Posts Tagged ‘PaanLuel Wel’

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

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

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

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


The Principle of Tribocracy (Part 1)

Posted: February 7, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Editorials, Featured Articles, PaanLuel Wël, Philosophy

The Essence of Tribocracy

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan

In the life of every person there comes a point when he realizes that out of all the seemingly limitless possibilities of his youth he has in fact become one actuality. No longer is life a broad plain with forests and mountains beckoning all-around, but it becomes apparent that one’s journey across the meadows has indeed followed a regular path, that one can no longer go this way or that. The desire to reconcile an experience of freedom with a determined environment is the lament of poetry and the dilemma of philosophy.– Opening Sentence, Henry Kissinger’s Undergraduate Thesis, Harvard University, 1949.

Celebrating the Fruition of the CPA

Celebrating the Fruition of the CPA


February 7, 2015 (SSB)  On Wednesday, 19 November 2014, Wau East communities from Western Bahr el Ghazal’s Jur River County filed an urgent complaint with Governor Rizik Zakaria Hassan over power-sharing aberrations. The community representatives, led by Chairman James Bak Nyiyuo and Secretary Abraham Urayo, met with the state governor “to put their case for equal presentation in the executive state government.”[1]

In their written statement presented to Governor Rizik Hassan on behalf of the Wau East community, the community representatives crisply stated that their “demand stemmed up from the grassroots of the community after we have seen the current presentation in the executive government in the state cabinet where only two positions were offered to whole Wau East communities by your government compared to the representation of other communities in which great differences are seen.”[2]

More importantly, the written statement also reiterated the Wau East communities’ continued support for Governor Rizik Hassan’s state government “as we voted you in through a fair, transparent and credible democratic elections”[3] during the 2010 general election. The meeting between the representatives of Wau East community and the state governor was considered “a success” chiefly because Governor Rizik Hassan had accepted to meet the community representatives as requested and duly promised to look into the communities’ demands as outlined in their letter to the governor. While applauding their initiative, the governor candidly explained to the community representatives “that the first appointments in his cabinet were based on their qualifications and personal background with the ruling party (SPLM) rather than on community interest.”[4]

Speaking to the press after their meeting with Governor Rizik Hassan, the secretary of the delegation, Abraham Urayo, declared: “Our meeting with the governor was very clear as a demand from our communities over [the] lack of equal representation in the state’s cabinet likewise to other communities within the state…The state governor has [assured] us that he will consider our list in case of any reshuffling in the cabinet.”[5]

The meeting was prompted by the Wau East communities’ grave “concerns that they will again be left out in the future when the governor names his next cabinet line-up.”[6] In essence, the Wau East communities are simply petitioning Governor Rizik Hassan to proffer them nothing but their fair share of the state government they had voted in through a fair, transparent and credible democratic election.

In their quest for justice and fairness, they are asking for transparency and credibility of the selection process just as it was the case during the election that saw Governor Rizik Hassan winning the gubernatorial post. The communities are puzzled about ending up with only two cabinet positions while other communities have more than their fair share of the state government. They want fair and just system—equal representation in the state government based on numerical strength.

Their cause is not so much love for their own community as it is a fight for justice, equality and transparency—the motto of the ruling SPLM party. Fulfilling the revolutionary vision of the historic SPLM movement is—in the befitting title of Jacob Jiel Akol’s book—the burden of our nation.[7]


On 23 July 2011, just on the eve of the unveiling of the first cabinet of an independent South Sudan, I had written an article, Tribocracy: The New Political Philosophy for the New Country[8], in which I had argued that for South Sudan to avoid the pitfalls of her fellow, post-colonial African countries and be successful, the new nation must fully embrace and constitutionally legalize tribocracy as a system of political representation at the state and national levels. My article, much as it has been my long-harbored view about the preferred system of governance in Sub-Saharan Africa, was partly triggered by President Salva Kiir’s announcement that his first government would “be formed based on qualifications of candidates and not on tribal representation.”[9]

My advocacy for tribocracy is not so much the love for tribalism as it is the desire to take the bull by its horns. We should stop burying our heads in the sand of complacency. Indeed, to assert that the evils of tribalism are the ruination of Sub-Saharan African countries would be to affirm the obvious. Tribalism is the denial, or unequal sharing, of political offices by and/or amongst various ethnic groups that make up the nation-state. It breeds an intoxicating environment in which no plausible policies could emerge to encourage and promote justice, fairness and equality in power sharing and allocation of national resources.

And because plump political posts do translate into goodies, tribalism has been, and will continue to be, the socioeconomic and political undoing of South Sudan just as it has been the downfall of much of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. This is because politicians operating under tribalism have always manipulated and abused glaring shortcomings in democracy for their political endgames.

Democracy has thoroughly been abused in Africa. Procedural elections in many African countries have been used to legitimize—and perpetuate with impunity—corruption, bad leadership, and greediness for power, and to undermine any prospect of economic transformation and social prosperity. Without the prospect of democratization taking place due to the prevalence of tribalism, the entire region of Sub-Saharan Africa, for the last decades, has been left wallowing in abject poverty, illiteracy and political mediocrity. South Sudan too has no chance of ridding itself of tribalism by counting on democratization.

In a country without democracy but with with an embarrassing rate of illiteracy, the chances of economic development and political stability are literally beyond the realm of possibilities. Consequently, it is prudent that South Sudan should not trudge the very path to self-destruction that was taken by her counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pure liberal democracy, under the present conditions in South Sudan, is a mirage. Even in the West, it was a long arduous, never-straight, process. To expect South Sudan to democratize just within few years after independence is a frustrating exercise in sheer self-delusion.

Indeed, the horrendous spectacles of bad leadership, poor governance, rampant corruption and nepotism along with unabated accounts of inter-tribal conflicts and a chronic addiction to political rebellions as well as general malaise in socioeconomic development and political immaturity in Africa in general and in the present day South Sudan in particular, are merely symptoms of the underlying principal illness: tribalism.

In the 1960s, when most African countries were shaking off the heavy yoke of colonialism and embarking on self-rule, the then young inspiring leaders of African countries were greatly troubled by the illness of tribalism. Nonetheless, many hoped that, with democracy, liberal education and the promise of economic prosperity in hand, they would combat and defeat tribalism in its infancy, once and for all.

However, those promising tools they had pegged their hopes on to fight and eliminate tribalism—democracy, education and social prosperity—never saw the light of day. The poisonous thorns of tribalism choked them off in the womb as mere ideas. The rest is history as we can all see today in each and every country in the Sub-Saharan African region. That no single nation has succeeded in realizing her sociopolitical inspirations and harvesting the fruits of her independence is the plainest testimony to the resilience of tribalism in our societal psyche.

The way out of this political conundrum is to adopt and institutionalize tribocracy. The constitutionalization of tribocracy would herald the end of our current tribulations engendered by the evils of tribalism. Therefore, public appointments must be based on fair and equitable tribal representation, not on educational qualifications, political loyalty or liberation struggle credentials.


Whereas tribalism is “a form of government where representatives of a particular ethnic group hold a number of government posts disproportionately large to the percentage of the total population that the particular ethnic group(s) represents and use them to advance the position of their particular ethnic group(s) to the detriment of others.”[10] Tribocracy, on the other hand, is a political system where representatives of a particular ethnic group hold a number of government posts proportionate to the percentage of the total population that the particular ethnic group(s) represents in order to promote and achieve fair and equitable political representation across all ethnic groups comprising that particular nation.

In a tribal African nation such as South Sudan, the best qualification for political office is equitable tribal representation, not the so-called meritocracy. After all, educational qualification, work experience and relevant background are vague at best and misleading at worst, making meritocracy susceptible to political manipulations by some well-connected individuals from certain favored tribe(s). Such individuals from the favored tribe(s) perpetually end up with the lion share of the government in the name of “they are highly qualified” for the jobs.

Therefore, the officialization of tribalism is what I would refer to as tribocracy. It is a political system of governance in which equality in political representation in the national government and/or at the state level is achieved through the principle of equitable and fair tribal representation. As each and every tribe gets a small proportion of the national seats, the benefits accruable from those high portfolios will invariably trickle down to every tribe.

My main argument is that we should device an inclusive system of governance, which in word and practice must be seen as fair and equitable for all the ethnic groups of South Sudan. To think otherwise is to inadvertently sleepwalk into the same booby-trap that befell and doomed the young independent African countries of the 1960s. Instead of trying in vain to avoid tribalism, we should rather unflinchingly embrace it, adopt it and institutionalize it as our core political philosophy of governance. The legalization of tribocracy would herald the age of political fairness, tribal equality, societal harmony, long lasting peace and sustainable development.

My central point is that “tribalism is that little innocent girl we have all chosen to defile [only to] later turn around and call her a whore.”[11] Let’s strive to honor and cherish the little innocent girl. Negative ethnicity will only end in Africa when we have fully embraced and effectively institutionalized tribocracy into our own national constitution. The fight against tribalism will never be won until we have fully and comfortably embraced, honored and cherished tribocracy as the system of governance in South Sudan in particular, and Africa in general.

“Dawa ya moto ni moto”, say the Waswahili people. If tribalism is our predicament, then the solution to tribalism may well be tribalism itself. Tribalism is predominantly an African problem. Tribocracy is therefore an African solution to an African problem. This is the essence of tribocracy.

PaanLuel Wël is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB). He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or email:

[1] Sudan Tribune, “Wau East communities file complaint with governor over power-sharing,” 19 November 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Jacob Jiel Akol (2006), “Burden of Nationality: A Story of Post Colonial Africa”.

[8] PaanLuel Wël (2011), “Tribocracy: The New Political Philosophy for the New Country”.

[9] Presidential Decree No.10/2011 for the Transformation and Reconstitution of the National Legislative Assembly of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011

[10] Badal Kariye (2010), “The Political Sociology of Security, Politics, Economics & Diplomacy: Quicker Academic Path for Good Governance”.

[11] Comment by a certain Karume, a Kenyan, on Maina Kiai’s article (2015), “To safeguard his legacy, Uhuru must write a different script on tribalism”.

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 SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from

By Deng Simon and PaanLuel Wel


By Elijah Deng Simon

Instead of incriminating Emmanuel Jal, Jok Madut, Ajak Chiengkou or Deng Elijah, we should be incriminating the system. It is this system that instructs us to do what we are doing; sorting the truth from different perspectives.

It is the system that creates and exploits these perspectives to turns Mabior against Dau , Puljang against Koang, Olony against Ogat, Wanni against Lado, tribes against tribes and regions against regions because the system is reaping these [regionalism, tribalism, nepotism, corruption, and divide and rule] for its own gains; to reign for 100 or 1000s years as long as we remain in our narrowed comfort zones.

Your incriminations and selective praises nurture the crippled system while reaping your intelligence and respect. A bad system would reduce you to believe that Ajak is your hero and Jal is your enemy and vice versa, when there is no profound ground to prove that the two can’t work together for a collective interest instead of your interest! 

–Way forward —

Since the coup allegation has collapsed, divide and rule has failed, regionalism as well, and war won’t bring a sustainable solution. Instead of defending “status quo” we should defend the nation and to defend the nation the perpetrators must be held accountable. It is unreasonable to end a presidential term prematurely but it is highly irresponsible and illegitimate that over 4 millions people re in a food shortage, over 1 million displaced and over 10,000 (well above 30,000) people died. So there must be a trade off and the best trade off is to teach the upcoming leaders that they will be forced to step down prematurely should they imitate Salva Kiir and his crooks.

Our lives as citizens can’t be traded off for any other gain(s). The short term solution is for Kiir to step aside and the long term solution would be to elect a patriotic and visionary citizen to reconcile and rebuild the nation after this interim government. Dr. Riek has a constitutional right but does not have to lead South Sudan as a president, however, the country has to be transformed and reconciled for the next generations to enjoy freedom,justice and equality!


By PaanLuel Wel (Response to Deng Simon)

Elijah Deng SimonI absolutely concur with you that “Instead of incriminating Emmanuel Jal, Jok Madut, Ajak Chiengkou or Deng Elijah, we should be incriminating the system” because, as you rightly pointed out, “It is the system that creates and exploits these perspectives to turns Mabior against Dau, Puljang against Koang, Olony against Ogat, Wanni against Lado, tribes against tribes and regions against regions…” But while you may take the system to be President Kiir and his henchmen who seem to know nothing about what is going on in the country, some people would go further and say that the system in question includes not just the President, but Dr. Riek Machar (who had been no. 2 in that very system for 9 years) as well as the 11+ political detainees who are currently presenting themselves as better alternatives to the bloodied hands of President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar.

Therefore, if indeed the system is the stumbling block to the realization of long lasting peace and political stability in South Sudan, and there is no reason whatsoever to doubt that postulation, it entails that the best way forward is not just to get rid of President Kiir, but rather the whole system which include, in addition to the President, Dr. Riek Machar and the 11+ political detainees. Bearing in mind that there was no coup in Juba and that the 11+ political detainees are already out of power, the next people to go from power are President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar. The logic is simple: neither President Kiir nor Dr. Riek has been able to decisively defeat the other notwithstanding over 4-month of continuous fighting. Therefore, to paraphrase your statement, the short term solution is for President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to step aside from their respective power bases and the long term solution would be to elect a patriotic and visionary citizen (say Dr. Marial Benjamin or Wani Igga, for example) to reconcile and rebuild the nation after this interim government.

Whereas it is certainly true that President Kiir and Dr. Riek have constitutional rights to contest the ‘next election’, they should not necessarily be part of the interim government if fighting has to stop in South Sudan. Of course, such course of actions in which both President Kiir and Dr. Riek would be barred from being part of a transitional government is an anathema to their respective supporters, and few avenues abound, barring international military intervention, to bring about such course of event as they are the ones wielding Kalashnikov in the entire country. Of course, the government of President Kiir is wishing for a swift military victory over the rebels, akin to the decisive defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, the rebels under Dr. Riek Machar are entertaining the thought that they would ride into Juba like Paul Kagame in the 1990s while Presient Kiir is taken to the ICC for killing the Nuer in Juba.

Well, both are wishful thinking, for the government will never completely defeat the rebellion even if they were lucky enough to kill or capture Riek Machar, and neither will the Rebels realize their conjured up triumphant march to Juba for the best the rebel can achieve is a Somalization of South Sudan.

–Way forward —

But for us South Sudanese to have meaningful, serious and constructive dialogues, the best and only way forward other than an outright military victory as wished by the government and as dreamed up by the rebel is two-fold: (1) Going back to the status quo–an interim government with both President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, in their respective pre-July 23rd positions and seniority or (2) charting a new course–a transitional government without President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, back by international military forces. But of course, my pro-rebels friends Deng Simon and Jesus Deng Mading-chuai would prefer an interim government without President Kiir while my pro-government friends Simon Yel and Gordon Buay would want nothing more than the blood-dripping head of Dr. Riek Machar.

And thus, stalemate–political and military–set in and Addis Ababa talks are treated as a necessarily evil to be tolerated but never taken seriously. The government is wishing, and the rebels are dreaming, for a decisive military victory!! The conversation is yet to commence because there are no genuine conversationalists, only Kiirists and Machariists rule the air, the web and the field!!

Till then, the present carnage in Bentiu might soon get replicated in Bor and Malakal and over again as it has been the case. President Kiir is majestically unperturbed, Dr. Riek is boyishly excited and their supporters are marching, cheering on and wishing and dreaming while the DREAM “for the next generations to enjoy freedom, justice and equality!” is being stymied!

Junub Thudan in the hands of the same monkeys in different forest!

“We have no guarantee that oil flowing through the Republic of Sudan will reach its intended destination… we cannot allow assets, which clearly belong to the Republic of South Sudan to be subject to further diversion… For this reason, I call upon this august house to support the decision of the Council of Ministers to stop the flow of oil and search for alternative sources of funding to manage government projects,” Said President Kiir on January 23rd, 2012.

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba City, South Sudan.

Amidst the interminable woes dogging the infant Republic of South Sudan since it brazenly decided to shut down oil production in January 2012, there finally appears to be a dim light at the end of the darkest tunnel—the purported resumption of the oil export through Port Sudan within three weeks.

In as much as our past dealings with Khartoum are highly suspect and thus unreliable, one is compelled this time to notice something markedly different about this latest ‘agreement’ between Juba and Khartoum. Firstly, the Khartoum government has already commenced amending their ‘national budget to reflect the recent oil agreement with Juba.’ Secondly, the two countries have reportedly completed troop withdrawal from their respective disputed borders. Thirdly, for the first time, traders in the Sudan are talking about the ‘US dollar losing ground to Sudanese Pound in the black market.’ All these happenstances are taking place in the Republic of the Sudan, not in Juba.

You gotta believe them because they are the telltale signs of Khartoum having gotten tired of playing its usual card of diplomatic deceptions in the international arena and political manipulations of South Sudan. Indeed, too many agreements have been dishonorably dishonored between Juba and Khartoum since independence, but this might be, just might be, the end of that well-rehearsed and badly played game on the part of Khartoum, at the expense of the poor and the helpless baby Republic of JUWAMA.

That the closure of oil, one that I foolishly supported on nationalistic grounds, has gravely affected the economy of South Sudan is self-evident.

Congrats President Kiir,

In my opinion, this is the best decision that GROSS has to take given all options available to it. In fact, it is the best decision ever made in Juba since 2005!! I fully support the resolution because Khartoum is behaving like a thug in total disregard to international norms and the spirit of neighborliness. We rather borrow our way into another pipeline, no matter how long it may take, than tolerating blatant midday robbery of our national resources by Khartoum in collusion with the Chinese and other hungry-oil-seekers who have the power to bear on Khartoum belligerence but chose not to. Let see what the Chinese response would be now that oil is shut down. Did you notice how quickly they reacted when Khartoum dared to shut down the pipeline but opt to look the other way when Khartoum was stealing our oil? That is not friendship; it is Neo-colonization! Oil wells, economically speaking, can be used as mortgages, to borrow from the international community as the new pipeline route is being constructed. The borrowed money could be used to run the government till things settle down.

PaanLuel Wel (January 23rd, 2012)

What is unclear though is who has been affected the most between the poor and the rich, and who in particular should be celebrating the most about the grand re-opening of the oil pipeline? Is South Sudan different from its pre-independence state? Besides the National Flag, the National Anthem and the prestigious seat at the United Nations in New York City, are South Sudanese now better off economically than they were during the war of liberation?

These are seminal questions considering the state and the nature of corruption, tribalism and nepotism in South Sudan. The oil that is kept underground till our house is properly put in order is much preferable to the one flowing to enrich only the ‘chosen few’ whose ‘national headache’ do not go beyond the horizon of their stomachs’ appeal.

The second major worry is this: what course of actions would Juba take should Khartoum, basking in the full knowledge that Juba won’t dare to shut down the oil, start pilfering the oil again? What guarantees are already secured to ward off such eventualities? How does one go about guaranteeing the guarantees when one is confronted with a belligerent pariah state as the Sudan is?

By all measures, it seems South Sudan is only advancing, sorely unprepared and ill informed, to phase two of the circus, where it has, just like in the first phase, none of the plausible solutions on its fingertips. Caution, rather than celebration, should be our guiding salutation to the grand re-opening of the oil pipeline, should it materialize this time round.

PaanLuel Wël ( is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers: He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter Account or on the blog:

Isaiah Abraham, In His Own Words

We tried in our simple way to lead our life in a manner that may make a difference to those of others…what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead…real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people…Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity… If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man…many people in this country have paid the price before me and many will pay the price after me—Assortments of quotes from Nelson Mandela, quoted in memory of Isaiah Abraham who was politically assassinated on December 5th, 2012, in Juba, South Sudan.

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba City, South Sudan.

Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: The Dark Ages of South Sudan Liberation

Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: The Dark Ages of South Sudan Liberation

That Isaiah Abraham was a passionate writer is in no doubt, and so is the prevailing conviction that he was killed due to his political writings that knew no sacred cows among the high and the mighty of South Sudan’s political and military establishments. Fundamental to Isaiah Abraham’s writings and arguments was his seemingly sacrosanct conviction that the newly independent state of South Sudan under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayaardit has completely lost direction because it has failed to deliver the expected fruits of independence. And because President Kiir has failed to steer the country in the right direction, his argument goes, he must be replaced with another capable leader within the SPLM party.

That new capable and enlightened leader that would usher in the new republic of South Sudan as envisioned during the war of liberation, according to Isaiah Abraham, must be none other than Guandit—Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the current Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan. Unlike most South Sudanese opinion writers who are, habitually, fond of pointing out problems—real and warranted as they might be, Isaiah Abraham was very unique in the sense that he not only pointed out problems confronting the young republic of South Sudan, he also provided solutions—contentious as they do appear sometimes to some sections of his readers and South Sudanese at large.

Isaiah Abraham was also highly controversial, heartily backing views and opinions and positions that were largely unfavorable to most sections of his readers and South Sudanese. For instance, he was supporting Bashir against Yasir Arman, Bashir against the ICC, Dr. Riek against President Kiir, the SPLM/A against the opposition parties. And although he was unquestionably a staunch supporter of South Sudanese independence, he sometimes gave credit to Khartoum in some controversial circumstances unlike most other South Sudanese who oft-time give blanket condemnations to Khartoum on all occasions.

His unyielding opposition to and strong denunciation of Salva Kiir’s presidency was uncharacteristic of other writers who might have held the same opinion on and conclusion about Kiir’s leadership. Below are some of his harshest comments about President Kiir and his rule that, some believe, must have cost him his precious life:

“The document should not have gone like that, people. Unfortunately, little did we know that Kiir has become another (Abyei Chief) Deng Majok who exchanged his ancestral land rights for a single meal? Shame on Kiir and his cohorts! Kiir must go! He is a useless leader this country could have. His foul mouthing is not tolerable anymore…mile 14 and Panthou are sold out for no reasons at all. Oil or no oil, we have been cheated by a ruthless clique in Juba…my people have suffered under President Kiir and his heartless clique; I have no kind words again against these people…the demonstration we made as people of South Sudan on Monday, not as Northern Bahr El Ghazal people, will go down in history as the beginning of things to come…Mr. President is not apologetic and this is worrying. The people of this country deserve a leader that respects their views. We have never had problems with him since he accidently ascended to power in 2005, because the situation dictated that people exercise patience…for the past eight years we have learned bitterly that Mr. Kiir is the problem and should be removed. He has failed us in many fronts, and on this matter of land he must not be forgiven…our men in uniform in Mile 14 therefore are to remain in their places and let Mulana Makuei, Mbeki or Pagan come and dislodge them by force. AU must deploy any troops around Mile 14. We will see how to go about Panthou and Abyei now that someone [Kiir] is selling our lands to Arabs.”

Isaiah Abraham had not always been too critical of President Kiir. Back in 2007, in an article entitled ‘Sudan’s Salva Kiir Has to Live Up to the Job’, Mr. Abraham lauded Kiir for his numerous achievements:

Nobody anywhere would underestimate the kind of job H.E. the President is undertaking. No one further doubts his desire and honest attempts to lead. We are proud of what he has achieved this far and only congratulated ourselves for having him as our leader over those achievements. Few glamorous among them are listed below. He has kept the Movement (SPLM/A) united and alive. He has played a significant role to bringing on board Major Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial and many more. He has warmed up relationship with other like-minded groups of the opposition side of the debate. He has also helped sustain an entity in the Government of Southern Sudan and allowed free hands to his Ministers even for them to propose their own Under Secretaries. These are lofty things done under His Excellency the President unless we forget!

In the article “Is Kiir riding on Machar’s back? March 24, 2010” Isaiah Abraham had the following telling conclusion on President Kiir:

“Despite every negative perception we might conclude about his government, our hero (Comrade Mayardit) will be remembered as a leader who first hoisted the Southern flag and established the government of the people of Southern Sudan from nowhere…Kiir as an individual espoused for his people’s cause most of his life, besides being personally a great listener and a principled man…Our big brother Kiir has his place among our founding fathers (Emidio Tafeng, Saturino Lohure, Joseph Lagu, Deng Nhial, John Garang, Samuel Gai, Ali Gutwalla, Both Diu, Lazarus Mutek, Kerubino Kuanyin, Abel Alier, William Nyuon, etc). Thank you sir, may God give you peace!”

It has never been in question that Isaiah Abraham was always fond of—or as his critics claimed, worshipped—VP Dr. Riek Machar. The tone and the themes of the article “Is Kiir riding on Machar’s back? March 24, 2010” were all choreographed to drive that point home—President Kiir was using Dr. Riek Machar’s popularity with the lay people to garner support and to win the 2010 election. That had earlier been alluded to in the article “Ugandan peace must not be abandoned, December 3, 2008” when Isaiah Abraham wrote:

“Am a very proud man as Southern Sudanese to have Dr. Machar manages this huge responsibility with maturity, calmness and forthright posture; he has shown the world that he’s more than just a Southern leader but an international one”

In the article Macharphobia and Macharmania are unnecessary, September 25, 2009he offered unrestrained praise and unrivalled admiration for Dr. Machar:

“Don’t just caught up in fear when you hear Dr. Machar name, its just too bad for you, there is no basis for doing this. Not at all! For the good of Southern Sudan and the generation to come, the man at the moment is this ’dhol’ called Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhorgun. He is a quintessence of Singapore Yew Khem Yew, the man who pulled out that country less than forty years ago, from nowhere to somewhere in the world economic and prosperous map. Please let’s try him despite his past records. In fact it wasn’t him but elements at that time, within his group that took advantage of a well to do political course to cause mayhem and destruction to our people.”

On the surface, particularly judging by the repetitive praise of and call for Guand-dit to take over from/after President Kiir, one would be adequately persuaded to conclude that Isaiah Abraham, plus his writings, was nothing more than an apologist for Dr. Riek Machar and his quest for presidency. However, after finishing reading his articles such as “Martyr Day isn’t an ordinary Day South Sudanese leaders, July 24, 2012” one is left wondering if the above conclusion hold true anymore. Did Isaiah Abraham really prefer Dr. Machar to President Kiir? What exactly was he up to in that article? Who are the fence sitters? The reformers in wolf clothes? The betrayers of South Sudanese cause who spiritedly claimed to have delivered self-determination on a silver plate unto the SPLM/A?

“…The President is our hero like Garang, no doubt and people wish him well. But here he needs to give that Day a flavor, and not to assume that the Day is like any other special days of the Republic. This isn’t the case. He must spare the victims of the struggle from self-inflicting indignity when someone who supposed to look after them disingenuously shows no feeling about those demised Southerners…. If it wasn’t Dr. John Garang and his men, my people, who could have been around here stealing money, then stashed it to the outside banks. We would have been under Khartoum slaved or outside the country as refugees. Garang and his loyal comrades did it singlehandedly when apologists conspire day and night to betray the cause in the name of reform. Reform about what and in what ya jama? Many martyr died in the hands of the callous and traitors and this is their day. When the traitors were left alone to manage their rebellion couldn’t do what they thought wasn’t done under Garang. When Garang left them alone, like the case now, they couldn’t produce the ‘reform’ they have been passionate about during the bush, hypocrites! It pains when some Southerners couldn’t help the widows and orphans and only concentrate about welfare of their families. Others who stayed on the fence moreover have are conspiring secretly to wreck the boat in the name of change. It starts with change and later degenerated into deaths for our people. Most of them claim that they are champions of self-determination; and that they brought on a silver plate to the SPLM Leaders. That without them, the issue of martyr couldn’t be anything. This is insulting. Self-determination or self-rule is a political term awarded when it is earned and not when it is requested. The Garang and his men earned it. His vision is a lope that makes it easier, and if there were no such a political cry, belief me/not, we would have been still fighting for separation today like others in any other part of the world. This is a bitter truth! Separatists aren’t fashionable around the world; and no short cut whether you shouted the loudest or write some many essays and history about your cause. You can agree like Western Saharans and still not separate. It takes such a high thinking to make to arrive at it… To me it is no longer a doubt, and it will be just a matter of time for these men to go if they continue like that. If Kiir is weak, how Dr. Machar, his Assistant, why neglect these families all around? Dr. Machar was made to stay low, and has accepted that status, but the tide will spare him not; there is no way the two could be separated. If Kiir goes he goes. He hasn’t been himself like before and this is too bad. All are branded failed and are corrupt. I shockingly heard funny stories about the two as to land. Why a tall leader would take over a chunk of land around Juba and then employed his own people around it. This is unbecoming for tomorrow leaders to behave that way. They have moreover shown no leadership by example, stop short of correcting mistake one year in and one year out. The rivalry between Kiir and Machar perhaps has made the country to slip up for jackals to perch it. Dr. Machar has succumbed and if to save anything he must detach himself from how things are done by corrupt barons. I have started to think twice now about the person that could have been the hope for the people of this republic in months or few years to come…The point about Martyr Day is missed by Kiir, Machar and Wani. The trio is becoming problematic to our gains. What makes them thing that the blood of our people is nothing compares to their luxuries and assets? If they care they could have given the chunk land written in their names to our widows and orphans. The wife of William Nyuon is now begging for bread while the rich are basking in ill-gotten wealth as if William did nothing substantive to our struggle? Ms Nyuon has no land to put her hand on and her daughters/sons aren’t being settled in education or a house built in Ayod County in honor of their father. The same could have been applied to all notable contributors of our struggle. What does this tell you about Kiir/Machar/Wani? Martyr Day therefore should have been a day to show kindness to our widows and orphans through gifts and words of encouragement….

Interestingly, if not controversially, Isaiah Abraham had an amazing way of adoring two contradictory heroes: Dr. John Garang as the founding father of South Sudan and Dr. Riek Machar as the great-savior-in-the-waiting for South Sudan. He backed Garang’s model of the New Sudan Vision, believing that it gave birth to the independence of South Sudan. In both the article Give Garang the respect he deserves, October 4, 2011 and the Has the battle to save Garang legacy revived SPLA 1991 ideological differences? October 20, 2011 he took on the hotly contested topic of separatists and unionists in the context of the 1991 split within the SPLM/A. Obviously, under such topical issues and circumstances, he faced the most difficult task of reconciling his support for Dr. Riek with the praise and honoring of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang. While his argument is well presented therein, it was, and still is, far from clear if he did succeed to reconcile the two conflicting views on Dr. Machar and Dr. John Garang in the context of 1991 attempted coup.

Isaiah Abraham also preferred direct and frank negotiation between Khartoum and South Sudan considering that it is in the best interest of South Sudan. This is well illustrated in the article, Khartoum and Juba need to dialogue, March 28, 2012.” While acknowledging that Khartoum isn’t serious about international rules, they are troublemakers”, he still called on the two nations to embrace honest dialogue and negotiations to end their destructive hostilities and abide by international norms and standards: Khartoum should abide by the UNSC Resolution to end hostility with South Sudan, May 8, 2012.” This is further reinforced by his impassioned calling for better, mutually benefiting, relationship between the two countries: South Sudan and the Sudan need strong bilateral ties, December 21, 2011.”

Reading titles such as “love him or hate him, sudan need al-bashir January 1, 2011 or the “Vote for Al Bashir not Arman, March 2, 2010” one is likely to mistakenly conclude that Isaiah Abraham was a Khartoum’s supporter. But to contemplate that, deep down in his heart, he was pro-Khartoum would tantamount to a grave underestimation of his patriotism. For instance, he vigorously opposed Khartoum application to join the EAC: Turn down Khartoum’s request for East Africa membership, September 27, 2011.”

On Panthou, he felt bitterly betrayed when president Salva Kiir withdrew SPLA troops from the disputed town of Panthou. This is well illustrated in the article “Panthou: Kiir has betrayed the people of South Sudan, April 23, 2012” where he fumed:

“How come he could easily bowed to New York or Addis Ababa people who never lifted a finger to stop Khartoum from raining fire on our people day and night despite our cry? Mr. President, the interest of our people comes first. Ban Ki-moon (known then in Korea as Ban-jusa) is a letdown and an enemy of our people. Our land can’t be ruled from New York, we are own masters. Our voice was loud, but you kept personalizing the matter, who do you think you are? The issue of Panthou is larger than the president, rather is about South Sudan pride and dignity. If the people of Southern Sudan were ready, even to contribute their own lives and money, why stand own their way Mr. Kiir? You have been inconsistence throughout, and you got to give way. Sir you are one of the leaders that will be remembered for allowing his land to go (Chief Deng Majok was one) because someone who sits in New York or Washington rules over this land. You are a disgrace. If it was a defeat we would have taken it head high, and regroup and return there. What is wrong if we had stood the ground and be defeated, (an impossible thing anyway for our men against Khartoum)? Armies retreat but the war would be on. Our people are very agitated including this author for the decision to pull out troops from Panthou, the 100% South Sudan land. Juba has failed our people big way this time around. Mr. Kiir Mayardit low self-esteemed personality has made him one of the worse leaders our people have ever had.”

On international level, he was arguably a Pan-Africanist, unblinkingly proclaiming that Africans solutions are the best for Africans problems, February 22, 2010.” Isaiah Abraham was against the ousting of Muammar Khadafi of Libya by the Western Powers, calling the Libyan rebels to be ashamed of themselves (Gaddafi’s death: shame on so-called Libyan Liberators, October 26, 2011). Amidst his seething against the West and the UN, Isaiah Abraham was able to catch enough breath to utter: “Thanks USA, keep the pressure on Khartoum, October 24, 2010.” Still,he was, at the same time, warning the government of South Sudan to be extra wary of Western Military Cooperation. His opposition to Western Intervention in African Affairs, however, was more ideological and philosophical than personal—he adored Hilde Johnson, a Westerner, so much that he named his own daughter after her. Above all, he was a priest in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, a religion with Western origin and connection.

Isaiah Abraham displayed his uncompromising loyalty to the SPLM/A in the article Southern political expediency is no brainer, June 23, 2009 when he said the following to those who accused him of being an agent of the group whose pockets are stuffed by the NCP:

“No way, am no 467 of the Tumsah Battalion and will be the last to leave the party when my breath is gone! What will I tell those who die ahead of me when I join them if I shuttle between my stomach and my heads? Shame on me if…”

He showed his admiration for and the belief in the SPLA in the article Rebellion or no rebellion, the South is moving on! April 5, 2011 when he offered this opinion about the SPLA—South Sudan Army:

“Our army isn’t the best yes, and has public relation problems and lacks training, but they are the best fighters when it comes to defense…”

In support of the oil shutdown by the government of South Sudan, Isaiah Abraham had the following words from the article South Sudan must not waver in its decision to keep oil production shut, February 28, 2012”:

“After the shutdown of oil production therefore, our people must not look back or compromise so to start returning our market through the Republic of the Sudan. There is no way again for our leadership in Juba to rush back to beg Khartoum for continuation of facilities usage. We will find our way here, and around our friendly countries not anymore through the rogue Republic called the Sudan…I’m back again to salute our leader Comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit and his able team led by a warrior Comrade Pagan Amum Okiech for a job well done. Brother Amum has shown again and again that he is there for the people of South Sudan, something a gang of malicious men and busy bodies among us are hell bound to die about. They must shut up, and leave such rare shots to do the job for them.”

Isaiah Abraham had unequivocal view on the Abyei perennial dispute, declaring that Abyei must be liberated at the barrel of a gun. In the article, I fear for the future of Abyei and other disputed areasOctober 13, 2012 he complained about the occupation of South Sudanese border areas of Abyei, Panthou, Hofra Al Nahas, Kofi Kingi, Kaka and 14 Mile, concluding that the talks between the two countries over these issues have failed miserably because the talks usually shy away from addressing the fundamental problem of land ownership. He blamed our leaders for their poor sightedness and urged them to chart a new better-informed way forward based on the bitter lessons of these wanton failures.

Isaiah Abraham was never shy of combative debate when it came to issues dear to his heart, particularly those he considered indispensable to the betterment of the republic of South Sudan. In one of his longest article, South Sudanese leader will not be re-elected, September 11, 2012 which he wrote in defense of Mabioor Garang de Mabioor, he viciously attacked his colleague and fellow Citizen-Newspaper-Columnist, Mr. Ateny Wek, arguing that he (Ateny) had taken sides by wrongly attacking the son of the late for simply exercising his freedom of expression as a free citizen in a free nation.

But his views on certain issues were not immutable; one would fairly argue that his opinions were generally circumstance-driven and time-dictated. For example, when the SPLM leader banned the SPLM-DC on its inception, Isaiah Abraham took the opposite view and argued that SPLM-DC shouldn’t be banned. Later on, May 29, 2012, he strongly urged the government of South Sudan to immediately ban SPLM-DC, accusing the official opposition party of political sabotage and collaboration with the enemy—Khartoum government.

Before his untimely, unfortunate and conspiratorial death, Isaiah Abraham had been threatened many times in the past, one of which is vividly recounted in the article, Writing isn’t about fame or money September 7, 2009.” As narrated by Dr. Majak D’Agot, and Nhial Bol during the Memorial Services of Isaiah Abraham, Juba, December 13th, 2012, the threats against Isaiah Abraham were real, relentless and nerve-wracking to the extent that Isaiah Abraham—fearless and committed to his noble cause as he was—was contemplating seeking asylum in a foreign country. Unfortunately, as we all know, he met his death few days before his friends could come to his rescue.

Ironically, Isaiah Abraham managed to survive the over 22 years of South Sudan liberation struggle against the consecutive repressive regimes in Khartoum only to die at the hands of his fellow South Sudanese countrymen and -women. Surely, it is “Not Yet Uhuru” in the Republic of South Sudan!!

PaanLuel Wël ( is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers: He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter Account or on the blog:

Tribute To Isaiah Abraham: Verbatim from the Memorial Services of Isaiah Abraham

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me. By Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps, Germany, 1937.

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba City, South Sudan.

Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: The Dark Ages of South Sudan Liberation

Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: The Dark Ages of South Sudan Liberation

Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol Chan, aka Isaiah Abraham, was killed on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012, at his Gudele House, Juba City, in South Sudan. He was buried on December 9th, 2012, at his ancestral hometown of Kongor, Jonglei State. His Memorial Services, attended by around 7,000 people, was held today, December 13th, 2012, at May 16th Street, Pande Bioor Ajang Duoot (Bioor Athuot), in Juba City, South Sudan. Below are the verbatim from the charged funeral that was attended by all the leading politicians—Ministers, MPs, Governors, and state officials, business people, civil society groups, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors, media groups, and the lay people from all over South Sudan. The verbatim were collected and translated by Deng Dekuek and posted on his Facebook Page, just as the funeral was unfolding.

For those who might be wondering if the President, Salva Kiir, and the Vice President, Dr. Machar, were in attendance, they were not. They were invited but they decided, for one reason or another, better known to themselves and their advisors, not to attend, at least in person. I say ‘at least in person’ because there is no way that they could not have been, alertly, following the proceedings and speeches from the funeral, deep inside their houses/offices.

Not only the President and his Deputy who were conspicuously absent, so too were the prominent ministers from Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria Regions. Perhaps, according to Mach-Kuol, the Equatorians view it as an internal Dinkan power struggle that they should never involve themselves in while the Bahr el Ghazalians top politicians were, ostensibly, expecting a hostile reception from the relatives of the deceased owing to the fact that some people have been trying their best to twist the tragedy as a Bor Dinka vs Bahr el Ghazal Dinka strife. Yet, the first victims of such cruelty—Dengdit Ayok, Nhial Bol and Deng Athuai, among others—were sons and daughters from Greater Bahr el Ghazal Dinka.

Mach-Kuol still has it that Dr. Riek Machar was in a catch-22 position. While his heart might have been overwhelmingly with the grieving people of South Sudan over the assassination of Isaiah Abraham, his only true supporter from the Dinka Community who had come out openly, campaigning for his presidency when it is a near taboo within his community to do so, he (Dr. Machar) was equally aware that his mere presence, and even the slightest speech, on this occasion could have been used against him, with the claim that he is exploiting the death of Isaiah Abraham to his selfish political advantage by driving a wedge between the Bor and Bahr el Ghazal Dinkas so that he can later receive the presidency on a golden plate after the Dinkas have finished themselves. This is the best way—maybe there could be other plausible reasons—one can fathom his absence from the Memorial Services of Isaiah Abraham.

Interestingly, outraged as their messages boasted, none of the said speakers, particularly those in the echelons of government, have dared to resign till the killers of Isaiah Abraham are apprehended. Action speaks louder than words. Only the mass resignation of the said government officials—federal and state—would be as embarrassing to the government as much as the killing of Isaiah Abraham. Would President Kiir dare to accept their resignations and replace them? It is highly unlikely for the president lest he incriminates himself. The “outraged” officials would then have killed two birds with one stone: backing up their words with actions while still retaining their seats, and more importantly, compelling the government to identify, arrest and prosecute the killers of Isaiah Abraham (the killers are known, read the verbatim).

Verbatim from the Memorial Services of Isaiah Abraham as Recorded and Translated by Deng Dekuek According to his Facebook Page Postings.

| Twic East MP, Deng Dau Malek: What are we doing in the government if the government is killing our people… If the government is genuine, it should not be part of the investigation… The bounty is not worth it… If a nation cannot protect its people then we should form our militias (loudest and longest applause)… NCP has taken over the government; if you bring the behaviors of Saleh Gosh to South Sudan, even the President will not survive! You’re threatening our children. We are capable of protecting our children and ourselves…South Sudanese are people who cannot be threatened. If you threaten them they become wild… So don’t threaten them! The establishment killed Isaiah; we are saying it here and we don’t want people to run to Salva and say people are talking shit… We are saying it in broad daylight. We were asked a specific question in Kongor during the burial…1. Who killed Isaiah? 2. Who is going to form the committee? 3 Who will be investigated… You Bor people, if you can’t answer these, then what are you doing in the government…. You’re either with the killers or with Isaiah… If the government is not responsible, then those who did this should clean up after their shit! If you want to take our lives, you will take it at a very expensive cost to yourself.

| Oyai Deng Ajak, Minister of National Security: I don’t want people from Bor to resign from Government and if it is confirmed that it is the National Security who killed Isaiah Abraham, I will resign from the Government…If the government is killing our people, we will fight the government…we shouldn’t resign… In revolutionary school, we were not taught to resign; we should fight for reform…Nothing will save face for us in National Security until we find the killers of Isaiah Abraham…The people threatening people are not using communication systems from South Sudan but are using Skype and it has been very difficult for my team to track them and we hope FBI will help us with this….On Sunday, 3 days before the killing, we had a meeting with Beny Kiir about security meeting with Khartoum… Then after the meeting, the President said he would call a meeting of all security organs to review security situation in Juba… Then following Isaiah’s death, we were all called with all our directors including the Governor of Central Equatoria. We briefed the President… In a serious way the president said you all have to investigate… The interior is investigating, the national security, CID, military intelligence is investigating…you need security sector reform, that is what I have told the President…

|  LAWRENCE KORBANDY,  the Head of South Sudan Human Rights Commission: The Minister of National Security should resign and those of other security organs if the government is sincere…. Government should not condemn government, it should let civil societies condemnn it… South Sudan will be born as a failed state prediction is becoming true…Human Rights Abusers are more than the citizens here in South Sudan… Journalist, I must tell you this: the assassination of Isaiah should be a determination for you to wage war against what you see is wrong in this country.

| Nicodemous Arou Maa’n: I know you security people are in attendance, I ask you, who are you protecting by killing people? Who is it that you are protecting? The government is messing up and if you don’t want to be corrected, whoever the coward you’re and responsible for the death of Diing, please avail yourself!

| Ministry of Interior representative, General Kur Michael: The killers are unprofessional, they don’t know the messages are recorded not just in the phone (end of speech, the shortest). This was in reference to the fact that the killers took Isaiah Abraham’s phone that contained all the threatening messages he had received earlier before his death. The messages are not just only in the phone; they can be found too at the Mobile Phone Provider Headquarters where everything is recorded and kept electronically.

| The Citizen Newspaper Editor, Nhial Bol: Isaiah asked we go into exile, I told him I am too old but I promised to get him a ticket on Friday but he died on Wednesday. The bounty ($50,000 USD) should go to the National Security because they know who killed him… Please minister takes your money…Government investigates yourself…the money should go to National Security, the same security sending people messages… You think we will leave Juba, you will have to leave like Jallaba…we won’t leave this country and you can be assured of that.

| Deptuy Minister, Dr. Majak Agoot: Before I went to Bor I was informed by Isaiah that he was receiving death threats from unknown numbers… We wanted to help him after Majok Ayom’s burial but he was killed on the day we returned from Bor… Isaiah is bigger in death than in life… This community has witnessed a number of mysterious deaths since the times of struggle… We want this to be the end of mysterious deaths in this community… If the government doesn’t find the killers, then there is nothing that will change the view that this was an officially endorsed killing.

| Deptuy Minister, Dr. Majak Agoot, quoting a Twic East Dinka Paramount Chief, Manyok Ajak: South Sudanese are calling for a second liberation because this is not the government we fought for…. A country founded on the ideals of freedom and human rights should not be killing its people. As a cattle keeping people, if a cow does not nurture its young one, it is sold. And if the neighbor knows this cow is worthless, he won’t buy it. Then the only option is to kill it because it is no good except for its beef.

| Gabriel Alaak Garang, Master of Ceremony and the SPLM Secretary for Finance: All the three organs of the security are represented here. Manyok Biar, Mading Ngor, Deng Atem, Kuir Garang, Mabior Garang and many more are being threatened… The message to the killers is: you kill them in cold-blood if you have a problem with us. We will not tolerate this. You want to kill innocent people, there are rebels in this country and some live in Juba, why don’t you kill them? This is a message to those who have been threatening people… I understand that some people are still receiving death threats… Why do you kill writers? IT IS AN OPINION! You don’t kill people because they talk. South Sudan cannot be developed by those who don’t talk.

| Civil Rights Activist, Deng Athuai Mawiir, addressing President Kiir: You put all your cousins as security and you let 30 people drive you… What are you afraid of? If you’re afraid of governing your people… If you can’t govern your people… You cannot govern with left-hand looking for history and steal from the people with the right-hand! To the international community, don’t leave us alone we will push this government away by all means.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty

| Civil Rights Activist, Deng Athuai Mawiir, addressing Isaiah Abraham mother: Those things that have happened to you are those that happened to my mum during Anyanya I, she lost her husband and most of her sons… In July, I looked into a grave but I returned from the brink… They’re still threatening people; we will bring you [the government] down…we will bring you down…we will bring you down!

| Political commentator and Opinion Writer, Ateny Wek Ateny: On behalf of South Sudanese Writers and Opinion Writers, the security is indiscriminately threatening all South Sudanese… The hope for a democratic nation is waning… Only a fool would consider a writer as threatening…. It is better to live with an intelligent adversary than to live with a fool…the 50,000 bounty would have helped if it were paid to protect lives.

| Prof. Taban Lo Liyong: We have MPs who don’t talk, they make laws but they don’t follow up how the laws are being implemented… This is why we have to write and teach this nation…

| Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth: You security people, bring the people who killed Isaiah to book, if you can’t then you’re the very people who did it. You cannot protect government through murders, threats and intimidations… A liberation without democracy, a liberation without rights is not a liberation… The writers are the correctors… Don’t misbehave in the name of the government… The 50,000 USD bounty is not a solution… It will not produce anybody… We tolerated death in the name of Liberation Struggle… But we will not tolerate deaths from cold-blooded murders…. We will give the government the benefit of the doubt but if you fail to bring the murderers to book…we will bring them as Bor Community.

| Late Isaiah Abraham’s Mum, Abuna Rebecca Lueth Wel: My sons died for this country… The eldest one was killed in Nasir, the other one was killed in Itang, and another one was killed in Yei and now you killed this one for me… I have been wondering when the Arabs came to Juba to kill Isaiah… I wrap my head in a white cloth because I wish South Sudan to be in peace and he who wraps his head in black and kills people at night is responsible for ruining your country; please count me out.

| Aguil D’Chut Deng: I am so glad that the head of security is here and he can go and tell President Kiir Mayardit… “Mr. President, if we can’t catch Yau Yau why are we killing the innocent people in front of us?”

| Susan Page (US Ambassador): I will talk about accountability and this is what it is called for here… I am surprised that the ministers, MPs and government officials are speaking against their own government. This is encouraging…. Accountability starts at the Ministry of Justice, if you catch these people, you must take them somewhere for justice to be served.

| Atem Garang Dekuek: The government we fought for and brought into power was for our prosperity…. If we feel that the government doesn’t serve our interests, we will go back to the villages…Death of Isaiah is a challenge to the government… People will assume 2 things… 1. The government is weak and cannot protect its own… 2. The government killed him… Whatever the case, if the killers are not brought to justice, the credibility of the government is questionable. Why did the police destroy the crime scene? The FBI should start by investigating the police….The Bounty ($50,000 USD) should be used to hire writers….if you’re stupid and cannot reply the writings, you shouldn’t be killing people.

| James Koak Ruei, Jonglei State MP: This country is being robbed; they came here by air, by road, by foot… You priest need to pray for this country… This culture of murdering people at night is not with us Nilotic people…we fight people in broad daylight; this demonic spirit needs to go…Jonglei State, the largest state where the liberation war started. Jonglei State where the loudest patriots hail from. Jonglei State with the largest population. Jonglei State, I will speak on behalf of Jonglei State. Isaiah is from the third Battalion that formed SPLA, Tiger. This is the government of Tiger, can Tiger kill a Tiger? Who’s this government that is killing people? We in Jonglei cannot tolerate this? This government is a result of Dr. John Garang, he is a son of Jonglei.

| The heartbreaking speech from the 14-year-old Aluel Isaiah Abraham: I believe my father was killed because he wanted a better South Sudan and I am not afraid to say that…my father’s passion for South Sudan has left me without a father, left my siblings without a father, left my mother without a spouse.

Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, the first martyr for the Freedom of Expression in the Republic of South Sudan

Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, the first martyr for the Freedom of Expression in the Republic of South Sudan

Finally, all credits should go to Deng Dekuek who painstakingly recorded and translated, some from Dinka to English, the above quoted portions of speeches. I will upload sounds and bits from the Memorial Services tomorrow! It is my sincere hope, wish and prayer that none of this quoted speeches would ever find its way into the dirtiest hands of the security agency, to be used against any of the above mentioned speakers to either threaten, harass, kidnap, maim or kill them, on an account of what is quoted within these pages. This is only but a small token, a meriting tribute to our fallen comrade, Isaiah Abraham!!

PaanLuel Wël ( is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers: He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter Account or on the blog:

“The South bears no grudge against any nation; it has no grudge against Great Britain, nor against the United Arab Republic [1]. With the former she hopes to share the benefits of the Commonwealth of free nations, and with the latter she is bound by the Nile. Neither have we in the South any ill-intentioned towards the North; we demand nothing short of self-determination, after which we shall be good friends.” –A quote from The Problem of the Southern Sudan (1963), by Joseph Oduho and William Deng Nhial.

By PaanLuel Wël, Washington DC, USA, Planet Earth

3.    Anya Nya One Era

With the defeat [2] of the Southern Mutineers in Torit in 1955, the North shifted its attention to Southern Sudanese politicians in parliament who had refused to back the new constitution—the constitution could only be passed in a unanimous decision—and in the process, succeeded to paralyze PM Khalil’s government. In a grand conspiracy to neutralize and to rid the government of Southerners’ perceived undue influence, the North engineered a bloodless military coup against PM khalil’s government so as to get rid of parliament, and by extension Southern Sudanese’ political voice. Consequently, in 1958, General Abboud declared [3] a coup, dissolved parliament and installed himself as the new leader of government. In February 1964, the Abboud regime expelled [4] Christian Missionaries from Southern Sudan, accusing them of inciting Southern Intellectuals against the government of the Sudan. However, that was a pretext for the real reason for their expulsion was due to the education they were offering to Southern Sudanese that sharply contradicted and undermined Khartoum state policy [5] of Arabization and Islamization—Arabic was declared the state language and Islam the state religion while Christian Missionaries were teaching English and preaching Christianity in the South.

Soon after, Southern Sudanese politicians were harassed, suppressed, detained and humiliated for their political activities [6]. With political freedom curtailed within the country and with no ready army to fight for their interests, Southern Sudanese politicians led by Father Saturnino Lohure, Joseph Howaru Oduho and William Deng Nhial secretly left the country in a row into the neighboring countries where they regrouped and reorganized themselves into a formidable political and military force ready to instigate a revolutionary struggle to free South Sudan from the North. Among those Southern leaders [7] who emerged from this political sensitizations and organizations were: Father Saturnino Lohure, Joseph Oduho, Akuot Atem Atem, Aggrey Jaden, Gordon Muortat Mayen, William Deng Nhial, Marko Rume, Muorwel Malou and Joseph Lagu Yanga, to mention but just a few. The Sudan African Closed District Union (SACDU) [8] was formed thereafter by Father Saturnino Lohure (Patron), Joseph Oduho (chairperson), Marko Rume (Vice-Chairperson) and William Deng Nhial (Secretary General).

This was the beginning of the Anyanya One Movement that later signed the Addis Ababa Accord in 1972. SACDU started mobilizing Southern Sudanese politicians, students, civil servants and peasants in an effort to launch an effective military campaign against the Arab north. In 1967, the SACDU changed its official name to the Nile Provincial Government (NPG)—basically the government in the Anyanya One liberated areas—and Gordon Muortat was elected the new leader of the Movement. However, in 1969, Joseph Lagu—Muortat’s Chief of General Staff of the Anyanya Forces—staged a bloodless coup with the help of the Israelis and took over the Movement—again renamed as the South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM), with Anyanya as its military wings. It was under the stewardship of Joseph Lagu, Joseph Oduho and Emmanuel Abuur Nhial that the Anyanya One Movement negotiated and signed the Addis Ababa Peace Accord in 1972.

And like its descendant—the SPLM/A, Anyanya One Movement was rocked by political infightings [9] and endless power struggles. There was a power struggle between Father Saturnino and Gordon Muortat, between Joseph Lagu and Joseph Oduho, between Father Saturnino and Joseph Oduho, between Joseph Lagu and Saturnino Lohure, between William Deng and Joseph Lagu and Joseph Oduho. Equally, Samuel Gai Tut and Akuot Atem Mayen were accused of corruption and insubordinations [10]. When distributing firearms and ammunitions secured from abroad, Father Saturnino was accused [11] of favoring Catholics and his Lotuho officers like Joseph Oduho as opposed to Protestant, Madi officers like Joseph Lagu. Father Saturnino was further accused of siphoning off money donated by Anya nya friends from the International community, chiefly the Vatican,  by diverting the money into his personal bank without informing the rest. And there was even a coup [12] like the 1991 Nasir coup, staged by Joseph Lagu against Gordon Muortat Mayen. But unlike the failed Nasir coup [13], it succeeded to topple the leader, and brought about political stability that afforded the Anyanya forces to fight the Arab more effectively rather than dwelling on their internal issues.

The biggest setback for the Anyanya One Movement was when they lost Father Saturnino Lohure [14] on 22 January 1967. He was killed in Uganda near Kitgum on his way to Southern Sudan by the Ugandan forces. Politics and religion played a leading role in his death because there was a bitter power struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants in Uganda. Father Saturnino—an ordained Catholic Priest and a politician initiated into, and well versed in, the nitty-gritty of dirty politics—somehow found himself taking side [15] in the internal Ugandan power politics.  That made it easier for the Arab North to influence the powers of the day in Uganda to eliminate him. The trend is strikingly scary—Dr. John Garang, George Athor Deng and Father Saturnino all died in mysterious circumstances in, or on their ways from, Uganda.

The Addis Ababa Agreement of 27 February, 1972

According to Ezboni Modiri [16], the head of Anyanya One Delegation to the Addis Ababa Peace Talks, the outsiders imposed the Addis Ababa Agreement on the SSLM. To be appreciated is the fact that the Anyanya One Movement had a strong diplomatic and the military backing of the Christian Missionaries in the West—who were bitter after their expulsion from the Sudan, and military support from Israel—a nation that was embroiled in a do-or-die conflict with the Arab Nations, Sudan included. However, by 1971, the Christian missionaries were already frustrated with the protracted war and the destruction it was causing in the South. Moreover, they were duped [17] by Khartoum government that had appeared to be Pro-west and ready to settle the war in the South if only the West, and Christian Missionaries in particular, would rein in the Anyanya One Rebel. Instead of continuing to arm the rebels, Christian Missionaries started campaigning for political settlement through peaceful negotiation between the government of the Sudan and the rebel of the SSLM.

And in a similar deceptive move the NCP tricked [18] Dr. Riek Machar to sign the Khartoum Peace Agreement of 1997, the government in Khartoum was sending out false feelers and duplicitous indications to the West that it was ready and willing to end the war and gave Southerners their political demands. Israel too was beginning to relax their military and training support to the rebels. Confronted with a situation of losing all allies that had been arming and training them, the Anyanya One Movement under Joseph Lagu [19] acquiesced to the demand of the Christian Missionaries and entered into a Peace Process with the North in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As Arop Madut-Arop succinctly explains, Southerners were caught up in the proverbial catch-22 situation: “to go back to the devil—their supposed enemy, or plunge into the deep blue sea—the denial of the material support [from their allies in the West and Israel] in case they refuse being herded back into the enemy camp” [20].

Abel Alier Kwai (as the Vice-President of the Sudan) and Dr. Mansour Khalid ( as the Foreign Affairs Minister) led the delegates from the government of the Sudan while Ezboni Mondiri Gwonza led the delegates from the rebel sides [21]. The delegates to the Peace Process from the Anyanya One Movement were: Ezboni Mondiri (leader) Dr. Lawrence Wol Wol (S.G), Mading de Garang (Spokesperson), Colonel Frederick Brian Maggot (special military Rep.), Oliver Batali Albino (member), Anelo Voga Morjan (member), Rev. Paul Puot (member), and Job Adier de Jok (member). The negotiation process began in January 1972 and the agreement was signed on February 27, 1972.

The substances of the 1972 Addis Ababa Accord were the same as those of the 2005 CPA [22] except that there was no standing army of South Sudan—the South was granted political autonomy with an elected regional assembly and a regional president based in Juba. The president of Southern Sudan was, just like during the CPA transitional period, automatically the Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan in Khartoum. The only conspicuous differences between the 1972 Addis Ababa Accord and the 2005 CPA was that the CPA guaranteed a fully funded Southern Army composed entirely of the SPLM/A rebels and the referendum clause on self-determination.

4.    The Post-Addis Ababa Accord Era

Although the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed in February 1972, it was not until on March 27, 1972 [23] that it was finally ratified by the SSLM. This was mainly due to the opposition by some members [24] of the Anyanya Forces that led to the deferment of the ratification process that was initially scheduled on March 12, 1972: lack of a Southern standing army to protect and to enforce the full implementation of the Addis Accord led some members of the Anyanya One Movement to oppose the agreement. Known as the Progressive Group, these military officers felt that the Agreement was rushed, that the Anyanya One Forces were poorly trained and ill-prepared for integration and that the North could not be trusted to adhere to the stipulations of the agreement without the presence of a strong Southern Armed Forces. Moreover, they strongly felt that the agreement was an embarrassing anticlimax to the goal of their armed rebellion—full independence of South Sudan from the North, a topic the Addis Ababa Accord never broached.

Emmanuel Abuur Nhial led this Progressive Group and its members included the following Anyanya One military officers [25]: Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, Alison Manani Magaya, Afred Deng Aluk, Stephen Madut Baak, Paul Awel, Camilo Odongi, Habakkuk Soro, Disan Ojwe Olweny, Albino Akol Akol and Captain John Garang. A letter [26] and leaflets were written and circulated to all the Anyanya Camps in which the Progressive Group called for the total rejection of the Addis Ababa Accord, committed themselves to resist its implementation, recommended the detention of Joseph Lagu and agreed to appoint a new leader to continue with the war. But Saturnino Ariha—the Anyanya Commander of Eastern Equatoria—leaked their plot to Joseph Lagu [27] before it was executed. Immediately, Camilo Odongi and Disan Ojwe Olweny were arrested and the group went underground.

In his 1987 interview with the Heritage Foundation, Dr. John Garang rationalized their actions by saying the following: “We calculated that the clique in Khartoum would erode the government in Juba because its basis for the Agreement was first to absorb the Anyanya into the National Army, second to integrate it after absorption and third to destroy it. So you have the process of achieving a cheap victory over the Anyanya forces” [28]. After the ratification of the Accord, Abel Alier Kwai—the then Vice President of the Sudan—was appointed as the first President of the High Executive Council: the autonomous government of the South. Joseph Lagu and his high-ranking members of the Anyanya Forces were promoted, absorbed and integrated into the National Army. The rest of the Anyanya forces such as William Nyuon Bany [29], who later emerged as a leading member of the SPLM/A, were absorbed and integrated as foot soldiers.

On the political front, there were a lot of power struggle and political infighting [30] within the High Executive Council—the Juba-based Southern government. Tribalism and the hidden hand of President Nimeiri played the leading role in the struggle for power in Juba: President Nimiri was keen, and did succeed, to play one Southern leader against the other.  For example, Joseph Lagu was accusing Abel Alier and Bona Malwal of fostering tribalism and Dinka domination of the High Executive Council. On the other hand, Clement Mboro and Abel Alier were accusing Joseph Lagu, Joseph Tombura and their Equatoria backers of siding with Nimeiri to divide and to weaken Southerners through the redivision of the South into three regions—the so-called Kokora.

It was a messy, self-destructive political maneuvering that delighted President Nimeiri and benefited the North at the expenses of the South. So when President Nimeiri finally discarded the Addis Ababa Agreement, it was a smooth walk in the park for him for there was no credible opposition to his decree since he had done decisively with both the army and the politicians in the South. Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu, through their ceaseless, self-defeating political squabbling, gave him the free ride he needed to breach the agreement. One is left wondering with whom they thought they were dealing with?

The situation was not less contentious on the military front too. The absorption and integration process of the Anyanya Forces into the National Army was a full-fledged game of cat and mouse between the two forces. It appeared each knew what the other party hidden agenda was and each was therefore fully prepared to pre-empt and to impose their plan on the other. The Anyanya Battalions [31] knew that the absorption and integration exercise was a charade meant to dilute their power, to transfer them to the north and then to disintegrate them through well-coordinated retirement process. By all means and intents, that was only going to happen over their dead bodies. The Khartoum government, on the other end, also knew that they would never have full control of the entire country, especially the South, with Anyanya Battalions still intact and fully armed in the South. The solution was to absorb, integrate, transfer and then to retire them—lest the goal of Islamization and Arabization would never see the light of the day in the South. But the well-armed, fully-organized and highly-alerted Anyanya Forces were widely suspicious of and openly hostile to all policies recommended by the Khartoum government [32].

Matters were worsened by the presence and sustained agitation of the Underground Movement within the Anyanya Forces—those military officers who had been opposed to the Addis Ababa Accord led by Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, popularly known as Abuur Matuong. For instance, when the integration process began in Malek, Upper Nile, it was abruptly abandoned “when a young officer, Captain John Garang de Mabior, put forward a request before the Technical Committee for Absorption to suspend the process of reintegration in Upper Nile for the time being until such a time that it was conducive to make the absorption work. The head of the absorption team, Brigadier Mirghani Suleiman, was stunned that a junior officer could speak on behalf of his senior commanders” [33].

But Captain Garang, the brain behind the Underground Movement, was not done yet, for he went on to write leaflets instructing Anyanya Forces in Equatoria to resist integration [34]. Joseph Lagu wrote that “around May-June, a leaflet appeared in Torit District asking the Anya Nya to refuse integration with the Sudanese army…The leaflet…originated in Bor…It was masterminded by John Garang…Following the appearance of the leaflet, I sent for Captain John Garang to report to Juba without delay and he came as ordered. His prompt response softened my feelings. I showed him the leaflet and asked if he were the author. He looked down, then raised his brows and said “yes.” I admired his courage and honesty, I decided to build rather than destroy him” [35].

But it was in Bussere, Bahr el Ghazal, after Joseph Lagu transferred him there for instigating troubles in Malakal, that Captain John Garang had his biggest impact. Most of his buddies in the Underground Movement were stationed there. Upon his arrival, Captain John Garang “organized the officers and taught classes on Economics and radical sociology and political theories…[the Addis Ababa] Agreement was radically analyzed and interpreted by this group as hollow and a palliative use to disarm the Anya Nya through a facade of peace Agreement” [36]. According to Joseph Lagu, “a series of problems started there following his arrival” [37]. When the Nimeiri government sent Joseph Lagu to Bussere to calm down his rebellious forces, Lagu was jeered and declared a traitor by the soldiers. Lagu left swiftly dismissing the group as a tribal army—over 90% of the battalion were Dinkas led by Lt. Colonel Afred Deng, Lt. Colonel Joseph Kuol Amuom, Major Stephen Madut Baak, Major Albino Akol Akol, Major Thomas Dhol, Major Santino Ajing Dau and Captain John Garang. A delegation sent from Khartoum to arrest Captain John Garang left empty handed after the Battalion threatened to rebel should the Captain be detained [38]. Thereafter, the young restless Captain was a sent to abroad on a government scholarship, thus, ending his trouble-making in the army.

But it was not only Captain John Garang who was causing lots of headache to the government. As the country was commemorating the third anniversary of the Addis Ababa Agreement in March 1975, a military unit of Southern soldiers mutinied in Akobo, killing their commander—Colonel Abel Chol, in the process. The mutiny was triggered by a rumor that they were about to be disarmed and disbanded. While most soldiers in the group were arrested and disarmed, the ringleaders led by Lt. Vincent Kuany and Corporal James Bol Kur marched to Ethiopia where they founded the Anyanya Two Movement on February 20, 1977, in Bilpam. Similarly, in 1976, there was another mutiny in Wau led by Captain Afred Agwet Awan, allegedly sparked by a letter written by Benjamin Bol Akok from Juba to Joseph Oduho and Malath Joseph Lueth in which Bol was “informing Oduho and Lueth that time was opportune to start the war for total liberation of South Sudan” [39]. Brigadier Emmanuel Abuur Nhial—the most senior Southerner in the army by then—was killed while pursuing Afred Agwet Awan [40] to persuade him to come back to town.

When, in 1973, the government requested Peter Cyrillo, a former Anyanya Officer, to transfer Battalion 116 from Juba to a new location, Cyrillo was “beaten up and arrested by his own trooped” [41] till an assurance was given that there was no such plan anymore. In 1974, the same Battalion 116, under the command of Habakkuk Soro, forcefully occupied Juba airport and wholly sealed off Juba city when a rumor, supposedly spread by two southern students at the university of Khartoum—Lual Achuek and Walter Kunijwok Ayoker—reached them that there was an imminent coup against President Nimeiri. Interestingly, by this time, Nimeiri was the darling of the South. Sometimes, even individual soldiers were brave enough to stage their own rebellion: in 1982, Bol Madut “single-handedly shot his way into the bush hoping that the rest of [his] Battalion 110” [42] in Aweil would follow him to start the revolutionary struggle.

To fully capture and appreciate the general mood in the South by that time is to think of the Jews during the birth of Jesus of Narareth in the 6-7 B.C. The South was in a grip of an imminent war and every Anyanya officer thought he could be the first to trigger it much the same way that the Jews were expecting the birth of the Promised Messiah and every family thought they were the one to bring Him forth. The image conjuring up from all these incidents is that rebellions, mutinies and the threat of war were the order of the day by the late 1970s and early 1980s.

So when Kerubino Kuanyin rebelled on May 16, 1983 [43], it didn’t come as a big surprise to anyone. But little did the Khartoum government thought that it would blossom into an all-out war that would culminate in the permanent breakup of the Sudan. To most observers, it was just one of those crazy occurrences that had come and gone with everything remaining business as usual. In fact, even among the Underground Movement coordinated by Dr. John Garang after the unfortunate death of Abuur Matuong at the hand of his fellow Southerner and Anyanya One colleague—Afred Agwet Awan, the scheme to launch the armed insurrection was scheduled to begin on August 18, 1983 in homage to the 1955 Torit Mutiny that had occurred on August 18.

[1]  A defunct union between Egypt and Syria

[2] Scopas Poggo, “The First Sudanese Civil War: Africans, Arabs, and Israelis in the Southern Sudan, 1955-1972” [2008].

[3] Bona Malwal, “People & Power in Sudan: The Struggle for National Stability” [1981].

[4] Douglas Johnson, “The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars: Peace Or Truce” [2011].

[5] Richard Gray, “A history of the Southern Sudan 1839-1889” [1961].

[6] William Deng Nhial’s Letter to Dr. Richard Gray [1962]

[7] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey Through a State (From Ruin To Hope)” [2006].

[8] Abel Alier Kwai, “Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured” [1992]

[9] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey through a state: from ruin to hope.” [2006]

[10] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[11] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey through a state: from ruin to hope.” [2006]

[12] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[13] Peter Adwok Nyaba, “The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan” [1996]

[14] Steve Paterno, “The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure: A Roman Catholic Priest Turned Rebel, the South Sudan Experience” [2007]

[15] Scopas Poggo, “The First Sudanese Civil War: Africans, Arabs, and Israelis in the Southern Sudan, 1955-1972” [2008].

[16] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[17] Yosa Wawa, “The Southern Sudanese Pursuits of Self-Determination: Documents in Political History” [2005]

[18] Mansour Khalid, “War and Peace in the Sudan: A Tale of Two Countries” [2003]

[19] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey through a state: from ruin to hope.” [2006]

[20] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[21] Abel Alier Kwai, “Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured” [1992]

[22] Steven Wondu, “From Bush to Bush. Journey to Liberty in South Sudan” [2011]

[23] Bona Malwal, “People & Power in Sudan: The Struggle for National Stability” [1981].

[24] Dr. John Garang, “Captain John Garang’s Letter to Gen. Joseph Lagu of Anyanya One” [1972]

[25] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[26] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[27] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey through a state: from ruin to hope.” [2006]

[28] Dr. John Garang’s 1987 Heritage Interview with Arop Madut, “Colonel Dr. John Garang Speaks To Heritage On War and Peace in the Sudan, Nov. 2, 1987.” [1987]

[29] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[30] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey through a state: from ruin to hope.” [2006]

[31] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[32] Abel Alier Kwai, “Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured” [1992]

[33] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[34] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey Through a State (From Ruin To Hope)” [2006]

[35] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey Through a State (From Ruin To Hope)” [2006]

[36] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[37] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey Through a State (From Ruin To Hope)” [2006]

[38] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[39] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[40] Joseph Lagu Yanga, “Sudan: Odyssey Through a State (From Ruin To Hope)” [2006]

[41] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[42] Arop Madut-Arop, “Sudan’s Painful Road To Peace: A Full Story of the Founding and Development of SPLM/SPLA.” [2006]

[43] Gabriel Achuoth Deng, “Wars and a new vision for the Sudan: (a political lesson)” [2005]

“An estimated $4 billion are unaccounted for or, simply put, stolen by current and former officials, as well as corrupt individuals with close ties to government officials. Most of these funds have been taken out of the country and deposited in foreign accounts. Some have purchased properties; often paid in cashWe fought for freedom, justice and equality. Many of our friends died to achieve these objectives. Yet, once we got into power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people.” By President Kiir

By PaanLuel Wël, Washington DC, USA, Planet Earth

South Sudan is screwed up! The contents and wordings of the recently released Presidential letter that scandalously alleged that “an estimated $4 billion [are] stolen by current and former [government] officials, as well as [by] corrupt individuals with close ties” to the government of the Republic of South Sudan is, at best, a resounding confirmation of the obvious and, at worst, a flagrant betrayal of nation’s expectation in post-independence era. The letter is a somber reminder of and unsettling testimony to the extent and magnitude to which the current Juba-based SPLM/A has betrayed and abandoned the exceptional aspirations, noble dreams and great vision of the former bush-based SPLM/A.

In that infamous letter of 03 May 2012, President Kiir, the author, squarely admits that “the people of South Sudan and the International Community are alarmed by the [unprecedented] level of corruption in South Sudan.” President Kiir goes on to claim that corruption has no place in his government; acknowledges that many people are suffering in South Sudan, and “yet some government officials simply care (more…)

Are you (or do you know any South Sudanese) Serving in the US Army? Please contact us with the names and contact information!

We at the South Sudanese Bloggers’s blog were greatly inspired by this article about Peter Kuch, a young South Sudanese American serving in the US Army.

As a follow up on and an expansion of that inspirational work by Drew Brooks, we thought it would be a great idea to compile a list of South Sudanese Americans serving in the U.S military and to dedicate their courageous stories and wonderful achievements in a seminal article to be shared with our South Sudanese communities around the world.

We think South Sudanese communities worldwide will be interested and proud to know how their (these) brave young men and women are helping this great nation–USA. We hope their (your) achievements will inspire some people in our communities to do more with their lives given our dark past in Africa and today challenging realities in the West.

We believe our communities need role models and we think the young ladies and gentlemen in the US military exemplify this role. You can reach us at, or just leave a comment on our Facebook page.

We look forward to your collaborative responses!

All the best, 

Agereb Leek Chol and PaanLuel Wel on behalf of the South Sudanese Bloggers’ Teams.

Dear all,

On April 20, 2012, South Sudan’s Minister for General Education and Instructions, Ustaz Joseph Ukel, officially released the results of the South Sudan Certificate ofSecondary Education (SSCSE) Examination, 2011. Attached is my analysis of those results; hope you enjoy the data.

PaanLuel Wel.

Analysis of South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education examination Results, 2011.pdf Analysis of South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education examination Results, 2011.pdf
795K   View   Download  

Analysis of South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education examination Results, 2011.pdf

“Giving an apology is the best way of bringing in peace. We don’t want to pass these painful things to our children. We want them to be living in a peaceful and democratic state in South Sudan…So those of us who have survived and who [have] seen painful things during the war, we need to kick off the process of national reconciliation,” said Dr. Machar in Bor on Tuesday (April 3rd, 2012) during a peace workshop held to reconcile the warring ethnic groups in Jonglei state, as quoted by Sudan Tribune.

Dr. Machar Apology.pdfDr. Machar Apology.pdf
160K   View   Download

By PaanLuel Wël, Washington DC, USA, Planet Earth.

In the politically correct circles of the academic-left of the Western World, there is an understanding, called it a theory or an argument, that goes like this: some foreign cultural practices and beliefs—the caste system in India, killing of twins and albinos in some parts of Africa, witchcraft, polygamy and wife inheritance in Africa and the Islamic world and so forth—are obnoxious, despicable and barbarous. But because these are highly controversial subjects that may, and do indeed, insult those local people, it is better—politically correct—that the West should not talk about—condemn and eradicate—those cultural practices. Rather, it should be left upon the “enlightened” foreigners—the Indians, Africans, Arabs etc—to censure and exterminate their barbaric traditional customs and norms that are, or so they say, virtually anachronistic to the civilized world of the 21st century.

When appropriately and timely applied though, Political Correctness—the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people—can be an effective tool to broach, and perhaps solve, such sensitive issues as the Bor Massacre of 1991. To cut the long story short, none of the members of other South Sudanese communities—not even other sections of the Dinka society—would be prepared to come forward and urge the Bor Dinka Community to accept Dr. Machar’s apology and make peace with him for the fear that they may offend/insult Bor Dinka community—the victims of the 1991 Bor massacre.

Thus, I believe it is upon members of the Bor Dinka community, like myself, to break the silence over the taboo that Dr. Riek Machar, who masterminded the killing of unarmed, innocent civilians of the Greater Bor region, does not deserve to be forgiven, no matter how many apologies he is prepared to offer. To some, dare I say most, aggrieved members of the Bor Dinka community, it hardly makes any difference if and when those apologies are offered in Juba, Bortown, in each of the three counties of the Greater Bor region or even in each of the villages that constitute the Greater Bor community. To such a group of Bor Dinka members, an unequivocal acceptance of Dr. Machar’s apology and the prospect of a genuine reconciliation with him tantamount to the ultimate betrayal of their dead mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, relatives and colleagues killed by armed forces commanded by the very man they are making peace with.

But for how long will the Bor Dinka community gonna hold bitter grudge against a man who has come out—against all odds and intense pressure from tribal bigots within his Nuer community—to unconditionally accept his not-so-admirable past, offer unreserved apology and called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that would open a window of opportunity for the young Republic of South Sudan to come to term with its long troubled past? For how long will the two communities—the Dinkas and the Nuers—be continually defined by an ugly past that none of them had any overall control over? For how long will the Dinkas and the Nuers will the entire country hostage to their tribal enmity? When will the two communities understand that any war—any conflict—between themselves is an all-out war among South Sudanese and any reconciliation and peace between them is the definitive peace for the whole country? Arguably, because of their size and political influence, a war between the Dinkas and the Nuers will always be a war against South Sudan itself while peace and reconciliation between the two will invariably result in long lasting peace and social prosperity for the whole country.

If Dr. Machar—who has unrivaled influence among the Nuer community—has wholeheartedly decided to make peace with his past by apologizing to the victims of his political adventures, isn’t it a high time that the Bor Dinka community welcomes his earnest apology and accept his peaceful overtures for the sake of the young—but already troubled—republic of South Sudan? I believe it is!


When Dr. Machar offered his first public apology to the Bor Dinka Community on August 10, 2011, it was meant as an acknowledgement of his responsibility for the 1991 Bor Massacre—killing and mass displacement of the Bor Dinka civilians—following his defection on 28 August 1991 from the SPLM/A under the leadership of the late Dr. John Garang. The fact that the apology was given in a gathering organized and attended by senior leaders of the Bor Dinka community—including Rebecca Nyanding, the widow of Dr. John Garang that Dr. Machar rebelled against and fought a bitter war with—speak volume to the resolve and determination on the part of Dr. Machar to chart a new bright future for himself as a political leader and for South Sudan as a conflict-ridden nation.

Although Dr. Machar was categorical that his apology was solely aimed at bringing about some kind of a final closure on the dark past of the war era and, hopefully, to engender unity and harmonious relationship between the Dinkas and the Nuers, the apology was, unsurprisingly, received with mixed feelings from both quarters. On the one hand, some members of the Bor Dinka community such as the elders, Rebecca Nyandeng and Malaak Ayuen who were present during the gathering did “expressed their forgiveness to the vice president” and “commended [him] for accepting responsibility for the [Bor] incident.”  To them, the apology was the beginning of a long reconciliation process to come. In their reaction to the apology, the Bor Dinka Students from Uganda described Dr. Machar’s apology as the “beginning of a new era.” On the other hand, some members of the Bor Dinka community thought that the apology was not enough—chiefly because it was delivered in a small house in the distant land of Juba instead of in public gathering in the land of the victims.

The ethnic Nuer community among whom the Vice President hailed from did expressed mixed reactions too. While some welcomed Dr. Machar apology as a long overdue positive initiative to bring together the two estranged communities, others did worry that the Bor Dinka community would use the apology as “evidence of a crime” to arraign him before the ICC court for the 1991 Bor Massacre. Still, some members of the Nuer community like Deng Gatluak thought that the apology was premature:

“I don’t believe Riek Machar apologized just like that to the Dinka Bor community. If it is true and aimed to reconcile with the Bor community, then that reconciliation should have been a two-way process. Who among the Dinka Bor’s top leaders apologized on behalf of late Garang for the killing of Jikany Nuer unarmed civilians in 1985?” [Sudan Tribune, August 10, 2011].

Others though saw the bigger picture, especially given the fact that Dr. Machar, the current vice president of South Sudan, may aspire to the highest office in the future and may not wish to embark on that political quest with a lot of baggage. According to one Lul Gatkuoth Nguth from Canada, Dr. Machar’s apology was nothing less than a “politically astute move, to bring peace and harmony to the [two] communities:”

“In my opinion, it is not a shame that Riek Machar Teny apologized to Dinka Bor community. This is how the politics work. If you go through peace and conciliation process, this term ’apology’ has to apply if you are a real good politician who has a big mind” [Sudan Tribune, August 10, 2011].

It was within, or because of, these not-so-clear reactions from the two disgruntled communities that I responded to Dr. Machar apology with an article “Dr. Machar’s Apology to the Dinka Bor Community: A Tradeoff between long lasting Peace and Social Justice.” In that article written on August 13, 2011, I argued that the Bor Dinka community must trade off deserved social justice for the victims of the Bor Massacre for a long lasting peace and societal harmony in the new republic of South Sudan. My argument was in formed by the recognition that Dr. Machar, the perpetrator of the alleged mayhems, has freely and willingly initiated the peace and reconciliation process and the Bor Dinka community must therefore meet him half-way and strike a compromise for the sake of the country.

The Israelis, in their conflict with the Palestinian Arabs, have a policy referred to as “Land for Peace” in which Israelis are prepared to give up their Biblically land to the Arabs in exchange for peaceful co-existence with them. My contention, therefore, was that the Bor Dinka community should also embrace the policy of “Peace for Justice” instead of the traditional policy of retributive justice—Justice for Peace in which a true peace must be accompanied by a severe punishment for the perpetrator of the crimes. If South Sudanese have made peace—yes, CPA—with President Al-Bashir of Sudan who murdered millions of South Sudanese, how could they not forgive their own son who have volunteered to have his apology accepted and be forgiven for the sins committed by his armed forces?


As I have previously mentioned, one key objection raised by various members of the Bor Dinka community against Dr. Machar’s first apology was that it was delivered in Juba instead of Bortown, and in small house, instead of in a public gathering where most members of the affected community would be present to witness and receive the apology from Dr. Machar. Well, it now appears that that complains from the Bor Dinka was not entirely lost on Guandit Machar. On Tuesday this week, April 3rd 2012, Dr. Machar offered his reaffirmation of the apology to the Bor Dinka community he had last year delivered in Juba. It was publicly delivered in Bortown where the massacre occurred and among those, whose family members were killed, maimed or displaced.

Will that be the end of the story? No, it is not. Not for Dr. Machar himself for he is calling for a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission and not for the Bor Dinka either for they still find issues with the apology itself.

For example, some members of the Bor Dinka community see the apology as a “window dressing” process, delivered in meetings and public gatherings not meant for the discussion of the 1991 atrocities. The allegation is that the first apology was delivered in a gathering meant to mark the anniversary of the death of Dr. John Garang in Rebecca Nyandeng’s home in Juba, while the second apology was given in Bor on an occasion designated to stop the ongoing inter-ethnic strife in Jonglei. Though the two incidences in Bor are related, in that both concern conflict resolution and peace building mechanisms, some members of the Bor Dinka Community do feel that holding his apology on that occasion tends to generalize and hence belittled the magnitude of the Bor Massacre—something they feel should be given its own special day and occasion to discuss it.

Taking advantage of anonymity provided by online websites, some comments on Dr. Machar’s second apology are even harsher. Typical of most tribal bigots in all South Sudanese communities, one commentator from the online, France-based Sudan Tribune went even further in his vehement rejection of Dr. Machar’s second apology in Bor:

“Groups of people who just forgive easily are undoubtedly corrupt; forgiveness is the brother of destruction. Anybody who forgives is encouraging crime on his capacity. No apology is accepted from Dr. Riek Machar and he can go to court with what he did of murdering children, women, and elderly people not only in Bor but even in some part of Nuerland.”

The same antagonistic line of argument was echoed in these words from another online commentator:

“He can make apologies as much as he wishes, but we are not going to buy his craps. His thirst for power forced him to apologize at the wrong time. He will not hold his antelope horn spoon as a president of South Sudan. People who will vote for him are his blind Nuer followers. They know no truth or are denying the facts about the destructions he caused to civilians.”

Moreover, Some within the Bor Dinka Community maintain that the 1991 failed coup against the leadership of Dr. John Garang of the SPLM/A that resulted in the Bor Massacre and the mass displacement of the Bor civilians did not just affected the Bor community but also all the communities of South Sudan. This avowal is well captured below by Peter Nhiany on South Sudanese Bloggers’ blog. Because the comment can best be understood and appreciated in its entirety, I am going to quote the whole statement as it appears on the blog:

“I have a big problem with the repetition of this apology thing from Mr. Vice President. Do I want him forgiven? An answer to this question is obvious but Mr. Vice President just does not get it right. Does he understand that the human catastrophe he caused in Jonglei State didn’t occur neither in Juba nor in Bor town alone. This was a sweeping tragedy across Jonglei from Nyarweng to Anyidi in Bor South. Apologizing while in Juba does not constitutes legitimate apology; apologizing in Bor town does not constitute it either. Do not get me wrong; I’m not rejecting an apology from our Vice President. There is a missing piece that Mr. Vice President overlooks every single time he repeatedly apologizes for his human destruction he committed in 1991. Mr. Vice President forgets that those heroic SPLA soldiers who fought against his vicious army in those months in 1991 were not only from Bor or Jonglei State. They came from all walks of lives from South Sudan communities. I mean from all tribes of South Sudan. When he apologizes, he needs not to forget that he caused harm to other tribes in South Sudan as well and that he should not forget. Kiir Mayardit knows it very well. The 1991 war between SPLA and SSIM did not only killed Bor civillians and Bor citizens who were soldiers, but soldiers from all tribes from South Sudan. I want Mr. Vice President to come clean by not apologizing to one part and leave another out. I love peace and I want our new nation to live in peace for the rest of the generations. Dr. Teny needs not only to apologize to Bor or Jonglei people but to the whole of South Sudan. Whether his intention was to bring victory to the South Sudanese over NIF/NCP, he did it in a wrong way; a way that took away the lives of those who would be helping in developing our new nation now. I do welcome his apology, but he still has more to do in order for him to come clean. Mr. Vice President needs to look at a bigger picture instead. I’m sure we people from Bor are not in position to seek any revenge for what Dr. Teny did to us in 1991. We love peace and will continue to love peace regardless of how much we are hated by the enemies of Peace. I do thank all the soldiers who stood with our leaders to protect not only the people of Bor, but further escalation of the 1991 defection and divide within our party. I’m also sure that all people of Bor or Jonglei communities who were affected by the SSIM rebelling are at this time not seeking any punishment for Dr. Riek Machar-Teny. I hold no grudges against him, but if he wants to continue to be our leader, he really needs to re-strategies and develop new approach. May God bless RSS and South Sudanese.” [Peter Nhiany, April 4, 2012, South Sudanese Bloggers]

Peter Nhiany’s argument that the carnages of the 1991 split didn’t only affected the Bor Dinka community but the entire people of South Sudan is in place. It is true that Dinkas’ as well as Nuers’ civilians and soldiers were indiscriminately killed or maimed and so were other community members of South Sudanese society. But I also think that Dr Machar, as an individual and as a leader, has done enough of his part by leading from front instead of waiting to be pushed around or behind by others. He has initiated the process of national reconciliation and forgiveness. As members of the Bor Dinka community that was heavily affected by the 1991 split within the SPLM/A, we must give him a chance and hear him out before passing the next verdict on the man.

What remain to be done, as Dr. Machar has already proposed, is to organize and have a national conference of all South Sudanese people since all were affected as Mr. Nhiany has explicated, though to varying degree. We can borrow the very model used in South Africa after the demised of Apartheid, or in Rwanda after the genocide, to bring about national dialogue: South Sudan needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with such deep-rooted and emotional issues such as the Bor Massacre. I think that is what Dr. Machar was calling for in his reaffirmation of his apology in Bortown. Remember how people reacted to his first statement offered in Juba? He was told to go to Bortown and made an apology. Well, now he has gone to Bortown, humbling himself to do as members of Bor Dinka community advised him to.

In fact, a call to establish a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission has a lot of support from South Sudanese citizens. Steve Paterno, a South Sudanese political pundit residing in the USA who authored a biography of Father Saturlino Ohure—the spiritual father of South Sudanese liberation struggle, thinks that:

“The VP Riek Machar may be sincere in his apology, but his approach is naïve at best and haphazard at worst. In its recent convention, the SPLM National Liberation Council resolved among other things a need for a national reconciliation. Such undertaking must be institutionalized in a similar way with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is in such a proceeding that we will, for example, know as to what is that Riek Machar did in his capacity that contributed into the Bor Massacre, plus other incidents he is accused of orchestrating.”

Another South Sudanese from the USA, Agereb Leek Chol, a Master Student at Clark University in Massachusetts, also lends his support to the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Sudan:

“On April 3, 2012, my Vice President extended his apology to civilians in Bor town to “confirm” his apology. I will welcome Dr. Riek Machar apology once and for all. The reason is not because he went to the grassroots, but if we want South Sudan and Jonglei State to be in peace as we pray and write about it, we then need to forgive ourselves. This doesn’t mean we forgot Dr. Riek Machar’s crimes during the civil war, but this is the only right way forward. If the Black South Africans reconciled with the Apartheid regime, Hutu and Tutsi in Rwandan, Dr. Garang de Mabior with Dr. Riek Machar in 2002, President Salva with Paulino Matip and Peter Gatdet, then we the civil society have to jump on the bandwagon too. Should Dr. Riek Machar extend his apology to the entire country because the Nasir Coup affected all tribes in the South, then we have to give him some credits because he has started the dialogue and reconciliation process. On a personal note, I ran at a gunpoint in Bor town in 1991 escaping Dr. Riek Machar’s merciless armed forces. South Sudan Oyee! And SPLA Oyeee!!”

It was the same melody from Ayuen Awan. Commenting on a link article on Dr. Machar’s second apology on my Facebook page, Mr. Awan wrote thus:

“A mere apology is not the way to go. Dr. Riek should be dragged to a Truth & Reconciliation Commission for public hearing. Those who were victimized by his brutality should also give their testimonies.”

I did welcome his first Juba apology and I wrote about it sometimes back. As someone from the Bor Dinka community in which the 1991 bloodsheds is still a matter of personal tragedy in every family and as someone who lost relatives in the process, I need not be told what it feel like to broach the subject. But the Bor Dinka community must remember that it was their own sons, lead by Dr. John Garang, who initiated and agreed to make peace with Dr. Machar. It was done lest the blood of the martyrs must have been shed in vain. The Nasir Coup of 1991 weakened the Movement to the point of self-annihilation. The Movememt had to make peace with Dr. Machar, and Dr. Machar had to make peace with the Movement, to ensure that the Movement is strong enough to confront the enemy and achieve its long-term goal of political liberation. And it was achieved, with combined forces of all South Sudanese whose hearts and souls were wedded to the Movement, for better or for worse, in death or life, and in defeat or victory!!


Personally, I hold no grudge against Dr. Machar so long as he works—and he had been doing so since he rejoined the Movement in 2002—for the interest of all South Sudanese people. But if he had decided to offer an apology, I would accept it because it is human nature to apologize if one believes that they have unfairly or unintentionally wrong someone. Dr. Machar is under immense pressure from some diehard tribalists within his own community—yes, there are tribal chauvinists in every community—and the Bor Dinkas must appreciate his resolve to do and say what he is currently doing or saying. For the record, he is the only leader so far to own up to his sins in South Sudan and probably among very few across the African continent. The pride that comes with leadership, particularly in Africa where leaders can easily mobilized their tribes to defeat justice, make it simpler for the horse to pass through the eye of the needle than for the politician to own up to the crime he committed in broad daylight. Ask Kenyans about Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto and you would appreciate Dr. Machar’s overtures for peace in South Sudan.

No matter how much the agonies of the 1991 Bor Massacre may conspire to cloud our present judgment of the man, we the Bor Dinka community must see him not only as the “Riek Machar man col amook ci baai riook” of the past accused of masterminding the massacre of innocent unarmed civilians but also as the current vice president of South Sudan pleading to have his apologies accepted and calling for national reconciliation and healing. It is not a secret that the Bor Dinka Community prides itself as the most civilized, law-abiding, and peace-loving society in South Sudan. Whether or not that is a true reflection of who they are or just a mere self-aggrandizement does not matter; the challenge in front of the Bor Dinka community is whether they are prepared to make peace with the “enemy” who is publicly prepared and ready to make amend with them.

The Bor Dinka community have lost many leading sons—more than any other community relative to their size and the seniority of the victims—to the cause of South Sudan: Akuot Atem Mayen, Martin Majier Ghai, Arok Thon Arok and above all, Dr. John Garang himself. The victims of the 1991 Bor Massacre are more or less part of the costliest package paid to secure the independence of South Sudan. A peaceful and prosperous South Sudan—only attainable with harmonious co-existence of the Dinkas and the Nuers—is the highest gift that any member of the Bor Dinka community can ever bestow on the graves of their beloved lost ones and that all South Sudanese can ever dream to bequeath to their children and children’s children.

Before the Biblical Paul was Paul, he was Saul—a murderous madman targeting Christians in their dens. Who knows, the Saul who murdered the Bor Dinka people might one day be the Paul of the republic of South Sudan!! Like the Jews of Europe, the Bor Dinka community must forgive their tormentors but never forget the atrocities committed against them!!

PaanLuel Wël ( is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers. He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or on the blog:

I was shocked with the appointment of such army of ambassadors all at once at a time when our country is faced with serious economic hardship as a result of the oil shutdown (Luke Dak, USA).

Making Sense of South Sudan Ambassadorial Appoinment.pdf Making Sense of South Sudan Ambassadorial Appoinment.pdf
1008K   View   Download

By Paanluel Wël, Washington DC, USA, Planet Earth.

In exercise of the powers conferred upon him under Article 101 (o) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 A.D, read together with section 25 (1) (4) of the Diplomatic and Consular Service Act 2011, General Salva Kiir Mayaardit, founding and current President of the Republic of South Sudan, issued a Presidential Decree for the appointment of grade (1), (2) and (3) Ambassadors into the Diplomatic and Consular Services in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sudan on March 07, 2012 A.D. The Ambassadorial list consists of 10 grade (1), 43 grade (2) and 25 grade (3), making a total of 78 Ambassadors. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, was directed by the President to transfer and assign the appointed Ambassadors in accordance with the Presidential Decree.

Among those appointed to Grade One are: 1- Mr. Majok Guandon Thiep 2- Dr. Chol Deng Alak 3- Mr. Mohamed Hassan Bakeit 4- Mr. Makelele Nyajok 5- Dr. Eluzai Mogga Yokwe 6- Dr. Akec Khoc Acieu 7- Mr. Sebit Abbe Alley and 1- Mr. Paul Macuel Malok 2- Dr. Andrew Akon Akec Kuol 3- Mr. Kuol Alor Kuol.

Grade Two appointees are: 1- Mr. Anthony Louis Kon 2- Mr. Ajing Adiang Mariik 3- Mr. Alier Deng Rual 4- Mr. Akuei Bona Malwal 5- Mr. Majak Philemon Majok 6- Mr. Baak Valentino Wol 7- Mr. John Andruga Duku 8- Mr. Mariano Deng Ngor 9- Dr. Francis George Nazario 10- Mr. Joseph Moum Majak 11- Mr. Parmena Makuet Mangar 12- Mr. Philip Jada Natana 13- Mr. Arop Deng Kuol 14- Mr. Michael Majok Ayom 15- Gabriel Gai Riak 16- Mr. Bol Wek Agoth 17- Dr. John Gai Yoh 18- Dr. Daniel Peter Othol 19- Mr. Ezekiel Lol Gathouth 20- Mr. Samuel Luate Lominsuk 21- Mr. Awad El Karim Ibrahim Ali 22- Mr. Adam Saeed AbuBakr Kabawa 23- Mr. Mustafa Lowoh Walla 24- Mr. Aban Yor Yor 25- Ms. Sittona Abdalla Osman 26- Mr. Pidor Tut Pul 27- Mr. James Ernest Onge 28- Mr. Jwokthab Amum Ajak 29- Mr. Paul Malong Akaro 30- Mr. Deng Deng Nhial 31- Mr. Lazaros Akoi Arou 32- Mr. Ruben Marial Benjamin 33- Abdon Terkoc Matuet 34- Mr. James Pitia Morgan 35- Mr. Dhanojak Obongo Othow 36- Mr. Jokwen Yukwan Ayiik 37- Mr. Michael Nyang Jok 38- Mr. Michael Mayiel Chuol 39- Ms. Abuk Nikonora Manyok 40- Ms. Nyandeng Joshua Dei Wal 41- Mr. Chol Mawut Unguec Ajonga 42- Mr. Darius Garang Wol Mabior 43- Mr. Joseph Ayok Ayok.

While Grade Three included the following names: 1- Mr. Thiik Agoth Giir 2- Mr. Nickson Deng Peter 3- Mr. Morris Batali Simon 4- Ms. Mary Badoda Francis 5- Mr. Hamilton Michael Lugor 6- Mr. Akwoch Daniel Diing 7- Ms. Jago Arop Yor 8- Mr. James Kur Muorwel 9- Ms. Sarah Victor Bol 10- Mr. William Wani Ruben 11- Mr. Wol Mayar Ariec 12- Mr. David Buom Choat 13- Ms Agnes A.O Oswaha 14- Mr. Caesar Oliha Yanga 15- Mr. Garang Garang Diing 16- Mr. Kau Nak Maper 17- Mr. Ambrose Raphael Tamania 18- Mr. Kahmis Agar Wol 19- Mr. Hassan Yousif Ngor 20- Mr. John Simon Yor Kur 21- Mr. Juma Dino Amoi 22- Mr. Dominique Panthair Mading 23- Dr. Riek Pouk Riek 24- Mr. Martin Kahmis Tabia 25- Mr. Raphael Nhial Kulang

The following variables can be employed to illustrate and better appreciate and understand this Presidential Decree for the Appointment of Ambassadors into the Diplomatic and Consular Services in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sudan: region, state, party, gender, educational and prior experience qualifications among others.

Analysis of South Sudan Ambassadorial List

S/N Name of Ambassador[1] Region From State From Party From Former Position Country Assigned to
1 Majok Guandon Thiep Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to Kenya
2 Dr. Chol Deng Alak Greater Bahr El Ghazal Abyei or Warrap SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to Russia
3 Mohamed Hassan Bakeit Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM
4 Makelele Nyajok Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Ex-Judge of Appeal Court
5 Dr. Eluzai Mogga Yokwe Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to France
6 Dr. Akec Khoc Acieu Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to the USA
7 Mr. Sebit Abbe Alley Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Zambia
8 Paul Macuei Malok Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to Bulgaria
9 Dr. Andrew Akon Akec Kuol Greater Bahr El Ghazal Northern Bahr El Ghazal SPLM
10 Kuol Alor Kuol Greater Bahr El Ghazal Abyei or Warrap SPLM Fmr. GoSS
To Ethiopia
11 Anthony Louis Kon Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to Congo
12 Ajing Adiang Mariik Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM
13 Alier Deng Rual Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Diplomat,  Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
14 Akuei Bona Malwal Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to the AU
15 Majak Philemon Majok Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM Diplomat,Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
16 Baak Valentino Wol Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM
17 John Andruga Duku Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Kenya
18 Mariano Deng Ngor Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM
19 Dr. Francis George Nazario Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to the EU, Brussel
20 Joseph Moum Majak Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Canada
21 Dr. Parmena Makuet Mangar Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM Fmr. GoSS
Ambassador to Egypt and Middle East
22 Philip Jada Natana Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM  Fmr.GoSS
Deputy Amb. to Ethiopia
23 Arop Deng Kuol Greater Bahr El Ghazal Abyei or Warrap SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Ethiopia
24 Michael Majok Ayom Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Kenya
25 Gabriel Gai Riak Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Nigeria
26 Bol Wek Agoth Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Norway
27 Dr. John Gai Yoh Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to S. Africa
28 Dr. Daniel Peter Othol Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to the UK
29 Ezekiel Lol Gathouth Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to the USA
30 Samuel Luate Lominsuk Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Zimbabwe
31 Awad El Karim Ibrahim Ali Greater Bahr El Ghazal Western Bahr El Ghazal SPLM
32 Adam Saeed AbuBakr Kabawa Greater Bahr El Ghazal Western Bahr El Ghazal SPLM
33 Mustafa Lowoh Walla Greater Equatoria Western Equatoria SPLM
34 Aban Yor Akol Ajawin Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. Sudan Deputy Amb. to the U.N
35 Sittona Abdalla Osman Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Veteran
36 Pidor Tut Pul Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM
37 James Ernest Onge Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Uganda
38 Jwokthab Amum Ajak Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Australia
39 Paul Malong Akaro Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to the UK
40 Deng Deng Nhial Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Deputy GoSS Amb. to the USA
41 Lazaros Akoi Arou Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Fmr. GOSS ambassador to Congo-Brazzaville
42 Ruben Marial Benjamin Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Deputy GoSS Amb. to Egypt
43 Abdon Terkoc Matuet Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM
44 James Pitia Morgan Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Indonesia
45 Dhanojak Obongo Othow Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM
46 Jokwen Yukwan Ayiik Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr.Sudan
Ambassador to Russia
47 Michael Nyang Jok Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM SPLM/A Veteran
48 Michael Mayiel Chuol Greater Upper Nile Unity State SPLM Chairperson, Referendum Committee in Unity State
49 Abuk Nikonora Manyok Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM Director Bureau of public outreach
50 Nyandeng Joshua Dei Wal Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM
51 Chol Mawut Unguec Ajonga Greater Bahr El Ghazal WesternBahr El Ghazal SPLM Fmr. 1st secr of Goss to Holland
52 Darius Garang Wol Mabior Greater Bahr El Ghazal Northern Bahr El Ghazal SPLM
53 Joseph Ayok Ayok Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM
54 Thiik Agoth Giir Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM
55 Nickson Deng Peter Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to the EU, Brussel
56 Morris Batali Simon Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM Fmr. deputy Goss Amb. to Canada
57 Mary Badoda Francis Greater Equatoria Western Equatoria SPLM
58 Hamilton Michael Lugor Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM
59 Akwoch Daniel Diing Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. deputy Goss Amb. to Canada
60 Ms. Jago Arop Yor Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. deputy GoSS Amb. to South Africa
61 James Kur Muorwel Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Fmr. deputy Goss Amb. to Norway
62 Sarah Victor Bol Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM Fmr. deputy
GoSS Amb. to the UK
63 William Wani Ruben Greater Equatoria Central Equatoria SPLM
64 Wol Mayar Ariec Greater Bahr El Ghazal Warrap SPLM
65 David Buom Choat Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM South Sudan Ambassador to the UN
66 Ms Agnes Oswaha Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM Worked in Goss Mission to the USA
67 Caesar Oliha Yanga Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM
68 Garang Garang Diing Greater Bahr El Ghazal Northern Bahr El Ghazal SPLM Fmr. deputy Goss Amb. to Kenya
69 Kau Nak Maper Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM
70 Ambrose Raphael Tamania Greater Bahr El Ghazal Western Bahr El Ghazal SPLM
71 Khamis Agar Wol Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM
72 Hassan Yousif Ngor Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. Sudan Ambassador to Uganda
73 John Simon Yor Kur Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. deputy Sudan Amb. to Canada
74 Juma Dino Amoi Greater Equatoria Eastern Equatoria SPLM Fmr. GoSS Ambassador to Uganda
75 Dominique Panthair Mading Greater Upper Nile Jonglei SPLM
76 Dr. Riek Pouk Riek Greater Upper Nile Upper Nile SPLM Fmr. deputy Sudan Amb. to Libya
77 Martin Kahmis Tabia Greater Equatoria Western Equatoria SPLM
78 Raphael Nhial Kulang Greater Bahr El Ghazal Lakes State SPLM

 Summary of Ambassadorial Distribution at the Greater Regional Level

S/N Region Number of Ambassadors % Share of Ambassadors % Share of total national Population
1 Greater Bahr el Ghazal(GBG region) 31 39.74% 33% (2.71M)
2 Greater Upper Nile(GUN region) 27 34.62% 35% (2.89M)
3 Greater Equatoria(GE region) 20 25.64% 32%  (2.62M)
Total ————————- 78 100% 100% (8.26M)[2]

 Summary of Ambassadorial Distribution at the State Level

s/n Name of State Number of Ambassadors % Share of Ambassadors % Share of total national Population State Ranking
1 Jonglei 12 15.38% 16.26% (1.35M) 3
2 Unity 1 1.28% 6.98% (0.58M) 10
3 Upper Nile 14 17.94% 11.57% (0.96M) 2
4 Warrap 15 19.23% 11.67% (0.97M) 1
5 Lakes 9 11.53% 8.31% (0.69M) 5
6 Northern Bahr el Ghazal 3 3.84% 8.67% (0.72M) 8
7 Western Bahr el Ghazal 4 5.13% 3.98% (0.33M) 7
8 Western Equatoria 3 3.84% 7.35% (0.61M) 8
9 Central Equatoria 10 12.82% 13.25% (1.10M) 4
10 Eastern Equatoria 7 8.97% 10.96% (0.91M) 6
Total —————— 78 100% 100% (8.26M for 2009’s census)[3] 10 

 Summary of Ambassadorial Distribution at the Gender Level

S/N Gender Number of Ambassadors % Share of Ambassadors % Share of national Pop.
1 Men 71 91.02% 52%  (4.28M)
2 Women 7 8.97% 48%  (3.97M)
Total ————- 78 100% 100% (8.26M)[4]

  Summary of Ambassadorial Distribution at the Qualification Level

S/N Prior Experience Number of Ambassadors Percentage share
1 Former Ambassadors 26 33.33%
2 Former Deputy Ambassadors 15 19.23%
3 New Faces 37 47.43%
Total ————————- 78 100%

Further comparative comprehension of the above appointment would be aided by the following tables of the last year, first ever, cabinet of the Republic of South Sudan, apportioned according to their respective greater regions and states:

Summary of the cabinet distribution at the Greater Regional Level

s/n Name of Region No. of ministries No. of Deputy Ministries Total cabinet share % Share of Cabinet Positions
1 Greater Upper Nile 9 11 20 35.71%
2 Greater Bahr el Ghazal 10 10 20 35.71%
3 Greater Equatoria 10 6 16 28.57%
Total ————————- 29 27 56 100%

Summary of the cabinet distribution at the State Level

s/n Name of State No. of ministries No. of Deputy Ministries Total cabinet share % Share of Cabinet Post State Ranking
1 Jonglei 5 5 10 17.85% 1
2 Unity 0 3 3 5.36% 10
3 Upper Nile 4 3 7 12.50% 4
4 Warrap 4 6 10 17.85% 2
5 Lakes 2 2 4 7.14% 6
6 Northern Bahr el Ghazal 2 0 2 3.57% 9
7 Western Bahr el Ghazal 2 2 4 7.14% 6
8 Western Equatoria 3 1 4 7.14% 5
9 Central Equatoria 5 3 8 14.29% 3
10 Eastern Equatoria 2 2 4 7.14% 6
Total ———————— 29 27 56 100% 10

While the above numbers speak better for themselves, it is imperative that something is mentioned about the criticisms garnered by the appointment among South Sudanese, particularly whether the new appointment reflect a lean and a broad-based government in the age of financial difficulties. One criticism is that the appointment is too bloated at a time when South Sudan, having shut down oil production, is confronting “transitional period of budgetary problems” and financial uncertainties.

Commenting on the ambassadorial appointment, Thirik Mijak, a South Sudan from the USA, believes that “such an ambassadorial appointment is contradictory to the recent austerity measures that was passed recently to avoid the problematic shortcomings of the financial constraints due to the shutdown of the oil pipelines as the main sources of public revenue” in the Republic of South Sudan.

Mijak adds: “it would be more appropriate to trim the number of these appointed ambassadors to a sizeable number that could be more affordable and significant to the number of countries with importance in terms of diplomatic ambassadorships.” Countries of diplomatic and economic importance should have been prioritized. For instance, “the great nations like USA, Canada, UK, China, Australia, Brazil, Norwegian, Germany, India plus our Eastern African nations like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda should be given first priorities respectively.”

The second dissatisfaction with the appointment is manifested nature of underrepresentation in some states. Some South Sudanese do feel that some states have been underrepresented while others have taken more than their fairs share. For example, Unity State, which received no full ministerial position during last year cabinet formation is again shortchanged in this latest appointment—it has only about 1-2 ambassadorial positions while other states like Upper Nile, Jonglei and Warrap have taken a lion share of the ambassadorial appointees relative to their population size.

Dr. Riek Machar, the vice president of the Republic of South Sudan who hailed from Unity State has some explanations to do to the citizens of that state: what is going on in Juba in relation to Unity State, the very oil-producing state that is funding the whole of South Sudan? Why are they overwhelmingly and continually sidelined and undersold in the government?

Third disapproval is related to the pervasiveness of nepotism. There are couples of names on the ambassadorial list whose appointments may or may not have anything to do with their close relatives in the government of South Sudan. South Sudanese are wondering if the appointment of Kuol Alor Kuol (brother to Deng Alor), Deng Deng Nhial (brother to Nhial Deng), Akuei Bona Malual (son to Bona Malual), Arop Deng Kuol (brother to Pieng Deng), Aban Yor Akol (brother to Lam Akol), and Ruben Marial Benjamin (brother to Marial Benjamin), among others, have anything to do with their having close relationship to some of the ministers and Generals in Juba.

To their due credits, there is no child from the top guns in the government—President Kiir, VP Dr. Machar, Speaker Wani Igga, SPLM SG Pagan Amum etc. Design or coincidence?

And while some South Sudanese may see underrepresentation and nepotism in the appointment, others though see it in term of prior experiences and educational qualifications. According to Jouk Hakim, a South Sudanese from Germany, appointment to the diplomatic corps is not about tribes, regions, or state: “the diplomatic corps profession is not about ethnic and states representations, and that is why you can realize that some states do have more diplomats than others. Depending on level of qualifications and success during the examinations to join the diplomatic service when Sudan was still one.”

The question of Gender parity is another fundamental feature of this latest appointment! While womenfolk were deservingly represented during the cabinet formation, receiving over 26% of the portfolios, this is not the case in this newest nomination. Of the 78 ambassadorial appointees, there are only 7 members among them who are females, a paltry percentage of approximately 9%, with males taking a whopping percentage of about 91%. Since the constitution mandate 25% of all appointment to be allocated to the fairer sex, it is important to note that this selection has fallen short of that constitutional requirement. However, according to President Kiir, the problem is lack of competent ladies to fill the 25% positions:

President Salva Kiir Mayardit confessed, he was unable to find enough women to fill the gap among the new ambassadors. He repeated the commitment of the SPLM to empower women.”

That statement from the President is highly misplaced because South Sudan has a good number of women with PhD to fill the required 25%. For example, South Sudan has Dr. Julia Aker Dwany, Dr. Laura Nyantung Ahang, Dr. Pauline Riak, Dr. Jane Edward and Dr. Salwa Beriberi among others.

Lastly, I would like to thank Uncle James Agor (USA), Luke Dak (USA), Gordon Buay (Canada), Thirik Mijak (USA), Tearz Ayuen (South Sudan), Jouk Hakim (Germany), Peter Karlo (USA), and especially those who requested to remain anonymous, for their invaluable assistances in tracking down and identifying the states and regions the ambassadors hail from., thank you! Any error or misrepresentation thereof is of my own making, however.

PaanLuel Wël is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese bloggers. He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or on the blog:

[1]  South Sudan Ambassadors: Presidential Decrees for the Appointment of South Sudan (First) Ambassadors.

[2] Sudan Tribune: “South Sudan census results officially released”, 2009:,31411

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

“President Al Bashir told Kiir on the AU summit sidelines that Pagan Amum was not the right person to lead a delegation to achieve an agreement,” he said, adding Pagan is a warlord who has no interest for peace and does not care about what happens to our people in the North and the South as he has no sense of belonging to this land, his family and money are abroad. (Sudan Vision, March 4, 2012).

By Paanluel Wël, Washington DC, USA, Planet Earth.

It is crystal clear now that Khartoum is not comfortable with Pagan Amum, the SPLM’s Secretary General and the current head of South Sudan delegation to the on-going Addis Ababa talks between Juba and Khartoum. President Kiir appointed Hon. Pagan Amum last year, after the formation of South Sudan first government, to serve as his special envoy to the talks between the two countries over contentious issues of border demarcations, oil and debt sharing, transit fees, and Abyei regions, among others. Thus, since the independence of South Sudan, Pagan has been serving in that position as South Sudan’s chief negotiator to the Addis Ababa Talks.

However, the talks have been dragging on with no definitive breakthroughs. One sensitive issue, of late, has been on the question of the transit fees—the amount of dollars per barrel that South Sudan should pay Khartoum for the usage of their Chinese-built pipeline and refineries. Although much of the oil is produced in the South, Khartoum took the discriminative decision during the war to build all the refineries in, and pipeline through, North Sudan. With no refineries and pipeline of her own, the newly independent state of South Sudan is entirely at the mercy of Khartoum for the export of her oil.

That 98% of South Sudan revenues come from the oil make matters worse for South Sudanese leaders: Juba is beholden to Khartoum. By designed or pure chance, Khartoum is fully aware and exploitative of this Juba’s achillean heel. While Juba, in accordance with international precedents, is willing to offer 1-2 dollars per barrel as a transit fees for the usage of the northern pipeline, Khartoum is demanding a staggering amount of 36-32 dollars per barrel. On the debt issue, Juba is prepared to offer “Khartoum $2.6 billion in cash and forgiving $2.8 billion of its debt to break the deadlock.” Instead, Khartoum is asking for $15 billion in cash to break the stalemate in Addis Ababa Talks.

The disputed border region remains undesignated because Khartoum is refusing to recognize the old 1956 pre-independence border between the two nations. This is complicated further by the fact that much of the oilfields fall just at the border regions, particularly in Unity state and Abyei region. That makes it no longer about the exactitude of the borderline as to the location, and future ownership, of the vast oil wealth dotting the border regions. The case in point being the town of Jau, recurrently bombed and occupied by Khartoum, which is claimed by both sides though it squarely lies within South Sudan according to the old map of 1956.

Abyei region is presently occupied and militarily rule by Khartoum, contrary to the stipulation of the CPA that had proposed a joint ruling by the two parties. CPA-mandated referendum in Abyei, one that was supposed to run concurrently with South Sudan’s plebiscite, is yet to be conducted owing to the disagreement over whether or not the nomadic Mesiriya Arabs should vote. The only CPA-recognized connection of the Mesiriya Arabs to Abyei Region is a right to graze their cattle freely as they have been doing in the past. Consequently, South Sudan’s objection to the participation of the Mesiriya Arabs in Abyei referendum is informed not just by the fact that Mesiriya Arabs are not natives of Abyei Area—defined in the CPA as nine-chiefdoms of the Dinka Ngok people—but also because allowing the Mesiriya to vote in the Abyei referendum would lead to vote rigging since Khartoum would bring in any nomadic Arab tribe to vote in the name of Mesiriya. Simply put, it is seen in Juba as Khartoum’s grand strategy to outnumber the Ngok Dinka to tilt the referendum in their favor and retain control of the oil-rich Abyei Area.

The ensuing controversies over these unresolved post-separation disputes, couple with the stalemate over the talks taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, boiled over into a full blown out conflict in January when South Sudan shut down oil production over accusation that Khartoum was siphoning off South Sudan oil in direct collusion with foreign oil firms, mainly the Chinese-Malaysian’s Petrodar. Addressing South Sudan Legislative Assembly, President Kiir declared that

“At this time we have no guarantee that oil flowing through the Republic of Sudan will reach its intended destination…we can’t allow assets which clearly belong to the Republic of South Sudan to be subject to further diversion” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek, January 23, 2012).

Enraged by the accusation of oil theft and caught off-guard by South Sudan unilateral action of shutting down oil production, Khartoum responded by forcefully and unilaterally confiscating South Sudan oil:

“Sudan has confiscated 2.4 million barrels of South Sudan’s oil, bringing the total volume of crude Khartoum has seized in a row over oil transit fees to more than 6 million barrels since December, a South Sudanese official said on Tuesday. This included 1.2 million barrels taken in December, four shipments totaling roughly 2.5 million barrels in January and another 2.4 million barrels reported this month.” (Reuters, Feb 14, 2012).

Khartoum officials justified their illegal seizures of South Sudan oil by maintaining that their country

“is entitled to a share of the oil because South Sudan has refused to pay the related fees since it seceded, fuelling inflation and a foreign currency shortage in the northern country.” (Reuters, Feb 14, 2012).

In spite of combative response from Khartoum, Juba has stood firm and went ahead to complete the process of oil shutdown. Austerity measures have been adopted to balance the budget and sustain the government. Dr. Machar, the vice president of South Sudan defiantly announced to the BBC that “we can live without oil” while Pagan Amum, the ruling party general secretary, said that the decision to shut down the oil was a “matter of national pride.”

In a surprising twist of fate—a blessing in disguise for President Kiir—the government of South Sudan, considered by most citizens to be totally corrupt, generally mismanaged and irreparably inept, received an astounding support and praises across all ten states of the republic for shutting down the oil and standing up against Khartoum. Remarkably, in a young country torn apart by tribal clashes, internal rebellions and besieged by abject poverty and underdevelopment, President Kiir uncharacteristic decision to order the closure of oil wells seemed to have buoyed his popularity among the citizens. The only other occasions whereby South Sudanese matched in unison were on the occasions of the signing of the CPA, the announcement of the referendum results and the proclamation of the South Sudan’s independence.

Juba’s vulnerability to and dependence on Sudan’s oil facilities has compelled South Sudan to seek an alternative pipeline to export her oil to the international market. Following the bitter fallout in January, Juba signed landmark agreements with Kenya-Ethiopia, on one side, and Ethiopia-Djibouti on the other side. The deal with Kenya-Ethiopia to build a pipeline/railway/highway from the Kenyan port city of Lamu through Isiolo to Juba was finally realized this week when the three head of states—President Kiir of South Sudan, president Kibaki of Kenya and Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia—inaugurated the project dubbed by the media as Lapsset (Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor).

Although disputed by many experts, the Lapsset project is slated to be complete within 1-2 years. Whether—or how—South Sudan will remain financially afloat within the next 1-2 years is another question altogether. And so is the question of ‘what will happen to the Lapsset project’ should the talks in Addis Ababa bear fruit and Khartoum accept the proposed transport fees: Will Juba bolt out of the Lapsset project or will it dump Khartoum no matter what they are prepared to consent to at the moment? If so, then there is no point of continuing to discuss the transit fees anymore: South Sudan should rather concentrate on the other post-independence remaining issues like the border, debts and Abyei region.

Whichever way Juba goes, the inauguration of the Lapsset project will further compound the Addis Ababa discussions because Khartoum would undoubtedly complicate the negotiation process if they are aware of the total loss of any future transit fees because of Lapsset. Since there is no any indication that Juba is bluffing—using the Lapsset project merely as a negotiating strategy to put pressure on Khartoum, it is inevitable that the full realization by Khartoum of having loss the life-giving oil revenues from South Sudan oil will be of a great devastation to their economy. Khartoum might invade the oilfields or declare total war on Juba as it did in Abyei—something they are threatening now on the pretext of an alleged South Sudan’s aggression on Sudan’s territory though it is the Sudan Revolutionary Forces who carried out the humiliating assault on the SAF. President Kiir must prepare—finding a way out of this looming explosive hostility.

Having retraced the fundamental root and the picturesque trajectory of the on-going differences and quarrels between Juba and South Sudan, it is just fanciful to hear Khartoum announcing today that any “Breakthrough in Addis Talks Depends on Changing the Current South Sudan Delegation.” In other words, Khartoum sincerely believe that should President Kiir nominate someone else other than Hon. Pagan Amum, then they would be able to get $32-36 per barrel as a transport fees, and $15 billion as a compensation for the loss of oil revenues following South Sudan secession. What is more, even the indefinitely postponed Abeyi’s referendum would go ahead with Mesiriya accepted as voters. South-North border demarcation would get started with Khartoum’s interest well catered for in total disregard to the 1956 pre-independence borderline.

This is how Mona Al-Bashir of the Sudan Vision, a northern newspaper, summarizes Khartoum’s views on the stalemate, blaming everything on Pagan Amum:

“Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, who is also the NCP Spokesperson, indicated that previous round of talks had failed because South Sudan delegation was not willing to arrive at an agreement and the delegation members harboured ill-intent towards Sudan and their leader [Pagan] is also notorious of his hostility towards the North and the Arabs. “President Al Bashir told Kiir on the AU summit sidelines that Pagan Amum was not the right person to lead a delegation to achieve an agreement,” he said, adding Pagan is a warlord who has no interest for peace and does not care about what happens to our people in the North and the South as he has no sense of belonging to this land, his family and money are abroad. Ghandour, however, pointed out that the Sudanese Government cannot interfere in the process of how the South selects its delegation but if it wants to achieve peace with Sudan it should alter its delegation members” (Sudan Vision, March 4, 2012).

In spite of the independence of South Sudan, Khartoum still behaves, and considers South Sudan, as if it is still just one of its provinces. South Sudan, to those in Khartoum, is just but a colony to be manipulated at will no matter how it may claim to be independent. In fact, judging by their official demeanors, utterances and actions, South Sudan independence is yet to register in the minds of Khartoum officials. They might be milking the past. During the 1960s as many African countries were shedding off colonization, it was not uncommon for the head of a newly independent African state to receive direct orders from London or Paris. For example, the market and the price of their agricultural produce were pre-determined according to the whims of the former colonial master.

By publicly asking an independent state to alter the list of its delegation to the negotiating table, Khartoum appears to be harboring a neo-colonial mentality of the past whereby African independent states remain subservient to their former colonial masters in spite of their proclaimed independences. Yet, there is nothing on the ground to substantiate Khartoum’s European-ness over Juba. South Sudan has more resources—oil, arable land, minerals etc. South Sudan does not depend on Sudan’s market for agricultural produce nor oil: China is the main consumer of most raw materials from Africa. With the commencement and the future completion of the Lapsset project, Khartoum will be more dependence on Juba for economic opportunities than vice-versa.

Therefore, to prevent Khartoum from proclaiming unmerited propaganda war against Juba, President Kiir must stand behind Pagan and his team. After all, whatever that Pagan present at the talks is what President Kiir and his cabinet proposed and consented to, to be presented at the negotiating table. Picking another person will not change the parameters of the talks since none of the South Sudanese chief negotiators would ever venture outside the officially sanctioned mandate from the government of South Sudan. Khartoum displeasure with Pagan could be attributed to Pagan’s sharp-shooting, take-no-nonsense approach to negotiation. Take for instance Khartoum ludicrous claim of South Sudan’s aggression reported to the UN Security Council today: such gibberish would not be entertained before Pagan.

There are unconfirmed rumors that President Kiir is considering replacing Pagan Amum. President Kiir must never listen to one-sided story from Khartoum. Any changes called for must be initiated and executed by both parties—Khartoum must also replace the head of their delegation if Juba has to reciprocate in kind. Since when has Khartoum been the official advisor to Juba? Do they really have South Sudan’s interest at heart? Definitely not and so is the implausibility of their call to ouster South Sudan chief negotiator. Assumed that President Kiir give in and recall Pagan tomorrow, will South Sudan replace the next head of the delegation if Khartoum is not happy with him?

PaanLuel Wël is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese bloggers. He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or on the blog. 

“Let’s build the nation as a tribute to the heroes. The heroes did not die in vain. Though we cannot reward them materially, building this nation is a befitting tribute to them”,—South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayaardit.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

Martyrs Day.pdf Martyrs Day.pdf
1838K   View   Download

The Martyrs’ Day: Who are the South Sudanese’s National Heroes and Heroines?

“Wounded veterans of the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army march” [AP/Pete Muller].

“Let’s build the nation as a tribute to the heroes. The heroes did not die in vain. Though we cannot reward them materially, building this nation is a befitting tribute to them”,—South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayaardit.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

July 31, 2011 (SSNA) — Today, July 30th,2011, marked the first-ever “Martyrs’ Day” for the new Republic of South Sudan, just three weeks after declaring her independence from the Old Sudan. Martyrs’ Day is the day to commemorate and to “celebrate the selfless sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of liberation who paid the ultimate price for the liberation of the [new] country.” In Juba and other major cities across the country, as well as amongst the South Sudanese communities in the Diaspora, “people will light candles in the [living] memory of the martyrs” to pay “tribute to the people who lost their lives fighting for the independence which the country officially won this month.”

As reported on the official website of the government of the Republic of South Sudan, “the celebration is a demonstration of the fact that even though the martyrs are dead their memory lingers on in the hearts of all South Sudanese who appreciate the sacrifice they made for their homeland.” In short, South Sudanese Martyrs’ Day, just as it is normally the norm all over the world, is a day to remember and to immortalize the self-sacrificial patriotism of the martyrs: a befitting “tribute to the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle.”

But who are the South Sudan heroes and heroines of the long liberation struggle? As an independent nation gearing up for political and socio-economical development, South Sudan would sooner than later be compelled to write official school textbooks for her school-going children to study in schools across the country. Inevitably, South Sudanese leaders and their socio-political constituents will have to sit down and grapple with the dilemma of deciding who the heroes and heroines are or are not.

Determining who the would-be national heroes and heroines for school textbooks would, undoubtedly, be problematic and controversial than anything South Sudanese have seen or been subjected to for a while. This is because our long war of liberation, from 1955 to 2011, was embroiled in numerous brotherly antagonisms among our own-selves more than, or in addition to, fighting the main common enemy that was recurrently oppressing us in all aspects of life. Since logic dictate that not everyone can be a hero or heroine lest the meaning is diluted, South Sudanese are consequently heading for one-yet biggest fight of their lives as picking the national heroes for educational purpose beckon, possibly this year or the next one.

With the right to withholding my views on this issue being fully exercised by me at this moment, I am going to name some names and why I presupposed them to be potential candidates for the national heroes and heroines’ list depending on the indispensable roles they variously played or continue to play in the war of liberation and national development of the Republic of South Sudan.

To start with, the first candidature goes to the brave warriors and leaders of the different South Sudanese communities and tribes who resisted and strove to repel, successfully or not, European colonization of their ancestral lands. By these communal resistances to the British rule, I am talking of the Nuer, the Zande and the Aliab Dinka, to mention but just a few. These communities are among the very few South Sudanese tribes that successfully fended off colonial powers in the early 20th century. In order to recognize and to pay tribute to their patriotism to our motherland and the ultimate price they tragically paid for their resistance, their leaders must be considered for school textbook and national archives for the national heroes and heroines of South Sudan.

The second groups are the South Sudanese representatives to the 1947 Juba conference that sealed the fate of South Sudan in the United Sudan that later miserably failed to be a workable political system. Because many of them were under-educated or had relied too much on the British for their national welfare, these South Sudanese were cheated and out-foxed out of their better choice of two state solutions. However, they did represent South Sudanese and therefore demand recognition at the national level. By these leaders I mean people like: Kamyangi Ababa, Sgt. Major Philomon Majok, Clement Mboro, Hassan Fertak, James Tambura, Chief Cir Rehan, Chief Gir Kiro, Pastor Anderea Apaya, Chief Ukuma Bazin, Edward Adhok, Buth Diu, Chief Lolik Lado, Chief Lappanya, Father Guido Akou, Ciricio Iro, Chief Tete, and Chief Lueth Ajak etc.

The third groups for the candidature for South Sudanese national heroes and heroines goes to the veterans of the 1955 Torit Uprising. Courageous veterans of the Torit Uprising such as General Emilio Tafeng and Ali Gbattala, among others, deserve a place in the hall of fame of South Sudanese national heroes. They were the first to fire a historic shot at the enemy, which heralded and culminated in the 2011 South Sudanese independence, notwithstanding the long period of time it took to materialize.

The fourth class of candidacy goes to the Anya-Nya One groups. It is to be recalled that Anya-Nya One was wrecked by perennial internal dissents and rebellions from the outset and it is therefore proper to class their leadership according to each governmental stage of the succession. The first government was the South Sudan Provisional Government (SSPG) headed by Aggrey Jaden as the president. The leading members of the SSPG were as follow: Agrey Jaden, Camilo Dhol Kuaac, Akuot Atem Mayen, Gordon Muortat Mayen, Elia Lupe, Clement Moses, Balieth Kuak, Gabriel Kaau Ater, General Emilio Tafeng, Ali Gbattala, Joseph Lagu Yanga, Paul Awel, Emanuel Abuur Nhial and Frederick Brian Maggot, among others.

After the collapse of the SSPG due to internal political wrangling, the second Anya-Nya One government, the Nile Provisional Government (NPG), was formed with Gordon Muortat Mayen as the president. The main leaders under him were: Marko Rume, David Kwak, Bari Wanji, Camilo Dhol Kuaac, General Emilio Tafeng, Ali Gbattala, Joseph Lagu Yanga, Frederick Brian Maggot, Paul Awel and Emanuel Abuur Nhial. Unfortunately, the illness of the SSPG caught up with the NPG and it too disintegrated as soon as it was formed and launched due to political squabbling over leadership.

In the wake of the demise of the NPG, General Joseph Lagu Yanga, with the solid backing of the Israelis, reconstituted the remnants of the SSPG and NPG under his new political movement: South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) with Anya-Nya Forces as its military wing. Besides General Lagu, the other prominent leaders of the SSLM were: Frederick Brian Maggot, Joseph Akuon, Habbakuk Soro, Joseph Oduho, Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, Enoch Mading de Garang and with Father Saturnino Lohure acting as their spiritual leader.

In the event and time that South Sudanese would sit down to deliberate the final list for the national heroes in the national archive, the leaders of the Anya-Nya One Movement—the South Sudan Provisional Government of Aggrey Jaden, the Nile Provisional Government of Gordon Muortat Mayen and the South Sudan Liberation Movement of General Joseph Lagu Yanga—must all be considered for the award of the national heroes because they are part and parcel of our armed and political struggle.

The fifth group of candidates for the national heroes and heroines goes to presidents and various leaders of the successive government of the High Executive Council (HEC) in Juba after the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement and before the outbreak of the SPLM/A war in 1983. There were three presidents, at various times, of the HEC: Abel Alier Kwai, Joseph James Tombura, and Joseph Lagu Yanga under whose leadership, and upon whose insistence, kokora was decreed and implemented by President Jaafar Nimeiri.

Other leading members of, or MPs under, the High Executive Council were: Clement Mboro, Bona Malwal, Joseph Oduho, Hilary Paul Logali, Peter Gatkuoth Gwal, Samuel Aru Bol, Ezboni Mundiri, Eliaba James Surur, Dr. Lawrence Wol Wol, Daniel Kuot Mathews, Benjamin Bol Akok, Samuel Gai Tut, Akuot Atem Mayen, Dhol Acuil Aleu, Mathew Obur, Elijah Malok Aleng, Michael Wal Duany, Natale Olwak Okalawin, Venansio Loro, Philip Obang, Abdel Latif Chaul Lom, Zakariah Wani Yugusuk, Archbishop Paulino Lokudu, Andrew Wiew Riaak, Martin Majier Ghai, Toby Maduot, Malath Joseph Lueth, Kawac Makwei, Brigadier Andrew Makur Thaou, Brigadier Joseph Kuol Amuom, Colonel Habbakuk Soro, Colonel Alison Manani Magaya, Colonel Saturnino Arika, Colonel John Kaong Nyuon, Colonel Peter Mabil, Colonel Alfred Deng Aluk, and Major General Samuel Mabor Malek.

The sixth groups for the award are the members of the Underground Movement/Resistance or the Clandestine Group/Resistance formed by, among others, the former members of the Anya-Nya One who were either opposed to the Addis Ababa Agreement or were suspicious of the Nimeiri government intention and had gone underground to protect South Sudanese interest. In case the agreement is rescinded, they were ready and willing to resume the war. Among these were ex-Anya-Nya members such as Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, Alfred Deng Aluk, Alison Manani Magaya, Habbakuk Soro, Stephen Madut Baak, Disan Ojwe Olweny, Camilo Odongi, Paul Awel, Albino Akol Akol, Captain John Garang de Mabior, Joseph Kuol Amuom, Thomas Dhol, and Santino Ajing Dau.

Later on as the Addis Ababa Agreement was teetering on the verge of collapse, this Clandestine Group included people such as Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, Arok Thon Arok, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, William Nyuon Bany, Francis Ngor Makiec, Dr. Lam Akol, Chagai Atem, William Abdalla Chol, Salva Mathok, Gordon Kong, Bullen Alier etc

The seventh contestants for the prize are the Anya-Nya Two leaders among whom are people such as Samuel Gai Tut, Akuot Atem Mayen, Vincent Kuany, James Bol Kur, Bernard Bakam, Thaan Nyibil, Gordon Kong, and William Abdalla Chuol. They kept the flame of the war of liberation burning while Southerners were squabbling over leadership and Kokora in Juba.

The eighth groups for the candidature are the founders of the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army. This leadership was initially composed of the Clandestine Resistance Members, Southern Sudanese Students and Teachers, Abyei Liberation Front members and people who came from abroad. These are some of the leaders: John Garang, Kwanyin Bol, William Nyuon Bany, Arok Thon Arok, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, Francis Ngor, Benjamin Bol Akok, Chagai Atem, Lam Akol, Riek Machar, Joseph Oduho, Martin Majier, Awet Akot, Lual Diing Wol, Pagan Amum, Deng Alor Kuol, Chol Deng Alaak, Ladu Lokurnyang, Nyachigag Nyachiluk, Stephen Madut Baak, Elijah Hon etc.

The ninth group are the leaders of the 1991 Nasir Declaration—an attempted coup against Dr. John Garang bad leadership in the SPLM/A. The coup was led by three key leaders: Cdr. Riek Machar Teny, Cdr. Lam Akol Ajawin and Cdr. Gordon Kong Chol who were dissatisfied with the leadership of Dr. John Garang within the SPLM/A which they termed as dictatorial and personalized.To this group we can add such prominent leaders as John Luk, Taban Deng Gai, Paulino Matip, Peter Gatdet, Telar Ring Deng, Dr. Adwok Nyaba, Simon Mori Didumo, Dengtiel Ayuen Kur, Elijah Hon Top, Dr. Achol Marial Deng, John Kulang Puot, Gatwec Yiec Ruom, Peter A. Sule, D.K. Mathews, Barri Wanji, Dr. Costello Garang Ring, Afred Lado Gore, George Maker Benjamin etc.

The tenth candidates for the prized spot are the so-called Garang Boys. I would define Garang Boys as those SPLM/A leaders who stuck to the Movement, under Dr. John Garang leadership, from the 1980s when the SPLM/A was formed and membered till the CPA was signed in 2005. Therefore, Garang Boys would include such leaders as: Dr. John Garang, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, James Wani Igga, Pagan Amum Okiec, Nhial Deng Nhial, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Isaac Mamuur, James Hoth Mai, Lual Diing Wol, John Koang Nyuon, Awet Akot, Dr. Justin Yac Arop, Salva Mathok, Stephen Madut Baak, Dominc Diim Deng, Chagai Atem, Ping Deng, Samson Kwaji, Oyay Deng Ajak, Anne Itto, Bior Ajang Duot, Paul Mayom Akec, Madam Nyandeng Garang Mabior, Michael Makwei Lueth, Paul Malong Awan, George Athor Deng, Gier Chuong, and Deng Alor Kuol, among numerous others.

Last but not the least, the other contesting group are the so called the Lost Boys and Girls of South Sudan. The history of South Sudan could not be complete without the inclusion of the Lost Boys, many of whom, in their capacities as the next leaders of the Republic of South Sudan, would be the very people debating and writing the history of South Sudan itself. The harrowing tales of the Lost Boys journeys and stories epitomizes both the personal struggle and the untold suffering of the people of South Sudan during the war of liberation. Therefore, in one way or another, they are in the league of the national heroes of South Sudan.

South Sudanese, the ball is in your court now. Make your choices as you commemorate this first ever Martyrs’ Day in the Republic of South Sudan. Who are the national heroes and heroines of South Sudan in your opinion?

South Sudanese, the verdict is over to you as the honorable judges and shapers of your own destiny and the destiny of the future generation as far as history of our liberation struggle is concerned. This is a debate that we can hardly wish away, by burying our heads in the sand, because it is just around the corner; the sooner we started with cool heads, reasonable opinions and substantive debate, the better off we shall be as a nation

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at , Facebook, Twitter or through his blog at:


For her to avoid the pitfalls of her fellow African countries and be successful, the new nation of South Sudan must fully embrace and constitutionally legalize tribalism as a system of political representation at the state and in the national governments.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

July 23, 2011 (SSNA) — As South Sudanese are enthusiastically clamoring for the first ever cabinet of the newly independent republic of South Sudan to be unveiled in a week or so, Sudan Tribune, a South Sudanese online newspaper based in France, reported that “the first President of the newly born Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has announced that his next government will be formed based on qualifications of candidates and not on tribal representation.”

This latest salvo from President Kiir, who would go into history as the founding father of the new republic, is in addition to stringent of conditions that he had already outlined after independence in relation to the formation of the next government. The next cabinet, of which President Kiir and VP Dr. Machar have comfortably secured their respective places, will be “lean and broad-based in order to effectively deliver services to the people of the region” or so President Kiir reasons.

In this article, I am going to argue to the contrary: the best form of qualification for a political office in a tribal country such as South Sudan is tribal representation, not educational qualifications. Logically, the next cabinet appointment should, accordingly, be based on equitable tribal representation of all greater regions of South Sudan, not just educational or whatever qualifications President Kiir had in mind. The fact that President Kiir stated “qualification” is vague at best and misleading at worst make it susceptible to political manipulations of which the next cabinet may actually end up with one tribe taking the lion share of the prized ministries, if not all, in the name of “they are all qualified.”

To assert that the evils of tribalism will be the ruination of the Republic of South Sudan would be to affirm the obvious. The horrendous spectacles of bad leaderships and poor governance; unbridled cases of corruption and nepotisms; unabated accounts of inter-tribal conflicts and chronic addiction to political rebellions; general malaise in socio-economic development and political immaturity in Africa in general and in present day South Sudan in particular are just but mere symptoms of the underlying principal illness: tribalism.

In the 1960’s when most African countries were shaking off the heavy yoke of colonialism and embarking on self-rule as South Sudan is doing it today, the then young inspiring leaders of African countries were greatly troubled by the illness of tribalism. However, many amongst them had hoped that, with democracy as system of governance, education and the promise of economic prosperity in hand, they would combat and defeat tribalism in its infancy, once and for all.

However, those promising tools and weapons they had pegged their hopes on to fight and eliminate tribalism—democracy, education and socio-economic development—never saw the light of the day. The poisonous thorns of tribalism choked them off and kill them in the womb as sheer ideas. The rest is history as we can all see today in each and every country in the Sub-Saharan Africa. That no single nation has succeeded to realize her inspirations and harvest the fruits of her independence is the plainest testimony to the resilience and embeddedness of tribalism in our society.

Yet, listening to President Kiir talking about evading tribal representation in the forthcoming cabinet appointment, one is left wondering if he is not inadvertently walking into the same booby-trap that befell and doomed young independence African countries in the 1960’s. Instead of trying in vain to avoid tribalism, we should rather unflinchingly embrace it, adopt it and officializing it as our core political philosophy of government. The legalization of tribalism would herald the age of political fairness, tribal equality, societal harmony, long lasting peace and sustainable development.

The officialization of tribalism is what I would refer to as tribocracy. Tribocracy is therefore a political system of governance in which equality in political representation in the national government and/or at the state level is achieved through the principle of tribal representation. As each and every tribe got a small proportion of the national seats, the benefits accruable from those high portfolios would trickle down to every tribe.

Thus, numerous cases of corruptions, nepotism, poor leadership and general mismanagements and abuses of political offices would be individualized instead of being tribalized as is the case currently in South Sudan where everything and anything bad about the government has been Dinkanized, Gogrialized and Warrapized. Each and every public official who misbehave, engage in unethical practices or sleep on the job would, first and foremost, be held accountable and prosecutable by his own tribal members who would never have a pretext to engage in the usual political gamesmanship and game-blaming of other tribes as escape-goats.

In contrast to tribocracy—the legalized version of tribalism, illegal tribalism, if you would allow me to call it so, is the main enemy that is threatening to tear South Sudan apart. It is the denial, or unequal sharing, of political offices by and/or amongst various ethnic groups that make up our country. And because political offices such as the coveted cabinet seats do translate into goodies, illegal tribalism has been, and will continue to be, the socio-economic and political undoing of South Sudan as it has been across Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is because politicians operating under tribalism, as oppose to within tribocractic system of government, would always manipulate and abuse glaring shortcomings in democracy for their political endgames. Election in many African countries, Uganda for example, has been used to legitimize and perpetuate impunity, corruptions, bad leadership, and greediness for power, and despairingly, to undermine any prospect of economic transformation. Without the prospect of democratization taking place due to the prevalence of tribalism, the entire Sub-Saharan African countries, for the last decades, have been left wallowing in abject poverty, illiteracy and political mediocrisy. South Sudan too has no chance of riding itself of tribalism by counting on democratization.

And so is the educationalization of the citizenry. Tribalism breeds intoxicating environment in which no plausible policies would emerge to encourage and promote education in the first place. Unless with the help of a divine intervention, no adequate and well-functioning learning would occur so long as the government is corrupt, inefficient and mismanaged. And if that is not bad news enough, rest assured that most African countries with the highest literacy rate—Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya etc—do register a staggering numbers of corrupt cases each year in their countries. Even in South Sudan, the few who are thought to be the most educated are the worst kinds of corrupt and divisive people relative to the laypeople on the street. Education may not offer much after all, if recent Sub-Saharan African history is anything to go by.

When you have no democracy in the country, couple with an embarrassing rate of illiteracy, the chances of economic development and political stability are next to nil. Consequently, it is urgent and imperative that South Sudan should never trudge the same path to self-destruction as did her counterparts in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Pure liberal democracy, under the present conditions in South Sudan, is a mirage. Even in the Western world, it was along arduous, never-straight, process. To expect South Sudan to democratize just within a week, months, and even few years after independence is a comical exercise in sheer self-delusion.

The way out of the political quandary is to adopt and institutionalize tribalism. The constitutional implementation of tribalism, previously referred to as tribocracy, would mean the end to most of our current tribulations prompt by the evils of tribalism. I am cognizance of the fact that some readers here might suppose that I am merely contradicting myself by, on the one hand, decrying tribalism, and then immediately, on the other hand, calling for its official approval as a system of government in South Sudan. Quite to the contrary, I am not.

The truth of the matter is that tribalism is mostly condemnable, by South Sudanese standard of course, insofar as it is being exclusively practice by the other tribes but not always when it is being carried out by the sons and daughters of your own tribe. In other words, corruptions and mismanagement under tribocracy will never be considered as tribalism since there would be a revelation and a tendency to hold each and every public official as an individual but not his/her tribal ambassador send by the tribe to plunder and take home the spoils. Leaders will not have the luxurious freedom to stole public money for their personal use and then run to the community for protection—in the name of “they are against us”—when caught red-handed. It would be, for corrupt government officials, everyone for him/herself and God for them all.

Therefore, President Kiir must base his appointment on tribal representation, not on educational or loyalty or liberation struggle qualifications or whatever he meant by that word. After all, Tribocracy has always guided almost all previous President Kiir governments and political appointees. A brief preview of the first cabinet in 2005, second cabinet in 2010 and even the current caretaking cabinet of South Sudan in 2011, were all partially based on tribal representation. Where people have been complaining are areas wherein tribocracy was never fully implemented like the alleged cases of Dinka occupying most important ministries of the government or the alleged marginalization of Greater Equatoria region and other minor tribes, Anyuak for instance.

Had all the ministries and the presidency been shared equitably according to the philosophy of tribocracy, President Kiir would have won the award of the most-beloved-people-president-of-the-year. But because he chose to practice tribocracy half-wayly, he ended up being labeled, rightly or wrongly, as a Dinka tribalist whose members of his ethnic groups are free-handedly plundering South Sudan national resources.

After all, the Dinka people have a saying: “kou aye kon ne kou” meaning a thorn is remove using a thorn, while the Waswahili people advise: “dawa ya moto ni moto” to mean that the remedy for fire is fire. If tribalism is our predicament, it may as well be the case that the solution to tribalism is tribalism itself, though be it in different connotation.

Thus, contrary to his public declaration that his next cabinet would be based on qualifications of the potential candidates rather than on tribal representation, I would conversely argue that President Kiir must base the political appointment of his next cabinet on tribal representation, not fuzzy qualifications.

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at , Facebook, Twitter or through his blog at: