Archive for the ‘James Okuk’ Category


“Tell people in power that something they tried didn’t work as expected” – Peter Ross. “A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation” – Edmund Burke.

By James Okuk, Ph.D., Juba, South Sudan

IGAD plus President Kiir, 25 July 2017

IGAD plus President Kiir, 25 July 2017

December 13, 2017 (SSB) — The above quotes are the essential secrets of success or failure of countries. This wisdom from Ross and Burke should guide the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and its outcome. The warring parties should seize the opportunity as the unavoidable last chance for sustainable peace. There is no room or patience left now for accommodating the unending senseless war any longer. The Revitalization of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) must change the tainted image that the country has acquired since 2013 crises to date. It should rescue South Sudan from its current situation of hopelessness and fragility. It must prevent the new country from premature disappearance into annals of history due to its trifling resistance to change for dignified happiness.

It is high time for South Sudan to be confronted truthfully to quickly regain the confidence of its lucky territory (644,329 km2) and the inherent abundance of virgin resources (oil, gas, gold, teak, mahogany, ebony, gum arabic, sweet water, tame and wild animals, proud and liberal people, etc..) located in the naturally blessed tropical savannah climate of agriculture. Article 1 (1)(2) of the Constitution of South Sudan has correctly defined it the sovereign Republic straddling Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile with boundaries of January 1, 1956, including Abyei Area of  the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms transferred from Bahr el Ghazal Province to Kordofan Province in 1905 and as defined by the Abyei International Arbitration Tribunal Award of July 2009. Article 1 (4) also provides for decentralized multiparty democracy and homeland for multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-racial people of South Sudan who should co-exist peacefully, including with their other African neighbors: Sudan (border of 2000 km) to the North, Ethiopia to the East, Kenya to the South East, Uganda to South, Democratic Republic of Congo to South West, and Central African Republic to North West. Egypt also claims to be a neighbor of South Sudan through links of history and Nile River.

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By Dr. James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

The 6th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of South Sudan

July 10, 2017 (SSB) — July 09th every year marks a significant Day for Declaration of Independence of an additional country in the world that made the 193rd UN full member and 54 AU recognised brother/sister. The first launching occasion in 2011 was jubilantly a thrilling event to the admiration by all, South Sudanese and foreigners alike, as they sang the dignified sacrifices of past liberation struggle as well as the expected future glory from hopes in dividends of “the land of great abundance” united in peace and harmony.

The following first and second anniversaries of such a rare Great Day in 2012 and 2013 was still euphoric despite the economic austerity measures that resulted from  oil production shut-down by Juba due to  bad politics with Khartoum, the conduit of its crude piping and marketing to international outreach. The strength of the South Sudanese Pound was still competitive and attractive for business and purchasing power of the active citizens.

The Bank of South Sudan was capable to have amounts of hard currency reserves from oil business incomes and remittances from donor countries and other foreign friends/partners. Daily lives of the people was basically dignified and without serious political, economic and social hardships. Many of them ventured into successful micro-economic functions and they were happy.

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By James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

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September 17, 2016 (SSB) —- As my part-time top boss at University of Juba, I would like to thank the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Akec for keeping his private hobby of public writing. Many intellectuals of South Sudan and in many other African Countries abandon their hobbies when they become bosses. He needs to be appreciated and encouraged to keep up this consistency and freedom of expression.

What attracted my attention is Prof. Akec’s reference to St. Augustine and Thomas Hobbes to justify his apologetic defence of Juba’s suspicion and reservation on the awaited Regional Protection Force.  I’m saying this because I have been a lecturer of “Comparative Political Thought” in the esteemed University of Juba since 2012, both to Arabic and English patterned students of the Department of Political Science.

The evolution of political thought, some of which are practiced in many countries to date, is an area I have admired with great interest. Thus, I must thank the electronic engineer, Prof. John Akec, for becoming an active participant in the classic political field, though. I would have wished to invite him to attend a special lecture on the context and content on St. Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin who had put forward some rigorous political thinking in the history of human governance, especially in regard to ‘Sovereignty and the Sovereign’ in time of ‘Peace’ and ‘War’.

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By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

communique from IGAD

August 8, 2016 (SBB) — After the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus held a Summit meeting on 5th August 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to deliberate on the worrying situation of South, the communique that was issued finally released the “genie out of the bottle”, the deployment of regional protection force to South Sudan with a mandate of:

1) Protection of vulnerable civilians including foreign dignitaries and nation’s political leaders whose security is not seen to be guaranteed by the state.

2) Protection of key installations (e.g., Juba Airport and Nimule Highway) to be conducted jointly with TGoNU authorised security units.

  1. Revitalisation and reinforcement of permanent ceasefire and security arrangements as stipulated in the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).
  2. Collaboration and coordination with the UNMISS peacekeeping forces in order to accomplish the protection mission as effectively as possible.

The language expressed in the 21-points of Communique resolutions is very strong diplomatically.

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By James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

kiir-riek-wani

President Kiir, 1st VP Riek and VP Wani Igga during the arrival of Riek Machar in Juba after 28 months in the bush, April 26, 2016

April 26, 2016 (SSB)  —-  After exhausting the immature dramatic politicking about return of Dr. Riek Machar to Juba to take up his duties as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan for 30 months of the overdue transitional period, finally the most wanted militarized politician arrived in Juba and took oath of office on Tuesday, 26th April 2016. Now the politics of Pagak-to-Juba is over. What is remaining is how dirty power politics in Luri and Jebel Kujur (New Pagak) shall survive the elusive gunboat diplomacy.

The August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is itself an ambitious project the D-days of its implementation modalities shall remain suspicious, if not unrealistic, in many aspects. The peace deal was designed with a purpose of silencing the guns and continuing with politics as usual in a less bloody and non-disaster in humanitarian dignity of the people.

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“Peace will bless us once more with hearing the happy giggling of children and the enchanting ululation of women who are excited in happiness for one reason or another.” – Dr. John Garang at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, January 9, 2005.

By James Okuk, (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

John Garang

February 27, 2016 (SSB)  —  When the peace-loving people appreciated President Salva Kiir Mayardit for issuing the Republican Decree No.60/2016 on Thursday February 11, 2016 to appoint Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon as the First Vice President (FVP) of the Republic of South Sudan, caution for delaying the celebration of the announcement was recommended until the major hurdles get resolved.

Now we have seen that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) has finally resolved the hurdles via external pressure by redeployed the unauthorized forces from Juba as agreed though it might not be all of them at once.

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Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies.” – President J.F. Kennedy.

By Dr. James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

Wani, Riek, and Pagan at the UN

Vp James Wani Igga for the government, Dr. Riek Machar for the SPLM-IO, and Pagan Amum for the G-10 at the UN

February 12, 2016 (SSB) — On Thursday February 11, 2016 President Salva Kiir Mayardit appointed by Republican Decree No.60/2015 the Chairman of SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, as the First Vice President of the Republic in accordance with provisions of Article 6 of Chapter I of the August 2015 Agreement On Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

The move is supposed to affirm that for the duration of the transition, there shall be established the Office of the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, to supervise the implementation of the reforms outlined in the ARCSS and exercise the powers, functions and responsibilities outlined therein.

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By James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

February 4, 2016 (SSB)  —  The Auxiliary Bishop Santo Loku Pio (born in 1969) of Juba Archdiocese has been consistent in his stance on faith and reason in the context of South Sudan. We should keep congratulating him for that faithful shepherding of the people of God, especially the downtrodden and the made-to-suffer as Luky Dube used to sing for South Africa. At tough time like the one we are encountering now, the Republic of South Sudan needs nothing less than revolutionary theology even if not a liberation theology similar to that of Latin America.

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By James Okuk (PhD) Juba, South Sudan

peace in RSS

Time for peace in South Sudan?

January 17, 2016 (SSB) — Last few days after a positive step was taken by the parties to the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) regarding consensus on selection of 30 national ministries, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan thought that the same honeymoon should be extended to the issue of 28 states.

The request was officially placed to the JMEC in its second meeting after having heard the progress report from the National Constitutional Amendments Committee (NCAC) It was decided thereafter that the issue of 28 states is not purely a legal matter but a political one that could be resolved by dialogue until consensus is reached on how to go about it.

However, ‘consensus’ is a porous term because it could be understood from perspectives of different directions. Firstly, it could be that ARCISS’ parties would agree on endorsement of the Republic Establishment Order Number 36/2015 for creation of 28 States in the decentralized governance system in the Republic of South Sudan by including this in the structure and composition of states governments. Secondly, it could be that the parties would agree that the issue of 28 states be endorsed for further deliberation and modification but within the mechanisms provided in Chapter Six on Parameters of Permanent Constitution after the transitional government has taken up its duties fully.

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By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

peace in RSS

Time for peace in South Sudan?

January 5, 2016 (SSB)  —  The month of January was originally named by the Ancient Greek to signify a god of double heads: one head facing forward to a bright future and another head facing backward to a dark past. This Greek nomenclature mythology seems to be making sense with the current situation of the Republic of South Sudan under the confusing SPLM regime that has not learn the dignity of revering credibility and truth.

The SPLM leaders have even spoiled the communist favorable term of ‘comrade’ which has now come to connote a ‘thief of public money’ – corruption –  in the one-party dominated government. That is why some common South Sudanese react offendedly these days if you happen to call them ‘comrades’ as this liberation virtue got blown away by wind of kleptocracy.

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By James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

Festus Mogae

Botswana’s ex-president, Festus Gontebanye Mogae, chairman of the Joint Monitoring and evaluation commission for South Sudan peace deal

December 24, 2015 (SSB)  —  Getting water and food, sleeping in peace at homes without fear of being harmed, and celebrating seasonal festivals for all citizens should have been the most immediate responsibility of the Government of South Sudan (GRSS) like any other normal governments in the world. Alas! This is happening only to a very limited number of isolated privileged few citizens these days.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) advance delegation of peace have already arrived in Juba with accommodation and feeding in the best five star hotels while the common citizens are moaning economically at the suburbs and countryside. Though their repatriation and return to Juba is good news to peace-loving citizens and international friends, still the recently prescribed disastrous capitalist economic shock by the Governor of Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) and Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) is opening another front of terrible poverty war.

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By James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

SONY DSC

Botswana’s ex-president, Festus Gontebanye Mogae, chairman of the Joint Monitoring and evaluation commission for South Sudan peace deal

November 28, 2015 (SSB)  —  Friday 27th November 2015 had marked a very important step forward on the path of peace in the Republic of South Sudan despite lagging behind the schedules in the last wasted three months of pre-transition period. This good news had not happened out of a chance but determination by the Former Botswana President and prominent Veteran African personality, H.E. Festus Gontebanye Mogae.

His biography and profile alone tells in advance the wonders of peace dividends that could be expected in South Sudan soon. Gontebanye was born on 21th August 1939 at Serowe in the Central District of Botswana where he grow up and pursued his first formal education. Later he went to study economics at the universities of Oxford and Sussex in the United Kingdom.

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President Kiir should dismiss many ministers for the sake of Peace Agreement

By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

The monster in charge "I nearly kill that dude so that I can rule forever" The monster on the run "that dude nearly kill me and must step down so that I can rule" The big brother monster "you must talk or else sanctions" and Poor people of South Sudan! via Garang Bol FB

The monster in charge “I nearly kill that dude so that I can rule forever” The monster on the run “that dude nearly kill me and must step down so that I can rule” The big brother monster “you must talk or else sanctions” and Poor people of South Sudan! via Garang Bol FB

November 14, 2015 (SSB)  —  When Chapter One on Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) as per August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) gets implemented by the end of this year, many ministers and deputy ministers who are enjoying the privileges of power now will lose their positions and go home so that others who shall be favored by President Salva Kiir Mayardit could get appointed to fill the new posts for peace.

From an average calculation, the GRSS shall lose 25 Ministers from the current cabinet and only retain 6 while getting 13 new faces for TGoNU. That means more politicians shall be mourning the exit while fewer rejoice the entry.

According to the agreed power sharing formula the GRSS shall retain 53% Ministerial portfolios (16 Ministers) while South Sudan Armed Opposition shall be rewarded with 33% (10 Ministers); and the Former Detainees shall be awarded with 7% (2 Ministers) while Other Political Parties shall be thrown 7% of Ministerial portfolios (2 Ministers).

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By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

GAI NYOK WITH HIS FOSTER MOTHER, ANGELA WILL

GAI NYOK WITH HIS FOSTER MOTHER, ANGELA WILL

November 6, 2015 (SSB)  —  A South Sudanese Lost Boy from Bor is now found as South Sudanese American diplomat in Washington D.C. The U.S. State Department inducted him as a Foreign Service Officer on Friday, October 16, 2015, realizing a dream in international relations that he had aspired to since he was a young boy.

Mr. Gai Nyok was born in 1986 in Bor during SPLM/A’s war with the government of the Sudan. The deplorable violence forced him and the family members to flee on foot to Ethiopia in 1987. Unfortunately again or perhaps fortunate for him, Mengistu Haile Mariam’s socialist regime got overthrown over there and the SPLM/A split bloodily where Gai Nyok had to run back to Southern Sudan and after in 1992 to Kakuma, a refugee camp in northern Kenya, as one of the nearly 20,000 Lost Boys of the Sudan known also as SPLM/A child soldiers (the Red Army).

Life in the Kakuma Refugee Camp was not that promising and many of the boys there were dreaming to get out, especially with the resettlement opportunity offered by the U.S government. Around 1998, Gai Nyok had his first brush with the U.S. State Department when they arrived at the refugee camp to implement the resettlement for the Lost Boys. He and some other Lost Boys jumped at the opportunity to interview with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and after a lengthy process Gai Nyok was granted asylum.

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By James Okuk, PhD., Juba, South Sudan

Your need food, seriously?

Your need food, seriously?

November 3, 2015 (SSB)  —-  If the recurrent of fuel shortages in Juba and other parts of the Republic of South Sudan has been accepted as ‘The New Normal’ for NilePet, I should think it is high time to tell the government top leadership in the country that this is a very dangerous toleration for the survival of the SPLM-J regime itself. Why?

Because it cripples the core of the engine of urban life: its mobility, its connectivity, its power-lightening, its bread, its water and good mood of the people. Without fuel in Juba, it will be semi-impossible to get firewood or charcoal for bread. It will be very far to fetch water for homes.

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By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan's coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

South Sudan’s coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

“Laws prevented people from doing violent deeds that could be seen – Sophist Critias

October 21, 2015 (SSB)  —-  In its Sitting No.7/2015 in the First Session (2015) at the National Legislative Assembly’s Main Hall in Juba on Tuesday 20th October 2015, the National Legislature (in its joint NLA and CS Setting) agreed to the Presentation of Transitional Constitution, 2011 (Amendment No.2 for 2015) by Minister of Justice.

In adherence to Article 83(1) Hon. Paulino Wanawilla Unango tabled the draft amendment based on the directives of the Extraordinary Meeting of the National Council of Ministers that was chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday 13th October 2015 in Juba where the creation of 28 states got approved as per Republican Establishment Order (EO#36/2015).

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By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

Map of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir on 2 October 2015

Map of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir on 2 October 2015

October 14, 2015 (SSB)  —  In its extraordinary meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday 13th October 2015 in Juba, the National Council of Ministers approved the expansion of states from 10 to 28 as it came in the Republican Establishment Order No 36/2015. The Council applauded the decision of the president and directed the Minister of Justice to table it soon as an amendment bill before the National Legislature (NL).

But this is still unfitting legally until the President nullifies the Order first or else the Council’s directive is considered to be a new initiative altogether. A confusion, isn’t it?

Given the fresh facts that the IGAD-Plus Secretariat has decided to relocate to Juba, and also given the World’s support and pressure [see UNSC Resolution 2241 (2015) and IGAD Envoys Memo] for the implementation of the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) as it is without any unilateral alternation, and further more the fact that the UNMISS mandate has been renewed and expanded with authorization of use of UAVs drones and other sophisticated armaments, I don’t think Juba or Pagak should have guts to go against the ARCISS.

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By David Lony Majak

The problem of South Sudan?

The problem of South Sudan?

October 8, 2015 (SSB)  — once again, a set of decrees setting ambitious policies with targets requiring tribal isolations being attached to the adaptation of the established 28 states is unrealistic and unconstitutional. Respectively, has become obsolete and unrealistic considering the activities of the establishment of 28 states in the Republic of South Sudan.

Notwithstanding doubts; the president Kiir has in his out-dated presidential decree alienated (10) states into 28 states traditionally without acknowledging the modern geographical boundaries and demographic importance. Maps are always valued as natural features of the land in history and in the world geography when it comes to borders’ demarcations from the time of colonialism. The logic behind all these is traditionally believed to be of tribal satisfaction beneath the leadership of Salva Kiir.

By doing so; the survived president with unconstitutional extended life-span lacks constitutional powers to continuously issue more decrees in his own capacity. He should therein take into contemplation the fact that, there is just a signed Compromised Peace Agreement (CPA-2, 26 August of Juba and 17th August 2015 of Addis Ababa).

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By James Okuk (PhD), Juba, South Sudan

Map of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir

Map of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir

October 4, 2015 (SSB) — On Friday 2nd October 2015 in Juba and quoting as usual Article 101 of Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (2011), President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued “Establishment Order Number 36/2015 for the Creation of 28 States in the Decentralized Governance System in the Republic of South Sudan.”

The Order is supposed to come into force in 30 working days (i.e., by 4th November 2015) from the date of signature and in accordance with the attached delimitation map to the Order (8 States for Equatoria and 10 states for Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal each).

The President shall appoint gender-balanced (i.e., 25% women) governors and legislative assembly members for these new states with powers of making and promulgating states’ constitutions as well as electing speakers and their deputies respectively.

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By James Okuk, PhD, Juba, South Sudan

August 17th deadline

August 17th deadline

 “It is time we define governments in Africa as the responsibility, not the power” – Dlamini-Zuma

August 22, 2015 (SSB) — On 17th August 2015 in Addis Ababa, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development for mediation of peace talks by the warring parties in South Sudan, known as IGAD-Plus, managed to conclude the twenty months negotiations. In the evening of the dateline set for the end of peace talks, the reinvigorated leadership of IGAD-Plus’s presented finally to the stakeholders the “AGREEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION OF THE CONFLICT IN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN”.

After ups and downs of the last minutes of peace talks politics, the agreement was initialed by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (In Opposition) known as SPLM/A-IO, and the SPLM Leaders known as the Former Detainees (FDs).

Unfortunately, the Political Parties of South Sudan were prevented to be in Addis Ababa to initial and sign the Agreement (though they welcomed it and stated their intention to sign it once given the opportunity to do so either in Addis Ababa or in Juba).

However, the GRSS postponed for two weeks the final signature of President Salva Kiir Mayardit on the document (pending the result of tactical further consultations or may be tempers cooling at home). The president and his team have been given the benefit of doubts to prove their honesty within 15 days.

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