Posts Tagged ‘president Salva kiir’

How President Kiir Set Himself Up for Trouble

By PaanLuel Wël, Kampala, Uganda

One month into the political, military and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, and peace is still a distant chimera to the beleaguered souls caught up in the vicious conflict across the country. One glimmer of hope, so far, is that the recently drafted (and signed) agreement on cessation of hostilities between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition) would offer a viable solution to the burgeoning conflict in South Sudan.

In the event that the “Draft Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition)” is endorsed (and respected) by both parties, the next step would be to find a feasible political solution to the military and humanitarian crisis in the country.

Surely, much will depend on the hard political and military compromises that the GRSS under President Kiir and the SPLM/A in Opposition under Dr. Riek Machar are, and will be, prepared to make. But if the post-1991 Nasir Coup negotiations between the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang (led by James Wani Igga) and the Nasir group under Dr. Riek Machar (led by Dr. Lam Akol) are anything to go by, South Sudanese people will have a long way to go before trust and peace is restored, again, in their beloved country.

Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail: Political Doom Road to December 15th

The crisis that erupted on Sunday, 15 December 2013, was, and still is, a political crisis, not a military one, and should therefore be seen from the perspective, and solved within the prism, of South Sudanese political discourse. With the benefit of hindsight, one could argue that the current political crisis began way back in 2005—15 July 2005, to be precise—when the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, reconfigured the SPLM/A Leadership in preparation for the post-CPA era, by dissolving all the SPLM institutions—The SPLM Political Bureau, the SPLM National Liberation Council, the SPLM National Executive Committee and the SPLA staff command structures.

Failure to reconfigure the SPLM/A leadership, Garang had reasoned, would have meant that the “composition of the Government of Southern Sudan would logically follow the rank in the SPLM/A Leadership Council in total disregard to merit and other considerations.” In other words, appointment would have been based on the bush seniority within the SPLM/A irrespective of merit and experience, gender equity and ethnic consideration. Reportedly, Salva Kiir was outraged by Garang’s decision to dissolve the SPLM/A Leadership Council, and he strongly condemned the Chairman. When Salva Kiir took over as the SPLM/A Chairman, President of GOSS and the First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan, after the death of Dr. John Garang, his first official decree was an immediate reinstatement of the dissolved SPLM/A Leadership Council.

Over the years—prior to and after the independence of South Sudan—President Kiir has been appointing government officials virtually from the wartime SPLM/A Leadership Council—the SPLM Politburo and the SPLM/A National Liberation Council, plus the SPLA. Over the years President Kiir has been appointing and dismissing these powerful members of the party as his “constitutional prerogatives” dictate. While there have been “Thank-giving” parties whenever he decrees in ministers, assistant ministers or other government appointees, there have also been grudges and bitterness whenever he decrees them out. And because these are the same members—of the SPLM Politburo and the National Liberation Council—charged with the election of the party leader/chairman, it was just a matter of time before the dismissed members would gang up and exact their political vendetta on the President—and they did, much to the tripedation of the entire country.

All that these embittered members needed to avenge their dismissal was a tool to use against the President. That is how Dr. Riek Machar came into the picture. Dr. Machar is blessed with a strong dosage of high political ambitions, and thus he is invariably on the lookout for political opportunities to exploit. Not only that, he had his own political grudges to settle with the President. In the lead up to South Sudan independence in 2011, for instance, President Kiir had given the impression, or so thought Dr. Machar, that he would voluntarily retire to his Akon village in Warrap State as soon as South Sudan’s independence was declared. Dr. Machar was visibly elated and strove to make it his habit to make it known to anyone—most of whom were the expats community he was dying to endear himself to—with time and ear to listen to his recital that “he is the next President of the Republic of South Sudan.” Ngundeng might have been right after all, he must have thought to himself.

After independence, however, President Kiir—prompted by Dr. Machar’s and the expats community’s endless talk of his immediate and unconditional political departure to his home village of Akon—made it publicly clear that there was no vacancy at the Presidency and anyone who want the seat must wait for his/her time. South Sudan has never been the same again, since that day. The charismatic and fiercely nationalistic SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, and the loquacious Mother of the Nation, Madam Rebecca Nyandeng, both of whom have been positioning themselves to take on Dr. Riek Machar—the duo, like Dr. Machar, were convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that President Kiir meant his words when he promised to retire after serving one term—were thrown into total political confusion. Instead of Dr. Machar, it was President Kiir that they turn their blazing guns on.

Dr. Machar, Pagan Amum and Madam Nyandeng—in collusion with the disgruntled, former cabinet members dismissed by President Kiir—ganged up in preparation for the SPLM party National Convention. Each of these individuals—Dr. Machar, Pagan Amum, Madam Nyandeng and the disgruntled ex-members of Kiir’s cabinet—had their own respective political grievances to settle with the President. It was a marriage of political convenient conceived in hell. President Kiir, finding himself outnumbered and outmaneuvered within the SPLM Politburo, panicked and called off the party National Convention. He called it off again and again and again, hoping to buy time and possibly salvage his dwindling political fortune. Dr. Machar, Pagan and Nyandeng overtly came out questioning President Kiir’s ability to manage the country, upping the political pressure on the President, prompting him to dismiss his entire cabinet in July 2013. Pagan Amum, the vocal Party Secretary General, was suspended and placed under House Arrest—he was barred from talking to the media or leaving the country. Dr. Machar was dismissed from the post of the Vice President; however, it had to be done indirectly—sacking of the entire cabinet—for fear of engendering a tribally motivated negative and/or violent reaction to his dismissal.

But the dismissal of the entire cabinet, majority of whom never made it back to the government, only increased the numbers of President Kiir’s enemies within the SPLM Politburo, the very organ charged with electing the party chairman. The exact trouble that Dr. John Garang had attempted to avoid had, by then, become the living nightmare for President Kiir. With the numbers of President Kiir’s political opponents burgeoning within the critical party structure—the SPLM Politburo—President Kiir’s hope of retaining his prized post of party chairmanship was doomed or so he had then concluded. Consequently, President Kiir undertook exactly the very action that he had, 8 years earlier, censured Dr. John Garang for: he dissolved all the SPLM party structures with the exception of his post—the chairmanship.

The dissolution of the SPLM party structures by President Kiir, unlike the one undertaken by Dr. John Garang in 2005, was meant to serve three main purposes: firstly, to get rid of the party organs, particularly the SPLM politburo, that have been taken over by his political antagonists; secondly to further frustrate his political opponents so as to force them out of the party, and thirdly, having rid the party of his political challengers, to restructure and reconstitute the party organs, staffing it with allies, to ensure his success at the party to-be-choreographed chairmanship contest.

To Kiir’s utter surprise, his opponents made it publicly clear that they would rather fight their political wars within, not outside, the party. Not only that, they went as far as accusing the President, in a televised Conference, of having abandoned the party vision, principles and mission in preference to taking orders from Khartoum, listing Kiir’s indifference to the conduct, and results, of the Abyei referendum exercise as the key case in point. President Kiir’s allies sardonically dismissed their Conference as a futile work of disgruntled political opportunists. “Growing disenchantment and international criticism created fertile ground for opportunists masquerading as democrats,” whispered President Kiir’s ally.

Incentivization of Violent Rebellion: Military Doom Road to December 15th

As President Kiir’s bungled wrestling with his political foes within the ruling SPLM party widened and heightened, he turned to the army to leverage its influence for his own political survival. But to his dismay, the army—including his own Presidential Guards—was numerically dominated by soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group, the community his main nemesis, Dr. Machar, hails from. Again, the domination of the army by one ethnic group, like President Kiir’s failure to steer the main organ of the party to his favor, was a lapse of reasoning and a case study of poor foresight on the part of the President. Like most perils confronting President Kiir these days, it all goes back to the time of Dr. John Garang, when the late SPLM/A leader, on the eve of CPA, commenced South-South Dialogue and Reconciliation Process. The SPLM/A—convinced that there would never be a long lasting peace, political stability and sustainable economic development in South Sudan with Khartoum-backed militias strolling the countryside—undertook a serious and sincere peaceful dialogue to strike political and military solutions to the problems among Southern Sudanese.

When President Kiir took over from Dr. John Garang in August 2005, he continued and even sped up the South-South Dialogue—much to his credit and legacy in the eyes of most South Sudanese people who have long borne the brunt of the wars. But President Kiir strayed away from one fundamental principle of Dr. John Garang: while Dr. John Garang wanted to politically and militarily integrate the various militias in his own (SPLM/A’s) terms, President Kiir, in what appeared to have been, and continued to be, his eagerness to please, gave in and politically and militarily integrated the militias on their own outrageous terms, much to the consternation of the historical SPLM/A members. And because these Khartoum-armed and –backed militias were overwhelmingly from the Nuer ethnic group—and more so because these militias negotiated and were integrated as separate independent groups and at various times—the SPLA (South Sudan National Army) ended up being dominated by soldiers from the Nuer ethnic community.

It wasn’t so much the goal of these Nuer warlords and militias to take over the SPLA, much less was it carried out as an insurance policy to support Dr. Machar—whom the militias have bitterly fought in the past as fiercely and mercilessly as they have fought the SPLM/A—in his future political and military contests against President Kiir as much as it was simply a self-interested act by the Nuer warlords eager to take home the highest political and military concessions they could squeeze out of President Kiir. In President Kiir the militia warlords got away with more than they had bargained for—military domination of South Sudan armed forces—the SPLA—particularly among the foot soldiers. Of particular interest to December 15th event was the ‘2006 Juba Declaration’ between the renegade militia leader, Paulino Matip, and the Government of Southern Sudan. President Kiir, as part of the deal, appointed Paulino Matip as deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA, technically taking the bulk of his rebel militias into the elite Presidential Guards unit entrusted with protecting the President. Because of this single benign act by the President, soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group, like in the SPLA, dominated the Presidential Guards unit—the unit that triggered the current evolving civil war in the country.

President Kiir’s eagerness to give blanket amnesty to any militia Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth, instead of seeding long lasting peace, political stability and sustainable economic development across the country as he had hoped for, saw the inflation of violent rebellions, wanton death of civilians, destruction of property and political instability throughout the country. Blanket amnesty had incentivized violent rebellion. That is, in the words of Dr. John Garang, spoken in reference to Southern Sudanese relentless armed rebellion against successive repressive Khartoum regimes, “under these circumstances” in which President Kiir had specialized in granting blanket amnesty to any warlord Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth, “the marginal cost of rebellion in the [Republic of] South [Sudan] became very small, zero or negative; that is, in the [Republic of] South [Sudan] it pays to rebel.”

Thus the main cause of political instability—read armed rebellions—in South Sudan, prior to and after independence, has been the incentivization of violent rebellions in the form of blanket amnesty to any Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth. A mere glance at the composition of the previous and present government of South Sudan, both at the national and state levels, glaringly screams out one fact: there is an incentive to rebel. It pays to rebel and to kill innocent citizens! The sheer immense attractiveness of political reward for unprovoked revolts and ridiculous butchering of innocent unarmed inhabitants is what drive politic and guarantee easy access to both power and wealth in Juba. Where the rule of law is abandoned and political terror recognized and embraced, there is only one outcome: practical people will follow where incentives lead. That, exactly, has been and continues to be the stark reality we grapple with in South Sudan, a natural outcome of a systematic state policy sponsor and sustain by the government of South Sudan.

Sensitive and proud as all soldiers are, what did the President expect the likes of the SPLM/A war veterans to do having just witnessed NCP-allied militias they not-long-ago ferociously fought against being placed above them as their new bosses? The only logical course of action that any disillusioned and miserable soldier can do, of course: find a flimsy pretext, rebel, kill and maim, and then come back, threateningly, in the name of peace and political stability. The case in point is that of Gen. George Athor Deng, an SPLM/A war veteran who had distinguished himself in the battlefield during the war of liberation but who rebelled against the government following the 2010 generation election. Providentially to the Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth of South Sudan, President has been more than ready, willing and able to grant them blanket amnesty in the name of “our national unity” and promote them as rewards for the rebellions and the wanton killings they have been engaging in.

In this Rebonomics—the economy of violent political and military rebellion—South Sudan has witnessed the mushrooming of rebel outfits in the names of South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A); the South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A); South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), and in the personalities of Paulino Matip Nhial, Gordon Koang Chuol, Peter Gadet Yak, Gabriel Tanginye, Thomas Mabor Dhol, John Duiet Yiech, Bapiny Monytuel Wijang, James Gai Yoach, Gatluak Gai George Athor Deng, David Yau-Yau, Karlo Kuol Ruach, Bol Gatkuoth, Muntu Muntalla Abdallah, Marko Chuol Ruei, Peter Kuol Chol, Thomas Duoth Lam, Mathews Puljang Top and Gordon Buay Malek.

This argument does not entail that one is against the so-called South-South Dialogue if conducted in good faith with the sole target of achieving palpable national unity, long lasting peace and socio-economic development in South Sudan. In fact, President Kiir can be applauded for taking the mantle from the late Dr. John Garang in successfully integrating almost all the NCP-allied militias, a process without which the CPA-mandated Southern referendum—along with the subsequent secession of South Sudan—would not have seen the light of the day. The most imperative thing is that the process of national reconciliation, of which presidential amnesty may be an integral part, should not inevitably tantamount to giving blanket amnesty to every Militia Deng, Lado and/or Gatkuoth. Blanket amnesty rewards evils and incentivizes violent rebellions.

Surely, it may not be the case that these militias certainly take delight in armed revolts or love to kill innocent civilians. It is most likely that they could just be communicating the message in town—give us better positions like what you did to other militias or else we go on killing spree! The necessity for the South-South Dialogue for the sake of national reconciliation and unity should have been balanced by the menace of incentivizing violent rebellion. Otherwise, as Dr. John Garang once opined, “under these circumstances the marginal cost of rebellion in the South became very small, zero or negative; that is, in the South it pays to rebel.”

The bald-faced heedlessness at which President Kiir carried out the military integration of the rebels’ forces into the SPLA led to the domination of the army and the presidential guards by members of one ethnic group—Nuer. What did the President do when he discovered that he was outnumbered and outmaneuvered in both the SPLM and the SPLA? For him, it was too late to change anything in his favor in the two institutions of power within the ruling party or so he seemed to have resigned himself to that conclusion. Instead, he went back to the drawing board and was said to have turned to Governor Malong Awan of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State to launch a new recruitment exercise, mostly targeting local Dinka vigilante group known as Gelweng/Titweng—traditionally, local young Dinka men that organized themselves according to their age group to protect their cattle from Arab militias of Messeryia and Marahlein. Governor Malong Awan—a veteran of the SPLM/A war of liberation and senior member of the ruling SPLM party—was said to have recruited exclusively from Warrap (where the President comes from) and Northern Bahr el Ghazal States. James Hoth Mai, Chief of General Staffs and another veteran of the war and a senior member of the SPLM, was either deliberately kept in the dark or was not directly involved in the recruitment exercise.

After their training sting in Maper (Aweil), Northern Bahr el Ghazal state where Malong Awan is the state Governor, the new recruits, then renamed Gel-beny/Tit-beny (Presidential protectors) were taken to Juba for redeployment. James Hoth Mai, however, was not amused by the arrival of a covert army, and was narrated to have formally objected to their entry into the city, let alone their deployment, on the ground that he was not aware of any newly recruited SPLA soldiers. Gelbeny/Titbeny was reportedly deployed outside the city, at Luri cattle camp owned by the President—his version of President Museveni’s Rwakitura rural sanctuary. And so as President Kiir battle his political rivals within the party, Governor Malong Awan, who recently commandeered the government troops that re-recaptured Bor from the armed forces of the SPLM/A in Opposition, suddenly emerged as the man behind the throne as he became more vocal in his virulent attacks on President Kiir’s real and imagined political enemies—Dr. Machar, Pagan Amum, and Rebecca Nyandeng in addition to the disgruntled ex-members of President Kiir’s cabinet that dominate the SPLM Politburo (SPLM-PB).

When President Kiir’s best bet of forcing his political rivals out of the ruling party faltered through, he turned to and called the SPLM National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting, an action that was said to have breached the party constitution because the NLC could only sit after the SPLM-PB. The NLC, unlike the elitist SPLM-PB, has more members, most of whom have never been part of the government and were therefore trying to curry favor with the President in the hope of getting noticed for future appointments, or simply put, had no deep seated political grudges to settle with the President. Of course, when the NLC meeting convened—scheduled on the same day and hour that President Kiir’s rivals had allotted to their second “public appearance” at Dr. John Garang’s Mausoleum—President Kiir’s political rivals, by virtue of being senior members of the party, showed up for the meeting.

But there, unlike in the SPLA and the SPLM-PB, President Kiir appeared to have done his homework well. His rivals were outnumbered and their proposals were all voted down till they—feeling humiliated and a little bit startled by the turn of events in Kiir’s favor—stormed out of the meeting on the second day. Pagan Amum, the suspended SPLM SG who was supposed to have convened and chaired the party NLC meeting, was barred by police from accessing the venue.

And the Impunity Strikes Back: Corruption Doom Road to December 15th

Much have been said and written about how ungodly and corrupt the entire leadership of the SPLM—the SPLM-in-Government (The SPLM-G) and the SPLM-in-Opposition (the SPLM-O)—has been since the inauguration of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) in 2005 after the signing and promulgation of the Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). As Governor Chol Tong Mayai—the detained former governor of Lakes State—recently acknowledged in public, it is self-evident that “we have all failed including us seated here (SPLM-O) together with you in government (SPLM-G). It is only our children who are going to study in good schools in East Africa. When we fall sick we are airlifted out of the country. It’s our children who are eating ice cream. The children of the local people are not eating ice cream. Lets us all sit down and have a dialogue and see how to resolve the leadership crisis and see how we can move forward.”

While there had been accusations of financial mismanagements during the SPLM-in-the-Bush (SPLM-B) era under the leadership of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, the first ever recorded allegation of corruption under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayaardit surfaced in 2006, barely a year into his assumption of the SPLM/A mantle. For instance, the SPLM general secretariat, once in Khartoum, was empowered by the “SPLM’s Strategic Framework for War-to-Peace Transition” document to embark on a nationwide process of membership mobilization—and a serious institutional development within the party—that would have enabled it to win the CPA-mandated general election scheduled at the end of the transitional period. That would have certified the SPLM/A to fulfil its vision of an ANC-styled peaceful dismantling of the Khartoum government and to usher in a democratic transformation of the old Sudan into the New Sudan envisaged by Dr. John Garang.

In furtherance of that objective, the “SPLM-LC decided to contribute (forego) to the SPLM secretariat salaries that would have been paid to the SPLA, CANS, and the NLC during the pre-interim period of six months.” Whereas the total amount payable to the SPLM general secretariat was $378 million, only $60 million was eventually paid in 2006, with the cabal around President Kiir, most of whom had made careers out of opposing Dr. John Garang till his death, pocketing the remaining $318 million meant for refurbishing and the strengthening of the SPLM-B party. Reportedly, it was from the $60 million paid to the SPLM general secretariat in 2006 that Pagan Amum has been accused of having taken about $30 million. Interestingly, it is the damning accusation that President Kiir brought up lately when Madam Rebecca Nyandeng went to meet him after the December 15th mutiny. No one has ever questioned—not even the President himself—where the $318 million went.

Yet, that there would be such kinds of hurried rent-seeking activities under the leadership of President Salva Kiir was greatly baffling, not least because in 2004, during the Rumbek Crisis meeting, Commander Salva Kiir had severely criticized the late Dr. John Garang on the apparent failures of SPLM-in-B to meet its obligations to South Sudanese, particularly on the alleged rampant cases of corruption and false complacency:

…members (SPLA) have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system we are going to establish in South Sudan?….There are people among us who are more dangerous than the enemy. I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you, must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will lead us to a very serious political defeat. Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem.”

Threats against Dr. John Garang aside, there is every reason to believe that Commander Salva Kiir Mayaardit was calling for transparency, accountability and the strengthening of the SPLM-in-B party in readiness for the CPA era. So when, in the post-Garang SPLM of 2006, the very people who had, in that infamous Rumbek Meeting of 2004, cheered on Commander Salva Kiir to overthrow Dr. John Garang began stealing money meant for revamping the party and President Kiir gave a deaf ear and a blind eye to their sleazy deeds, many observers concluded that Commander Salva Kiir might have been paying a lip service to fighting corruption and was not keen on strengthening the SPLM-in-B to make it a national party, capable of competing and win election against “other political parties that are more organized” in the Sudan.

That conclusion—that President Kiir was never keen on fighting corruption, contrary to his 2004 pronouncements—was confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt in 2007. As a new government starting from scratch, GoSS authorized the Ministry of Finance, then headed by Arthur Akuien Chol, to purchase government vehicles for the ministries and other government institutions. The minister for Finance, on the official advice from the office of the Vice President of GoSS, Dr. Riek Machar, contracted an international company to undertake the purchasing and procurement of the said vehicles. Soon after the cars—all V-8—had arrived in Juba, it transpired that the SPLA military men (James Hoth Mai in particular), also given the green light to purchase and procure their own military vehicles, were intrigued to discover that the price per vehicle paid for by the SPLM was almost ten times that of the SPLA vehicle.

Nhial Bol, the intrepid Editor-in-Chief of the Citizen Newspaper, launched his own investigation into the matter. Not long thereafter, he was arrested after his newspaper exposed a “wasteful spending at the finance ministry, which purchased 153 cars for government officials.” According to Aljazeera, the price tag was $60 million—a staggering $400,000 per vehicle, compare to $45,000 for the military. Arthur Akuien Chol, GoSS first minister for Finance was soon later arrested and incarcerated. Before any formal investigation and trial were to be conducted, however, armed youth from his clan, stormed the state prison, broke in and freed him. He was never brought back to stand trial for the misappropriation of the government funds.

The case of Arthur Akuien Chol—one that happened in a broad daylight and thus formed the bulk of the chitchats during those days, months and years afterwards in government offices, hotels, bars, homes, countryside and even in the sprawling brothels of Juba—set a bad precedence that has been haunting the fight against official corruption ever since. It was as if President Kiir (by failing to punish the youth that broke into a government facility and freed a suspect, by failing to bring back and duly persecute Arthur Akuien Chol) has given a green light to every Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth to embark on a risk-free corruption spree. And indeed every Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth did indulge in rent-seeking activities, spectacularly for that matter. By the time President Kiir wrote an official letter to “75 former and current senior” government officials, May 3rd, 2012:

“An estimated $4 billion are unaccounted for, or simply put, stolen by current and former South Sudan officials as corrupt individuals with close ties to government officials. Most of these have been taken out of the country and deposit in foreign accounts. Some have purchased properties; often paid in cash…the people of South Sudan and the International Community are alarmed by the level of corruption in South Sudan. Many people in South Sudan are suffering, and yet some government officials simply care about themselves. The credibility of our government is on the line…we fought for freedom, justice and equality. Many of our friends died to achieve these objectives. Yet, once we got to power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people…I am writing to encourage you to return these stolen funds (full or partial) to this account. If funds are returned, the government of the Republic of South Sudan will grant amnesty and will keep your name confidential. I and only one other official will have access to this information.”

The post-independence Salva Kiir writing to “encourage you to return these stolen funds” was surely not—with the benefit of hindsight—the fire-breathing Salva Kiir of 2004. The Salva Kiir of the SPLM-in-B had meticulously inculcated an allergic reaction against all forms of corruptions. The Salva Kiir of the SPLM-in-B was principally aware of, and had declared that there were, some people within the SPLM-in-B more dangerous than the enemy and had sternly warned Dr. John Garang that “those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you”. The Salva Kiir of the SPLM-in-B had defined the fundamental problem within the SPLM as thus: “Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat.”

For Salva Kiir who was ready to fight Dr. John Garang for the cause of the South Sudanese people to come around condoning and begging the thieves to return stolen funds was a stark case of compromise becoming divorced from principle. With that puzzling announcement of $4 billion missing, many South Sudanese were, and still are, utterly confused of what to make of the President—is he a willing dupe or a craven coconspirator, they wonder in outrage. Not surprisingly, of the “75 former and current government officials” alleged to have misappropriated $4 billion of public funds, only two of them—Madam Awut Deng and Dr. Lual Achuek Deng—did acknowledge receiving the letters from the President; and of the $4 Billion dollars stolen, only $60 million was recovered. Then as now, no one knew who the remaining 73 former and current government officials were, and neither did anyone know from whom that $60 million was recovered. That prompted South Sudanese civil society groups, led by activists such as Deng Athuaai Mawiir, to march on “South Sudan’s parliament demanding the government publish the names of the officials alleged to have stolen a total of $4 billion since 2005.”

As South Sudanese were celebrating the first anniversary of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan on July 9th, 2012, Mr. Mawiir, the Chairperson of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, was fighting for his dear life at the Juba Teaching hospital. Masked men had kidnapped him on the 4th of July in Juba, South Sudan. He was lured into a “green-blue” car, blindfolded with his hands tied behind him and then ferried to an unknown location where he was repeatedly tortured till July 7, 2012 when he was dumped in a sack on the Juba-Bor highway. “You have been talking about the money being stolen in corruption, is it your father’s money that was stolen? Why do you like to speak every time on all these issues and who mandates you to speak on behalf of the people of South Sudan?” Demanded the kidnappers of Mr. Mawiir.

Alarmed by the persistent call, both from within and outside the country, to disclose the names of the alleged corrupt government officials, President Kiir went on national television in June 2012 to claim that “I did not say the money was stolen neither I did say $4Bn has been stolen. I said the money has been lost somewhere and someone has to account for it. I have written to 75 former and present gov’t officials. This does not mean that these 75 officials are suspects but they have the responsibility. I will still write to some officials whom I had written to them and now claimed to have not received any letter from my office. I will again write to some more officials whom I did not write to them earlier.” If his failure to retrieved and persecute former minister of finance, Arthur Akuien Chol, had set a bad precedence in the war on corruption, his equivocations was another stark case of compromise becoming divorced from principle, for his desire not to persecute members of his cabinet had only succeeded, in the eyes of those cabinet members and all concerned citizens, to incentivize rampant corruption and impunity within the corridors of power in Juba. While some civil and political activists like Mr. Mawiir were lucky to survive the torture, others like the prolific political commentator, Isaiah Abraham, were killed in cold blood in their own houses in the middle of the night.

With impunity running riot in Juba, it wasn’t long before corruption graduated from the ministries and government bureaucracies to the heart of the government—Presidential office itself. Just last year, March 2013, it was sensationally revealed that over $6 million in cash had been stolen from the office of the President by the officials working there, all of whom, not so incidentally—to borrow Dr. John Garang’s phrase in reference to the tripartite Riverian Arab tribes who had dominated the government of the Sudan since 1956—were from President Kiir’s home county in Warrap state.  The officials in charge were suspended, and formal inquiry was launched, but all the accused were later secretly reinstated into office, with the missing funds still unaccounted for. None was charged for the crime. And the case—like that of the Dura Saga, the Arthur Akuien Fiasco, the Vehicle Scandal, the $4 billion Infamy—has not live to see the light of the day. The reign of impunity under the watchful eyes of President Kiir—a man who had histrionically commenced his presidency under the banner of zero tolerance for corruption—is very much related to December 15th because impunity has been made the norm, as none of the culprits is held accountable for the frauds committed against the nation.

With impunity enshrined in practice in Juba, it was not that puzzling to see dismissed corrupt and failed ministers ganging up against the President because, in their conscience, (1) there was no bigger economic crime than the one committed by Arthur Akuien Chol, and yet he is as free as freedom itself, and (2) the President, himself steep in sleaze, has no moral authority nor the grit to pursue and indict corrupt and failed government officials and civil servants within his own government without running the risk of rocking the boat from within. Thus, impunity, in form of corruptions, paves the doom road to December 15th.

The Ticking Time Bomb

This is how the fate of the entire nation precariously hang in the balance—the bitter sacrifices and historic triumphs of all the martyrs, the wounded heroes/heroines and the war veterans, and the destiny of South Sudanese’ present and future generations—a day to that infamous Sunday, 15 December 2013, when an Attempted Coup (President Kiir and his cohorts) or the Mutiny (Kiir’s opponents and the International Community) erupted within the elite Presidential Guards of Tiger battalion, stationed at Gihada Military Barrack, next to Juba University, in Juba city, the seat of the Government 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:

By PaanLuel Wël

President Salva Kiir Mayaardit has fired Abdallah Deng Nhial, the National Minister for Environment, and a longtime Islamist with root in the Muslim Brotherhood of the Sudan, headed by Sheikh Hassan el-Turabi. As a fanatical follower of el-Turabi, Abdallah collaborated with Khartoum regime during South Sudan war for independence spearheaded by the SPLM/A.

While Dr. Lam Akol’s name is synonymous with traitorship and collaboration with the North during and after the war of liberation, it is Abdallah that rightfully own that crown; Dr. Lam, it could be argued, has robbed him of the title.

And so when he was appointed Minister for Environment during the recent cabinet overhaul this year, many South Sudanese had interpreted the appointment of such flawed character who spent his entire life collaborating with the North against the interests of Southerners as President Kiir’s pandering to Khartoum in an attempt to appease the Mullahs in Khartoum and keep the oil pipeline open.

This wasn’t a farfetched conclusion because many of the appointees, still in President Kiir’s cabinet such as Riek Gai, have a chequred track record of serving the interests of the NCP of which they were (and still could be) members.

Abdallah Deng’s dismissal from the cabinet yesterday (Nov. 26, 2013) came at a backdrop of a public altercation he had had with Machok Majong Jong last week. Hon. Machok is the MP for Gogrial West county from Warrap State, the constituency and state the President hails from.

It’s understood that an argument between the pair on the premises of the national parliament in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, escalated in to a physical fight. Eyewitnesses said Both Nhial and Majong were arguing in a larger group over the fate of the contested Abyei region in the office of the chairman of the parliamentary affairs committee, before the debate turned into a tit-for-tat exchange of insults. Nhial, who hails from Bor South constituency in Jonglei state, reportedly asserted that “Abyei was already a gone case as part of South Kordofan” in Sudan; a view point which was said to have angered Majong. It’s alleged that Nhial slapped the Gogrial West county legislator after he criticised Nhial for using “bad names”. Politicians from Warrap state, as well as a youth group, lobbied the president to take action against the former minister. Following the incident, Majong attempted to raise a motion in parliament, calling for a vote of no-confidence against the minister. (ST)

Because the relieved Minister had slapped an MP from the President home county, many South Sudanese have been quick to conclude that the President has taken side and fired the Minister to appease “his people” and redeem their butchered honor.

But some commentators have gone deeper and further than that and are passionately claiming that the reason for the President’s move can only be better appreciated in the context of what the fired Minister allegedly said regarding Abyei, something that these observers surmise the president had wanted to be kept under wrap, forever.

“Abyei was already a gone case as part of South Kordofan” in Sudan (Shouted Abdallah Deng Nhial)

This is how the logic goes: President Kiir and Bashir have been meeting, on numerous occasions, over the issue of Abyei and some South Sudanese people do feel that the President hasn’t told the nation the whole truth regarding his discussions with Bashir and the North. For example, did the President trade off Abyei to have the oil pipeline re-opened?

For those who fancy the President might have sold out Abyei, the crime committed by Abdallah Deng Nhial (who is very close to Khartoum and could be privy to the secretive dealings and trade-offs over Abyei), is not that he had dared to publicly slapped an MP from President Kiir backyard; rather it is that he has let the cat out of the bag by revealing something that would, if proven right, disgrace the President.

That is “Abyei was already a gone case as part of South Kordofan”. Where did the good minister got that idea/information from? From his masters in Khartoum and then spilt it out in the heat of the moment, earning the wrath of both Khartoum and Juba?

Some South Sudanese commentators suppose that to be the case:

Abdalla Deng Nhial is a Khartoumer who knows the recent secret deals between incompetent Kiir and criminal Bashir on Abyei issue, and that is why he said Abyei was already a gone case. He meant that Kiir sold it, and this revelation angered Kiir’s MP. (Midiit, a commentator on ST)

Another one concurs thus:

I’m agreed with Mr Midiit 100%. It’s true that Kiir Dismissed Deng Nhail because he is revealing the truth about Abyei issue. And the order to dismiss him came direct from Bashir of Khartoum. Because Bashir did not want any minister from Kiir’s government to behave differently. (Wicdall, from ST)

Of course, this view is not in the majority because most people probably believe that the utterance–and the public stance taken–by the North-affiliated Minister that arbitrarily consign Abyei to the North, is an outrageous crime to warrant his dismissal from the cabinet.

Nonetheless, the fact that some South Sudanese people think it fit to link the President to such treacherous actions should be a wake-up call for the President in as far as he belabors to bring Abyei back to where it rightfully belong: South Sudan.

Comrade Salva Kiir is a proud veteran of two wars: Anyanya-1 and the SPLM/A, including his indispensable patriotic works during the heydays of their Underground Movement. His resolve to have the CPA-mandated Southern Referendum conducted on time and fairly, and his craftiness and courage to oversee the Independence of South Sudan successfully–against all odds that had seemed insurmountable–are commendable and historical.

However, the case of Abyei, more than the rampant corruption and mismanagements in Juba, could undo all those achievements within a blink of an eye if he (had) signs onto dots that handover Abyei to the North.

President Kiir risks joining the ranks of Dr. Lam Akol and Abdallah Deng Nhial, among others, in the eyes of the patriotic South Sudanese people!!

A Convoy of Lost Boys and Prezzo Salva Kiir in the 1980s

This is one more occasion where a single picture is worth a thousand words……speaks louder than a thousand words.

PaanLuel Wel.

Breakdown of negotiations leads South Sudan to cut off oil through Sudan.

Amanda Hsiao
February 13, 2012 15:18
South sudan oil cut off 2012 2 12

South Sudan President Salva Kiir at a press conference in Juba on February 2, 2012. Kiir warned of renewed conflict with former foes in north Sudan if bitter oil negotiations do not include a deal on other key issues, including the contested Abyei region. Khartoum has said that Juba had not paid it for using its pipelines and refinery since South Sudan seceded in July, and admits to having confiscated 1.7 million barrels of South Sudan crude. In response South Sudan in January took the extreme step of shutting down oil production, the fledgling nation’s top revenue source. South Sudan split from Sudan in July, taking with it three-quarters of the country’s oil, but all pipeline and export facilities are controlled by Sudan. (Isaac Billy/AFP/Getty Images)

JUBA, South Sudan — “We will completely break relations with Sudan,” said Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s lead negotiator. “It is in our long-term interest to not cooperate with Khartoum.”

It was three days into the last round of talks between Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa in late January. Amum had just emerged from a meeting in which he threatened to cut the flow of oil from the South to the North, the economic lifeblood for both countries. Days later, the shutdown began.

For the last year and a half, Sudan and South Sudan have been negotiating the arrangements of their separation, which occurred on July 9, 2011, including the amount of money the South should pay to pump its oil through pipelines in the North.

The negotiations have rested on the key assumption that both sides would work toward the viability of the other state, the conventional wisdom being that building on the existing economic linkages between the former civil war foes would encourage Juba and Khartoum to remain at peace with one another following southern independence. The two pipelines that connect oilfields in the South to a port and refineries in the North are the most visible manifestations of the ties that continue to bind the two countries. Cultural and historical connections between the two populations and a common 1,305-mile border were also reasons to believe that creating dependency between the two states would be the best means for establishing peaceful relations.

Juba’s decision to cut oil flow to the North has upset this dynamic.

“We reject the assumption that mutual dependency of our two nations is the path to peace. It is not,” said South Sudan President Salva Kiir in a recent statement to the press. In a game-changing move, the government of South Sudan upturned the foundation on which the international community has based its approach to South Sudan-Sudan relations.

The immediate cause for the South’s oil stoppage was Khartoum’s decision to confiscate what the South estimates to be $815 million worth of southern oil during negotiations. In response, Juba decided the only means of protecting its most valuable national asset was to keep it in the ground.

More importantly, the decision speaks to the deep-seated distrust that Juba has for Khartoum, and the view that the North has been, and will always be, an unreliable partner in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements. Juba asks, exasperated and bitter after years of what it sees as subjugation to Khartoum’s aggressions and whims: “They have never engaged with us in good faith, why should we be expected to continue to deal with them now that we have the freedom to decide not to do so?”

But Juba’s decision is not purely defensive. The South calculates that an oil shutdown will ultimately hurt Sudan’s economy more than South Sudan’s, thus returning the advantage to Juba’s side in the North-South feud. However, Juba, too, stands to lose tremendously in the short-term. One of the world’s least developed nations, South Sudan has now shut off the source of 98 percent of its annual budget.

The distrust and emotional baggage from decades of war go both ways.

Economic mismanagement and the loss of oil revenues from the South left Khartoum with an economic crisis that threatens to destabilize the political patronage network on which the regime sits. Already, Khartoum faces a rebel movement mobilizing for regime change, calls for reform from detractors and allies alike, and shifting dynamics within the government itself. Despite the economic crunch, the government has been hesitant to adopt the full range of austerity measures necessary to alleviate the situation because the measures will be politically unpopular. Absent any international allies willing to bail it out, Khartoum has turned to Juba for what the regime sees as its rightful share of oil money.

Khartoum believes that Juba has been delaying an agreement on how much to pay for the transport of its oil as a means of further weakening Sudan’s economy, and thus the regime’s hold on power. Feeling that it could no longer afford to wait, Khartoum began to take payment in the form of southern oil, a move that also strengthened its hand at the table.

Above all, Khartoum is resentful that Juba is providing materiel support to rebels agitating for regime change in Sudan — undercutting, in Khartoum’s eyes, the South’s positions at the negotiating table. The North is also providing weapons to militia groups provoking instability in the South.

The outbreak of violent rebellion in Sudan marked a seismic shift in negotiating dynamics. The conflict raised the specter of regime change in Sudan, creating pressure for Khartoum to get as much as it can out of the talks, and prompting some in Juba to consider a future without Omar al-Bashir’s regime in the North. The promise of mutual viability was undermined.

Should Sudan-South Sudan relations remain broken, the international community faces a deeply isolated regime in Khartoum that will lash out against South Sudan with as much force as it can muster. Khartoum’s bombings of southern territory will likely intensify, as will the supply of arms to detractors of the southern government in South Sudan. Juba may be prompted to respond, and will, at a minimum, provide more support to armed opposition movements in Sudan. Tit-for-tat escalation to the point of direct hostilities is a possibility. Such a scenario is what the international community had hoped to avoid when it began backing the African Union panel in its efforts to broker an agreement a year and a half ago.

At this moment, the two parties are engaged in a last-ditch attempt in Addis Ababa to strike a deal. The signing of a non-aggression pact is a positive gesture, but without coordinated, and targeted international pressures, it appears all but impossible that the two sides will budge from their current positions on an actual deal. China, Ethiopia, and the United States, in particular, should be in the lead. Should no agreement or progress toward an agreement emerge, the chance for peaceful reconciliation around a negotiation table may be all but lost.

The biggest obstacle to a deal is not that an agreement palatable to both sides does not exist. The parameters of a possible comprehensive deal are clear. South Sudan could transfer to Sudan:

1) a fee, based on international best practices and industry standards for the use of oil infrastructure located in the North

2) a financial assistance package to address Khartoum’s economic situation that is tied to a final resolution on border disputes that addresses South Sudan’s territorial concerns.

Anything short of a comprehensive agreement will not be acceptable to Juba, which can only be compelled to offer billions of dollars in assistance to Khartoum if it receives something substantial in return, and reasonably so. A comprehensive agreement encompassing not only the oil dispute, but the other, key unresolved issues between the two parties is the only solution that will accommodate enough interests on both sides to make a deal viable.

If the current round of negotiations in Addis Ababa fails, the international community will have to devise a new negotiations model that accommodates the gaping rift between the two sides. A mediator with leverage to exert over the two governments, coupled with increased and sustained engagement on the part of key international stakeholders, will be necessary.

The premise that South Sudan and Sudan’s fates should remain interlinked should be also reexamined. Continued relations between the two states remain a reality, and the adage that economic linkages may encourage the two countries to remain at peace likely still rings true. But mutual dependency can only arise from mutual trust, a sentiment that is sorely lacking in North-South relations.

Amanda Hsiao is a Field Researcher with the Enough Project, whose mission is to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

Sudanese Oil Talks Open Amid Somber Atmosphere

Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said tensions with South Sudan over oil transit payments could lead to war between the two countries during an interview with state TV, in Khartoum, February 3, 2012.

Photo: Reuters
Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said tensions with South Sudan over oil transit payments could lead to war between the two countries during an interview with state TV, in Khartoum, February 3, 2012.

Sudan and South Sudan have resumed talks on sharing oil revenues that are a key component of both countries’ economies. South Sudan shut down production at its oil fields last month, after accusing the Khartoum government of stealing crude that passed through northern pipelines. The talks began in a somber atmosphere.

A member of the South Sudan negotiating team told VOA on Monday the pipeline would remain closed until Sudan accepts southern demands in the two countries’ bitter dispute over oil payments. The negotiator spoke on condition of anonymity.

As day three of the six-day session of talks dragged on, the solemn faces of negotiators told the story as they emerged from meetings.

The tone of rhetoric coming from Khartoum and Juba suggests the two sides are far apart. Sudan has accused the South of having a negative attitude toward the talks. Southern officials are holding fast to a series of demands, including payment for $850 million worth of oil they say the north stole from the pipeline.

Sudanese news agencies quoted President Omar al-Bashir as saying the south’s decision last month to suspend oil production is “suicidal.”  Several analysts have said the same thing, noting the Juba government depends on oil for 97 percent of its income.

But southern officials reject what they call the “prophets of doom.”

The south’s acting defense minister, Majak D’Agot, calls the cutoff a “blessing in disguise.”

“Despite the hardship and the consequences, it’s a blessing in disguise in the sense [South] Sudan has consummated its independence because it is fully assuming control of its natural resources, it’s assuming control of its territory, and assuming control of this critical and strategic resource: oil,” said D’Agot.

D’Agot says the south is much better able to withstand the oil cutoff than the north. He told VOA the Khartoum government is suffering much more because the north is more oil-dependent than the impoverished south.

“[The] Sudanese economy is fast industrializing. It was much dependent on oil and the need for oil in north Sudan cuts across all sectors of the economy, whereas in South Sudan we know this is an economy trying to emerge out of distress as a result of war and underdevelopment. It is more or less a subsistence-based economy, so the effect of oil or lack of it has not yet been felt by the majority of people in South Sudan,” said D’Agot.

The talks are being held under the auspices of the African Union mediating team led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki. The Mbeki panel succeeded in persuading the two sides to sign a non-aggression deal Friday on the first day of the meetings.

But D’Agot, who led his side in the security segment of the talks, said the oil negotiations are much tougher. He said the south will insist that Khartoum admit it was wrong to unilaterally take oil from the pipeline.

“They took an extreme gamble, which was unnecessary. All they need to do is have rational expectations. If they are beginning to entertain rational expectations and not to expect they can take what they don’t deserve from South Sudan’s oil, then we can reach a deal,” said D’Agot.

Despite the hardline positions, the two sides are under extreme pressure to reach a deal that would reopen the pipeline. Negotiators say China, the main consumer of Sudanese oil, is deeply involved in trying to bridge the differences.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, arrived Monday to join the negotiations.

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Treaty of Non-Aggression

Deal aimed at easing tensions that prompted presidents of both countries to speak of prospect of war…

South Sudan and Sudan at brink again over oil
South Sudan President Salva Kiir at a press conference in Juba on February 2, 2012. Kiir warned of renewed conflict with former foes in north Sudan if bitter oil negotiations do not include a deal on other key issues, including the contested Abyei
Sudanese Oil Talks Open Amid Somber Atmosphere
Voice of America
February 13, 2012 Sudanese Oil Talks Open Amid Somber Atmosphere Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Sudan and South Sudan have resumed talks on sharing oil revenues that are a key component of both countries’ economies. South Sudan shut down
Syria; Sudan/South Sudan; the Sahel; Haiti; and more
UN Dispatch
Sudan/S. Sudan: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the signing of a non-aggression and cooperation pact between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan and urged both countries to maintain the positive spirit that led to the agreement and
Sudan Agrees With South Sudan on Southerners’ Return, Suna Says
Sudan and its newly independent neighbor South Sudan signed an agreement yesterday to cooperate on the transfer of more than 300000 people to the south, state- run SUNA news agency reported. Under the agreement the two countries will work together so

July 29, 2011 (NAIROBI) – A South Sudanese opposition figure has overtly accused the country’s leader Salva Kiir Mayradit of liquidating rebel leader Gaultak Gai, warning that his death has antagonized the Nuer Community and curtailed any prospect for peace in the country.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir waves to his supporters as he arrives at the John Garang mausoleum before the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011 (REUTERS PICTURES)Gai, who had been leading a localized rebellion against the government of South Sudan in Unity State since his defection from the country’s army known as Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) following the announcement of elections results in April last year, was shot dead in mysterious circumstances on 23 July along with a number of his bodyguards in Koch County.

Three days before his demise, Gai signed a peace deal with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) after six weeks of talks. Under the deal, he was meant to integrate his forces into the SPLA and given the rank of a Lieutenant-General in the SPLA.

The SPLA denied any involvement in Gai’s death, accusing his deputy, Marko Chuol Ruei, of opening fire on his leader following internal squabbles.

Ruei went on Bentiu radio to claim responsibility for the death of his commander, stressing that he now had command over the old rebel group and expressing his desire to see through the peace deal with the SPLA.

Gordon Buay, former Secretary-General of South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF), on Saturday chided South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir over his “cowardice act to assassinate” Gai and warned that his death will spark a war.

“The assassination of Gatluak Gai is something unknown to Dinka and Nuer culture. In Nilotic culture, you cannot kill somebody who signed peace with you,” Buay said in a letter seen by Sudan Tribune.

He went on to cite the example of how the late southern leader John Garang signed a peace deal with Riek Machar but did not kill him.

Buay warned that the entire Nuer community is “angry” and that even Nuer intellectuals will now be going to “the frontline” because what Kiir allegedly did “is something unknown in Nuer and Dinka culture.”

“Very soon, the entire Warrap State will be on fire because of what you did to Gatluak Gai who wholeheartedly signed peace for the benefit of the people of South Sudan,” he said.

The southern figure warned that peace in South Sudan was now “dead” with Gai. “You need to polish your AK-47 because from now on you will go to frontline if you are not a coward,” Buay said in his address to Kiir.

Analysts have long been warned that South Sudan, which gained independence on 9 July, might descend into ethnic violence if the government’s focus does not shift towards addressing internal grievances.

By Rebecca Hamilton

Jul 9 2011, 7:00 AM ET 4

Twenty years of U.S. involvement contributed to today’s secession of Southern Sudan – but peace is yet to come


George W. Bush meets with First Vice President of Sudan and President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir, January 5, 2009 / Reuters

Today marks the birth of the world’s newest nation. The Republic of South Sudan has gained its independence from Sudan after decades of bloody civil war, and southern Sudanese around the world are celebrating. So too are their allies. And there are few outside Sudan who are likely to be more pleased than a tight group of U.S. Congressional representatives who have sustained their efforts on Sudan for over two decades.

This bipartisan coalition, known in recent years as the Sudan Caucus, has pushed three successive U.S. presidents to make Sudan a foreign policy priority. “It’s a great day,” co-founder of the Sudan Caucus, Democratic Congressman Donald Payne, told me. “A victory for the oppressed.”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, who is heading the U.S. delegation to the independence celebrations, called the historic occasion “first and foremost a testament to the Southern Sudanese people” as well as to leaders in both Sudan and South Sudan. She added that, in terms of the international community, “the U.S. has been as active as anyone.”

According to a U.S. official who is not authorized to speak to the media but has worked on these issues for decades, U.S. attention on Sudan has not been by chance. “Behind all this was [and] still is, a small group of people who have been working behind the scenes for almost 20 years” said the official.

South Sudan’s independence follows a January referendum in which 98.8 percent of voters chose to secede from Sudan. The referendum had been promised in a peace agreement that ended the war between the Sudanese government based in the largely Arab and Muslim north and rebels in the mainly Christian and animist south of Sudan. The longest-running conflict in Africa, an estimated two million southern Sudanese lives were lost by the time the war ended in 2005.

Today, while southern Sudanese rejoice, the celebrations are marred by increasingly horrific reports of violence and civilian causalities in Southern Kordofan, on the northern side of the border between the soon-to-be nations of Sudan and South Sudan.

The Sudan Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Payne, along with Republican Congressman Frank Wolf and Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano, was inaugurated in 2005. But its roots stretch back much further.

In 1989, Rep. Wolf traveled into the war-ravaged terrain of southern Sudan to become the first U.S. representative to meet with the head of the southern Sudanese rebels, John Garang. Payne followed a few years later, and on his return to Washington pushed for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a resolution endorsing the right of southern Sudanese to exercise self-determination. Congress subsequently condemned the Sudanese government “for its genocidal war in southern Sudan.”

Backing up these congressional efforts was an unlikely activist coalition, formed years before the more high-profile Save Darfur movement. The southern Sudan cause brought evangelicals into alliance with African American, Jewish, and secular activist groups.

U.S. attempts to support the southern Sudanese struggle have been wide-ranging. A report released by the Congressional Research Service last week lists actions going back to the Clinton era, including the provision of more than $20 million surplus U.S. military equipment to frontline states of Uganda, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, which the report says “helped reverse military gains made by the [Sudanese] government” against the southern rebels. Further pressure on the Sudanese government came with the 1993 designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terror, and the 1997 imposition of comprehensive economic sanctions, which prevented U.S. companies from operating in Sudan.

On the eve of South Sudan independence, former National Security Council Africa Director John Prendergast, who today leads much of the U.S. activism on Sudan, told me he felt “major regret that we couldn’t help get this done in the mid to late 1990s when I worked for the Clinton administration.”

Instead, U.S. support for southern Sudanese self-determination gained momentum under the presidency of George W. Bush. His aides said the former president, pressed by evangelical activists, viewed ending the civil war in Sudan as a “legacy item” for his foreign policy. Bush appointed a special envoy to focus on peace negotiations, which finally bore fruit in 2005.

Celebrations of the 2005 peace agreement were dampened, however, by ongoing conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur. In 2003, the Sudanese government launched a brutal military campaign to crush an insurgency by Darfuri rebels, mostly non-Arab and Muslim. In the summer of 2004, the same group of Congressional representatives who had long supported southern Sudan passed a resolution condemning the Darfur violence as genocide.

Supported once again by an improbable coalition of religious and secular activists, this time under the banner of the Save Darfur movement, these same members of Congress eventually passed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. The legislation prevented the White House from rewarding the Sudanese government for signing the agreement with the southern rebels until the situation in Darfur was resolved.

The Sudan Caucus, in partnership with their new Save Darfur allies, also secured over $6 billion in humanitarian aid, between 2005 and 2010, to the war-affected areas in Sudan. According to statistics from the U.S. Official Development Assistance database, Sudan has been the third largest recipient of U.S. aid since 2005, trailing only Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet peace in Darfur, which will remain in Sudan when the country splits, has proven elusive. According to the report Beyond the Pledge, issued by a coalition of non-governmental organizations last week, the government launched at least 80 airstrikes against civilian populations in Darfur between January and April this year. Visiting the region last month, the UN human rights expert for Sudan, Justice Mohamed Chande Othman, complained about limited humanitarian access, noting that some of those displaced by violence had not received food or medical care since January.

The unresolved crisis in Darfur is not the only concern as Sudan partitions. In May, the Sudanese government seized a contested and fertile border area called Abyei. The UN says that over 100,000 people were displaced by the violence. A peace agreement has since been signed, providing for 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers to be deployed to Abyei under the UN banner. But the agreement has not yet been implemented, and Abyei’s future remains unclear.

Then on June 5, the Sudanese government began bombing Southern Kordofan, an oil-producing state that will remain part of Sudan when South Sudan secedes. Anti-government fighters in the area largely belong to the Nuba, a non-Arab and religiously diverse group who identity as northerners but sided with the southern rebels during the war. President al-Bashir has instructed the Sudanese army to “continue their operations in South Kordofan until they clean the state of rebels.” But according to the UN, civilians appear to be bearing the brunt of the operation.

Jehanne Henry, Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the situation in Southern Kordofan is severe. “Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, many have been killed or maimed, and houses and property have been destroyed.” The few remaining aid workers in the area, interviewed by phone, say the ordeal brings back memories of the Sudanese government’s campaign against the Nuba in the nineties, which led to ten of thousands of deaths.

The violence in Darfur, Abyei, and now Southern Kordofan complicates the Obama administration’s strategy of offering to lift Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terror and normalize diplomatic relations in return for completing the north-south peace agreement and accepting the secession of South Sudan.

U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, said that failure to resolve the situation in Southern Kordofan will make it “impossible” for the U.S. to normalize relations. But Sudan Caucus member Rep. Wolf remains unsatisfied with the administration’s response. “All the things that are going on in the Nuba Mountains are the things the White House said they wanted to stop in Libya,” said Wolf.

Whatever it would take to resolve Sudan’s violence, the U.S. will likely not be able to do it on its own, especially as Khartoum deepens its economic and diplomatic relationship with Beijing. “One country alone does not have enough leverage” says Jehanne Henry, who wants to see a coordinated multilateral approach.”[The international community] need a united front to press Sudan to end the killing, destruction, arrests, and other violations — not just in Southern Kordofan, but also in Darfur.”

Experts worry that the violence is a harbinger of instability that could undermine the viability of both nations, leading some to question the legacy of U.S. efforts. But, for today at least, the focus will be on welcoming South Sudan as the world’s newest nation.

This story was reported with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Follow @PulitzerCenter on Twitter

July 22, 2011 (JUBA) – The first President of the newly born Republic of South SudanSalva Kiir Mayardit, has announced that his next government will be formed based on qualifications of candidates and not on tribal representation.

Salva Kiir (Reuters)

Kiir made his intention clear on Thursday while addressing officers of the organised forces in Juba.

Last week the president of the new state also said the next cabinet would be lean and broad-based in order to effectively deliver services to the people of the region.

The previous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) was composed of 32 ministers who are currently caretaker ministers in their respective portfolios. Out of the 32 ministers, 12 are from the Dinka ethnic group and 6 from Nuer community, leaving only 14 positions for the rest of the communities of the region.

It is not yet clear whether or not the appointments of the coming broad-based and lean government based on “qualifications” as intended by the president may also end up giving more ministerial positions to one or two ethnic groups or consider ethnic diversity.

The special representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Hilde Johnson, in an interview with South Sudan TV on Wednesday called on the new nation to work for inclusiveness in government, good governance and rule of law in order to secure a “solid foundation”.

Johnson said there was also need to consider ethnic diversity in the new nation.

However, Kiir told the organised forces that tribal representation would be effected at the state level, not at the national level.

Speech of H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit
The First Vice President of the Sudan and
The President of the government of Southern Sudan
On the First Session of the Opening of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly

Juba, 28th, May 2008

Salva Kiir

Opening Remarks

I would first to congratulate the Convention Organizing Committee (CoC) under the leadership of Comrade James Wani Igga for such a remarkable achievement

I thank also all countries that participated in this Convention as they have shown their solidarity with SPLM during this critical phase of democratic transformation in Sudan.

I would like also to extend my sincere appreciation for the valuable words of encouragement and advice from other political parties with whom we share a national commitment and agenda to realizing peace and stability in Sudan through implementation of CPA, democratic transformation and national reconciliation.

I will not also forget the valuable contribution and advice provided by our elders Molana Abel Alier and Gen. Joseph Lagu.

Above all, I would like to sincerely congratulate each of you for making this Convention a success, Maburuk Alaikum.

2. The Confidence of National Convention and People

I would like to thank each of you for electing me as Chairperson of SPLM and this clearly shows your confidence in me as the appropriate person to lead you during this critical phase of our struggle. Your trust and confidence in me pose a real challenge on me of how I can live up to your expectations. I want to assure you Comrades that I will not and I shall not let you down.

Let me also seize this opportunity to congratulate each of you for trust you have given to the newly elected members of National Liberation Council and I tell them Maburuk Alaikum. I am committed to work closely with them in making SPLM a credible political party that would bring the real change in the Sudan.

Also for delegates of the National Convention, you have the confidence of our people and each of you has a role to play in making SPLM to be felt at the grass root and to become a true people’s party. Let us return to our community and make the structure of SPLM functional and operational in the state, counties, payams and bomas.

3. My Commitments as SPLM Chairperson

As you have entrusted me to lead this great party, the SPLM, I would like to share with you my personal commitments during my tenure of office:

3.1 No to War Yes for New Sudan

I am committed, Dear Comrades, to the full implementation of CPA and as I mentioned in most of my speeches that I will not take my people again to war as they have suffered a great deal and they need to lead a peaceful life like other peoples in the world. I call upon each of you to cherish this culture of peace among our communities in all parts of Sudan . Let our people know that SPLM is a party of peace and stability

Despite our unconditional commitment to peace, the SPLM is committed to protect your rights and achievements in the CPA through the peaceful mechanisms provided for in the CPA. As I mentioned in my opening remarks that SPLA as people’s army will be vigilant and on alert to protect your rights and that is why we are committed to making SPLA a professional and modern army.

I am also, Dear Comrades, committed towards realization of the Vision of New Sudan. We must replace the Old Sudan with New Sudan. This is not a dream it is a reality as we are virtually dismantling everyday the Old Sudan. Who would imagine one day that all marginalized people of Sudan from the East, West, South, North and Centre would meet under one umbrella of SPLM. If all Sudan is here, then who would dare to stop us not to change Sudan . Sudan must and shall change in the terms and will of our people. Let us rise up to this noble challenge. As you have now elected me as Chairperson of the SPLM, I declare now with trust and confidence that I am now the Leader of the Marginalized people of Sudan and I am committed to protect their rights and realize their aspirations.

As we are committed to the principle of the right of self-determination to the people of Sudan as an internationally recognized right, I am committed to ensure that the people of Southern Sudan exercise their rights of self-determination as well as the conduct of referendum for the people of Abyei and popular consultation for the people of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile as per the provisions of CPA. It is my personal commitment to ensure that these referenda are implemented in letter and spirit and any attempt to deny these rights to be exercised or their outcomes not to be respected shall be tantamount to gross violation of CPA that may have serious consequences on stability of Sudan.

As part of our vision of New Sudan, I am committed to work towards realization of peace in Darfur and to ensure the protection of civil population and their access to humanitarian assistance. No Peace with Darfur burning!

As First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan , I will be committed to ensure the full implementation of Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement.

3.2. Unity and Reconciliation

Dear Comrades, our survival as political party rests with our unity and I would like to assure you that I shall be committed to the unity of our party. We have come along way with bitter history of division that resulted in enormous atrocities committed against our people and we have no any option but to nurture unity and reconciliation.

Dear Comrades, I shall ensure the full implementation of Nairobi and Juba Declarations, Wunlit Agreement and other agreements.

As Chairperson of the SPLM, I will ensure that the national reconciliation and healing process is initiated and implemented as stipulated in the CPA. Besides national reconciliation process, I will renew the South-South Dialogue as well as encouraging the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue.

Dear Comrades, I would like to remind you all that my personal relations with comrades Pagan Amum, Riek Machar, James Wani Igga, Malik Agar and others go back to the early and difficult days of our Movement. These values of comradeship and solidarity are the ones that kept us together during our struggle till we realized the CPA.

We need to renew these values to be the basis for our team work as we enter this critical phase of our struggle. I would like to assure you that I will work with them in the spirit of comradeship and trust and within the vision of New Sudan. SPLM can only be strong with our unity and shall only be victorious with spirit of comradeship. Can we stand up all and hold our hands together to symbolize the spirit of our comradeship and let us say loud and clear “SPLM Oyee, Unity Oyee, Comradeship Oyee”.

I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to each and every one of us to forgive each other and to open a new page so that we can focus together into our future and to rise up to the aspirations of our people. We have a lot to loose in our disunity and more to gain in our unity.

3.3. Democratic Transformation and Democracy

Dear Comrades we have been talking loud about democratic transformation and democracy, it is now high time to walk our talks and away from rhetoric to action. We have no any other option except the path of democracy. I know that sometimes we confuse ourselves by exaggerating the cost of maintaining unity so that we can undermine the democratic process.

If we allow some of us to temper with democratic process in the name of unity then we will be making disservice to our people. Any unity that is based on pillars other than commitment to SPLM principles and respect of democracy and the free will of our people shall be fragile and may produce “Old Sudan” and wars. I truly believe that the basis of our unity is democracy and free will of our people and these are cardinal values that we need to cherish in our party. As we are initially witnessing democratic process based more on ethnic representation than on individual merits, it is a challenge for us of how we can gradually replace ethnic allegiance with that of SPLM. Democracy is a process, not a single event.

Me personally, I am committed to these democratic process within the Party and I hope that in our next meeting of the NC we will have by then a credible and democratic SPLM not only established at all levels but the only ruling party in parts of Sudan.

Also as SPLM, we are committed to conduct fair and transparent general elections as per the provisions of CPA. I am committed to champion the SPLM’s election campaign that shall hopefully result in landslide victory in all parts of Sudan . We must win the forthcoming general election so that we can set Sudan on the path of New Sudan and away from the “Old Sudan”.

3.4. Transparency and Corruption

Besides ensuring democratic transformation, the SPLM is committed to economic transformation that would ensure transparent and efficient management of public resources so that we can provide peace dividends and realize the Millennium Development Goals.

Dear Comrades, I want to assure you that I am adamant to fight corruption not only in the Government of Southern Sudan and the SPLM but also in the Government of National Unity in my capacity as First Vice President of the Sudan . Based on the resolutions of the Interim National Council, I will ensure that all levels and structures of the SPLM to finish the audit of their accounts as basis to improve and ensure prudent financial management of the SPLM meagre resources.

3.5 Party Discipline and Code of Conduct

The issue of the party’s discipline is critical for making our party stronger. Of late we have seen some members in key positions making public statements that are contrary to the vision of the SPLM and even some members decided to undermine the activities and programmes of the SPLM while others directly interfered with the functions and duties of other levels of SPLM.

I would like to reiterate that if these individuals managed to get their ways again into the SPLM key offices, I would strongly advice them to adjust in the new spirit of National Convention and to respect the rules and regulations laid down by the SPLM. Let us be vigilant in identifying those who will rock our boat. The enemy from within is more dangerous than a well known enemy. We have a lot ahead of us and we need not to waste more time in disciplining ourselves.

3.6. Women Rights, Youth and Diaspora Participation

Our commitment to women empowerment has now become a national agenda as it has been adopted by all political parties.

I would like to assure you Dear Comrades that I am not only committed to women empowerment but I will also continue with my noble mission of ensuring as well that women are represented well in the SPLM structures and at all levels of government in Sudan.

Besides women empowerment, I would like to assure you that I am committed to making SPLM young by ensuring active participation of youth in all activities and their adequate representation in the SPLM structure. I am delighted to tell our youth that our Comrade Yien Matthew B. Chol (he is here with us in the hall) has now been released and we expect the rest of our comrades who are illegally detained in various prisons to be released as well.

Diaspora used to be our Seventh Front but now I am giving you another mission. You are now given another task to become our “CPA Watch Dogs” and you are tasked to mobilize international community and peace-loving nations to ensure the implementation of the CPA and to mobilize development assistance for realization of peace dividends. I am delighted that among you, you have Madam Fatima Yusif Kwa Makii, whom I believe will play a critical role in promoting the unity among the Sudanese people in Diaspora, particularly in USA .

3.7. Full Implementation of Abyei Protocol

Lack of implementation of Abyei Protocol is not only a gross violation of the provisions of the CPA and Interim National Constitution, but it is questioning the political will of our partner NCP to the implementation of CPA. If Abyei Protocol is not implemented, the same will happen to general elections, demarcation of North-South border, referendum and popular consultation.

Added to the injury is the current massive displacement of the entire population of Abyei town that became one of the worst provocations and violations of CPA since its signature in 2005. Virtually tens of thousands of civil population, mainly women and children, are uprooted again from their houses and are now in open areas under heavy rains with no shelter, food and water. This human tragedy is caused unfortunately by Sudan Armed Forces Brigade 31 that is illegally present in Abyei town and against the provisions of the CPA. Dear Comrades it is not only Darfur that is burning but Abyei also and we hope it will not reach other areas.

In the same way we condemned the attack on Omdurman , we condemn in the strongest possible terms the gross violations of the human rights in Abyei area. We call not only the immediate redeployment of these forces outside the area but they should be brought before the court of law. For the aggrieved people of Abyei area, I would like to assure that the SPLM is standing by you and is committed to protect your rights and full implementation of Abyei Protocol.

4. Concluding Remarks

Dear Comrades, I am extremely delighted that the SPLM 2nd National Convention has ended peacefully with strong sense of unity. The SPLM to all of us is not just a party but it is a life project and commitment.

My key message to all of you Dear Comrades is to your grass root where you came from. Tell them that “SPLM is the only party for a change in Sudan ”. Tell them also that SPLM with their support shall win the forthcoming general elections in 2009.


New Sudan Oyee

Unity Oyee

Thank you and God Bless You All

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir cuts the tape during the launch of new currency notes at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir cuts the tape during the launch of new currency notes at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN –
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir receives new currency notes from a bank teller at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir receives new currency notes from a bank teller at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
  • Freshly-minted notes of the new South Sudan pound, which picture the late South Sudanese independence leader John Garang. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has launched the country’s new currency and ordered government officials to repatriate funds, amid concerns about rampant corruption in the world’s youngest nation
  • South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir cuts the tape during the launch of new currency notes at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
  • An official leaves after a news conference presenting Sudan’s new currency at the Central Bank headquarters in Khartoum July 16, 2011. Sudan’s central bank said on Saturday it would begin circulating a new currency this month after South Sudan said it planned to create a currency of its own. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah (SUDAN – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
South Sudan's new currency carries the head of revered rebel leader John Garang
Freshly-minted notes of the new South Sudan pound, which picture the late South Sudanese independence leader John Garang. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has launched the country’s new currency and ordered government officials to repatriate funds, amid concerns about rampant corruption in the world’s youngest nation
A man from South Sudan displays new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba
A man from South Sudan displays new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
  • South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir receives new currency notes from a bank teller at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
  • Freshly-minted notes of the new South Sudan pound, which picture the late South Sudanese independence leader John Garang. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has launched the country’s new currency and ordered government officials to repatriate funds, amid concerns about rampant corruption in the world’s youngest nation
  • South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir cuts the tape during the launch of new currency notes at the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
  • An official leaves after a news conference presenting Sudan’s new currency at the Central Bank headquarters in Khartoum July 16, 2011. Sudan’s central bank said on Saturday it would begin circulating a new currency this month after South Sudan said it planned to create a currency of its own. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah (SUDAN – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
  • Men from South Sudan display new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba
  • Men from South Sudan display new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011. South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. REUTERS/Benedicte Desrus (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: BUSINESS


President Kiir delivering his speech at the independence celebration


YOUR Excellency, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed Al- Bashir, President of  the Republic of  the Sudan, Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of  the United Nations, Your Excellency Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguma, Mbasogo, Chairperson of  the African Union and President of  the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Your Excellencies Heads of States and Governments, Your excellencies heads of delegations, Your Excellencies Sudanese political party leaders and leaders of the three branches of  our Government, Distinguished members of the diplomatic corps and invited guests, the friends of South Sudan, and most importantly the people of South Sudan, I welcome you all to this historic event in the name of Almighty God and in the name of the glorious revolution of the people of South Sudan. Before I proceed with my address, may we rise up to observe a minute of silence in honor of our fallen heroes and heroines who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and dignity.

This day would not been possible without their sacrifices. Let me also once again state clearly the sacrifice made by the founder of the nation, Dr. John Garang De Mabior. The great day is testimony that our martyrs did not die in vain!

May I also take this opportunity to thank you all for honoring our invitation to come and celebrate with us during this momentous occasion for our people.

We also thank all invitees who sent us congratulatory messages and promised to visit us when they are able to do so in the future.

I salute the freedom fighters from all the Northern Sudan who joined the SPLM and are still yearning for true peace, justice and democracy.

The people and Government of The Republic of South Sudan will stand with you in solidarity and in the search for permanent peace.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, today is the most important day for the people of South Sudan, the proclamation of whose birth and emergence as a member of the community of the nations you have just witnessed.

It is a day which will be forever engraved in our hearts and minds.

For you our citizens in the villages, bomas, payams, counties, states and the diaspora, let us congratulate ourselves and give praise to Almighty God for having made it possible for us to witness this day.

We have waited for 56 years for this day. It is a dream that has come true!

My dear compatriots, today is the day to take off our hats in saluting and honoring our martyrs, heroes and heroines.

It is the day to ponder how much Dr. John Garang De Mabior, founder of our nation, and all our martyrs whose blood has cemented our national foundation, have done for us.

It is the occasion to cherish the true value of this achievement.

While it is time to remind ourselves about the true implications of their ultimate sacrifice; it is also right time to assess what we have done for their loved ones who have survived them.

I take this opportunity to assure you that the government of the Republic of South Sudan will continue to do everything possible to care for the families of our heroes and heroines

We must thank all the friends in the world because without their support and commitment, we may not have made it to this day.

They were with us during our dark days.

They gave us food when we were hungry, water when we were thirsty, medication when we were sick, courage when we were weakened, they gave education to our children, and most important, they stayed with us to the end.

A happy day like this should not dwell on bad memories, but it is important to recognize that for many generations this land has seen untold suffering and death.

We have been bombed, maimed, enslaved and treated worse than a refugee in our own country.

We may forgive but we will not forget.

Let me also say that some of our suffering has been self-inflicted.

We squabble over issues that can be resolved peacefully.

We invite our common enemies to help us kill ourselves.

May this day mark a new beginning of tolerance, unity and love for one another.

Let our cultural and ethnic diversity be a source of pride and strength, not parochialism and conflict.

Let all the citizens of this new nation be equal before the law and have equal access to opportunities and equal responsibilities to serve the motherland.

We are all South Sudanese.

We may be a Zande, Kakwa, Nuer, Toposa, Dinka, Lotuko, Anywak, Bari, and Shilluk, but remember you are South Sudanese first.

This new nation shall strive to live in peace with its neighbours to the north, east, and west.

The Republic of South Sudan shall be partner in all human endeavors that promote security, justice, liberty and prosperity.

As South Sudanese we know how it fells to be deprived of freedom and dignity.

This republic is at the tail end of economic development.

All the indices of human welfare put us at the bottom of all humanity.

All citizens of this nation must therefore dedicate their energies and resources to the construction of a vibrant economy.

The independence we celebrate today transfers the responsibility for our destiny to our hands.

From today on we shall have no excuse or scapegoats to blame.

It is our responsibility to protect ourselves, our land and our resources.

It shall be the duty of this government to prepare and equip the next generation with the necessary skills.

The challenges are great but we must begin the task of facing up to them from today.

While the pillars of a house are important, its foundation is even more critical.

We must build a strong foundation for our new nation.

During the interim period the government of South Sudan faced daunting challenges from within and without.

The consequence has been the inability to deliver basic services to our people.

We are grateful to the international community for addressing the gap.

As an independent country, we must focus on the process of service delivery and development.

This is only possible if we have a government whose first, second, and final priorities are public interest and public interest and public interest!

Governments are set up to serve the people they present. But it is also the duty and responsibility of people to recognize the limitations of government especially as regards to resources.

We must acknowledge the fact that our needs may be unlimited whereas our resources are finite. Once we are able to do this with honesty and high sense of realism, together we can determine and set our own priorities.

Our leaders from most humble ranks to the highest offices in the land have to rally behind this national call.

Our leaders, be they in politics, administration, churches and the entire civil society are collectively responsible for serving the public interest first and self last.

Those who are unwilling or unable to make the sacrifices required in the public service will not be part of this government.

They have options through which to satisfy personal aspirations and pursue other ambitions outside government.

Transparency and accountability is pivotal.

Official corruption has been one of our major challenges during the interim period.

In order to develop our country, and deliver on the important goals of our National Development Plan, it is critical that we fight corruption with dedication, rigour and commitment.

As President I pledge to you to do all you can to remove this cancer.

We will work closely with our development partners as we move forward.

Notwith standing decades of war and suffering, the people of South Sudan do not harbor any bitterness towards our erstwhile compatriots.

Our people by their attitude and actions will demonstrate to our Sudanese brothers and sisters and to all our neighbours that we are indeed their partners in peace-committed to the principle of good neighborliness.

We sincerely hope that all outstanding matters between us will be resolved expeditiously and in a manner that leaves neither side nursing a sense of injustice.

Addressing remaining differences will help eliminate any irritants that will prevent the two states from having amicable and productive relations.

Your excellencies Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as we look forward to becoming Africa’s 54th state and 193rdnation of the United Nations, South Sudan pledges to abide by international conventions to which we shall seek to accede as soon as possible.

We will be a responsible member of the international community, playing our role as defined by international law and as dictated by our own values and ethics.

Having been at the receiving end of injustice and aggression for the better part of our post-colonial independence, the people of South Sudan will never allow themselves to be categorized as aggressors or trouble-makers.

We the people of South Sudan have experienced what it is to be a refugee we hope that this has been our last war and that our people will never again have to cross our borders in search of security.

Those who flee to our country from war or persecution will be treated with sympathy and empathy and in accordance with international law because not only is it the right thing to do but more importantly it would be one way for us to say thank you to the world for what it has done for us.

Let me take this opportunity to say thank to all the countries, international NGOs; particularly NPA, multilateral organizations and the tax payers who fund them in order to keep us alive.

Excellencies distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the people of South are thrilled  and gratified that a good number of  the very important people who have honoured us with their presence here today represent countries which played a crucial role in brokering the peace agreement that paved the way for this historic event.

These include heads of state and governments as well as other dignitaries who signed the CPA as witnesses.

In the eyes of our people you are friends and heroes.

At this juncture,  may I ask your excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen to join me  in paying tribute to all those who gave us a hand when we were badly in need.

Please join me and let us wave to the masses of South Sudan and offer them the opportunity to see you physically and say thank you to all of you.

My Dear compatriots South Sudanese, the eyes of the world are on us.

Our well-wishers including those who are now sharing with us the joy of this tremendous event will be watching closely to see if our very first steps in nationhood are steady and confident. They will surely want to see us as a worthwhile member of the international community by shunning policies that may draw us into confrontation with others.

They will be happy to see us succeed economically and want us to enjoy political stability.

What this means is that the responsibilities of South Sudan will now be accentuated more than ever before, requiring that we rise to the challenge accordingly.

It is my ardent belief that you are aware that our detractors have already written us off, even before the proclamation of our independence.

They say we will slip into civil war as soon as our flag is hoisted.

They justify that by arguing we are incapable of resolving our problems through dialogue.

They charge that we are quick to revert to violence.

They claim that our concept of democracy and freedom is faulty.

It is incumbent upon us to prove them all wrong!

On this note, I would like to again declare a public amnesty to all those who may have taken up arms for one reason or another to lay down those arms and come to join your brothers and sisters to build this new nation.

Now that we have obtained the proverbial political kingdom, we are called upon to do what it takes to sustain a sovereign nation.

We now have to focus on economic development as the key to prosperity and satisfaction of all the human needs that make life worth living.

The resources with which nature has endowed our land are abundant and enough to attract the interest of development partners both from the public and private sectors from many countries across the world.

So we should exploit these possibilities to better the lives of our people.

Our success in achieving economic progress obviously lies in our hands.

While investing in human capital development, we may need to engage international expertise and professional assistance in some areas of management of our economy, but we must provide the requisite leadership in that respect.

We will not shy away from seeking outside support in areas that we are in need at this critical juncture.

Critical to the future of our people and the endeavour to fulfill their aspirations, match their hopes and ambitions, is a government that is democratic, inclusive and accountable.

My pledge to you, when you cry, we cry, when you bleed, we bleed. I pledge to you today that we will find a just peace for all.

I will work with my brother president Al- Bashir and the international community to find a just and lasting peace.

There is an African proverb that says: The night may be too long; but the day will come for sure! And let me tell you, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let us celebrate today, but we must get to work right away.

Finally, a stable and peaceful South Sudan requires a region at peace. I would like to strongly urge my brothers in Ethiopia and Eritrea to find a peaceful way to resolve their differences.

I would also like to appeal to my brothers in Somalia to do the same. And that will be a special gift for the people of South Sudan.

Thank you and God bless the people and republic of South Sudan!

God bless our neighbours!

God bless Africa and the world!