Archive for the ‘Reng’o Gyyw Reng’o’ Category


By Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr., Addis Ababa

Artwork by Deng Forbes

Artwork by Deng Forbes

January 28, 2015 (SSB) There is a developing crisis in Aweil. But first, one must confess, that I do not know much about it. I have heard alot from my friends from Aweil.

Aweil, is used synonymously to mean the “Northern Bhar al Ghazal State”, which is a home to Dinka Malual plus other minorities such as Jur Chol. Aweil is also the Capital City of the State. It has always been the most populous area or region in the history of Southern Sudan. However, the 2008 National Household Census which was disputed had designated Jonglei State, where I come from, to be the most populous state.

That a side. Two days ago, the news headlines bombarded the nation and the world, of a new crisis in Aweil. Some members of state parliament were reported to have passed a Vote of No Confidence on a caretaker Governor, Kuel Aguer. Kuel Aguer, a politician, an intellectual and former UN agency employee, was appointed by President Salva Kiir seven months ago to replace Gen. Paul Malong Awan, the current SPLA Chief of Staff, who was removed from Aweil Governorship to head the SPLA during the crisis.

Kuel, was a campaign manager for Paul Malong during the 2010 elections. The main contender or challenger to Paul Malong in Gubernatorial contest, was Gen. Dau Aturjong, whom Paul Malong did not like. Elections were rigged and Dau’s campaigns were intimidated. Dau “lost” the game to Paul Malong and he played it cool, until he was pushed to join rebellion against the Government recently.

BACKGROUND TO THE CURRENT CRISIS IN AWEIL

The December 2013 national crisis in South Sudan had demanded for some one who would quell or quash the rebellion. Paul Malong as a Governor “elected” in 2010, in charge of Aweil, had embarked on recruiting a private army, following the Juba “Give Away” of the 14 Miles. Paul Malong had attended the Addis Ababa talks in which the 14 miles, was put under a buffer zone between Sudan and South Sudan. to “de-escalate” the tension between the two countries, South Sudan and Sudan, 14 miles became a victim.

That forced Gen. Paul Malong to withdraw from the talks, came back to Juba and proceeded to India. Aweil citizens demonstrated both in Aweil and Juba against the decision of including the 14 miles in the disputed areas. 14 miles was not originally in the list of the disputed areas such as Kafia Kingi, Ofrah el Nhas, Pan Thou, etc.

Citizens of Aweil, denounced Kiir’s Government, burned his photo in Aweil, and changed a name of a school which was named as “Salva Kiir Primary School” to “Bol Akok Primary School.” As a result of the 14 miles controversy, the Governor, General Paul Malong, decided to recruit a battalion he named ” Amiath Noon”, which means ” Grass Mower or destroyer.” This battalion was a private army to the Governor since he had bowed to fight both Juba’s and Khartoum’s Governments over 14 miles.

The Governor, who was also a wily General, had other interests to protect, stealthily or clandestinely to say, his control over “War Awaar”, a lucrative custom border post between South Sudan and his large family over 100 wives and hundreds of children. Unlike other customs posts, which produce revenue for national economy, such as Nadapal, Renk, Kaya, and Nimule, War Waar had itself privatized under Paul Malong. The Governor had and still has personal discretion and control over proceeds from War Awaar, hitherto.

When crisis developed in Juba, it found the capacity of the national Army, SPLA wanting. Amiath Noon, General Paul Malong’s private army, became handy, and branded “Dot-ku-Bany”, meaning “let’s rescue the Leader or President” (Salva Kiir) whose sit was under immediate threat from the Vice President Dr. Riak Machar’s rebels. Amiath Noon was transferred and deployed to Juba and Bor to fight the Riak’s White Army and other auxiliary rebels that wanted to attack Juba or killing Dinkas to avenge the Nuer alleged to have been killed in Juba under President Kiir’s units.

Malong Awan soon after that capitalized on the national crisis, by putting another battalion, ” Mathiang Anyor”, under training, a six thousand man-troops. The first units of the second battalion arrived in Juba during March 1014, when there was a shoot out at the SPLA Gheheda Headquarters, “over salaries.”

NATURE OF THE CRISIS IN AWEIL

Dau Aturjong who contested against Paul Malong, was barred out from succeeding Paul Malong when Paul Malong was brought to Juba, as SPLA Chief of Staff. Paul Malong used all his influence to ensure that Dau Aturjong did not succeed him. The chance fell to Kuel Aguer, who became a new acting Governor for Aweil seven months ago.

Kuel Aguer, in his seven months old tenure, deliberately or inadvertently, antagonizes the standing order in Aweil. Few days ago, before a Vote of No-Confidence was passed on him, he had decided to suspend a household taxes in the whole of Aweil State. Kuel justified his decision by stating that he did not see the reason as to why the household tax should continue to be levied on the local poor citizens, when it does not serve national interest. It is reported to have asked, “where does it go?”. “Who uses the taxes?” If the taxes do not serve any national interest or the citizens in the area, why having them? Why making the ordinary citizens more poorer? Thus, he declared suspension of the household taxes in the whole of Aweil.

It did not take long before the State Parliament went into session and he was sacked through a Vote of No -Confidence by Members of Parliament said to be affiliated to Paul Malong or bribed by Paul Malong to dethrone him. The Vote of No-Confidence saw a parliament divided into supporters and opposers. The insufficiency of quorum in the Parliament to remove the Governor is also reported. Comrade Kuel Aguer responded by carrying clandestine mobilization against the “sponsored coup” to safeguard his position. The following morning, that was two days ago, he drove to his Office and issued decrees for everybody to report to their work places of work, failure to do so, would lead to penalties.

However, his defiance drew the behind-the-scene powers as emissaries were ferrying information between the groups. Kuel Aguer is reported to have left for Juba yesterday afternoon. This morning, on the 28th of January, 2015, Aweil was put under military cordon. It is reported that both police and military tanks are marauding the whole towns and tensions is high.

It is not yet clear who has deployed the army and police in the town. However, citizens of Aweil have mentioned the Head of the Police, Akot Deng, a notorious personality, as one of the people illegally prodding the State Government’s activities for their own benefits. This personality is alleged to have turned down transfer to Bor. It is alleged that he declared he would NEVER leave Aweil under any circumstances.That he can only leave in a coffin!

That was after Gen. Pieng Deng Kuol, South Sudan Police Inspector General of Police, had written a transfer letter of Akok Deng from Aweil to Bor but General Malong, told the IGP to restore back Akok Deng in Aweil, an order which was obeyed and executed. The citizens of Aweil are worried that, the security forces deployment in the town may not be under conventional deployment.

Akok Deng, the Motion-Movers MPs, Paul Malong etc are suspected to be against the new Governor, who seem to be working against the personal interests of Paul Malong. This is not the first time, that Paul Malong is having problems with people who do not serve his interests. Malong and some colleagues of his, were exploiting the slave retrieval project that was sponsored by the Christian Solidarity International [CSI]. South Sudanese citizens, children and women were plundered and enslaved in the Northern Sudan by Arab raiders and militias during the war in 1990s.That was one of the many reasons that brought Dr. Majak D’Agoot into conflicts with Paul Malong and Bol Madut. Majak D’Agoot was the Bhar al Ghazal area commander. Both gentlemen asked Dr. John Garang, the SPLA Chief to transfer Majak out of the area.

As of now, many people, both in Aweil and South Sudan in general believe, to be a Governor in Aweil, you must be a puppet of Paul Malong, the owner of the Empire. There are other quasi-military morons and state mafias supping state resources.

Comrade, Kuel Aguer is believed to have tempered with the existing order or Malong-order in Aweil. Unless, Juba intervenes, chaos might ensues in Aweil and that will affect the general order in the country. President Salva Kiir is not immuned from this phenomenon.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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SOUTH SUDAN CONTEMPORARY DEBATE: DO WE ADOPT FEDERAL SYSTEM OR DECENTRALIZATION SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE?

DO NOT CONFUSE A CAMOUFLAGED CALL FOR CONFEDERATION FOR FEDERALISM

DO NOT CONFUSE A CAMOUFLAGED CALL FOR CONFEDERATION FOR CALL FEDERALISM

DO NOT CONFUSE A CAMOUFLAGED CALL FOR CONFEDERATION FOR FEDERALISM

By Reng’o Gyyw Reng’o, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

South Sudanese, we already have a federal system in a form of a state headed an elected governor, elected state parliament, state cabinet/Council of Ministers, Constitution, flag, commissions and state parastatals, Police, counties, and capacity to generate revenues locally. What else do we want?

However, It must be mentioned in the National Constitution as a federal system, not the so-called decentralization. That is where the problem is. The government of the day is making citizens and oppositions suspicious for nothing when already we have a federal system.

However, let me ask , what type and form of federalism are we talking about? Ethnic? Territorial? Revenue-based?, Nigerian type? Tanzania type? Ethiopian type? American type? Indian type? South African type? Which one, do we want? Federal systems are not the same and can never be the same, because of other variances and factors.

It is the South Sudan government which is ignorant of the subject!

Federal system in South Sudan can NEVER be a problem. It is the type of leaders like Salva Kiir, Telar Riing Deng and the likes that are, and will always be the problem. Ethiopians are happy under a most extreme federalism, that is unique not only in Africa but also throughout the whole world,– that is an ethnic-based federalism with the right to secession.

I appreciate the late Meles Zenawi, rulingparty, the EPRDF and the Ethiopian people for their choice and consensus for crafting that type to suit their identity. But we can not adopt this type of federalism in South Sudan. That is Ethiopian. We need a South Sudanese type.

Ambiguity and euphemism aside, we need clarity of concepts, ideas and slogans from all parties. Be careful, I am seeing an aspect of confederation being camouflaged by some people under the call for a federal system. If it is not a call for a confederation, how will we describe the new federal system being advocated for today?

Denying to call the current system a federal system is my major problem. It is a complete federal system in all forms and descriptions. However, putting it in the Transitional Constitution as a decentralized system is what puzzled many people.

We have a history of a federal system as our historical identity. Following the Juba Conference of 1947, when the debate fell for Sudan’s unity, we did call for a federal system. This was violently dishonoured. We founded a Federal Party in 1957 led by Father Saturnino Lohure and his colleagues. When the Federal system campaigns was almost SUCCEEDING, the Arabs organized a military coup under Ibrahim Abboud and foiled it.

It is when well known hitherto that William Deng Nhial, a prominent South Sudanese Politician laid down his life in 1968 advocating for a federalism or self-determination for the South within the united Sudan.

Under Joseph Lagu, SSLM/A and the Addis Ababa Agreement, despite having limitations, South Sudan was granted an autonomy putting the whole Sudan into a Tanzanian type of a federal system with the Island of Zanzibar.

Under the SPLM/A, one of the central objectives of the SPLM/A stipulated in its Manifesto, was the creation of a federal system for the whole Sudan. John Garang was even extreme in calling for a federal armies in his 1972 “Negotiation Guidelines” to Joseph Lagu, his Anya Nya Movement Leader.

That was consummated in the CPA in 2005. The CPA created a Confederation between the GoNU and GOSS. It also created a federal system in South Sudan. How it turned to be a decentralization in the Transitional Constitution is the caused of the contemporary debate.

The “new permanent constitution” of South Sudan must just acknowledge what we have as a federal system and that will be enough to lay the debate to rest. Other minor details can be worked out gradually by both National and state parliaments.

Our leaders must wake up from indolence and political slumbering.

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Federalism in South Sudan: Risks and Potential Benefits

By Joseph de Tuombuk, USA

The ongoing insurrection against an elected government in Juba has exacted an immeasurable toll on the people of South Sudan. The economic cost of the war are easy to understand: lost revenue, diversion of meager resources from productive activities to destructive enterprise; farmers driven from producing food to receiving food aid; lost lives and the list is endless.

However, what is hard to measure is where South Sudan would have been five years from now had this inexplicable conflict been averted through political dialogue. Faced with the horrifying consequences of war, our leaders are realizing that it is incumbent upon them to solve this problem in ways that will create conditions for lasting national cohesion and the shedding of our skin deep tribal allegiances. Our leaders should seek all possible ways to address the root causes of the conflict so that the current and many generations to come can enjoy the fruit of this effort.

South Sudan is not unique in its quick and tragic descend into armed conflict. When leaders fail to study the internal dynamics of their nations, it is easy to undertake a policy that unwittingly creates a bigger problem than it was designed to solve. Our leaders, either by ignorance or lack of grasp of our rather fragile and uneasy tribal accommodation, failed to prepare ground for future singular national identity.

It turned out that the only thing that united us was our collective distrust of jallaba. Our forefathers went to the 1947 Juba Conference acutely aware that they were in a weaker position to compete with well-educated and politically savvy northern elite. They made a simple demand: let South enjoy its autonomy and determine its political relations with North through a federal arrangement.

The demand for federal arrangement was motivated by fear of northern hegemony, or to put it in another way, we feared that the Arab would dominate politics, trample over our religious rights, and simply spread the policy of Arabization that the British had managed to curtail by governing southern provinces as a separate entity. Today, this historical legacy still permeates the every aspect of debate over federal arrangement. Can we design a purely federal system of government that achieves the following: a) rigorously promote a single national identity? B) Aggressively protect the right of minority tribes and accommodate their political inclusion? C) Could there be safeguards against a quick and nasty degeneration into regionalized politics?

When our political parties (more like the SPLM really) enacted the transitional national constitution (TNC), there was an opportunity to explore federal arrangement. Every legislator faced this opportunity cost. Those leaders currently clamoring for federal arrangement could have promoted this idea at the time, but they favored a strong central government with weak state governments. They believed at the time that it was not in the nation’s interest to divide the country into regionalized states, where some states are over 90% Dinka (Lakes, Warrap) and others well over 80% equatorial tribes (WES, EES, CES). To some extent, these fears were justified. Creating a poorly designed federal arrangement would have polarized our already fragile tribally-based politics.

The compromise was a strong central government with some semi-federal 10 states that would deal with its uniquely local issues. In theory, each state elects its government, including governors. However, the reality has been that central government has intervened in removing governors through an expansive interpretation of ‘national security needs’ clause of TNC. This created a situation where the governors were an extension of central authorities rather than accountable to their state institutions. Governors began to look like they served at the pleasure of central government rather than the local electorate. The state governments not only had to deal with constant fear of uninvited central government’s intervention; they also had no real source of funds other than transfers from the central government. These transfers were used to some extent to exert control over the affairs of states. The agreed upon relationship between states and the central government was no longer working as envisioned, thereby causing leaders to resuscitate the federal debate.

Given these inherent weaknesses in our current quasi-federal arrangement, it becomes imperative to revisit the issue of purely federal system of government that would allow our people to have more say in how they are governed and realignment of accountability. Instead of states being more answerable to the central authorities, they should be attuned to the needs of the electorate. With a rigorous and enforceable design, a purely federal system of government will allow the central government to focus exclusively on projects of national significance such as national highway and railway system, establishment of national and state universities, national security from external threats and to some extent internal spoilers, and many other functions that each individual state would find exceedingly difficult to achieve on its own.

While there are many benefits associated with a well-designed federal arrangement, there are potential risks. One is that such an arrangement would amplify our tribal differences and could create a situation where politics is defined as a contest among tribes rather than political parties. It would create a sense of distrust for central government policies that might be viewed as favoring particular states with strong federal presence by virtue of their numerical advantage such as the Dinka and Nuer. In other words, Upper Nile and Jonglei migh dominate federal government while Equatoria might be disenfranchised.

There might also be issues with an uneven economic development or resource sharing. Currently we have two states accounting for huge percentage of national revenues: Unity and Upper Nile and potentially Jonglei. These are the oil states. Other states are endowed with rich agricultural lands and stable security environment that they could feed the other states where insecurity hampers productive activities. If the oil states argue that they should not subsidize budgets in non-oil producing states, we could have a situation where this issue could polarize politics and contribute to weakening of a strong national identity.

As with anything in life, our desire for a federal arrangement could be beneficial but is not without risks. How we manage the risks is key to whether we can build a strong and vibrant federal South Sudan, or dig ourselves into more trouble than we bargained for. The key to managing risk is understanding what motivates those pushing for federalism. What are their real intentions? Do they really care about a strong national identity that trumps tribal scars, or are have they truly realized that our current quasi-federal arrangement is not working and therefore the need to redesign a system of government in South Sudan.

We could potentially design a flawed system that creates perennial instability in our country and that could be exploited by opportunistic leaders for their selfish political gains. Riek Machar, the leader of an armed insurrection, has already smelled the opportunity to enlist pro-federal Equatorians by pushing the federal debate into the current negotiations. It is not the first time this issue has been debated and Riek should not claim a credit. However, Riek’s motives are highly suspicious as he seems to pounce on the reluctance on part of Kiir’s administration to embrace federalism.

These are the risk we must guard against in our drive to establish a system of government that addresses our diverse population while forging a strong national identity. Notwithstanding these risk, we should not shy away from federalism simply because it can lead to more divisions among our people. We should work set up one that does its best to withstand any ill intention by parochial political leaders. By embracing federal system of government, the government could potentially take off the negotiating table an issue that is a powerful recruiting tool for Riek and band of insurgents. After all, agreeing on the issue of federalism is the easy part; setting up one that works best is the real hard work.

*The author is a South Sudanese residing in the United States. He can be reached at joe.tuombuk@gmail.com. All views represented are those of the author and not this website.

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Bhar El Gazal Youth Oppose Federalism, Support Devolution

Bhar El Gazal youth opposed federal and call devolution system of government.

   The greater BHAR EL GAZAL CONCERN YOUTH meeting on 3rd in Panthou (one of the remotes part of Warrap) with all the Youth from different area of the regions to discuss the ongoing political development in the country, The Objective is to gather views from different Youth group in remotes areas;

We have finally resolved the followings:

  1. Peace process

1.1  This forum believe that the genie of the current problem  is taking more wider direction and other  interests getting involved on the peace process to target and eliminated particular groups/ regions and  Tribe based on the proposed interim constitution. this forum strongly warned and call for end of such tendencies to be linked to peace process

1.2  This forum believe that people of South Sudan must be united and live in peace and harmony as we all work for development  the youngest poor nation on the earth

  1. Federalism

2.1   After having studied the political and economic and social impact of federalism system of government ; we have resolved that

2.2  We cannot form a federal state at the backdrop of tribal conflicts, where tension between states and tribes is still at high level. the insecurity in the country where arms rebellion is becoming a habit

2.3  We cannot form federal state of governance in poorest country in the world with no industries, infrastructures and its economic dependent on revenues collected at the state borders; a situation that shall make some closed-borders states more at risk/Advantages than the others. This negatively major issues that can even provoke fights even at a larger scale

2.4  The federal government cannot control insecurity and across border conflicts as well as cattle ridding, the aspect of creating a civil defense will increased tension among the states.

2.5  This forum believe that the federalism that was fought for under the leadership of Dr. John was a federalism of new Sudan under a united Republic of Sudan

2.6  This forum may believe that federalism may be a good option but implementing now at interim period may lead to a possible rebellion by several bodies

2.7  The forum believe that federalism has failed in Africa and has been the key factors affecting federal states in Africa (Nigeria, Ethiopia)

2.8  This forum believe the current call for federal system is designed to delimited particular regions or Tribes from power rather that used of democratic process

2.9  The forum warns the federalists not to used rebellion as ways and mean to achieve a mechanism designed to target a particular region and tribe.

  1. Devolution

3.1  This forum call for unitary state with devolution of powers to states and local government

3.2  This forum after having studied the pure interest of South Sudanese and considered a numbers of issues have come out with has resolved

  1. CALL FOR DEVOLUTION SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT UNDER A UNITARY STATE as a get way for federal state after the maturity of south Sudan.
  2. The devolution system at unitary state shall created and pave ways to federalism.
  3. The devolution system shall equally divide the national revenues at equal bases
  4. The devolution government shall invest powers to state and local government
  5. This forum strongly believe that it is important for a central government to control security organs such as national police, National army, and other security organs

 

Sign:

Peter Mayen wën Majongdit

Sectary of the forum and

 Chairperson of Warrap Youth Intellectual forum 

————

Central Equatoria governor: ‘We stand for federalism’

Governor of Central Equatoria State Clement Wani Konga declared before a gathering of thousands of Equatorians yesterday strong support for a federal system in South Sudan, saying that this demand would not be changed.
He said the people of Central Equatoria state are for a federal system and that has been their call since the founding of the government.

Federalism is a system of government in which state or regional governments hold their own exclusive powers, which the national government cannot interfere with.

South Sudan’s national government currently has wide-ranging powers over state governments including the ability to appoint and remove officials, direct spending and revenue-collection, and set nationwide policies in fields such as education, healthcare and policing.

The call for a federal system that would devolve powers from the current national government comes ahead of the planned opening of fresh political talks in Addis Ababa that aim for a roadmap for peace-making and for formation of an interim government that would oversee a constitutional process and prepare for elections.

Governor Clement Wani on Wednesday addressed a gathering of over 3,000 civil servants of Central Equatoria State at the Nyakuron Cultural Center before, including ministers and other top-level officials. The aim was to brief them on the current stand of the state government towards peace and their involvement in the peace process in Addis Ababa.

He stressed that they would not back down in the demand for federalism, which he described as the will of the people: “We can talk and dialogue, but ours we stand for a federal system and our call will not change, because we have requested it by talking and not by the gun.”

But he also said some people have misinformed President Salva Kiir with reports about their call for a federal system in South Sudan, stressing that their position does not mean support to the armed opposition, which also has been demanding for a federal system.

He noted also that it does not mean that under a federal system other people from other states will not come to Central Equatorian land.

“If there is federalism it doesn’t mean people from Torit will not come to Juba, and from Western Equatoria and the same will Jonglei state – unless you are a troublemaker, [in that case] we will not allow him,” Konga said.

Governor Konga said they have formed committees, two from each of the three states of the Equatoria region, to help in the peace process in Addis Ababa. Konga said the committee has submitted their request to IGAD mediators among other international bodies to be involved.

Konga said if Equatorians are not involved in the peace process, there will be nothing called reconciliation or peace in South Sudan.

The governor further disclosed that a delegation of Equatorians will be sent to Upper Nile state to dialogue with people there. Though this was likely a reference to the opposition, he stressed that this does not indicate a shift in political allegiance.

“It should not look that if people dialogue with the people of Malakal that will means that I – Konga – am following Riek Machar. No, I am not going after Riek Machar.”

‘South Sudan is not for Salva Kiir, not for me, not for Riek’

The Governor of Central Equatoria State ­­further elaborated on what he saw as the past failure of South Sudanese people to support South Sudan as a nation but rather to be loyal to particular politicians.

“South Sudanese do not know that they have a country, people only know a few individuals, like Salva Kiir, Riek Machar and James Wani Igga – that’s all. There is no love for our county that is why a lot of our people died and many left just because of South Sudan”, Konga said.

The governor pointed that some people are ‘selfish,’ saying that the war would not have happened if not for the selfishness of some people.

“No, South Sudan is not for Salva Kiir, not for me – Clement – not even for Riek Machar. South Sudan is for all South Sudanese people


By Rengo Gyyw Rengo Jr.

—–

Some things have been bothering me. In the 2000, I toyed with the idea of becoming a Christian missionary. But I could not stand the strict religious laws and their observations. I kept saying I wanted to study a PhD level to become a doctor. I did not like the title Professor although my friend Robert Gichuhi adamantly kept calling me a ” Professor” because of my association with books.

We were subjected to prayers after prayers. We were also barred from watching or listening to secular movies, music and even secular news [national news]. Our world was supposed to rotate around spiritual things. One day, my Director who seemed not happy with the urge I had for books, gave me the following warning. ” Do not study high you will oppose God!”. I was not happy with the statement because I developed the notion that these people had got a bad intention for me and wanted to keep me down.

I did not protest or debate or question the revered pastor who himself had a master degree in religious studies. He was someone highly educated and could not be questioned. Advising me not to go for higher studies when he had a master’s degree gave me a reason to question his statement. “Why me, when he has gone to that level?” Alternatively, “does it mean only illiterate or uninformed people can serve God?”

“Then, there is a problem.” I concluded. ” If God is truly there, why would my perspective change with education?” Those were questions that kept haunting me alone. I resolved to study and find out the truth for myself. Recently, a young cousin, who had just completed his B.A. degree made a decision to continue with his graduate studies.

However, a GOSS Minister told him,” you should not study master when you are young, you will be forced to oppose the Government.” These two statements have converged in my mind. They have created a new world for me. I now understand why majority of our informed people are being condemned or being called “rebels”.

The world is being kept deliberately in ignorance for few to ride on its back. Ignorance is preferable to knowledge, to be born with a clean-slate head and to be buried knowing nothing.

All human institutions are not up to the Truth.


By Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr.

Somaliland is a “country” in the horn of Africa still struggling to be recognized by the region and the world as an independent country. It has been self-governing since 18th May 1991. On May 18, 2014, this non-recognized non-sovereign African state celebrated her 23rd Anniversary for ‘restoring’ her independence from Somalia in 1991.

This day was celebrated by the Somaliland people and their well-wishers the world over. However, it is not only about celebration of the seminal independence “restoration” but also it was about engaging the international community to accept and recognize them.

There are hundreds of thousands of Somaliland people living in the countries of the Horn especially in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda among others.

In Ethiopia in particular there are tens of thousands of these great people. Ethiopia is a home to millions of people with Somali origins and other Cushitic peoples with almost similar cultures with people of the Somaliland. The Somaliland people living in Ethiopia organized and celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the Somaliland’s Independence Restoration Day. Besides having enjoyed an oasis of peace for 23 years in a chaotic neighbour of Somalia, the people of Somaliland are ever keen to use every occasion to put their case before the region and the international community.

Ethiopians, South Sudanese, Djiboutians etc were invited.

However, the honour of gracing the occasion was given to the South Sudanese. Being a representative of my group, I was accorded the privilege to address the gathering in the capacity of the Chief Guest. I was humbled.

As someone educated by a struggle of similar kind in our own context, and with fair understanding of the regional issues, aided by my long-term training in Development issues, International Relations and Diplomacy, and Public Management, I seized the opportunity and spoke about the relationship between Somaliland people and South Sudanese people. For the benefits of the wider audiences, the address is expanded to address Somaliland people’s quest for recognition, understanding the history of Somaliland, role and impacts of South Sudan’s struggles and history on Somaliland, and Africanizing the case of Somaliland.

THE SOMALILAND

The Somaliland, not Somalia like South Sudan was a British colony during the colonial era. It is also known geographically as the Northern Somalia. The Southern Somalia where the conflicts rage since the fall of Siad Barre in 1991 was an Italian Colony during the same era of colonization. While the State of Djibouti located at the northeastern part of Somalia, was a French colony or erstwhile known as the French Somalia. The region was competitively and intriguously apportioned among the three colonial powers, British, French and Italians due to various reasons, among which was the craveous hegemony to control the Indian Ocean and Red Sea water routes.

The people in the three regions, despite being Somalis in origin, culture and everything else, they were exposed to the cultures of the occupying powers and grew distinct existence in thinking, behaviors and administrative styles and techniques. Moreover, during the decolonization era, the three powers never sought to unite the three areas into one union. They might have wanted to use them invariably as satellite states which would continue to serve their interests.

The French Somaliland was granted independence and renamed herself “Djibouti” which is now an independent African country in the Horn.

On 26 June, 1960, the presence non-sovereign Somaliland state which is seeking the international recognition was granted her own independence by the British Empire. Five days later, the Italian Somaliland [Southern hemisphere] which had been put under the UN protectorate since the end of the WWII, was granted independence on July 1, 1960. Italy’s alliance with Germany and Japan during the war led to her defeat and deprivation of her African colonies including the Italian Somaliland possession.

The prior Italians campaigns a posterior to the Second World War, led Italy under Benito Mussolini to conquer the British Somaliland in 1940. The region remains part of the Italian East Africa before it was retaken back by the British forces and government in 1941.

From 1941 to 1945, Italy and her Germany and Japanese allies suffered defeats and subsequent vanguishment in the hands of the allies’ governments. The Italian Somaliland was placed under the British administration until it was again put under the a UN trusteeship in 1949, just two years after Southern Sudan was put into union with northern Sudan by the British.

With the British Somaliland’s independence on 26 June 1960 and the Italian Somaliland now under the UN trusteeship’s independence on July 1, 1960, something both the UN and British coordinated with the hope of the ‘Somalis unification’ which was driven locally and in the interests of the Guurti, the Somalilanders’ Council of Elders. Following their separate independences, apart from Djibouti, the British Somaliland and the Italian Somaliland merged their region into the Republic of Somalia one week later in July 1960. Unlike the unity between the Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan which was imposed by the British on the South in 1947, the British never forced the Somalis’ unity on the Somalis nor did she want to unite the colonies before their independences. Somalis’ unity was the work of the Guurti from the Somaliland side despite some mild opposition from the politicians.

THE SOMALILAND “POLITICAL BLUNDER”

“We made a political blunder. After we were granted our independence by the British, we took our independence and handed it over to the southern Somalia without preconditions”, that was the common regrets many Somalilanders during the occasion kept airing out.

However, it appeared the blunder was not basically about the unity per se but about the unfair subsequent political transactions between the North and the South. The homogeneity of the Somalis’ identity, language, culture and lifestyle was the primary driving force behind the unity quest. Being Somalis and a new flag were enough conditions for the unity of the Somalis.

The British Somaliland discovered the blunder in 1969, nine years into unity with the South, following the military coup of Siad Barre and subsequent formation of the post military government, where the entire cabinet of 26 ministers was composed 95% of the Southerners to nearly the exclusion of the northerners who were supposed to be equal partners in the union. Other Somalilanders during the occasion recounted that the South took 25 ministerial posts plus the president of the high court and gave only one cabinet minister to the North. Such a style of political marginalization led South Sudan to mistrust [North] Sudan in the early 1950s when the north assumed all the eight hundred posts left behind by the British during the Sudanization process. Southern Sudan was only given less one percent of the eight hundred post-colonial vacants or posts.

Domination and marginalization of the north by the South is an antithesis of what happened in the Sudan where the North marginalized, oppressed and dominated the Southern Sudan. Although the difficult relationship between the Southern Somalia and the Northern Somalia could not be blamed on the separate colonial legacies they grew in, it was a question of the post-colonial African blunders as the Somalis say. In the case of South Sudan with Sudan, the colonial powers had sown some bad seeds which the north excelled in watering and nurturing. However, still, the model of the locally driven suppression, oppression and marginalization of one area by another were basically African born and the same between Somalia and [the] Sudan.

Seeds of discords were sown between the two Somalis areas with an ace of erstwhile separateness that goes back to numerous Islamic and Somalis kingdoms of the ancient Punt lands and the east African coasts. The socialist military leader Siad Barre instead of addressing the potent imbalance and disparity, embarked on a greater project of the Somali peoples’ unity. He sought to carve out Somalis in Kenya, and in Ethiopia back to Somalia to form a Somalis Republic, leaving a time-bomb at home in the North.

In late 1960s, Somalia government supported the Kenyan Somalis in Shifta War against Kenya seeking to join the other Somalis in Somalia or self-determination to be politically correct.

It did the same with Ethiopia which led to the Ogaden conflict. With assistance of the Cubans, Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile-Mariam fought back the Siad Barre’s forces until some semblance of peace agreement was reached. Kenya and Ethiopia merged forces. Siad Barre’s adventure against neighbours proved impossible as he ignored the political, economic and social grievances of the people of the British Somaliland.

The unsalvageable political position of the Northern Somalia under Siad Barre, dictatorship and war with neighbours led to the people of the British Somaliland to demand for the ‘restoration’ of the their independence from the rest of Somalia. This was met with military repression response from Siad Barre’s government which carried out massacres, bombardments of Hergeisa, Baro and other cities. Many Somalilanders ran to Ethiopia. Ethiopia aggrieved by Siad Barre’s aggression, either explicity or implicity supported the people of Somaliland in their quest for independence’s restoration against the Siad Barre’s government and to hold Ogaden’s rebels supported by Mogadishu in check.

In 1981, fed up enough with the situation, the people of Somaliland formed their movement, the Somaliland National Movement/Army [SNM/A] and launched rebellions against the Somalia under Siad Barre to wrestle their erstwhile independence back. This lasted until when Siad Barre’s regime finally fell in 1991. As the main Somalia descended into perpetual and adinfinitum chaos, the Somaliland, the region between Djibouti, Ethiopia and Puntland declared their independence in what they call up to today “the restoration of their independence”.

The Guurti had learned their lesson and now resolved for total independence away from Somalia. Accepting unity without any preconditions is what the contemporary generations of the Somaliland people called a “political blunder” in their history with Somalia. Unlike the case of South Sudan with Sudan, the South Sudanese though were represented by the traditional chiefs in 1947 Juba Conference where the question of the Union was mooted between the north and the south; first of all, the South Sudanese never sought the union with the northern Sudan. It was Sudan and Egypt that sought the union of the two Sudans. However, when the South Sudanese discovered the British had its own interests on the unity of the two Sudans, the South Sudanese asked for a precondition of a federal system of government with guarantees between the two areas before or after the decolonization and attainment of the country’s independence in 1956. This promised was never kept. Thus, the South Sudan took to arms in August 1955 for the first round of struggle until 1972.

Since 18 May 1991 to 18 May 2014, the nation of Somaliland has existed as a country in the absence of the international recognition.

THE TWENTY -THREE YEARS OF SOMALILAND’S INDEPENDENCE WITHOUT SOVEREIGNTY

“All we need is freedom, whether we are recognized or not, it doesn’t matter!” stated an unequivocally one Somaliland lady presenter during the occasion.

Prominent in the program were the political history of Somaliland presented by Assad Mohm’ud and the Somaliland’s Recognition Prospects by the region was presented by Mubarak Abdilahi, an eloquent speaker on Somaliland politics.

Despite their envious existence and stable political survival without much foreign support and in a democratic environment, the Somaliland people are very much aware of the impact of an international recognition. They have been engaging the region and the international community in various diplomatic ways for their acceptance and recognition as an independent African state. It might not be an amicable dissolution of the union because the union was born without terms and conditions and also Somalia might still be opposed to the “secession” of the North. Maybe, the world is waiting for the stability of Somalia for the question of the Somaliland to be settled. This is just a hypothetical assumption.

I knew what was at stake. Just as many other people may be aware of the recent mutual relationship between South Sudan and Somaliland; it is in the same context that I was given the opportunity by this distinguished group of Somaliland people in their occasion to address their people on behalf of my country on an important subject. I recap the speech. I thought it would never benefit both the people of Somaliland and the South Sudanese people if I do not expand it to transmit the full view of what we know and what we desire.

I have quoted only thematic parts in my speech which was appreciated. I began by thanking the Somaliland people for their invitation of the South Sudanese people and who are represented by me and my group, although not in an official capacity since I was not mandated by any government. I told the gathering on a serious note that, “we the South Sudanese people understand you very well. We shared and endured the same struggle. We have been through it. Therefore we know your history. Your current President H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Silanyo” visited South Sudan three times since we gained our independence on July 9, 2011. He came to learn lessons, to cherish with us our hard won freedom and independence and to confide with/in our president on your recognition issue. That we are aware. We are also aware that your media group, with a blue jacket written on it the “Somaliland Media Press” came to South Sudan during the Declaration of our independence day in Juba.” There was a heavy applaud.

“There is nothing greater than the free choice of the people based on conviction. Whatever you have chosen is what you are and what you deserve. No one will choose for you. Allow me to take tell you, that our struggle in South Sudan against various foreign powers and slavery began officially in 1821 and it was concluded in 2011 when we declared our independence. That took us one hundred and 190 years of struggle to arrive to where we are today. No matter how long it will take you to be recognized, your recognition shall come to pass, provided you remain focus and firm on your cause!”, heavy applaud and ovation.

I considered this as the heart of my speech. We have conducted the longest African struggle against oppression and one of the longest struggles in the entire world. There are sufficient lessons to be learned from it. The choice and sacrifices of lives of any oppressed or suppressed group of people to be free are borne and flesh of their struggle. The Somaliland people hold the ultimate journey and its destination in their own hands. No one could and can quantify the prices we have paid for our liberty and independence. The late South Sudanese leader, Dr. John Garang was once sentimentally challenged to stop the war by foreign groups since they alleged his people were being depleted by war. He is reported to have said, “When we founded and form our Movement to fight for freedom, we did not say that when three millions or so of our people are killed, then we shall stop the war. That was never our goal. If we get what we set out to achieve without a single life lost, we would stop the war. If it is costs us millions of our people, then they have died or are dying defending the cause that we still pursue. We set out to free our people from slavery and oppression, even if this will cost us the last man and the last woman. Death is better than slavery.”

Citing 190 years through which South Sudan struggled, a struggle whose commencement is a subject of the post diluvium era, is a lesson the Somaliland people were happy to hear and dream of emulating. I also alluded to the last two phases of our wars, 1955-1972 and 1983-2005 which total to 38 years of our recent struggle, and a cost of over five million lives combined in both conflicts. This message was reemphasized by their chairman Mr. Hassan Mohammed, who said if South Sudan could manage to wait while struggling for 190 years, yet theirs is just 23 years old, they would wait for their ultimate recognition for two hundred years provided “we are Somaliland forever!” I knew there was an understanding and tryst here. International politics has to be met with a protracted vision. At the end it is us to mourn our sacrifices and celebrate our victories.

No single state or nation, be it African or Arab or European has ever recognized the Republic of Somaliland since 1991 when it withdrew from a union with Somalia and declared her independence. This is intriguing. There are various reasons that are not normally spoken regarding such scenarios in international politics. One of the reasons is that, the world is always too slow to meddle objectively in countries where they do not have interests, especially the resources interests. Southern Sudan like Somaliland before the discovery of the vast natural resources was a ‘curse land’ in the eyes of the world. This is not the case today. As long as there are no known resources in possession of the Somaliland people, no one will talk about them.

Another reason is that, the degradation of a group of people simply because of their faith. As long as they are Muslims, helping them is almost equated with a zero-sum game. This is a western concept. The world sees the Somaliland as no different from the main Somalia. Recognizing them as an independent state will propagate the same ideology as that one happening in Somalia and other parts of the world. However, the Somaliland state has proven her worth with the manner with which she has conducted herself and her businesses during the last twenty three years. This generalist view puts Muslims in the one basket. They say the Somaliland would be better off as part of the bigger Somalia.

Without levels of importance attached to the enumeration of the reasons, the third view is the African one, which is the idea that, if the West has not recognized you, no African state will recognize you. You can only be accepted when the West gives her approval. And I think there is a catch here. The West is incorrectly believed to have political power, resources and technology to feed Africans with. Why would any African nation without any of the three elements come up to declare independence to a fellow African without guarantees of food? They privately think so. I noted this during the South Sudan’s declaration of independence; not very many African nations had interests or asked to recognize South Sudan. Only the neighbours were ceremoniously made to pronounce a midst a horde of Western diplomats which thought South Sudan should be independent now. Nobody asked why now? After what? That explains why to this day, despite the lost of five millions lives during our struggle, there are many people from without accompanied by local South Sudanese fifth columnists who give credit to America for South Sudan’s liberty and independence without recognizing our sacrifices.

I was keen at challenging the African idiocy towards the African issues. “It is the duty of the African nations and particularly your neighbours including South Sudan to recognize you. We shouldn’t wait on the West to take the lead in recognizing our people and their independence. Our country South Sudan will stand firm with you. We will also play our part individually to lobby and canvass support for your recognition. We need to interact country by country, individual by individual, to solve our issues and create development. Thank you very much.”

The statement “Our country South Sudan will stand firm with you” was too theoretical and naive for me. While it may have gone well with the audience, I had remorse over it afterwards. Even if I meant what it meant, I am certainly no influential person in our system to ensure the implementation of my firm statement. I also doubt whether the South Sudanese leaders are a different breed of people in the African continent. In any case, they are doing poorer than the illiterate leaders of the post-colonial Africa who ran the show in the fifties, sixties and seventies. I simply had my mouth in front and my brain behind in those seconds. However, I regard it as a strategic statement.

All in all, the short address had its penetrative impacts. I was flanked up by another guest, Abdishakur Sheeik Omar Muse Cade, a Somali-Ethiopian, who had represented the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia [FDRE]. He talked before me in all capacities, representing a neighbouring country to Somaliland, a host country and someone with Somali origin who understands the history and Somaliland people. Seated on my right hand, and after I sat, between him and the president of the Somaliland community, he asked me rhetorically that, “You know what the Somali people say? No. I said. He said, “The Somalis believe in their mythology that, their main ancestry “father” was an Arab and the female ancestry “mother” was a South Sudanese!” somehow shocked, I said really! The story might hold some unproven sense. I know majority of my people, like me, would be surprised with such assertion simply because they would say they do not share any ancestry with Muslims and brown or red people. But wait a little bit and think through the statement like I did.

After some careful thought, I said well, “we shouldn’t judge you by your colour, or language or religion. All must have been acquired through the corridors of history. Since you are Cushites, we also claim that we descended from a Cushite origin. We wanted to rename our country South Sudan as “Kush Republic” recently following our independence. Cush was one of the names proposed for the new country before we settled down for “South Sudan” because that discussion was diverting our attention. Maybe in the future, we shall revive the discussion and probably rename the country “the Cush Republic.”’, I concluded my statement. However, there is much to be known about who we are. Are we descendents of Kush? Ham? Punt? And who are others? Who are Africans, black or white or red? When did separation of colours occur? Adoption of religion is explainable. I know many people might be denying their true origin out of ignorance. For example, it is indisputable that the Kush Kingdom was a Nubian Kingdom. If they are Cushites, then they are blacks. If the Afars of Ethiopia, the Somalis of all hues, and the 40 million Oromos in Ethiopia are red Cushites too. Then should we base our arguments on colour alone or religion, that we do not share the same ancestry because of the two subjective aspects? Scientists have not given us proper explanation on the origin of variance on our skins. The case of religion is obvious.

When he heard me having mentioned the word “Cush” or “Cushite” that is when he told me “the Afars, the Oromos, and the Somalis in Ethiopia and Somalis of the neighbouring countries are Cushitic!” I know majority of our people in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan emigrated from the Ethiopian highlands, ancient puntlands and the Horn into their present homelands.

As I was concluding with him, it was the turn of the Somaliland people’s community president; my host to ask me, “did you study International Relations?” it would have been silly to ask why? That would have seemed the logical answer. However, this nimble and fluent English speaking president did not believe for a single minute that the way I talked, presented issues and somehow informed could have been accidental.   I had to confess, I am a novice diplomat. I admitted to him that I am a diplomat ‘at large’ with a postgraduate training in International Relations and Diplomacy from Nkumba University in Uganda. But I have not worked in the field yet. However, like usually I tell people, I am educated by many situations and environments that no certificate could quantify. I am first and foremost a student of John Garang, then a war student, then an academic student, a refugee and now a free citizen. All those factors have bearings on my character and readiness. I was happy I represented symbolically a position of a South Sudanese sanctioned official who would be in my position to represent the country during this occasion.

Conclusion

“We Are Somaliland Forever.” This sticker message was pinned allover the celebration venue. If you lift up or away the lid, you will find the message, “all we need is freedom, whether we are recognized or not, it doesn’t matter!” These messages are very unequivocal and definitive. The world may ignore them but they aren’t going away.

The Somaliland is recognized internationally as an autonomous and self-governing region of the frailing Somalia. Ask the Somaliland people and they would tell you, that they are an independent African country still seeking an international recognition. If such recognition doesn’t come, they aren’t going to surrender their independence and walk to Somalia to be oppressed, subjugated and enslaved.

Somaliland was once an independent country granted independence on June 26, 1960 by the British which had colonized her. Out of the desire for a common All Somalis Republic [ASR] formed out of social contract, they made a union with the Southern Somalia, which union had no preconditions and abrogated or trampled down upon to the marginalization of the Somaliland people north of the country. Like other people and countries the world over who have had their own independences prior to other subsequent political arrangements, countries such as those that had made up the former USSR, Southern Sudan in the former Sudan, Mauritania, Crimea, Tibet, Taiwan, Eritrea etc, the people of Somaliland are convinced that the union has failed to live to its usefulness. Therefore, they have restored themselves to their 1960’s independence granted to them by the British.

They consider this as a precendented move with live examples elsewhere and everywhere the worldover. However, they are not reclaiming their independence simply because it was done any where; they have genuine fears and concerns in the defunct union with Somalia. Somalia which was the marginalizer, oppressor and belligerent aggressor in the conflict, can not and should not be allowed to use her consent as a precondition for the Somaliland to attain her independence. If the world could recognize Kosovar’s independence from Serbia in 2008 without the latter’s consent, what is wrong with recognizing the Somaliland Republic without the Somalia’s consent?  Crimea has joined Russia, without any international recognition. The case of the Western Sahara whose independence was foiled by Morocco despite recognition and admission to the OAU in 1981 should not repeat itself in the case of the Somaliland.

The Somaliland people in their struggle against Somalia do not blame Southern Somalia for the idea of the Somalis Unification Project [SUP] which has faltered. They blame themselves for the blunder, of conceiving and entering the union without preconditions whatsoever even if it was done in good faith and for the identity of the Somali people. However, they see Siad Barre and people of Southern Somalia as solely responsible for the breakdown and dissolution of the union. Their grievances were compounded by the war atrocities committed against them as northern people, where seven mass graves are now earmarked in Somaliland and indiscriminate destructions of Hergeisa, Baro and Berbera cities through air bombardments and ground attacks from government’s forces dominated by the southern people.

The Somaliland’s democracy since 1991 has been more pragmatic and peaceful than the Kenyan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Ethiopian political processes. Somaliland has held invariably peaceful, free and fair, and regular elections without any problem since 1991. The country has sustained its development, security and governance for long without any major problems. This non-sovereign African country has depended on its local resources for 23 years without foreign support compared to other independent but unstable countries with resources which have depended on foreign aid, grants and loans to run their local services, development projects and governments. South Sudan should learn from the Somaliland’s government on how to run a locally people’s driven and local resources’ driven African democracy.

This nation peopled by over four million Somalis erstwhile acculturated by the British has met the other three basic elements of the modern statehood namely a permanent population, a defined territory and a stable government. It is ripen for sovereignty. It must be recognized as an independent and sovereign state.

Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr., is a South Sudanese national, writer, and a liberal bureaucrat educated in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia in Development Studies, International Relations and Diplomacy, and Public Management. He grew up in the South Sudanese conflict particularly in its army, the SPLA as a member of its junior component, the SPLA Red Army. He contributes opinion articles and analyses on South Sudanese politics, governance, development, foreign policy relations, gender and human rights issues. He is the author of the upcoming book, “The Journey of No Return: Unaccompanied Minors, Red Army, Lost Boys of Southern Sudan Caught between the Cause and the Refuge.” He is a columnist with the Newsudannation.com and paanluel.com. He can be reached at rgrengo@yahoo.com


By Reng’o Gyyw Reng’o, Addis Ababa

I wish to talk about Riek Machar’s hubris for power in South Sudan and how he wants to access the power. The “how” question, has been answered by the use of Nuer as the only mean for Riek to acquire power in South Sudan. The two have spoiled each other’s opportunities. The Nuer has spoiled opportunity for Riek and Riek’s failure every time spoils the image of the Nuer in the eyes of the South Sudanese.

Riek Machar attempts to seize power is ever diverted by the Nuer’s actions. First, in 1991 the coup against Dr. John Garang failed when the Nuer rose in support of their son Riek Machar, and in the process diverted their “revolutions” turned against the Dinka targets instead of the political leadership. This led to the Bor Massacre.

Again, Riek Machar challenged Salva Kiir’s leadership and when the Nuer soldiers in the presidential guards rose in support of Riek, it preempted the window of opportunity Riek had forged with a good number of non-Nuer politicians. The Non- Nuer colleagues of Riek would have canvassed nationwide support for him. This opportunity was again lost because the Nuer soldiers acted impulsively and diverted another opportunity for Riek Machar.

Peter Gatdet Yak and James Koang, two leaders who would act responsibly as national leaders, instead brought themselves down to the tribal level, created apprehensions in the minds of other tribes, when they declared their rebellions as revenges against the Nuer killings in Juba, of course which I think was true. The whole business became self-defence for other ethnicities. Riek’s opportunity was spoiled. Nuer defections from the army of South Sudan led to them being ostracized by the rest of communities. Riek lost support from the rest of communities. Hence he lost opportunity to access power.

Killings in Akobo, captured of Bor and killings, ethnic targets of non-Nuer in Bentiu at oil sites, Bentiu and Malakal towns made the Nuer’s revolutions senseless and ethnic in character. A leader with a national cause and moreover a community with a national cause would try its best to live above hatred and revenges, by even liberating and protecting those people who do not come from their own ethnic groups. Tit for tat, makes the national cause flees. Unless, the Nuer did not have the national cause as their agenda, their cause is trampled under revenges which is still ongoing.

While I condemn the target killings of Nuer in Juba and of recent in Bor, everything has become revenges against revenges. More target killings reported in Bentiu makes the whole thing visionless, directionless and unacceptable. The Nuer’s leaders and armed people are mobilizing other communities against them indirectly or directly. May I ask Riek Machar and the Nuer, was the real cause to avenge the Nuer killed by the Dinkas or national army or to liberate the country? I heard you talking about having ideological differences with Salva Kiir?

Don’t you think there is a big and clear gap between what you are pursuing and the actions of your ethnic soldiers. The Nuer, yes can conduct a revolutionary war on their own but not the way they have been doing it since 1991. You remember you were joined in 1991 by Dinkas such as Telar Riing Deng, Makeer Benjamin, Dhol Achuil, DengTiel Ayuel Kur, Dr. Achol Marial etc against John Garang, their own ethnic brother but when you and the Nuer launched the Bor Massacres, they redefected back to the Movement and rejoined John Garang. They said if the war was about the Nuer against the Dinka, then why should we be part of it?

Now, the eleven detainees were clearly your supporters against President Kiir. However, when your people overtook them in their support of you, they decided to keep aloof. They have refused to join you in the rebellions. And can I tell you and my people the Nuer, the eleven politicians refused not because your soldiers were and are Nuer but because of the nature of the destruction, killings and ethnic targetings in some places like Bor. Why killing in the church, mosques, mad people on the streets, hospital, the aged and children? Why?

I remember the words of an Old Gaawar man, Chuol who spoke during the Greater Upper Nile conference in Juba of recent, where he said, ” there is something unique with this blackman that makes him difference from the whiteman, the yellow man and the red man. This blackman easily forgives and easily forgets.” And Mzee Chuol added a question, ” what brought the Nuer to Bor?” To me, his message required soul-searching for a leader like you.

Like the 1991 group which had supported you, the recent groups were overtaken in support of you and not only that, they became secondary victims of your soldiers’ actions. Thus, they withdrew their support.

Unless, really your war is ethnic, which no one can help if it is, but if it is national in character and aims at rescuing all the South Sudanese, then the approach and methods are and have been wanting. You need not blame the South Sudanese for anything, you need to look inwards for mistakes. The Nuer have spoiled your opportunities. Advise them to stop killing their “enemies” for them to have wider support across the South Sudanese society.

And whenever you fail in your attempts, the Nuer as a community consequentially suffers because of those failures. The situation thus becomes a chicken and an egg issue between you Riek and the Nuer.

These are my observations. I am far away from both parties in the conflict.


By Reng’o Gyyw Reng’o, Addis Ababa

Just over a month ago, a well placed individual in the system, South Sudan, confided in me and told me the information I did not understand, – Khartoum had been supplying weapons to Juba, during and after the December 2013 crises. The gentleman was very happy. The only question that I asked, was, ” don’t you think Khartoum is doing the same thing to the other side?”. His answer was no. “Why would they?” He asked. I said ” for the same old reasons, wanting to fail South Sudan and now that we are fighting each other, Khartoum might be interested in seeing us annihilating each other!” I was assured Khartoum now needs Jaath [oil] flowing.

While my fears were not addressed, the gentleman sentiments were not isolated. Khartoum’s ambiguous hibernation during the crises, made many regional and international analysts happy. They were praising Khartoum , believing a new era has dawn between Khartoum and Juba. The notorious Islamist Ali Karti, Sudan’s foreign Minister gave concrete assurances of his country’s neutrality in the conflict. He had also taken part in the IGAD’s mission to South Sudan to resolve crises.

However, piecing together number of evidences and occurrences today between South Sudan and Khartoum, it makes me believe that my misgivings then are coming home. First of all, Khartoum was kept out of the countries interfering in South Sudan current conflicts. This is in spite of the fact that it was ferrying weapons to the government in Juba. As long as it was supporting Kiir’s government clandestinely, public relations placard dictates that it was a neutral friend.

You know President Kiir has been accused by his colleagues of flirtation with Beshir, NCP and Khartoum. It was evident in the press release during the December 2013 when the SPLM opposition accused Kiir of wanting to establish a new party that will work the NCP. Only serious minded citizens did not believe that. Otherwise, the gullible groups took the message serious.

There were other developments that were convincing that a new beginning has just arrived in the relationship between Juba and Khartoum. Juba had requested Khartoum to deploy troops in South Sudan to protect oil fields. To effect this, Minister of Defence, Hon. Kuol Manyang Juuk, had to pay a visit to Khartoum just over two weeks ago. Sudan thus has become one of the two neighbouring countries that are seen publicly to be supporting President Kiir. The other being Uganda.

Last week, President Kiir paid a visit to Khartoum to meet President Beshir. It was assumed number of issues were discussed, peace talks, implementation of cooperation agreements, oil protection, etc. However, Abyei, and border demarcation were not mooted. The two issues were not on the table for discussion. Juba read into the mind of Khartoum,-raising these would be a red line. After all, they are “not crucial issues” at the moment.

As soon as President Kiir left Khartoum for Uganda, Sudan’s AirForce bombed Panriang and other areas in Unity State. People were shocked. What was it that Kiir had gone to fetch in Khartoum, “peace or bombs?” I discussed this with my friend Paanluel on the facebook. Below were our exchanged.

P: Khartoum bombing Panrieng county. Kiir was in Khartoum 1-2 ago.
Me: They were welcoming him with bombs.
P: Apparently, yes.
Me: Who might they have targeted? Are there Riek’s rebels in the area, therefore helping Kiir?
P: No. Bombing the civilians.
Me: Hahaha…He has lost it all. That is a message for Kiir to interpret.
P: Bad.
Me: Have they condemned it?, I mean the Kiirs.
P: Aguer Panyang was doing the laundry.
Me: I do not know when Kiir will wake to the reality of politics, and development. He has revejuvanted Beshir to strength and potency, and now Beshir is slapping him incessantly on the face.
P: Yeah and Beshir is consolidating his position. While kiir is fighting everyone in the RSS. Beshir is wooing his political rivals.
Me: That is what I have seen over the media.
p: Consolidation and with consolidation comes the exigency of creating distraction. Possibly a conflict with RSS wud be a perfect one.
Me: A sound politician would that, to consolidate at home? I mean I would do that.
P: And create trouble abroad to keep the consolidation intack, and the public occupied with “cockroaches in Juba.”
Me: Hahaha… Kiir is a toddler when it comes to that politics. I would have done just that, when crises where developing in Juba, to divert the rebels.
P: yep. Beshir [is] doing it, perhaps.
Me: We would be fighting along the border now, while seeking international mediation

Khartoum in its crafty ways, was quick in denying any bombing. That was one negative development.

Just few days ago, Juba announced that its intelligence reported massive movements of the Sudan Armed Forces along the border. The Military Spokesperson Philip Aguer made an alarm. However, Khartoum through its armed forces spokesperson denied the allegation. Yesterday but one, Sudan Tribune website published Khartoum or Sudan’s reservations on IGAD’s mediation, accusing IGAD’s process of being bad. We noticed something that was growing.

On Tuesday 14th April 2014, all of a sudden, Bentiu, Capital of Unity State fell to Riek Machar rebels that were alleged to have come from Sudan. South Sudan Military Spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer, accused Sudan of not only offering sanctuary to the South Sudan’s rebels but also training and supporting them. Still, Khartoum has denied that accusation as if there is going to be a day they will accept any accusation.

We knew something was developing when rebels went silent. It might be that they have now made another agreement with Khartoum over the oil. I had just raised an alarm the other day, that the Juba’s way of handling Khartoum is wanting in all aspects. That type of foreign policy relations would definately backfire. Juba wake up. I am missing Mading Ngor on that.


By Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr., Southern Sudan

JULY 17, 2010 

Few days ago on July 14th 2010, a colleague working with the National Democratic Institute [NDI], a Washington D.C-based organization working for the principles of good governance, human rights, citizens civic and political education etc in the South called me from the town of Waw, Western Bhar al Ghazal State and asked me, “Rengo, what is the public opinion about confederation in Juba?”.

I replied that, “the public opinion about confederation in Juba is that; the people do not know about confederation since it wasn’t mentioned in the CPA! All they know is either unity or separation.” And I went ahead by asking, “What’s the confederation replacing in the CPA, unity or separation?” It took Peter Machar a little while of chuckling before he told me he was lecturing that morning to a group of Southern Sudanese citizens about referendum and all it will require for them to do.

Indeed, some citizens, those who heard about confederation, thought the CPA was being re-negotiated to create room for it. Others do not really understand what it is, yet there are many who do not know whether there is something calls confederation being discussed by SPLM and Khartoum. They [citizens] are so impatient and impetuous about secession and preoccupied with the referendum to choose between unity and secession that other things could pass their notice without their attention. “Does it mean the items to be voted for in the CPA have changed from unity to confederation and secession?” a friend later asked. I had no immediate answer.

Well, I gave it a thought and decided to write this article in response. Indeed, many people do not understand the term confederation as an entity and in relation to federalism, are they related? While momentum for confederation has risen in recent days, following the publication of Thabo Mbeki’s proposals on behalf of the African Union [11 July 2010 ST], in which confederation was mentioned, then it matters to us to write about it and place it to where it belongs! What the AU backs up might have a position of signifance. But what is it in the CPA and in relation to it?

Few years ago, Malik Agar Eyre, a senior SPLM member was heard calling for confederation. Though, his call was largely ignored, Malik knew Khartoum has not made unity attractive for the South, and the South as a result, is seriously pondering total secession in a free and fair plebiscite. In order to favour neither Khartoum nor the South and to accommodate his people the Funj plus others in one political entity aka New Sudan, Malik thought of confederation as a compromise for everybody in opposing positions. I shall come to what it means later.

It is with this findings that I now think the idea of confederation is a fall back position for those who thought unity would work in lieu of South Sudan’s independence. However, since it has certainly become clear that, South Sudan separation is more attractive and inevitable comes January 9, next year 2011 due to failure of unity, the world and African Union still hold the view that total divorce might degenerate to further post-referendum wars pitting the newly independent states against each other over resources and unresolved issues such as the North-South International border where resources and their locations are playing a big role in furthering misunderstandings. I believe it is this reason that has made the African Union to revisit Malik Agar’s proposition for confederation. However, when shall confederation be applicable, now or after independence? If it is after independence, was that what Malik Agar wanted or meant in the first place? Certainly not. And if it is now, does the CPA cater for confederation? And what is confederation? Is it necessary to discuss or moot something not in the CPA just months away to the end of the CPA?

The CPA is always there to speak for itself! The CPA Machakos Protocol of 20th July 2002, which is the Mother of All Protocols, requires the people of Southern Sudan to exercise the right to self-determination in a referendum scheduled for January 9, 2011. For them, their total vote in a referendum shall:

(a)     Confirm unity of the Sudan by voting to sustain the system of government established under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and interim Constitution, or

(b) Vote for secession.

These hypotheses lack vagueness and ambiguity at all. Intentionally and generally, the CPA for the first time has brought Sudan under meaningful federal system like the one operating in Southern Sudan moulded on American and British system. Federalism itself has not been welcome in the Sudan since independence [1956] with exception of the regional government in Juba between 1972 and 1980. Taking a glance at the CPA wordings, the term confederation is not explicitly mentioned in the CPA. Instead, it is “unity” that is mentioned but what type of unity? A “yes vote” for unity under the CPA shall confirm the current political system in the country. What does that mean? It means sustaining the current system of government established under the CPA the way it is, without subtraction and addition. Well, it is upto us if we understand the system under the CPA. Even if all were be left intact, wealth sharing formula can not be left the way it is, because the South is disadvantaged and aggrieved by the wealth sharing formula, 50-50% of resources found within the Southern region! South Sudan wants total control of its resources.

The system under the CPA technically refers to the confederation because it guarantees over 98% of self-autonomy to the South. It is not the Old Sudanese unity that was operated under total and absolute centralization managed by Arab autocratists and Islamic theocratists. The CPA worked out the relationship between the North and the South on modus vivendi temporary basis for six years until the referendum either seals or breaks the cord of relationships at the time of date expiry.

Having a separate army, defined population, strong government in charge of the South and territory make the South more of a State than a mere region of Sudan. Thus, majority of analysts view this as already a confederal State against the North, pending the actual dissolution. President Kiir while addressing the Sudanese opposition conference in September 2009, Juba, hinted on that, that, “After painful and protracted sessions of negotiations, the turning point came in the Machakos Framework Protocol (July 2002) which, to all ends and purposes, resolved cardinal issues relating to what came to be known as the “problem of the South”. Those issues included autonomy to Southern Sudan bordering on a confederal status, right to self – determination”, he explained. If this is the case, then unity stated in the CPA and the much publicized confederation mean the same thing. The authors of confederation need to give chance to the consummation of the CPA through referendum and if by luck, southerners vote for the so-called unity, God Forbids, they will have voted for confederation, not undefined unity! In one way or another, confederation is catered for under the CPA and can not be re-discussed!

Based on this understanding, Hassan El Turabi, the man behind all Islamic ideology and propagation in the Sudan observed that Sudan’s unity was dissolved from the day the CPA was signed on Janaury 9 2005! And Khartoum did not understand the technical and political wordings Dr. Garang had applied in the CPA, making others to be left behind by reality. For him, the contemporary reaction against secession in Khartoum is nothing but late awakening to the CPA language and resolutions.

Before I examine a possibility of confederation after independence which is side B of this paper, there is need to define the term confederation and see its difference from federalism. Confederation, is authoritatively a political science and management term, albeit not frequent in use, which describes an amalgamation of sovereign states each of which is free to act independently. It makes a distinction or differentiable from a federation, in which the individual states lack the sovereignty aspects and are subordinated to the central government.

Southern Sudan is not yet a sovereign state in her current status, hence it is in federation with the rest in the Sudan, albeit there exists a huge degree of self-autonomy that makes it look rather a confederation, until it becomes fully independence and sovereign. Federalism, a political system in which one or more states or regions defer some powers to a central government while withholding a limited amount of self-rule. This can be operated at national or international levels of government. The absence of or the presence of sovereignty makes a distinction between federalism and confederation.

Therefore, confederation is an association of sovereign states that give little powers to the confederation while federation is an association of non-sovereign states or regions, with much power given to the federal government than what they can exercise.

That makes confederation thinkable in the Sudan only after the South Sudan’s independence. Though, the irony is that, the word federal, Latin fidere, meaning “to trust” would not generate its meaning in the Sudanese context, whether I may sound a cynic or skeptic, the word trust is unheard or non-existence. Trust has never been cultivated in the Sudan among its diversities. Instead, it is perfidiosity, discord and rancor that have been embedded within the fabrics of our society. Thank God, confederation would require Southern Sudan to become a sovereign state first! Then, we can co-trust each other since confederation in Latin would mean “co-trust” or “cooperate”, whatever that will mean in future.

What exactly do the international Community and African Union believe in confederation? I understand the African Union wants confederation table as one of the post referendum issues, ranking number two in the item lists. There could be extreme reasons that calls for confederation of North-South future States after their separate independences.

There are both economic and political reasons with potentiality of conflicts. Over 80% of oil deposits are found in South Sudan but conspicuously, both the refinery machinery and transportation oil pipeline are located in the North. Divorcing these economic relations immediately will have great impacts on the two independent states with far reaching consequences, because the withdrawal of oil from the North by the South will naturally lead to collapse of the Northern economy while the act of not refining and transporting the oil out of the South to the market, will stagnate the Southern economy.

Despite these obvious problems, the way the oil has been exploited in the Sudan, and location of the oil refinery and pipeline in the north, all of which were against the wishes of the South have left deep mistrusts and grudges that might endanger the need for continued future relationship between the two regions. The South might take a risk of withdrawing its oil and forgo both oil pipeline and refinery in the North to continue punishing the North, [though, then we can not continue fighting an enemy that is no longer there], and seeking alternative of construction oil refinery in the South and pipeline to East Africa.

The world is equally seeing a difficulty in separating the North-South international border. The presence of oil resources on or near the border has complicated the demarcation process. The North does not want to respect the 1/1/1956 borderline between the North and the South because it leaves all oil wells within the South to their disadvantage. For this not to happen, Khartoum believes in the law that, “possession is a ninth-tenths of the law.” The fact that these resources belong to the South has not deterred the North from autocratic grasping, plundering and defying the world over the border.

Therefore, the question of oil resources on or near the border is already overshadowed by the border conflicts. There is unprecedented militarization of border zones and frequent incursions of government sponsored militias into villages near the oilfields and border to create buffer zones. The South on the other hand wants her rightful border placed correctly according the 1/1/1956 borderline to include her oil deposits, lands and people. The complexity of these issues has a clear potency of war before and after South’s secession. Always, border matters take long to resolve.

To avert conflicts, African Union wants confederation to continue dragging the two states in longterm relations that will involve continuous negotiations to resolve the outstanding problems and to share economic benefits. Thabo Mbeki’s statement underscores this when he observed that, “In the 21st century, the world has changed, and especially Africa has changed. No nation is an island sufficient unto itself… The striving towards economic and political integration is more than a manifestation of Africa’s deep-seated recognition that our strength comes from our common identity. Closer ties among ourselves are a necessity for our continent’s security and development”. Practically, this might be difficult to achieve. The South might not want to continue living in falsehood imposed upon it by the North at the expenses of her own benefits, political status and sovereignty. It is with these reasons that pacifists consider confederation an option to be explored.

Thirdly, the African Union bound by its principle of unity of the continent, stands against further balkanization of the continent in principle. Despite its weak strategies in protecting minorities’ rights, resource distributions, and rampant autocracy over indigenous citizen rights, all of which have led to incessant wars, African Union continues to call for Unity. Mbeki noted, “The African Union is itself an expression of the African continent’s desire for integration and unity”. However it would be good to note here that the AU type of unity and the Sudanese type of unity are not the same. AU unity follows UN principles in the UN Charter and international standards while the Sudanese unity follows the apartheid type as exhibited in South Africa. The Southern Sudanese calls the former, “unity on the new basis” which Khartoum does not render support. We also distaste any nation that calls for Sudan’s unity on apartheid basis. These two must be made clear. If we can not harmonize on “new basis”, we disintegrate, not confederate.

Sometimes, African Union leaders call for unity without specifying what they mean by unity. This is misinterpreted in both North and South. The North says, the African Union and the continent support her type of unity which is apartheid-based in character. The South says, African Union is against the CPA, its own principles and those of the United Nations Charter, which are against the apartheid not only in the Sudan, Africa but also throughout the whole world. In fact, avoidance of condemning of apartheid in the Sudan tantamounts to African Union’s complicity in the Southern Sudanese’s oppression. Jean Ping’s call for unity and AU condemneous of Beshir’s indictment to charges of crimes he has deliberately and invariably committed in the Sudan are clear evident that AU is taking a connivance stand in favour of the North than the world justice and peace.

While the continental unity is desirable and contingent on local unity, this principle may not be applicable in all cases within the continent. Local divisions as political remedy to chronic problems do not prevent continental unity! Eritrean’s secession from Ethiopia in 1993 creates exceptions. Eritrea’s independence brought peace to Africa and in no way has Eritrea hampered continental unity. The same goes for the now impending South Sudan’s independence in a referendum. A number of distinct factors make division of Sudan more favourable than unity which has given Africa as a whole its dark records in which it watched the massacres of the Sudanese citizens without raising a voice.

Belatedly, African Union witnessed the repercussions of the Sudanese wars, and consciously but stealthily took part in negotiations and resolutions of her conflicts. The most candid approach to resolve the conflict was the adoption of the referendum for the South to decide her future between the Sudanese voluntary unity and voluntary secession for the South. AU affixed her signature on this clause as one of the fourteen world CPA signatories. So, Jean Ping’s outrageous comments against the secession depict a character of Jekyll and Hyde.

So, is the African Union’s search for confederation! The CPA gives these two free options, of unity and secession, without hindrance or facilitation. Why preempting or condemning the choice of the citizens, yet they say, the best law is the Will of the majority?

The African Union’s fear is beyond South Sudan’s independence. It is aware that there are still distinct problems lurking in waiting in the North such as the Nuba Mountains, Funj, Darfur and Beja conflicts that might follow the precedent created in the South to demand for their self-determination and independence from the remaining North. Someone who might have visited Sudan might not consider this a wish or a fantasy- it is real. Beyond Sudan, there are hotspots within the continent like the Ogaden rebels, Oromo Liberation Front, Somaliland, Puntland in Somali, Saharawi, and the Polisarios who seek some justice in their territories.

Justice denied is justice stolen and justice sought after. It is these lurking problems that are commonly cited by the African Union as justification to oppose Sudanese secession. Khartoum to canvass and gain support also capitalizes on these local and international fears.

In order not to contribute to political awareness in pursuits for self-determination in the above areas, AU seeks to block this, by looking for ways of keeping the South attached to the North in some ways, whether through direct union, or confederation. It is these pertinent questions regarding the above Sudanese areas that are haunting the continent and its body which wants to take refuge in denying South Sudan her independence to accommodate the interests of others and depict itself of meeting its international obligation for bettering African continent already marred by its irresponsibility.

AU should have learned out of Kosovan experience in which Europe though craves for its unity, it did not play with Kosovan’s independence even when Serbia was opposing it. Europe would be better off without unity than undermining the thirst for justice among the Kosovan people who were exposed to genocidal plans. African populations though majority in the Sudan have experienced the same degree of systematic annihilations and deserve better political treatment from all peace loving peoples.

Fourthly, Northern Sudanese’s economic survival is dependent on the South Sudanese’s natural resources. Khartoum numerous regimes since 1956 have had always used resources from the South to develop the North, at the expenses of the producing region. There has been zero development in the South since creation, so to say. This exploitation was quite visible in war and now in Southern Sudan where GOSS is waging another war against backwardness in all sectors of needs in an area of 440,000 km sqs. Such vast area has nothing to show for having such huge wealth.

Therefore, it was a war factor. We fought to develop the South. Separation will enable the South to go away with its resources to the disadvantage of the North. Philanthropists within the political formations seek confederation to help boost the northern economy, lest its backlashes are felt in the South and for humanitarian concerns. This is what they fear but they are misjudging the future before it comes.

Fifthly, the world is looking for its scapegoat in the Sudan, a goat that will keep on carrying the load of terrorism to the desert without spillovers to the peaceful world. Sudan’s Islamic extremisms and fundamentalism is feared within Africa and the world. Sudan has been and is still in the American list of countries sponsoring world terrorism, with Sudan President, Omar Beshir indicted against crimes committed in Darfur [South and other areas not mentioned]; crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide crimes plus sanctions.

Of recent, there was a leak out that Sudan has imported weapon factories from Iran with support from Iranian Revolutionary Guards to produce weapons in the Sudan for the Gazan Hamas, Yemenis rebels and Al-shabab in Somalia on top of intending to annihilate local rebellions such as the one mentioned earlier above in Darfur and those that might come up. Some fatalistic people and countries believe, leaving such government without the South would be creating a hub for Islamic terrorism in the Sudan. Just like the British have held the view that the South has been a balancer for Khartoum since it bled to oppose Khartoum’s radical ideas. AU has never mentioned this but the idea of who will fight terrorism in the Sudan certainly lies behind the call for confederation.

However, most western countries are tired of using the South to fend off terrorism and now want South Sudan’s independence! The South can still play its role of opposing terrorism very well when it is independent and in collaboration with the world.

Malik Agar’s version of confederation is purely meant to serve the interests of the disputed areas namely the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile who are neither given a choice to choose in a referendum between unity or separation nor sympathetic to the Islamic concepts in Khartoum. All these make accumulation of factors/cartels for unity rather than a support for South Sudan separation. He is neither in support of Khartoum nor amused with the ideas of separation because none of these serves the interest of his central people. Confederation is meant to solve that difficulty.

The South may not be blamed for opting to secede because the radical question of Islam in politics has become an Achilles’ heel for Khartoum and very much responsible for the country’s breakup. Everybody should blame the North for that antiunity stand. All Sudanese can only be safe in a secular society.

Conclusion

drawing my conclusion from these analyses, the possibility of establishing a North-South confederation system rather than two separate states option available in the 2011 self determination referendum should completely be out of question. Confederation takes us back to the question of Arabism, and Islamic theocracy which are responsible for non-coexistence of the Sudanese people in diversity. Confederation is catered for under the CPA, under unity option; hence those who moot it again are tautologizing only. Therefore, it is replacing nothing, not unity and not secession in the CPA! Is any one trying to confederate Islam in the North against secularity in the South?

I understand there is a general and obvious admission that unity will never work in the Sudan, fomenting an attempt to replace the term “unity” with the term “confederation” in the CPA but that is too late. It is a sheer violation of the CPA and aforethought interference with the democratic process. If for more than 50 years of Sudan’s chaotic independence, unity with all efforts and concertions has failed, then secession should be given a chance to bring peace to the region. Independent South and independent North might be in better position to bring peace to Africa and the world. The CPA knows or asks only the Southern Sudanese to choose either free unity or free secession without hindrance or facilitation, and when the Southern Sudanese citizens carried the vote for the free unity that automatically becomes a confederation.

The world can not determine South Sudan foreign policy before she becomes independence. Based on its foreign policy, strategic partnerships and strategic resources, the State after 2011 will work its priorities out as a state relation is concerned. However, if secession vote is wholly carried, confederation ceases right there and then, except as stated above. The country’s foreign policy will dictate her future policies. Therefore, do not confuse the voting process. Any call for confederation should be shunned until the CPA reaches its destiny and independence consummated in 2011.

Malik Agar should understand, without the South, the disputed areas still have the future. Justice can never be sought extrinsically; once it is stolen, justice must be sought by the people themselves. President Bush said in his 2002 inaugural address, that, “Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling.

Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.” The Funj, Fur and the Nubians must understand that the success of liberty in their disputed lands is dependent on the success of liberty and independence in South Sudan, and peace in Sudan is dependent in peace, freedom and liberty in those areas. If what is delivered has not served the interest of the people, they should be free to decide for themselves the best way towards their destiny.

It is extremely rare to find any country or countries in this modern world in a union called confederation. America was first founded on confederalism before it was reverted to federalism which was and is a better system to confederation. The reasons that led America to reject confederation could be the same reasons that make confederation in the Sudan unthinkable. The religious and racial dichotomy in the Sudan has reached a disastrous proportion. Therefore, allow citizens to vote freely between secession and unity, secularism and Islamic theocracy, peace and chaos, etc and accept the results!

Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr is a Masters Degree student in International Relations and Diplomacy. He can be reached rgrengo@yahoo.com


By Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr.

February 1st, 2010

I read about the story of ‘Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), Norwegian politician, whose collaboration with the Nazis during World War II made his name synonymous with traitor. Quisling aided Fridtjof Nansen [Norwegian explorer, scientist, statesman, author, and Nobel laureate] on his humanitarian missions in the USSR and Armenia in 1922-1925 and later served in the Norwegian legation in Moscow. Returning to Norway, he entered politics, voicing strong anti-Communist sentiments. He served as minister of defense (1931-1933) in an Agrarian cabinet, but then bolted to found his own National Union, a Fascist party that received subsidies from Germany.

‘At the time of the Nazi invasion of Norway in 1940, the German envoy tried unsuccessfully to have King Håkon accept Quisling as prime minister, and the National Union was subsequently declared the only legal party. The Germans finally installed Quisling as prime minister in 1942, and throughout the war he collaborated with the Nazis and tried to inject their principles and practices into Norwegian society. Largely responsible for the persecution of Norwegian Jews, he also introduced terrorist methods in dealing with those loyal to the king and the legal government in London. Arrested, tried, and sentenced by a Norwegian court after the war, Quisling was executed on October 24, 1945.’

By all accounts and deposition, Lam Akol is Vidkun Quisling of South Sudan and its people. For all those who are familair with Lam Akol, the path Quisling took is exactly the same except trial and execution which I do not believe would happen. His fate should be left to moods of history, shame and rejection. Little is to be said about Lam Akol early upbringing except through his father to whom I attributed a positive statement below and perhaps monarchical lineage he hailed from among the Shilluk which explictly depicts him as a non-democrat and which increases his impudence of others. However, few people have positive reminiscences of Lam Akol at the university of Khartoum where he loved playing foulplays among his colleagues.  He has been in a class of people  who professed they love to be in opposition even when there is nothing to be opposed.

Not withstanding this, Sudanese society have had political seismics that engineered oppositions of various types, social, economic, political and religious from people who saw them in their own ways and perceptions and those who use them to oppress others. Therefore, Lam found his inherent unconforming nature to be compatible with the prevailing sitaution and registered heroism of being a rebel with the SPLM and SPLA in mid 1980s.

It was not long before his character like pregnancy as they say, could show. His antagonism and his belief in jettison of leadership earned him the theory of Jettisonism which I now bring to limelight. Jettisonology is a political school of thought of abandoning one’s own people’s struggle to join the enemy to work against the acceptable cause for personal gains and power. A jettisonist is a person who abandoned genuine cause to work with the enemy against his own people to overthrow them. Therefore the Southern Sudanese people should attribute this theory to Lam Akol as his political Legacy that he leaves behind for posterity. Jettisonism is the same as Lamakolianism, all authors’ proposal.

While in the Movement SPLM, he must have consented to the main objective, strategies and tactics agreed at the founding of the Liberation Movement in 1983 including the concept of the New Sudan with its two faces, of Southern Sudan and of New United Secular Democratic Sudan. The concept of the New Sudan as a process has its roots in a letter written on October 12 1957 by E.K. Mayom to South Sudanese legislative Assembly members to the second Assembly at Khartoum. Second Sudan parliamentary elections were then scheduled for February-March 1958 after the 1954 elections.

Mayom wrote in his letter that, “there is a Dinka story-[that goes] once upon a time, a man [had] a chance to find a multitude [of people] gathering round a dead animal, skinning it, and ready to divide the meat amongst themselves; then suddenly this gentleman asked to be given both one front and find less puls, the fat hump after skinning. Then a sorrowful laughter broke the silence. Then, one other person remarked back to him that “would it not be good if you [had] asked for a minor proportion such as ribs [12 pieces usually]? “Then, he replied that “then finish the skinning quickly, and give it to me on time, because I have a long way to go still!” When he left with his mentioned share, then, one of the people followed him afar and asked him why he demanded so much, that he looked greedy amongst strangers! He answered that if he had asked for a small share, then, he was NOT going to succeed in getting anything at all. In comparison, always the south should DEMAND so much so that in the end, we get something and not nothing”, Mayom concluded [Y. Wawa, 154 & 155]

Precisely, this was the reason behind the concept of the New Sudan that some people condemn today for political objectives than the context to which it was meant by the Founding Fathers. Mandela said no easy road to freedom despite easy talks about it. If words would have liberated us, the famous Aggrey Jaden’s statement made at Khartoum roundtable Conference would have resolved the whole problem of secession when he drew a distinction between the North and the South. Jaden identified the problem but not the modalities, strategies and tactics of getting there.  The goal would always be there but the strategies vary with times and situations [and all are contingent on enemy’s technicality]. Therefore, the SPLM focused on the strategies to which Lam was an accomplice against the government at the time of his joining in May 1986.

I noted two articles over this subject, one from Dr. Ambago  Ramba and a reply from Dr. Okuk, of course, they had a great deal of exchanges that desire one to venture equally into the arena. However, some of their contents would drag me away from statements made by Lam Akol. But I would like to clarify here that there is no sitting on the fence situation. A mere call for secession does not call for incriminating the process. For any case, better those who sit on the fence in the field while paddling or propelling than those who shout loquaciously without contribution in foreign lands and those who labour in pop talks locally. Sitting on the fence here does not mean neutrality as one colleague would want to look at it but stirring both sides for one fundamental objective of liberation. I do not want to answer too many things at ago.

Why I slot in the above quotations is to answer the continuous and boring discourse over who supports secession and who supports unity. And especially Lam Akol made it looked when he said, “those who claim to be more separatists than others should give themselves time to ponder how self-determination was reintroduced into Sudanese politics,” like he brought the agenda of self-determination.And I noted the word re-introduction. That means it had pre-existed. It can be disputed that self-determination never came from Khartoum as a proxy of Lam nor from Lam Akol’s own series of political parties since he had many. Equally, there are no proves to show SPLM was convinced by Lam Akol and his group to accept self-determination as a compromise over its earlier stand.Lam Akol and his colleagues were not even primary negotiators on any side of talks to have contributed to the debate on the explicit question of the referendum on self-determination. That is why he is calling for unity now.Political theftologists of recent, attributed self-determination to Khartoum Agreement and I hope Lam is not also thinking about Fashoda agreement as the basis for his stand or point of reference. All these are meant to divert the essence of the CPA. For whatever the case, we shall prove each other across a span of time.

I do not think that the question of self-determination was an alien to the general parameters and framweork of the struggle, whether explicit or implicit. My people hold the unsaid dear than the said especially when dealing with un-sincere partners. Introducing or re-introducing would be exchange of political cards within the general framwork far from political novelty. Therefore, I consider it a pre-determined cause because it would come when we do a.b.c.d. It was not inadvertently brought as a result of split to say it precisely or joining opposite camps. The claims of the split was effected in the name of lack of democracy, Garang dictatorship, lack of human rights and the issue of child soldiers-the Red Army, to which I belonged, that was according to the jettisonists’ pronouncments then against the Movement. Thus, with no margin to sophistry, it were the above that justified attempted Garang’s jettisoned. Lam should not forget his own documents which I have before me as I write.  This seems to be the implication of the statement. Lam absurdly failed as a zonal commander in Shilluk areas in late 1980s even when zonal commanders had high degree of autonomies.

Nevertheless, South Sudanese people know what they want even when they are let down by their own sons and daughters. Mayom in a single statement proved to be a person with a big strategy compare to those  who claimed to have the knowledge of the way. Our process has been like a woman who wants divorce by claiming to be a head of a family in a rigid patriarchical society even if she knows the man will not accept to concede. Therefore, through indomitable insistence, the man would say at the end of the day, “Go, leave me alone. You have hardened my life. I will remarry!” to disentangle himself away. You can not call for south self-determination while playing political harlotry with the North-politics of collaboration. It has unrhyming contradictions.

Supportively, even the North has never belief in a single day that New Sudan means unity of Sudan just the same way we have believed the North would fight to its last breathe to cling onto power, dictatorship, islamic laws and inequality to fend off blackman ideals of a new Sudan. It was wise we presented to them what they do not like and they will let us go. Always, times without end, they have held reservations besides opposing it adamantly. One senior Sudanese Arab presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani recently remarked that the SPLM’s proposed New Sudan project is incriminating proposal because it “criminalizes the history of Sudan and does not even recognize its independence”. With this, it justifies that we had and still have our own vision embroiled in the project of the New Sudan. So, it is not selling as some people think or thought of.  Scientifically, a theory proven valid stands until another replaces it.

So, who is this that want to reward himself that he has a better idea for Southern Sudanese people and at the expenses of who?

Deep down the heart of a southerner, he/she knows the veracity and viability of this method of New Sudan towards our total liberation. Dr. Ambago caught red-handed Lam Akol of retorting back his statement to sit on the fence once again without committing himself to either secession or unity, relegating his previous suicidal statement of condemning secession. That means, two things have contributed to that withdrawal of statements, one; consideration of personal ambition for presidency and second is that, South Sudanese people are no longer cheatable. Number of books Lam wrote about SPLM/SPLA and South Sudan people ingrained his treachery in permanent books of life. They were all about unity message and personal considerations. Certainly he is hireling against our cause.

With these realities known, Robert Francis Kennedy once said in his quote of the week, that, “one fifth of the people are against everything all the time.” Even without reasoning, they find themselves there. We are not without such people and also if there are unionists among us, then, there are those who use it as a political strategy and there are those disposed to benefits from such situation at individual basis or cohorts, whether South Sudan goes to the sea or not, they care less. But we can not judge these people with one-night statements. Their political case history tells us of who they are and what they stand for.  We can not trust their words let alone entrusting our destiny into their own hands.

Actually, the primary purpose of this writing is the stunning message Lam Akol uttered in an interview in the past weeks against SPLM leadership and therefore against secession. Lam Akol stunned the world and particularly southerners over his message of unity measured against the secession of Southern Sudan under the current leadership of Salva Kiir he chose to accused of being responsible for insecurity, tribal conflicts etc hence lending him fallacious conclusions such as independence could not be viable in 2011, without him [Lam] steering it in order to avoid the status quo of Somalia replicating here in South Sudan. This statement makes one chuckles a hundred times. James Wani once wrote about Lam Akol as follows: that, “a politician who did not obey others, who did not acknowledge the leadership of others was not a politician but a villain. You could not lead if you could not agree to be led.”

While Lam was advancing his cause for presidency during the said interview with international media, his sheer opportunism coupled with jettisonic attitudes towards leadership of others revealed itself fully. What brought such dangerous utterances? I must first quote him to open up the discussion. In his recent corrective comment dubbed as “Comment by Dr Lam Akol on the “Suicide thing” forwarded to this website by one Jerkuei Marek, [JAN 21/2010, SSN;], he said reporting of his interview that,

‘I continued that the present GoSS has caused a lot of insecurity that contributed to more divisions among the Southern community and that is why it should be jettisoned out in the upcoming general elections.

‘Then I added the comment that “under the present weak government in the South, calling for secession would be a call for Somalization’.

The earlier  reporters’ version read more or less the same. It read;

‘At the moment, with the state of hostility in the South, with the state of tribal conflicts, intra-tribal conflicts, any call for secession at this moment will be a call for the “Somalization” of southern Sudan,’ a reporter quoted Lam argument.

Now, what if indeed the current GOSS leadership survives Lam’s jettisons through elections, does he suggest that we better sacrifice our independence because a “correct leadership” is not installed in South Sudan? Are tribal conflicts monopolies of south Sudan? Were our people not fond of fighting each other even before the war? Can independence stop human differences? Why would anyone think it is GOSS that caused a lot of insecurity in the South instead of our perceived enemy?  Does this exonerate Lam Akol and his former or current masters? OK, what makes Lam Akol think he is a better option to avert or arrest such situation compare to Kiir? Should we think of jettisoning leaders and systems while on a dangerous journey? Is this not calling for 1991 Garang’s jettisoning? Will remaining in unity in fear of tribal conflicts after independence stop tribal conflicts in a united Sudan? If we have been fighting in the united Sudan, what difference will it make? Does a world make a man or does a man make himself and his environment, in relations to Somalia? I concede there are so many questions throbbing in the mind and probably answers are not with me but with the public lied to by Lam Akol and his myopic diversionary followings.

Dr. Okuk got puzzled with Dr. Ramba’s endorsement of somalization as long as we get our independence! I think that must be a shared view by many. The next thing Lam Akol and his followers talked about is the process [means] which has already been darkened, we goaded through the muddle and we kept our hope, despites deaths and induced socio-political calamities; we resolved that we shall reach there to the promise land. Is today worst than 1991? Were there no tribal problems during the post Addis Ababa agreement?  Were there no tribal differences before 1991? Why is this period becoming unique? Are tribal conflicts not in existence in Kenya and Uganda? Does that qualify them to throw away their independences? What time do we crave dearly for local unity if not today? Jesus said he who has not committed any sin should pick and throw the first stone! “Bilai”-stop your propaganda. We cannot blame what went wrong with our means to an end on one system. We have all contributed to it and we are still contributing to it and if we are to correct it, we MUST correct it together without exception.

I know I will be accused over what I have no apology for-being an ardent enemy of Lam Akol’s vision and his quest for presidency but that is it. It cannot be helped as long as I do not see credibility of genuine leadership in him. Furthermore, he must first clear his past tainted behaviours, vision, and deeds which leave him with extremely questionable image among our people including his so called SPLM-DC whose both headquarters and subsidies are obtained from Khartoum and Arab nations!.

DEFINITION OF LAM AKOL

Now, let me settle down on two things associated with Lam Akol, opportunism and cynicism of others’ leadership [Jettisonisation]. The opportunism is the practice of using situations unfairly to gain advantage for yourself without thinking about how your actions will affect other people. Therefore, Lam looks for needy and delicate situation to pursue his parallel cause instead of seeking consolidation with the rests to shake the blows together. This is typical of him.  This can be illustrated as follows:

On September 3, 1991, Lam said in a press release “… the political upheavals and convulsions in Ethiopia that led to the demise and collapse of the regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam late this May… not only triggered off major and dramatic changes in the alignment and balances of forces in the region-horn of Africa –but has set in motion deep and profound socio-political and military revulsions for the SPLM/SPLA… in this context, the geo-political changes, brought about by the events in Ethiopia do not only pose as a reverse or setback in the political and military sense but a blessing in a disguise for the SPLM/SPLA in that it has brought to the fore  some of the basic and fundamental internal contradictions whose resolution are crucial for the survival and viability of the SPLM/A and its forward progress.”

Lam concluded his opportunism with the following words as cited in James Wani’s book, “Secrecy of Diplomacy” 2008.

“From the foregoing it is amply plain that the crisis the Movement is in today is the making of one man; John Garang. He has been holding us at ransom dragging the whole nation into an abyss. We must join to jettison him out to save our people and our country from imminent defeat”

Lam’s defeat comes when his people are winning and his victory comes when his people are losing. For example, SPLA was winning the war against the government before 1991 and that is when he single-handedly saw defeat. Now, SPLM has won our referendum, its laws and waiting secession in calm mood, Lam has seen another defeat beyond the independence and wants to jettison out people’s success!

This time round, he has become opportunistic of the present situation that he described it in uncertain terms; in a doom manner which warrant two things according to him, overthrow of this incumbent system or sacrification of our independence. In all these situations, he presents himself as a solution; a very desperate idea whose time was buried with the witnesses and victims of his callosity and bad doings.

I emphasise again, knowing the referendum is near and sailing through under somebody’s name, he becomes uncomfortable because that leaves him at the periphery of history. Therefore he got a gut of saying,

‘I continued that the present GoSS has caused a lot of insecurity that contributed to more divisions among the Southern community and that is why it should be jettisoned out in the upcoming general elections.

‘… I meant to say that the present Government of Southern Sudan must be changed if secession is to achieve the very objectives Southerners want it for.

Ofcourse, we need secession without preconditions whatsoever!

The second point I wanted to talk about besides opportunism over situations was Lam’s main pursuit – power at its zenith without which, he believes we better do without all that we stand for. Other leaders rather than him must be jettisoned out to create way for himself. Hence he espoused his ardent school of thought in “Jettisonisation”, a one man ideological process that does not fit into any of the conventional beliefs and ways of doing things.  Jettisonology is Lam’s political school of not accepting others especially those in leadership above him. This personal belief has been proven over and over again. Had it not been Lam’s belief in Jettisonology, we would have not registered 1991 as one of the darkest pages of our history and we would not have lost many lives as we did in the process of Jettisoning Garang and subsequent prostitutive quisling he got himself in, behind the stirred scene. Because of thinking to jettison Garang out of power, a futile attempt that changed balance of power from SPLM/SPLA to Khartoum and general setbacks to our liberation, Lam fixed himself into dishonourable pages in our socio-political annals.

Why I think he believes in Jettisonisation is how recent history of our Movement has veracitized this fact.

One of his letters to Peter Adwok, a fellow confidant had  read in part that,

‘following the last developments in Ethiopia, events here in  the field have been moving very fast. The struggle for democracy within the Movement has intensified and we have decided to jettison Garang out of the leadership of our Movement.  The necessary steps on the ground have been undertaken and it will not be long before the whole thing gets into the open’. [letter to Dr, Peter Adwok, on 6 August 1991 while in Germany.

All these depict a man and his daunting character. Of course, him suggesting that the current insecurity deserves more attention than South Sudan’s independence, he has made incorrect appraisals of our situation now. And that will weigh on him like an ominous doom. Relegation of the statements I think goes un-necessitated.

Let me say, no one admires dogs when they lick back their vomits! We keep them but we do not desire that habit. The fact remains that what was vomited out was a waste that deserves no re-consumption but dogs have the inherent guts of wolfing their vomits. Another peculiar thing about dogs is the legend of eating their first born forgetting the possibility of a failed second delivery! We have a society that eats itself. Some of our politicians want us to eat our first born-the referendum by their careless deeds of dis-envisioned. Lam Akol probably leads these groups.

Crude as it may be for one to resort to use of vulgar language to describe the situation, Lam has missed all he has dreamt for, all his life because he has provoked the sanity of our people and he will invariably continue to do so. True to the words of Gier Chuang Aluong who called a spade spade by naming the enemy its true name.

Now let me say why I call Dr. Lam a vendor of our destiny and a jettisonist. Over the last five interim years’ period, Lam has attempted to thwart our cause through his daunting anti-South Sudan projects.

a)     Lam is responsible for 1991 splits within the SPLM/SPLA, procrastination of the Cause and hundreds of thousands of deaths of our people.

b)    Lam failed our cause when he was a foregin minister with great absurdity by supporting the government he was sent against and endorsing systematic genocide in Darfur.

c)     Lam resolved to carry out secret dealings with the north when and after SPLM withdrew from the Government of National Unity to push for CPA implememntation in October 2007.

d)    Lam is part of South Sudan’s insecurity because he harbours clandestine armed wing which killed Ngok People and their legendary chief of the Dhongjol and insecurity around Malakal. Therefore, he is involved in fomenting tribal animosity to create opportunity for himself.

e)    Lam broke away from his people where he should have served better for the second time to form his so-called SPLM-DC.

f)    SPLM-DC has headquarters in Khartoum and receives subsidies from NCP.

g)   Lam condemns our independence!

h)   Lam opposes Beshir indictment for heinous crimes committed against citizens and went around as his spokeman against the ICC. This went against his people’s will and SPLM he took posture as a member.

i)    Lam supported arab arms trafficking into Gaza through Sudan to be used against innocent Isrealites people and blamed the SPLM of not supporting the north in condemning Isreal of erasing weaponry convoy to Gaza.

j)   Lam held clandestine and parallel meetings with other oppositions in el-Kenana to oppose the CPA.

k)   Lam now calls for jettisoning of Salva Kiir and GOSS for SPLM-DC to takeover and poses as a saviour-

Why on earth would anyone entrust the destiny of our people in  the hands of such dirty man and his non-entity party? Yes, our society like any other society is deemed to have problems but they should not be perceived like they have come to stay. They just need our concerted efforts to mitigate them and create stability.

Why would the SPLM-DC be preferable to the incumbent system? Putting Kiir on the scale against Lam, Kiir has got a bank of treasures to take home. What has Lam to show us? Putting SPLM-DC on the scale with the SPLM, SPLM-DC is spineless, clawless, legacyless and smell a photocopy and charlatan of the mother SPLM. It has nothing new to offer. In the throes of insecurity, Lam would not be the right choice to replace a hero like Kiir basing on their track records of performace, loyalty  to the people and rightful dutiful contributions.

Comparatively, tribal conflicts exists in countries with more than forty years of independence, let alone a nation with long record of disunity and socio-political mayhem like ours. Our people should check out the lie of the land before we are driven away by the prophets of dooms as this will help them,-our people make correct choices. SPLM will only go when there is a viable alternative and not only that, this can only happen after the independence which Lam Akol opposes. It is unwise to label the occurences of this era on GOSS alone.

There has been a great deal of euphoric joy  regarding the court ruling against the banning of SPLM-DC operation in South Sudan based on reasons of being associated with organized militia forces of its own.  A constitutional court as a matter of legal principle had to allot a right of political freedom, ignoring the involvement of Lam in harbouring armed movement.  Implying that the SPLM was left with the jurisdiction of filing a case against Lam in the same court or seeks other methods to contain the situation and defend the people of South Sudan, otherwise, a court could not permit unconstitutional existence of a parallel army outside the SPLA.  This, I do not call it a victory for Lam. Likewise; SPLM does not deserve to be labelled undemocratic when it inhibits such double-edge organization. There are other parties doing their businesses in South Sudan frankly and peacefully.

A year or two ago when SPLM-DC was formed, I resolved not to write along that lines even if that formation had caused a lot of fuss. I did it for one reason, that any citizen has a right to form a political party, and that being in the SPLM for Lam was not giving him enough room to apologise to South Sudanese over the remorse of the past deeds, after which he would be politically born again to resume fully and with confident the liberation of his people,-our people. I couldn’t be drastically wrong! Man’s rigidity corresponds with his lack of focus.

Still, I have always thought, even if humans are inherently bound to be political, politics requires some sort of decency and more so, those who play politics do it in recognition of their social backgrounds. There must be a constituency for launching. Political ground is a scrambling ground that belongs to no one. It is a converging point for those who have homes and not those “without” homes like Lam Akol. Politically speaking, he is not a true representative of either side, south or north which he claims to hold at balance.  So, Lam loves to play politics in its playground, but when all the players leave after the game back to their respective homes, he sleeps in the no-man field conspiring on how to endanger the next game!  And this makes him a politician without concern for the people or who does Lam REPRESENT in the national politics? He plays politics for his personal survival, interests and ambitions, thus, believes without him becoming a president of South Sudan, no secession.This is a sheer combination of opportunism out of delicate situation as well as desire for power that drive Lam’s misguided audacity.

AKOL AJAWIN: A FATHER WHO WOULD DISOWN HIS SON

But before that, I need to note something. I am one man commonly thrilled by history and those who shaped it positively. While on my routine of perusing through historical documents, I discovered there are contradictions in Ajawin’s family. Akol Ajawin, Lam’s father featured among the 1952 intellectuals who opposed the Cairo agreement between Khartoum and Egyptian government where southern safeguards were unilaterally purged out by the Arab Theo-political cartels. In a letter signed by local chiefs, members of parliament and intellectuals from Upper Nile, I noticed Akol Ajawin humbled contributions, though I cannot specifically attribute any concrete statement to him but the most important thing here is how he walked with his people, the southern Sudanese people of his time.

WHAT IS SOUTH SUFFERING FROM? GENERAL DEFINITION OF OUR PROBLEM

Gier Chuang Aluong, Minister For Internal Affairs, GOSS noted what has always bedevilled Southern Sudanese people, self betrayal and destruction brought about by lack of self-knowledge and self-awareness. The fact of recognising that we have no enemy except ourselves is a true definition of our problem. In Africa, when people find you climbing a tree, they do not help you up; instead they hold your legs and pull you down. It does not matter what important business was up the tree! So, we have discovered that those who kill us the most are not distant enemies but those with whom we are born with and those we trust.

Then, the blames go around and around. We look for enemies that use our people instead of cleaning our homes first. This makes our relationship with the north like a Christian and a devil relationship where a Christian blames everything that befalls him/her on a devil even in instances where there are no devils that have caused fouls to one’s faith path. Devils, if at all they are there, they response to what is in one heart and mind! They use a believer’s weaknesses! David Hume (1711 – 1776) Scottish philosopher and historian, once said, “their credulity increases his impudence: and his impudence overpowers their credulity”. Indeed, it is the overt credulity of people like Lam Akol that has increased Khartoum’s impudence over years against the South. Though, we have not been able  to accept our weaknesses, our insistence on our weaknesses would invalidate in the longrun the blames with which we shell our supposed enemy. It is the enemy within the lines that kills us at the back.

Gier noted that southerners are enemies of themselves while reacting to Lam Akol’s unfortunate utterance among the many scores he has stocked in life against our successes. We have a proven credulity which we must first kill if we are to move on.

No matter what language Akol uses, his deeds shall be interred with his bones! Prompted by one desire to call spade a spade, Lam Akol has maintained his doom against the people of South Sudan. What does the man want anyway? Every political movement must define its objectives correctly and every politician must have a clear belief or objective or ideology that is pro-his people. All these Lam is lacking. For him, political prostitution for petty gains has engulfed man’s entire life.

One funniest thing is the paradoxicity in his beliefs, accepting SPLM to the extent of using its name and at the same time, denying it. Why couldn’t Lam create an original idea, a complete new party? In 1991, after schisms, he named his new faction, SPLM/A-United. Is that not being opportunistic and being a political plagiarist?

WORD FOR DR. OKUK AND ASSOCIATES

Dr. Okuk wrote that “…Dr. Lam is clean from the shits of corruptions and many Southerners are now taking him seriously as the very one who will save the South from collapse and leadership bankruptcy.

“Majority of Southerners have now realized that Dr. Lam is the trusted one because he is courageous to challenge the evils of Kiir’s his SPLM bad rule in the South so that Southerners are not pushed against themselves to pass through Somalia in order to arrive to South Sudan only after all things have fallen apart.”[ JAN 21/2010, SSN;]

History adjudicates negatively against such misleading assertions. As for Dr. Okuk, South Sudan shall score many sins because of his type. How I wish to know two things about Dr. Okuk, his age and his upbringing. These two things feature in his muddle up writings full of incoherent topics, NOT in harmony with one’s age, experience and level of education he has. I think we must draw a line not have room for future apologies, typical of people who follow Lam and later beg for pardons in writings.

Dr. Okuk is either driven by tribal myopia and jingoism or he labours hard out of fantasy for Lam to create way for his future appointment into Lam’s cabinet after the current system is jettisoned, albeit we share one thing-secession and independence. Apart from this he goes bizarre.

There are a number of teething doctors who are going  through Lam’s school of thought, tribalistic, opportunistic, and treacherous, casting common man’s doubt about the type of education they went through. PhD graduates are becoming nuisance to our people. Let them go to class, lecture and leave politics if they can not conform to tenets that govern politics. They have shown to us that doctorate education is not worth our society since it brings dooms than enlightenment. How paradoxical and discouraging!

Intellectuals rationally ought to advise the government; develop concepts, theories and philosophies of governance. I thought they should be writing scholarly articles on how South Sudan should find her correct path in the world, on how system of governance can be improved, not about defending Shilluk in Pigi County, not about tribal sentiments, not about one’s own ethnic candidate and irrelevant condemnations of evolving system in South Sudan. Do these people know about the dangers of their writings on the unity of our people?  80% of the internet discourses are labouring hard on tribal theses and flabbergasted abuses which neither help the government nor create consolidative social ambience in the minds of South Sudanese. Then, what is the use of writing?  Today, you hear Isaiah Abraham fluctuative reasoning tainted with village talks. Tomorrow, you hear Dr. Ambago on his tribal lectures directed against certain group; today Dr. Okuk theses on Shilluk, Lam Akol and SPLM-DC. Tomorrow, Gatluak in USA, Dinka Boy, Raan Naath etc you name them.  You guys improve on your topics.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

I do not support tribalism, tribal conflicts, insecurity, instability, corruption and all that associated with bad governace in South Sudan. I do not equally support use of the above aspects as preconditions for our independence by Lam Akol and his group. I do not as well perceive Lam Akol as a right person to speak about anything good that our people need. As I said, through sheer crocodile’s tears, he wants to use such situation opportunistically to climb on to power- which is the pith and marrow of his wacky politics.

Independence has no pre-conditions. Presenting our situation in a Somalia manner would not help the opportunists to thwart either South Sudan’s independence or the right of the current government to accomplish its duty and objectives to the people of South Sudan.

Lam is a vendor of our destiny. He is a jettisonist of acceptable system. In my final conclusion, citizens of South Sudan  are like  lungfish [luuth]. African Lungfish have double lives, they can live comfortably in waters with the rests of fishes and aquactic life and when such environment ceases to exist, lungfish burrow themselves deep onto the ground where they would live and survive until the next season of rains.

Therefore, there goes the saying that those who do not know the secret of the lungfish should continue swimming in receding waters!. It is no longer the people of South Sudan who swim like “other fishes”, rathar they have lungfish secret against politicians like Lam Akol, his apprentice followers and all unionists. Bye!

Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr holds a bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies from Nkumba University, Uganda and currently in Juba, Southern Sudan disposed to serve his nation. He can be reached at rgrengo@yahoo.com 


By Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr., Addis Ababa

Rumours of Coup in South Sudan began ways back to the pre-referendum period before the country could gain her independence on July 9th, 2011. At least, over ten coup attempts have been rumoured since then. The “coup plotters” frequently named were the former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar; General Oyai Deng Ajak, former SPLA Chief of Staff and security Minister; Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and son of William Deng Nhial, a martyred eminent South Sudanese politician; Dr. Majak D’Agoot who was then the Director of National Security and Deputy Defense Minister; Mac Paul, Deputy Director of Military Intelligence and General Isaac Mamur Mate who is now the Minister in charge of National Security-All members of the ruling party, the SPLM and its military wing, the SPLA.

The latest “coup attempt” involved eleven prominent names including Rebecca Nyandeng, the wife of the nation’s Founding Father, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

Prejudgingly, majority of these coup attempts, at least, are regarded as farce and without substances. The entire world including the informed South Sudanese citizens except the sophists’ government have rejected the labelling of the crises within the SPLM as a coup. But I will not begin from there. There is a need to tiptoe back a little bit into recent history of coups in South Sudan.

It all became clear when in around 2007; there appeared in a system’s lexicon an infamous group called “Garang Boys or Garang’s Orphans”.  Garang orphans implied that the new regime of Kiir raised its own children other than those who had worked under Dr. John Garang de Mabior, the founder and unrivalled visionary leader of the SPLM/A since 1983. Garang perished in an obscured plane crash in July 2005 after signing the CPA and inducting the Movement into Sudanese post war politics.

When his deputy Salva Kiir took over, the new system developed new cadres who had been either opposed to Garang or new comers to the parameters of liberation. In his book, “From Bush to Bush: Journey to Liberty in South Sudan [2011], Steven Wondu, noted that, “I soon discovered that the death of John Garang had created orphans beyond his natural household. The center of power had shifted past Salva Kiir to elements not well known for their loyalty to the fallen leader and the central agenda of the SPLM-SPLA. The ‘Garang Boys’ as his closest aides were mockingly renamed, had been sidelined.”

This conspicuously created “we and they” polarity.  The entrenched inner group pointed their fingers at the politically ostracised outside group, which due to the physical absence of John Garang, became known as “the Garang’s orphans”. And maybe, these were people the incumbent system thought were closed [closest aides as argued by Wondu above] to John Garang when he was at the political helm as was evidenced in the Yei-Rumbek Crisis.

During the crises meeting in Rumbek between November 29 and December 1, 2014, particularly during the second deliberations, Commander Kiir said the following:

“I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. … Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem.”

Through their press release on December 6, 2013, Dr. Riek Machar and his detained colleagues, some of whom are now released, unmasked and confirmed the magnitude of the polarity as follows:

The anti-Garang elements inside and outside the SPLM encircled comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leadership of the SPLM and the Government of Southern Sudan [2005-2007]. These elements using their relationship with General Salva Kiir targeted and ostracized certain SPLM leaders and cadres they nicknamed ‘Garang orphans/boys’ creating schisms and precipitating open quarrels within the SPLM ranks.

Stephen Wondu, the former SPLM/A Movement Spokesman in 1990s, further backs up and notes that,

“We adopted a common name at the orphanage—places we used to congregate in Juba. Everyone was called Abau Jadau Nesitu (Rejected Discarded Forgotten). It was not all ‘idle garrulous talk’ at the orphanage. We had to device a strategy of how to return to the center. The guiding principle in our discourse was to ensure the survival of our most cherished achievement; the peace agreement and our gradual recovery of power to ensure its implementation. We could not trust some of the characters who had taken advantage of John Garang’s death and seized the front row in the chamber of leadership. They did not know the fine print and the silent provisions of the peace agreement. John Garang had said that during the interim period, the people who created the agreement must take full responsibility for its implementation. They were the ones who knew where the obstacles were and how to circumvent them. He [John Garang] gave the illustration of a man sleeping in a dark room. If he is the owner of the room, he can find his way to the door without stumbling on the furniture and breaking the glasses. A stranger would not be able to find a safe way to the door. On the basis of this logic it was our duty to pull the strangers out of that room before dark.”

Apparently, any complains that must have been raised by those associated with John Garang in regard to the direction of the country’s affairs were taking, including the CPA implementation, was and still is regarded as an attempt by this group to make a coup. Garang’s Boys versus Kiir’s cabal, cronies and sycophants created irreconcilable gaps within the SPLM as a party.

The first scenario occurred between 2006 and 2007 when Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, a reputed SPLA war commander and Co. were allegedly accused of wanting to topple the government of Salva Kiir. It was alleged that the group wanted to install Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, the widow of John Garang who was then a maiden Road Minister in the post CPA Government of Southern Sudan (installed Nyandeng into power). On his Facebook dated 30th January 2014, my distinguished friend and renowned writer Paanluel Wel recounted the scenario as follows:

During the transitional period, Comrade Oyai Deng Ajak was accused of planning a military coup to put Madam Nyandeng Garang into power; after independence, he is being charged with participating in a coup to put Dr. Riek Machar in powersame person making the (same) accusationsYet, it is him, Oyai Deng Ajak, more than anybody else, that the SPLM/A honored with leading its most prized military campaign of its revolutionary war–Operation Jungle Storm of the Bright Star Campaignthe campaign to wrestle Juba from KhartoumSomebody somewhere is either jealous of his chequered records or damn afraid of him or bothWhat is Nyandeng and Riek to Oyai that he would risk his life to put them into power?

In a confidential document dated March 27, 2007 entitled Subject: Sudan: SPLA Chief Of Staff Says He Might Be Replaced; General Oyai made an account of an alleged coup which involved him and also hinted at the general problems of maladministration. That document was republished on September 5, 2011 by Paanluel Wȅl under the title Wikileak on Gen. Oyai Deng Disagreement with Salva Kiir. The anonymous author of the wikileak document reported the little known but widely suspected perfidiosity as follows:

Various figures, including two of his four deputy chiefs of staff, have repeated rumors to the president that Deng is plotting a coup, Deng said. He dismissed the rumors as nonsense. The two deputies, Mamur and Mathok, are corrupt and unreliable, Deng stressed. One rumor has it that Deng wants to seize power and hand it to GOSS roads minister Rebecca Garang, wife [of the] Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader John Garang, who died in July 2005. “I told the president, why would I do that?” Deng said. “Why would anyone take power just to give to someone else?”

This SPLA general whose name had positively become a household name during the war, Oyai Deng Ajak, brought forth some important observations. He argued that the president is a victim of apathy, lethargy and indolence which plagues the management of the SPLA. As a result, Deng conceded that the military top leadership has always been afflicted by internal suspicion and mistrusts, transmuting to accusations and counter accusations as revealed above.  “We have disagreed on many things. There have even been times when I have had to do things, he did not want, which is not good for a military–but it was necessary,” observed General Deng.

General Deng denied he had any intention of wanting to make a coup and exculpated himself from any wrongdoing. Whether being stalked politically, Oyai Deng is now among the eleven SPLM senior politicians accused of attempting a coup again in Juba during December 2013 turmoil. The regime alleged that Oyai, on Dec 15th, 2014 was heard on phone (phone tapped or hacked] talking to Taban Deng about the coup. Whatever the duo said is not yet known. The regime prosecutors are yet to present the recorded messages before the judges.  It would be wise for the readers to watch out for that.

In March 2007, on the heel of the above scenario involving Oyai, General Mamur Mate was arrested in his home by the leadership and imprisoned without trial. He was allegedly accused of planning a coup against the government and President Kiir in particular. Mamur was particularly accused of acquisition of military hard wares from abroad without the knowledge of the system and stashing them in his home. Among the items he was allegedly accused of were military uniforms including bullet proof vests, sniper weapons, and unsubstantiated collaboration with “Garang boys” and Dr. Riek Machar, the usual suspected masterminder of all South Sudanese apocalyptic events. “Mamur was responsible for other transgressions, including the dispatch of a platoon of 47 soldiers to Uganda for unauthorized training,” wikileak quoted Deng.  General Mamur, this fearless SPLA General was kept in prison for twenty-one months from March 2007 to January 1, 2009. However, Oyai argued that Mamur’s arrest was an “administrative” issue based on an unacceptable financial conduct other than political matter. He was later pardoned, released and reinstated in to the SPLA.

In 2008, prior to the commencement of the SPLM 2nd National Convention held in Juba, the system had a plan of removing one of the SPLM Party’s three deputies, Dr. Riek Machar. The SPLM has been having three deputy chairmen, Dr. Riek Machar, James Wani Igga and Malik Agar. The Convention top echelonic organizers through revision of the party laws had planned to reduce the three deputies to one in order to get rid of one and sacrifice the other. Riek and his group knew he was the target of the removal conspiracy.

The convention was delayed for two days because of commotions between the groups. Riek withdrew to his home and held meetings there. Kiir and his supporters went and held meetings in White Nile Inn behind Juba Stadium, which the author attended. With clear signs of looming problems, Kiir had to announce that the convention would begin the following day despite the ominous situation.  That was after saying, “even if one manages to kill someone, still that person will run away from the same dead body in fear!” referring to an unspecified addressee.  The night prior to the convention was tense in Juba. However, the sun managed to arrive early, and the convention kicked off.  Within two days, the situation was threatening again.  It took the nearly two thousand delegates to compel the Convention to maintain the three deputies for the sake of peace and unity towards the referendum. The top leadership had to withdraw to Home and Away Hotel to discuss the position of the delegates. It finally identified with the position of the delegates. That was when the convention resumed and went on smoothly.

In 2011, another coup was rumoured in Juba with Dr. Majak D’Agoot, and Nhial Deng Nhial, twice a Minister of Foreign Affairs, being rumoured too as being behind another coup attempt. We would have known nothing had Salva Mathok Gengdit not published a crucial piece of letter in Juba Post Newspaper in response to the coup. Mathok Gengdit then refuted the existence of a coup and accused Paul Malong Awan of Aweil of orchestrating a false coup in order to sow acrimony within the nation and perhaps to tarnish the image of the two prominent personalities Dr. Majak D’Agoot and Nhial Deng Nhial.

There had been speculation always as to who are the potential “threats” to Kiir’s Administration. I would like to paraphrase this statement. Dr. Majak D’Agoot rose under Kiir during the long war and some people; say inner cabals to be precise, thought or still think he was being groomed by Salva Kiir for future leadership of the country. Commander Majak Agoot had had rapid promotions through the ranks during the bush war, something the SPLM/A and South Sudanese attribute to his association Salva Kiir as his Aide-de-camp, bodyguard or adjutant for most of the war times. It is alleged that in that capacity, Commander Salva Kiir would invariably recommend and submit Majak’s name to John Garang the SPLA C-in-C for promotion to the next SPLA rank every time there would be promotion. Thus, according to Paanluel Wel, “his [Majak] rise in the SPLM/A‘s military hierarchy was owed to his closeness to Commander Salva Kiir.”

However, Majak’s promotions and rise through the ranks above his SPLA’s Unit, colleagues and shell is said to have alarmed John Garang, the SPLA C-in-C. Dr. John Garang ‘was once reported having asked Commander Salva Kiir “Ye menh ye ruook dhede ye tenou koor bin ye laar ne wo-nhiim?” which translate: “This youngster that you are promoting so fast, where do you want to take him above us?”’ elucidated Paanluel.

Majak, a shrewd young revolutionary lad to have joined the Movement in the 1980s is among the first SPLA generals to earn PhD in economics. Being an immediate nephew to the late Akuot Atem de Mayen did not make him to side with his uncle during the Akuot’s-Garang’s leadership wrangle at the inception of the SPLM/A.  He sided with Dr. John Garang against his own uncle, on ideological ground, practicality and feasibility. Unlike most of his contemporaries in the bush, Majak kept close to books in the war trenches.  Wounded as early as Jerkou Battle of 1985, he subsequently led many operations in various frontlines, from Red Army at Demidolo to Bor to Kapoeta to Bhar el Ghazal regions where he was an area commander. After the fall of Kapoeta to the enemy on May 28, 1992, it was Commander Salva Kiir and Commander Majak who defeated SAF at Buna, on their way to capturing Narus and to advance on the Sudan-Kenyan border.

The author is not out to promote Dr. Majak D’Agoot’s image, it is because I do not want to give room for misunderstanding between his promotions and deeds or achievements. This helps explain why he is in prison now. John Garang, though not directly relevant to his early concerns, Majak is still relevant to the status of our country. There are many people from within and from without who are alarmed by his previous association with Salva Kiir and his obvious progress in all fields. This is hunting the General.

Majak, a successful field commander in his own right, and a high ranking SPLA General, a Lieutenant General, was sent to go and “worked” with the notorious Khartoum NISS as a Deputy Director, a position and place that would take a disciplined fighter to be. After the secession of South Sudan from Sudan, Dr. Majak D’Agoot was brought back to Juba to head the national security portfolio as its first Director. It was under Majak that the South Sudan National Intelligence and Security Services [SSNISS] building at Jebel Market in Juba, was constructed; something which most departments including the SPLM as the ruling party have not done. Most institutions in South Sudan still do not have permanent buildings.

These raised stakes for being potential “successor” of Kiir. He risked being framed up through coups to either cause friction between him and Salva Kiir, his long time boss or worse to be thrown into prison under treason where he would lurk behind bars inactive and have his image tarnished for good. Salva Mathok brought out the intention of Malong Awan in his exposition of the situation and the thesis out rightly and literarily exonerated Majak and Nhial of any wrongdoing. He opined that Majak and Nhial had nothing to do with the alleged coup and placed the whole onus of responsibility on Malong Awan. In “Actualizing the Signs of a failed State: Another Somalia (Part I)” published on February 26, 2014, Kuir ȅ Garang, a South Sudanese Poet, Author and Cousin based in Canada made the following observations.

People like Northern Bahr El Ghazal governor, Malong Awan, who is Kiir’s very close ally, hates Dr. Majak D’Agoot with passion.  Malong and Bol Madut made a lot of noise to late Dr. John Garang de Mabior in the late 1990s to have Majak removed from Bahr el Ghazal as the area commander. With influence on Kiir now, it’s no brainer Majak is now being set up for death or political vilification.

Majak as a Director of National Security and Intelligence was assigned to go and talk to a rebel leader, George Athor Deng, at the rebels’ Headquarters somewhere in Khor Fulus [Pigi]. The late George Athor had rebelled against the government following the 2010 elections. Majak was dispatched together with the Episcopal Church Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul and few others to go and persuade the rebel leader to abandon rebellion, which many in the system had myopically seen as a rebellion against the Jonglei’s Government. This mission was characterized with conspiracy theories had it not been the Long Hands of Providence God. Many people believed the mission was a death set up for Majak.

Nhial Deng Nhial, equally a versatile personality, being the son of William Deng Nhial, founding member and President of SANU, a highly respected South Sudanese politician martyred in 1968, has been looked at as another Dinka politician with high chances to ascend the top political position in the country. John Garang was accused of wanting to replace Salva Kiir with Nhial Deng in 2004, an allegation the late Garang shrewdly denied. Shrewdly, because Garang in his self-defense declared that, replacing Kiir with Nhial would tantamount to retiring all the SPLA commanders senior in rank to Nhial Deng, something that was unimaginable and unattainable.  The SPLA Commanders who were senior to Nhial were many and powerful. In the bush, military hierarchy is almost sacrosanct. It is a military hierarchy’s qualification that brought Kiir to where he is now.

It would never be known whether John Garang had contemplated the idea of wanting to swap Kiir with Nhial and only backed down or it was an enemy’s ploy and gambit. And if he had contemplated the idea, why would he? Had he lost trust in Kiir’s ability to lead the country in scenario of his absence? Nobody knows.

That allegation almost caused schism between Salva Kiir and John Garang, creating what is now known as the “Yei Camp” headed by Salva Kiir and the “Nairobi/Rumbek camp” with the rest of the leadership. Replacing Kiir with Nhial would have caused a second disastrous split within the Movement after the 1991calamity then led by Riek Machar and Co.  Nhial is an epitome of the group infamously called “John Garang’s boys” among others who this paper would not be able to name them all. Some cabal in the system saw Nhial and Majak as potential candidates for the country’s top post of presidency should Salva Kiir leave power under any `circumstances. We are aware the issue of political succession is ever discussed at drinking places. Of course, the two plus Riek make the triad of potential people with capacity to lead the country.

Mathok Gengdit justified how King Paul [Paul Malong] orchestrated the alleged coup citing the negative role King Paul had played in the “Yei camp” in throes of the 2004 crises. It was alleged that Justin Yach Arop, Arthur Akuien Chol and Dominic Dim Deng had told Salva Kiir that Garang should be arrested in Rumbek by soldiers commanded by King Paul. Maybe it was a mere allegation without a grain of truth, no one knows for sure. In Hilde Johnson’s book, “Waging Peace In The Sudan”, Kiir made a reckon of that and confessed that he was under pressure from Justin Yach, Dim Deng, Arthur Akuien and King Paul to take action on Garang.  Fortunately, he refused. Full of sobriety, he is quoted to have said that “he would rather die at the hand of his comrade than effecting a coup in the SPLM/A.”

It was not long before another coup was rumuored. This time it “involved” Mac Paul, Deputy Director of Military Intelligence and those who were still pursuing Majak politically were quick in pushing Majak’s name in the spinning rumuor. Based on the state sponsored lucrativeness and lushness of rebellions in today’s South Sudan, Paanluel was tempted to say, “Dr. Majak D’ Agoot,… accused of planning military coups on as many occasions as the number of times Peter Gadet has rebelled against Juba, should rather have gone with his uncle Akuot Atem Mayen or with Arok Thon Arok… he would have been a hero today.” There are a lot of things I do not know about this coup. I could not also substantiate the truth from the street talk even if they say there is no smoke without fire.

In South Sudan, there could be smoke without fire or total departure from the truth. Mac was rumuored to have run to Uganda yet according to the circumstantial evident, he was attending talks in Addis Ababa with pagan, negotiating with Khartoum. Another group alleged he was imprisoned. Still, Mac Paul was later seen in the field around Panthou leading SPLA Military Intelligence alongside the SPLA against Khartoum forces. I infer there was no coup attempt at all. Otherwise how would one run or be imprisoned without having committed the act in the first place? The fact was that Mac Paul was neither involved in any coup nor imprisoned. So, there was no coup. It went like any other coup rumuored before on the streets of Juba.

In October 2012, a State House route was cordoned off following what was rumuored as another coup attempt. It was alleged that a tiger-uniformed men [well armed] had approached the State House [aka J1] premises within the town and were detected or thwarted. Juba was incensed once more with more coup rumours. Was it true? I do not know. This time round, the leadership directed its finger towards Major General Simon Gatwec Dual.  The coup news came when the President, Minister of Defense John Kong and Chief of Staff James Hoth Mai were on a visit to Uganda, the advisory backyard of our presidency. The Vice President Dr. Riek Machar had gone to attend a United Nations meeting at New York. President Kiir had to cut his visit to Uganda short and returned to Juba. He went and addressed the army in Bilpam where he told the army that whoever would take power by force would not be recognized by the International Community.  The President also hinted that he had left Majak in charge of the army when the news of coup reached him. Gatwec is said to have denied any involvement.

In December 2013, things became dramatic in South Sudan. President Salva Kiir clad in military uniform and his government announced a coup attempt against the government in December 2013 allegedly led by eleven SPLM senior figures. The eleven senior SPLM officials had held a press conference at the SPLM party’s HQrs, calling on the party’s chairman Salva Kiir who was in Paris, France to resolve issues within the SPLM. First to convene meetings of a party Political Bureau, this would set the agenda for the SPLM National Liberation Council meeting, and to prepare for the Third SPLM National Convention.

President Kiir’s aversion towards reforms in the party led to the independent press conference; shoot out within the presidential citadel unit HEADQUARTERS and eventual arrest of the eleven senior figures.  The whole event was immediately dubbed by the government as a coup d’état attempt although all the members of the alleged coup denied it was a coup. That position is backed by the international community and large segments of South Sudanese society.  We will see why a situation that claimed about one thousand lives in Juba alone and nearly ten thousands lives countrywide is seen differently other than a bloody coup d’état even when it was greased by intensive shooting and engaging gun battles on the streets of Juba during December 2013.

We will examine this through three perspectives, that of a government, that of the eleven detainees and that of the international community. We have already known the government position. It agreed it is a power struggle. Riek Machar in support of the eleven senior SPLM members staged a coup to grab power by force. The government quashed the coup and the coup mutated into a rebellion, which attacked and captured towns of Bor, Bentiu and Malakal temporarily from the government. In a televised address, President Kiir hypothesized the event in the following statement, that, “they tried to carry out a coupbut they have failed. All the people who were involved in this will be arrested.” On that account, the detainees are detained based on the charges of committing treason of coup d’état. This is the regime argument.

The SPLM’s dissenting party holds a different view towards the coup allegations. Rebecca Nyandeng, Dr. Adwok Nyaba and Riek Machar as representatives of their group made their arguments as follows. Their arguments will be aligned with analyses from some independent, international and regional analysts.

In her recent interview with London newspaper, entitled Rebecca Garang Talks about South Sudan’s Non-Existence Coup Attempt & Why Salva Kiir Lied [January 27, 2014]. Rebecca Nyandeng gave the following version.

They may have thought that these people did not come to the meeting and so they were maybe planning a coup. So they made a decision that these people would be arrested. Some of them said they would try to make something so they could accuse these people of planning a coup and arrest them. This is what happened:

“This thing happened in his [Kiir’s] headquarters. When they went there, they wanted to disarm a group of Nuer. They went and found that in the president’s headquarters they were many [soldiers belonging to the] Nuer. Their commander then went to the Chief of the General Staff and asked what he could do. He was then told to leave the [Nuer] soldiers until the next morning. But the officer did not listen to his orders and proceeded to try and disarm the Nuer soldiers. This was the time when this thing erupted and war begun in the headquarters of the president. Then at one o’clock at night, that is when the army headquarters started shooting because there were Nuer members there. Because they were watching the speech of the president, they knew there was a problem.”

On December 17, two days after the alleged coup, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, one of the accused who was still-at-large [evasive] published an informative article, titled “From Dr. Adwok: It Was Not A Coup.” In that important piece, Adwok was refuting and perhaps rebuking a position presented by an editor of the online website known as Southsudannation.com. It is not my intention to go into the duo contentious debate. But Adwok noted that “this time the debate within the SPLM was about democracy and how to make it work in our young republic”. It implied their debate had nothing to do with military skirmishes within Juba.

Adwok, who himself is a SPLA war wounded veteran and former minister enumerated the issues that he believed precipitated the fluidious December political crisis.

All that people are clamoring about as failures of the Government of South Sudan are indeed SPLM failures. The SPLM failure to organize itself with functional organs and institutions sensitive to the concerns of the citizens; the failure to evolve a political ideology has resulted in the ethnicization of SPLM power politics; the failure to institutionalize power relations within the SPLM has result in autocracy and one-man dictatorship relying on ethnic lobbies and close business associates who have turned South Sudan and its state institutions into a limited liability enterprise.

Adwok has drawn a negative nexus between the ruling party SPLM and the Government of South Sudan [GOSS] in the following statement. ‘The SPLM dysfunction has reflects itself [in] the dysfunctionality of South Sudan state and this explains why it has remained since July 9th 2011 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.’ I will write about “the South Sudan and the UN Chapter VII” in another article.

Adwok had something to say about the coup. To determine the reliability of coup tidings, below was Peter Adwok’s version of the December 2013 crises. Since he has agreed above that he and his group were agitating for democratic realization within the SPLM, what was the strategy laid out to achieve that aim against Kiir who has invariably refused to heed the public censure/critic of the system he is leading?

I live in Juba almost ¾ of a kilometer west of the old Army H/Qs, which now houses Tiger Battalion – the presidential guards. It is not true that “the fateful night started at Nyakuron where an unknown gun (man) fired at the SPLM National Liberation Council which was concluding its meeting attended by Kiir himself.”

It is about two kilometres from Nyakuron Cultural Centre to the Army H/Qs if one follows the tarmac through the University of Juba round about. If the unknown gun (man) fired at the SPLM NLC meeting what are the casualties? This is mere fabrication. The centre was awash with Salva Kiir’s guards and it would have been a massacre I can assure you.

The information we got is that President Kiir ordered Major General Marial Channoung to disarm his soldiers. Marial was at the closing session of the NLC. Left the scene immediately and called for a parade of the Tiger Battalion.

He briefed the troops and ordered them to surrender their arms. They obeyed and executed the orders and dispersed. Now in a mischief, the officer i/c [in charge] of the stores opened the stores and rearmed the Dinka soldiers. A Nuer soldier, who happened to be nearby, questioned this. A fistfight ensured between the two attracting the attention [of] both the commander and his deputy to the scene.

They now could not control the situation as more soldiers came in and broke into the stores. The fight ensued and the Nuer soldiers managed to take control of the H/Qs. It was in the morning yesterday (Monday, 16 December) that SPLA reinforcement came in and dislodged the mutineers. This can later be verified and the truth will come out.

Riek Machar, the alleged leader of the coup also refuted the accusation against him and his group, which was jailed on an account of the coup attempt. Quoted by various media outlets such as sudantribune.com website, CNN, BBC etc and particularly by Hussein Mohammed, Riek Machar who had managed to escape an arrest and talking as a rebel leader in the bush had the following to say.  “What took place in Juba was a misunderstanding between presidential guards within their division, it was not a coup attempt,” Machar told the Paris-based Sudan Tribune news website. “I have no connection with or knowledge of any coup attempt,” “What we wanted was to democratically transform the SPLM,” Machar added. “But Salva Kiir wanted to use the alleged coup attempt in order to get rid of us to control the government and the SPLM.”

Drawing from the third parties’ perspective, that is, from international and regional analysts views, I readily came across Magdi el-Gizouli, a researcher at the Rift Valley Institute, cited in Eric Reeves article, The “Coup” Attempt in South Sudan: What we know’ published the same day as Adwok Article, December 17, 2013. El Gizouli, a familiar regional analyst never feigned his doubt over the coup. ‘It doesn’t seem to be a full-fledged coup attempt in the sense that there’s an organized attempt by Machar to seize power. It appears a bit disorganized”

According to Prof. Eric Reeves, presenting popular views, noted that,

Others in Juba also find the nature of the coup puzzling—its apparently ad hoc quality hardly signifying a well-planned action. It may be, as one highly informed observer with numerous contacts in Juba has said, a “coup” that began by accident but took on a predictable political and ethnic character, of a sort that could be expected in the event of a fully developed coup plan.

In my interactions with ordinary citizens, still majority of them do not believe it was a coup. They see it as outbursts of long latent mistrusts within forces, politicians and at social levels. One could not plan a coup and went back to his home. All the eleven politicians were arrested in their own homes. Some people argued it that way.

However, there are some citizens who argued that all coups should not be defined according to the western definitions. “South Sudan has a right to define it in her own way”. They asked, if it is not a coup, why then have these politicians turned to armed rebellions. Adwok is quick to say the crisis is a boomerang, resulting out of Kiir’s policies and governance style.

Despite these highly doubted coup attempts, South Sudan media especially the SSTV presenters, local radios, field reporters and government officials still proudly talk about a failed coup. One question has remained unanswered, why has South Sudan’s government enjoyed calling almost everything a coup?  Of course there is no doubt that the government in Juba has come under intensive public opprobriosity.

There are chilling examples of such opprobriosity.

Mabior Garang de Mabior, in his article Capt. Mabior Garang de Mabior: A call for fundamental change in South Sudan published on December 24, 2012 by the New Sudan website, asked a question that the nation seems to be struggling with hitherto. De Mabior asked, “If we cannot be different from those in Khartoum, why are we in Juba?” If we cannot become different from our former enemies whom we thought were wrong, why can’t we just return home and apologize?”

Donald Kipkorir, an advocate of the High Court in his article Who will save Government of South Sudan from wrong turn?, published on 06/08/2011 by the Kenyan Standard-on-line wrote that

… we hedged all our bets that GoSS will be a new and different child of Africa. With its abundance resources in oil, iron ore, copper, timber and other yet to be exploited minerals, we knew GoSS will have privileged upbringing.  GOSS adopts triple ills of Africa. She has adopted the triple ills of Africa, lock-stock & barrel! In less than a month after independence, GoSS is entrenching negative tribalism, grand corruption and political hubris.  We weep for GoSS. Its innocence taken away so soon.

Richard Dowden, author of the book “Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles” [2014] simply put a blunt conclusion that “South Sudan’s leaders have learnt nothing from 50 years of independence in Africa.”

South Sudan has been ranked fourth after Sudan in the Failed States Index [FSI] 2013.  Representatives of my government are said to be unhappy of this ranking and their argument is based on the “youngness of the Nation” excuses. What has the youngness of the country to do with stealing billions of money? What has it to do with not setting up a prudent and permanent constitution? What has it to do with not holding people who are corrupt accountable? What has it to do with the formation of tribal armies? Liars.

G. Pascal Zachary, a professor of practice in the Cronkite School of Journalism has called for South Sudan to be put under American trusteeship. “It Needs to Be Put Under U.S.-Led Trusteeship”. With such unsuppressed articulation and loquacity, there are concerns by international personalities who advocate for South Sudan to be placed under the UN trusteeship and be governed by the UN until such times when the people of South Sudan shall be ready to govern themselves.  Top among those personalities is Hank Cohen who has declared that, “South Sudan should be placed under UN trusteeship to aid development of viable self-government” in his recent article. Herman J. Cohen is Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa.

UN trusteeship is a practice and policy of 1940s during the decolonization era in which disputed or swinging territories were put under the UN trusteeship to help them towards their independence or self-government.  All the eleven trust territories under the UN were either merged with neighboring states or became independent sovereign nations. In 1994 the last trust territory, the Palau Islands, became independent and joined the UN as the 185th member. This means no independent and sovereign state like South Sudan has ever been put under the UN Trusteeship.

South Sudan would have qualified to be put under the UN trusteeship in 1940s, pending her quest for independence.  Neither the UN nor the OAU later hinted to that call. The result due to lack of capacity among southerners to form a post-colonial nation-state made the South to be annexed to the North in 1946/7 by the British. William Deng Nhial advocated in his letter to the OAU Secretary General, 1963, for South Sudan to be put under the UN trusteeship following the Arab’s oppression and killings in Southern Sudan.  The UN never sought trusteeship of South Sudan.

It might be true as articulated by Richard Dowden that, “South Sudan’s leaders have learnt nothing from [the experience of the last] 50 years.” It is disgusting that our leaders have manifested in this 21st century the same lack of capacity to govern themselves problem so as to warrant the world to now advocate for South Sudan to be put under foreign powers,  be it the US or UN. Of course, there is no difference between the US-led trusteeship and UN trusteeship.

John Garang had warned about the creation of “Mesh-Kilat-El-Junub [internal South problems] in one of his speeches. He said parochialism, tribalism, self-aggrandizement, clannish-centric policies and negligence of people needs could bring doom upon the country. It is full of author’s emphases.

It is unfortunate that the UN trusteeship of the South Sudan has already started with deployment of the UN army. The UN did not seek consent of South Sudan authorities when it sat in December 2013 to approve and deploy six more thousand troops. African nations are also being used to mobilize more troops under the same placard to be deployed in South Sudan. And Kiir admitted that when he said the UN seeks to co-govern South Sudan with him. The manner and nature of the UN weapons impounded in South Sudan, sent without the government’s knowledge and consent is a clear evident that the UN trusteeship of South Sudan has begun.

Do we blame the UN or the world? No. Kiir and his leadership have provided the unmistakable conduit for the world’s action. He has failed. Who? Kiir! The political hemorrhage and entropy in South Sudan is purely a matter of political and administrative incompetence, even lack of analytical capacity. President Kiir under “constitutional” perjury neglected building the national army, the SPLA and embarked on building a private army, which is mono-clannish. And he had a gut of admitting it. The main army, SPLA remains as clusters of ethnic enclaves and militias with divided loyalties and various commanding centres.

The author had raised almost similar concerns in an article, “managing a liberated society: do you think your new nation is going to hold?” published by the Newsudanvision.com website on by the June 9, 2012 and allAfricaonline.com. South Sudan has been manufacturing its own Frankenstein.  The road we have taken leaves a lot to be desired.

In Dr. John Garang’s view, leadership’s dysfunctionality and impracticality leads to one outcome-divided society. In one of his addresses to the SPLA officers, he prophesized the unfortunate events of today in the following paragraph.

“This is simple arithmetic: if the SPLM cannot deliver anything and we just shout REVOLUTION, REVOLUTION; the cattle of the people are not vaccinated; their children are not vaccinated or sent to school; there is nothing to eat, there are no roads, there are no basic necessities of life—there is no cloth, no needle, not even a razor blade—when the barest minimum of essential things of life are not available, then the people will drive us into the sea, even though there is no sea here they will find one.”

Let me conclude by stating that time for uncultured sophistry is gone. We are watching. We are recording and a day of reckoning where everyone failing our dear state shall be made accountable is certainly drawing near. The Ashanti people say, “One falsehood spoils a thousand truths.” There are so many coup attempts to be true. The thousand truths are that, South Sudan has no law; no organize political parties, no visionary and practical leadership, no judicial systems, no national army and no services delivery. The no…no…no series goes on. The only active sectors in South Sudan are tribonationalism, corruption and power struggle. Then, is it a consummated state?

Salva Kiir does not represent Patrice Lumumba. However, South Sudan as a country is going the D.R Congo way. It is a struggle between Moise Tshome, Joseph Desire Mobutu and the unfortunate Patrice Lumumba. If we do not take care, the nation will be left in an adinfintum failure.

The Juba’s regime is witch-hunting its concern citizens. Without a coup, a kangaroo court is set up to silence its four critical citizens. This is a judicial mockery, absurdity and manipulation. The trial of the four citizens does not and cannot address the objective realities of the day and the fundamental problem in our country.  The state is standing on nothing but four crooked legs to use the phrase of Dr. Jok Madut Jok.  Isn’t our government an impractical phantasm? How else will I conclude this message, either the world, the majority is wrong, and the impractical cliquish government is right or vice versa.

The government that has veered off is basically making the nation and its masses expendable.  Unfortunately, the reality is disproving Plato’s view, that a philosopher-king is better than public opinion. In our case, it is the public opinion, which is competent than the will and desire of the South Sudanese philosopher-king [s] running the government. Isn’t majority a law? Neither Kujur nor God Almighty will revoke the verdict the masses has put on the government. What is a government that does not heed to the cries of the masses?

All the country’s dialogue should begin with the Constitutional and law reforms, in order to establish a viable and responsible nation in South Sudan.

The system is ideologically Kiir without Garang.

About the Author: Rengo Gyyw Rengo, Jr., is a former member of the SPLA Red Army.  He is the author of the upcoming Red Army’s memoirs, entitled, “The Journey of No Return: Unaccompanied Minors, Red Army, Lost boys of Southern Sudan caught between the cause and the refuge”. He can be reached at: rgrengo@yahoo.com