Archive for February 17, 2015

The Feather of Glory ( a Novella )

Posted: February 17, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in David Aoloch
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By David Aoloch Bion

”True love strictly takes a long time to grow, longer time to ripe , and longest time to taste, harvest and enjoys’’ 

 “ .He  has married me with  cattle, and I have married him with this feather, The Feather of Glory. And this feather is the only prestigious thing I must honour him on earth  … he  will always wear it wherever and whenever he goes   for occasion – occasions like dancing, wrestling, singing, judging, hunting and fighting”.

  “Outside the bed, it had been taken the man  whom I love six hundred and seventy five days to kiss me . Inside the bed, the man whom I loved had been giving me a  non breathing, non-stop kiss for two thousand four hundred and thirty days ”

 

 

 Chapter Two 

It was the beginning of the rainy season. Kuol was sitting with his son Madut on the hearth. They were discussing a wide range of issues. He realized that his son Madut was now matured and he said that he was no longer a boy but rather a man in his heart. He judged him according to the way he responded to some of the issues.

Before he went to sleep that evening, he had told him in the coming season when the sorghum, beans, simsim, and groundnuts will have yielded, you would be initiated. Four months had just passed-by and the season came. Madut went and informed his age mates about his eminent initiation. After two days, the boy had assembled in Luak of the oldest man in Akoi village. The boys lined up the next day before the oldest woman to shave except Madut.

On the same day, Madut was taken by his father to Ringdit’s shrine in order to be given permission for shaving his hair. Ringdit gave him a go ahead. He returned shaved lastly shaved with his generation of youth.

The boy stayed in Luak for three months. Their food was supplied to them. They were not allowed to have contact with nursing mothers and girls for fear that they may contract thethiang sickness. At the end of three months, Madut brought a bull that was slaughtered for the boys released from Luak. The bull was Mabior. They were named Mabior after the bull’s color. Some of the poor boys brought goats and chickens that were slaughtered. Girls beat to death goats to show they were also initiated alongside the boys into womanhood.

All the fathers, the mothers, uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters had assembled for the releasing ceremony. One of the elders rose up. He cleared his throat and began giving the laws, the rules and regulations that govern an adult in the community.

You have been initiated into adulthood, manhood or womanhood. You young men, the first thing you must obey and observe is crying and waving of tears like a woman whether it is tears of joy or pain. You must not cry whether you are burning on fire, whether you are hacked by spear. When your father, mother, brother and sister die, you must not cry like a woman. If you hear a war drums being beaten, take your spear and join the men. Some clans initiate their boys into manhood by cutting their faces with knives to see whether they can endure pain or not. But for us we do not do that. We have much confidence in our boy. This elder sat down.

Another elder stood up, and put a song, and the song was sung. And he began talking.

“Children, children. During our time, our village was feared, our cattle camp was feared. We used to say if a man does not respect, he must fear you. We were well known for three things that included war, dance, and wisdom. If war came, we fought bravely. If dance came, we danced gloriously. If law came, we judged wisely” and the elder sat down.

One woman came forward and said

“Please, my son, you do not look after your sisters. A man without a sister is like a village without seashore. The villagers of such a village without water are always thirsty. The same to a man without sisters is always a poor man. Your sisters are now impregnated by poor men. This happened because of your carelessness. You must know who engaged your sister. Is he a poor man, if he is a poor man, stop him from your sister.

Madut stood up. He told his parent that they would not say that we should do this or that. He said they had understood their parents’ advice and their grievances. He returned to his place on the mat they were sitting on, and the meat of their bull and more beer was brought. They ate the meat. Before they were dispersed, they were presented with a big stick and a wooden log that they must use to intercept a stick for a man who may intend to beat their head. They were also given a spear and a shield for fighting tribal enemies. They were dispersed. After the initiation Madut went to the cattle camp.

UN Mandate Ought to be Revised in South Sudan

Posted: February 17, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Featured Articles

By Deu Lueth Ader

February 17, 2015 (SSB) —  It has recently manifested itself that UN in South Sudan has deviated out of its real Mandate which is a provision of relief or humanitarians assistance to the position of internal covert cell executing rebels’ agenda. The charges levied on UN by the Government since 2005 up to now have shown that UN might have been supporting annihilation of this Nation; UN as an international neutral body ought to stand in the middle of any crisis emerges in any country without bending on either side such that peace prevails.

I am constrained by the time to outline the offenses committed by UN against our sovereignty, but the solely unpleasant attempt made by the UNWFP Helicopter just recently when it took the chairman of the Bureau of Statistics and Census and two other humanitarian workers to the rebel held area, compelled me to air out this piece of writing to the public.

The position of UN de facto in dealing with the political unrest in the country remains vague over the years, I would not forget in this juncture to appreciate and praise the robust decision taken by the leadership of rebels to release the innocent civilians whose routing from Panyagoor (Twic East County) to Juba was changed to ‘Jiech’ one of the rebel’s held areas intentionally by the UN-WFP crew for the purpose known to them.

Rebel’s leadership must be praised, for they would have easily crucified them but God protected them from the tyranny of their bad-wishers. The intention behind this attempt by UN was emasculation of the peace efforts  should they were subjected to any misfortune, such that fighting is revived afresh, but it is now crystal that there is a sort of rapprochement from warring parties when the rebels released a top government official Isaiah Chol Aruai.

Hence, what UN has all along been doing would develop skepticism between them and the Government, for what UN resorted to is not what it has been invited for in the CPA.

However; our brothers in the SPLM-in-Opposition dealt responsibly with the captives knowing beyond doubt that UN is instrumental the conflicts in country.

The author of this article can be reached at deuarok@gmail.com

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 paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

ROAD MAP FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SPLM REUNIFICATION AGREEMENT

Posted: February 17, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Press Release

Time Framework for Implementation

In Defense of “Mathiang Anyoor”

Posted: February 17, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Featured Articles

By Kuac Barjok, New York
Mathiang Anyoor

Mathiang Anyoor

February 17, 2015 (SSB) — For many reasons, I have been ignoring the contemptible insults directed to the unwavering forces of Mathiang Anyoor, a military unit of the South Sudan national army, trained and armed in the Northern Bahr El Ghazal State’s town of Pan-tit. “Mathiang” means Brown and “Anyoor” means Caterpillar in Dinka, and so the name “Brown Caterpillar” or Mathiang Anyoor was probably given to these forces to mean that they’re dangerous and can’t be easily seen if they hide or lay in ambush.

One of the reasons as to why I’ve elected to sit on the fence and watch as the game of condemnations unfurls is that, I don’t want to be outlandishly perceived as a supporter to any of the South Sudan’s warring factions. It is clear to be seen that the continuing civil war in South Sudan has, to a great extent, affected South Sudanese in many ways including analytic competencies which is excusable anyway.

Anyone who has been keenly following the interactions of most of the so-called South Sudanese intellectuals could tell how awfully and brashly they have been debating as if they lost their brains to Peter Gadet Yak, the man whose erratic behavior is difficult to grasp. In any case let’s go back to the story of Mathiang Anyoor.

With the little and authentic account that I know, I seek to shed light on the formation of these forces(Mathiang Anyoor) and my precise intention in undertaking this task is to clarify and redirect those that have been faultily informed of Mathiang Anyoor’s very existence. The faultfinders maintain that the aforesaid South Sudan’s military unit was illegally trained and armed by the current General Chief of Staff, Gen. Paul Malong, with the aim of guarding Salva Kiir’s presidency. Consequently, the ill-informed grumblers call Mathinag Anyoor as “Gel-Beny” (a leader’s protector or shield in Dinka).

I have read people like Kuir E Garang and Rengo Gyyw Rengo making claims in respect to Mathiang Anyoor, and their claims are not only misinformed but are also largely blemished and prejudiced, too. The two gentlemen including Dr. Majak are typical example of the people who cite Mathiang Anyoor in their discourses as President Kiir’s private army, Gen. Malong’s trained militia, etc, etc.

What I know

In 2008, the Northern Bahr El Ghazal State’s borders were militarily attacked by the Republic of Sudan. This deplorable attack compelled the Juba government to dispatch troops to Northern Bahr El Ghazal State to confront the startling insecurity alarms in the vulnerable areas like Kiir Adem (Mile 14), Waar Guet, and other state borders that were under attack.

To the Aweil community, this attack wasn’t only a threat but also an insult to their much treasured and freedom fighters’ homeland, Mading Aweil.  Aweil community in Juba in particular didn’t take this issue lightly and the patriotic Aweil sons including but not limited to Hon. Ayii Duang, Hon. Kawac Makuei, Hon.Garang Deng Aguer, and Gen. Malong Awan, organized camaraderie meetings in Juba and gathered support including food items for the boys at the front-lines.

The then governor of the state, Hon. Madut Biar, was reputedly slow in responding to the threat and consequently, Gen. Malong capitalized on his slowness to influence the backing of Aweil’s people. Having understood the concern of the people of Aweil, and given Gen. Malong’s colossal military strategies, the President of the Republic dismissed Gov. Biar and appointed Gen. Malong in March 2008 as the new governor of the fraught border State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

It was shortly reported that the soldiers who were sent from Juba to Aweil cowardly escaped when the war got real and the State was still under foreign threat. Gov. Malong was left with no option but to mobilize and train homeboys who offered at will to protect Mading Aweil which was applauded by the central government and the national Ministry of Defense sent training materials and facilitated their training.

This is how Mathiang Anyoor was formed and the recruitment of these young patriots became a national army’s policy as well. 

The contradiction in Central Government’s support to Mathiang Anyoor first raised its head when the then General Chief of Staff, James Hoth, and the then Deputy Minister of Defense, Dr. Majak Agot both refused to graduate the trainees. In this respect, one should be pardoned to ask many questions and the first question is: why would an army refuse to graduate its trainees? what changed, or what was going on with Dr. Majak and Gen.James Hoth? Correct answers to these questions will/shall automatically lead us to a significant discourse.

I won’t claim to produce correct answers but I’d like to give an account that attempts to uncover Dr. Majak and Gen.James Hoth’s inherent intentions. In 2012, there were reports of coup plans by the SPLA’s top generals in the army and Dr. Majak and his military cronies were repeatedly linked to those coup plans. The plans were ostensibly dismantled by the president with the help of the national security. The president cautiously later on restructured the army to avoid the suspected fears.

For example, General Pieng Deng Majok who was an active military general was named as the new Inspector General of Police. Should president’s suspicions and subsequent actions hold meaning, then Dr. Majak and Gen. James Hoth’s intentions not to graduate the nationally trained military servants could be rightly gauged, and one reason could be that Dr. Majak and Gen. Hoth blocked the graduation of these soldiers because they wanted to frustrate the army and making it indefensible and, therefore, easy for them to use it in notching their political projects.

To validate this assertion and in a logical sequence, Dr. Majak recently told his audience in the USA that “president Kiir trained 15,000 militias from Dinka Tribe, who were recruited from the Bahr el Ghazal States of Warrap and Northern Bahr El Ghazal. These forces are responsible for the genocide committed in Juba” (Nyamilepedia, Oct 27, 2014).  What does this statement tell you? Dr. Majak simply had hidden plans and, thus, didn’t want an army that wasn’t presumably loyal to him, and in this case, Mathiang Anyoor had no close relations with him whatsoever. 

This shouldn’t be taken as attacks on Dr. Majak or anybody but for anyone to defend Mathiang Anyoor from its critics,one must reveal related accounts like Dr. Majak Agot’s. Like I mentioned in the beginning, my intention is to clarify the existence of Mathiang Anyoor and refute weak and deceitful charges that are being made against their formation.

I don’t support what they do nor do I denounce their actions either, I just want to tell their story as it is. I must agree and to the critics’ credit that the president is coincidentally using these forces against Dr. Riek’s but the primary purpose of Mathiang Anyoor was to protect the border areas under foreign threats like Kiir Adem (Mile 14).

To call Mathiang Anyoor as a private army or gel-beny, one should as well call SPLA the same name because they received the same training and both are loyal to Gen. Malong Awan and  President Salva Kiir. Mathiang Anyoor are part of  the national army and bullying them on unjustified grounds is simply unwise.

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 paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

An Open Letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit

Posted: February 17, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Contributing Writers, Featured Articles, Letters

By Godfrey Batali Taban, Eldoret, Kenya

President Kiir with President Obama of the USA at the White House, Washington DC

President Kiir with President Obama of the USA at the White House, Washington DC

Dear Mr. President,

Affable greetings to you and peace,

February 17, 2015 (SSB) —  I am writing this open letter to you with hopes of a possible change for better and it is being written on behalf of the silent majority that constitute the civil population of The Republic of South Sudan. My plead that would also double as a favourable divulgence and constructive criticism to your authority shall actually dwell on things that I see should be improved particularly with the governance of the country and when dealing with current rebellion.

Mr. President, read my letter with perceptiveness.It is however, good to commit to mind that current rebellion of Dr. Riek Machar that initially exploded as a coup attempt on December 15, 2013 has devastated the country, killed innocent people and firmly exposed your weaknesses irreparably.

When coup was staged on that date in Juba by mobsters and allies, attempting to overthrow the government on that notable night, the night became long and hard to endure. You, fellow South Sudanese and well-wishers of the country, spent it restlessly longing for a quick dawn. When it dawned you notably called the state-own, international and local independent media outlets to come and gather, disseminate or broadcast and share your sentiments with South Sudanese and the people of the world.

Rightly, you did the needful in an appropriate time. Condemnations labelled against Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhorgun as a prophet of doom, a man who holds inherent hatred for South Sudanese, the one who once betrayed his people by conducting a massacre and surrendering to the enemy after inflicting an excruciating damage on innocent civilians were precisely placed. Indeed, that was a right audacity in denouncing the barbaric acts of a person who had for years been despising and defying people’s authority.

The condemnations were conversely suitable for Dr. Riek Machar because his act of insubordination directed at your office were direly hurting not only to you but to the general public. As if you were on the right tract, you reverted one week later by releasing another rueful statement, that you were ready for negotiation and even for face-to-face meeting with Riek. Your quest to meet the prophet of doom as you alleged has a bearing on your political upheavals and the truth is, absorbing a political threat with panic is in its entirety a concession.

By calling for negotiations, and by pledging to meet somebody that you referred to as prophet of doom lowers your political stance and hence you actually had contributed significantly to your own ruin. You have shown a potential weakness outright to the world by succumbing to unnecessary political tricks meant to trap you for a possible toppling.

In fact, the world has viewed you as a failed leader and hence opted to back the rebellion by giving you hard time, first by pressurizing you to release the political detainees. Your concession to that was worsened by the act of accepting a bailout plea by Uhuru Kenyatta. That decision was enough to dispel the coup allegations and was too adequate to cause the progressive demands that are currently giving 30% share of the national governance to a single tribe.

As if that wasn’t enough, you again rub salt into an open wound by proposing the so-called Arusha intra-party negotiations that eventually resulted into a worthless Arusha Agreement. First and foremost, there are no party internal differences that cross borders especially when seeking a solution, it is obvious that political parties in various African countries such as Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have their own internal disagreements that they are actually struggling with internally but despite that they haven’t opted for inter-party negotiations in the neighbouring countries.

The Arusha agreement sounds like a mockery to the robust National Liberation Council because it has overturned the entire work that the National Liberation Council has been doing and in turn has created unforgivable misgivings. You are likely going to regain through hardship the trust of the entire SPLM membership because your hidden characters of panic and fickle have humiliatingly reduced their efforts of supporting your leadership to something negligible.

Mr. President, there is nothing wise in Arusha intra-SPLM agreement, nothing beneficial to the South Sudanese shall come out of that. Note with commitment that the whole lot of it is just a mere blackmailing since the likes of Akol Paul whom you tasked with negotiations have been eventually alleged to be siding with G11 as a part of their internal sale and together they are working to dispose you from leadership. To emphasize on this, get informed that recent meeting with youths by Chol Tong Mayay the ex-governor of Lakes state in Millimani Hotel Nairobi, has firmly cited Akol Paul Kodi, David Deng Athorbei, Nhial Deng Nhial and Paul Mayom Akec amongst others, as part of their major group that were working for your removal but who eventually betrayed them perhaps because they were affair. Chol’s narration was a revelation on how your weak leadership couldn’t identify the fifth columnists who are actually working within to fail you.

It was unforeseen that you would eventually accept to participate in the total destruction of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the party you help established during those memorable days of hardship. By signing the Arusha deal, you have actually warranted the breach of the SPLM basic laws. Mr. President, you have offended the masses of people by myopically going on to sign a deal that doesn’t favour the party’s very existence.

It is undesirable indeed that you accepted to violate the measures taken upon SPLM wrong doers by the National Liberation Council in favour of few self-seeking individuals that were/are actually behind the mess in the country. You have in fact signed an agreement that brings Dr. Riek Machar and Mr. Pagan Amum as Deputy Chair and Secretary General respectively.Their compatriots too shall follow suit because point-9 of the deal revoke all the decisions made by the Liberation Council and the Convention.

In fact, the decision has rendered the laws flaw and hence you have by implication re-channeled back those prodigal sons who have intentionally devised recalcitrant political willpower of clinging to leadership positions that they shall get following your pardon. In essence, this shall be a permission from you so that they shall revitalize the act of looting our innocent civil population. Their new plan is twofold destructive to the nation than you think.

They have already sold you internationally and hence your acceptance of their demands is essentially an act of confirmation that you were wrong initially. By vowing in front of them in quest for peace, you are as well reducing people’s confidence in you. The idea of siding with people that you know best have looted the country is rendering you unpopular and you shall in a short while be deemed a leader of kleptocrats.

Mr. President, you have developed in to a man so fickle so that your supporters find no solace in you. Another flaw that I keenly observed in you is that you rely so much on second-hand decisions, your reliance on decisions from friends has a huge negative bearing on national matters and it is truly bringing to mind the wider gap you had with our late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior. Without ado one would quickly say, Dr. John Garang de Mabior was audacious, had his original ideas, consistent, does not betray his supporters, knows his enemies and was capable of rejecting or accepting an idea with reasons.Mr. President, with honest verdict and despite your swing of political ideology, all can treasure your cool character.

Nevertheless, Addis Ababa negotiations are opening up a rift in a country. You must note with intelligence that accepting Dr. Riek Machar as First Vice President and lowering James Wani Igga to a much lower position is a betrayal of his loyalty and is an apparent time bomb. Mr. President, wise people do not replace war with another war. On this and indeed as a pertinent fact, you and your negotiation team are seen to be replacing Nuer war with the Equatorian one.

More so, this has come at a critical time after sacking an Equatorian from the prestigious finance docket on counts of having not made loans with augmentations that audibly cite that current economic grapples are attributable to him. From the lenses of a sincere observer, it should be accepted that oil wells aren’t operating all, the few that are operational have reduced output, prices too have drastically dropped in the international market and hence the decline in the economic prowess.

However, a sound-minded, decisive non-angry person couldn’t attribute this inherent drop in economy to Mr. Aggrey Tisa Sabuni as the cause. Baselessly, he was damned and indeed, he was damned right. To cause more discomfort, you replaced him with a member of dissident group. Mr. President, if I am not wrong, it holds that Mr. David Deng Athorbei was once relieved from the docket on counts of corruption of having paid the traders half a billion dollars but with no credible documents showing the logic of the act.

I hope you are familiar with STAR PROGRAM REPORT. Merely, his intention was to hoard bribes and gain kickbacks. It is nonetheless, very resentful to see Equatorians being considered subordinates especially when dealing with issues to do with governance of the country. Therefore, many mistakes mustn’t be committed and on this my take is, Wani should remain in his position as you look for alternative means of bringing peace. It isn’t necessary that peace should through appeasement for a reason that better alternatives are always available.

Another important area of your deviation from core leadership values is an act of liaising with G11 including your recent visit to Uganda where you had a meeting with their team. In that meeting Mr. Pagan Amum accused you of corruption and you just shrugged the accusation off in contentment or discontentment and so this seems you were out there to trace those not happy with you for a possible appeasement simply because you still fear them.

The accusations alleging corruption labelled against you by Mr. Pagan Amum have been strongly augmented by usual nags of Mr. David Deng Athorbei that he pays your family the amount of one million dollars monthly. On this one would deduce an inference that you are perhaps alluding to the fact that he should take that post and continue serving you corruptibly or that you are acting out of fear and so want to appease him not to nag on the previous foul play.

Mr. President, reliable internal sources have leaked your new strategy on people in the government that you need to sack per demands of the rebels and G11. The leakage had it that your new plan is undesirable forthcoming replacement of Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan on allegations that he shall plot a possible coup against you. The list is long for those alleged to might have been registered on your wish list awaiting possible sacking and these include Gen. Kuol Manyang Juk, Gen. Aleu Ayieny Aleu, Justice Michael Makuei Lueth and Gen. Obote Mamur Mete to mention but a few.

This pending decision, if true, must die in your throat because it is very perilous indeed and shall render the nation chaotic. The rebels and G11 are one team fighting on different fronts and intelligently, they are trying to use you as a tool of destroying your own support base.

The way forward

Mr. President, your fickle personality, noticeable greatest weakness of lacking ideology, continuously betrayal of your supporters and all the mess in the country are enough to warrant a concrete and permanent decision.

If I were you Mr. President, I would either resign or refuse to accept the shaky agreements that are naively deficient in content. The fact that governors, Equatorians and a significant number of the South Sudan population are rejecting the agreement, I would make it a basis of rejection and coherently, what matters is what satisfies the public.

It is however, correct and acceptable to reject those who have fully denounced you and therefore, G11 is fit in that category. On the same token, discussing internal SPLM issues abroad should ceased. Mr. President, you are as well acting cowardly with interest that you want to help save yourself from international community on remanding you basing on the allege crimes and that you don’t want to be called a bad leader.That can be a possible defence mechanism but it is so weak and derisory so that it can’t help.

It holds that boys will always be boys, so enemies will always be enemies and no matter how much one would want to appease them, they would always be revert from achieving their goal, and that is dethroning you.I shall finally say that we cannot dedicate and we cannot consecrate South Sudan to her enemies, the best option is to sacrifice more for it to be entirely free and safe for all. That is the best provision a patriotic South Sudanese can give.

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 paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE (To Build a National Democratic State)

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE DECISION OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS TO CANCEL THE ELECTIONS AND EXTEND THE TERMS OF OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND PARLIAMENT

February 17, 2015 (SSB) —  In its regular sitting on Friday the 13th instant, the Council of Ministers took a decision to cancel the elections and extend the terms of office of the President and the National Legislature by two years as from the 9th of July 2015. The Council of the National Alliance deliberated on the matter and would like to issue the following statement.

1. Cancellation of the Elections

The public is aware of the fact that we in the National Alliance and other concerned South Sudanese have ever since the idea of the election was mooted by the government advised against holding it. The main reason behind our advice was that our country is riven by a devastating civil war that has caused the death of tens of thousands of innocent citizens, displaced more than two million persons, torn apart our social fabric, destroyed properties and infrastructure, and left more than half of our population vulnerable to famine.

This situation was and still is a calamity of great proportions. Our hearts are bleeding and it will be the height of cynicism to go to these suffering people seeking their votes. It was therefore obvious that the priority should be to attain peace and stability so that life could return to normalcy for our people to be able to exercise their democratic rights including the right to choose their leaders. In our strenuous attempts to drive this point home, we met the National Elections Commission on the 1st of December 2014 and gave them a written position as to why it was not appropriate to hold elections now before the end of the war.

However, the government and the Chairman of the National Elections Commission ignored our advice and insisted to go ahead with the exercise. Indeed, the Chairman of NEC declared on 31 December 2014 that elections will be held on 30 June 2015. This prompted us to lodge a constitutional suit before the Supreme Court seeking injunction to put the elections on hold. The Supreme Court sat on Wednesday the 11th instant and decided to write to the Minister of Justice and the Chairman of NEC to respond to our petition and appear before the court in its next sitting on the 3rd of March 2015.

In fact, the Supreme Court served the NEC on the 12thinstant with the notice to appear before it on that date. This was the background to the Council of Ministers’ decision.

On Friday, the Government Spokesman on announcing the decision of the Council of Ministers stated that the reason for the cancellation was to give priority to peace, something we have been repeating for months and fell on deaf ears. Now, they have come to realize this fact after having spent a lot of money that should have been better spent to feed our hungry people.

For us, it is better late than never. We think that sense has at long last prevailed in the government. However, once it has declared an election, the government has no constitutional or legal authority to cancel the conduct of the elections. The only two sections in the law that allow postponement of elections by NEC are 57 and 150 for only 60 days and for specific reasons none of which applies in this case. The law was intentionally written that way to protect democracy from any government that may decide to interrupt elections whenever it feels that it may be losing the contest.

Therefore, the decision of the Council of Ministers has no basis in the constitution and the law and was an attempt to preempt the court procedures in a way that bypasses the law. Hence, the only authority that can cancel the elections remains the Supreme Court. We are looking forward to the sitting of the Supreme Court on the matter already scheduled for the 3rd of March.

2. Extension of the terms of office of the President and Parliament

The government also announced on Friday that it was recalling Parliament on Tuesday the 17th instant so as to amend the Constitution in order to extend the terms of office of the President and Parliament for two more years as from the 9th of July 2015. This decision has proved beyond doubt that this government is only concerned about continuing in power by all means. The hullabaloo about elections had nothing to do with upholding democratic values but all about getting the “legitimacy” through fake elections to continue hanging to power. No government in a democratic state has power to extend its own life!

Otherwise, if this were to be the case, sitting governments would have continued in power through extending their term of office ad infinitum. The decision to amend the Constitution in order to extend the constitutionally stipulated term is a political decision which should be taken by the political forces in the country for specific reasons and with a clear programme. It is the strength of this consensus that will direct the members of Parliament to carry out the formal amendment.

It must also be clear that although the term is extended, it is not for the same sitting government but for one agreed upon by the people. In this case, the only reason for extending the term of office for the government would be to give the people of South Sudan more time in their search for peace. The current government itself and the rebels have signed an agreement in Addis Ababa on the 1st instant that promised the South Sudanese and the whole world that a peace agreement would be concluded by the 5th of March 2015.

That agreement provides for a transitional period of 30 months (commencing on 9th July 2015) at the end of which a general election shall take place. When the peace agreement is signed, the Constitution shall be amended to incorporate, inter alia, a term of office of 30 months for the new government. If the current government was serious about its commitment to peace and to the said agreement, why doesn’t it stick to this timetable? Why extend the period now and not, let us say, on the 5th of March or thereafter (when the agreement would have been signed)?

This question becomes more relevant given the fact that even if the government tables its amendment bill on the 17th as promised, it will not be debated – according to the Constitution- until the 17th of March at the earliest. What is the hurry for?

The decision of the government to extend its life a few days before the Addis Ababa meeting scheduled for the 19th instant, is ill-advised and is an attempt to scuttle the peace process. The government has no mandate to extend its term of office without going back to the people. Article 3 of the Constitution stipulates that the “Constitution derives its authority from the will of the people.” How can a government whose term has come to an end amend the constitution to buy itself more lease on life?

3. The Way Forward

The current government has a track record of colossal failure. Since 2005 to date, it failed to deliver basic services to our suffering people, it was involved in rampant corruption in which billions of our oil money lined the pockets and swelled the bank accounts of government ministers and senior officials with their business associates, its policies ensured that the flood of good will the international community showed towards the government of South Sudan ebbed away, and it made sure that the indices of performance of our country took us to lead the most fragile states.

Above all that, the same government divided itself causing the current devastating war in the country. Even before the current destructive civil war, our people were waiting patiently to see their backs come 9th July 2015. Such an inefficient government and a rubber-stamp parliament do not deserve to stay in power for a single day beyond the term of office stipulated for them in the Constitution.

It must be remembered that it was the intransigence of the two warring parties that delayed the conclusion of the peace agreement up to this point. They did not respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement they signed on 23 January 2014 and kept renewing, and they lacked the political will to make the concessions necessary at the peace talks so as to make a peace agreement possible. Therefore, none of them should be rewarded for stalling the peace process. By so doing we would have done a lot of disservice to our suffering people and let them down.

This logjam can only be broken in one of two ways, none of which involves the extension of the life of the current government. The first option, and the most ideal, is when a peace agreement negotiated through an inclusive process has been reached according to the timetable set out by the 1st of February agreement between the two warring parties in Addis Ababa. The peace agreement shall then be incorporated into the current Constitution so that the Transitional Government of National Unity assumes office by 9th July 2015 for a period of 30 months.

The second option shall only be considered if the upcoming peace talks in Addis Ababa fail to be conclusive by the date set. Then and only then, shall all the political forces in the country together with the civil society in its broad definition convene a national conference to discuss the road map for the country after 9th of July 2015 when the mandate of the current government would have come to an end. Here, the conferees shall discuss how to approach the peace talks with the rebels and form a government of National Unity with a clear peace programme and a limited term of office to implement this programme, in addition, of course, to perform the routine functions of any government.

This experience is not new; South Sudanese sat in 2010 in the All Southern Sudan Political Parties Conference to prepare for the referendum and worked out a road map for the expected new country to be. Our country would have avoided the current carnage hadn’t the SPLM reneged on the resolutions of that conference.The latest decisions of the government can only be read as an attempt to repeat the same mistake.

4. Conclusion

The feverish moves by the government to hold elections before peace is attained defied any logic and were unpopular among our people. The decision taken by the government to cancel the elections was a step in the right direction but it is against the electoral law. Therefore, the final decision remains to be with the Supreme Court.

The government’s other decision to extend the terms of elected institutions, coming a few days before the upcoming Addis Ababa final peace talks, was premature and exposed the current government’s insatiable lust to cling to power by all means. The decision on what to do after the 9th of July 2015, is a political decision that requires the consensus of all the political forces in the country. Such a decision must await the outcome of the peace talks in Addis Ababa expected to conclude by 5th March.

By that time we still have more than four months ahead of us to deliberate on the future of our country should the two warring parties fail to conclude a peace agreement. It boggles the mind that those who have repeatedly been promising us that ‘peace was around the corner’ are now turning into prophets of doom in relation to attaining peace. This tells a lot about their intentions.

We call upon the people of South Sudan to reject any attempts to stall the peace process in order to remain in power without the mandate of the people. This is no less than the usurpation of power by non-democratic means that we have already condemned.

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