Archive for February 23, 2018

The Importance of Peace and Political Stability in South Sudan (Part 5)

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By David Matiop Gai, Juba South Sudan

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — Hints of peace in a young nation; Job 22:21, says, “Submit to God and be at peace with him, in this way prosperity will come to you”. This root underlying those who live quietly, return to Almighty God and forsake wickedness, then prosperity will come in all types of blessings such as healthy population, healthy environment, secure economy, and nation powerfulness. PS 33:12, says,” Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”.

As South Sudanese, let learn from Israel which is a safe and secure nation under God’s protective rule. Col 3:15, says, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace “. The attitudes of peace Christ gives in place of attitudes of bitterness and quarrelsomeness. Our nation in attitudes of bitterness and quarrelsomeness but peace attitudes is to rule all human relationships.

We are lacking many things in South Sudan because peace is absent. Our beautiful forests are empty to be using due to war in our country. There are no individuals and government farms. We have different trees that can manufacture and produce medicines, soft drinks, and the war is preventing such a development. Peace is a symbol of physical, spiritual and mental blessings.

There is no other source of peace where people get harmony apart from God whom we shall be blessed. Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Roman that, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. All Christians are set apart to God increasingly through amazing Grace by Holy Spirit. ROM 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone ” Believers are to cultivate peace with everyone.

Conditionally or unconditionally, South Sudanese should cultivate spirit of peace with each other to the extents that depends on true unity of peoples in the country. PS 34:14, says, “turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it”. The Bible we always read, and attending Church services on Sunday is very clear to us about peace. Peace doesn’t comes to people by itself, or bad words and wrong actions don’t bring peace, but there is a condition to turn away from evil, do good, seek peace and pursue it.

1Thess 5:13 reads, “Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other”. This verse is not merely personal respect for their high positions, it is an appreciation for their work and leadership period where leader’s works are appreciated but live in peace requires right relationships among leaders and people.

What do we want as South Sudanese? War or peace, poverty or prosperity, what exactly do we want? But in the middle of tough time, a tough time of worries, economic crisis, war and conflicts, fear, hunger, diseases, poor drinking water, high price of goods in the market, poor roads, killings, lack of education for our children, poor health system and facilities, and generally lack of sustainable development in the country.

We have a big chance to ask God for peace and if we ask God for peace, he has peace that passes our merely understanding, and he has to mediate peace that fills our hearts with love of each other. God wants us to have a quiet place, and a peace of mind which is full of life and encouraging us to overcome our differences, and then we will have a nation of free stress, and anxiety.

Isaiah 26:12 Reads, “LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us”. God’s peace overwhelmingly treats other sources of peace advance successfully. Human beings have different perspectives, somebody may think peace with Biblical quotations belongs to Christians or for Christianity but peace is not for Christians alone; this environment is enjoyable by all. In South Sudan, we all need peace regardless of our religious affiliations, tribes, races, ethnicity, colour, heights, and weight, ugly or beautiful.

The only right choice for us, we need peace, a peace we owned. James 3:18 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” What does this verse teaches us? Peacemakers who sow peace reap a harvest of righteousness, and righteousness before  God which means if we promote and achieve peace in our country, it will righteousness before man  and we will lack nothing since we have much resources in our country  and, each and every south Sudanese will have wealth in the country instead of poverty.

The author is a co-founder of South Sudan Mental Health care Organization, (SSMHCO). He holds Bachelor degree in Social Work and Social Administration from SSCUST, Bachelor of Theology from CLT, Bungoma, Kenya/Kalispell, USA, and a fellow researcher. He can be reach at david.matiopgai@gmail.com.

A Man for All Seasons

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Paul Baak

When statesmen forsake their own private conscience, for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos. Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

***

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — On a dusty road at Hai Referendum, a Toyota pickup came to a grinding halt as if the driver had just seen a garbage truck parked in the middle of the road. But no, there was no vehicle coming in front. In fact, no car had passed on this road before his, since that morning.

Although it was a sunny afternoon and the weather was scorchingly hot, a woman stood by the roadside. She’d walked for hours before she reached Hai Referendum heading to Mia Saba. When she saw the car coming in front of her, she stopped and desperately waved at the driver to slow down. When the car had stopped, she moved nervously closer to the driver’s window holding back tears in vain. One glance at her face told the driver she was not only inclined to cry but she’d probably been crying for some time. Her eyes were swollen. She was a skeletal figure. So emaciated. Exhausted. Weak. Her face was streaked with perspirations.

Besides her haggard look, her body was apparently shivering with fear. She looked so worried like someone whose world was quickly ticking down to an end.

“Mama, what’s the problem?” asked the driver in local Arabic, his voice filled with fear believing that the worst might have happened.

“It’s my child. My only child,” she replied amidst repressed sobs, and tears ran down her cheeks profusely. In her arms, a child – about four years old – was partially wrapped in patchy, ragged sheet of cloth. His legs dangled lifelessly beneath her left arm. The driver, a robust, good-looking, 29-year old fellow of average height, was too scared to ask further questions.

To assuage his fears, the driver opened the door, sprang down from the car, pulled back the cloth and inspected the child’s face. What he saw made him anxious all the more- the concave eyes, dry mouth, and pale skin.  He reached for the pulse. He detected no beats at the temples. He wanted to jump to conclusion but he couldn’t bring himself to it. He tried again, this time placing two fingers on the inside of the child’s wrist over the radial artery. A dull throbbing reverberated through his hand. He got a tentative assurance that the child was alive. And something needed to be done quickly. And quickly was the word.

The driver was about to reassure the mother that her child would be alright when he saw her head slightly tilted over her left shoulder, her grip loosened up on the child, her eyes rolled, her body lowered helplessly in a slow involuntary descent.  Shocked, the driver quickly grabbed the child with his left hand while extending his right hand to get hold of the mother. He pulled her towards him so that her face rested over his chest while his left leg propped up the child. Holding both of them firmly on either hand, he slowly stooped down to help lay the mother on the ground so that he could take the child aboard the car. Inside the car, there was an assortment of documents on the passenger seat. He quickly stuffed them into glove compartment. He laid the child carefully at a corner of the seat leaving some space for the mother.

He beckoned a passer-by to come and help him carry the insentient mother into the car. The middle –aged man, unsurprised, came over and helped the driver after which he made one remark as he walked away.

“If this is your mother, you need to give her some food before you take her to hospital.”

The driver looked at the man quietly as he watched him leave.

“Thank you,” he replied.

With a quick whisk, the driver drove the car in a semicircle and headed in the opposite direction towards Mia Saba. His mind raced over various locations for the nearest clinic.

In Mia Saba, Kondial Medical Centre was the only reliable clinic in the area before fighting disrupted its operation in 2013. Most of its medical personnel were believed to be at UNMISS Camp with their families, some of them lost their lives while others fled the country altogether as a result of the conflict.

YDK clinic had been hit hard by economic crisis which was exacerbated by hyperinflation. The clinic was forced to lay off some of its staff. Essential drugs were out of stock so they offered only limited non-specialist prescriptions and Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) services. The last time the driver visited with his ailing brother, the owner of the clinic had lamented that they would close if the dollar exchange rate continued to surge. It was getting more and more difficult to import drugs, reagents and medical equipment, he muttered with discontent. That time the dollar was trading at quarter the current rate. So the clinic had probably shut down.

In retrospect, virtually all the clinics around Hai Referendum, Mia Saba, Gudele I &II, Mangateen and Suk Libya, were either out of business completely or struggling in a YDK-like status. Only a few pharmacies could be found sparsed in these areas.

Going to Juba Teaching Hospital was out of question. It was considered as a place where you took your loved ones to watch them die without meaningful services. And if anything, the hospital had only one important service – there was always a pickup to carry dead bodies to the cemeteries. Not many people would go there if they had any alternative at all. Some residents regained their faith in that hospital when a sprout of mysterious grass, in the shape of a crucifix, was discovered one morning in front of the psychiatric ward. Lots of people, in euphoria, converged on the scene to feast their eyes on what they believed to be a lifetime miracle or a sign of supernatural presence at the hospital. The grass, against all hope, withered and so did the excitement it mustered. It was a fallacious instance of wishful thinking, so the driver thought.

He negotiated a corner and cast a glimpse piteously over the insensate mother and her child. The mother had not regained consciousness since she collapsed, but the driver was hopeful that her pulse was beating. He believed she was seriously sick. Or did the hot sun dehydrate her? She looked obviously famished when he saw her. Could this situation have been avoided if he had rushed to the nearest shop to buy her some water and edibles when he first noticed her condition? That could have re-energized her and she wouldn’t have collapsed. He became bitter with himself for his aberrant lack of discernment. He shook his head remorsefully.

The car screeched to a halt at the main gate. The car honked in quick, loud successions to signal to the security guard there was an emergency. The gate pried open. The driver swept into the premises, parked haphazardly in the alley, got down from the car, and ran quickly towards the Emergency Unit. It wasn’t his first at Lou Medix, a hospital which was always inundated with emergency cases of all sorts. Victims of car accidents, severe cholera cases, individuals dying from high blood pressure, sugary, diabetes, hepatitis B, victims of “unknown gunmen” and other crimes – all needed urgent attention. It was an overwhelming job with daily and frequent calls for emergency help from all over the city. The personnel were few or they would never be enough.

Two minutes later the driver emerged with two teams of uniformed personnel pushing stretchers behind him. One team took the child and whisked him off into the building via a smaller door on the left while the other team stretchered the mother away through the main door on the right as the driver closely followed them. A receptionist told him to wait in the lounge. Lots of people sat restlessly, while others were wandering anxiously, in the lounge floor. He perched nervously in an empty spot opposite the emergency room. His eyes were fixed on the door.

Suddenly, he realized he didn’t have cash on him and an idea came to him at the same time. He got up and was about to leave.

“Mister, you’ll need to be around to provide necessary information and clear admission charges because doctors won’t go ahead without this, just for your information,” the receptionist told him politely.

The driver thanked her and assured her that he would be around and things would be taken care of.  He exited. On seeing his car, he realized he parked carelessly and wondered why the guard didn’t alert him. There was barely any enough passage for other cars. The guard noticed the error and smiled – not with joy but with pangs of shame. There were dozens of preoccupied drivers who had squeezed through the narrow passage but none of them complained. When the gate opened, three cars entered and two cars left before the driver’s turn came. He knew he needed to be back in time. Just in case the hospital would need anything.

The ATM booth was empty at KCB main branch in Buluk. So there would be no delay for the driver. It was one paradox of the financial crisis. He inserted a cash card into the ATM machine, dialed some digits and held his breath while transaction was being processed. After all, KCB was the latest bank to have shut down most of its branches across the country due to financial problems, so anything could happen. Payment was not guaranteed; not even with a debit card which would bounce sometimes in mysterious ways like “Oops! time out!”, “Service not available now”, “I’m being serviced” or “insufficient funds” (even when requests were placed within limits of the account contents). There were apparently genuine reasons for concern. But, much to his relief, the machine set the cash free for the driver.

No sooner had he stuffed the cash into the wallet than a ringtone came from his jeans trousers. He quickly fumbled a tiny Techno mobile from the pocket and glanced at the screen. And lo, his eyes bugged out like a child who had seen a ghost licking at the coals. It was a rare call from the most extraordinary caller, the Managing Director of Juba Rams Co. Ltd. The fact that the MD, of all other superiors in the company, had to make the follow up call himself underscored the importance of the matter. Standing between the ATM booth and his car, he furrowed his brow and activated the call.

“Am I talking to Jackson?”an authoritative voice came.

“Yes, sir, Jackson with you,” he replied remembering the smirk on his boss’s face when he handed him two sealed brown envelopes and other bound documents in the office that morning.

Jackson left the office at 9 o’clock but he hadn’t completed the mission he was sent to do. The mission was twofold – getting the car fuelled at Nile Petrol in Jebel and delivering some documents to Dr. Kawal’s office. But the latter hadn’t been executed. What would he tell his boss? Would he tell him he was still queuing for fuel at Nile Petrol station? No, he thought, it would be false information because his car had been fuelled and he had left the station, albeit after standing for six hours in the queue. Perhaps honesty would be his best policy as he was not disposed towards lying regardless of possible consequences.

“Jackson, I’m disappointed to learn that Dr. Kawal is still waiting for you at this time” the MD complained in a matter-of-factly manner.

“Yes, sir I’m in….” he wanted to complete the statement when the voice on the other end interrupted.

“And that means the documents have not been signed and delivered, right?” he interjected.

“Right, sir, I encountered a very emotive situation on my way to Dr. Kawal’s office. I stumbled upon a starving mother with a dying son. I had to rush them to hospital. Both of them lay unconscious at …,” Jackson sounded less business-like much to the irritation of his boss whose voice had suddenly changed in anger.

“Listen, Jackson, you’re telling me nonsense! Nobody is interested in your ‘starving and dying’ crap of stories. Remember you’re hired to run a profit-making business not a charity. You don’t seem to appreciate how important it is to have these documents signed and delivered today. Now listen carefully, I don’t care about your whereabouts or whatever the hell you may be doing now but it’s in your best interest to be at Dr. Kawal’s office in the next ten minutes. And mind you, once this chance slips away, your behavior won’t have a second chance,” he threatened and hung up.

Jackson stood undecidedly for a few seconds or so before he proceeded to his car. The gravity of the situation staring him in the face. His boss was notorious for firing as soon as he hired. It took Jackson quite some time to secure the job with Juba Rams. And it was just a little over one month after his probation period. If he lost this job, it would be hard to find another one soon.

Despite this fragility, Jackson was a man with ‘belligerent’ conscience. Nearly every issue pitted his conscience against the puzzles of ethics. Now he had ten or five minutes to decide whether to embark on his business trip and save his job or to go back to hospital to help the mother and her child. Mathematically, time would elapse before he could reach Dr. Kawal’s office.  And going to Dr. Kawal’s office meant that he wouldn’t get back to the hospital till the following day. It was going to be a lengthy business, and he knew it well.

Caught in the moral dilemma, Jackson would have to call on his moral conviction. The purpose of life, he argued, in fact more subconsciously, was to be useful. And happiness was in what one had to give rather than what one had to gain, continued the moral argument. It was this belief, common amongst average South Sudanese, which accounted for the country’s indestructible social cohesion.

The car honked noisily at the gate again. Jackson checked his watch as he headed to the lounge. It registered half past five. His heart was in his mouth as he waited for any information the nurse might have left with the receptionist.

A nurse emerged from adult’s emergency unit. “Are you the man who brought in the two patients, a mother and a child?” she asked.

“Yes, madam, are…are they ok?” he responded and inquired, his voice faltering with anxiety.

“Well, it’s too earlier to tell, but we’ve put each of them on a drip. START assessment shows the child is in critical condition while the condition of the mother is fairly stable though” the nurse explained in a failed attempt to reassure the man whose anxiety had deteriorated. The medical personnel had quickly carried out Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment – START- to evaluate the severity of the conditions of the patients and they needed to tag them immediately. She therefore wanted to collect personal information from relatives of all patients who had just been admitted.

“Do you think the child will be alright?” the driver asked imploringly as he remembered the sadness on the mother’s face when she said it was her only child. “Surely, the life of the mother depends entirely on whether her child recovers or not,” Jackson contemplated.

“Hope he’ll be ok. Please, we’ve got to tag the patients. What’s the name of the child?” enquired the nurse.

“I don’t know the child’s name,” Jackson replied apologetically.

The nurse looked at him unbelievingly and continued.

“Ok and the mother’s?”

“I don’t know too, I’m so sorry,” he responded gently.

“But I thought you were her brother, I mean, a close relative,” the nurse wondered, apparently surprised given the anxiety the man had shown and how worried he looked. “Surely, he must have special relation to the patients,” the nurse seemed to say to herself.

“No, I am not a relative. I found her holding the child in her arm, crying helplessly by the roadside at Hai Referendum. Perhaps she comes from Kuirjik, one of the villages about 15 km away from where I met her,” Jackson narrated the story to the skeptical nurse.

“You mean that mother ever walked any distance today? She looks too weak to walk an inch. Anyway I’ll use your name on both of their triage tags for identification until the mother regains consciousness,” she remarked and turned away to talk to a number of other people before she returned to the room.

Over the counter, the receptionist placed a contact form and a bill for admission charges and signaled for Jackson to fill in the form, settle the bill. When he was done, he asked if there were other financial obligations he might be required to attend to. The receptionist answered in the negative but pointed out that further costs would occur upon further investigation and patients’ management.

It didn’t take long before the nurse came into view again and asked Jackson to enter the consultation room. Jackson had his heart jumped into his mouth once again when his eyes met the doctor’s. He occupied a guest chair and reached across the desk to shake hands with Dr. Kimo. He looked out for any assurances from the doctor’s face but he couldn’t make sense of his countenance. A clean wall of three- faced privacy screens separated the consultation room from the exam room, so he couldn’t see the patients. Dr. Kimo was well-known to many Juba residents for his compassion, competence, empathy, commitment and trustworthiness.

“Mr. Jackson, I understand you helped bring two patients to hospital. I also learnt that you’re not a relative to them; neither do you know where they come from. That’s very kind of you,” he stated calmly and in a way, more appreciatingly.

“Yes, thank you, doctor. Are they fine?” Jackson asked.

“Well, the mother is severely dehydrated. Her condition is aggravated by severe deficiency of basic nourishments. She was clearly at the verge of starvation. It could have been very difficult for her to make it through another hour without assistance. We have to put her on a drip for rehydration and intravenous nutritional therapy because she can’t take anything orally now given her current conditions. But we will carry out further examinations though and I’m hopeful she’ll be fine”, Dr. Kimo explained with an aura of a practiced professional.

The child had severe gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea and abdominal cramps, which manifested in vomiting and dehydration. Being apparently choleraic, he was also diagnosed with severe protein-energy malnutrition of marasmic form. His condition was still critical. Statistics on cholera mortality rates were grim. The doctor said the number of cholera cases had plunged to thousands in the last six months at Lou hospital alone.

Cholera and starvation posed major threat to lives across the country. UN reports estimated that more than 1.25 million people were on the brink of starvation that year. More than half were in Central Equatoria region. Cases of cholera were reported at about 6,870 including 174 deaths in 2017. Most victims were women and children living in Protection of Civilian sites in major cities and rural areas.

When Jackson came back the following morning, he was happy to see that the mother had fully regained consciousness. She was seated at the edge of the bed on which her son lay.  She was able to recognize Jackson and told him she was fine. When Jackson examined the child’s face, he noted promising improvement.  He breathed a sigh of relief and glanced at the mother who smiled shyly, having observed encouraging change too in her son’s condition. In her right hand was a triage tag with the name Rita written on it. Another tag hung above the child bearing the name Loki.

“Is your name Rita?” Jackson asked

“Yes, I’m Rita Lopaye and my son is Loki Gateri,” she replied.

“Ok, I’m Jackson Dimo. Do you’ve any relatives around so that I may call them for you? I mean, where is your husband?” he asked and noticed sudden change on her face.

“It’s a long story my son, it’s a long and bad story,” she said remorsefully, as if she was responsible for whatever happened to her family.

Jackson didn’t want to press her further. Perhaps she was understating the horrendousness of one of those harrowing, may be, tragic stories common to most families across the country. He handed her a polythene bag packed with various types of juice and canned foods which the doctor advised him to buy for her. He dipped his hand into the pocket, pulled out three bundles of notes of South Sudanese pounds, and handed them to Mrs. Rita. She looked up to see Jackson’s face.

“Jackson, you saved our lives. I don’t need anything more than the life of my son. I’m very grateful for all your help,” she said with feigned contentedness. Jackson was convinced that she had no money and apparently no relative to support her.

“No, you’ll need to pay daily in-patient charges. I’ve cleared the bill for today but I guess there’ll be long-term stay charges. I’ll come back to see you in the evening,” he insisted and put the money at the edge of the bed. He reassured her that Loki would be alright, bade goodbye and turned to leave. Before two steps the mother called after him.

“Jackson, you’re a Good Samaritan. May you live to save million others,” she exclaimed, her hands folded close to her chest like a supplicatory Buddhist nun.

“Thank you, mom,” Jackson replied with a wide smile, the hallmark of a man of enduring conscience he had become. It was as if things were just fine for him. But he was determined not let anyone know that he was issued with a dismissal letter first thing that morning at his workplace. He would never let her know about it at all. As for the dismissal, he had expected it given the MD’s call and subsequent threat the previous evening.

Nonetheless, Jackson always believed that the rightness of his action depended on the amount of pleasure it tended to produce in relation to the amount of pain it tended to prevent. He mightn’t have saved ‘million others’; but for him, nothing was more conscionable than getting the mother and her son out of the jaws of death. It was a choice he made without qualms.

***

EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CHALLENGES FACING SOUTH SUDANESE IN EXILE

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Clement Maring Samuel, Kampala, Uganda

1.1. Introduction

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — According to Refuge and Hope International (2017), Uganda has hosted over 920,000 refugees from South Sudan making fifty one percent (50.1%) of all refugees in the country. Uganda has provided the refugees the right to Education, right to own and dispose property, right to public medical help, right to practice own religion, right to access employment and right to move freely in Uganda.  Kampala is a home to more than 350,000 registered urban refugees, but the actual figure may be higher. More refugees keep moving to Kampala due to hardships in the refugee camps. Refugees who opt to stay in the cities other than the refugee camps are expected to be self reliant. The government of Uganda and UNHCR do not provide accommodation or material assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in towns and cities. South Sudanese refugees like any other urban refugees are affected by this provision. They sustain their living barely without any source of income, which makes them to suffer much compared to poor Ugandan nationals in the cities. The purpose of this paper is to explain the emotional and spiritual challenges facing South Sudanese in exile, how the church responded to and applied biblical passages. The paper has three sections: section one is the introduction and talks about the challenges of living in exile; sections two talks of how the church in exile respond to these challenges; section three is the application of Biblical messages and, section four conclude this paper. The paper is independently researched, subject to critique and can be used as a reference by scholars to conduct further research on the same.

1.2. Challenges of living in exile

South Sudanese who flew to refuge have experienced varieties of problems whether in urban and in refugee settlements. It was just a difference of eight years from 2005 to 2013 where South Sudanese experience slit of peace, but again, they are sent back to experience life of agony and sorrow in the refuge. Some of them are coming to refuge for their second and third times, while others is their first encounter with life in refuge. Those who were living a very good life before in South Sudan are learning how to cope with new life of a refugee. It is not a surprise for South Sudanese to encounter this life since they have not experience better life after peace was signed in 2005 which was aborted in 2013.

1.2.1. Living in fear

The mass exodus of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda is challenging Uganda and UNHCR with the responsibility of securing settlement and ensuring peace and stability to both refugees and citizens. Ugandan nationals fear that this will cause economic burden, and security and environmental threats. The proportion of the Ugandan population living below the national poverty line declined from 31.1 % in 2006 to 19.7 % in 2013. Educated South Sudanese are looked as competitors. Uganda nationals fear that they will occupy the meagre jobs that would have been done by the citizens and that, their presence in cities raises high cost of living and contributes to criminal behaviours. On the other hand, South Sudanese are enemies of themselves based on the political affiliation to the government or to the opposition parties. Critics of the government feel insecure that they will be deported back to south Sudan, and some refugees who escaped from refugee settlements also fear that they will be returned back to the refugee camps by Ugandan Authorities.

1.2.2. Language Barrier

In Uganda, the use of local language is highly valued by the locals making communication difficult. Often those who cannot speak local languages are looked down with contempt. In effect, local people use their languages for backbiting and become a ticket for bullying and intimidating foreigners.

1.2.3. Lack of accommodation

Students faces severe accommodation problem. Many students congest with relatives causing health hazards and food shortage. Some land owners do not want their houses to be populated; they terminate the contracts of the renter giving hard challenge to look for another house. Others constantly harass the renter to pay house rents even before the period of the previous payment elapsed. To get a new house, land lords demands one year’s or six months’ advance of pay. In the process of relocating to another house, many properties are damaged which demands extra money to pay the rent as well as maintenance of the damaged properties including payment of the brokers. This situation compelled students to sleep in dilapidated houses which are not safer from sicknesses and diseases as well robbery of their belongings by local criminals and gangs.

1.2.4. Health challenges

South Sudanese Refugees are facing many problems related to their health management in public hospitals. Refugee patients suffer discriminatory treatment in public hospitals by nurses and Doctors even if the refugee policy clearly stated that refugees have access to free health treatment. Health personnel consider the nationals first then the refugees are served last. In such a situation when the refugee’s sickness is severe, he or she dies because of health personnel’s negligence and segregation. Some refugees who felt tired of waiting returns back home without treatment and look for money to seek treatment in private clinics which is very expensive.

1.2.5. Education difficulties

Education is a basic human right, enshrined in the 1989 convention on the rights of the children, and the 1951 Refugee Convention. Although the government of Uganda has granted the refugees the right to education, yet, refugees are facing many challenges in regards to computer and Scholastic materials. Many teachers use local languages in which foreign students could not cope with leaning. Parents and guardians are challenge with difficulties of requirements for admission to school, scholastic requirements, dormitory and other personal requirements including medical examination form filled by professional medical personnel. Medical personnel demands examination fees of which some parents can’t afford. Many refugee students miss classes because of delay of this form.

1.2.6. Entrepreneurship business skills

Many refugee drops out students and those whose parents could not afford to pay their tuition fees could not access entrepreneurship business skills. However, churches sometimes provide free entrepreneurship trainings on carpentry, brick making, building tailoring, catering, beads making, and adult education programs, but some refugees are unable to reach to the training sites to acquire these opportunities due to transports difficulties.

1.2.7. Trauma maladies and deaths

Many families suffer silent stress, depression, and trauma. Others developed mental illnesses with no capacity to afford basic treatment and counselling services and education. In 2017, for example, a depressed South Sudanese hanged himself in Namulanda residential area because of hopelessness situation. The degree of stress, depression and trauma had gone beyond hope, and there are many South Sudanese who are silently suffering similar situation across Kampala city, with no one to cure their maladies.

1.3. How Ugandans interacts with South Sudanese

The social interaction between South Sudanese refugees and the Ugandan nationals is relatively good. Nevertheless, this does not rule out some traits of dislikes, hatred and mistrusts between them. Not all Ugandans appreciate the presence of south Sudanese in their midst. Ugandans talks politely, while South Sudanese talks sarcastically and rude. This attributes are causing cultural shock to many Ugandans, especially those who have not been to South Sudanese before. On the other hand, South Sudanese also view the Ugandans as very dishonest and insincere people. This world views creates misunderstanding and hinders social interaction in many social gatherings.

1.3.1. Extravagant lifestyle

Many of the South Sudanese who live in urban centres are in the category of the high and middle class citizens. Some of them came from South Sudan to Uganda with their properties like expensive cars that intimidate the nationals. Others have bought expensive houses and plots at inflated rates that the nationals could not afford, while others live in expensive hotels and driving expensive cars such as Toyota V8s and TX V6s. Yet, there are powerful South Sudanese who came to Uganda before the eruption of December 2013 conflict in South Sudan, they have also rented and built expensive houses. This category of South Sudanese are not refugees, they lives a very high life and spent their money extravagantly in the eyes of the nationals. Some of them come from South Sudan to spend short time live in expensive hotels and conduct expensive functions. Some Ugandans do not differentiate between the registered refugees and those south Sudanese who are wealthy, they judged them equally.

1.3.2. Effect of extravagancy

The high life exhibited by the wealthy South Sudanese in Uganda belittles or intimidates the Uganda nationals and creating xenophobic thoughts, suspicion and jealousy. Some Ugandans are questioning the status of South Sudanese refugees; others could not control their nerves in airing out this excessive lifestyle of South Sudanese of whom generally they called them as Sudanese. Conversely, the social lifestyle of South Sudanese and Sudanese is characterized sharing and brotherhood. The effect of this social life and their extravagant expenditure results to elucidation that all South Sudanese are very rich people without differentiating those who are poor. This stereotyping has made the Landlords in Uganda to inflate house rents, increase school fees and health fares which pose a big challenge to poor urban refugees who could not afford these demands. Besides, market prices do not segregate people in cities whether rich or poor, national or refugee.

2.0. THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN EXILE

The church in exile has played a very difficult role amidst the people who are traumatised by war, and amidst assailants who are living side by side with their victims and entertaining revenge.

“Trauma related to war can be … difficult to heal… because assailants may live near the victims, continually reminding victims of past and representing future threats. Trauma survivors need restoration of hope, security, stability and a chance to refocus their lives”.

Churches which border Uganda like the Diocese of Kajokeji, Yei and Morobu have provided psycho-social and spiritual support. Other churches like the African Inland church, Seventh Days Adventists and Pentecostal congregations have also done the same. Churches in exile have played a major role in breaking down ethnic barriers by preaching messages of Love, forgiveness, repentance, peace, hope and restoration. Church leaders have not ceased their role in praying for South Sudan, as guided by the word of God (Ephesians 6:18). Church Leaders are standing at the gap and playing advocacy role as voice of voiceless (Proverbs 31:8-9). The church has provided humanitarian care to the needy as commanded in (Matthew 25:35-36) and, the church stands in at forefront in carrying the ministry of mediation and reconciliation (John 14:27; 2Corinthians 5:18-19).

2.1. AddressingPhysical Problems

The church has responded positively in addressing the physical conditions of South Sudanese in exile. There are immediate problems such as lack of food, shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation, health, cooking and drinking utensils, blankets and mattresses. The church in exile has attempted to provide material and developmental supports to the suffering people in exile.

2.2. Overcoming Spiritual problems

The spiritual problems are long term problems which also demands settlement of the physical problems through concerted efforts from the church and other humanitarian health agencies. The psychosocial problems demands overcoming the traumatic conditions of the suffering people in exile. These are stress, depressions, anxieties, phobias, animosities, hates, fears, abusive sentiments, hopelessness, dilemmas fighting, lying, unrepentant hearts, unforgiving hearts, and ferocious minds, practice of magic and witchcrafts, drunkardness, sexual promiscuities, lust, prejudices, jealousy, worship of idols among others. These are deep rooted problems which require time and resources to blot them out from people’s hearts and minds. The Pastors themselves need both psychosocial counselling in order to counsel others because the level of stress surpasses their capacity.

Some tribes have imported their animosities to Uganda, and they use to fight in the refugee camps even though they are Christians. This shows that their level of Christianity is deeply lagging and not rooted in Christ. Basically, the establishment of congregations along ethnic lines has exacerbated this tribal hates and contributed to longstanding animosities. Different churches and health related organizations have attempted to address the psycho-social problems facing South Sudanese in camps, but their effort are constrained by lack of funding.

2.3. South Sudanese Congregations in exile

The church in exile is not a new church that was evangelized and formed in Uganda. South Sudanese came along with their God to Uganda as Christians together with their pastors. Wherever they settled in refugee camps or in the cities, they formed their congregations and pray in their local languages to contextualize the gospel and support themselves in times of needs such as financial needs, funerals and marriages. Others form big interdenominational congregations to cater for their spiritual needs which majorly use English and Arabic interchangeably. This ecumenical gathering broadens their faith as Christians in the refuge. One of the reasons that made them to open worship centres is that many congregations in Uganda conduct their services in local languages which is a communication barrier. On the other hand, some of the South Sudanese came from Arabic background, even if there are English congregations among the Ugandan churches, they could not speak English well which creates language gap. Their assembly helps them to identify problems facing them as Christians in exile and provide emotionally and spiritually support. Visiting church leaders often preach to them messages of hope, and other offer material support. They also form weekly prayer meetings in every member’s house to encourage family members spiritually.

2.4. South Sudanese Christians in Ugandan congregations

The church in Uganda is endowed with love for humanity, and is aware that the Israelites were refugees in Egypt (Deut. 10:19. Church leaders have envisaged that Christians are living as aliens in foreign lands here on earth. Some churches, especially the catholic, Anglican and Seventh Day Adventists churches are empathetic about the situation facing the vulnerable groups. They jointly visited the refugee camps together with South Sudanese Pastors and provided material and spiritual help. Likewise, Uganda Pentecostal denominations also take the Christians among them to visit the conditions of the refugees and they also provided both spiritual and physical support. Generally, South Sudanese Christians feel at home when they are praying in Ugandan churches, because the mode of worship and liturgy is the same in many organized churches.

2.5. Spiritual pride

There is over assumption by some Pastors that South Sudanese are not Christians, equating their faith with the conflict in South Sudan. For this case, they think superficially about South Sudanese Christians amidst them. This spiritual pride makes South Sudanese to reciprocally describe them as heretic and false prophets. South Sudanese have not come to exile as pagans; they came along with their God like the Israelites who moved out of Egypt and walk in the wilderness with their God. Many South Sudanese are spiritually grounded and born again. Others have gone to better theological training. The difference is that, they lack proper feeding and adequate material support. This does not mean they are weak spiritually.

2.6. False teaching and cult practice

Mushrooming churches in Uganda are not organized and their Pastors open churches just for self prosperity without any chain of accountability. Most of their Pastors have not undergone theological training making them to misinterpret the Bible and misuse the Holy Spirit. Some of them mix Christianity with pagan beliefs making them to practice syncretism other than genuine Christianity. Due to lack of knowledge, many of them desire miracles other than desiring Jesus who gives Miracles. Miracles are real, but Christians should differentiate between false miracles and true ones. Many self-proclaimed Pastors in Uganda consult the powers of Lucifer and use magic to open their churches. Others are disciples of illuminati movement and keep snakes in their houses to perform misleading miracles to earn fame, but intrinsically, they are not genuine Christians. Many South Sudanese Christians are misled by these churches. Students who run after material benefits to enable them to pursue their studies find themselves trapped with false miracles and vain promises. A spirit that makes people to doubt God is a false spirit.

3.0. APPLICATION OF BIBLICAL MESSAGES

Biblical messages have often been misinterpreted by some preachers who do not know how to expound the historical and theological meaning and apply to contemporary situations. For example, some preachers interpret Isaiah chapter 18 literally, and they contextualized it that the conflict in South Sudan is a direct punishment of the people of South Sudan by God. Wrong preaching on this chapter has led many people to feel guilty and accept a misleading message that South Sudanese are cursed. Any teaching that brings condemnation in our life is doing more harm to our faith than good.

3.1. Understanding Sudan in the Bible

Sudan is called “Cush” in the bible and named after Ham the grandson of Noah (Gen.10:8; 1Chron. 1:10). Other versions called Sudan as Ethiopia. Many descendants of Cush settled in the region of Southern Egypt from Aswan to the place where the River Nile meets the Blue and White Nile rivers. Cush is located in northern Sudan not South Sudan, and the region engulfs areas surrounding the first Cataract in Aswan in lower Nubia down to sixth cataract in Meroe in upper Nubia. The region that the Bible refers to as Cush is Nubia, which the Greek called Aithiopia. But today this region is located in Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan.

3.2. The Judgement of Isaiah chapter 18

The judgement prophecies in Isa. 18 and Ezek. 38-39 concerning Cush specifically point to Northern Sudan. The justification is that, the Biblical region of Cush was centred at Meroe northeast of Khartoum city. However, the judgment of Isaiah chapter 18 was predicted before South Sudan broke away from Sudan. The judgement did not specify timeframe which is binding South Sudan because initially Sudan was the land of the Nuer Dinka and Shilluk who were forced to moved down to the south by wars and Islamic expansion. The only timeframe talks prophesied in the Bible is that the Cushites will submit to God in prayer which is found in Psalms (68:31) it says: “Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God”. Indeed, South Sudanese are yearning for this time so that God will uplift the heavy burden levied on them. But South Sudanese also need to realize the importance of this prophecy. Verse 7 characterized the Sudanese as “a people, tall and smooth-skinned”, “feared far and wide”, “an aggressive nation of strange speech”. It is no wander that Ugandans describe south Sudanese as aggressive and rude, this aggression has been envisioned since the time of prophet Isaiah. When God made his prophesy, it has to come to pass in the intended time. The suffering that South Sudanese are facing all over the world today might be the fulfilment of this judgement, it is imperative to realize what God wants from us so that he will lift the burden.

“At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers-the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty”

Many scholars refer to this verse to describe South Sudanese, if this is the justification; still there are tribes in northern Sudan who are tall, black and smooth-skinned such as the Funj and Nuba tribes who occupy the territory earlier described in the Bible as Cush. In this case, there is no definite answer justifying the judgement to Sudan alone. It also affects South Sudanese the country attained her independence later than the time of the Judgement. Some preachers have instilled fear to people that the current war is a curse and is a fulfilment of this Judgement. But to be fair, people who are deeply traumatized don’t need condemnation and judgement, but their ears are itching to hear messages of comfort, love, peace, forgiveness, repentance and hope. In order to interpret “God will Punish Sudan”, first, preachers should find out the biblical geographical of Sudan. Secondly, they should explain the literal meaning of God will punish Sudan; thirdly, they should find out whether there is a figurative meaning of the statement or not; fourthly, they should interpret the theological meaning, and; fifthly, they should apply the message to the contemporary situation. This will avoid preachers who lack knowledge of the Bible from harming the already traumatised people with judgemental messages of doom, other than with encouragement message of hope.

A passage such as Psalms 46 says, God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of need…” This is an encouragement and healing to a suffering soul. Deuteronomy 10:19 is an important medicine for people in exile. It says, “Love the Sojourner (refugee), therefore, for you were Sojourners in the land of Egypt”. This can be connected with 1Pet.2:11 and Phil. 3:20 which say: “Weare living here under all sorts of suffering and troubles whether we are nationals or foreigner…we are citizens of heaven living in a foreign world”. The suffering people in exile can also be encouraged to live a faithful life(Jer.29:30-32). Another healing message is drawn from Jeremiah 29: 4 and Jer. 29: 11-14; and it tells the suffering people in exile that God is in control of history, and also it tells them to trust God’s promise that the exile life won’t last forever. It says,

‘Thus says the Lord of host, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon’ (Jer. 29: 4),“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord , and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile(Jer. 29:11-14).

Such passages send healing and encouragement to restore hope for the suffering people in exile. However, Christians in exile should watch out the snares of false prophets who wanted to take advantage of their suffering in order to mislead them from the genuine faith.

4. 0. CONCLUSION

The life of South Sudanese in exile is a discovery of new worldview. South Sudanese have learned hardships and become adaptive to new language, overcame stereotypes, fear or harm.Urban refugees faced unperceived problems compared to those in refugee settlements. Life in refugee settlements is perceived by many as a life of seclusion from modern life. Many South Sudanese have appreciated Uganda for extending humanitarian heart to almost one million South Sudanese in the urban and rural settlements. Although Uganda is credited in extending humanitarian assistance to the refugees, yet, Uganda government and UNHCR should revisit their policy to look beyond the life in the refugee camps and provide policies that address the socio-economic problems facing urban refugees as well.The church in exile is commended for her great role in providing psychosocial and spiritual support to the people in exile.Although the church has responded positively to the emotional and spiritual needs of the refugees; yet, the church and her partners should look beyond the emotional and spiritual support and appeal to the international community to stop the war and restore peace back to south Sudan so that the people in exile can return back home to restart life. Spiritual teachings should be prepared to alleviate the emotional and spiritual burden of the people than overloading them with fearful messages of curses and Judgement. However, Christians in exile have an obligation to discern false teachings and false prophets taking advantage of their suffering conditions to mislead them from follow their one true God who sustains them in exile. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law and freed us from the curse and Judgement of Isaiah chapter 18. Read (Gal. 3:13; Deut. 28: 15-68; Isa. 53: 3-6; 1 Pet.2:24; Heb. 9:26, 27; Isa. 53: 5, 6; see also 1Pet. 2:24).

About the Author

Clement Maring Samuel is a Theologian, Politician, and Peace and Development Activist. Had been an active Pastor, and served under Episcopal Church of Sudan from 1991-2009. Had work in the Governments of Southern Sudan and South Sudan respectively. Hold different government positions and work as a member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Specialized Committee for security and Public order in Central Equatoria State Legislative Assembly in Juba from 2005-2009; Served as Commissioner of Terekeka county from 2009-2012; Deputy Chairperson of Reconstruction and Development Corporation in Central Equatoria State from 2014-2015; Minister of Education, Science and Technology in Central Equatoria State in 2015; Deputy Governor of Terekeka State in 2016; resigned from the government in May 2016, and fled to refuge in Uganda. He is currently doing independent Researches and has participated in discussing issues concerning peace and conflict in South Sudan, presented scholarly papers on National Dialogue in various symposia including Makerere University. He wrote several critical articles about the situation of the conflict in South Sudan. Clement Maring Samuel is a holder of Masters of Arts in Peace and Development from university of Juba. He is pursuing doctoral studies in Governance, leadership and Development. He is currently based in Kampala, can be reached on warun1maring@gmail.com or +256783332685

THIS MAN – GEN. MALONG PAUL AWAN ANEI

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Isaiah Makuei Kulang, Juba, South Sudan

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — Recent weeks and months, a lot has been spoken and written about General Malong Awan. It is quite unfortunate that most of what is written is a blatant fabrication of the truth while in other instances, a clear effort to portray him as the devil incarnate.

It is an undisputed fact that throughout his distinguished career in public service, by the sweat of his brow, Malong has tirelessly worked for the emancipation of his fellow South Sudanese since the inception of Anyanya II. Due to the work he did for and with his community, his popularity grew in leaps and bounds and ascended to stardom status.

It is this popularity that eventually led him to being the first elected Governor of the then Northern Bahr el Ghazal State after the very first and only elections held in South Sudan.

When hell broke loose in the Republic, he was at the forefront speaking against using the barrel of the gun to gain state power. He spoke against individuals who were intent on forcing themselves onto the electorate and urged for patience and tolerance. After all, we were all South Sudanese. If we burnt our country, we were the ones to bear the brunt.

After more than 3 decades of war that left our country completely desolate, it was time for us to rebuild, to mend fences and regroup. To abandon our guerilla tactics and embrace one another. It was time for us to build and fashion our country in our own image. The image our forefathers dreamt of and wished for but never saw. We now had an opportunity to do just that. Actualize that dream.

Fast forward to 24th April 2014. H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardiit in his wisdom relieved James Hoth Mai as the SPLA Chief of General Staff and in his place appoints one General Paul Malong Awan. This appointment was treated with a lot of exuberance and the air was filled with buoyancy. As is his nature, he took this job with the seriousness it deserved. He tirelessly worked for his President and his country as the loyal soldier he always was.

On the 9th May 2017, Gen. Malong was relived as SPLA Chief of General Staff. The same night he left Juba and set off for his village in Aweil. On his way, reports flew all over that he had left Juba armed to the teeth with 2 platoons ready to start a rebellion from his home-base area of Aweil.

It was also reported that orders were given from Juba for the arrest of General Malong and his troops immediately they got to Yirol and be repatriated back to Juba. In his wisdom, upon Malong’s arrival in Yirol on 10th May 2017, the incumbent governor of Eastern Lakes State Hon. Bor Wutchok and his government held meetings to persuade him not to proceed to Aweil but instead to head back to the capital, Juba since there was perceived apprehension he was bound to rebel against the government he had been serving.

At that point, Malong accepted to go back to Juba but unfortunately before he set off, the talks broke down.

When elders from Yirol who reside in Juba got the news that the talks broke down and that Malong would not to return to Juba, they opted to visit Amb. Telar Ring Deng’s house in Juba to speak to him since at the time he was in Juba on assignment at the Office of the President.

The elders in their wisdom saw it fit to speak to Amb. Telar since he was a close friend to both H.E. the President and General Malong and therefore he was best placed person to help mediate a truce. They requested the Ambassador to make an urgent appointment with the President.

The President was receptive to the idea and they set up a meeting with a few of the esteemed elders. These respected elders were:

1. Prof. Moses Machar

2. Gen. Andrew Makur Thou

3. Hon. Job Dhuarai

4. Hon. Gordon Matot Tut

5. Hon. Dr. Awel Mawien Atem

On meeting the President, it is reported that quite a number of issues in relation to Malong were discussed. Key among those issues were:

a. Ways and means of getting Gen. Malong to come back to Juba.

b. The reasons for the relive of Gen. Malong as chief of staff.

On the 11th May, those who attended the meeting with the President formed a delegation that was to travel to Yirol to convey the President’s message to Gen Malong. Amb. Telar tasked to lead this delegation. They travelled to Yirol, held a series of meetings with Gen. Malong and all the officers with him.

The talks were successful and Gen. Malong accepted to travel back to Juba with them. Upon arrival at the Juba International Airport, Gen. Malong was received by a huge gathering of people who all accompanied him to his house.

To the surprise of those who were spearheading this supposed reconciliation, from the day Gen. Malong set foot into Juba, he remained under house arrest for reasons no one has ever known or bothered to explain.

The main reason as why the elders of Yirol persuaded Malong to go back to Juba was for the country to avoid any more bloodshed or any split within the party or the army (SPLM/A), particularly knowing that Bahr El Ghazal was the power base of H.E President Kiir and we didn’t want it to split.

From this point on, those who persuaded Malong to come to Juba, and were working in the government, really suffered. A number of them were relived off their posts, the Governor of Aweil, the Governor of Gogrial, the Governor of Eastern Lakes and the Governor of Terekeka were all relived.

To add to this, all military officers who hailed from Malong’s region were either dismissed or demoted while those perceived to be close to him mysteriously disappeared or met the gruesome effects of the notorious “unknown gunmen” and had their lives unexpectedly cut short.

On arrival to Juba, the regime suspected all those who mediated the truce were either Gen. Malong’s supporters or had their own clandestine motives yet all along they knew that they were working tirelessly for Gen. Malong and H.E Salva Kiir to solve whatever issue they had amicably.

It is quite contradictory that they could be suspected of having any ulterior motives. At this point, when it had become abundantly clear that those within government circles had grown apprehensive of Ambassador Telar, he opted to resign since he no longer saw any value in representing his country as an ambassador yet his friend and boss had lost his trust in him.

His continued occupation of the office he held had become an unfortunate contradiction of terms. After his resignation, the floodgates of decrees were opened. Several high ranking officials have been dismissed from their positions at supersonic speed.

At this very critical time in South Sudan, the Country needs all the friends it can get. It desperately needs all hands on deck. Being suspicious of people who have given there all for their country is the highest level of betrayal. At the end of the day, this will just turn into another circus.

We all need to sober up. As Robert Burns succinctly put it, ‘suspicion is a heavy armor and with its weight it impedes more than it protects.’ How I pray that these words of wisdom ring true to the ears of those who need to hear them the most!

Why South Sudan’s Conflict is akin to HIV/AIDS epidemic

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Makwei Achol Thiong, Juba, South Sudan

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — It’s unusual to compare conflict with a disease but judging from the trend of political events since December 2013, our conflict seems to be as incurable as the HIV/AIDS. The virus attacks human immune system making people vulnerable to infections and diseases.

On the other hand, our conflict attacks and destroys common man’s source of livilihood, displacing and rendering him helpless in the face of greedy Dollar.

The moment HIV/AIDS victim stops taking the antiretrovirals (ARVs), death threatens just like how our politicians bring about death through bloody rebellions when one loses grip of a political position (power).

HIV/AIDS has life-pushing ARVs and we’ve life-pushing Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). They both don’t guarantee complete safety. They leave their victims in states of worries and psychological trauma.

If innocent ones/risk takers go natural when making an ‘away match’ love, they get ambushed and contracted the (unknown) virus. Similarly, if citizens travel on highways, they’re ambushed and killed by unknown gunmen.

Because of HIV/AIDS, you begin taking relationships cautiously. You become suspicious of every lady/man whether a villager or a slay queen/king just like you feel suspicious and insecure even when walking on the streets of Juba. Note: It’s better to be suspicious than to ‘care-less’ about the virus.

International community seems very serious through World Health Organization (WHO) in discovering the cure for AIDS just like they pretend to find us some durable peace in Addis. But every year, same empty promises. Shame!

UNMISS camps don’t guarantee 100% safety of civilians just like condoms don’t guarantee 100% safety against you contracting the virus. UN soldiers have guns to deter physical violence but their blue helmets can’t deter HIV/AIDS even inside their camps.

HIV/AIDS project is highly commercialized and a source of so much employment across the World. And with UNMISS, UN agencies, various NGOs, among other actors in the country, you can be forgiven for saying that South Sudan conflict is a source of employment and as such no one would want to lose his job from natural point of view.

Our leaders don’t agree to end the conflict just like people refuse abstainance and faithfulness as effective tools of preventions againsts the virus. Talking about these tools is like pressing people into doing the impossibilities, similar to parties discussing power sharing article in Addis. Hardly do they compromise!

The negotiators (from all the parties) to Addis talks are always in a ‘No Hurry’ mood. Nothing tangible and urgent comes from them to end the conflict. The first day they sit to negotiate is the moment they agree to disagree.

All that seems to matter, for the sake of debate and allowances (per diems), are proposals from IGAD. On the other hand, doctors and pharmacists always bend towards proposing for you to buy and use condom with all its risks when you despise abstainance and faithfulness. When their stores run out of supply, they order more and business booms.

Our leaders seem to maximize political gain for their positions by furthering the conflict just like Doctors seem comfortable with maximizing profit through the sales of ARVs and condoms.

It’s easy for our Politicians to compromise on justice & accountability and service delivery articles but not on ministerial positions (power sharing) and number of their bodyguards (security arrangement).

HIV/AIDS project and political conflicts are driven by conflict of interest. Some view HIV/AIDS as a tool of population control just like it’s the case for political conflicts. Our conflict is tremendously driven by conflict of interest locally, regionally and internationally. These interests have different dimensions.

No much local media attention is given to issues of local conflicts just like it’s the case with HIV/AIDS awareness. The worst scenario is that there is hardly any records about them.

Previously active HIV/AIDS and Peace commissions in the states have been declared luxurious and are not financed.

The burden imposed on us, the citizens, by the gun class and that of the HIV/AIDS are rivarling over our lives.

Let’s fight our war, the war against HIV/AIDS, by playing all our ‘matches’ at home. Eliminate away trips, if any. They’re dangerous. The best time is now with an excuse of economic crisis.

If you don’t have a stadium for your home games, it means you aren’t licensed to play yet, exercise patience (abstainance) and build your own. Propose he/she in marriage who is virus free. Don’t inherit widows straight away, do necessary tests.

The rest of the things in Addis  are political, they’ll mess with them for now but they’ll not overcome Mugabe’s barrier (Old age).

SO IGNORE HIV/AIDS AT YOUR OWN RISK. IT’S REAL! DO YOU KNOW YOUR STATUS???

Makwei Achol Thiong is a Co-founder and a former Chair of Board of Directors of Alliance High School-Bor. He is currently pursuing a Master of Industrial Engineering at Hunan University, China. Reach him via makweiachol@yahoo.com.

Professor Taban Lo Liyong: The influential face of literature world

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Awuol Gabriel Arok, Juba, South Sudan

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — Taban Lo Liyong (born 1939) is one of Africa’s well-known poets and writers of fiction and literary criticism.

Together on the same side of literature coin with his peers like late Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Okot p’Bitek, Henry Owuor-Anyumba, John Ruganda and others, passion for literature have immensely grew in Africa hence making Africa Literature the best in term of creativity, factuality and imagination.

Professor Lo Liyong was born in the Southern Sudan and grew up in Acholiland, Northern Uganda. He obtained his BA in Literature at Howard University, USA, and Master of Fine Arts (specializing in creative writing) from the University of Iowa, USA, where he was the first African to graduate in 1968 and became a Fellow of the International Writers Workshop.

Taban Lo Liyong is one of the liveliest figures on the African literary scene. His works are so unconventional in form and style that few critics know what to make of him or how to respond appropriately to the stimulation his writings provide. Some applaud, others condemn, but all admit that he is a highly original writer with an extravagant style.

He taught in Nairobi University before heading the Literature Department of the University of Papua New Guinea (1975-1977). He returned to the Sudan to work in the University of Juba till 1993 when he again went to the Far East to Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, where he was an Imperial Research Professor on Numerals in African languages, he has also taught in Australia and South Africa.

In 1995 Taban lo Liyong was appointed to the English Department in the University of Venda where he currently holds the Professorship of English Literature and Professorship of African Studies.

His Literature publications and writings include The Last Word (1969), Fixions & other stories (1969), Meditations in Limbo (1970), Eating Chiefs (1970), Franz Fanon’s Uneven Ribs (1971), The Uniformed man (1971), Another Nigger Dead (1972), Thirteen Offensives Against Our Enemies (1973), Popular Culture of East Africa (1973), Ballads of Underdevelopment (1976),  The Meditations of Taban Lo Liyong (1978), Another Last Word (1990), Culture is rutan (1991), The cows of Shambat (1992), Words That Melt a Mountain (1996), Homage to Onyame (1998), Carrying Knowledge Up a Palm Tree (1998), Lakwo Romo Pen Rut-The Thief of a Sheep and numerous other poems and articles.

In collaboration with Henry Owuor-Anyumba and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, he wrote On the Abolition of the English Department in 1968.

Independently, Liyong has had published over twenty books, Professor Taban used of creative art and writing has made him the admiring face of the literature world.

The intermingle of creativity and Africa traditions in comfy coat as exploited by his long time colleagues in profession such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Henry Owuor-Anyumba, John Ruganda, David Rubadiri, Christopher Okigbo, has flourished the creamy taste of secretive world of literature.

The Renowned writer and poet Taban Lo Liyong is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of Juba, South Sudan.

Taban Lo Liyong is the flying deer of the Literature world.

Awuol Gabriel Arok, a Writer and a Poet, has a Bachelor Degree in Social and Developmental Studies from the University of Juba, South Sudan, he is the author of unpublished book ‘‘The Wisdom Horn’’ and an Initiator of ‘‘Your Tribe is My Tribe’’ and ‘‘Giving Heart Foundation’’ initiatives. He can be reached via his email Address: jjmkamzeearokson@yahoo.com

DEAR BELOVED LEADERS: MAKE THE PEACE WORK IN 2018!!

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Awet Maker Buong in Nanjing, China

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — Politics of positions, ranks and money is epitome of betrayal that just caused bleeding & suffering civil population displaced in UN camps in Equatoria, Bhar El Ghazal, Upper Nile, and whole nation in general.

Chinua Achebe in his novel titled ” A man of the people” said that politicians should be those that are approachable, caring, compassionate, problems solving and above all, should be the man of people at critical time. They shouldn’t be creators of problems but rather should all the times be ready to care for the people and provide solutions. He was reffering to Hon. minister called M.A. Nanga ever known in the country during colonial period whether you asked anyone on street or in the deep village, he/she will honestly tell you, ” he is a man of the people” where he extracted the title of his novel.

Therefore, picking from his writing,

the standard of bench mark of any politician married in a just struggle of people should understand what are the conviction and the goals as to why he subscribed his political soul to a particular struggle?

This poses us to next question which says what are the principles that govern  us towards attainment of such conviction and goals.

Moral and principled politicians should define political goals and objectives which are people oriented and plight salvation but not self driven and self centred.

Politicians or leaders who have permeable behaviour to money and positions are like wind vane which faces direction of every wind that points to it to any direction. Such behaviour robs you of your self worthiness and integrity.

In principle, you better die poor than compromising your self worthiness and integrity.

Politics of Money and positions steals away sense of self worthiness and betrays our people of South Sudan to prolongs their suffering and sacrifices of innocent lives in vain.

Great vision and ideas which are people based and oriented reinvent great societies whose core values conform to just and equal society that appreciates existence of all as equal in dignity, rights and developmental opportunities.

Brethren and sisters if these are ideals for which every body stands for to uproot our human weakness and the evil  from contemporary reality of our life, the forces of evil that turn societies as agents of evil in destruction of our lives, materials, moral fabrics and treachery will be consigned to dustbin of oblivion or history and the world we live in will be better place to live for all of us.

It is not too late for us to turn the clock of human struggle for that which is just and it truly addresses collective suffering of our people in manner that cures societal problems from holistic approach where we treasured bright future for now and posterior generations and in fullness of total objection if i were in the hearts of all South Sudanese people subjected to such hullcinatory situation, then we shall say “No” for politics of money and positions in order to burried this ill-gotten formula of gaining ranks and positions when relieved by our politicians so as to put to an end the suffering of our people and to accrue their already endangered lives in perpetual state of extermination, deprivation and dehumanization.

You must make that peace worked in 2018. We can’t continue like this anymore. Learn how compromise, and how to care for the people that you lead not for yourself.

President Kiir and Riek Machar: A request for resignation

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Ref: Petition letter to President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar: A request for resignation!

By Adit Abit, Canada

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — Dear President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, Thank you for your services to the people of South Sudan. I understand you have the heart to make South Sudan a peaceful country. Unfortunately, it is now four years since the war broke out in December 2013, and the nation has continued to bleed with millions displaced and thousands perished. Four years have passed, four years of war and peace talks without durable solution.

I am not going to talk about why the peace talks failed, but there is no doubt that you are using a wrong formula to bring peace to South Sudan. I am not here to blame you , but I am asking you one thing: please do us a favor in the next second round of peace talks. I highly recommend that the two of you (Kiir and Riek) should be excluded in the government of transitional national unity, and I call upon the people of South Sudan to take a bold step in restoring peace.

The two of you have created a man-made disaster in which you have no capacity of resolving. Many South Sudanese wish and pray for you to reach a tangible peace agreement every time you go to Addis Ababa for the peace talks, but their dream seems far from reality. This month, your delegations were in Addis Ababa for the peace talks and the formula still did not work. I heard the peace talks would resume again in two weeks, however, like the 2015 agreement, it is most likely that this agreement will also be broken in broad daylight.

Across the world leaders aspire to serve people and make lives better; unfortunately, millions of people face death, hunger and starvation under your leadership. Your leadership has turned tribe against tribe and that is not acceptable in modern society. I understand you are not the only problem, since it is the masses that have failed to be critical of your political agenda that uses divide and rule. The citizens who accept to be divided and turn against each other mercilessly also share in the responsibility.

It is not too late to bring forward a lasting solution. I ask you to go deep into your heart and to think about making the next generation of South Sudan proud. Simply excuse yourself from power and give the chance to others to try their best. Leaders give their best to the nation and they excuse themselves when they fail to deliver the best.

Please sign this petition letter if you support this initiative. Share it with President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar.

https://www.change.org/p/president-salva-kiir-a-lasting-peace-for-south-sudan?recruiter=20413882&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_for_starters_page&utm_content=ex66%3Av1