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Nations are not Built by Whiners

By Kuir ë Garang

November 23, 2014 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese still have, by and large, a very long way to go when it comes to development of a unifying, enduring sense of nationhood or statehood. As things stand now, we are merely a collection of tribal nationalities with conflicting interests.  In the past, our only unifying factors were our common struggle against the oppression from Khartoum and the fact that we were enclosed by the same geopolitical boundary set by the colonial dividers of Africa in 18th and 19th centuries.

The gravest onus is now on us to create a sense of ‘South Sudan-ness’; an identity that’d make an Acholi of South Sudan identify more with Zande of South Sudan rather than with Acholi in Uganda. This is by no means an easy task; however, it’s a task we’ve neglected in vain search for tribal voice and hegemony. We’ve become a nation of whiners, who offer nothing by way of alternative solutions.

Whining, polemics and acrimonious writs have become our source of solace. We keyboard divisive pomposity and verbosity that make us feel good about ourselves but at the end of the day contribute towards the divisiveness the same writing was supposed to combat. With no doubt, this has become an oxymoron that typifies what it means to be a South Sudanese; an that’s a sense of self we wouldn’t want to be our defining identity.

Everyone in South Sudan has become a whiner!

The President of the country and his officials have become nothing but a bunch of whiners, who believe everything that’s wrong with South Sudan isn’t their incompetence but a work of some evil man called Riek Machar. The officials whine about international community favoring rebels, about UNMISS siding with Riek’s forces, about journalists siding with rebels, about IGAD’s impartiality, about the venue of the ‘Peace Talks’ and about everything!

Respectable leaders don’t just whine incessantly. They only point out all the obstacles and problems they face and then rush to suggest workable solutions and alternatives. If these whiners say anything as an alternative, it’s always something that benefits them. South Sudanese citizens only feature as pawns in the leaders’ quest for power and wealth.

The rebels, who present themselves as a clean alternative to the government, are nothing but another bunch of the same: opportunistic whiners. They whine about President Kiir remaining president, about IGAD’s partiality, about government atrocities while forgetting their own atrocities, about Nuer marginalization when Nuer still stand next to Kiir and fight against fellow Nuer who are part of government’s forces, about dictatorship when they were part of the same system they just left…etc.

If the rebels think they are a formidable alternative to the government then why is it that we only hear the problem stalling the talks being the issue of power-sharing? Why is it the question of who’s to have what powers that’s the problem? Why’s anything in the interest of the citizens taking back stage?

We’ve seen so far what the rebels are! They’ve whined their way from complaints about internal reforms within SPLM to their claim on South Sudanese echelons of power. For the rebels to be seen as credible voice fighting on behalf of South Sudanese citizens, it has to be clear at the talks that they represent the people.

And South Sudanese tribes have mastered the art of whining. The Jieeng whine about Nuer being prone to violent rebellion and Riek Machar being the ultimate killer while forgetting the atrocities committed by a government controlled largely by Jieeng men. Jieeng’s self-righteousness has a lot to do with everything that’s wrong in South Sudan.

Nuer too complain about being marginalized by the Jieeng while Nuer officials still hold senior positions in both the government and the rebellion. The third most powerful man in South Sudan, Magok Rundial, the current speaker of the national assembly, is a Nuer. While hundreds of Nuer civilians were brutally massacred in cold-blood by government’s forces in Juba in December, it’s always prudent to remember that Nuer forces, let by the notorious White Army, have also committed atrocities. There’s respect in accepting one’s wrongs before labelling accusations on others.

One of the arguments always floated around by Nuer is that the Nuer in Kiir’s administration are mere puppets and don’t have a voice. Well, it’s not the fault of the president if they allow themselves to be used like puppets. Where are these people’s morals?

And to top it all, ‘Equatorians’, as a sociopolitical collegiality for all the tribes in the three southern states of the country, whine of having been marginalized by the Jieeng and the Nuer despite the fact that the second most powerful man in the country is from Equatoria. The cabinet affairs minister, Dr. Elias Lomoro, is the forth in government hierarchy after the Vice President, the President and the Speaker of the national assembly.

And now many Equatorians, even the Vice President himself, believe that the question of the VP position in the transitional period is an attempt to marginalize Equatorians. And the VP argues that it’s not about his job while he’s repeatedly warned that he’s not going to resign this time around for the sake of Riek Machar. Using Equatorians to safeguard a job is base!

I don’t want to sound naïve. I understand that there are junior Jieeng officials in Kiir’s administration, who are more powerful than some senior government officials from other tribes. However, we have to remember that the problem lies with the officers, who allow themselves to be subordinated by subordinates. Why see oneself as a subaltern in an administration in which you’re not? Why can’t these officers confront the president? Why can’t they speak on behalf of South Sudanese and straighten things out? Why are these officers afraid of the president even when what they would say would benefit the country?

There’s a clear difference between whining and criticizing the government. Whiners are fond of badmouthing without offering any workable alternatives. Criticisms are excellent mirrors to conscientious leadership, however, to merely whine without offering alternatives and to show the government that the current path is wrong, is a waste of time.

Many non-Jieeng officials subordinate themselves. They see Jieeng officers make bad decisions and applaud them only to claim self-righteousness when they are out of the government. It’s with no doubt that there are many well-meaning leaders from Equatoria and among the Nuer in the current government, who can stand up to President Kiir (behind closed doors) and advise him in good faith to help rescue the country. However, they are too timid and only think about their positions rather than their constituents and the nation.

We keep on blaming the Jieeng and the President but how about this: Why can’t all the Equatorians and Nuer officials working in the government threaten the President with resignation if he doesn’t change the country for better? The government would collapse in an instant if they resign on masse. However, they will never do that because they, like all South Sudanese politicians, care more about their jobs rather than the interest of the nation and South Sudanese citizens. (Watch the video commentary here)

So stop whining and see into it that what would change this nation isn’t vacuous whining and foul-mouthing but procurement of workable alternatives!

Kuir ë Garang is the author of “South Sudan Ideologically.” For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info

Diplomats crossing to Opposition: What does it signifies to the World?

By Peter Gai Manyuon

November 23, 2014 (SSNA) -- In a diplomatic principle, Diplomats are understood to work in a profession that requires specific skills and capacities that not everybody has. Thus, their profession is widely accepted as an exclusive job with loads of privileges to assist its main duty to pursue national interests abroad. In a good sense, a diplomat is defined as “an official whose job is to represent their government in a foreign country.” In a cynical sense, a diplomat is often described as “an honest man” sent abroad to lie on behalf of his country.

According to the “principal-agent” theory of diplomacy, a diplomat is the agent who is assigned with certain tasks delegated by the principal. The principal refers to the state or those who rule the state and thus own the right to set the national agenda.

However, after the crisis emerged in Juba on the 15th of December 2013, some of the Diplomats that were representing the Interest of the Republic of South Sudan crossed to the Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/IO) under the Leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny and some of them have been replaced already and other are not yet replaced.

Surely, the crossing of the diplomats to opposition is a very big concern to the government because; some of the diplomatic relations that might not work well in this scenario will be regarded as result in the abandoning of the positions within government officials who were send abroad for special mission and they have failed to accomplish the tasks.

Moreover, some diplomats cross to the opposition in late hour due to looking for positions since the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have proposed to the two warring parties of the conflict to form the Government of National Unity that will accommodate all the parties involved in South Sudan.

The crossing of former South Sudan ambassador to Geneva, Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus and Henry Dicah Odwar, a former MP that have defected to SPLM/SPLA in opposition, as well provoked the diplomatic relations. What does it mean at this stage? And as well the defection of the deputy head of Mission of South Sudan to Ethiopia David Dang Kong that I crossed on the Media on Friday, what does it signifies at this movement to the people of South Sudan?

Well, for those who crossed to the opposition early in January 2014, they might have their own vision and mission that they want to accomplish in one way or the other but the question is, what of the one that are crossing now? Is it because they have smelled something coming out or what is interests behind? What information will they say to the opposition that will bring down the government when the current crisis and situation is almost to come to an end by God grace?

The Author is Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan. He can be contact on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or www.independentjournalistpgm.wordpress.com. He is currently doing his Research for the award of his second Master Degree in Public Relations and Media Management on the Influence of Propaganda on Diplomatic Missions of South Sudan.

Dr Riek Gai Kok’s dangerous political ambition

By James Gai Tot Deng

November 21, 2014 (SSNA) -- This is a piece of an opinion authored to bring to light how dangerous in the political arena is Dr Riek Gai Kok. For those of you who do not know him,,Riek Gai is the current Minister of Health in the cabinet of Salva Kiir( aka Kuethpiny Atem) and had served in many political posts when he was a diehard NCP cadre. The guy began as a Captain in the SPLA in-charge of medical supplies in Kapoeta soon after finishing his military training from the SPLA school of Political Ideologies and war strategies at Bonga in Ethiopia.

When the movement split into Nasir and Torit factions respectively, he joined the Nasir faction and rose rapidly to the rank of commander and was appointed to the NLC membership, the second highest decision making body after INEC in the Akobo Convention in 1994 .Those accelerated promotions were predicated on educational qualifications and most importantly against Justice John Luk who had a shaky working relationships with Dr Riek Machar. Riek Gai was reported to have had a hand in the arrest of John Luk in 1993-94.

He was among those who persuaded Dr Riek Machar, not with the best of intentions, to sign the political charter in 1997 with Khartoum Government which culminated in the conclusion of Khartoum peace agreement. Subsequent to that, he was appointed as a governor of Jonglei State and served two terms. When the Khartoum peace agreement was ratified by a Republican decree no 14, Dr Riek Machar formed UDSF, which became the political wing of SSDF as the South Sudan Defense Forces later became known. Behind the scene, Riek Gai, who is none the wiser, and given his natural lust for power, defected to the NCP and was appointed Deputy Secretary General.

Through wits and witches, he rose to become Deputy NCP Chairman and in-charge of Southern Sector. Riek Gai who is known for being a self-seeking politician with a sense of ego-centrism, fell out with many NCP leaders in the persons of Dr Nafie Ali Nafie and Ustaz Ali Osman as well as all the Southern politicians in the North. He was hated to death and he was spared only by Omer Al Bashir who, out of humane sympathy, made him to stay in the political hierarchy of NCP. He vehemently contributed in the falling out of Turabi and Omer Al Bashir. It is worth mentioning that he was siding with Turabi in the first place, but because of his betrayals and cowardice, he changed side to Omer Al Bashir and was the first to congratulate Omer Al Bashir when Turabi and his aides were thrown into Kober prison. He was crowned as one of the golden boys in the NCP epicenter to the extent that he was married off an Arab lady who later separated from him because of his being polygamous and inconsistency.

Riek Gai on several occasions used to utter political rhetorics that he would never coalesce with the Dinka under any circumstances and the author is today baffled to see the guy licking the boots of Salva and at one time seen addressing the Dinka in Rumbek in a broken Dinka language during the inauguration of Mayardit Women's hospital, a signal of allegiance to Salva and the Dinka.

With the signing of the CPA leading up to the Independence, he was brought to Juba by Dr Majak Agot, then the Deputy Director General of NISS in Khartoum to reconcile him with the SPLM leadership and most importantly Salva Kiir. Later on he stabbed in the back the same Majak who accommodated him in a very expensive Juba Regency Hotel behind John Garang International School where he is still residing up to now.

Being very good at manipulating people and a consummate liar by nature,he managed to infiltrate the Presidential camp using small boys around the President. The author has been informed that he was one of those who advised Salva Kiir to sack Riek Machar on false testimony that he has no popularity in the Nuer territory. It later turned out that the President was tempted by these power hungry and self-fish Nuer politicians and now regretting.  Riek Gai and company are responsible for the lives and properties lost because they misled the President through blackmailing and dishonest manipulations. I pray that the souls of the innocent Nuer massacred by the Dinka Gelweng on orders of Salva, do not forgive them to enjoy the flavours of life.

He is on record on several occasions that the Dinka are killed by the Nuer forgetting the fact that the killing of the Dinka where it happened was a reaction by the Nuer who had to avenge for the death of their beloved ones. Informed sources said that he was behind the sacking of Gen James Hoth and Maj.Gen Mac Paul respectively and that he is now advising the President to unify the two security bureaus and appoint only one Director-general who would definitely be the current DG of Internal Security Bureau.This is also a ploy by the same Riek Gai to sideline Maj.Gen Duoth Guet. The other intention of Riek Gai is to make sure that the Lou Nuer land is invaded by the Dinka militias. He was heard one time saying that there would be no peace in this country if the government does not occupy the Lou territory. He mistakenly thought he would win the trust and confidence of Salva when the Lou Nuer land is occupied by the Kiir’s militias. When Salva reached an agreement with Riek Machar on the power sharing matrix, he said it was a betrayal by Kiir for accepting to agree with Riek Machar.His calculation was that if Riek Machar comes back to Juba,he would not find a place in the government.There are rumours that the frequent stalling of the peace talks are his making.

How can Riek Gai, who has failed to manage even his own house, boasts that he is a responsible person who can rule others? He is nowadays confusing the public by whitewashing buildings in the JTH that he is vigorously working. The Public health Lab was built in 1974 and I wondered how the President could accept to be misled by officially opening it with a wide media coverage amid ululations by poor Equatorian nurses and hospital workers. Who would buy such lies from Riek Gai and the like minded?

It is now a public knowledge that Riek Gai is not on speaking terms with the caretaker Governor just because he wants to manipulate Dr Joseph Monytuil on how to run the State, something which has never been heard of. Their area of differences was because Monytuil refused to appoint some disgruntled and naive Unity State boys who are close to Riek Gai feeding him with lies and gossiping. The man is famous for favoring people with little educational backgrounds and who specialized in manufacturing lies and who are indeed sycophants and nincompoops. He has built a personality cult around himself consisting of a coterie of uneducated and semi-literate chaps and idiotic security informers. Riek Gai has no permanent friend because he is unprincipled especially when it is something to do with politics. The President must be careful of this tricky politician otherwise he will find himself in hell. Who would fail to believe that Riek Gai did not win the 2010 general election? He made it to the National Assembly through tricks and maneuvers by the Gadiang group which was headed by Kuol Manyang with the membership of Atem Garang, Malual Mabur, Philip Thon, Professor Lual Achuek Deng, Majak Agot and himself.He is not getting along with any of those mentioned who were in fact his saviors now because it a common knowledge that when the guy is having power, he becomes unfriendly.

His godfather Tellar Ring Takpiny Deng who was a conduit between him and the President has now been posted to Russia on an Ambassadorial job.The author wonders what is his plan B regarding how frequent he would be seeing the President?

When he was appointed to the Ministry of Health, there was a great hope things would go right but to the contrary what he is now doing does not live up to the expectations of the people. A case in point, that is, the appointment of the medical council which is consisting of Dinka and submissive Equatorians and denial of the rights (arrears) of the Hospital staff which led to the strike. It was nothing but an attempt to prove himself more capable than other ministers and for him to shine in the public eye especially to those who do not know him well because the guy is very good at worshipping masters.

The writer is a political commentator .He can be reached This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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