Archive for the ‘Mayen Ayarbior’ Category


By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

corruption

From rags to riches: The amazing transition of the telecommunication companies in South Sudan

December 10, 2016 (SSB) — The level of ‘theft’ inflicted upon the people of South Sudan by telecommunication companies is beyond description.  The helpless people have complained time and again against that theft and sought protection, but that complain seemed to have fallen on the deaf ears of those who should protect the people. The only resort left now is for the people to organize a large demonstration and move to the headquarters of Vivacell, Zain and MTN and close them by force. Even though that may be extreme, as it might carry negative consequences for the people themselves, what other options are there?

Just like the V8s (running schools) in South Sudan which have become like donkeys in Mauritania, found in the least developed villages, the country did not need that big number of telecom companies in the first place. In addition to their insatiable appetite for looting the helpless South Sudanese in broad day light, they are the biggest earners of money in the country, least taxed and largest industry responsible for the biggest capital repatriation. “Parasites” is the single word description befitting them.

One can load SSP 500 and for some reasons which can only be defended by Vivacell and MTN, the money will be over in ten minutes, yah minutes, not hours. That is even if you did not talk with anyone. When you go to their offices, someone will arrogantly take your phone and teach you how to switch your “mobile data” on and off, because it incurs money to keep it on.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

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September 29, 2016 (SSB) —- The Chinese proverb which states that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step is found, translated and paraphrased in almost all other human societies. James Baldwin, a prominent African American civil rights writer once wrote that we must know where we are coming from in order to know where we are going. John Garang used that wisdom in his diagnoses of “the problem of Sudan.” The same idiom also featured in an ever present confession that “we lost track” whenever mountaineers try to get their way either up to the top or back to base.

Physicians (medical doctors) examine the physical state of patients before prescribing medication. Social scientists (historians, lawyers, sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, psychologists, etc.) examine dynamics and trends in social phenomena prior to proposing positive paths forward. Thus, recent medical and social histories of patients and beleaguered societies (countries) are vital in both fields.

The general idea here is that conflicts are linked to their roots from which they ought not to be detached, lest we lose track of the way forward. Some societies make the mistake of assigning improper roots to their conflicts thereby fail to find sustainable solutions to their persistence. For example, a few of learned colleagues would want to attribute the current selfish  nonsensical deadly political bickering back to historical clan-centered wars between the Jieng (Dinka) and Naath (Nuer), rather than pinpointing the real issues related to personal ambition and political contestation in the country. It is not the tribes, which are God’s creation, it is individual political leaders who use tribes as their political firewood.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

John Garang

The vision of John Garang

September 19, 2016 (SSB) — In the last two notes on this topic I argued that it was high time the SPLM-N started making serious concessions on the methods of executing its revolution. For many strategic reasons, time has come for it to drop armed struggle in favour of political struggle. Many have argued that the choice is Khartoum’s to make, while SPLM-N could only adopt a reactive posture. To some large extent that may not be far from the truth. Indeed, as it (SPLM-N) has already signed the Road Map agreement as part of a wider opposition umbrella, Khartoum is expected to reciprocate. However, it may not be the whole truth that SPLM-N’s choices are exhausted simply by signing a road map agreement.

Many South Sudanese agree that Juba must take its legal commitments more seriously; assuming that there are commitment gaps to be filled on its part, such as one in which SPLM-N commanders and leaders are told that they became foreigners from July 9, 2011 as far as Juba is concerned. And by being citizens of another state, the revolutionary ‘ball game’ has changed. Of course, they might ask for a barrel of salt just to stomach the news, but this is Juba’s obligation to initiate and commitment to make.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

pagan and john garang

Commander Pagan Amum Okiech, with Chairman Dr. John Garang and Commander Yasir Said Arman, Rumbek Senior, 2003

September 9, 2016 (SSB) — In his last trip to Khartoum the First Vice President, H.E. Taban Deng Gai, made it clear that South Sudan had decided to cease support to all armed elements that were currently fighting against Khartoum. He stated that he expected similar reciprocation from Khartoum. His (1st VP’s) policy statement must have pleasingly shocked Khartoum which had no option but to welcome it and hope that it represented the true intentions of the string-pullers back Juba. They went ahead with their own goodwill gestures such as taking concrete steps towards operationalizing the four freedoms agreement between the two countries as-well-as agreeing on a joint border patrol agreement.

At the backdrop of FVP’s policy statement laid a vicious civil war in his country and a protracted conflict in the New Southern Sudan (Angasana and Kurdufan) and western region of Darfur. The consequences of the civil war in both countries are evident in terms of massive deaths and human flight, both within and across their joint and international borders. Refugees are fleeing to South Sudan from Sudan continued to be in their hundreds of thousands. The reverse is also true. Hundreds of thousands are also fleeing from the southern border into Sudan.

To all intents and purposes, the two countries have established themselves to be sources of refugees who are fleeing oppression perpetrated against them by various forces, whether directly by armed elements and allied militias or indirectly through impunity.  As a result, the two countries seem to be competing in international circles for the description of ‘rogue state’ where known and unknown gunmen as-well-as banditry and rebellions against both capitals have become the norms. Whether it is rape cases in Darfur or anywhere across the border in South Sudan, innocent civilians have continued to be on the receiving ends of untold atrocities.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

riek

Riek Machar Teny, the armed rebel leader

September 2, 2016 (SSB) — To most honest analyst the recent events in Juba have created new dynamics with which the country must live for generations to come. This is not to undermine the effects of unimaginable wanton destruction caused by the civil war (2013-2016). In fact, what happened and is happening in Juba is a continuation of the same episode of the same civil war. It was like a bell which signals another round of a boxing match. The only, but stark, difference is that this is not a match. Millions of lives have already been destroyed, and it looks like the count may continue for a while. The match must reach its logical conclusion that is one man standing.

Yesterday’s peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar, who came to Juba through the doors of JIA decided to escape through jumping over fences and climbing trees. There are two narratives about why he had to choose that rout out, so soon as it were.  One is ‘ours,’ those in government (call us IGs) which we must memorize and parrot according to the script. Whether you are an IG by blood or by association, you must have seen or heard the shooting at J1. In all countries of the world seldom do you hear or watch news of fighting in J1s, did you!? It only happens when there’s a military takeover of government, which we Latin speakers call ‘coup d’état.’

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

Fighting in South Sudan

Fighting in South Sudan

August 28, 2016 (SSB) — Last week I was listening to Miraya FM when I heard a little girl speaking some words of wisdom that must have fallen on the deaf ears of the war mongers who have held the country hostage. She was contacted by one of Miraya presenters (Sunny Martin) as a follow-up on her earlier interview about the recent breakout of another senseless episode of bloodbath in Juba. In her earlier interview she narrated her ordeal before saying some heart-hitting words, assuming we all have hearts.

The ordeal: when the bullets started spraying she was separated from her mother and started running to the church for shelter with a group of scared and helpless civilians. She later contacted her mother as she memorized the phone number. On their way to the church some unknown gunmen in uniform stopped them at gun point. They ordered them to hand in their belongings and, of course, they obliged. They were lucky in some ways.

When contacted by Miraya she said that she thought her life was going to be cut short at that small age. She then passed the following message to the ‘leaders’ of South Sudan, which I will try to paraphrase, even though I wouldn’t match her eloquence and spirit. She said: “We the children of South Sudan are suffering because of the war. Let this war stop. Let our leaders know that we want to be proud of having them as our leaders. We don’t want to regret having them as our leaders.”

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

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August 5, 2016 (SSB) — Foreign interventions have constantly been a controversial aspect of international security and law. For those countries at the receiving end, prompt reference to the concepts of sovereignty and territorial integrity were/are inevitable as a means of avoiding intervention. For such countries, the two concepts are always used to fend off against intervention proposals by so called superpowers, be they states or international organizations like the UN.

While the two concepts continue to strongly feature in the intervention debate, they are no longer as broad as they used to be. For good or bad, they hold a different meaning in the “new world order” which emerged with the United Nations in 1945, a world security order which South Sudan voluntarily joined through signing the UN Charter as a precondition for its recognition as a ‘sovereign’ nation-state in 2011.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

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July 31, 2016 (SSB) —- The quick succession of momentous events in South Sudan’s political stage has literary dumbfounded every keen observer of the country’s affairs. Whether you are an insider, outsider or mere observer, no one could say with any level of certainty what the future holds for the country. It now depends on reactions and counter reactions of different stakeholders, including regional and international bodies. Such an uncertain state of affairs has prompted foreign embassies to continue evacuating their nationals while citizens are on a journey of unprecedented exodus to neighboring countries.

The current high stakes for the very existence of our country as a stable polity are surely not imaginary and could not be exaggerated. On the ground, the peace agreement which was negotiated for so long is at risk of swiftly dying and failing to live up to its ultimate goal and projected benefit of peace to the people. Unfortunately, for the people, counting the cost of destruction in terms of mass displacement, destruction of remaining social infrastructure and lives may still have to be further postponed for a while.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

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July 20, 2016 (SSB) — The African Union Summit in Kigali has added its unanimous voice to IGAD and UN Security Council that an intervention force be sent to Juba to protect strategic infrastructure and ‘restore peace and security’ in South Sudan. According to the UN Secretary General who was in attendance, the task might be undertaken by mainly African forces under the auspices of a reinvigorated UNMISS mandate.

It is not clear whether replacement of forces (e.g. Bangladeshi replaced by Ugandans and Kenyans) could be negotiated so as to maintain the same figure of 12, 000 UNMISS forces whose increment the President categorically rejected even before the summit began. They have now sent that strong resolution to the UN Security Council for consideration and logistical support.

In my previous article, my general argument against buffer zones and foreign (western) intervention was that they have often made things worse rather than better. Nevertheless, as an international security academic and analyst I must also spare time to objectively project to our citizens and decision makers the other side of the same coin.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

fighting in juba

Fighting in Juba, 2013, 2016

July 15, 2016 (SSB) — The current security developments in Juba have created new dynamics which may infringe on the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. To so many neutrals a discussion on whether that infringement is positive or negative is immaterial since it is widely believed that it will lead to some sense of stabilization of the security situation. That may or may not be true, yet a deeper understanding of the security concepts involved is warranted as the government, analysts and citizens talk about what is ahead.

New security terminologies have appeared on the scene with embedded prospects for renegotiating (or merely signing) new annexes to the current IGAD mediated Security Arrangements. Moreover, these new security dynamics are also IGAD-led as they were part of a resolution of the regional block’s Foreign Ministers in Nairobi combined with those from AU Heads of State Summit in Kigali in the same week.

The new security terminologies are “intervention force” and “buffer zone.” The former has been proposed by IGAD and UN Security Council, while the latter is found in Dr. Riek’s conditions for coming back to Juba after what happened.  Dr. Riek’s argument is that another fight might occur in Juba without a ‘buffer zone’ to separate the two belligerent forces.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

 South, price of war, price of peace

July 8, 2016 (SSB) — This case study in “House of War 2013” in support of a saying by the philosopher George Santyana that “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. The Nigerian civil war, known as the Nigerian-Biafran War (July 1967-January 1970), was a secessionist attempt that pitted Nigeria’s Southeastern regional coalition of ethnic groups against the Nigerian authoritarian state.

Just like in many other instances of ethnic civil wars that led to successful secession of regions into sovereign statehood [e.g. Eritrea and South Sudan], a self-proclaimed republic, “The Republic of Biafra,” was an example where a civil war that was motivated by self-rule could not attain its ultimate goal. Failure to succeed was not attributable to lack of manpower since the people of Biafra (led by the ethnic Igbo) did believe in their cause and many joined ‘the armed revolution’ against an aggressive Nigerian military composed of other ethnic groups, especially from the Northern region. The reason why the Igbo were defeated was because the Nigerian army, supported by oil revenue and multinational corporations, used superior armament and brutal force rather than negotiated settlement.

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The quagmire of counter-insurgency everywhere

Posted: July 4, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Mayen Ayarbior

By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

splm-IG-IO-G10

Know thy enemy: The problem of South Sudan

July 4, 2016 (SSB) — A few years ago I had a great privilege to be generously sponsored as a ‘Sie Fellow’ in Denver (Colorado) where I attended the prestigious Joseph Korbel School of International Studies for an MA in International Security. The greatest aspect of that privilege was the ability to listen, learn and interact intellectually with great academics and Korbel alumni who had also been decision makers (practitioners) at the U.S. State Department and DoD (Department of Defense).

Such list of Korbel alumni included people like Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Gen. George Casey Jr, Christopher Hill, among other academics. Over 90 percent of MA International Security students were either active U.S. army/air force/navy officers or FBI/ CIA overt and covert operatives. Most of them served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and few in Africa where they were involve in executing counter insurgency strategies, which they narrated in details with the students.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

Mayen Ayarbior

David Mayen Ayarbior is the spokesperson of the South Sudanese Vice President, Hon. James Wani Igga

July 1, 2016 (SSB) —- In the last couple of articles I tried to narrate how our life as South Sudanese refugees in Ifo (Dadaab) camp was turned upside down by tribal fighting, which I termed as a (mini) civil war. I also blamed the fighting on ‘frustration-aggression,’ a phrase which psychologists and security analysts have widely used to explain why some youth rebelled against governments or joined terrorist groups. It could also be applied to explaining internal fighting between oppressed societies like what happened in UNMISS PoCs in Juba, Malaka, and Bor.

Continuing from where we stopped: Having carried out an unsuccessful attack on Sudan (4), the warriors of Sudan (2) retreated back to their camp. After setting alight parts of the fence, they could not enter Sudan (4) to ‘deal’ with the overall Chairman of the Sudanese Community whom they accused of being a traitor. Moreover, they had lost a young man who was beaten to death by Sudan (4) youth who resisted in defense of their sub-camp.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

kiir-riek

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

June 29, 2016 (SSB) — In the last article under the heading above I enumerated a number of institutions which I thought would be central to our transition to a politically and economically stable country. I mentioned the military, especially its DDRC implementing organs as being at the heart of the transition. Because security is the most important component of statecraft, reducing the size of our military (improving the capacity of those that remain) and integrating those that are demobilized into productive industries would allow them to start a new life far away from extortion and banditry. Liberia and Sierra Leon have undertaking DDR successfully, so can South Sudan.

I also mentioned the Judiciary and Legislature for their important oversight role in creating a country under the law. The two institutions play complementary roles in ensuring the supremacy of the rule of law- in contrast to the rule man (and woman). The legislature shall have a central oversight role in making sure that Ministers present their quarterly reports to parliament for scrutiny and approval or disapproval. They collectively have the right to pass a vote of no confidence on Ministers or Chairpersons of Commissions who underperform. If parliament is not unduly politicized, which is a big if, then the level of its effectiveness could be the main yardstick with which to measure the prospects of TGoNU.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

kuol manyang at the EAC summit

(R-L) Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame and South Sudan Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk at the 10th Summit of Heads of State of the Northern Corridor.

June 26, 2016 (SSB) — Last week the United Kingdom of Britain voted in a referendum to exit from the European Union. Having been an integral part of the “European project” for much too long, the decision to exit the union has created an economic shock that is still spreading beyond the EU’s epicenter into the rest of the world. Within the Kingdom itself, the demographic chart of the vote has shown how divided the voters were: the youth voted to stay, Scotland voted to stay, Londoners voted to stay, yet almost every “rural” community voted to exit and they won the day by just over a million vote.

Thousands of miles away from Britain, the “youngest” nation in the world has recently been accepted into an economic community which has benchmarked the EU for its growth projectiles. South Sudan has been accepted into the East African Community, an economic community with its own skeptics who are comparable to those in the EU. Like it is in Britain, the skeptics (naysayers) of South Sudan about joining EAC are also overwhelmingly rural folks who do not have requisite capacity to correctly perceive the socioeconomic intricacies of economic communities.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

Kuel refugee camp

Gatwech interviewing a woman under her tent in Kule-2 Refugee Camp.JPG

June 21, 2016 (SSB) — In the last narration on our “civil war” in Ifo 1997 refugee camp I thought that we had suffered from what psychologists termed as ‘frustration-aggression syndrome.’ Considering what we had gone through for parts of 95 and the entire 1996 in terms of denial by UNHCR to give us refugee status, coupled with hunger, insecurity and virtual detention in a hostile environment, the fighting among South Sudanese far away from home in a refugee camp just proved that syndrome to be true. Where we were supposed to be so close (in fact we had become so close before the war) we started a senseless ethnic conflict.

Because of an unfounded rumor that the overall Chairman in Sudan 4 (Equatoria) was conspiring with “JVA” to resettle his own family, the three Sudans (2, 3, and 4 – Upper Nile, Bahar Algazal, and Equatoria respectively) had prepared for war, except for Sudan 1 (Anyuak). Sudan 1 was almost a foreign community. They spoke Amharic and associated exclusively with the Ethiopian community. There was a strong rumor that they were Ethiopian Anyuak who claimed to be South Sudanese in order to be resettled in U.S.A., Canada or Australia.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

SPLM/A Founders

SPLM/A Founders

June 18, 2016 (SSB) — Here are extracts from “House of War: Civil War and State Failure in Africa 2013 (p.101-104). After I examined different case studies of civil wars, I thought of ending with a hopeful tone by looking at a positive picture in Africa.

”The Arusha Declaration and TANU’s [Tanganyika African National Union’s] Policy on Socialism and Self-Reliance (1967), more commonly known as the Arusha Declaration, was one of the most publicized documents across Africa during the region’s immediate post- independence period.12 As it came in the aftermath of waves of bitter African nationalist struggles for self-determination and independence, it established a political and economic blueprint for nation building that was opposite to imperialism.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

arusha agreement

key actors and institutions of the TGONU

June 12, 2016 (SSB) — South Sudan is currently at the crossroads of transition from an undesirable state to, hopefully, a new prosperity. Make no mistake, it is going to be a very difficult period of sociopolitical change which will require the efforts of so many patriots, yet some actors will be preconditioned to be at the peripheries of the transition to democracy and true socialism. And even if they see themselves as representing the majority victimized citizens and deeply embedded in the society, the current undesirable structure of our state dictates that they shall not be able to play any central role. In the same breath, because of the status quo, some institutions and political actors could be more essential in the transition than others.

The status quo is that the country had all but almost collapsed, hundreds of thousands of victims including women and children are still stranded in UNMISS Protection of Civilians Camps (POCs) with inadequate schooling or medical care, while millions are still displaced both internally and in neighboring countries. The social fabric of our country has been violently shattered beyond recognition by the civil war and it will not take less than a decade for true fixing to be effected. Moreover, our country is by far one of the most militarized in Africa.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

Kuel refugee camp

Gatwech interviewing a woman under her tent in Kule-2 Refugee Camp.JPG

June 10, 2016 (SSB) — The recent threat by Kenya to close down Dadaab refugee camps prompted me to recall my own experience as a refugee in the same camp. Worldwide, rural refugees could be called the retched of the earth because they are at the bottom of humanity’s economic order. They are sometimes victimized by both their own states from which they flee and by the host states where they seek safety. Moreover, they could still be victimized by UNHCR instead of getting necessary help. The collective victimization of refugees and IDPs has sometimes led to what psychologists have termed as “frustration-aggression syndrome.” The syndrome often leads to internal fighting in refugee/IDP camps for the stupidest of reasons like the ones witnessed in UNMISS PoCs across the country – which we also experienced in Dadaab in 1997.

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By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

Kuel refugee camp

Gatwech interviewing a woman under her tent in Kule-2 Refugee Camp.JPG

June 8, 2016 (SSB) — In the last few days the government of Kenya has been in talks with the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the status of Dadaab Refugee Camp in North Eastern Kenya bordering Somalia. It is the biggest refugee camp in the world, housing majority refugees from Somalia, and sizable numbers from South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Congo DRC. In fact, the camp is divided into three distant camps each about five miles from Dadaab Center where NGOs are based. The three camps are Ifo, Hagadera, and Dagahaley.

As I am following this latest threat, I became empathetic towards the refugees in Dadaab who may be forcefully deported back to countries like Eritrea to face their death or those raped victims who escaped Eastern DRC because of insecurity and stigma, let alone our whose country is facing economic meltdown on top of insecurity. I also wonder whether the Kenyan government does not see that Dadaab camps could be among the worst places to live on earth, hence those refugees are not there by choice to live with bandits, hyenas, scorpions, and snakes. I say that because Dadaab has ever been my home for two long, hard, and eventful years.

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