Posts Tagged ‘river nile’

By Agereb Leek Chol, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA 4/2/2012 To whom it may concern: Government of South Sudan (GoSS, Greater Bor Community, Atuot Community, Aliap Community, Bahr el Ghazal Community, Nuer Community, Shilluk Community, Yirol Community, Mundari Community, Murle Community, Equatoria Community, Ngok Community, Misseriya Community, and South Sudan Youth.

It came to my attention that Egypt’s company has begun their project to dredge Nile tributaries this month. William Gatjang Gieng, Unity State Minister of Environments and Natural Resources in Unity state, said “that the teams from the Egyptian company are working to deepen the river to allow more boats to transport goods and people. One team will dredge the Naam River from Rubkotna junction in Unity State to Lake No just north of the Sudd swamp, where the Bahr el Ghazal River meets the River Kiir. Another project will start from Wetmachar Achol in Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, to Wangkeay Bridge “(Borglobe). The question is what are the advantages and disadvantages for this project to the Sudd Wetlands in South Sudan? It should be apparent that Egyptian government will take any opportunity to increase the Nile water flow by drying up the wetlands since Jonglei Canal scheme failed during the civil war.

It is obvious that South Sudan depend on food transported from Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. I wonder why South Sudanese are reluctant to farm nowadays. Perhaps insecurity and the new found wealth from oil is derailing agricultural production. John Kudusay once asked in his song, “who is the UN”? He says, “the UN is like us. He’s born like us and then he goes to school. After finishing school, he then go around the world and help those who need help”. It would be nice everyone in South Sudan had this mentality. “The government hopes that improving river transport will allow goods and services to flow more freely and make it easier to trade and do business” (Borglobe).  Despite the rise of food prices in Unity state, is this project necessary to spend 26.6 million dollars instead of building better roads in South Sudan? Why rush and clean the Nile River knowing South Sudan and Sudan have many issues that can return both countries to war? God forbid the SAF will not use the Nile River to attack the Republic of South Sudan if both countries were to return to war.

The attempt to dry up the Sudd in South Sudan was first envisioned by the Britain and Egypt government who jointly ruled Sudan in the 1930s. This project came be known as Jonglei Canal. The goal was to provide 20 million m3 of water per day to Egypt for agriculture use. “The project would shrink the wetlands by approximately 40%. A second phase for the project was also planned, which would completely dry up the wetlands” (Allen, 2010). However, this project never materialized until it was resurrected in the 1970s by Nimeiri government. Nimeiri believed that the Jonglei Canal would facilitate “national development” in South Sudan. Obviously, Nimeiri had no intention to develop South Sudan. Despite the opposition by politicians from South Sudan, Jonglei project proceeded. Lucky, the SPLA derailed the construction by destroying the equipment sometimes in 1983. “The Sudd Wetlands, located in Southern Sudan, is one of African’s largest wetlands (30,000-40,000 KM2, formed from the spillage of water from the Nile. The wetland supports a diversity of ecosystems with a reach flora and fauna” (IWMI), 2008).

Who will be affected if sudd wetlands dry up?

The Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk pastoralists tribes depend on the sudd to graze their livestock, and for farming during dry seasons. Not only that, Sudd provides enormous fish production for local people who live in rural areas. In fact, if it wasn’t for these swamps during Sudan’s civil war, majority of civilians would have starved to death. There is no doubt if the Sudd wetlands dry up, South Sudanese will have to transport fish from neighboring countries. I would argue that if were not for sudd wetlands, the Sudanese Armed Forces would have weakened the SPLA because they could have easily navigated through the Nile River by boat.

The question is what will these tribes do when these areas dry up? Perhaps the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) is tired of the killing caused by cattle rustling. Clearly, if these areas dry up, Sudd wetlands will experience a decrease of rainfalls and an area about 30,000 square kilometer will become a desert. Can the GoSS afford the sudd wetlands to dry up so the Nile River is passable by boats?

Secondly, the GoSS can’t ignore the vegetation and ecosystem that would be lost if this vast region becomes a desert. The question is what will happen to 400 species of birds and animals that rely on these wetlands? There is no doubt these species will die, and the Nile River will never be the same again. In 2008, Kenyan wildlife tourism was around 70% of Kenyan total revenue. The Sudd wetlands is a potential tourist destination if the GoSS invest their time instead of letting the Egyptian government exploit their vulnerable position. In conclusion, the GoSS needs to stop this project immediately because it will change many lives in South Sudan. The GoSS need to look at the long term affects instead of relying on short term solutions. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the catastrophe this project would cause to many species in South Sudan. I hope bribery didn’t influence the minister’s decision. What’s the difference between Jonglei Canal and dredging of the Nile River? Why can’t the GoSS use 26.6 million dollars to connect many roads in South Sudan instead of relying on the river for transportation? Why can’t the government use these funds to develop agricultural production instead? Until the Nile water agreement of 1929 is abolished by the riparian countries, the GoSS needs to be careful because the Egyptian government doesn’t serve the interest of South Sudan. The minister should consult external experts who have no interest in the Nile River. Secondly, Sudd wetlands need to be surveyed first to understand who will be affected by the project. If the GoSS allow this project to continue then why not let the Jonglei Canal resume. Lastly, I urge the Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk tribes who rely on the Sudd wetlands to alert their governors, commissioners, and their chiefs to alert the government about the disaster this project will do to the ecosystem. This project will affect these tribes in the short term, but the entire country will regret this in the future. Failure to act will lead to water wars within South Sudan years from now. The Dinka and Nuer will no longer have “toch” to graze their livestock during dry season. The Nilotic cultures will be lost, and everyone will have to move to ‘modern cities’ and abandon the so-called “backward society”. Maybe this is one way to uproot the Nilotic culture indirectly. Most importantly, fishing will be limited unless one has modern equipment to fish in a ‘deep Nile’ River. Let’s not have rising food prices influence our decision. This problem can be solved easily if everyone gets their act together by holding their constituents accountable. We can’t keep saying if Dr. Garang de Mabior was alive today, South Sudan will be a better place. There is no doubt if he was alive, things might be different, but mourning him every day will not do us any good! Dr. Garang de Mabior and his comrades emancipated South Sudanese from Bashir’s regime, but now it’s our turn to carry on the torch. Wake up Southerners, this project will turn the Republic of South Sudan into a desert. It’s not too late to stop this project. This author is a concern citizen. He can be reach at


Last night, I had a dream

In my dream,

President Kiir visits his ailing partner,

President Omar Hassan Bashir

Bashir contracted diarrhea,

A chronic diarrhea

Coz he drank unclean water from river Nile

He couldn’t afford bottled water

He is broke

Oil production got shutdown by Kiir

Bashir ekes out

Handouts from Arab League

After Kiir gave him emotional and moral strength,

He asks him what his say is

In regards to the outstanding CPA issues;

The Abyei,

Border issues,

Oil transit fees,

And nationality question

Before answering Kiir,

He gets up,

Runs to the toilet

Spends half an hour in there

He comes back,

Stands by the door,

And breathes heavily

It’s here Kiir sees his full body frame

Silhouetting in an ankle-length loose white Jalabia

The beer-belly he acquired

Through South Sudan oil money shrinks;

It’s disappearing

His ribs protrude

Kiir counts them

They’re ten

Two of them got surgically removed

After he got shot by Kerubino Kuanyin Bol

During a one-on-one meeting somewhere in Omdurman

In the 90s,

An incident that went unreported for fear of

Grand official butchering of reporters

Along with their families

“I beg your pardon, repeat your question,

Ya baba Mayar”, he asks Kiir

Before Kiir finishes shooting the same question for the second time,

Bashir dashes into the toilet again,

Leaving Kiir seething with rage;



Kiir plunges into a sea of thoughts,

Trying to figure out how

 He will make bashir speak his language

Bashir comes back,

Holding a small bluish container

For keeping water used in place of toilet roll

He fills it up with water from an old pot

And places it near the door

He sits on an old mat

Made from reeds

People say his wife got the mat from a neighbor

Immediately after auctioneers

Stormed in Bashir’s house

 And confiscated the furniture;

They were sent by the landlord

Who grew impatient

After Bashir failed to pay February rent

Back to the point:

Bashir begins to respond to Kiir

He starts off by telling Kiir to go to hell

Coz he ain’t letting any other thing

Slip through his fingers

 Since he allowed south to go it alone as

An independent state through the 2011 referendum

Kiir begs him to reduce oil transit fee demand;

From $36 to 40 cents per barrel

Kiir also implores him to leave Abyei alone

But still, Bashir insists that Kiir goes to hell

And races to the toilet again

He spends his good time in there

Provoked by Bashir’s attitude,

Kiir grows smarter

He hatches a plan

And waits till Bashir comes back

Salva says he wants to use the toilet

Bashir directs Kiir:

“Go straight on; turn left, turn left again.

It’s the one with

 A green door next to the gate”

Salva leaves, taking along the Citizen Newspaper

He takes his time in there

Ten minutes elapse,

Still no sign of Kiir

Now the worst happens

Bashir gets pressed again;

Remember he has a running stomach

He rushes toward the toilet, the only toilet

Only to find it locked from inside

Salva is in, reading the newspaper

Atlala bara ya Salva. Ena taban

What are you doing in there?”

Bashir panics

But Kiir keeps mum

“Knock knock knock”

He knocks, he pushes the door

Kiir whistles

As he turns pages of the newspaper,

He scans through the stories

Pretending to find an interesting story to read

Finally, Kiir breaks the silence:

 “What do you think of my proposals?”

Bashir says they will discuss the issues back in the house

Kiir declines

And keeps reading the paper

Bashir begs Kiir, saying

“Please get out; I will sponsor 100 south Sudanese university students”

Kiir says thanks but that’s not what I want

With his left hand patting buttocks

And the right hand on the stomach;

Bashir begins to talk: “okay okay okay okay,

I’m proposing a meeting with you, just two us.

And it will be mediated by Obama himself”

Kiir resumes whistling

“Kiir please let me use the latrine,

Don’t let me do it in my pants

Kiir you are causing a scene;

My wives kids are milling around

And I can see my neighbors peering

I’ll do anything you want me to.

I will return all the barrels I confiscated,

 I’ve given up Abyei. I…….


My mobile phone rang,

Waking me from the dream

By: Tears Ayuen

Southern Sudanese waiving their regional flag in Juba, South Sudan.

Photo/AFP/FILE Southern Sudanese waiving their regional flag in Juba, South Sudan.The new regime in Egypt has gone on a charm offensive much like its predecessor in an effort to have the colonial-era treaty on River Nile stand.

Posted  Saturday, July 23  2011 at  22:43

The new regime in Egypt has gone on a charm offensive much like its predecessor in an effort to have the colonial-era treaty on River Nile stand.
But however hard it may try Cairo is now confronted with new realities as an independent South Sudan, which controls a substantial part of the River Nile, has been born.

South Sudan, which could choose a new slate as far as treaties are concerned, could inevitably prove to be the North African state’s biggest test over the Nile waters.
Egypt and Sudan (Khartoum) have been at odds with upriver nations over their efforts to overturn colonial era-treaties granting them the lion’s share of the river’s water.

But recent developments in the two countries and in the region have significantlyturned the tide against them. In Egypt, long-serving President Hosni Mubarak was ousted by popular protests in mid-February.

Leaked diplomatic cables

The military council that now runs the country also arrested several of Mubarak’s former ministers.As if the February regime change was not enough, South Sudan, which has been an observer at past Nile treaty negotiations, now wants to claim its rightful place at the discussions and has already applied to accede to the treaty.

Leaked US diplomatic cables revealed that in 2009 Cairo was uncomfortable with a divided Sudan, fearing an independent South would threaten its stranglehold on the River Nile waters.

In the cables published by online whistleblower WikiLeaks, a former foreign ministry official had even asked the US government to help postpone the January 2011 referendum by four to six years. The official said the creation of “a non-viable state” could threaten Egypt’s access to Nile waters so vital to the country’s agriculture.

But Egypt could renew ties with Ethiopia, which endured more than a decade of lukewarm relations with the Mubarak regime after the June 1995 attempted assassination of the Egyptian leader in Addis Ababa.

On the other hand, Khartoum, too, has been weakened by the secession of the South, with many observers almost certain that Juba will work with the upstream states to force the North and Egypt to agree to a new treaty.

The fact that South Sudan is oil rich is seen as a major reason for tension. However, some argue that the vital water resource is likely to be a far bigger bone of contention in the region long after the oil wells have dried up.

Nairobi is preparing to host the 19th Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) of water affairs of the Nile Basin states on July 28 under the theme “The Nile Basin: An Imperative for Cooperation”.

The meeting will be the first for Egypt’s new man in charge of the water docket Dr Hussein Ihsan Elafty where he is expected to explain the new government’s stand to ministers from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya .

The meeting will also announce rotation in the chairmanship of the Nile Council of Ministers. Ethiopia, the current chair, will hand over to Kenya.
“To us, the independence of South Sudan is good news, and we expect they will be allowed to accede soon,” Fred Mwango, the head of Transboundary Waters at Kenya’s ministry of Water and Irrigation, said.
Retired diplomat and executive director of Africa Peace Forum Ochieng Adala believes that the Republic of South Sudan will act in good faith like the rest of the upstream states to make sure that Egypt has its fair share of the waters.

“Egypt is the gift of the Nile. Consequently, no state would want to deny Egypt of its lifeline, as long as Egypt also acknowledges the legitimate rights of all Nile Basin Countries to an equitable share and uses of the Nile Waters,” said Mr Adala.

Among the upstream states, the resolve to have the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA) to replace the 1929 treaty seems unstoppable. The new agreement was opened for signature in May 2010 for a period of one year until May13, 2011 after more than a decade of negotiations through a platform provided by the Entebbe-based Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).

However, NBI suffers from a weak legal base — its existence is founded more on a gentleman’s agreement among member states than any binding agreement.

Remains in limbo

The anticipated Nile Basin Commission, whose establishment and decisions would be legally binding on members, is what is required but remains in limbo over disagreements among the riparian states.

The threshold to make the new treaty binding on all, Egypt and Sudan included, has been met after six riparian countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda — signed the CFA.

They are championing a treaty that gives them unhindered access to the Nile waters so long as they do not cause “significant harm” to other members.

This is the bone of contention as Egypt and Sudan — the former depends entirely on the Nile for its water requirements — have cited historical rights that give Egypt access to more than half of the river’s annual flow.

When the matter threatened to scuttle the negotiations, Nile-COM, at a special conference in Kinshasa in May 2009, annexed the contentious Article 14(b) of the Comprehensive Framework Agreement which relates to historical water rights and uses.

The article was to be refined by an international audit committee, but to date no agreement has been reached as the two sets of countries have stuck to their guns.

And in May 2010, the CFA was opened for signatures for a year. Among the upstream states only DR Congo has not signed.
Growing defiance

Much as it appears confronted with the realities of a new state and the growing defiance of the upstream states, Egypt’s new military council appears not to have abandoned the former regime’s charm offensive.

Cairo has been sending emissaries to the upstream states to talk them out of ratifying the new treaty.

Nairobi hosted such a delegation a fortnight ago.Kenya, as the next chair of Nile-COM, is also calling on all members to cooperate to seal the deal on the non-management of the resources of River Nile.

Meanwhile, the NBI is now in the process of preparing a number of regional investments totalling Sh40.7 billion ($452 million).

In the past, the rift among the riparian countries has affected the execution of the Subsidiary Action Programmes particularly on the Eastern Nile.
About Sh88 billion ($979 million) of investment projects are now under implementation in the region.

But the continued rift over the CFA could scare off donors, some of whom are growing increasingly impatient with the NBI, a loose entity lacking in legal strength.