often accompanied by extensive looting.

Many of the Nuer interviewed said they still do not know the location or fate of male family members and friends. More than 25,000 Nuer were displaced by the fighting and attacks in Juba; many fled to two UN bases in Juba and say they are still afraid to return home.

The Events in Bor
Human Rights Watch was not able to conduct an on-site investigation in the town of Bor because of the ongoing conflict, but in early January researchers interviewed more than 50 people in Awerial, to which 84,000 civilians from Bor and surrounding areas fled following successive waves of fighting in December and January.

Witnesses described clashes between government and defecting anti-government security forces, indiscriminate attacks on civilians in densely populated areas, targeted shootings and attacks on civilians, and widespread looting and destruction in Bor. The civilian death toll is unclear, but many witnesses who had returned to Bor in late December said the streets were littered with dead bodies.

The conflict in Bor erupted on December 18. Forces loyal to General Peter Gadet, a prominent Nuer commander, took control of the town following events in Juba, triggering clashes within the army, police and wildlife services and in certain areas of town. The fighting caused thousands of civilians to flee to the UN compound in Bor, as well as outside the town.

Since December 18, Bor has changed hands twice, with the government regaining control between December 25 and 31. Opposition forces and armed Nuer civilians, referred to as the “white army,” control Bor and surroundings now, witnesses told Human Rights Watch.

Bor residents who fled the initial attack but returned soon after government forces retook the town on December 24 reported seeing bodies of both soldiers and civilians in several neighborhoods. Human Rights Watch viewed footage obtained by a local government official showing 28 dead bodies in various locations, including close to the UN base, and many witnesses interviewed in Awerial said relatives or neighbors were among the dead. At least two disabled war veterans were killed and their homes looted during the first attack.

A journalist named seven old or mentally ill people he had been told had been killed by Gadet’s forces in the initial attack. The journalist said he had seen the bodies of two of them, Majang Mach and Piel Mayen Deng, soon after the government recaptured the town.

Government forces retreated as Gadet’s forces, augmented by thousands of armed Nuer, including women and children, retook the town on December 31, 2013.
By some accounts looting and destruction of civilian property increased during the second attack by anti-government forces as they approached villages near Bor.
Many civilians received warnings of the approaching forces and fled into the bush and marsh areas surrounding the town, in some cases leaving behind elderly or ill relatives who could not run. “Those unable to run (from the rebels) were burned in their houses, including two elderly men, Achieng Mayen and Kuol Garang, and a paralyzed woman, Yanadet Garang,” a chief from an area just outside Bor told Human Rights Watch.

One mother of four said that armed Nuer aligned with anti-government forces killed her 70-year-old mother. “We came outside (of the house) and the attackers shot at us,” she said.

Witnesses also told Human Rights Watch of attacks by armed Nuer groups and soldiers who followed fleeing civilians into marshland around Bor, possibly to steal cattle from the large cattle camps. Many of those interviewed reported attackers had looted all of their cattle during the first and second attacks on the area, effectively stealing their primary source of livelihood. A 55-year-old community leader who had fled to the marshland from a village outside Bor said that on January 7 a combined force of Nuer soldiers in uniform and armed civilians had attacked the cattle camp where he had taken shelter, killing at least seven people including a seven-year-old boy, and stealing thousands of cattle.

The attacks on Bor’s Dinka community have reopened old wounds and revived ethnic divisions from atrocities during Sudan’s long civil war. In what was known as the “Bor massacre,” in 1991, largely Nuer forces loyal to Machar attacked Dinka communities in and around Bor, killing hundreds and displacing thousands. At the time, Machar had split from SPLA, then the South’s rebel force, and fought against it with support from other factions.

Attacks on Civilians Elsewhere
Human Rights Watch received alarming reports of targeted attacks on Dinka civilians in other areas of South Sudan, as well as credible reports of indiscriminate attacks on civilians during fighting in Bentiu and Malakal, but was not able to visit these locations in the initial investigation. The impact of conflict on civilians in these areas requires further in-depth investigation.

On December 19, large numbers of armed youth together with unarmed women and children, and accompanied by uniformed security forces, attacked a UN mission base in the town of Akobo, in Jonglei state, where around 30 Dinka, including disarmed soldiers and civilians had taken shelter, witnesses said. In the stampede on the base, two peacekeepers and an estimated 20 civilians and disarmed soldiers were killed.

Armed men also issued serious threats against Dinka seeking shelter in UN bases in Yuai in Jonglei state, where a UN helicopter was shot at as Dinka were being evacuated, and in Nasir, Upper Nile state, UN officials said.

Two Dinka staff at a base owned by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Companyoil consortium described to Human Rights Watch how Nuer day laborers turned on Dinka staff and killed at least six men using batons and machetes on the night of December 16. Both witnesses said Nuer police on the base saw the violence and did not intervene.

Government response
President Kiir has acknowledged that ethnic targeting and killings took place in Juba and said in a Christmas day speech that those responsible would be punished. The chief of staff of South Sudan’s army, General James Hoth Mai, issued an order on December 21 to arrest a number of members of various armed forces suspected of killing “innocent soldiers and civilians simply because they hail from different tribes.” Some soldiers have been arrested but have not yet been charged.

On December 28, the inspector general of police for South Sudan, General Pieng Deng Kuol, established a five-member committee of policemen to investigate allegations of killings of civilians including media reports that “a great number of people were dragged into one of the police stations in Juba and murdered cold blooded inside the cells.”

On December 30, the African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council decided to establish acommission to investigate “human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan” and submit a report within three months.

The AU’s call for an international commission of inquiry is a positive step. Any such commission should be fully resourced and supported by United Nations and concerned governments. To be truly independent and credible, the commission should be mandated to report to more than one organization, for example to both the AU and the UN, and it should consist of international experts who have experience with South Sudan, forensic investigations, human rights and humanitarian law, and arms and munitions, Human Rights Watch said.

South Sudan: Situation Analysis (part 1-3)

Posted: January 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, History

By Tag Elkhazin, Canada

South Sudan: Situation Analysis, part 1

1 Article on South Sudan v2

South Sudan: Situation Analysis, part 2

Article 2 on South Sudan

South Sudan: Situation Analysis, part 3

Article 3 on South Sudan

Tag Elkhazin, Consultant

Subsahara Centre

Tel 1-613-834-7817, Fax 1-613-834-4930

E-mail:  Elkhazin@subsaharacentre.ca

Website: www.subsaharacentre.ca

Political Joke about South Sudan

Posted: January 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles

By mach-kuol
 
My friend has recently set up a web shop on internet called “Western Equatoria spectacles”
 
The frames of the spectacles all look the same but only the glasses differ according to the different tribal users
The glasses themselves, colourless, come in 3 strengths: normal, medium, heavy
 
His business plan on the website states that every tribesman or woman above 18 should wear his tribal spectacles in Western Equatoria
 
Zande should wear Zande spectacles, Avokaya should wear Avokaya spectacles etc. It was useless being a Zande wearing Avokaya spectacles because you would not see anything. This applies to any tribe in Western Equatoria
 
Buying glasses for a tribe different than your own was useless and a waste of money, this was clearly stated on the website
 
This principle applied to all the tribes of Western Equatoria
 
Once ordered on line the spectacles were delivered by messenger at the address you gave, anywhere in Western Equatoria !
 
Although having visited his website many times, it was nowhere stated WHY every tribe should wear his own tribal glasses
 
So I paid him a visit and sitting under a mango tree we started drinking suku suku, this of course after he gulped down the first cup, an old hand like me only trusts family members and even then ……
 
So I asked him WHY should every tribe wear his own tribal spectacles
 
According to my friend (himself a Zande): if you are for example a Zande, and wearing Zande spectacles, you can recognise easily other Zande just by looking at them, even not talking!!! If you look at a group of people you directly identify the Zande and other tribes present a blurred image. This had enormous advantages in activities as doing business, shopping, looking for a woman if you want to marry, going for a drink in a bar etc etc.
You are always better of with your own tribesman or woman because you cannot really trust other tribes and by wearing your tribal glasses you avoid a lot of problems. Many customers had e-mailed him praising him and had themselves convinced their own tribesman and woman of buying his glasses and in fact when I drove from the airport in Yambio to his house I was surprised by the number of people with his glasses
The same principle applies for other tribes and their respective glasses in Western Equatoria. That was the rationale in setting up his webshop selling this type of spectacles he said
 
Why then, I asked him, does he proposes 3 strengths, normal, mean and heavy ?
 
Well he said, quite some people went into exile during “the troubles” and some of them got a bit “contaminated” by living among other tribal communities, so if somebody thinks he is not anymore a “true” tribesman or otherwise said, if his cultural heritage had become a bit diluted, he can choose the categories “medium” or “heavy” which gave you a clearer picture of your own tribesman or woman. He went on quite a bit about the relation between what your eyes see and the cultural upbringing and most importantly what your brain thinks but I will not dwell about this philosophical thoughts of my friend, only this one; he claimed that some “pure” (not contaminated) tribes only like fat woman because of their upbringing, other tribes only like skinny woman above 1m80
If a tribesman or woman does not have any problems he can buy normal lenses: the price was the same for the 3 strenghts
 
The suku suku stirred up some more questions from my side
 
Then I asked him if there was a relation between the result of recognising your own tribe by wearing the appropriate spectacles and wearing them in the tribal homeland.
What do you mean he said.
Because I had extensively looked on his webshop for Avungara glasses but I did not find any, and to my knowledge the Avungara’s tribal homeland originated from outside Western Equatoria but know they claim to be Zande. I wondered what would happen if a Avungara bought Zande spectacles. He answered me that he had never registered complaints from this people.
Still my friend looked a bit puzzled and then he said: in fact we have remarked statistically significant differences  between areas in the tribal homeland of the Zande although there seemed to be some border disputes; in for example Source Yubu almost all spectacles sold to Zande who had remained there during “the troubles” had “normal “glasses”, to the contrary, Zande in Maridi and further east had to buy proportionally more “mean” and “heavy” glasses; the same phenomenon appeared once you had passed Tembura
 
What happens, I asked him, if somebody, for example, a Belanda Mviri, a descendant from a mixed marriage Belanda Mviri and Zande, buys Zande glasses
 
Well he said, that is a difficult question. Scientific studies conducted were inconclusive, The sex of the Belande Mviri of mixed mariage, male or female seemed to have an influence but not always. Some male Belanda Mviri with Zande glasses could only recognise Belanda Mviri and not Zande, others recognised only Zande without any problem
His scientific laboratory was still refining the production processes for the category of the Belanda Mviri glasses
 
I do not know what happened but the suku suku made me remember something very crucial: when my friend took me to the mango tree to sit down I forgot to relocate my chair a bit
 
After I ordered a third bottle of suku suku I finally dared to fire of my last question: why doesn’t he sell SPLA spectacles ??? (because I had heard rumours about this newly discovered tribe in Southern Sudan)
 
He looked at me, took his chair a bit closer to mine, looked around  and whispered to me: when I started my business, I only sold SPLA spectacles but the people who bought them encountered a lot of mental problems after a while, so I stopped the production of this type of glasses
 
When the bottle of suku suku arrived, he seemed relieved to change the subject
 
The next day when I woke up, I felt a lot wiser and left my friend

By  General South (IP: 41.79.25.123 , cache1.rcswimax.com)
E-mail : southsudanese2014@gmail.com

When late Dr. John Garang told the people of South Sudan in 1994 that “an oppressor has no color”, a lot of South Sudanese thought that he was referring to black Sudanese who oppressed their own people. But with the advent of independence, so many people have begun to analyse what he was referring to and realized that anybody, whether a brother or a sister, could become an oppressor if s/he denies the citizens equality, democracy, rule of law and justice.

Mr. Simon Yel Yel ,to prove that there is “no Coup attempted” does not need somebody to study engineering in Malaysia, When South Sudan became an independent state in 9/07/2011, many people had hoped that the newly independent country would be built on principles of ethnic equality, democracy, rule of law and federalism. There was a reason for people to be optimistic about the future of South Sudan. Those who had hoped that South Sudan would become a paradise of equality justified their argument on the belief that the people of South Sudan had bitterly struggled for equality in the old Sudan for over fifty years.

Common-sense has it that people who struggled for ethnic equality for more than five decades would be able to manage ethnic diversity in a way other African countries failed to do. It is true that people who struggled against the imposition of Arabism and Islamism in the old Sudan could not end up having a government that would behave like successive Khartoum regimes that treated ethnic Africans in general as second-class citizens and the people of South Sudan in particular as third-class citizens.

Prior to independence, so many Southern Sudanese thought that an oppressor who denied people their rights was a Muslim man in Khartoum with a turban on his head. Little did the ordinary people know that a Dinka man with scarification on his forehead would become the new oppressor who may practise the worst kind of ethnic domination in the newly independent state. During the reign of successive regimes of old Sudan, ethnic domination was practised on the basis of religion and political ideology. South Sudanese were marginalized as a unit because the Northern elites wanted to assimilate them into Arab and Islamic culture. Within the north, there was some sort of power-sharing among the tribes of Shaygia, Jaaliyeen, Danagalla, etc. Political participation in the government was not dictated by one tribal affiliation but by whether one was a member of a sectarian party or Muslim brotherhood.

It would be practically impossible for Dinka elite to brutally dominate other ethnic groups in a country whose independence was achieved via a revolution. Dinka elite cannot institutionalize ethnic domination in post-independent South Sudan without facing a military uprising similar to Dr Riek Macher Rebellion. The current formation of various rebel movements in the country is a symptom of rejection of the ethnic domination being imposed from the top.  Late Lt. Gen. George Athor Deng admitted in an interview in March 2011, “There is no equality between Dinkas and non-Dinkas in the government of South Sudan”. He further noted that most institutions of the government of South Sudan are built on tribal dominations and there is no equality and equity between various ethnic groups that would take place without regime change in Juba.

The politics of domination the Dinka elite pursue in South Sudan for the control of economic and political power is the main source of incessant conflicts among ethnic groups in the country.

The side effect of ethnic domination in Africa is that civil wars resulting from ethnic tensions and conflicts usually plunge nations and countries into economic mess. For instance, ethnic violence in Nigeria’s Niger Delta area has partially paralyzed economic exploration of crude oil in that state. The ethnic tension between the ljaws, the Itshekiris, and the Urhobos has seriously affected the business of oil companies located in that area.

In the process, economic setbacks are usually experienced. No sane person could argue that economic development will take place in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity  states which are infested with rebel Movements fighting to topple the corrupt regime in Juba. The cause of all conflict in South Sudan is not North Sudan as pathological Dinka elite would want the world to believe but the policy of ethnic domination which has become the manifesto of the ruling clique

THE BEST SOLUTION FOR SOUTH SUDAN CRISIS

Posted: January 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles

 THE BEST SOLUTION FOR SOUTH SUDAN CRISIS NOW AND FOREVER

By Dr Isaac Ayii Madut

The only best solution for crisis of South Sudan is dialogue for political solution not war and then embracing of democratic principles for getting leaders in and out of power and bringing into books the perpetrators of crimes against humanity both sides to stands as a warning for future perpetrators so that the innocence lives of South Sudanese be spared for development of this nation now and later,

we had been at war for over 5 decades plus and what we got out of that was more destruction of lives and properties and foundation for more wars as we can see more of the killings are as the results of revenge of the previous wars which communities got a long as they fought with The Government of Khartoum by then, only and only peace is needed now not war which will breeds more wars in time to come and tendency of revenge amongst the communities.

There is a concept of democracy got through bullet not ballot  which should be  avoided as most people are being push into war for the sake of democracy  but instead we should task all the warring bodies to bring their differences on table and restraint from war which will breed more wars and  later  undemocratic , ungovernable society to whoever would win belief me or not the  power got  through bullet will never and never implement the principles of democracy properly and that is the very common ground the current government went to the bush and see  what happened to democracy , again a section of the same group are now fighting for what they said is lack of democracy and would also continue in the vicious cycle in case this very group of Dr Riek Machar  wins  through bullet they would not be able  to implement the principles of democracy accurately because among them the corruption, sectarianism  , tribalism  etc are never separated from liberators, so why do we take expensive route to democracy? ,  instead of pressurizing our government and rebels through international community , civil societies  etc and who ever can make them implement free and fair elections comes 2015   would be cheaper than this current move of war  another foundations for more wars, more hatred , more revenges, ethnic cohesion, more corruption, lasting conflict  etc .

Civic education for post war victims and  the societies of South Sudanese , almost every member of community in this country is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) and flash back memories of negative effects of war given the greater times of our lives taken in war than peace which is responsible for the revenge and insecurity we are facing currently , and I don’t blame much if our people resorts  into wars in solving their problems because that is where they were born, grew up in it and have become part of their lives little did they know the benefits of peace compare to war, imagine in my assessment of most people commences on face book 90% of  people commences supports war in order to show their mighty this is the case of  some Dinka and  some Nuer  ( see  face book South Sudanese all over the world) , yet in 21 century people are proud of inventions , innovations and discoveries  above all as a nation not tribe but for the case of our people , some are only proud of number of deaths and suffering they inflicted amongst themselves, all this called for counseling , civic education and importance  of peaceful coexistent of each community now and  after this  post conflict  , this role could be done as additional mandate by UNMISS , Government and any people of good will , so that our people embrace the goodness of peace than war which is only destructive to lives and properties.

The role of natural resources particularly oil which had extended the competition of super powers like USA and China into our communities by colliding us through politicians in order to gain their interest  , therefore I urge my fellow countrymen and  particularly leaders to be very careful in  allocating the exploitation of resources to those two competing superpowers China and USA be fairly  base on their contribution in our struggle  and our national development and vision so that we don’t become the victims of their competition , and our people should engage in alternative sources of livelihood like agriculture , business etc  not  only rely on exhaustive natural resources like oil  which had caused a lot of  laziness like it is the case with us in south Sudan as the result majority think that only through politics do people gets resources clearly manifested  on how people supported  the leaders base on tribal line yet the country is endowed with a lot of natural resources  apart from oil what we need is man power and skills .

The elections should be conducted through monitoring of International community, AU and IGAD in 2015 and independence electoral commission should be put in place, and multiparty system be embraced so that every party wanting to contest should be given a chance and for sure people of South Sudan are very wise they will vote for a neutral person  who would take us for development and with a vision for a better South Sudan for every Citizen regardless of tribe, religion, region and political affiliation.

Lastly , we need the  permanent constitution be drafted by  involving all the parties, civil societies, religious leaders and every consent citizen voice be put in constitution and term limits for the presidency be fixed for only two terms, so that every person with ambition  of becoming president gets it through ballot not bullet .

Dr Isaac Ayii Ayii Madut (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist & Medical Educationist), a concern citizen can be reached at his email: ayiiisaac@yahoo.com