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Re: The Rationale or Otherwise of Alleged Greater Equatoria Support to the Rebel Leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny

By Juma Mabor Marial

March 27, 2014 (SSNA) -- A fortnight or so ago, an online newspaper “Equatoria sun” unveiled a list of shadow cabinet alleged to have been formed by Rebel Leader Dr. Riek Machar in anticipation of the speculated interim government and among the top cabinet ministers were four or so Equatorian members led among the top portfolios by Kosti Manibe Ngai – Finance, Commerce and Economic Planning, Dr. Cirino Hiteng — Youth, Culture & Sports, Aloisio Emor Ojetuk – National Security Service Hon. Silvano Odwaro Gordon-  Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resources and Fisheries and Dr. Olivia Lomoro – Health .

Out of those mentioned in Riek’s list of cabinet, only one Equatorian in the name of Dr. Olivia Lomoro – Health, came out to refute the allegations, the rest of the nominees like their colleagues from other regions of South Sudan remained adamant leaving the public to speculate on whether their silent meant acceptance of the allegations or ignorance of the same. Hon. Aguil De’Chut Deng denied and declined the nomination to the prestigious Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Subsequently, the public reaction was mixed with some indicating that, the list could be a conspiracy to settle political scores by those who have one or another vendetta against the named individuals and likely presumed political heavy weights in Riek’s cabinet. The contrary opinion was to the effect that most if not all of those mentioned in Riek’s shadow cabinet were supporting the rebellion silently and were determined to sabotage Kiir’s government within as far as they have the necessary capacity to do so.

Such schools of thoughts continued for quite some time but because of the overwhelming crisis the country is engulfed in, the problems became too numerous and each problem is overtaken by relatively bigger issue that comes up. This is where of course the debate on whether there was a shadow cabinet or otherwise with the above names was relegated and the attention was then shifted to other new news.

These new news came three weeks later when again in the Sudan tribune online newspaper, the headlines reads ‘Greater Equatoria group declares support for Riek Machar’. The headlines in this piece of news which made it catches everyone’s eyebrows was that and I quote The leadership of the Greater Equatoria Council of Rights (GRECOR) has openly declared for the first time it plans to mobilise “all sons and daughters of the region” to rally them behind the leadership of rebel leader Riek Machar, ‘the document was said to have been signed by Wani Tombe and circulated to both local and international media outlets.

In a joinder and with the spirit of disclaimer, the Governor of Western Equatoria state, Colonel Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro presumably on behalf of other Equatorian government loyalists, said on Tuesday that a statement released earlier this week by the Greater Equatoria Council of Rights (GRECOR) declaring support for former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar did not represent the views of the region as a whole.  He also added that, “The views expressed in the release do not represent the people of Equatoria. Yes, those outside the region in the diaspora are our brothers and sisters but what they say does not necessarily represent our people inside the country,” said Bakosoro.

Bangasi went ahead and said that ‘while the people of Equatoria championed democracy and issues of national importance; they were not known for agitating or back-room politicking. “We do not gossip and do not agitate. We are straight when it comes to issues of democracy and governance,”

Now here, comes the public debate and critical analysis of what exactly is the position of the citizens of greater Equatoria region, be they politicians, ordinary citizens, academicians, religious leaders or even soldiers. For the purpose of clarity, it is unfortunate and regrettable to accept that, in circumstances of internal conflict, a country which has 64 tribes is tempted to investigate what the other tribe’s opinion is with regard to the on-going crisis. It is a bitter truth that all of us as South Sudanese have to swallow and I think this is the suspense our colleagues from Equatoria region are caught in and struggling with quite deeply.

The blame can only be directed towards the initial speakers during the early stages of the conflict when most of them came out and confined the problem into ethnic corner by telling the world that it was a war between Dinkas and Nuers and this open a flood gates of wanting to know that the remaining 62 tribes have to make their positions known as to whether they are with Dinka which is synonymous with the government or with the Nuers with another name of rebel, to some extent, it could easily be said so for two crucial reasons;

One, by default, the antagonists are from the above mentioned tribes and secondly, the references that were rapidly made to the 1991 crisis made it apparently conclusive that any crisis that breaks out again could be instigated by the preponderant culprit Riek against Dinkas (Kiir) the Dynasty. This could sound like a myth but I hope for some reasons that this is where those who said it was a war between Dinkas and Nuers got their analogy from.

That aside, but now, the war between the Equatorian diaspora and Equatorian original (the ones at home), as the explanation that Bangasi gave on the question of Equatorian loyalty to either side of the conflict goes. He agreed though that, their advocacy for democracy and good governance is the same as that of Riek and Equatorian in diaspora, however, on behalf of the Equatorian at home, Bangasi thinks that it should not be agitated, gossiped, back-roomed or aggressive, and here comes the common opinion of the Equatorian in Juba and in the other states of greater Equatoria region.

Before their opinions are divided and their loyalty scattered, there are obvious reasons that you must know as a non-Equatorian and these are some of the reasons that I must ask you to test the unity of Equatorian if you think that they are so divided, the list is long, but it is worth to mention thus, with my experience and knowledge of our brothers and sisters from Equatoria; these are the three main things that they think they are better off than any other tribe and most particularly more organized than the so-called Dinkas and Nuers.

One of these things is that, Equatorian believe that they do not like violence and therefore they are people who engages in dialogue to resolve any differences of any magnitude, this is stated by Bangasi, secondly, Equatorian believed that, the on-going war is between Dinkas and Nuers over power and because the belligerents have the same violence behavior and genetic attitude, it is none of Equatorian business to take side, if need be, the two tribes should finish themselves. thirdly and most important of all, Equatorian thinks that, the war mongers are fighting in their land and they are not happy that these warring factions left their places and come to make Equatoria a battle field. This third point may also tell you why most Equatorian want a federal system of government. I had promised to give only three points around which the Equatorian finds a uniting front against any other tribe in south Sudan but I must equally add on board issues of nepotisms, land grabbing and corruption that most Equatorian unanimously agreed are associated with Dinkas and Nuers.

The question that begs for answers is what does Equatorian gain in supporting Riek and opposing Kiir?

It is not easy to give straight forward and authentic answers to this question especially when the one who tries to answer the question is non-Equatorian but for the benefit of analysis and routine geo-political situation of the country, one would be tempted to assume that, he can give the right answers somehow, in my own opinion, Kiir government unlike Riek shadow cabinet has adequately taken care of the political needs of Equatorian starting with the position of the vice president, Minister of cabinet affairs, minister of finance, minister of national security, minister of Dams, water and electricity, other ministries, deputy ministers like the strong deputy minister of interior, foreign affairs and international cooperation, several heads of commissions, heads of departments among others. This arrangement has no doubt taken care of the political needs of all Equatorian and to some other regions; it has earned president Kiir animosity because they thinks Kiir has given too much to Equatorian.

Economically, by virtue of being the gate way to south Sudan interior and with the capital territory of the republic of south Sudan stationed within its premises, both the central and western Equatoria are more developed than any other part of this nascent country. The roads, healthcare facilities, schools and other social amenities are only enjoyed by the people of south Sudan when one is fortunate to reside in one of the states of the greater Equatoria.

Socially, most of the Equatorian sees the other south Sudanese as land grabbers and trouble makers who have come to disturb their peace and therefore, the subjective need to have the federal system of government such that ‘according to Equatorian vocabulary’ each person should stick to their states boundaries, something that narrowly defined the true meaning of federalism as a system of government.

It is precisely because of these analysis one would be forgiven to brand Equatorian as people who may not know what they are looking for at some point, for instant, takes Riek shadow cabinet if it were to be a reality and compare it with current Kiir’s government, which one would best represent the Equatorian, the one that give them four ministerial positions in the case of Riek cabinet or the one that gives them more than ten strong ministerial positions like in the current Kiir cabinets, that is a food for thought. However, if I was asked to give an opinion about what most Equatorian thinks in relation to the current crisis, It would be good as not wanting to know about what they thinks or what they could possibly do in the on-going conflict and therefore, Wani Tombe and group stand a better chance than those who have said nothing because you never know and would never like what they are up to.

Ways Forward:

With the on-going conflict, south Sudanese have been taken back to yesteryears when people could only identify themselves by the regions they belong to. The spirit of national unity and embracing unity in diversity has been fully thrown out of the window and the chances of our society fragmenting further are relatively hitting the maximum. It is therefore a recommendation of this author that, for south Sudan and south Sudanese to propel and achieve their vision of being a free and sovereign nation where tribes peacefully co-exist, the following areas need to be addressed very swiftly:

1. In situations of conflict, people should not be accustomed to investigating what side of the conflict the other peoples are with regard to the on-going crisis, I think Equatorian were disturbed by some provocateurs who wanted to know where their loyalty lies and that is where they made a grave mistake of declaring themselves as supporting the rebel leader Riek Machar.

2. The diversity brought about by tribes should be taken as a unique aspect to learn from one another the positive differences and unite around those areas.

3. The government and the regional politicians should warn themselves and their citizens against releasing reckless statements that are likely to incite one tribe against the others.

4. The land issues, nepotism at the institutional level both public and private should be addressed and historical injustices addressed in order to cultivate the trust that is lost among the citizens of south Sudan.

5. The paranoid attitude that there are tribes which are more violence than the other or even worse considered to be more stupid than the rest does not help the situation, we must take ourselves with respect and utmost dignity.

6.The Wani Tombe and the group are not less Equatorian and the explanation by Bangasi that they don’t represent Equatorian is inadequate, the only remedy that the Equatorian should tell these brothers and sisters of theirs is that, they should have other avenues of addressing their needs for democracy and good governance and not joining Riek bandwagon for they can easily be branded as joyriders.

7. Equatorian politicians must also be seen to be bold in stating their positions especially in situations like this where a country is engulfed with a lot of uncertainties. This has been long awaited but not forthcoming.

In Conclusion, the purpose for writing this article is to put to rest the unnecessary investigation as to whether this tribe support the rebellion and that tribe support the government because what I know is that, this is not a tribal war because if it was, so many tribes would have been defeated a long time ago, the war would not also be called a rebellion but a genocide because other tribes would be at their complete elimination stages as we talk. So, let’s us take this as a rebellion where some, Dinkas, Nuers, Equatorian, Shiluk, Anyuak, Azande, Toposa among others have taken up arms with the intention to overthrow a democratically elected government for which all of us who are still within are duty bound to defend and protect.

I end by quoting the United States President when he was speaking in the G7 seven summit yesterday in reference to the crisis between Russia and Ukraine and this is what he said and I quote "we must not narrowly defined our interests or we will be forced to look the other direction".

Juma Mabor Marial is a Lawyer based in Juba. Reachable at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Brig. General Kawac Deng Kawac, a Servant Leader from Within: An Obituary

By Aken 'PanKon' Tong

"I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot" Gary Hart.

March 25, 2014 (SSNA) -- On 12th of March 2014, the nation was shocked out of their complacency by the deplorable news of Brigadier General Kawac Deng Kawac’s assassination, a man whose contributions in the liberation struggle to secure South Sudan’s statehood expand beyond the scope of any literary approbation. A man whose existence has been a blessing for the institutions he worked for, given his unparalleled bravery and precision in many fronts. As a loyal commander with unrivalled talents, he led his men and women under him in one of the most difficult and dangerous operations with rectitude and a focused mind. It can be recalled that General Kawac never lost any of his assignments since he joined the army, and served loyally until his last breath. In the words of Minister of Defence, Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk: ‘…the late Gen. Kawac was a man whose leadership and forgiving attitude has been remarkable’. This has contributed to peace efforts the nation has been spearheading harmoniously with renegades across the country. Gen. Kuol articulated that he had the honour of working with late General and made reference to the peace effort currently underway in Pibor County. General Kawac had been the commander of Pibor County under whose peace efforts currently afoot is the brain child, something that has been echoed by General Santino Deng Wol, the commander of Division three where Gen Kawac once worked.

The governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, Gen. Paul Malong Awan on his part, eulogized a man who he once appointed county commissioner of Aweil East and managed to achieve more in diminutive period. He described him further as a military strategist and a high achiever in correlation with the wars he fought across South Sudan and the leadership potential he has portrayed at different levels.

The late General Childhood friend, Honourable Tong Akeen Ngor, a former Member of Parliament in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly spoke highly of the man whose leadership is a testament to his upbringing. According to Hon. Tong, the late was an embodiment of friendship and hard work, driven by his insistence to achieve more.  A man who has shown a great deal of respect to whomever he found irrespective of the status in life. Gen. Kawac, according to Tong, was a servant leader, a brother and above all a patriot.

The masses across Northern Bahr El Ghazal State mourned the death of General Kawac, a man they called a brotherly-leader and as someone who worked for the greater good of all in the society irrespective of their social status in life.

These positive appraisals are indicative of what a man he was, a rare gem and a gift to South Sudanese people and their country.  

But who really is General Kawac Deng Kawac?

Late Gen. Kawac was born on the 1st January 1962 In Aweil town, the current capital of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. He is a son of Aker Kuac Kuac, and Deng Kawac Aguot. His father, the late Deng Kawac Aguot, was a veteran of the Anya-Nya Movement, who, like his son, was killed in defence of the aspiration of South Sudanese people. A man who many believe was the inspiration behind Kawac’s love for his country and a declaration to service. General Kawac is a graduate of Tonj Intermediate School in 1975, and went on to finish the Sudan School Certificate of Education three years after. As the patriot he was, General Kawac started military career at age 16 in 1978 and marched all the way to Port Sudan as part of Sudan Armed Forces in its Air Defence Force Division. He served with conviction and allegiance to the country he called his. He, along with other patriotic Sudanese at the time, were sent to support the ailing regime of Hassan Habre of Chad whose government was under direct threats from rebels supported by the Libyan government in 1980. This is a clear demonstration of a relic partnership in a rebellion now being revived by current president of Chad, Idris Debby and his counterparts, Omer Al Bashir. In the fierce battle famously known as ‘Kulbos battle’ along the Sudanese-Chadian border, General Kawac became the first Sudanese officer to down Libyan’s fighter jet at an age where Sudan had never technologized its defence sector.

With the growing discomfort of the marginalised Sudanese and the repressive regime of President Mohammed Numeri, young Kawac relinquished his military career and became a taxation officer under the ministry of finance in 1981/2. Following the political dispensation of the Southern States, a dogma President Jaffar Mohammed Numeri introduced and midwifed, General Kawac was promoted under the auspices of the then Walaya Northern Bahr El Ghazal as the state’s senior inspector in the Council of Ministers’ docket in 1994. In the correlative, he got elected chairman of the Popular Committee, representing an area in Aweil called Maderia in 1994—and as a person who accentuated on something peaceful, a man whose heart mirrored adoration, he was appointed deputy Secretary General of the National Congress Party in the State few months as a chairperson of the Popular Committee.

As the old adage has it that: “never go to a fight with a lion while its offshoot is in sight”. In conformity, General Kawac risked his life and became an active member of the SPLM/A in the Sudanese government, popularly known as “SPLM/A secret cell from within” on the eve of the civil war between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the government at its inception. In this position, the members of the ‘secret cell’ did have an obligation to neutralise the policies that had painfully endorsed the killing of whomever was accused of exercising espionage as a matter of elevating the rebels’ quest for greater conquest. The cell remained the conduit through which classified information of military and other policies considered hostile to the plight of South Sudanese people were leaked to strengthen SPLM/A’s resolve to leverage their operations politically as well as militarily despite the risks involved. 

In 1997, General Kawac officially joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, SPLM/A, denouncing links to the Sudanese government. The following year, his forces got reabsorbed into the SPLM/A and became part and parcel of the Movement he served for a decade as an active member within the government, he became an alternate Commander. Following his denunciation of government of Sudan, he was deployed to Yieth-Kuel in Tonj in 1998 along with his retinue. Yieth-Kueth was a logistics base-designate of the SPLA at the time. General Kawac became a commander for logistics. As someone whose talents are revered, he chose to lead one of the intricate operations against Alok which housed an adjacent military garrison on the Wau-Aweil road; and there he finally captured the territory fair and square.  In continuance to his extraordinary service, the late General, along with his fellow operation commanders, launched a ferocious battle against Raja in Western Bahr el Ghazal in 2000 where they victoriously captured it.

As his profile continued gyrating, General Kawac joined hands with the current governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State in 2001, the abled and plucky Generals set to work to successfully defend and defeat numerous battalions sent to capture SPLA barracks outside Aweil town with limited manpower and ammunitions in the known Tit-cok Mareng war that lasted for seven hours. How they did it- no one knows to this day. General Kawac and those who knew him lost count of the victories and strides he made against the Sudan Armed Forces. In history, he has never lost any battle under his direct supervision. His undying originality and flawless validation of how dexterous, and a military strategist he was!

After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, General Kawac became the deputy Commander of Join Integrated Units, JIUs, stationed in Upper Nile State, Malakal town. He had had the honour to guide the illusive peace where Khartoum Militias under Gabriel Tangkenyang made numerous sabotages in an attempt to dislodge SPLA forces out of Malakal town. General Kawac exercised his military and leadership acumen to quell the straitened circumstances of the time and guaranteed the prevalence of peace. As his service became extremely exigent, he was called back by his community to help in the State reconstruction drive. He became the chairman of the Referendum Committee in 2011 which saw about 99.99% of Aweil people casting votes in favour of an independent South Sudan.  

In 2011, General Kawac became a commissioner of Aweil East Country, where he left behind remarkable developmental strategies among which are infrastructure, peaceful coexistence, corruption relegation and an education strategy among others. This is where the writer of this obituary had the honour of meeting him as he was pursuing research project in the county the late General was its commissioner. As great a man he was, his leadership and selfless attitude were always on display given the way he enunciated information to people under him, a culture he helped nurture based on complementarity, all-encompassing, all-embracing of different ideas from people irrespective of their influence in the society.

Being someone who loves doing great things for the nation, in 2012, he decided to voluntarily vacate his 'commissionership' position and returned to the military despite the disservice and growing corruption that has skyrocketed the national institution. He was sent to the Upper Nile State and later to Pibor to command a fractured army against the growing insurgences in the area. He however, used his leadership well by cultivating the culture of peace and patriotism among the forces whose allegiances could only be found in the context of their tribal inclination, and this has given South Sudan the last best hope to see peace returned to Pibor. A military man who used diplomacy to turn things around for the greater good of the country he endeavoured to serve at a tender age.

For such an accomplished individual to be assassinated without just cause within the capital (a place which is considered to be at relative peace) by a member of the security force, is a cause for concern. The nation has yet again lost an asset, a military strategist, a gifted leader and above all, a loyal commander. The late General is survived by his 21 children and number of wives. General Kawac, the country that you helped protect will continue to miss your unsurpassed aptitudes and patriotism. May your soul rest in perfect peace.

Aken 'PanKon' Tong is an activist, humanitarian worker and a Student studying in Johannesburg, South Africa. He can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Mr. Salva Kiir: The Time To Move On Is Now!

By Luk Kuth Dak

March 23, 2014 (SSNA) -- The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once pointed out that “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power in its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at it best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

A few weeks ago, an American rocker, Ted Nugent called the most powerful man in the world, President Barack Obama “a subhuman mongrel,” among other insults that I can’t repeat here. But if you do not already know the meaning of the term as I was, I ask you to check your dictionary for answers.

Today, Mr. Nugent not only is he still a free man, but he has then become the darling of the so-called conservative news media, such as Fox, for speaking up his mind. From one TV channel to another, he continues to throw his racially motivated insults not only at the President, but the entire black race. Yet despite the bigoted nature of the insults, President Obama did not order the black people of America to retaliate against the white people. When asked by a reporter about his take on the derogatory remarks, he was quick to say that “I respect Mr. Nugent’s constitutional rights of the freedom of speech.”

Case closed!

In the republic of South Sudan, however, just pointing a finger at the tyrant, Mr. Salve Kiir Mayardit, the disgraced President of the republic and Chairman of the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement ( SPLM) will not only land you behind bars, but it could very well cost you the most precious possession... your life. It is in this young nation that disagreeing with the President is considered treason. And, as I write this column, four of the most loyalists SPLM members are facing the ultimate punishment for simply expressing their frustration on the way in which the country is run.  

Truth be known, I was a strong and longtime supporter of SPLM. I have very many articles to prove it. Mr. Kiir broke me of that, much in the same way his pal, Sudan’s tyrant Mr. Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Basher broke me of Islam.

As predicted in this space a few weeks ago, Mr. Kiir continues to turn the nation into a morgue, while establishing a fascist form of government. The perpetual pain that he created will be remembered as the most trying time any people could ever endure. Today, virtually the nation is divided on tribal lines. For instance, if you are not from the ruling tribe, you need to run for your dear life as fast as you can to the nearest U.N. compound and stay there as long as they allow you to stay. The sad truth is: there is simply no hope that the regime will change its focus and start reaching out to others.

As journalists, we catch fire so frequently for what we voice, but never did I ever thought I would be accused of tribalism for criticizing the regime of tyrant, Salva Kiir. Some Dinka intellects believe that attacking Kiir’s performance is an attack on the Dinka as a whole. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our disagreement with Kiir is based solely on principles… not personal. If he were a Nuer, I will do the exact same thing.

In any nation, the fundamental goal of the government is to unite and protect its citizens, make their livelihood better, and pull them out of poverty. This regime has done the exact opposite. But if the leader of our nation must be a Dinka, I personally believe that the Dinka nation is not in short supply of a gentler, educated, and a warm-hearted leader, who can change our destiny, put the country first, and place the people at the core.

U.S Senator John McCain (R- Arizona) once said: “When I look at the eyes of Mr. Putin (the Russian tyrant) I see KGB.” Subsequently, as I closely monitor the events unfolding in the republic of South Sudan, when I look at the eyes of the strongman, Mr. Salva Kiir, I see blood.

I hope with all my heart that there will come a time when we could all come to terms with the notion that it’s quite alright to agree to disagree, but without being disagreeable.

Luk Kuth Dak is a former broadcasting journalist and a reporter for Radio Juba. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or on Twitter @luk Dak.

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