Archive for the ‘Philip Thon Aleu’ Category


National Identity: Preserve tribes but enhance nation bonds

By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Malong1

November 6, 2017 (SSB) — National Identity, a South Sudanese tag that we are proud of, cannot be installed by destroying our cultural identities. However, tribalism and associated traits should be preserved and shielded away and guided against tearing our nation apart. Is there tribalism in South Sudan institutions? Tribalism is defined by English Dictionary as “The state of existing in tribes; also, tribal feeling; tribal prejudice or exclusiveness; tribal peculiarities or characteristics.”

So the answer is YES (Uppercase). Our institutions are tribal and most public servants practice tribalism openly. This goes down the line to law enforcing agencies. I was traveling from Nimule to Juba in 2014 and as a practice, aliens or people who look like aliens, are checked several times and often harshly handled by police. At the first checkpoint at the foot of Gordon Hill in Nimule, our car was halted by men in South Sudan National Police uniforms.

The police peeped into the car, trying to recognize a foreign face, I guess. His eyes settled on me. I was seated in the middle in the back seat of the Taxi. He asked for my National Identity card. I told him if he needs all ID cards, he should start from the front seat, not in the middle. This upset him and he fumed at me. I stood my ground and refused to be intimidated. He swore that I will not go to Juba that. So we were barking at each other at the top of voices and this pending confrontation attracted more policemen.

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National Identity: Decreeing Dinka Cattle out of Equatoria Region not a solution

By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Cattle keeper in Jonglei [photo] Jongkuch Jo Jongkuch

Cattle keeper in Jonglei [photo] Jongkuch Jo Jongkuch

November 3, 2017 (SSB) — In 2012 when the Cooperation Agreements between South Sudan and Sudan were signed, one young man promised to challenge the SPLM party in forthcoming elections – the elections that never arrived yet! Asked what would be his main points, he said the SPLM government does not take care of its people. He said the government accepted to allow Arabs nomads, Messeirya, to graze their cows in Abyei but refused to extend the similar olive agreement to other cattle keeping communities from grazing in Equatoria, for example.

The Dinka cattle are roaming in Equatoria Region and this has become a political issue over the last ten years. As a reminder, Dinka tribe are pastoralists and most tribes in Central and Western Equatoria are crop farmers. So in the last twelve months, President Salva Kiir weighed and issued two Republican Decrees asking cattle keepers to leave the Equatoria region and returned to Jonglei – and wherever they came from! One such decree was issued about a week ago.

The first decree issued in 2016 was ignored by the pastoralists. In the twisted coincidence, the President recommitted himself to the Cooperation Agreement with Sudan this week – a few days after ordering fellow South Sudanese out of what is constitutionality part of their country. The agreement between Juba and Khartoum allowed unimpeded “transhumance.”

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National Identity: Decreeing Dinka Cattle out of Equatoria Region not a solution

By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Cattle camp in Bor

repatriated Dinka Cattle camp in Bor

November 3, 2017 (SSB) — In 2001 while in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) and an early adulthood – a stage of development young people attempt to engage in community issues, I chatted with a longtime childhood friend over the choice of the local chief. Two individuals were contesting. Most South Sudanese tribes choose their leaders based on linkage; from blood relation and geographical area. It is not about the ‘what’ (issues at stake) but the ‘who’ (individuals representing or attempting to address the challenges).

In the lead up to the local election, our conversation centered on ‘the who and the what’? Who is the best choice without the predicament of blood connection? What are the issues at hand? My friend said one guy was very good at winning issues for his community – the people closely related to him. Every time he makes the decision, he considers his blood. The other candidate was a rare breed. His decisions are mostly based on facts – not any connection – whatsoever. As students of CRE (Christian Religious Education) by then, the later should be the leader. Leadership is about issues.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

young girl with a gun

A young lady with a gun on guard during Governor Philip Aguer visit to Anyidi payam, Bor County, Jan 2016

November 1, 2017 (SSB) — This week, primary students in Kenya and Uganda are sitting their final exams. And I would like to take this opportunity to wish all South Sudanese students success. This is a very important step in their academic lives – and more significantly, for girls.

I’m singling out girls because we, the South Sudanese, have fewer girls completing primary education in our country than boys. However, our children in Kenya and Uganda have better opportunities – and it appears all children – irrespective of their gender, are completing primary education in Ugandan and Kenyan towns. (Most children in refugees’ camps have limited opportunities – and girls are so disadvantaged in the camps).

Statistics from UN Agencies have it that most South Sudanese girls are more likely to die from childbirth than completing primary education. This is a disturbing but not a surprising assessment because parents do not take girl child education as a basic requirement for children upbringing.

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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 Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

president salva kiir

August 3, 2017 (SSB) — Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has to be called South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) according to the Command Council. This is the first time the South Sudanese army will be reflecting the name of the world youngest nation. There is the mixed reaction from devoted supporters and members of the SPLA – a name synonymous with the liberation of South Sudan.

To proponents of the SSPDF as a name for the national army, this was long overdue. Some members of the society think otherwise, claiming the decision is wrong and will erase the historical name of the liberation army.

But given that Sudan, the northern neighboring country to South Sudan, is fighting insurgents called SPLM/SPLA-North, maintaining SPLA as the official name of our army was diplomatically insensitive in my view. We are a country and ought to put South Sudan First! Since 2005, a lot of militia have been integrated into the SPLA – proper and many things have happened.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

nimule juba highway attack

A bus ambush along the Juba-Nimule Highway on August 2nd in which five died and 13 more wounded

August 3, 2017 (SSB) — In 2014, when I relocated from Nimule to Juba to look for job – but had my family in Nimule, I was a frequent traveler on our country’s only paved road. Today, I rarely visit Nimule these days because the route is almost a death trap.

This leads me to question the recent pronouncement on SSBC-TV of a peace accord with rebel leaders who claim responsibility for attacks on Nimule—Juba road. Was it a fake deal?

I wasn’t, however, convinced that a peace agreement can be negotiated in hotels without involving the foot soldiers and be very effective. The rebel generals – now part of the SPLM-IO in Juba, never went back to their comrades in the bushes to inform them about the agreement.

What I saw on SSBC-TV was them being decorated and promoted to ‘generals.’ I never saw their visit to their soldiers in the bushes.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Alliance and Bor college students, Jonglei state

Governor Philip Aguer posted with students of Bor College and Alliance High school picture by Mach Samuel

July 5, 2017 (SSB) — With due respect to freedom of speech and expression, any statement threatening lives of fellow citizens is unacceptable. It is a crime and I don’t know if the authors of the said letter are free or summoned to police for questioning. I heard the leader speaking on VOA South Sudan in Focus with a relaxed voice.

Therefore, unnecessary is the single word to describe this letter from Bor Community Youth Association in Bor. First of all, organizations such as Bor community youth association are not representative of the people. Like other tribal associations in the country, not every Bor youth subscribe to Bor community association.

These associations evolved due to what I can rightly call leadership syndrome – where everyone is sick for not being a leader because leadership position comes with access to public resources. Pathetic!!

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

war

April 27, 2017 (SSB) — Honestly, there is always a solution for any problem if given a holistic approach.

  1. President Salva Kiir. As the head of state, the President has every power to stop the war and restore our dignity in the world as people. First of all, he must be honest to himself and admit that fighting the numerous armed groups is a war that can’t be won. The SPLM/A did not capture Wau, Juba or Malakal during the 21 years of war but that did not end the war until Khartoum listened. The fact that rebels don’t control any major town is not a reason sufficient to underrate their strength. They are capable of blocking highways and disrupt movements of people and goods from one part of the country and another. Second, the President should allow communities to be ruled by leaders of their choice, not people loyal to the President but without a constituency. South Sudan is so diverse and complex to govern through one man’s preference. Third, the President should engage his SPLM faction and enter a leadership discussion. The SPLM has never been an institutionalized party for the last 34 years…in fact, it has never been a political party prepared to govern through institutions but through instructions and orders. The “all units messages” issued by Dr. John Garang had morphed into “Decrees” during President Salva Kiir’s reign. A diverse country like South Sudan needs a different approach; a compromising, tolerant and inclusive management is required. If the President break with the current styles of his leadership, he will definitely add more medals to his list for transitioning Southern Sudan from 2005 to 2011 and overseeing our independence. That is one way to end the war.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

April 11, 2017 (SSB) — A beautiful teenager was being married through a dowry competition. Three men declared their interest to marry her. She was just at puberty age and knew little about sexuality or what is entailed in marriage process. All she knows is that your husband will sleep with you and have sex.

If three people want to marry you, according to her understanding, they all want to have sex with you. This scared her. How can one girl go with three men at the same time? She thought about this situation and then thought about her vagina. Is it enough for three men? No. It is too small.

She kept this anxiety to herself and allowed the dowry negotiations to continue unimpeded. As is the norm in most Dinka cultures, the Bor bridegrooms declare their wealth (in cattle – and lately money, cars and buildings) as offers to win the parents’ hearts – and that “rich man” takes the bride.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

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January 3, 2017 (SSB) — The Jonglei State governor’s cabinet reshuffle caught me by surprise. And I never got the news till I 8am on Wednesday. I did not expect it. But the ministers kicked out had tough times recently with the public.

That aside, the new deputy governor is not a newcomer to politics. Agot Alier Leek, has held several political posts in Jonglei – dating back to pre-2005. His latest positioning being commissioner of Bor County. I had left Bor when he became the commissioner but remained in touch with him in one way or the other.

During one of our encounters, we spoke about empowering the people. He said people must be self-reliance and cease / scale-down depending on UN handouts. This is a strong argument and attracted my attention.

Now that he is back to one of the most powerful position in the State, he must really work hard to restore that confidence among our people.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

November 18, 2016 (SSB) — Intro: (If my radio was there, this is a story that I will be running right now….enjoy)

Bor, the capital of Jonglei State is tense – albeit in a playfully and peaceful atmosphere, ahead of a wrestling game between decorated wrestlers Gongic Achiek Nai and Magot Khot Ajak. Both men hail from south and central Bor – a territories collective known as Greater Bor that include Duk. Journalist Mach Samuel Peter [MSP] is in Bor.

MSP: There is no statistic on how people live currently in Bor town but there is no doubt that the population has multiplied close to ten times over the last few days. Today (Friday), five commercial planes landed in Bor airstrip from Juba. This is the busier day as far as I know. In 2013 – before the war led to displacement of people in Bor, there were three hundred thousand people. Today, that figure could be doubled. Villagers have come. Women and men. And many people from Juba have come too. I think every Bor section, sub-section is represented today in Bor town.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

appointment-of-14-commissioners-jonglei-state

September 16, 2016 (SSB) — Governor Philip Aguer Panyang appointed 14 commissioners to run 14 counties in Jonglei State. I did not think it was a good idea to have more than 10 counties. But I must now concede defeat and say congratulations to all the new commissioners.

Second is the question of the commissioners themselves! Out of 14, I recognized 3 faces; two career commissioners and one familiar face (call him ‘a commissioner in the waiting’). I don’t have any idea what the rest were doing before September 15 or if they were waiting to be appointed commissioners too. If your commissioner was folding his hands and waiting to be appointed to political position, without trying any another avenue of life, then you are in trouble. It seems many of them are in this category and so we are in trouble. We have many boring commissioners. I might be wrong, but time will tell.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

Alfred Manyang Agok

Gen. Alfred Manyang Agok, the Director General of Jonglei State Prison Services during the official opening ceremony of a 2-storey office of prison services, officiating by Governor Philip Aguer Panyang.

February 17, 2016 (SSB) – The new governors of Jonglei and Boma states should not miss an opportunity provided by the dry season and creation of different administrative units to launch a new beginning for their people. Let’s start a people-to-people peace initiatives and enable our children, women and the elderly to enjoy the dividends of peaceful co-existence.

The people of former Jonglei state – now divided in Western Biech, Eastern Biech and Boma states, suffered immensely due to cattle raiding and child abduction. When the December 2013 war started, it was Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, that was engulfed in the conflict immediately after Juba. Women were raped and killed in churches, patients shot dead on hospital beds – by non-other than the citizens of Jonglei state themselves.

On January 21, 2014 when I and other reporters landed in Bor, the scenes were horrible. Bodies lied on the streets, in the markets, bedrooms, offices, churches and hospital wards. Because Jonglei state never reconciled with herself, it killed her people.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Kampala, Uganda

decreed 28 states

December 26, 2015 (SSB) – The winners and losers are proponents and opponents of Presidential Establishment Order Number 36 that created 28 states in October 2015.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Politically speaking, Governors Rizik Hassan Zacharia (Lol state) and Luis Lobong Lojore (Namorunyang state) remain the only elected and long serving state leaders and the forefront winners of Republican Decree Number 40 for the appointment of 28 state governors. Prime losers include David Yau Yau – who had ruled Greater Piboer Administrative Area (GPAA) for former rebels, the Cobra Faction, since May 2014. The GPAA is now lifted to the Boma state and handed over to Baba Beda Konyi. Other losers are John Kong Nyuon (ex-Jonglei state leader) and Matur Chut (ex-Lakes governor).

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

journalist workshop in Nairobi

South Sudanese journalist workshop in Nairobi

December 04, 2015 (SSB) – Over the last ten years, South Sudanese have been endeavouring to establish independent media outlets but several of them, if not all, have failed to deliver on their objectives.

The defaulted newspapers, The Citizen, is considered to be mother of independent print press in South Sudan – having been operating in Juba since 2006. Several other newspapers mushroomed the market since 2005. Some of them have ceased publication voluntarily.

Others, like The Citizen newspaper, are forced to close down by the government security agencies. The unanswered question is whether these newspapers have delivered at all on their objectives?

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IGAD peace implementation at snail speed

Posted: December 3, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan, Philip Thon Aleu

By Philip Thon Aleu, Nairobi, Kenya

guolyar1

What is causing the second influx of Greater Bor residents to Guolyar Refugee Camp?

December 03, 2015 (SSB) – November 26th marked the nineteenth day since President Salva Kiir signed the Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). That was the end of three months of pre-transitional period.

The sponsors of the peace talks, the Troika countries of the United Nations, Norway and the United Kingdom released a press statement expressing “concern” about the delay to form the transitional government of national unity. That statement should have served as a reminder that time is running out.

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By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

28 states

November 23, 2015 (SSB)  —  There are many women’s activist groups in Juba and hundreds nationwide championing women’s and girls’ rights. Their objectives include, but not limited to girl child education but there seems to be little impact if any at all.

In South Sudanese communities, girls and women play central roles. In most of our traditional settings, women take care of children from birth to adulthood. And I should say mothers continue to shape our characters till death part us. This is because many communities practice polygamy and men have little control over individual children. Every woman therefore grooms her children. The stress that comes with many wives overstretches man’s ability to influence his children. Even in monogamous communities, women also play central roles in uprising children as men search for food, defense the territory and take public services.

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MPs representing Bor, Twic East and Duk counties have come under fierce criticisms from their respective constituents

November 16, 2015 (SSB)  —  Members of Parliament (MPs) representing Bor, Twic East and Duk counties have come under fierce criticism for failing to ensure safety of villages in the Dinka Bor area following latest attacks in Maar that left more than twenty people dead.

Twic East county MP Hon. Deng Dau said 22 people, including three children and nine women, are killed by suspected SPLM In Opposition forces. The SPLM IO denied any connection to the attackers in Maar. Three attackers were also killed and identified to have come from Uror county, a territory controlled by the SPLM IO.

Maar Payaam, Twic East county of Jonglei state, neighbors Jalle Payam of Bor county where 27 people were killed in October by unknown gunmen. Authorities blamed raiders from Greater Pibor Administrative Area for the attack in Jalle – allegations strongly denied by GPAA.

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Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (C) acknowledges his supporters as he arrives to address a rally at John Garang's Mausoleum in the capital Juba March 18, 2015.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (C) acknowledges his supporters as he arrives to address a rally at John Garang’s Mausoleum in the capital Juba March 18, 2015.

November 13, 2015 (SSB)  —  All reporters and cabinet ministers (ministers seeking to depict in strongest terms their loyalty to President Kiir) were in J1 at 8am Juba time to listen, first hand, to the Nation Address. At 10am, Ateny Wek Ateny, the presidential spokesman, said the speech is rescheduled for 11am.

In sixty minutes, it was 11am and Ateny asked for 20 minutes. Twenty minutes passed quickly and Ateny asked everyone to swift off his/her phone as H.E was about to enter the hall.

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