Archive for February 7, 2015

The Principle of Tribocracy (Part 1)

Posted: February 7, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Editorials, Featured Articles, PaanLuel Wël, Philosophy

The Essence of Tribocracy

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan

In the life of every person there comes a point when he realizes that out of all the seemingly limitless possibilities of his youth he has in fact become one actuality. No longer is life a broad plain with forests and mountains beckoning all-around, but it becomes apparent that one’s journey across the meadows has indeed followed a regular path, that one can no longer go this way or that. The desire to reconcile an experience of freedom with a determined environment is the lament of poetry and the dilemma of philosophy.– Opening Sentence, Henry Kissinger’s Undergraduate Thesis, Harvard University, 1949.

Celebrating the Fruition of the CPA

Celebrating the Fruition of the CPA


February 7, 2015 (SSB)  On Wednesday, 19 November 2014, Wau East communities from Western Bahr el Ghazal’s Jur River County filed an urgent complaint with Governor Rizik Zakaria Hassan over power-sharing aberrations. The community representatives, led by Chairman James Bak Nyiyuo and Secretary Abraham Urayo, met with the state governor “to put their case for equal presentation in the executive state government.”[1]

In their written statement presented to Governor Rizik Hassan on behalf of the Wau East community, the community representatives crisply stated that their “demand stemmed up from the grassroots of the community after we have seen the current presentation in the executive government in the state cabinet where only two positions were offered to whole Wau East communities by your government compared to the representation of other communities in which great differences are seen.”[2]

More importantly, the written statement also reiterated the Wau East communities’ continued support for Governor Rizik Hassan’s state government “as we voted you in through a fair, transparent and credible democratic elections”[3] during the 2010 general election. The meeting between the representatives of Wau East community and the state governor was considered “a success” chiefly because Governor Rizik Hassan had accepted to meet the community representatives as requested and duly promised to look into the communities’ demands as outlined in their letter to the governor. While applauding their initiative, the governor candidly explained to the community representatives “that the first appointments in his cabinet were based on their qualifications and personal background with the ruling party (SPLM) rather than on community interest.”[4]

Speaking to the press after their meeting with Governor Rizik Hassan, the secretary of the delegation, Abraham Urayo, declared: “Our meeting with the governor was very clear as a demand from our communities over [the] lack of equal representation in the state’s cabinet likewise to other communities within the state…The state governor has [assured] us that he will consider our list in case of any reshuffling in the cabinet.”[5]

The meeting was prompted by the Wau East communities’ grave “concerns that they will again be left out in the future when the governor names his next cabinet line-up.”[6] In essence, the Wau East communities are simply petitioning Governor Rizik Hassan to proffer them nothing but their fair share of the state government they had voted in through a fair, transparent and credible democratic election.

In their quest for justice and fairness, they are asking for transparency and credibility of the selection process just as it was the case during the election that saw Governor Rizik Hassan winning the gubernatorial post. The communities are puzzled about ending up with only two cabinet positions while other communities have more than their fair share of the state government. They want fair and just system—equal representation in the state government based on numerical strength.

Their cause is not so much love for their own community as it is a fight for justice, equality and transparency—the motto of the ruling SPLM party. Fulfilling the revolutionary vision of the historic SPLM movement is—in the befitting title of Jacob Jiel Akol’s book—the burden of our nation.[7]


On 23 July 2011, just on the eve of the unveiling of the first cabinet of an independent South Sudan, I had written an article, Tribocracy: The New Political Philosophy for the New Country[8], in which I had argued that for South Sudan to avoid the pitfalls of her fellow, post-colonial African countries and be successful, the new nation must fully embrace and constitutionally legalize tribocracy as a system of political representation at the state and national levels. My article, much as it has been my long-harbored view about the preferred system of governance in Sub-Saharan Africa, was partly triggered by President Salva Kiir’s announcement that his first government would “be formed based on qualifications of candidates and not on tribal representation.”[9]

My advocacy for tribocracy is not so much the love for tribalism as it is the desire to take the bull by its horns. We should stop burying our heads in the sand of complacency. Indeed, to assert that the evils of tribalism are the ruination of Sub-Saharan African countries would be to affirm the obvious. Tribalism is the denial, or unequal sharing, of political offices by and/or amongst various ethnic groups that make up the nation-state. It breeds an intoxicating environment in which no plausible policies could emerge to encourage and promote justice, fairness and equality in power sharing and allocation of national resources.

And because plump political posts do translate into goodies, tribalism has been, and will continue to be, the socioeconomic and political undoing of South Sudan just as it has been the downfall of much of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. This is because politicians operating under tribalism have always manipulated and abused glaring shortcomings in democracy for their political endgames.

Democracy has thoroughly been abused in Africa. Procedural elections in many African countries have been used to legitimize—and perpetuate with impunity—corruption, bad leadership, and greediness for power, and to undermine any prospect of economic transformation and social prosperity. Without the prospect of democratization taking place due to the prevalence of tribalism, the entire region of Sub-Saharan Africa, for the last decades, has been left wallowing in abject poverty, illiteracy and political mediocrity. South Sudan too has no chance of ridding itself of tribalism by counting on democratization.

In a country without democracy but with with an embarrassing rate of illiteracy, the chances of economic development and political stability are literally beyond the realm of possibilities. Consequently, it is prudent that South Sudan should not trudge the very path to self-destruction that was taken by her counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pure liberal democracy, under the present conditions in South Sudan, is a mirage. Even in the West, it was a long arduous, never-straight, process. To expect South Sudan to democratize just within few years after independence is a frustrating exercise in sheer self-delusion.

Indeed, the horrendous spectacles of bad leadership, poor governance, rampant corruption and nepotism along with unabated accounts of inter-tribal conflicts and a chronic addiction to political rebellions as well as general malaise in socioeconomic development and political immaturity in Africa in general and in the present day South Sudan in particular, are merely symptoms of the underlying principal illness: tribalism.

In the 1960s, when most African countries were shaking off the heavy yoke of colonialism and embarking on self-rule, the then young inspiring leaders of African countries were greatly troubled by the illness of tribalism. Nonetheless, many hoped that, with democracy, liberal education and the promise of economic prosperity in hand, they would combat and defeat tribalism in its infancy, once and for all.

However, those promising tools they had pegged their hopes on to fight and eliminate tribalism—democracy, education and social prosperity—never saw the light of day. The poisonous thorns of tribalism choked them off in the womb as mere ideas. The rest is history as we can all see today in each and every country in the Sub-Saharan African region. That no single nation has succeeded in realizing her sociopolitical inspirations and harvesting the fruits of her independence is the plainest testimony to the resilience of tribalism in our societal psyche.

The way out of this political conundrum is to adopt and institutionalize tribocracy. The constitutionalization of tribocracy would herald the end of our current tribulations engendered by the evils of tribalism. Therefore, public appointments must be based on fair and equitable tribal representation, not on educational qualifications, political loyalty or liberation struggle credentials.


Whereas tribalism is “a form of government where representatives of a particular ethnic group hold a number of government posts disproportionately large to the percentage of the total population that the particular ethnic group(s) represents and use them to advance the position of their particular ethnic group(s) to the detriment of others.”[10] Tribocracy, on the other hand, is a political system where representatives of a particular ethnic group hold a number of government posts proportionate to the percentage of the total population that the particular ethnic group(s) represents in order to promote and achieve fair and equitable political representation across all ethnic groups comprising that particular nation.

In a tribal African nation such as South Sudan, the best qualification for political office is equitable tribal representation, not the so-called meritocracy. After all, educational qualification, work experience and relevant background are vague at best and misleading at worst, making meritocracy susceptible to political manipulations by some well-connected individuals from certain favored tribe(s). Such individuals from the favored tribe(s) perpetually end up with the lion share of the government in the name of “they are highly qualified” for the jobs.

Therefore, the officialization of tribalism is what I would refer to as tribocracy. It is a political system of governance in which equality in political representation in the national government and/or at the state level is achieved through the principle of equitable and fair tribal representation. As each and every tribe gets a small proportion of the national seats, the benefits accruable from those high portfolios will invariably trickle down to every tribe.

My main argument is that we should device an inclusive system of governance, which in word and practice must be seen as fair and equitable for all the ethnic groups of South Sudan. To think otherwise is to inadvertently sleepwalk into the same booby-trap that befell and doomed the young independent African countries of the 1960s. Instead of trying in vain to avoid tribalism, we should rather unflinchingly embrace it, adopt it and institutionalize it as our core political philosophy of governance. The legalization of tribocracy would herald the age of political fairness, tribal equality, societal harmony, long lasting peace and sustainable development.

My central point is that “tribalism is that little innocent girl we have all chosen to defile [only to] later turn around and call her a whore.”[11] Let’s strive to honor and cherish the little innocent girl. Negative ethnicity will only end in Africa when we have fully embraced and effectively institutionalized tribocracy into our own national constitution. The fight against tribalism will never be won until we have fully and comfortably embraced, honored and cherished tribocracy as the system of governance in South Sudan in particular, and Africa in general.

“Dawa ya moto ni moto”, say the Waswahili people. If tribalism is our predicament, then the solution to tribalism may well be tribalism itself. Tribalism is predominantly an African problem. Tribocracy is therefore an African solution to an African problem. This is the essence of tribocracy.

PaanLuel Wël is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB). He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or email:

[1] Sudan Tribune, “Wau East communities file complaint with governor over power-sharing,” 19 November 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Jacob Jiel Akol (2006), “Burden of Nationality: A Story of Post Colonial Africa”.

[8] PaanLuel Wël (2011), “Tribocracy: The New Political Philosophy for the New Country”.

[9] Presidential Decree No.10/2011 for the Transformation and Reconstitution of the National Legislative Assembly of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011

[10] Badal Kariye (2010), “The Political Sociology of Security, Politics, Economics & Diplomacy: Quicker Academic Path for Good Governance”.

[11] Comment by a certain Karume, a Kenyan, on Maina Kiai’s article (2015), “To safeguard his legacy, Uhuru must write a different script on tribalism”.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from

Where do the Governors of Equatoria Stand on Federalism?

Posted: February 7, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles

By Dr Lam Akol

February 7, 2015 (SSB)  Last Friday the 30th of January 2015, the three Governors of Equatoria travelled to Addis Ababa to present their protest on what was reported in the media as relegating the current Vice president, who is from Equatoria, to the third position in the Executive in the IGAD proposed power sharing arrangement within the peace agreement that will end the war and bring peace to the country. They took with them a document titled “Equatoria Community Second Extra-Ordinary Conference and the Fifth Conference Resolutions” purported to have been the resolutions of an extra-ordinary conference held in Juba the same day by “Equatoria Community”. The document did not receive as much publicity as the reported anger of the Equatorians on denying their number the proposed position of the First Vice President of the Republic. Thanks to “Juba Monitor” newspaper which published the full text of the resolutions on a full page of the paper with true signatures of the three Governors. This was in its issue No. 304 dated Monday the 2nd of February 2015. Since then the veracity of document has not been challenged, therefore, one may safely assume that it is authentic.

There is a lot that can be said on whether the issue of hierarchy within a political party is a regional matter or is purely party business, or whether state appointments are the prerogative of state organs and institutions or matters to be determined by communities. Even whether state officials hold government positions in a personal capacity or in the name of the communities/States they hail from. These matters are not of interest to this author and will not be discussed here. The purpose of this piece is to deal with one extremely important aspect of the published resolutions of Equatoria Community; that is federalism. The reason for doing so is because if there was one issue that Equatorians showed proven unity on is their near unanimous demand for a federal state in South Sudan. In all their conferences which to date number five (according to this latest document), the demand for federalism in the four previous conferences has been a constant and prominent item in the resolutions. Last year, the three Governors themselves came under tremendous pressure from some influential quarters in the national government for adopting such a stand but they stood their ground, to the admiration of many South Sudanese who believe in free speech, not to mention those who support such a system of governance to be fully implemented in our country. Indeed, the three Governors sent in June last year a joint delegation, including ministers from the three States of Equatoria, to the Addis Ababa peace talks in an attempt to persuade the negotiating parties and influence the mediation to include in their agenda the adoption of federalism as part of resolving the current crisis.

It is this author’s considered opinion that as far as federalism is concerned the resolutions of Equatoria Community dated 30th January 2015 which the Governors took to Addis Ababa are a turning point indeed. These resolutions are different from if not in contradiction to the resolutions of the previous four conferences. The following paragraphs shall attempt to explain why.

The Communique is a carefully drafted document. It is noteworthy that in a long preamble, which constitutes almost half the document, there is no reference to federalism which had featured prominently in the resolutions of the previous four conferences of Equatoria Community. The sole paragraph that deals with federalism came under “Other Issues” [(B)(20] which we quote here in full. Quote:

“Federal option for the republic of South Sudan shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process but not through party interest agreement. Neither the SPLM nor the other political parties and organisations have the mandate to determine and impose federalism on South Sudanese people. Equatoria’s constant call for federal system is a peaceful, open and civic demand driven by our socio economic and political situation in our country. It is therefore a constitutional right in a democratic society to propose the best governance system to serve the people”. End of Quote.

For the ease of analysis, we shall break the above statement into its essential elements. These elements are:

1. Federalism “shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process”.
This statement can only mean that the issue of federalism should not be raised in the current peace talks and should await the permanent ‘constitution making process’. This sounds familiar a language and we all know where it comes from. But, is this the view of Equatoria Community? If so, why did they send a delegation to Addis Ababa in June to promote federalism and sell it to the negotiators?
2. Federalism is to be negotiated “not through party interest agreement”
If we take the previous sentence that federalism shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process, one assumes that the parties that will take part in those negotiations are the political parties, each of which has a stand (interest) on federalism and other issues related to the constitution of the country. So, if all issues are to be negotiated ‘through party interest agreement’, why not federalism? The current system of governance in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, call it what you like, came as a result of agreement of political parties (some say, imposition of the SPLM) in 2011. This is a system the drafters of the Communique seem to particularly like and would like to maintain as we shall point out later. Why was ‘party interest agreement’ acceptable for the current system and objectionable for federalism?

If the ‘party interest agreement’ is meant to refer to the outcome of the peace talks in Addis Ababa, mainly between the government and the SPLM/A-in opposition, why would a federalist reject federalism that comes through such an agreement and accept other agreed points? Are we interested in the application of federalism or in who brings it about?
3. “Neither the SPLM nor the other political parties and organisations have the mandate to determine and impose federalism on South Sudanese people”.
This is the key statement in the whole document. If the political parties in the country do not have a mandate to decide on federalism, who has?

As mentioned earlier, the SPLM and the other political parties (some of them, to be exact.) sat down in April 2011 and worked out a Constitution that became the constitution of all South Sudanese. This constitution ‘imposed’ a particular system of governance on the South Sudanese people. Make no mistake; the Southerners were not consulted on that Constitution. Now, why should following the same procedure be acceptable in relation to the current system and objectionable when it comes to adopting federalism? One may innocently further ask the drafters of the Communiqué: if it is not the SPLM and other political parties that ‘determine and impose federalism’, how shall federalism ‘be democratically negotiated’ in whatever forum?
Add to the above points the constant reference in the Communiqué to the “decentralized Equatorial (sic) States”. Nowhere is the three Equatoria States mentioned without that being preceded by the word ‘decentralized’. The drafters must have wanted to pass a clear message. Those familiar with the political discourse that followed the hot debate about federalism last year will not fail to understand why this stress on decentralization from the side of the drafters of the Communiqué. People have then been made to understand that the choice was distinct between federalism (as proposed) and decentralization (presumed to be the current system of governance enshrined in the Constitution). In theory and practice, decentralization is the system of governance antithetical to centralization of power. It spans a wide range of forms: local government, autonomy, federalism and confederation (as was in Switzerland). Hence, the use of decentralization without further qualification as to which type you are referring to is misleading, to say the least. As you can see, federalism itself is one type of decentralization. However, we shall here follow the popular use so that we do not confuse the readers. One can infer from all the above that the drafters of the document are for the current system of ‘decentralization’ to be maintained. But, is that the view of the Governors and the Equatorians they represent?


One cannot fail to admire the determination and courage of the Equatoria Governors for standing up for what they believe in and taking their case to Addis Ababa where the President was at that time. This was a commendable step. Our country will be saved only when all of us say what we believe in, and not what the powers that be would like to hear. However, let us honestly and soberly evaluate the outcome of that trip.

The publicly declared aim of the visit was to insure that the current Vice President occupied the position of the First Vice President proposed by IGAD mediators. It must be stressed that at the time the news broke out up to the moment of writing, it remained a proposal; the two sides did not agree on it yet. So, there was no position of First Vice President that was on offer. The Governors must have found out in Addis Ababa that the position of the government delegation on the matter was the rejection of the proposal and had suggested instead two Vice-Presidents of the equal status, whatever that means!! Where does this arrangement, if accepted by the other side, leave the original demand of getting the No. Two position? If the trip was to influence the position of the government in the talks to accept the proposal and then give the position to the Equatorian Vice president, then judging from the position of the government, not much has been achieved. As things stand today, the current Vice President will retain his position after all. Was the trip premature or were other issues discussed? The Communiqué helps us answer this question.

To come back to our main point, what did the Governors tell the government mediators about federalism? Did they convey to government mediators what came in the Communiqué above?

The reason for asking these questions is because the agreement that was signed by the two parties on the 1st of February is silent about federalism.

One hoped the Governors reminded the two negotiating parties about their commitments to federalism so far. As a matter of fact, the stakeholders in Bahir Dar did agree in October 2014 on the following in relation to federalism. Quote:

“Acknowledge that a federal system of governance is a popular demand of a large section of the population of South Sudan and therefore agree to reflect it by way of effective devolution of more powers to the states in this agreement particularly in the areas of security, judicial administration, law enforcement, fiscal reforms and public sector reforms.” End quote. (Source: Summary of Areas of Agreement and Disagreement, Reviewed and edited by the Negotiating Committee on 4th October 2014).

If there was no backtracking by either of the parties, why didn’t the same statement appear as it is in the agreement of 1st February? Or did they withdraw that commitment on reading the Communique of Equatoria Community that the issue of federalism should await the constitution making process? It is oxymoron to talk of ‘imposition’ when the stakeholders have acknowledged that federalism is a popular demand.

These are legitimate questions that await honest clarification. It is clear the drafters of the Communique were not certainly for a federal system of governance. Maybe in the rush to catch up the plane that same day, many of the participants including the Governors did not have time to have a critical look at the document. Some cynics suggest that federalism was traded off for the second position in the Executive. One is disinclined to accept this view at the moment, and would rather give the Governors the benefit of the doubt.

Dr. Lam Akol is the leader of the opposition SPLM-DC

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from

Press Statement from Troika Nations

Posted: February 7, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Press Release

The Troika expresses profound disappointment at South Sudan’s leaders’ failure to achieve peace agreement

LONDON, 6 February 2015

The Troika (the United Kingdom, the United States and Norway) are profoundly disappointed by South Sudan’s leaders’ failure to reach a comprehensive peace deal at recent talks.

After the last round of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led peace talks ended in only a partial agreement, the Troika expresses its disappointment that South Sudan’s leaders failed to achieve significant progress toward a peace agreement.

Over a year since the conflict began millions remain displaced, thousands are dead and the country is in ruins despite the commendable efforts of IGAD and its mediation team to achieve a peace agreement. Ignoring the untold suffering of the South Sudanese people, their leaders refused to make the necessary compromises to reach a peace agreement for the people of South Sudan who deserve and expect nothing less. We call on the parties to fully respect the Cessation of Hostilities agreement of January 23, 2014, and avoid all further violence. We urge the parties return to negotiations on 19 February prepared to compromise to achieve a peace agreement by March 5 and form a transitional government by July 1, 2015.

The Troika believes that the publication of the Commission of Inquiry’s findings and its recommendations on accountability are necessary to ensure that such violence against civilians cannot be undertaken with impunity. The people of South Sudan and in particular the victims deserve no less, and it will in the long run enable greater accountability and give rise to more robust political stability.

SOURCE UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The Release of Betrayal by Mading Akueth

Posted: February 7, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers

By Gabriel Gai Deng Biar, Nairobi Kenya

February 7, 2015 (SSB)  The trends of massacring of people of Bor and its environs is unbearable and anyone crowning rebel leader aka prophet of doom and his counterparts who took good care of Mading Akueth at detention cage risk being excommunicated from our community, ten of thousands of people of Bor were killed, but one live does not worth more than lives

First and foremost we thank Almighty father for his protection of three hostages who were held hostage by the forces loyal to prophet of doom and his allies who are supporting him underground. Mading Akueth, we were praying day and night for your safety while you were under detention up to the time of your release, however you sound happy and supportive of rebels and their allies who killed dozens of our innocent civilians and i believe you are aware that those forces you are praising might have massacred some of you relatives.

Your high profile recognition of an effort by the rebels and allies have no space in our community as your message of appreciation is gearing toward crowning them while their hands are tainted with blood of your relatives. The trends of massacred in Bor and its environs is unbearable as ten of thousands of our relatives were massacred during Riek Machar’s turbulent and yet you are praising him and his allies, one live worth lives of people of Bor who have been victim of unconstitutional power takeover

To Mr Ajak Deng Chiengkou, I am aware you are doing your job to win your bread, but be warry of your interviewees who value their individual live than that of those killed in Bor where political havoc emerged at your swamp side of your area of Paan e paan Pandiar which you are now carrying huge burden of assuming responsibilities of the orphans and widows as a result of aimless war waged by prophet of doom and his allies being crowned as kings by Mading Akueth. we are in the world that accommodate freedom of press but does not tolerate massacring of civilians, therefore continue winning your bread but bear in mind all your interviews have negative effects on our people social lives which you are not exempted as you have not yet resettled all your relatives to paradise.

Many thank goes to Isaiah Chol Aruai aka Chol Amoot and Aleer Longar for not crowning rebel leader and his counterparts who are trying hard to make our constitutional government unpopular globally, Mr Isaiah Chol and Aleer you have unquantifiable gifts from me which can not be seen through naked eye as you value your own people more than yourself and this is testify by your position of not praising the murderers.

The author is an incoming financial analyst and can be reached at and facebook # Gai Deng

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.