Archive for June 20, 2014


STATEMENT BY PAGAN AMUM OKIECH

AT THE IV Session of Phase II IGAD MEDIATED PEACE TALKS ON SOUTH SUDAN

20TH June, 2014, Addis Ababa

Pagan Amum Okiech, former secretary-general of the ruling SPLM party

Pagan Amum Okiech, former secretary-general of the ruling SPLM party

Your Excellencies,

IGAD Special Envoys and Mediators in the South Sudanese Peace process, UN Representative, AU Representative, the Special Envoys of Norway, the United Kingdom and United States of America, EU and China, and other Representatives and Envoys present here,

South Sudanese Delegates and stakeholders representing the Government, SPLM/A In Opposition (who are unfortunately absent), SPLM Leaders, Political Parties, Civil Society and Faith based Organizations,

South Sudanese Eminent Persons,

Members of the diplomatic corps

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf, I thank IGAD and the Envoys for inviting us to this Fourth Session of the Second Phase of IGAD mediated peace talks on South Sudan. We sincerely appreciate and fully recognize the firm commitment of the IGAD Heads of State and Government to bring peace to our country particularly as reiterated in their communiqué of 10th June 2014. We are aware of the desire of the people of South Sudan, IGAD and the international community to see a speedy resolution of the conflict in our country. It is our hope that this session will be the last and will indeed deliver an agreement that will restore peace to our country.

The commitment of the principal protagonists to peace and inclusiveness as came in the 9th of May, 2014 Agreement, has given hope to the people of South Sudan for peace. However, we are disheartened that despite the recommitment to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, fighting has continued unabated and peace talks have been delayed.

Furthermore, we regret that a lot of time has been wasted on procedural rather than substantive issues. We therefore call upon the two protagonists and on all other stakeholders to abide by and respect the decisions of our leaders during the last IGAD submit. We must dedicate ourselves, to a serious and intense negotiation to reach peace within the 60 days.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are gathered here today to stop a cruel and brutal war that is devastating our country. We are here today to bring peace to our bleeding country and hope to our distressed people. We are here to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to all our people in need. We are here to discuss, resolve and chart a road map for return of peace and stability to our country. We are here to work out the details of a Transitional Arrangement to usher South Sudan into peace and democracy. We are here to conclude an agreement to bring an end to the conflict and suffering of our people.

As per the Agreement of 9th of May, 2014 and the decisions of the last IGAD Heads of State and Government Summit of 10th of June, 2014, the following issues were laid out for us to discuss and agree on during this session of talks; which include ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access to all in need, transitional government and framework agreement on permanent constitution making process.

In our view, all these issues are resolvable if all parties negotiate in good faith and without any hidden agenda or fears. We must have realized, during the last six months of warfare, that there is no military solution to the crisis. The solution lies in all South Sudanese stakeholders gathered here today, putting the country first. It is encouraging that the composition of this session reflects and recognizes this fact.

We thank the leaders of the IGAD sub-region, the African Union and the international community for their quick intervention to help the people of South Sudan soon after the war erupted on December 15, 2013. We appreciate their commitment and steadfastness to resolve the South Sudanese national crisis. We are equally grateful for their commitment and support to the IGAD mediation process.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This conflict has had a devastating impact on our people and country. Within a short period of six months, this brutal war has killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million of our citizens internally and to the neighbouring countries. Roughly one hundred thousand have sought safety in United Nations (UNMISS) camps within South Sudan, including in Juba, our National Capital. More than three million South Sudanese today face the threat of famine and starvation. The economy of South Sudan is on the verge of collapse and the state itself is in a state of free-fall into chaos and disorder. This war is tearing our national fabric to shreds. Our young nation is threatened with disintegration and has become a failed state. According to the last Global Peace Index just released this week, South Sudan ranks the worst in Africa and the third worst in the world.

As a new state, South Sudan has failed to learn lessons from other African experiences, specifically the experiences from situations of internal conflicts and wars that retarded state and nation building and delayed social development. It is our hope that we, the participants at this session of negotiations will learn from these lessons and deliver our country peace, freedom and prosperity.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our problems which first surfaced as disagreements on issues of reforms within the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) are political in nature. We failed to resolve them within the party; instead, military means and violence were employed to try to silence this debate thereby causing the conflict. To resolve this crisis, we must break free from the mindset that created the problem; the mindset of trading blame and accusations; the mindset of denial that one is right and blameless and the other is always wrong and a demon. As leaders of the SPLM, while sharing the party’s successes and glorious achievements, it will be remiss on our part if we disclaim our share in its failure to deliver on its promises to our people, the failure to provide a visionary leadership to our young nation. We take our share of the blame. While making this general statement, what cannot go without mention, is the failure of the SPLM leadership in resolving internal governance and organizational issues of the Party peacefully, thereby resulting in the current national crisis that has engulfed the country since December 15, 2013.

To resolve these problems and reach an agreement within the remaining days of the two months deadline, we are called upon to provide leadership that would enable us to retrace our steps and lead the country to peace and development. We need to create a healthy atmosphere for the resolution of the conflict by making the ceasefire hold; we need to work out the details of a Transitional Government to restore trust and confidence in our people and return the country to normalcy.

Once more, on behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf, I want to thank IGAD and the international community for the quick intervention and continued interest that may have prevented the conflict from taking genocidal dimensions. We reaffirm our trust and confidence in the IGAD mediation process and commit ourselves to contribute positively towards the realization of peace in our country.

Last but not least, we reiterate our appreciation and gratefulness to the leaders of IGAD region, the African Union, Troika, EU, the UN for their committed engagement and relentless efforts to promote peaceful settlement of the crisis in South Sudan. We are wholeheartedly grateful to the international donor community for their generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to rescue and save millions of lives of South Sudanese people, who are victims of a war unleashed by its leaders. Here, we call on the Government of South Sudan to reciprocate the International good will as expressed in the last Oslo donor conference, by earmarking and contributing at least 300 million Dollars of the Oil money for humanitarian relief to avert the looming famine.

We in particular appreciate the determination of the IGAD Heads of State and Government in holding the summit to recommit President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny to abide by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement as well as the commitment to bring peace to South Sudan within sixty (60) days. This time-bound commitment is important given the tragic and deplorable situation facing the people of South Sudan as a result of this conflict.

Our position remains the immediate ending of the war in order to give peace a chance. We therefore call upon all people of South Sudan and particularly the delegations at this session to direct all their efforts towards this end.

May God bless you with wisdom!

Oh God bless South Sudan!

Peace be upon us all.

Mr. Pagan Amum Okiech,

Leader, SPLM Leaders (FD)

Addis Ababa, 16th June, 2014

As happy as Akur Ajokenn

Posted: June 20, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in David Aoloch, Poems.

By David Aoloch Bion

At night in 1929, an unknown assailant
Entered the church compound
Speared a spear into British missionary
Mosquito net and escaped
He slightly hurted the missionary at arm

A spear was taken to the village market by policeman
In civilian clothes shown it to people in cunning manner .
‘’ whose spear is this, we found it on bathing beach at river Nile’’ policeman declared
‘’ it’s my brother in- law -spear’’ someone claimed it
Here mistake of identity occurred
‘’ who’s your brother in law’’
‘’Lual ’’
Lual was son of woman called Akur Ajokenn
Policeman went and arrested him
When he denied the spear,
Authorities never listened
But took to prison
When Akur came to see him
She never found him in prison
And prison ward told that
he was taken to another prison
she went to that prison
She never found him there
She went to big, last and notorious
prison in country
She never found him
she wailed, mourned and believed her
her Son was hanged in prison
By British imperial police
And returned to village
She held last funeral rite for him
After three years, a wife was married
For him according to culture by his
Cousin

In reality, he was not hanged or dead as
Thought by his mother
he was tried and
Sentenced to 20 years in prison
With hard labour for attempt murder
And taken to serve his jail term on Salt mine
When jail terms finished after 20 years
he boarded ship and arrived home
When his mother Akur Ajoken saw him
She cried, cried …. cried for joy
She sang, she danced
She ran, she ululated
She jumped
Up and down till he died of happiness

Note : The origin of this poem is colonial history

Jealousy pierces his father’s buttock

Posted: June 20, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in David Aoloch, Poems.

By David Aoloch Bion

People used to come and stay at rich man’s byre
One day he heaped his cow dung on hearth
Set it on fire
The dung burned whitest ashes
People used to come every day and sit on the ash
he felt jealous and said to himself
‘’I don’t want anyone to sit on my white
Precious ashes, I will use it to groom
My cattle in the evening’’
he brought a needle
Planted it upright in ashes
Where people used to sit
So it pierced the buttock or anus
Of anyone who will come
And sit there
And he left for forest to graze his cattle
That day no one came to his byre
When he came back in evening
He forget the needle
And he sat on the ash
The needle pierced his anus
Thus ‘’ jealousy pierced his
Father buttock or anus’’

Note : the origin of this poem is parable or oral tradition


By John Adoor Deng, Australia

President Kiir and ex-VP Riek Machar

President Kiir and ex-VP Riek Machar

I am surprised by the disproportional reaction from South Sudanese political elites to simple matters of criticism. One wonders, how democracy and freedom of expression can grow in this country. Little things make big headlines especially coated in threats and bullying languages.

Comparatively, leaders all over the world unless South Sudan is a country on a different planet and operates with distinctive values and customs, are inundated with criticisms both during their reign even after they had left offices. In most part of the world, leadership is understood as a significant responsibility. It comes with great rewards – people trust you, follow you, admire you, and are inspired by you.

Equally, however, leadership comes with a fair amount of disrespect, fear and the desire to lop the tall poppy. Coping with criticism in a leadership context is not a case of reacting defensively to justify your actions. Instead, it requires much more expansive comprehension of how your actions are perceived by others and how you perceive their actions.

While it’s not easy taking the analytical road over the critical, doing so brings the best outcomes for both the short and long terms. In the words of the wise man, Aristotle, “Anyone can become angry.

That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way — that is not easy.” He also said that Criticism is something you can avoid easily—by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.

Although not many leaders can comprehend Mr Aristotle position on criticism, it is necessary that leaders in high positions abide at least to some of this comprehension. In the real sense, do South Sudanese political elites know that the price of leadership is criticism? If they know, why do they bother to lead while they hardly cope with criticisms? Naturally, no one pays much attention to the last-place finishers.

But when you’re in front, everything gets noticed. So it is important to learn to handle criticism constructively. Jonas Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine, had many critics in spite of his grand accomplishments. He once made this interesting observation: “People will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing is really not important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and what you are doing is very important. But after all, they knew it all the time.” –

I appeal to South Sudanese political elites to avoid being reactive to small issues and criticism. As the country is severely divided on tribal lines, it is a high time that our leaders show smile faces, response to queries cautiously and calmly. The reaction toward recent statement from the public servant of IGAD was responded disproportionally. The peace talk cannot be postponed simply because a certain layman has referred to President Kiir and Dr Machar as stupids.

It does not correlate at all, because of thse things: Firstly, Mr Maalim Mahboub is a mere worker for IGAD and, therefore, whatever he says should be treated as misconduct against public service codes and regulations within the organisation.

Also, president Kiir is the employer of Mr Maalim Mahboub because IGAD countries funds IGAD. How can a boss complained publicly about a mistake committed by his subordinate? Secondly, Maalim Mahboub is neither a mediator nor a head of state of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia which is chairing and hosting IGAD peace talks.

What then is the connection between Maalim Mahboub with postponing the talks mediated by those Hon mediators with no body call Maalim Mahboub among them? Thirdly, is it worth it to pull out of peace talks simply because of a mere statement from a mere person?

Many of us thought that our leaders went to Addis-Ababa to bring back peace to the country. We thought that they went to Ethiopia with an open mind to compromise their interests so that the interest of the innocent public could be realised.

I appeal to all of especially the delegates on both sides to Ethiopia, to stop putting unnecessary hindrances to the noble quest for peace in the country. Sincerely, your with draw from a peace talks simply because of a mere statement say many things in the eye of the international community than such words of Mahboub Maalim.

For the rules of law and freedom of expression to flourish in our country, our political elites should less their disproportional reaction to criticisms.

The Author is John Adoor Deng, BA, BTH, MPRL, MPPP-current and Director of South Sudan Support Foundation (SSSF). He can be reached at johnadoordeng@yahoo.com.au


Opening Statement by Representative of South Sudan Civil Society                                                                                                                               Date 20/06/2014

Your Excellency Amb. Seyoum Mesfin

Chairperson of IGAD Special Envoys for South Sudan Peace process

Members of the IGAD mediation teams

Representatives of Trioka, the European Union and China

Government of the Republic of South Sudan

SPLM/A in Opposition

And Representatives of various stakeholders

Ladies and gentlemen

First and foremost, allow me on behalf of South Sudan Civil Society to first thanks God for this wonderful day, a day that we are all witness to making peace in our country. Time for peace is now and we must bring peace to our country by immediately stopping fighting and commits ourselves for peaceful settlement under IGAD mediation process.

I must underline enough is enough as our country is undergoing turmoil that cost reportedly 10,000 lives and destroyed properties; 4 million people in need of humanitarian aid with only 1.4 million people reached with humanitarian assistance; 359,000 people displaced to neighboring countries while 1.3 million people are internally displaced with only 75,000 sheltering within UNMISS camps throughout the country according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs latest report.

At this stage in order to quickly avert this violence conflict, our collective efforts must be put together with that of the international community particularly the IGAD, AU, UN and the Troika to address this unfortunate and senseless killings of our own people just because of power struggle within governing Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement SPLM party by the leaders. However, all South Sudanese stakeholders made their position clear from day one that the armed conflict is political in nature and must be resolved only through political settlement.

In light of this situation, we welcome the landmark agreement to resolve crisis signed on 9 May, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between the President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar of the SPLM in Opposition, where all South Sudanese stakeholders were agreed to participate in the peace process.

With this agreement, we deplore the behaviors of the parties to the armed conflict as they are in continuous violation of the ceasefire agreement. I called upon the international community to speed up urgent deployment of monitoring and verification mechanism to ensure implementation of this agreement so that this phase of negotiations with interim calm produce peaceful outcome.

Bless are the peace makers for they are call children of God Mathew. 5.9

 Deng Athuai Mawiir Rehan

                                                 Chairperson, South Sudan Civil Society Alliance

                                         And Head of Civil Society Delegation to the peace process

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

Posted: June 20, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, Philip Thon Aleu

By Philip Thon Aleu

‘What elders see while seated is seen clearly by young people only while on a tree.’ I wish we were on tree before this commotion began in Latdingwa. Instead, we ran to the trees when it was too late. This elder, Abathou-dit, pleaded to this armed angry Moro man. He made final curses to Dinka people occupying his forest with cattle and retired to his hut after rubbing off the imaginary border he had drawn on the floor. We trickled out of the bush and began collecting our belonging before we fled entirely.

A few hours later, some of our colleagues branched into nearby cattle camps. I and other three guys headed for Kotabi, reaching the following morning on December 30th 2003 (Eleven days after leaving Magalatore Displaced Persons Camp (MDC). Unfortunately, I could not even rest for a day in Kotabi (some 15 km west of Munnduri). I learnt that one of my brothers disappeared with our kraal. I later found that he was heading to Bor. But before I could pursue him, I decided quickly to visit my sister. Her husband was heading westwards to Maridi with the entire herd of cattle. If I were to rest in Kotabi, it will take days to trace them. So I left at 3:20 PM (I could remember the exact time because I had my dairy always in a small bag that rest on my shoulders. My departure time is that last minute I am able to see the top of the last hut).

It turned out that they pastorals were chasing their animals like hunters. I spent a night at my niece kraal and continued the following morning. That woman, Aluel Makuei Guet, took care of us and there sufficient energy to deal with those miles ahead of me. To my bad luck, I reached my sister’s camp being readied to leave at 8:00am on December 31st. So I sat on a tool and I was served with fresh milk which I took down immediately. Within minutes, I was on another journey. In the evening, we camped up somewhere and I took no chance. I summoned my sister and her husband and we agreed on few things. In the morning, I took the burden of returning to Kotabi. This journey was always my duty and I was becoming accustomed to it. Instead of spending a night on the way, I decided to increase my speed, just like a car, and I was in Kotabi by 6:30pm on January 1st, 2004 (some clean 12 hours footing). I was extremely tired and I had to warm my thighs with hot water to be able to bend flexibly. It worked.

But the toughest trip of the 19 days I spent walking from MDC to Bor was still ahead.

On January 3rd, I and my friend Mach Ayuen, a veteran on this long journey like me, were joined by another elder called Pandek Tiit. The three of us say our prayer at 3:00PM and by 6:00PM, we were in Munduri. The following day, January 4th, we left Munduri at 6:15am, crossed that flowing river with our trousers removed and shirts rolled to the upper part of the body. You can imagine the movement across River Munduri! Hehehe. By 11am, we were deciding which direction to take. The three of us have never passed through snaky connections from Ziingki to that road between Amadi and Tali. That was the shortest route. You will walk for six hours non-stop and rest in the middle before continuing for another six hours to Tali. This man, Tiit, have used the other road from Zingki to Tali (heading toward Juba in the east and then turning left (south) to Tali).

That would take three days and two nights and we ruled it out unanimously. By our standards, there was always no one with veto powers and even if this mzee insisted on using that dangerous path he knew, we ignored him. It would be more stressful marauding bushes for day! Why not use this short path and have the result within twelve hours? This twelve-hour route has enormous challenge too. First of all, we don’t know it. Second, there are no known water points in this dry season. Third, those villagers are said to be hostile and etc. But we took it and left everything in the hand of God and fate! It was a brave decision and the results were quick too.

By 2pm, we were passing through huts. These villagers are very funny and feared for a reason. Every time we approach a compound people dashed off to the bush. Probably after studying us behind those trees, one elder would return and inquiry what we are up to! “Which path is going to the main road?” we would ask. “That one” was always the answer as the direction is pointed. Always furious about the route shown to us, we would first establish that there are many footmarks and always leading to the south. If we did not do like that, we would have found ourselves ending up in Juba which was not a good destination for us before 2005. By 5pm, the five-liter of water each one of us had was empty. The sun was draining every single water contain in our veins and things were very tough. It was extremely a harsh situation that we hated ourselves. We were now moving like soldiers advancing on the enemy with at least five meter space between. Unlike the army, our pace varied and the distance separating surged abnormally and by the time you expect the next guy following you, it will be 20 minutes without seeing him.

Personally, I took the blame for insisting on this route. Second, it was a Sunday (January 4th, 2004) and I thought that God was punishing us for moving on the day of prayers. All that blame did not change the challenge ahead; to complete the miles and get water. To our only lucky, we reached the road between Amadi and Tali by 8:30pm. We got some three turn-boys whose car (Hino, the type commonly used by soldiers during the war) had broken down. They were cooking and a borehole was not far. After first refusing to sell us their food, they sympathized with our condition and served us a plate of posho (it is called Ugali these days) and some beef. It was a brotherly offer! By 2am, we were on our feet again, dodging stone in darkness and reached Tali by 9:15am on January 5th.

On January 6th, we started our journey to Bor. For me, it was a first time to return to Bor in twelve years. For those who don’t know that thick forest between Tali and Mabior (currently in Awerial county), it a seven hour walk. By 11pm, we were arraigned by a looter in front of his hut in Mabior. He demanded our travel permits and fees to that effect. South Sudanese are sometime unique! This man, calling himself ‘police officer’, does not know how to write or have ever enrolled in the rebel movement. Instead of looting those small bags, he decided to be smart and we exploited that ignorance to his disadvantage.

We pulled out a page from my dairy (with some writings on it) and handed over to him (that was the permit). He looked at the sheet of paper (holding it upside down) and asked one of us to sign. He did not have a pen. He helped him to sign and mark that “these people passed through Mabior.” He demanded ‘migration fees’ which we turned down. The fact of the matter was that, we did not even have any single coin in our pockets. After a marathon debate lasting to 1am, we offered him two capsule of anti-biotic to treat his sick animals. We deceived him that we shall spend the night at his home and see what to do tomorrow. But by 2:30am, we were thirty minutes walk away from his home.

In the evening of January 7th, we were looking for a home to rest our limbs in Gulyar (at that spot now known as Mingkaman where IDPs from Bor are sheltering.). But before we reached a house belong to a guy from our Payam, we met some sailors. They ‘booked’ us for their trip crossing Nile River to Bor on January 8th. As we were discussing where to meet, Mach Ayuen, who would have won a model for this funs on this trip, loose his grips on a walking stick and hit one of the sailors at the forehead. That man said something that I will not forget but it was reflective of what we went through on this 18th day of our journey. It summarizes our physical appearance.

“Yin cak geek. Ee gup eke thol,” he said in Dinka which I can translate as “I will not blame you. It’s the body which is malnourished.”

We were malnourished and that is indisputable because you cannot survive for three weeks with one meal a day or non and remain obsessed. But these sailors were malnourished too. They did not have the energy to push water backward and move the boat forward. The wooden boat, which usually takes 5 hours to reach Goi near Pariak, took 11 hours reaching at 5:20PM on January 8th, 2004.

Did we get the school and fee and went back to school immediately? My answer is; that is another story.

END

© Philip Thon Aleu 2014