Archive for June 19, 2014

President Kiir: a transitional government without me is a REDLINE

Posted: June 19, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Featured Articles

Opening ceremony: ministry of Communication

Opening ceremony: ministry of telecommunication and postal services

“The dissolution of the National Legislature, Speaker sir, honorable members, I said in Addis Ababa, that it is a red-line and I’m very clear on this. The members of this August House were elected by their constituencies to represent them in accordance with the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. And nobody on this earth will be allowed to dishonor their legitimacy. They also plan, or at least, hope to constitute a transitional government without Salva Kiir. They want to bring somebody of their choice to be the president of that transitional government. Your excellence, that too, is a red line – political manipulations that are intended to compromise our constitution and potentially cause more problems to our people will not be allowed.” –President Salva Kiir told Members of Parliament during an emergency sitting of the Assembly this Thursday morning (19 June 2014) in Juba, South Sudan.


Saakam!

Joining the rebels as a general without your own soldiers just got tricky Joining the rebels as a general without your own soldiers just got tricky (photo:wiki)

The growing and overwhelming number of white-collar defectors, army generals without armies and the many very angry men leaving Juba to join the armed and political opposition against Kiir’s crumbling regime is on the brink as rebels can not take it any more and are cautiously reconsidering their open-arms approach.

A new policy that requires a stricter and more selective attitude is being considered where defectors will be vetted and only granted varying classifications of membership depending on how well they fit in the yet-to-be-developed program of the rebellion.

According to insiders, white-collar defectors who highly class themselves will go through a few gruelling interviews in front of the leadership where they will be quizzed about concepts like:- the vision of New Sudan; the pros and cons of Federalism in respect to other systems of governance and why is there…

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Post-Referendum Sudan: National and Regional Questions

Posted: June 19, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Books, Reports

Post-Referendum Sudan: National and Regional Questions

Post-Referendum Sudan : National and Regional Questions. Edited by Samson S. Wassara and Al-Tayib Zain al-Abdin. Dakar, CODESRIA, 2014, 232 p., ISBN : 978-2-86978-588-5

The 19-day Journey on Foot (Part 1 of 2)

Posted: June 19, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Philip Thon Aleu

By Philip Thon Aleu

The heat of summer sunshine was directly falling on our foreheads. I felt drops of sweat rolling down my back, checks and my head became less heavy. I was asleep till 3:00pm when one of my colleagues whom we had planned to travel from Magalatore Displaced Persons Camp (MDC) in Kajo-Keji county to Munduri county in December. The journey later continued to Bor in January 2004.

I had completed senior three (S3) in Nyangilia Secondary School. If I were to enroll to senior four in 2004, I needed 75,000 Ugandan shillings (about $50 then) for registration fees and about $150 for three terms. My father, a cattle keeper, had his herds in Munduri, and like other cattle keepers, he was hard to part with his animals. I and other sons of these traditionalists have one option; to travel to cattle camps to persuade these pastorals.

Instead of traveling from MDC to Koboko-Yei-Munduri as it would have been easiest, there was no transport fares to that effect. So we took the cheapest but risky option: moving on foot.

After leaving MDC at 3:19PM on December 19, 2003, we headed for Keriwa and continued to Kor Kaya (River Kaya), crossing it at about 7PM. It was dark before we reached Ajuu and entered that thick forest. The moon failed us. Those trees have grown abnormally and covered the sky with their branches and leaves. No charcoal dealer or carpenter has ever entered this forest and I wished one of them was around to help us remove these creatures.

With that useless moon in the sky, stones knocking our toes and tearing apart our slippers, we decided to rest our limbs on a nearby hill. The six of us, Nyok Maluk, Chiengkou Malith, Thon Aluong, Chuti Abuot and Mach Ayuen had only sheets of cloth, to cover our faces and took some naps. The stone surface was not a good sleeping mattress and it was a nightmare. The rest is history.

We continued and reached Yei on December 22. Our group split. I remained with Mach Ayuen and tried for the next four days to get a car, that big type use by business men to transit goods, to put us on top. But the drivers refused our peanut fares. Each day passed and the money kept on depleting. The next thing would be to go hunger unless we take swing decision. On December 25th, we regrouped and decided to continue footing to Munduri, taking off on December 26th. Chiengkou Malith remained in Yei and other four colleagues joined us. They were my classmates Ayor Brian and Majak Mangar and others were Deng Baraac and one Abathou-dit. At 05:30am on December 26th, we passed Yei military check pointed and headed Maridi highway. By 9:30 am, we were cleaning our legs of the red earth that settled from the knees to the toes at a place known as Tala-thacaar mile (thirteen mile).

At 2:00pm, we branched off from Tala-thacaar mile into the forest of Torrii. That wore out road took us to River Torrii the following morning. We stayed connected to the world by a small radio I was holding. At 6:00pm daily, we converge to listen to Focus On Africa having tuned to Good Morning Africa 12 hours earlier from the BBC World Services. But our immediate news was not being broadcast from radios. There was no reporter in Torrii or Bangolo to report on tension building up there between Dinka cattle keepers and indigenous Moro. So in Torrii, an elder woman told us that Bangolo, some six hours walk ahead, was not good to enter at night. Dinka cattle keepers have a problem with local people, she told us, having probably read from traditional saying that children belong to every woman. This Moro woman did not see us as Dinka but her children.

There was no going back to Yei. That option was not on table. We have to go forward to Kotabi near Munduri but have to decide on what time to enter Bangolo. Instead of leaving Torrii at 2:00pm as earlier scheduled, we left at 11am (having rested for one and half hours). On the way, a Moro man riding a bicycle overtook us and we told him to ask traders in Bangolo to keep their shops open till we come. “We will buy food from them,” we told him. That worked. The traders never closed and that served us from bandits who would have taken advantage to loot those small items we call luggage.

But the danger was still ahead.

In Bangolo, we spent a night at chief’s compound. Though he first hesitated that there is no space, we refused to sleep in those grass-thatched structures standing on poles and locally known as classrooms for fear of being attack at night. We cheated him by leaving at 1am to evade local gang who have been frequenting the chief’s compound to probably check on us. Those village boys, wearing tore shirts and some pieces of cloths around their waists, thought we were fools to narrate them our journeys. We were not heads states to allow “advanced teams.” So we told them that we are tired and would prefer to leave tomorrow evening. By that time, we shall be miles away from Bangolo and they will never see us and their quivers will not be emptied on our backs.

By 10:00am, we ordered a special lunch at Latding village. This woman knows how to cook for visitors. But her delicious food nearly caused our lives. After eating the Laam Gapa (as is the meat from wild or bush animals is known), we retired to nearby shade provided by trees. By 2pm, it was getting hot and I decided to ask for water to quench my thirst. The bush meat was doing its job and it calls for more water for the digestive system to be cooled and maintain high efficiency. Unfortunately, requesting for water from this woman who cooked this delicious food proofed to be costly. Her husband was sitting next to us. He was working at his garage and exchanging selected-word with us.

And when I went toward the ‘restaurant’, he shouted in his dialect. The woman told me that there is no water. But I refused to believe her because there was a jerry-can full of water just at the door-step. She looked away. I bent and took a cup and filled it and emptied into my throat. Her husband was now yelling at her but I never heeded his rebukes because I was not bothered by whatever he was saying. First of all, I was getting the meaning of his words. And as long as he is not advancing toward me, I will ignore him, I decided. But one of my colleagues was angered by the behaviors of this Moro man. He said he would ask what he telling his wife. After failing persuade to ignore the noisy man, a commotion ensued.

This Moro told us few words and then rushed for his AK47. He cocked it. He was now cursing us and drawing a line on the floor. He sworn by heaven and earth that if anyone dares to cross that imaginary border, he would release some lead-metal into us. He removed the cover of his wooden explosives and threatened to throw one into our crowd. You can figure out how we’re fast breathing and quickly disappearing into nearby bushes. But this elder man in our team was a Messiah! Abathou-dit had some gut. He stood his ground and beg the fuming Moro to forgive us. Forgive us for asking why he was threatening his wife not to give us water.

To be continued.

© Philip Thon Aleu 2014.