Archive for the ‘Opinion Writers’ Category


By Tito Awen Bol, Nairobi, Kenya

Social media warriors

Social media warriors

August 23, 2017 (SSB) — I am writing with the wishes that, “I wish illiteracy rate was not 63% in our Country.  I wish most youth were not literately lazy to read, and I wish my name cannot form a barrier in the perception of the reader,” this message would have reached to many people outside there. I heard it from the driver and it impetuously grilled my brain and haunted me from the last few days up to today…please read it, I didn’t intend to write a long or complex article.

Few days to Kenya’s elections, I left Eldoret for South Sudan through Kakuma-Kapoeta road. On my way, I was called and advised by my elder brother to avoid travelling during election time and instead advised me further to spend days in Kakuma with some relatives as elections unfold. It (election) came to past and I thought of proceeding with my journey to Kapoeta and subsequently to Juba.

I caught an evening taxi from Kakuma town heading to Lokichoggio which was driven by a man I later knew to be known as Mr. Njuguna. I sat next to him (driver). We by-passed the main Kakuma Refugees Camp which is situated at the right ends of the road. After few minutes’ drive (around 10-15 minutes), here emerged the camp extension area (Kalobeyei) meant for new arrivals (South Sudanese refugees).

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By Thon Madol Mathok, Kampala, Uganda

SPLA military High military command

August 22, 2017 (SSB) — As an African child would not listen to the first beating but had to be repeatedly beaten for like 2 or 3 times until he would realize what he had done was bad. That is when he learned a lesson and would do things right, on the other hand, a stubborn child who would not listen to parent even after being beaten thoroughly is simply cursed and if he continued like that, the end result would be tragic to him.

It was eminent South Sudan would encounter many beatings because we are ignorant of educating ourselves of past occurrences in order to be cautious about the present and future life. South Sudanese struggle will end the moment we start reflecting on past experiences to remind ourselves of the past before we move forward peacefully.

Past knowledge is essential because it’s direct us on what we should do and what we should avoid. So today experience will act as a guideline in future and this will give a lasting peace in South Sudan, there is a quote I found attributed to Soren Kierkegaard which says “life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.”

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The neglected sources of revenue in South Sudan that led to the government’s bankruptcy: Blaming drop in oil price and war are coincidental    

Longar Mathiec Wol, Nairobi, Kenya

black market vs central bank rate - Copy

August 21, 2017 (SSB) — The American politician and businessman Erskine Bowles once said “I think that if we don’t get these politicians to come together we face the most predictable economic crisis in history”. Inarguably that is the case today in South Sudan. The dispute in two camps hold the country hostage and the economic crisis is taking a toll on the citizens. It is up to us to bring these two camps or these politicians together and open a new chapter of economic recovery or we perish economically.

Though the war is not the only cause of the country’s worst economic crisis, it contribution is undeniable. The youngest nation’s government has been challenged by how to stabilize the country’s economy since the start of a disastrous civil war in 2013. The attempts to reinvigorate the economy went futile. The economic crisis that led the country into hyperinflation and the loss of public confidence in the government due to the rise of cost of living and in the way through which it handles the situation.

Many people traced the crisis back to 2013 but, the truth of the matter is, it was coincidental. Whether the war broke out or not this crisis was on its way and could have happened because the government has overlooked many factors that would have easily contributed toward the economic crisis in future.

When the country got independence, the aid extended by many countries made the government relaxive; It remains without a future plan on how it’s going to operate in the absence of this assistance from the donors. Some of the signs that the government didn’t put in place some of the mechanism on how to generate it revenue apart from hand out from the foreign donation.

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Past Governments of President Kiir: The Dynamic Interplay Between Power Politics and Ethnicity in the Republic of South Sudan under a Tribocratic Paradigm (Part 3)

In this article, my contention is that all past governments of President Kiir, from the post-CPA government in 2005 to the post-July 8th government in 2016, have violated the principle of Tribocracy because the president has marginalized the Equatorians (-5.86%) and Nuer (-2.62%) while over-representing the Dinka (+4.75%) and Minority Group (+3.75%). Of the 389 political positions of President Kiir’s past governments, the Dinka should have been given 148 positions; the Equatorians 124 positions; the Nuer 74 positions and the Minority Group 43 positions, which translates to a tribocratic equilibrium of 38%, 32%, 19% and 11% of the government respectively.

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan

RSS coat of ARMS

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.

I: General Introduction

August 19, 2017 (SSB) — In his much-publicized resignation letter of February 11, 2017, the former SPLA Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, writes that President Kiir, instead of developing the country and professionalizing the national army, has “concentrated on coordinating and planning for establishing and entrenching Dinka ethnic domination, and pursuing a strategy of turning the SPLA and other organized forces into brutal tribal forces that serve as instruments of control and clinging to power.”

In what amount to a manifesto of his National Salvation Front (NAS), “South Sudan: The Compelling Case for Change, How, and Towards What Outcomes,” which was released on March 6th, 2017, Gen. Thomas Cirillo rubbishes the essence of the national constitution by accusing the president of being the primary author and principal beneficiary of the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.

In principle, Gen. Thomas Cirilo contention is that the national army and the transitional constitution of South Sudan are being systematically deployed by the president to protect, consolidate and perpetuate the economic interests, political domination and security guarantees of the Dinka tribe—a group of people whose loyalty to their group is greater than which they demonstrate towards the nation of which they are part of, according to a quote by Gen. Thomas Cirilo.

The premise of Gen. Thomas Cirilo’s argument is the domination of the army and government by the Dinka community, the result of which is the marginalization of other communities as the Dinka-controlled government and Dinka-dominated army cater exclusively to the political, security and economic interest of the Dinka people.

The resolution of the national conflict, according to Gen. Thomas Cirilo, will not just be the dethronement of President Kiir, but also the institutionalization of a national policy framework to address Dinka ethnic hegemony, and marginalization of other communities in all its forms in the entire public and private sectors of the Republic of South Sudan.

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“In South Sudan, owing to a very poor understanding of international principles about constitutions, the President thinks he is the principal author and beneficiary of the Constitution. Many a time, the President becomes the constitution,” partly reads a manifesto of the National Salvation Front, a South Sudanese armed Opposition movement, calling for “crafting and adopting, through a wide consultative process, a modern, democratic, truly federal constitution with institutional checks and balances.”

 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, Juba, South Sudan

Kiir and Wani

President Kiir and VP Dr. James Wani Igga, on independent day

August 18, 2017 (SSB) — President Salva Kiir’s recent firing of 14 Judges including justices from South Sudan court of appeal and the high court received intense condemnation from the civil society and members of the legal fraternity who, rightly, see the move as an interference with the independence of the judiciary and administration of justice in world’s youngest nation.

The sacked judges have been on an open-ended strike since early May. Their demands include higher wages and better working conditions, and the resignation of chief justice Chan Reech Madut who they accused of having compromised the independence of the Judiciary.

Some of the Judges who have not been dismissed have vowed to continue with the strike, demanding that president Kiir meets all their demands, including the reinstatement of the 14 sacked Judges or else he should dismiss all of them who are on strike.

“We the general assembly of Justices and Judges across South Sudan, in our urgent meeting held at the Judiciary headquarters in Juba and in all the states, on this 14th day of July, 2017, have resolved to continue with our open strike in solidarity with our honourable dismissed justices and judges until our demands are met,” partly reads a statement by the Judges.

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The Republic of South Sudan marks the 62nd anniversary of the historical and popular Torit uprising on the 18th of August, 1955

By Arop Madut Arop, Nairobi, Kenya

Torit mutiny

The 61st anniversary of August 18, 1955, Torit Mutiny that launched the 50 years revolutionary struggle of South Sudanese against Khartoum, culminating in the independence of South Sudan in July 2011

August 16, 2017 (SSB) — As the people of the Republic of South Sudan mark and celebrate the 62nd anniversary of August 18th, 1955 Torit uprising, it would extremely be important to recall the events that ushered in the protracted armed struggle between the Sudan’s two regions. The object of that liberation struggle was for the people of South Sudan to achieve dignity, freedom and self-esteemed denied them for decades. When people mark an occasion like the 62nd anniversary of our armed resistance struggle, it is always natural to remember the huge sacrifices the pioneers of our political struggle under went in their fight to liberate their people.

Besides reminding ourselves about the issues that surrounded South Sudan treacherous journey to peace and independence, this important occasion, is intended for the benefit of our younger people and future generations, who may have not lived the events described in this piece. Importantly, August 18th, the anniversary is very vital to celebrate because it marked the starting point for the people of the South Sudan long tedious and treacherous journey to permanent peace and prosperity.

On the top of the martyrs that we should remember as we celebrate this important memorable occasion include: General Emidio Tafeng Lodongi, who was a lead organiser of the uprising, Corporal Saturnino Oboya who ignited the uprising and last but not least, Private Latada who single-handedly kept the liberation torch alight on the top of his Latada Hill outside Torit Town, until the entire South Sudanese people joined him and fought two wars to successful end.

Below are excerpts which depict what happened on the 18th August over six decades ago (read more).

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By Ring Mayar, Sydney, Australia

Social media warriors

Social media warriors

August 16, 2017 (SSB) — I could not agree more with an article written by Simon Little, published under the title “South Sudan: Time for Humanitarians to get tough”. The author posed important questions, “as a humanitarian at what point does one start to think the unthinkable”? The author wondered to what extent the aid provided was positive, or if it was doing more harm than good.

Almost 70 years after the establishment of the UN, in part, to tackle world problems including development of the war torn countries in Africa, and other parts of the world, the fault lines of insecurity, food shortages, unstable economies, failing health care and education system, still appear glaring to many of the world’s billion people.

As many people lose their entitlement to property ownership, job security, rights, including the absence of economic empowerment as well as social and cultural severing – judging by the length of time refugees or IDPs spend in camps – guarded by peacekeeping soldiers, many prefer to stay in refugee camps and not venture out to establish themselves.

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By Deng Duot D’Bior-bar, Seattle, USA

kiir election

JUNE 2015 ELECTIONS

August 15, 2017 (SSB) — Politics is a game of numbers where the majority always takes a lead. This is according to Aristotle’s democracy theory.  During the 2017 Kenyan election, the tribes teamed up together to affix the lead in the election process and decided who should be the next president of Kenya. And, in deed the son, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was re-elected for his second term.

With that, South Sudanese leaders should learn much about what tribal affiliation has done in Kenya.  South Sudan should also learn, that it doesn’t matter what military ranks and training, Ph.D.,  or soldier that you have can give you the leeway to the highest office but your tribal affiliation, and connection with other tribes can give you the upper hand during elections’ time.

The  Kikuyu, Meru, Akamba and the Nandis men, came together denying the most experienced Kenyan Politician and opposition leader, who has championed and had the thread to promote multipartyism,  and democracy in Kenya. The Retired Former Prime Minister Raila Amollo Odinga was not defeated because he did not have experiences, did have good economic ideas or lack of leadership abilities but simply because of well calculated tribal hegemony and alignment.

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Shared Mutual Recognition and Respect for Social Harmony: The Foundation of National Dialogue in South Sudan

By Acuil Malith Banggol, Juba, South Sudan

Achuil Malith Banggol, SPLM Secretary for Syndicate and Popular Organization

Achuil Malith Banggol, SPLM Secretary for Syndicate and Popular Organization

Introductory Remarks and Recommendations

August 13, 2017 (SSB) — This is a brief appraisal of two draft documents namely: (1) SPLM Internal Guidelines on Supporting National Dialogue drafted by able colleagues, the SPLM Technical Advisors and (2) The Road Map to National Dialogue knowledgeably designed through consultative methods within the South Sudan National Dialogue Steering Committee.

Logically as a healthy party political work, SPLM General Secretariat is mandated to provide guidance and coordination to SPLM Caucus members in Public Administration and/or any other organs with SPLM members. As an SPLM Advisor on Popular and Syndicated Organizations, mandated to provide technical support to the various committees and working groups of the Party where and when necessary.

Both documents are interchangeably reviewed, critic and counsel are given. Rationalization and comparative analysis follow these recommendations:

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The blanket denial of right to peaceful demonstration and claim of threat to National Security and Public Safety: The case of 8th May 2017 Juba peaceful demonstration

By Garang Geng Akot, New Delhi, India

Juba university demonstration1

Juba university demonstration, 8 May 2017

August 13, 2017 (SSB) — The right to peaceful demonstration is an intrinsic part of democratic society and civilized nations. According to The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, South Sudan is governed on the basis of a decentralized democratic system of governance, yet one wonders why it’s become an audacious act to stage a peaceful demonstration.

Before I take you (the readers) through legal instruments that grant the right to freedom of assembly in which the right to peaceful demonstration is manifested or coupled to, right to freedom of speech and Media, allow me to talk briefly about the 8th May Juba peaceful demonstration in which I was personally a victim of arbitrary arrest.

The 8th May Juba peaceful demonstration is the latest protest against government’s poor governance with the first protest being 1982 in Wau in which the prison officers indiscriminately fired live ammunitions at the protestors. Since then, the few protests that have taken place so far are government sponsored protests.

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By Junior William Deng, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

the-politics-of-south-sudan-ig-vs-io

The tragicomedy of the South Sudanese politics: SPLM-IG vs SPLM-IO

August 13, 2017 (SSB) — Electoral democracy in Africa has caused various political damages; it is specifically designed to benefit incumbency and discriminate against oppositions and minorities. In Kenya, electoral frailties are not generated by political opposition as alluded by international and regional observers, it is about the political history of Kenya ethnically conceived by Jomo Kenyatta and implemented by President Moi political patronage system for thirty (30) years.

This, in 1966 when Jaramogi resigned from the government, he formed his party with which he decamped KANU with a great number of Kikuyu politicians. Unfortunately, during snap elections in 1980, the majority of Kikuyu politicians who had followed Jaramogi to formed KPP were beaten and ethnically forced to abandon Jaramogi.

In another snap elections, all these politicians sought political representation from their areas where they were unanimously elected. This, however, made Jaramogi consolidate his political organization from Nyanza, Western and a few from Ukambani. This political trend continued to mesmerize equal and democratic representation in the country.

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By Kuol Alberto Makuach, Juba, South Sudan

Malong and Dau Aturjong

Peace and reconciliation process between Paul Malong and Dau Aturjong, Aweil, Sept 2016

August 10, 2017 (SSB) — Today, I intend to challenge and oppose the most debatable topic- Peace- insofar as the above state is concerned. I say so because of the people’s understanding of peace and how they have been pointing at Mading Aweil has the role model to be emulated. It must be stated clearly here also that, the question of peace in this article is in relation to the people of Aweil insofar as their peaceful co-existence is concerned and not peace for the whole country.

Peace is a very difficult term to define and I want to state at the outset here that, I am not going to define it satisfactory but rather to give my own understanding which might not be the same as others’ viewpoint.

Peace is generally recognized by its absence. When there is war or civil unrest, people would immediately recognize that something is missing and that which is absent is peace. But to say what it is, is as hard as defining other theoretical terms like justice, freedom, happiness etc.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

Thiik Giir

Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

August 11, 2017 (SSB) — We are locked in our small rooms which are in a big room we called South Sudan.  These are spaces that our tribes and our political parties we are affiliated to, have provided us to live in.  These spaces are increasingly becoming narrower and narrower as the food to eat, water to drink and air to breath are becoming more and more scarce.  This is certainly not the best way to live.

This has directly and indirectly robbed us of our dignity and of our common humanity.  So many of us have become used to living in these little spaces.  The few among us, who showed their rejection of the existing walls of their particular rooms, are reminded again and again that those rooms are the only spaces within which they can move and that those walls are the only limits they can reach.

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By Thon Madol Mathok, Kampala, Uganda

president salva kiir

August 11, 2017 (SSB) — Politics has become chronic to the extent everything is regarded on the side of politics, for instance, you cannot give someone something for free for brotherhood sake but instead of giving thanks rather he analyzes it by questioning, why is he giving me this? Is he not after something? What does he want from me then? Is he vying for any position?

Others take it further you can see someone doing something that is not right or does not know what to do or need support to do something but refuses to voluntarily give a hand and take it as the political strategy to take advantage of his loopholes.

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By Lucy Ayak Malek, Nairobi, Kenya

Paul Malong and Dau Aturjong

Peace and reconciliation process between Paul Malong and Dau Aturjong, Aweil, Sept 2016

 

August 10, 2017 (SSB) — A couple of days ago I authored an appeal in form of an open letter to President Salva Kiir, asking him to allow my husband to seek medical attention abroad. The appeal was published on change.org, paanluelwel.com, and other media outlets.

As I had stated in the appeal, that since May when my husband was relieved of his duty in the National Army, he left Juba to avoid escalation of tensions, but was blocked in Yirol while on his way to Aweil forcing him to return to Juba.

Since then, Gen. Malong has been held under confinement without any official public statement concerning his restricted freedom. The restriction on his movement comes against the backdrop of doctor’s advice for specialized treatment as a matter of urgency. Perhaps the service his condition requires is not available in Juba.

Mr. Ateny’s respond to my appeal accusing me of international attention seeking and having fun. Despite means response by presidential spokesperson, Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, I wish to address some of those inconsistencies as follows:

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By Nhial Bol Aken, Juba, South Sudan

war

August 9, 2017 (SSB) — When one of my friends asked me to tell him the root causes of the current war, I was prompted to respond that the war which engulfed our country is rooted in fears from one another.

I explained that the war we are witnessing is a war of fears and that the outsiders seem to ignore the claim invented by some of the former liberation fighters who liberated us from external colonialism of the Arabs.

What used to unite us was collective frustration against the Arabs of the Sudan now with independence, there is nothing in common and it seems that there is no political will to address the issues related to land disputes, bitterness, and grievances, all the local conflicts over lands, identities, and control of resources and power.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Ugandan election

The Ugandan election: do or die scenario

August 9, 2017 (SSB) — At the onset, I would like to make it clear that no person in her/her right mind would wish for disenfranchised and miserable communities, but realities must be said publicly to prepare for the worst possible outcome. Having said that, it’s necessary to try to figure out when will a democratic South Sudan, the dream nation that generations of men and women fought for in about six decades (1955 – 2011), be attained.

The SPLM-led war of liberation (1983-2005) and Interim Period in Southern Sudan (2005-2011) succeeded partly because the most marginalized people were promised a democratic, secular and prosperous Sudan/South Sudan.

At Independence in July 2011, the new country had very remote from or no single indicator of a democratic state. The SPLM leaders never provided basic services like roads to connect villages to towns. Babies in the countryside continue to die of preventable diseases like measles, tetanus, TB, malaria and watery diarrhea because the free medicines – supplied by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF – were never delivered to the people to save lives.

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By Awuol Gabriel Arok, Juba, South Sudan

Lengendary singer, Ajang Kuir Malong

The legendary singer, Panan Ajang Kuir Malang

August 9, 2017 (SSB) — Preeminent yearning for eternity and positive reception for what individuals have done while alive are the only accolades given to them by those they have mentored and fashioned after they are gone from the face of the physical world of flesh and blood, Ajang Kuir Malang was a great giant of literature, crafting both in slapstick and Music.

Ajang Kuir Malang arty style of capturing his fans attention through powerful poetic expressions of observable facts was absolute. He was an icon of literature as manifested in most of his songs.

Agongdhuor, as he was popularly known, was an artist with vocal and powerful voice, during his life time Ajang Kuir Malang was an MC, a musician and a teacher before he met his unfortunate death he was a staff at Upper Nile University.

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An appeal for a peaceful and fair democratic process in Kenya

By Agou Anyieth Kur, Edmonton, Canada

kiir election

June 2015 elections

August 7, 2017 (SSB) — As you go into the August general election, I want to draw your attention to something that might not be too obvious in all the current hustle and bustle towards the general election. This concept of mine as given away by the title of this article is that contrary to the zero-sum narrative coming from your political class and the media, I implore you to view the forthcoming general election as a win-win contest and a celebration of your democratic journey and self-governance: Madaraka, as it is popularly known in your country.

“Siasa Mbaya”

In the East African region and other parts of the world, you have seen the suffering, destruction, and death caused by Siasa Mbaya, to use the famous phrase by Mzee Daniel Arap Moi, the former president of Kenya. But what exactly is Siasa Mbaya? If it will help, let me disclose right away that, I, the author of this article, I am from South Sudan. That must have rung a bell in your head even if you haven’t been keenly following the political happenings across the region and around the globe in the past few years.

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By Khurthii Manyuat, Beijing, China

hate speech

August 7, 2017 (SSB) — Sometimes we hunt our own souls in the forest, we ambush vulnerable members of our community along the highways, and furthermore, we deployed food poisoning strategies in the cities. All are done because South Sudan got married to Mrs. War a half century ago and gave birth to first born named hatred. Mrs. War is in hurry and she wants us to leave earth as fast as possible.

The argument of leaving and not leaving caused our home to be concentratedly polluted with violence and we got drunk in that unfavorable atmosphere, blamed all including home furniture.

Last week there was an attack on the road and two cases of foods poisoning in both Wau and Juba. The quest is, have we fully review this deliberate decision of migrating to graves? I believe Even God might be there at his palace pondering for how yesterday pitiful human shortly turned to the most dangerous one.                                                                                                       (more…)