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NBeGS Legislature: Heal the Heart and Free the Soul Politics

By Deng Mangok Ayuel

Politics is not a game. It is an earnest business – Winston Churchill 

October 27, 2013 (SSNA) -- Keep liking your way of politicking, but nowhere in the world have I ever seen/heard politics being played in a clean way –people of every corner of the world thought it is a dirty game. It is just the question of how “much dirty” it is, and how can politics be a good game? Isn't politics a means of achieving power and control over people?  Politics is all what you need, be it yourself. But if you are a coward, you will remain as a gossiper, blackmailer than politicking.  Are you up to your business?

Experience is the best teacher and a big lesson learned is never forgotten even in dream. No an MP shall easily write/speak to the media before assessing his/her political thoughts on the affairs of States or country after former Deputy Speaker for Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State Legislative Assembly, Hon. Athiang Manok caught voicing to the media and got impeached after the motion was raised against him in the National Legislative Assembly over his reaction on Telar’s saga for the Ministry of Justice. Did he remain a hero of his speech? Hon. Manok shouldn’t be blamed; it is already a gone case! The position is already given to another person. He lost his job as a Deputy Speaker for criticizing or defending someone.  I have never been a fan to our lawmakers but there are interesting stories in the parliament at least – the struggle for power, quick mouth to media and political consortium for change. This is politics. Some people are trying harder to pull down their Honorable colleagues from their jobs as chairpersons for committees. That isn’t bad. Politics have no relation to morals and desire – others wanted to enjoy or be heard as heads of committees. When political spotlight becomes a struggle for power, everyone will learn and know where he/she is going politically, so do it safely!

Well, “there is hell”, and that shouldn’t be an issue for today – make sure what you are doing in the House of law in our State is contributing to the betterment of Mading Aweil and the entire nation. It’s quite convincing that politics is a dirty game and common people should stay away from it. But to me, politics is the first lesson we should learn and teach other people to be politically attentive and aware of our political rights in South Sudan. Politicians and politics should not be looked down upon, but understood in perspective to our own existence and relationship to them as former voters.

Today, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Legislative Assembly has its unique political leadership. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are female. So we are together as family. We recognize woman’s participation and potential in political set up in the parliament. What remains is to work with them. A woman has had been ambitious to govern man; it is the right time to see female doing their best in any position.

Therefore, MPs are brothers and sisters. We didn't make a big mess to give political opportunities to people who can hoodwink, betray and fool us by keeping us away from the active arena of politics for their own interest and the interest of those who shrewdly plant them as peoples’ champions. We elected our sons and daughters to represent us. And we need them to visit us in the villages or wherever we live because we are one.

I used to hate the ways our Mps in the State voice their political issues to Sudan Tribune online. As politics is a game – assuming it is a football game, and you didn't play well, should you complain, blame others or yourself than strategizing for the next game to avoid squabbling?

Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Legislative Assembly has been making headlines for years. Why do our lawmakers prioritize a fight in the House than doing lucrative sessions for the welfare of our community? An MP should talk to journalists when he thinks he/she is within the law of the House and ready to stand firm when end doesn't meet.

The public knows how easy or hard it was in 2010 election for individuals who pave ways to the parliament. The election was truly rigid. And by the way, impeachment, dismissal of MPs is not only in our State alone – it is a nationwide issue. If you go to Malakal, Upper Nile, you may find an MP buying airtime and began calling the other end to talk politics until he is stopped by electronic airtemer within the course of a long discussion on the public road!

When South Sudan became a country, almost everything becomes new – politics, houses, cars because they weren't there during the devastated civil war in Sudan were millions of lives were lost.  As new things come with many problems, it is a work of our minds to take care of ourselves and the affairs of our country. Our governor is a man of integrity, hard-working, with heart for his people. Let’s join hands with him and move forward for success.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a South Sudanese blogger and lives in Aweil, South Sudan. He can be reached via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Juba-based Lou Nuer Youth Association to Hold Election on December 15th

Monday, December 2, 2013
Announcement for the Lou Nuer Youth Association Election in Juba

Dear Members,

Juba, December 2, 2013 (SSNA) -- On December 01/2013, the current committee of LNYAD, led by Yien Boor had called the General Assembly Annual meeting to brief the public about the overall activities of the Association. After lengthy reports, the team had asked the members that their time in the leadership of LNYAD is almost expired according to the Article 12 (2) of the constitution of the Association. The members of LNYAD accepted the handover of the leadership according to the constitution mandate.

We are urgently informing our members in South Sudan that the Electoral Commission Board is calling all applicants who are interesting to run for the leadership positions of the LNYAD. The election will take place on December 15/2013 and the venue will remain the same or any change will be communicated to the members of LNYAD. All applicants are strongly requested to revisit the criteria, eligibility and requirements in accordance to the constitution of the LNYAD before he/she applies for the positions. Please submit your application before December 10/2013.

If you have any questions, please contact us or come to our small office across KCB Bank in Ministries for briefing if you need more explanation. We look forward to receive your concern peacefully and your contribution/help is highly welcome.

The following are Vacancies for competition

1. Chairman of the LNYAD
2. Deputy Chairperson of LNYAD
3. Secretary General of LNYAD
4. Secretary for Finance
5. Secretary for Information

Signed by: Electoral Commission Board

1. Peter Reat Gatkuoth -- (211 913 167 247)
2. Tut Lam Kier -- (211 954 707 274)
3. Simon Gatluak Yat -- (211 956 165 771)
4. Ker Wectuor Both -- (211 956 449 9494)
5. Paulino Kueth Puk -- (211 955 555 593)

Failed state symptomatic of reactionary leadership

By Jacob K. Lupai


February 22, 2012 (SSNA) -- A statement that a failed state is symptomatic of reactionary leadership is likely to be received with mixed emotions. Eye brows may be raised in anticipation of further elaboration. However, a critical analysis of realities on the ground may increase an understanding of the extent to which a failed state is symptomatic of reactionary leadership.

People in the world are of multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious societies. It is therefore not difficult to comprehend what the root causes of internal conflicts in a society may be. The root cause of internal conflicts is the lack of sensitivity to the differences within the society. There is always the unfair power and wealth sharing among the different groups. For example, one ethnic group may always try at any cost to maintain a dominant grip on power and wealth to the exclusion of others.

A challenge to such ethnic domination is considered by those in power as a threat to national unity. However, such tricks for ethnic domination disguised as endeavours for national unity are a deceptive cover for ethnic hegemony. This brings in the concept of reactionary leadership in relation to the extent to which a state becomes a failed state in the context of Sub Saharan Africa.

Characteristics of a failed state

It may be interesting to know what the characteristics of a failed state are. Foremost the glaring characteristic of a failed state is the absolute breakdown of rule of law and order. Many factors contribute to breakdown of rule of law and order. Human rights violation is one factor when it occurs in a scale that the system is unable to cope with and the subsequent massive reaction of those whose human rights are being violated that each takes the law into their hands. Another important factor is when heinous crimes are being perpetually committed and the system is unable to bring the perpetrators to justice leaving the victims with the perception that the state has failed them. One factor is the absolute lack of discipline in the system where juniors blatantly defy orders from seniors or from above. The management of the system is in shambles as indiscipline is rampant. Absolute irregularities in finances make the system to be heavily infested with greedy and corrupt money grabbers.

One important characteristic of a failed state are tribal or clan wars and also religious wars. Somalia in the Horn of Africa is a typical example of a failed state because of clan and religious wars. Recently radical Islamists have entered the scene in consolidating Somalia as indeed a failed state. In the final analysis a failed state is characterized by the absolute lack of a robust central system that can cope with all sorts of scenarios. The system itself may become part of the problem. This could be because the system was nothing but a composition of reactionaries involved in all sorts of things ranging from land and money grabbing to turning a blind eye to criminal activities because of vested interest. Naturally this wouldn’t be the way to build a nation.

Reactionary leadership

The word reactionary may be defined as tending to oppose especially political change to return to the former system. Reactionary leadership may therefore be seen as opposing reforms. In a country considered to be multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious reforms are inevitable for flexibility in accommodating diversities in nation-building. People fight a liberation war for a political change but not to return to the old system of oppression. Reactionary leadership tends to live in the dream world of the past. It is therefore not strange to associate a failed state with reactionary leadership that does not look beyond their noses. Mohamed Siyaad Barre of Somalia was probably a reactionary leader who contributed greatly to Somalia now being a failed state. He was instead paranoid of the unity of Somalia. Siyaad Barre increasingly personal and repressive rule did not bring in the necessary reforms to address the challenges facing his government. Ultimately Siyaad Barre’s repressive rule brought Somalia into a non-state situation people see today. Siyaad Barre’s reactionary leadership of turning clans against each other has made Somalia a failed state by all standards. The Somalia’s situation may offer a lesson to others in nation-building.

Revolutionary leadership

The word revolutionary involves great and often violent change or innovation and to innovate is to bring in new methods or ideas to make changes. It can be seen that revolutionary leadership is associated with change and innovation. This suggests that a revolutionary is creative and innovative unlike the somewhat backward looking reactionary. A revolutionary does not accept fossilised principles as a faith but a developing and creative science that reflects objective reality. They scrutinise reality, studying all aspects and developing theoretical conclusions to bring them in line with requirements of life on the ground. In short revolutionaries base their actions on scientific analysis and objective reality in addressing challenges. This is in contrast to the utopia of reactionaries who are whimsical in their actions. Reactionaries may rely on daydreaming in addressing challenges. In most case they get it wrong because of poor targeting and being unrealistic where challenges are not properly addressed. It is therefore no wonder that when the leadership is reactionary progression to a failed state situation may be rapid. Dynamic, progressive and revolutionary leadership may fare better in addressing challenges than reactionary leadership.

Choice to make

The choice here is between reactionary and revolutionary leadership. However, it is not so simplistic. There is no black and white dividing line between reactionary and revolutionary leadership. There are elements of both reactionary and revolutionary in a leader. It may be the degree to which one is inclined to either be a reactionary and revolutionary. Formation of political parties may give a clue as to whether they are reactionary and revolutionary. This may be revealed in their respective manifestos. However, manifestos may mostly reveal intentions of future course of action but not necessarily what has already been achieved. It is therefore unreliable to conclude from manifestos that one party is reactionary and the other is revolutionary. According to their manifestos all political parties would appear revolutionary. One factor, however, is missing from the equation. The equation is manifesto plus action equals reactionary or revolutionary (manifesto+action=reactionary or revolutionary). The missing factor is action. Evaluation is often carried out on the basis of what has been done (action) corresponding to the expressed intentions or objectives. More often action does not tally with the manifesto hence in practice mismanagement of state affairs may be sky high which may also progressively lead to a failed state situation. It is therefore what has been done (action) that can demonstrate whether a state has reactionary or revolutionary leadership. Making an informed choice is dependent on knowledge of leadership that is pragmatic, patriotic, uncompromising and has done what they had announced in public as their priorities. After a year in office one may have a fair view whether a leader has been reactionary or revolutionary. At the end of the term of office a fairly clearer picture will emerge whether the state was ruled by a reactionary or revolutionary leadership. The electorate then will have an informed choice assuming bribery or irregularities do not take place.

Political reforms

In any political system reforms are naturally inevitable. This is because the world is not monolithic but dynamic. Changes occur and it is through reforms that people keep pace with developments. Dictatorship either by reactionaries or revolutionaries may lead to tyranny and creation of the world of psychopants who sing songs the one in power wants to hear and be entertained with. How damaging this may be to nation-building is not clear. However, to steer clear of dictatorship reforms are necessary. One political reform is where any member of a party can nominate themselves or be nominated to fill any office in the political system. The restrictive nomination and endorsement system by a party polit-bureau is undemocratic as the bulk of ordinary members and sympathizers are excluded from the exercise. An example is the overwhelming success of one independent over the official candidate for the governorship of Western Equatoria State. The official candidate was nominated and endorsed by the party polit-bureau but the one not nominated and endorsed by the same party polit-bureau convincingly won in the elections. Other members were also nominated and endorsed by the party polit-bureau but failed miserably. This seems to call for reforms for the party to be reflective of democratic principles.


An electoral system where nominees battle it out in the open for members and sympathizers to elect the most popular nominee for a candidate for a political office is worth consideration. This system brings out the most popular candidate for election to political office. The popular candidate becomes the flag bearer of their political party. This is unlike when nominations and endorsements of candidates are done behind closed doors in the absence of popular participation by ordinary members. Some of the results in the last election showed clearly that what the party polit-bureau considered suitable candidates were not necessarily suitable to the electorate. This clearly should be a lesson for reforms to take place.

In conclusion, reactionary leadership is most likely to lead a country to a failed state situation. This is because reactionary leadership is preoccupied with survival skills of destruction without being innovative to overcome the characteristics of a failed state. When making a choice it is important to evaluate what has been done in relation to the party’s manifesto. More often the party’s manifesto hardly tallies with the actions promised to be carried out. In such a situation the choice should be obvious.

The author can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Implementation of Addis Ababa Deals: The Litmus Test for Juba Committees

By James Okuk, PhD

October 18, 2012 (SSNA) -- Now that the Addis Ababa deals have been ratified by the August Houses of the Republics of the Sudan and of South Sudan, the ball has been kicked back to the Presidencies in the respective countries and their executive teams. By these mutual parliamentary ratifications, the Addis Ababa Agreements have been accorded with the necessary legal backing and bindings.

But the litmus test now is on the nature and competence of the committees that shall be tasked with stipulation of the technicalities needed for implementations of these agreements in the coming weeks if not years. The nature of the civil service and competence of its personnel in Juba has a lot to be desired. Reforms in the GoSS composition and right positioning of civil servants have been resisted even from the highest authorities in the country as they live on the false premise that South Sudan was not liberated with professional qualifications but guns and loyalty to the SPLM/A.  Hon. Awud Deng became victim of the needed reforms in the GoSS Civil Service and was pushed to the wall to call it quits and leave the status quo.

Now, the success of Joint Ministerial Committees as far as Juba is concerned remains in critical balance compared to that of Khartoum. Many deadwoods and incompetent civil servants in the GoSS who are supposed to do the professional work in Committees for Addis Ababa deals will just be warming up chairs, complaining about their sitting allowances and other payments more than the quality of work. Many of them cannot read and write well or comprehend issues critically apart from show-offs with standard neckties and Italian suits. How will such shoddy civil servants help in the work of committees (which need thinking and paper works) when they need help themselves?

Before going further, let me quote some articles in the “Nine Deals” that oblige Juba and Khartoum to form technical joint committees that shall expose the devils and release the cats that are hidden in the details of the implementation process.

In the Mother Agreement on Oil and Related Economic Matters it is written that “A Petroleum Monitoring Committee shall be established within twenty (21) days of the signing of this Agreement. The Petroleum Monitoring Committee shall oversee the implementation of this Agreement, produce regular reports to the parties including possible recommendations on the improvement of the co-operation in the petroleum sector, ensure the development of any additional required agreements between the Parties and serve as a forum for seeking resolution to concerns and disputes in respect of this Agreement” (Article 10.1).          

In the Agreement on Security Arrangements it is written that “The Parties shall immediately operationalize the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission (JBVMM) and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone … The Parties shall immediately activate the Ad-Hoc Committee to receive and investigate complaints and allegations made by one party against the other…The Ad-Hoc Committee shall be formally activated by Co-chairs of the JPSM as a JPSM sub-committee with a standing secretariat” (Articles, 2 & 4).

In the Agreement on Trade and Trade Related Issues it is written that “Within thirty (30) days of the ratification of this Agreement, the Parties shall establish a Joint Ministerial Committee on Trade Relations” {Article 3(1)}.

In the Framework Agreement on the Status of Nationals of the Other State and Related Matters it is written that “The two States shall establish a standing Joint High Level Committee (‘the Committee”), which shall oversea the adoption and implementation of joint measures relating to the status and treatment of the nationals of each State in the territories of the other State” (Article 1.1).

In the Agreement on a Framework for Cooperation on Central Banking Issues it is written that “Within thirty (30) days of the ratification of this Agreement, the Parties shall establish a Joint Banks Committee” (Article 1.1).

In the Agreement on Certain Economic Matters it is written that “Any other matters relating to the implementation of this Agreement on assets and liabilities shall be addressed jointly between the two States, through the joint implementation mechanisms established in the Cooperation Agreement, and in accordance with the principles set forth in this Agreement” (Article 4.3.7).

In the Framework Agreement to Facilitate Payment of Post Service Benefits it is written that “Within thirty (30) days of the signing of this Agreement, the Parties shall establish a Joint Ministerial Committee on Pensions” (Article 3.1).

In the Agreement on Border Issues it is written that “Within two weeks of the ratification of this Agreement, the two States shall establish a Joint Demarcation Committee to manage and supervise the demarcation and the maintenance of the boundary and beacons” {Article 8(1)}.

In the Cooperation Agreement it is written that “The Parties shall establish and sustain viable mechanisms and frameworks for cooperation and for managing their bilateral relations, including through regular Summit Meetings of their Heads of State, as well as through cooperation at Ministerial and Technical levels” (Article 5.1).

Reading through all the Nine Agreements (at least critically in letter), it could be seen that most of the hard work required has been left to the committees that shall be established between the two countries. It is only the deal on oil that has been tackled comprehensively, yet it is still subjected to committees for its implementation.

As it is said by some people that cheating the ignorant is not a crime, it remains to be the focus which country would compose un-cheatable committees that will garner maximum interest from the deals. To this regard, I am really afraid of the SPLM Juba Committees due to their usual lack of nuances in institutionalization, knowledge-ability and popular consultations. The SPLM Juba is still novice in running the state affairs, and is often repulsive and fearful of South Sudan technocrats who could help with the intellective game of technicalities on critical issues.

The perpetually recycled failed SPLM comrades have never been serious or committed in doing the right things in many tasks assigned to them, except flattery loyalty to the President. They don’t bother to learn from similar comparative cases worldwide. They are blindly and usually confident in relying on foreign consultants, who in most cases are not well-informed about the realistic situation of South Sudan and the Sudan.

Khartoum seems to be ready for such specialized committees because it has a history of established institutions and instruments of managing the state affairs. It has many archives of references and experienced technocrats for such kind of job. That is why the NCP Khartoum came out victorious in Addis Ababa over the weak SPLM Juba, and are still celebrating the gains they are hoping to get from deals that have been finalized.

I hope the SPLM leadership is going to get it this time that there are no miracles in politics, governance and good economic management but hard work and correct positioning of the well-trained national experts. There are no free lunches in bilateral agreements too. A mission without right and tough missionaries is a futile effort that can end up in mess! South Sudan has had enough of mess-ups and miss-ups under the SPLM rule that need no more additions but subtractions.  

Will President Salva Kiir and his SPLM government top leaders acknowledge the internal strengths of their own nationals this time rather than depending on foreign consultants every time on matters that could be tackled by the very South Sudanese regardless of political affiliations? Why not learn how to develop confidence in our own expertise and intelligence and avoid preferences for outsiders?

A part from being an opposition leader to the SPLM and Kiir’s administration, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is a technical expert in petroleum chemistry. He could be the right person to supervise South Sudan committee on the implementation of the oil deal with Khartoum. I recommend that President Kiir reaches out to him as soon as possible in order to ask him to help in this critical area so that South Sudan could avoid being cheated by Khartoum again in the coming tough work of committees. Minister John Luke Jok is also an expert in oil business. He could work well with Dr. Lam Akol in this area.

Right now, South Sudan needs more economic solutions than highly propagandized political confusions! It is high time to leave behind the unhelpful and useless accusations of who wants to overthrow who politically or militarily. The challenges of implementing the Addis Ababa Agreements require embracing of spirit of joint nationalistic work for building the Republic of South Sudan regardless of parties’ lines.

I would like to recommend to President Salva Kiir and the rest of SPLM to start reaching out to those South Sudanese they fear and shy to acknowledge in their capabilities of helping the new nation-in-the-making to an advantageous level than the usual accommodated gaps. This is not easy but it is the surest way to success.

Thus, let Ustaz Peter Abdelrahaman Sule be released from political detention together with other opposition figures and elements in South Sudan. Let President Kiir assign them some national duties so that they could contribute to the common good of the nascent Republic of South Sudan. Prisons and exiles do not and cannot benefit a new country like South Sudan. Instead, it is the freedom and nationalism that can save South Sudan from collapsing into a failed state.

President Kiir is our President, Dr. Riek Machar is our Vice President, Dr. Lam Akol and Peter A.Sule are our Opposition leaders, and Pagan Amum is the Secretary-General of the ruling SPLM Party and etc. Why are they finding it hard to co-exist side by side and working for the common good of the new country despite their different political orientations and affiliations? Leadership is not everything in life!

If the SPLM ruling party can commit itself to co-exist peacefully with the NCP Jellaba ruling party in the Sudan why should it be difficult for it to reach out and do the same with the very Non-SPLM nationals of South Sudan? Let’s become realistic and self-acknowledging to ourselves more than to the foreigners.


Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer in Juba University reachable at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Abyei: Abandoned In Unilateral Referendum

By Martin Garang Aher

October 25, 2013 (SSNA) -- Another summit has lately gone by without agreement between the two presidents: Bashir and Kiir, over the future of Abyei. Abyei’s question had tumbled down to a two-man dialogue from both its international and national projection as a deciding region of statehood for South Sudan and possibly Sudan. It is now an issue of table manners for the two heads of states. Since none of the presidents is ready to correct his manners, deadlock continues to rule. What is wrong in the future of Abyei?

Some people in the Republic of Sudan call it the Kashmir of the Sudans by perhaps, inaccurately, contrasting its geographical location, ethnic composition, strategic national security and resources implications and religious affiliation to the region at the foothills of the Himalayas which is controversially administered by three nations: China, India and Pakistan. A very unfortunate comparison indeed! However, judging by the look of insanity involved in the two regions, Abyei could easily and sadly qualify had the decisive dissimilarity not been that of her history. By settlement, Abyei cannot and has never been synonymous in character with Kashmir. The notoriety of claims by Sudan through Messeriya transhumance is the problem of the area.

Abyei is a region claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. It sits perilously on the borders of the two deceptive enemies (South Sudan, to Sudan is the number two enemy state after the state of Israel). It has long been seen along with several other areas as a conflict flashpoint on the North-South borders of the Sudans. Its inhabitants are, according to 2005 Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement, nine Ngok Dinka and others.

Ngok is a Nilotic section of Dinka broadly famous among other Dinka sub-tribes as Ngong Deng Kuol/Majok or Ngong Abyei. Historically, the family of Arop Biong through Kuol Arop and Deng Kuol or Deng Majok and other descendants in the line maintained the chieftaincy of Abyei in what was the volatile part of the last quarter of 19thC and first quarter of 20thC. This period, according to historians with authority on Sudan such as Douglas Johnson, was when the area experienced intense slave raids.

Pragmatically, Sudanese Arabs saw venturing south through Abyei as a mission of advancing Islamization to the rest of Africa by whatever means necessary. Most of the time, it was through aggression: slave raids, trade, accessing resources or cultural conquest. Oral histories along the borders of Sudan and South Sudan bear no wickedness in stating that the coming of Arabs to Sudan has led to embittered relationships of all times. Along the borders, the Jieng, the Naath and the Collo continue to tell vigilante stories due to unforeseen attacks. Security at the borders has always continued to be a blister needing caution even from the depth of sleep. Records reveal that an administrative transfer of Abyei to Kordufan in 1905 was a means to curtail or lessen aggressiveness towards Ngok. Aggression towards Ngok has mostly been engendered by the Messeriya section of Humr; now claimants of nativity by transhumance through Abyei.

Other inhabitants of Abyei are non-Ngok Dinka but those who have lived there for generations. These are the ‘others’ acknowledged in the Machakos protocol on Abyei. Note that ‘others’ is an ogre of malevolence and a significant term of substance in Abyei’s case. The owners of the land, the Ngok Dinka, on own discretion cannot shed off the term even if asked to do so. From ‘others,’ we get the presence of Messeriya Arabs in Abyei who are either historically a welcome group of individual settlers among the population or those who weaved into Ngok communities through intermarriages. If you ask the Ngok Dinka what others in Abyei are, they will precisely point out that so and so over there are the ‘others’ in their region. Ask anyone in Khartoum and the list may include the planes that fly above the region – a deliberate misunderstanding of facts. So, who are the real Messeriya in Abyei? 

From the snapshot above, it should be easy to place Abyei in its rightful place. As the month of October 2013 concludes, sureness and inviolability of life for the natives in Abyei will depend, for better or for worst, on the decision that will be taken by the majority. Indeed, emotions from failures of the AUHIP and UN Security Council have driven the citizens of Abyei and sympathizers in general to feelings of dissatisfaction, uncertainty as well as a bolstered enragement. Why would they not harbor these feelings when daily life in the region is a terrifying ordeal: full of uncertainty, deprived of natural bequest in terms of oil resources, constantly threaten by Messeriya Arabs and for unknown session, held between the two mystical states that would never ever agree on anything without coercion? Successive deliberations and negotiations processes have stalled indefinitely leaving Ngok community as in-betweens of Khartoum and Juba.  It is on these uncertainties that the citizens of Abyei have decided, stealthily perhaps, to hold independent referendum to determine their national status.  

Of course there is a worry. The plebiscite is eclipsed by anecdotal evidence that the Messeriya, armed by the Sudan government and given assurance that they too belong in Abyei, may likely cause bloodbath.  Also, Satellite images from Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) of the Hollywood actor George Clooney and John Prendergast of Enough Project have reported extraordinary Sudanese military activities from their bases closer to Abyei. Sudan has a potted history of taking advantage of precarious situations. The invasion of Abyei in 2010 in which thousands of civilians were displaced serves as evidence. The killing of paramount chief of Abyei, Kuol Deng Kuol, while accompanied by United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) has further exacerbated the resolve to go ahead with the vote.

What is the position of South Sudan in this mess? The vocal push by South Sudanese politicians and notable figures had fuelled the desire for the citizens of Abyei to go forward with voting decision regardless of formal agreement on the matter. One is surprised by South Sudan government reversion in tone and support for the people of Abyei. Whatever eventuality that the people of Abyei may encounter, South Sudan should know that it is part of it. Denial of reality is simply unprincipled and dangerous.

It would have made rational sense if the Sudans resolved Abyei’s self-determination exercise in a manner that reckons responsibility and value of human life. Leaving the inhabitants of Abyei to decide their own fate is indistinguishable from entrenching inter-state animosity between the Sudans and between Abyei and her Messeriya neighbours for eternity.  It is too late now.

In answer to the question of the real Messeriya, consider that every year millions of passengers go through Heathrow Airport in the UK on their way to greener pastures anywhere in the world. If by strange happening UK votes to determine her fate, whether to go to Mars or remains on earth, it will be only the Whites indigenous and Chinese or Indian or African ‘others’ permanently based in The UK that will determine UK’s future.  Not millions of Chinese, Indians and Africans that go through Heathrow. Messeriya on maroon cows passing through Abyei are comparable to passengers on an Airbus A380 passing through the UK. It is the transit fee that is needed to be paid.

Martin Garang Aher is a South Sudanese living in Australia. He can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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