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U.S. Calls for Release of South Sudan’s Political Detainees

Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (SSNA) -- The United States has on Thursday called on South Sudan’s government to free the remaining four political prisoners who are still being held.

Earlier this week, the South Sudanese government released seven detainees and handed them over to the Kenyan government.

The U.S. says it welcomes the release of the seven prisoners and calls it a “positive step”.

“We welcome the release of the seven detainees and we believe that is a positive step ... We will continue to urge the release of the remaining four detainees," U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told Reuters.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the remaining four detainees are still under investigation and that final results of their cases will be given to president Kiir for his final decision.

"As soon as it (the investigation) is over, the report again will go to the president and he has the option also of using his constitutional authority to grant a pardon or whatever”, Marial told Reuters.

The four remaining detainees are: Former deputy defense Minister Majak D’Agoot, Former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum, former head of South Sudan’s office to the United States, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and ex-national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak.

After Juba Massacre, the declaration of Serial Killings and the State of Emergency in Greater Upper Nile: Is Salva Kiir Government Lost its legitimacy?

By: Bol K. Rom

February 13, 2014 (SSNA) -- A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that suspends certain normal functions of the executive, the legislative or any other rights of the people for a period of time. It orders all government agencies to implement emergency or President plans. State of emergency always declares by dictatorial regimes.  It’s necessary in countries; but, not in a way it’s being applied by Dictators, as it is the case in Greater Upper Nile. This state of serial killing or genocide, now ongoing in Greater Upper Nile, isn’t just a mere state of emergency as we hear from President Kiir and his likes. 

However, there is a hidden objective behind that declaration. This objective is none other than ethnic cleansing. An ethnic cleansing in Greater Upper Nile, why? Greater Upper Nile is a home region to most prominent political challengers—political rivals of Salva  Kiir. These rivals are Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Majak  D’agot, Mr. Pa’gan Amum, Mr. Taban Deng, Ambassador. Ezekiel  Lol  Gatkuoth, Mr. Gier Chuang Aloung, Mr. Oyai  Deng  Ajak, Mr. John Luk Jok...etc. All these leaders hail from Greater Upper Nile. Annihilation of these mentioned personalities altogether may secondarily come into the mind of Serial Killing plotter—Salva  Kiir  Mayardit. But, Kiir primary objective is to wipe out Dr. Riek Machar and his ethnic group, the second larger group in South Sudan at the first step.

He made it crystal clear in one of the meetings he attended in Warrap’s Akon district “We won’t enjoy for years the total freedom in an Independent Republic of South Sudan unless Riek Machar  Nuer ethnic group is silenced in their behavioral search of seeking, leadership, freedom and justice for all. The worse thing is that, Riek now wants to take your power. The power I have. Should I give it to him? “A cie be gam “his people replied back in Dinka, meaning in English power (leadership) will not be given to Riek. Salva Kiir thinks if Nuer becomes controllable he would govern well for life without RIEK MACHAR’s ethnic group making resistance!

That was why Juba Massacre was ordered strictly against the Nuer. Juba Massacre, the ongoing killings in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states are meant to silence the Nuer.  The SPLM’s Riek Machar group comprises of different political figures from different communities across South Sudan. Otherwise, all tribes including the Chollo, Bari, Dinka..Etc would have been targeted in Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu. Without exception! The state of present Genocide or emergency in Greater Upper Nile is declared for six months to complete the ambition. The ambition of having Nuer exterminated! Though, in a later date, a six months state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile was publicly announced in the month of January, on state-owned SSTV. It was beforehand circulated to Dootku Beny forces—Kiir forces field commanders in Central Equatoria and Greater Upper Nile. It’s only a period of three months which was given, to complete Benydit’s aspiration. “Come March the 30th, this year, I don’t want to see anyone from his (Riek) group be it a child, women, elderly or whatever”. A source close to inner circle disclosed it to the writer.

Systematically, indiscriminate killing is ongoing especially in Unity and Upper Nile states, carrying out by joint foreign troops turned-- government of South Sudan forces with such order in mind.  These joint operations being carried out by Kiir’s soldiers—his private army, UPDF, SPLM/A-N from Southern Kordufan and Blue Nile and JEM from Darfur. So these joint Operations are executing the order which was first issued in Juba on 15th Dec, 2013. Col. Philip Aguer, SPLA spokesperson in his reply, when asked late last month by Journalists in Juba; over the allegations that Nuer people are being targeted by the SPLA in Greater Upper Nile. He said and I quote “ Nuer people aren’t being targeted, and if they are, an overall responsibility could be blame on two Governors, Army Generals who are in charge of operations there. Because, all the SPLA/SSLA Commanders currently in the field in Greater Upper Nile are Nuer, he lamented. In Upper Nile state you can find Gov. Simon Kun Puoch, Lt. Gen. Johnson Gony  Bilieu, Maj. Gen. Lual  Chuol and Brig. Gen. Buay  Rolnyang all these are Nuer Generals now commanding the SPLA forces in Malakal.  Concerning Unity state, Dr. Nguen Monytuil is a Governor, Lt. Gen. Bapiny  Monytuil, Maj. Matthew Pul Jang are the ones running the state right now” end quote. I just cannot understand Philip’s statement. Did he mean Nuer Generals and soldiers are the one carrying out these immense killings in Malakal as well as in Bentiu?  If he means it this way, then what is a different between a government and those SPLA’s Nuer elements within?  Tangible answers to these questions must be provided!

In retrospect, in 2011 a similar statement was also uttered by Malak Ayuen after when Brig. Gen. Gatwech Gai, a SPLA Officer, with directive from SPLA Headquarters failed to kill in cold blood Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tanginye in Northern Jonglei’s Kaldak area. And I can also quote, just for public comparison “The people of Fangak always kill their Leaders, they killed Mr. John Kulang Puot, Chuol Deng Luth, William Nyuon Bany to mention but a few. All those leaders were killed in Fangak and by the people of Fangak. Likewise, Gatwech Gai wanted to kill Gabriel Tang on 24th, April, 2011 for no good reason. Why, what is a problem? Why people of Fangak would always wish to kill themselves? It is not good at all.” End quote. Brig. Malaak Ayuen was trying to dismiss allegations that GoSS/SPLA ordered Gatwech Gai to kill Gen. Gabriel Tanginye. He (Malaak) said Brig. Gen. Gatwech Gai, had only a Fangak-gene of killing each other as usual. Equally, Col. Philip Aguer was in the same token trying to vindicate that Juba government is not killing the Nuer civilians in Greater Upper Nile. However, a question is; who’s in reality killing the Nuer, burning, destroying their homes and properties, now in Unity and Upper Nile states? Looting UN’s agencies material goods! Are they Rebels? Are these statements uttered by two gentlemen literally nationalistic, realistic and governmental? Make your point please by answering these questions for yourself. To me, as far as my knowledge is concern, Nuer people are being killed massively. Their homes are being burned to ashes, cattle are driven away and properties are also looted or destroyed by the government forces. Whether or not there is a different between the government and the Nuer elements within that is none of our business.

This is what is happening in Greater Upper Nile. Therefore the question of who is committing these atrocities has been clearly communicated to the world. It is the so-called national legitimate government-turned Awan Chan’s in Juba. Intentionally, the way in which these atrocities are carrying out is very hilarious indeed. Yes, let me dig out something a bit in regard to Philip Aguer utterance and how the government works in Juba. President Kiir is blindfolding other none -Dinka people around him, Nuer included, that what is now in Juba with its all directives to the states are national Government’s directives. And it should be consider as government for all. This notion is illogical. The government is not a national government which is representing the interest of all South Sudanese. Practically, if you can follow up Juba government activities you will only see Gogrialians’ interest is advancing. President Kiir’s interest in particular!  Look, the fight against SPLA/M pro-democracy in Greater Upper Nile, even in Juba is being fought by all forces including the Nuer SPLA elements. Yet, Dootku Beny or Awan Chan’s forces are given or have extra rights— privileges to kill any Nuer that they could find whether or not in presence of Nuer’s SPLA/SSLA elements who are fighting alongside Kiir’s forces.

The Nuer big gluttonous stooges that are now holding up Kiir’s illegal government have all lost people in Juba Massacre and in ongoing serial killing in Greater Upper Nile. Some have lost even their own sons, daughters, family members and relatives. What strange stories would they be if ever told!  Thousands of Nuer people including children, women and elderly are murdered in cool blood in this civil war.

Especially in Unity and Upper Nile states where Kiir’s joint operations are facing less resistance. Unity state’s Mayom, Guit, Rubkotni, Koch and Leer counties are all turned into ashes by those joint operations. Thousands of people in these counties are being killed indiscriminately here and there. On everybody watch, including their representatives in the National Legislative Assembly! These so-called people representatives or MPs in South Sudan’s Legislative Assembly aren’t representing the grassroots populations, but themselves. Because there is no country on earth where its people representative in the National Assembly could fail to condemn the killing of his/her people in hundreds. Every Nuer MP in the National Legislative Assembly has lost approximately about 400-500 or more people in Juba, Malakal, Bor and Bentiu Massacres from his/her constituency. This accumulating number (s) can now sum up, more than thirty-eight thousands people in these massacres. Yet we haven’t heard about any condemnation by Nuer MPs starting from Speaker Magok Rundial downward. Shame on those so-called Nuer representatives in the National Assembly! They weren’t elected by the people. Should this be the reason? Or is it the (Betim) oil money that rainstorm their mouths?

Moreover, in Malakal and Unity state Nuer children, women and elderly are being slaughtered in presence of the SPLA/SSLA‘s Nuer field commanders and soldiers without question. We have just read Philip Aguer aforementioned and quoted statement. It isn’t Philip Aguer alone. Even the President Kiir is laughing at the Nuer people for they are the only people who are paying the prices of the current political violence! Engineered by him! Salva Kiir declared the state of emergency—serial killings in Greater Upper Nile. And ordered what is happening in Unity state’s Mayom, Guit, Rubkotni, Leer,Koch, Panyijiar, Mayiandit and Upper Nile state, Malakal.

Whose stupidity is it now?  Is it SPLA/SSLA Nuer elements stupidities, who are blindly executing Benydit’s directives? Or should it be Kiir himself’s idiocy by ordering the killing of his own people whom even participated in voting him into the then regional (GoSS) office? Twisted the present bloody one! Yes, it is the SPLA/SSLA Nuer elements’ stupidities. Because their people are being killed in the vein of chickens, homes burned possessions destroyed or looted with mass displacement while watching.  Why should you be blindfolded for such a long time without knowing the conspiracy of a beyond deformed regime against your people? If you aren’t stupid! Or do you think it is a national government in force? Why are you accepting orders which are only targeting your tribe and not President’s tribe if it is the national government?

Is Salva Kiir an elected President? Can a President who knows he was democratically elected by the people kill the same people? Is Salva Kiir a democratically elected President of the Republic of South Sudan? NO! Kiir was only an elected President of Southern Sudan Government and had governed Southern Sudanese as elected President for one year. Where he was later on in 2011 became interim Republic President based on South Sudan Political Parties consensus. Read the South-South Dialogue Communiqué of October, 2010. So Salva Kiir has been a Republic of South Sudan President since July 2011, but he didn’t come through elections. Elections in the Republic of South Sudan are yet to take place, only in 2015. Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit was rendered that power to promote the wellbeing of the whole nations. Instead, he has been using it for instigating tribalism, developed successfully a classic dictatorship which he eventually triggers against the Nuer ethnic group. Hence, invalided that July 2011 interim Republic Government of South Sudan.

Lastly and not the least, if you are among those who are in dot or still believe that what is in Juba now is a national government then you are cheating your good self. Please, you should change your mind now not tomorrow. Or else you’ll unknowingly hurt yourself by killing your own future legacy for nothing. As we are on this piece, should you get a chance to visit uprising affected areas and then have a critical look at Juba streets, all its deserted suburbs and the spirit in which our supposed national government is being ran. You’ll un-intuitively agree with me that there is no Government in the Republic of South Sudan at all. It isn’t only Kiir’s Legacy that has been shattered but also the entire nations. What we are witnessing wasn’t in our minds during determinations days from 9th-15th January, 2011.

In conclusion, given the present mayhem in the country where fighting or uprising has escalated from Central Equatoria state to, Unity, Lakes, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Northern Bhar el Gazhal and Warrap states, seven states out of the country ten states. Killings continue in these seven states. Then how could it hold water that the so-called states and national institutions legitimacies are still in place? A Government doesn’t equally provide its internally displaced persons (IDPs) with food and none food items because of tribalism. These are IDPs of tribe X they will not be given assistance. A Government which its people have run away, about half a million flee to neighboring countries, like Kenya and Uganda etc.

Not only had that, the heart of the governments, which is the civil populations aren’t even in the government controlled towns and cities within the country. Abruptly, in UNMISS’s compounds in Malakal, Bentiu, Bor and Juba. Others who did not manage to go to UNMISS’s compounds have had fled to places away from Government(s). In the bushes for safety! Such a government is disowned, for it becomes illegal and illegitimate government. So to save thousands innocent people live in South Sudan. Salva Kiir’s current illegal Government must be replaced with another yet interim government!  Because his Government’s legitimacy is already rinsed away!

The author is a witness to all processes of President Kiir’s ploy which has engulfed the country into present abyss or chaos. And a survivor of Juba Massacre—where over Thirty Eight (38,000) Thousands Nuer are believed to have been massacred or missing. He can be reached on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Where is Heglig?

International confusion and ignorance in answering this question about Sudanese geography has become one of the greatest threats to peace, and the negotiations required for peace to be sustained

By Eric Reeves

April 14, 2012 (SSNA) -- The rapid escalation of military violence between Khartoum's Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and South Sudan's Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) is now sustained in large measure by widespread international confusion about where "Heglig" is. Hasty or disingenuous assignments of "Heglig" to (northern) Sudan have emboldened Khartoum to characterize SPLA military actions as "South Sudan's blatant invasion of Heglig."  Given Khartoum's own military seizure of Abyei in May 2011, this seems remarkable (if unsurprising) hypocrisy; but so far it is working at the UN, with the U.S. State Department, with the AU, and among EU members.  This vastly increases the chances of all-out war.  Given the brutally indiscriminate ways in which Khartoum has previously chosen to wage war on the people of the South---as well as of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan---we should expect huge civilian casualties, massive human displacement, and intolerable assaults on civilians in the North who are "ethnically Southern."

The location of "Heglig" (which Southerners have long referred to as Panthou) has yet to be negotiated vis-à-vis the "1 January 1956 border," the determining point of reference in establishing whether a wide range of locations lie in the South or the North.  Although the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) repeatedly and explicitly stipulates the "1 January 1956 border," the precise location was to have been to be a matter that required extensive research and negotiation by the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC). 

Indeed, some twenty percent of this border remains undelineated, and a much greater percentage remains undemarcated.  The reason is simple: Khartoum has consistently refused to negotiate these areas of the border either within the TBC or through high-level political engagement.  Over more than seven years, it has repeatedly refused to convene or participate in good faith in the TBC, to accept the findings of the Abyei Boundaries Commission stipulated by the Abyei Protocol of the CPA, or to accept the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (July 2009).

It is this last decision that appears to have caused the most confusion in shallow international minds.  The PCA (in The Hague) defined Abyei in a way that moved both the Heglig (and Bamboo) oil sites to the east of Abyei's eastern boundary.  But with respect to Heglig, this is all it did.  It did not place Heglig in northern Sudan or South Sudan; it simply said that Heglig lies to the east of Abyei:

"The eastern boundary of the area of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905 runs in a straight line along longitude 29° 00' 00'' E, from latitude 10° 10' 00'' N south to the Kordofan - Upper Nile boundary as it was defined on 1 January 1956."

This ruling did nothing to settle where the "1 January 1956 border" actually lies.  It had no mandate to make such a determination, and did not attempt to do so.  This elemental fact has escaped virtually all international actors, in large part because Heglig has been robustly controlled militarily by Khartoum for many years, especially since oil was discovered in the area in the 1970s.

In short, the location of Heglig remains to be negotiated, even as Khartoum refuses to negotiate---and the regime is distinctly less likely to do so now that its pre-emptive geographic claim of the region has been ratified by a series of statements by international actors of consequence.  Given Juba's determination that Heglig will not be allowed to become a future staging ground for additional assaults on Southern territory, and the strong belief by many Southerners that Heglig is south of the "1 January 1956 boundary," either the geographic status of Heglig is negotiated, or there will be no peace.

The same international actors who have explicitly or implicitly declared that Heglig lies in (northern) Sudan also profess to support the CPA and its implementation. But how does this square with the acquiescence before Khartoum's seizure of Abyei, in violation of not only the Abyei Protocol of the CPA but the ruling by the PCA?  Nothing has changed in the eleven months since Abyei was seized, except for the deployment of an Ethiopian brigade that operates without a human rights mandate, no Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Khartoum.  Most significantly, it cannot provide the security necessary for the return of more than 100,000 Dinka Ngok displaced to the South during the seizure of Abyei, especially given Khartoum's refusal to withdraw its SAF or militia forces, as it agreed to do on June 20, 2011

And more to the immediate point, how do these international actors square their commitment to CPA implementation even as negotiation of the "1 January 1956 boundary" is a central feature of the Agreement.  The North/South boundary was to have been delineated and demarcated within six months of the signing of the CPA. And yet as the International Crisis Group reported in September 2010, these efforts "had been tied up for far too long in the Technical Border Committee," where Khartoum was engaged in delaying tactics.  It was clear to ICG, and should have been clear to the international community, that this was not a matter that could be resolved without political commitment from Juba and Khartoum to address outstanding border issues.  Juba was willing; Khartoum was not.

Thus the repeated declaration in the CPA that "the January 1, 1956 line between north and south will be inviolate" became meaningless.  Without both delineation and demarcation, this was a motto not a principle---and more conspicuously so following the military seizure of Abyei, given the CPA declaration that, "The parties shall refrain from any form of unilateral revocation or abrogation of the Peace Agreement" (CPA, Machakos Protocol 2.4).  There could be no more conspicuous "abrogation" of the CPA than the May 20-21, 2011 seizure of Abyei.

But this has not prevented a chorus of condemnations of Juba's "invasion" of (northern) Sudan:

•"The AU notes with alarm, the occupation of the Heglig by the forces of (South Sudan) ...."

•The U.S State Department "strongly condemns the military offensive, incursion to Southern Kordofan state, Sudan, by the SPLA today [April 12, 2012]."

•"The move by the South Sudanese armed forces to occupy Heglig in Sudan is completely unacceptable," declared the UK's Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham.

•The European Union, through EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton asserted that "the move by the South Sudanese armed forces to occupy Heglig is completely unacceptable." 

None of these statements acknowledges what becomes clearer by the day: Juba was responding to a second round of military aggression, launched by the SAF from Heglig.  This aggression is what prompted the SPLA to act.  But until wiser or more informed voices are heard from these important quarters, Khartoum will only grow more emboldened.  And South Sudan, feeling increasingly abandoned, is likely to accelerate military moves that it regards at once as defensive as well as preserving of historical claims to the lands around Heglig. 

Notably, President Salva Kiir has promised that the SPLA is prepared to withdraw from Heglig if a UN force guarantees that it will not again become a launching point for military assaults deeper in Southern territory.  At precisely the moment in which such a UN commitment is most needed, ignorance and expediency seem most likely to prevent that commitment.  All-out war is increasingly inevitable.


See also the wonderfully acute piece by Jacob K. Akol, editor at Gurtong Website: "Heglig? This Tent Does Not Belong To The Camel!"

"It is definitely unfair of the international community to expect Juba to just sit and watch Khartoum carry out daylight robbery of her property without responding."

Eric Reeves is a Sudan researcher and analyst at Smith College, and author of A Long Day's Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide (Key Publications/Canada, 2007); he has published extensively on Sudan, nationally and internationally, for more than a decade.

A Reply to an Open Letter by Kuir E Garang

By Dr. Lam Akol

The son of my brother, Kuir E Garang,

November 1, 2012 (SSNA) -- Since you addressed me in your open letter as “uncle”, allow me to take the liberty of calling you the “son of my brother”. This is one of our good African traditions in contrast to ‘Afronomy’ you mentioned in your letter. That is one necessary point to explain. The other is that it is not in my habit to respond to all what is written about me in the press, and there are many nasty such writings, but your presentation is different. Despite my disagreement with most of what you wrote about, as it will become clear in the following lines, your arguments are presented intellectually without being unduly abusive.  This is why I believe engaging you in an honest debate would be useful both to you as a motivated young man, and to all and sundry who are interested in finding out the truth. It is not a waste of time to respond as many will hasten to advise me. Our nation will not move forward by building walls between us but rather by opening bridges for communication between and among us. I assume that was your intention, otherwise, you would not have taken the trouble to put pen to paper.

I will overlook your description of me to be ‘whimsical’ as the term is obviously an oxymoron in this case, for everything you said about me in the letter is antithetical to that epithet.

The Son of my Brother,

From the outset, I would like to point out that I will here only respond to those parts of your letter addressed to me personally or to both of us together. I believe Dr Riek Machar is capable of speaking for himself despite the aspersions that come out from time to time in your letter and elsewhere that he was just ‘used’ in the Nasir Move in 1991.

Let me begin with your reference to what you call the “unfortunate, yet incoherent split of SPLA/M in 1991”. This characterization contradicts your assertion that you were ‘paraphrasing’ the reasons behind the split which come out as a coherent stuff.  In fact, you go further to say this: “I have to confess, for those who have read the policy paper of the two of you in 1991; the paper was appealing on face value. If all the things narrated in the policy position were implemented in the manner they were documented, South Sudan could be a different place now; a peaceful, prosperous place”. Therefore, the split might have been ‘unfortunate’ for some of its unforeseen consequences, but was never ‘incoherent’ by your own admission. This is a central point to your argument and indeed to the current discourse.

In the same vein, in addressing Dr Riek Machar, you had this to say: “So Dr Riek Machar, your vision for South Sudan was thwarted by your disagreement with Dr Akol, your eventual split and your consequential tribalization of the national agenda”.  This is an unequivocal admission that Dr Riek had a vision for South Sudan which got thwarted because of the reasons you gave. One, then, wonders where that accolade has gone when you said on addressing Dr Riek Machar again that “it appears to me that 1991 was orchestrated by Dr Lam Akol in its entirety and that you had nothing absolutely to do with the split. You were just used by Dr Lam as a question of numbers advantage”. Are you not unwittingly risking sliding into the same pit of those who have been unscrupulously parroting such untruth without weighing their words? Dr Riek Machar is an intellectual on his own right and a capable SPLA/M Commander, and the people who say such things either do not know what they are talking about or are trying to be too clever to pass the buck to others. I am disinclined to describe you as such.

On being “the brain behind the 1991”, this is an honour I do not claim alone. There were many brains behind the Nasir Move far beyond the three SPLM/A Political-Military High Command members who made the announcement on the 28th of August 1991 in Nasir. If some people, for one reason or the other, are today afraid to admit so, this does not change the historical fact. I played my role and others did theirs. It is inconceivable that such a momentous event could be a work of one brain!

The Son of my Brother,

On my assignment as Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, you seem to be unaware of several obvious facts. You say: “you accepted the ministerial post knowing that you had to present the Sudanese position to the world; and that position was not for the interest of South Sudanese people.” This is the balderdash we hear on the streets. In the first place, why should you assume that the Sudanese position was not for the interest of South Sudanese people? Be informed that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulates that the SPLM and the National Congress were in partnership to implement the agreement. They were not enemies as some who entertained hidden agendas misled a good number of South Sudanese to believe. We were in a coalition government known as the Government of National Unity (GONU) that came about as a result of the CPA and whose main function it was to implement it. The SPLM was part and parcel of GONU, and not outside it, again, as some of you were made to believe.  I presume you know how coalition governments work. If so, are you saying that the CPA was “not to the interest of South Sudanese people”? The policies of that Government were formulated by the Council of Ministers with eight SPLM ministers and a Presidency where the First Vice President from South Sudan has a right of veto; the most powerful vice president in the world. If all these people cannot guarantee the interest of South Sudanese people, including in the area of foreign affairs, then perhaps it was not worth signing the CPA. All the questions that followed in your letter are unfortunate redundancies because they were based on a wrong premise, and so is the conclusion that “It all comes down to one thing: you did it for your own political agenda; to present your face to the world. This makes me wonder if you used Dr Riek in 1991 in the same vain (sic): at the expense of the people.” For your information, my face was well known to the world already as one of the leaders of the 1985 popular Intifadha (Uprising) that overthrew Nimeiri’s dictatorship, and afterwards as the SPLM/A’s Chief Peace Negotiator since 1988, the SPLM/A’s negotiator and focal point of the UN-sponsored and well publicized Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), the SPLM/A Director of Coordination and External Relations 1988-1990, the Secretary for External Affairs and Peace 1991-1994 and as Chairman of SPLM-United 1994-2003. All these assignments entailed world exposure.  In all humility, I had a high international profile already and didn’t need to use Dr Machar or any other person or position to enhance it. On the contrary, it was all these assignments that benefited from my high profile including the ministry of foreign affairs. I hope you are not one of the victims of the intense propaganda that was waged against me then with the only objective to get me out of the ministerial post. I will touch on some aspects of this campaign shortly.

The Son of my Brother,

Your biggest flop came when you unfortunately averred that “when you were removed from the ministry of foreign affairs, you went ahead and formed a party in a country that still has a long way to go to embrace liberal democracy. Why did you not take one ministry and make it exemplary for the rest of the country? You could have asked Kiir to give you one ministry, reform it, and make it immutable to the rest.”  First, you seem to suggest that you do not believe that the time is ripe for liberal democracy. I will return to this point later on. Second, I did not form a political party as soon as I was removed from the ministry of foreign affairs as you appear to suggest. Let me jog your memory. I was removed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2007 whereas my party was formed two years later in 2009. In between, I continued to be a loyal member of the SPLM. However, a number of events took place that drove me out of the party. There has always been a group in the SPLM who did not want me in the SPLM leadership since the reunification in October 2003 of the SPLM/A with the SPLM-United, which I led since I was dismissed by Riek Machar in February 1994. The group tried to influence Dr John Garang to place me in the Leadership Council as a junior to them which failed because I rejected it. It is the same group that was unhappy because I was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and they have been spreading falsehood against me since then including the seeming incompatibility of the interest of South Sudan with that of Sudan that you delved in. The story is long. Suffice it to mention that it is the same group which engineered the Ministerial Strike in October 2007; the first in the world. We know how coalition governments are dissolved, but, anyway, this is beside our point now. The only reason for the strike was to remove Dr Lam Akol from the Cabinet. After the walkout, Salva Kiir reshuffled the SPLM component of the Government and moved me to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. The new lineup was announced by the President and a date for taking the oath of office was fixed and arrangements were in place in the Republican Palace for the occasion. At the last minute the group persuaded Salva Kiir to postpone the occasion and insisted to continue the strike. It was only when my name was dropped from the lineup that the SPLM went back to the Cabinet. I continued as a member of the Political Bureau of the SPLM and a member of National Parliament representing SPLM. Again obstacles were put on my way. For instance, in April, my car was shot at near Malakal by unknown assailants resulting in the killing of my bodyguard and the driver. In the same month, I was denied getting into Kodok town by an SPLM Commissioner using the SPLA. After that I was refused to address the public in Kaka and Wadakona by the SPLM Commissioner (who was previously an SAF intelligence Sergeant when I was commander of the area) and the SPLA commander. I raised complaints to Salva Kiir on these incidences to no avail. I still keep copies of these letters of complaint. Can you imagine junior Party members preventing a member of the Political Bureau from interacting with the public without orders from above?

Then came the SPLM convention in 2008, and my name was left out of the members Salva Kiir appointed to the Political Bureau. This was as a result of pressure from the same group. Things did not stop at that. There followed a sustained campaign of character assassination against me in the daily newspapers and even on South Sudan TV. I again raised the matter to Salva Kiir as the Chairman of the SPLM, again in vain. I am not complaining, only pointing out facts that you rightfylly requested in your open letter. Thus, it is abundantly clear that I had no choice but to leave with my dignity intact, unless you want me to be like Dr Riek Machar who you are now complaining against as an opportunist. Wasn’t the war about our dignity? If we were all these years complaining about the Arabs treating us as ‘second class’ citizens why would one accept it in a party that is presumably one’s choice? Dr John Garang used to lecture to SPLA soldiers that ‘oppression has no particular colour’; oppressors could be white, red, black or even your own brother. I and others with me refused to accept humiliation. Such was the birth of SPLM-DC in June 2009. If our country has still “a long way to go to embrace liberal democracy”, it has to start somewhere, and this must be done by some people who dedicate themselves to the cause of multi-party democracy regardless of the thorny road to be traversed. Even in the West, democracy came at a huge human cost. Shortcuts in politics could sometimes be more damaging.

By now you should be in a position to answer your own question whether, even if I were to stoop down to do that, I could ask Salva Kiir to pick me a ministry that I can make “exemplary for the rest of the country”. That is not only beyond idealism; it is wishful thinking to believe that President Salva, who succumbed to pressures to exclude me from a cabinet position in 2007 government reshuffle, would hand me a ministry to use as a prototype.

As to my absence during the flag-raising ceremony on 9th July 2011, I have said and written a lot about it. It cannot be isolated from the reason why I was not in Juba before then. Your rhetorical question that “who the hell is Kiir”? is what you did not think through more realistically. For starters, he is the President of the Republic and the Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA, among his other titles. In that capacity he has the control of the institutions that monopolize the instruments of violence. Did you not hear that the Leader of the official Opposition was beaten by the security and lost his teeth on the 7th of July 2011 for no reason other than celebrating the independence of South Sudan? So I had to talk to Salva Kiir in Nairobi, not the other way round, to give me assurances on my security in Juba. I am thankful that he did. That is what took me to Juba and spent two months there. Nevertheless, the group had the upper hand and things relapsed, but this is a matter that does not concern us here.

The Son of my Brother,

Sincerely, you confuse me in what I see as conflicting pieces of advice you are giving me. In one breath you criticize Dr Machar, and rightly so, for being unable to do something in his position, but at the same time you advise me to join the “deformed” SPLM and its government. If I accept such an advice, this would be where really the SPLM will be right to see me “as a selfish political opportunist after his own political agenda” as you put it. Without changing the structure of an institution, individuals, however gifted they may be, cannot do much. The pragmatism you are calling for, is for me synonymous with opportunism. Far from your assertion that my “brain is being wasted on theoretical propositions just like some of” you, I happen to believe in the infinite capacity of our people to understand their own situation and effect change. You are unfortunately absolutely wrong to think that our people cannot or have not been sensitized enough to size up the misrule meted on them by the SPLM. You yourself admit that “the self-righteousness within SPLM is suffocating and disastrous for the country.” How many South Sudanese would have reached this conclusion three years ago or even a year ago? And if they did, how many will say so publicly? A few days ago there was a popular demonstration in Juba against the giving away to Sudan of ‘Mile 14 Area’. Was that not due to awareness? Could it have come without the ‘other point of view’?

Education is a slow process but because it is worth pursuing we never tire of doing so. And it obviously needs brains too! Do not forget that it takes 16 years for a normal student to earn a University degree! Achievement can only happen under a conducive environment. Joining a ‘deformed’ and ‘suffocating’ SPLM, as you correctly described the unruly ruling party or its corrupt government would be the height of opportunism. This is why it is crucially imperative to acknowledge that the brains that strive to bring about change are not being wasted. Remember, the best practice is founded on well grounded theory(ies).

Stay well, the son of my brother, and keep the books coming. Some people will definitely read them.

Dr Lam Akol is the Chairman of the SPLM-DC, the official Opposition party in the Republic of South Sudan. He was previously a Lecturer at the University of Khartoum (1980-1986) before he joined the SPLM/A. The last position he held was as Sudan's Minister of Foreign Affairs (2005-2007).

The South Sudan Crisis comprehensive Approach: The Etiology of the Political Crisis in South Sudan

By Abraham Deng Lueth

December 29, 2013 (SSNA) -- The, hopefully, simmering down political situation in South has a long history. The aspirations of the people of South Sudan that emerged during the CPA and referendum times were abused by the leadership. Instead of building on those, a stern sectarian politics emerged and time and time again, hatred and greed continue to guide the institutional and individuals relationships.

The leadership of south Sudan failed to convene its political and social forces to amend the movement vision to suit South Sudan as an independent nation. National vision and shared values were eroded and sectarian visions and values based on hatred and greed arisen. Ministerial positions just become symbols of status to many folks in the government as opposed to delivering the services.

The SPLM, since its last convention in 1994 in Chukudum has not sat down and revised its essential documents to reflect its change from a guerilla movement to a professional ruling political party. Some elements within the party have shown their interests in the party leadership. The SPLM party leadership politics is linked to that of the nation in the sense that a chairperson of the party is the one who runs on the party ticket for president in the national elections.

This situation has caused a crack between the party members in the government and those outside the government. For sure, there are interests. The party elements in the government do not want President Kiir challenged for the post of the party chair. They like to continue to have him as the party chair; hence, its candidate for president in the 2015 general elections to give them another round of power in the post 2015 era. On the other hand, the party elements mainly outside the government wants democracy to allow those vying for the chairmanship of the party a chance to challenge President Kiir and hence, giving them a shot at the presidency comes 2015.

Several requests for meetings of the political bureau, the SPLM highest structure, are reported to have been tabled by the then Secretary General of the party, Pagan Amum, but they were turned down by the president. After the pressures for the leadership of the party amounted on the President and his close aides, he started to swirl his powers and hit everyone he deems opposition to him.

Consequently, a series of decrees were officiated; private presidential guards (believed to have hailed from the President’s regional states) were recruited and trained without the knowledge of relevant military leaders, some elected governors gone, the entire cabinet gone, the entire SPLM party structures gone, requested meeting for the political bureau, denied, NLC meeting called without consultation from the political bureau and there were more threats only decrees away.

December 6 Press Conference

As a result, a team of SPLM high ranking officials, headed by Dr. Riek machar called a press conference to explain to the party members their unaddressed grievances. This team also scheduled a public rally on December 14 to do the same to the members of the public. The rally was later canceled to give room for dialogue after the spiritual leaders urged both sides to resolve their political differences internally through dialogue. Among the group, 3 individuals, namely; Mama Nyandeeng, Pagan Amum and Dr. Riek Machar were vying to challenge president Kiir for the party chairmanship. The group was united to fight the dictatorship tendencies within the party which normally spillover into the national affairs time and time again (e.g. firing of elected governors). Many had hoped that something positive was going to come out of the vice President’s press conference on Monday. Nevertheless, hate speeches and nicknaming of the dissident voices group were what came out of the press conference.

The group had hoped that canceling their rally to give room for dialogue would also necessitate the president to cancel the NLC meeting so that a meeting for the political bureau was convened and the differences would be worked out and agenda items for the NLC meeting would be set. However, to no avail, this opportunity to resolve the outstanding issues was also ignored and the NLC scheduled meeting continued.

The dissident voices group gave dialogue another chance and attended the meeting, hoping that the outstanding differences will be given a consideration but again, none was considered. Instead, the president, a leader of the party and the nation, came out intimidating and was rubbing on past historic wounds within the party such as 1991 Bor massacre. This rigidity of the President and his close aides to open up to addressing fierce political differences caused the dissident voices group to boycott the NLC meeting on its last day.

December 15 Sunday Presidential Guards Incident

The darkest days of South Sudan since its independence began on Sunday, December 15. A fight broke out within the PRESIDENTIAL GUARDS. The causes (s) of this incident are storied differently and none is yet confirmed as the reliable cause because there has not been an investigation into the incident so far or at least that is known by the public. On December 16, the president was seen in military uniform on SSTV, flanked by some cabinet members, addressing the nation that what occurred on Sunday night was “a failed coup.” Dr. Riek was accused for the coup and, interestingly, arrest orders were also issued for other linked politicians to the “coup” who turned out to be members of the dissident voices group with no connection to the presidential guards or the army, whatsoever.

Dr. Riek has come out and denied the coup and claimed that President Kiir took advantage of the incident that happened within his own presidential guards and used it to deter or eliminate the opposition. There has not been a strong proof that the alleged coup d’état (which the world would not recognize) was, indeed, an attempted coup. That leaves the public to wonder about what is going on. Is it a poor judgment in differentiating between a mutiny and a coup or is it a pure calculated politics based on ill-hatred of fellow citizens and obsessive greed for power?

Dialogue and Negotiation Process

Regardless of the fact that the public seems to remain divided on who to blame for the crisis and process differently the potential conditions leading to the conflict, it is apparent that it is opposed to the unwarranted violence and would like a peaceful way of addressing political differences. Therefore, in a rare circumstance, allow me (member of the public) to say thank you to both warring factions for agreeing to sit down and talk.

Moreover, it should also be noted that the crisis has taken different forms over time and in the process, has created slightly differentiated but substantially linked cohorts. It is important to understand how those slightly differentiated groups developed and how they still link to the main issue that brought our country here. In my own view, I think it will be necessary to approach the dialogue in two phases.

A. Solving Political Differences Through Political Dialogues

Phase one should focus on the political differences within the SPLM party and the SPLM national policies because as a ruling party, its policies influence how the affairs of the nation are run. Therefore, it is critical to address political differences within the party and the party national policies under this phase of negotiation. This is where Dr. Riek and the detained politicians are one group. Therefore, in this context, yes, Pagan or any other member or members of the detained group may part-take in the negotiation process. Therefore, Dr. Riek is not wrong to appoint Pagan if he is thinking in this context and Pagan, on the other hand, is not wrong to accept the appointment if he is sticking to his December 6 conference allegiance.

B. Reconciling The Warring Factions: Kiir vs. Riek (Dinka vs. Nuer)

The second phase should focus on the violence that began on Sunday, December 15 and its effects. This phase should cover President Kiir unconfirmed coup accusation, risking the lives of Dr. Riek, other accused politicians and the killing of innocent citizens in Juba. It should be noted that the killing in Juba fitted the Nuers against the Dinkas more than the coup accusation itself.

On the other hand, this phase will also focus Dr. Riek and the killings in Bor, Akobo, Bentiu and Malakal. President Kiir has an indirect responsibility for the killings in those other towns because the killing in Juba catalyzed the actions of the Nuers against Dinkas in those towns. The main goal here should be to give the two leaders a chance to reflect back on their actions and how they could have contributed to the unwarranted crisis that caused several losses of lives and resulted in several war crime accounts. When that is done, it is when the two will see a dire need to reconcile and move on.

Most of the talks under this phase should be between Kiir and Riek. If they want to use other people to represent them, they should pick people from their warring sides. For example, Dr. Riek can appoint either Gatdet or any of the people fighting with him now because they are the ones who can answer why they killed people. Kiir, on the other hand, should appoint someone within his inner circle to explain why they were rigid to changes and eventually, rushing to calling what happened on Sunday an “attempted coup.” Moreover, they should be the one to answer why they ordered the presidential guards to kill innocent civilians in Juba who may not have any clue about politics.

Last but not least, the three parties (warring factions, Kiir & Riek, and the accused politicians) affiliated with the crisis should converge here as well and collectively reconcile. The detained politicians should help mediate both sides. Their contribution, especially, at this point will be a key catalyze for the reconciliation between the two leaders and the affected ethnic groups of Nuers and Dinkas. The two leaders must first reconcile before the reconciliation of the Nuers and the Dinkas, followed by a national healing process if a meaningful and comprehensive peace can be achieved in the country.

Matters pertaining to the security of Riek, members of his forces and the accused politicians must be negotiated and it will not surprise me if power-sharing becomes the solution. Therefore, continuation of talks to involve the detained politicians is necessary regardless of the fact that they are not affiliated with the war. Pagan Amum can continue as one of the chief negotiators but Dr. Riek will need to appoint other co-chief negotiator (either directly or indirectly involved in the war) to sit alongside with Pagan to answer questions regarding the war.

Power-Sharing between the warring factions

So, yes, a power-sharing may not be a bad idea given the fact that the president has continuously shown his inability to lead with the nation interest in the center and continuously misuse his presidential powers. It will also be the best way to guarantee trust and security between the warring factions, including the detained politicians. Power-sharing will create enabling, safe ethnic and political environments that will be necessary to move the nation forward.

The power-sharing resolution should have a life span, ranging from when the negotiation deal is sealed until next election when the nation will elect its next leader. Both President Kiir and Dr. Riek should lead the country during the power-sharing period and must not run for election in 2015 in order to forgo the war crimes. Otherwise, if they choose to take part in the leadership and still run in 2015, they must be investigated for the war crimes committed over the last 2 weeks.

The Resolutions of the Political Dialogues

The resolutions of the political dialogue should ensure the following:

I. Provide comprehensive solutions to the SPLM party political processes relative to the nation political processes, hence, reconciling the party ranks;

II. Reconcile President Kiir and Dr. Riek while acknowledging where each of the two leaders could have prevented the crisis (power-sharing should be obvious);

III. Reconcile the Nuers and the Dinkas to bridge the ethnic gap created by the conflict;

IV. Provide national healing because the current conflict has affected every South Sudanese in a very profound way.

Abraham Deng Lueth is a Community Support Specialist at Truman Behavioral health Emergency Department in Kansas City, Missouri, United States; he is the President of Greater Bor Community-USA. He previously worked as a critical care laboratory technician and conducted an independent undergraduate biomedical research project which was published in the Plant Science Journal in 2007.

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