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Would Kiir be another Mugabe of South Sudan?

By Pel K. Chol, Australia

July 27, 2013 (SSNA) -- This is a question South Sudanese must prepare to answer because what has been unfolding in Juba and beyond over the last few years is a gradual shift toward an autocratic rule by the President where such leaders like Moa Zedong of China, Hitler of Germany and Stalin of former USSR decide how their people should go about their daily businesses. They did not only select their representatives in local, state and federal governments but also even choose for them where they should build their own houses.

There is no shortage of those policies in Kiir’s tyranny regime nowadays if one compares the current political climax of South Sudan with the experiences previously shared by the German, Chinese and the Russians when those leaders were in power.

I am not condoning the political strategies of those leaders, however, one may surmise that they have something to stand for. Hitler’s motive, for instance, was for all Germans under his rule excluding the blonde and the blues eyes leading to the extermination of those he thought did not conform to the German race. 

However, Kiir’s vision for our beloved country is yet to be seen. One should only hope that he does not envision Hitler’s style which dubbed him the butcher of Europe and one of the worst leaders the world has ever seen alongside Pol Pot of Cambodia.  But the South Sudanese would have every reason to get concern about.

Since elected as president of the Republic of South Sudan with the controversial Constitution drafted by his viziers, two-third of the Minsters he appointed in the national parliament in Juba were Dinka. Moreover, he appointed more than 70% of diplomats from his own tribe to represent South Sudan internationally as ambassadors.

Another problem is the rampant corruption in the country where millions of dollars go missing every day. One of his response on the 4 billion dollar saga was pleading to his disgrace officials saying ‘no one is going to know about it if you bring back half of the money you took’. This is in breach of the very constitution which does not harbor criminals.

Dr. Riek and many other high ranking politicians within the SPLA party see these policies as robotic style of leadership and a way backward. Right now everyone believes that there are more important issues a good leader should worry about.

Health services are very poor in the country with life expectancy so short that the majority of people die before their 50th birthdays. The communal strife such as the situation in Jonglei is out of control where you get innocent children as young as one being killed or abducted are things to cause sleepless nights from a great leader. But what seems to stimulate concern from the President is the question about his inability to deal with such problems. He gave a deaf hear on the situation of Jonglei and did not put more resources to tackle it.

When he knew that the Unity state governor, Taban Deng Gai, and Lake State governor, Chol Tong do not support him to stand for the next election as the leader of SPLA because his inner circle knew him too well that things are not going to get any better with him being in the top job, he acted instantly removing them from governorship in the pretext of security issues.

One would ask the president if he is quite adamant about this because the governor of Jonglei state would have been the first inline to face his monster force if security issues were the main reason behind Taban and Chol Tong removal.

If that is not the case as it is not, then is the President an elephant in the room intimidating everyone who dare to question his shallow policies? What about the right of millions of people of the Lake and Unity states who happily voted their governors but only to be denied their universal right yet again by Kiir who terminated the term for those governors. Is Kiir’s aim mainly for his political survival and nothing to do with the concern of the people in those states?

I think people who have been cheering him up all along about his ill-equip policies especially some governors as seen in Gurtong if that is true do not know the very fact that they fought against the north for. In addition, it is fair to make an assessment on them that they either do not know the principles of an ideal democracy or have just give in realizing that Kiir’s brutal policies have no mercy on whoever stands on his way whether that individual is right or wrong.

But is it a viable proposition for people to abandon their universal rights for the sake of South Sudanese Pounds. Is it now true that their lives are in the hands of Kiir or is Kiir the solution to decide for them? Before Taban, Chol Tong was removed. I believe Chol Tong and his family are not in destitute situation. The same is true to Taban and other ministers in the national government who have recently been sacked or removed from their posts. They will still survive and live comfortably well beyond Kiir’s expectation.

Remember that when we were in refugee camps or in the bush seeking our independence, we did not have anything to depend on. Yet we survived beyond the expectation of Khartoum government because we fought for our right, freedom and truth. This is a fact we should take notice of and not allow Kiir to abuse our right, our freedom and the truth we fought for.

These people who have been sacked or removed from their positions including Dr. Riek deserve our support. Should we decide to mingle with this president who does not know anything about democracy and the rule of law as well as people’s choice, then South Sudanese people would be like the people of Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and other despot regimes of the Middle East who knew it all too well that voting does not necessarily mean respecting each individual’s wish about who they want to represent them.

We saw that in Unity and Lake States. We do not need more of that and the best way to stop it is to stay behind those who stand for democracy and the wish of people.  Kiir would be another Mugabe of South Sudan if people care much about food and less about their political rights. But Zimbabwe is in a much better shape incomparable with South Sudan which needs a visionary leader to help it develop regardless of what tribe he/she might be from.

It is not a time to give in when we have people within the SPLA who want change for the better. Otherwise the death of so many such as that of Isaiah Abraham would be in vain. My personal advice to Dr. Riek and his team is not to form another party. Let them challenge Kiir within the SPLA party. I hope peace loving people including young generation who have enough experience about the dangers of dictatorship from other countries will stick with Dr. Riek. He is the chance for young generation of this great nation for it to prosper.

The Author lives in Australia. He is a post graduate student studying in the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism.

South Sudan: A deeply polarized country!

By: Deng Riek Khoryoam, South Sudan

July 27, 2013 (SSNA) -- The world youngest country on earth is currently going through a lot of turbulent times that will prove whether or not it’s (the country) going forward or slipping backward. The recent political developments in the country are something to worry about, particularly for the concerned citizens like this little author. If the latest political developments are anything to go by, it’s that they are threatening the very ideals at the centre of our founding: “Justice, Liberty and Prosperity” and the gains made during the last two years of independence. Suffice it to say that they have the potential to tear our country apart and cause us tremendous human suffering if care is taken diligently by the highest echelon of power!

I contend that South Sudan is one of the most polarized countries in African continent. I am being very careful here on the choice of words on this; for to assert that ‘South Sudan’ is the most polarized country in Africa would be overstatement, and to say the opposite would still be considered an understatement. But the truth of the matter is, our country is deeply polarized and divided along ethnic lines. Everybody owes his/her allegiance to his or her tribe and community, not to the country. Anybody who denies this as untrue is either living in Mars or something is absolutely wrong with his/her medulla oblongata!

But I must also confess that this polarization is not only confined to South Sudan alone. Other African countries are not any exception, although a few have grown to maturity past this, and have thus passed the ethnicity-diversity test. In most African countries, the incumbent president, despite being the president of the whole country, is identified with his/her tribe and largely guided by the tribesmen/women in whatever decision he makes or intend to take. He has to give in to the demands of his tribe or else risks rejection and isolation, including working with the opposite side to topple his government, in the extreme case scenario.

In my beloved country South Sudan, it’s ugly and a different thing, partly owing to several factors. We’ve just emerged from more than two decades of civil war, which somewhat destroyed our social and cultural fabric and cost us a tremendous loss of innocent’s lives. As a result, we still harbour a culture of violence and hostility towards one another as South Sudanese. It’s also the main reason why there are still pockets of inter-communal conflicts here and there – which is largely due to these long years of fighting in the bush. The youth who are supposed to be the change agents and tomorrow’s leaders are indulging in activities (violence, stealing, preaching tribalism etc.) which are wanting in nature and which could spell doom on their future, if they didn’t change. The current leaders are going and the younger generation will come in and replace them. But are we going to exemplify their bad deeds and evil actions??

Why should we always see everything through tribal lens instead of national glasses? Where will tribalism take us and this country? Isn’t it better that we become South Sudanese instead of aligning ourselves with tribes? What is wrong with us being South Sudanese as opposed to just a collection of tribes? I think there is a dire need for us to change our mind-sets and embrace one another as South Sudanese. We also need to take off our tribal lenses and put on national ones for us to achieve national reconciliation and unity of purpose. And that brings me to the issue of national reconciliation process currently under way in the country. I think the recent political developments are antithetical to achieving real and authentic national reconciliation dialogue. It goes against the spirit of this important process, which is supposed to reconcile our past misdeeds with the present, with the aim of charting the best way forward as we try to forget and forgive our past with all its mishaps!

The president, by openly violating the constitution, has given rise to suspicions that he is not serious in his promises to follow the constitution to the letter and spirit. The removal of elected public officials is an absolute contempt of the constitution and the rubber stamp, good-for-nothing so called ‘parliament’. It’s also the beginning an era unprecedented in South Sudan’s history.

We are poised to see worse things than what we have already seen. The removal of Chol Tong Mayai, Taban Deng Gai and the suspension of the SPLM SG Pagan Amum are a case in point. Needless to say that this contributes to further polarization in an obscure manner!! You don’t remove someone immediately you hear or suspect that he disagrees with you on national issues – it’s tantamount to dictatorship and totalitarianism – to say the least.

In conclusion, I think there is an urgent need for all South Sudanese people to do some sort of soul-searching and to go back to the drawing board. The drawing board would be where we came from; how far we’d travelled and how far we still need to go in order to realize our life-long aspirations. Otherwise, the gains we’ve made in the last years of our independence will go to the dustbin of history and only God knows our fate as a people. If war is the only thing we resort to when confronted with challenges that could be handled diplomatically and politically, then I don’t really know what future awaits South Sudan as a country.

We have been to war and we know its bitterness and how much suffering it causes to the innocent children and women who have got absolutely nothing to do with it.  After all, empirical study has revealed that “ethnically polarized countries have to endure longer period of civil wars than those ethnically less polarized”.

Have you agreed to be a South Sudanese or tribalist? Have you agreed to owe your allegiance to the republic of South Sudan?

The author is a concerned South Sudanese citizen living in South Sudan. He could be reached for comments at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Kiir readjusts himself for more blunders

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

July 26, 2013 (SSNA) -- There is no point in wasting the readers’ time discussing the root causes of the current political hullabaloo in Juba, for the fact that all saw it coming, thanks to the IT plus the unique boldness enjoyed by people of South Sudan whenever they ascertain their political positions during tough times.

This time around President Salva Kiir chose to dismiss his entire cabinet, including his long serving vice president Dr., Riek Machar Teny. The consequences of having such a political vacuum in a struggling country like south Sudan could be anything from an all-out chaos to all kinds of uncertainties.

If anyone finds it too weird to dismiss an entire cabinet and opts to run a country as unstable as South Sudan, solo, and in the midst of a total political vacuum, then that person obviously is not General Salva Kiir Mayardit. Maybe it’s time that those who facilitated his ascension to this high office should start reevaluating their judgments now.

The SPLM political bureau has so much experimented on the people of South Sudan, so much so that the country has attracted all kinds of criticism, even from its own rank and file. But should any of the current nonconventional ‘Mayarditisation’ of the country become a source for embarrassments, the SPLM’s apologists will only have themselves to blame.

Although Friends and enemies alike have wondered why things don’t seem to work well in a land supposed to be “a heaven on earth” in terms of resources, the people of South Sudan seem to know where it all went wrong.  The average citizen is well versed on the real problems facing the country. Unfortunately there isn’t even a single one in Kiir’s conscience when he bulldozed his entire cabinet down.

South Sudan has suffered so much over the years and its time that a spade is called a spade. Corruption and tribalism are two main problems that have for sure contributed in crippling this new country.  Maybe a reshuffle in the government can offer a way out, if it is likely to deal away with these two vices.

But is the current reshuffle in anyway aimed at taking away the corrupt and tribalistic politicians and replacing them with trustworthy and not tribalistic ones?

Those who know the incumbent president also know that no way under Salva Kiir’s leadership can any of the above be achieved. And by all standards the incumbent president is himself a corrupted tribalistic politician. If you know who the country’s Chief Justice is or from where the Manager of the Central Bank of South Sudan hails, you will undoubtedly understand what type of a person our president is.

Salva Kiir’s latest mega scale ministerial purging exercise would have gone well had he [Kiir] ordered it in the wake of the $4b dollars theft. His amateuristic dealings with the case in which he sent letters to 75 prominent  members of his ruling party requesting them to return the stolen money, should have in fact been accompanied by this scale of reaction.

Only now has Kiir shown his true colours to the people of South Sudan and the world at large. What we saw and heard on the eve of the recent political shake up was indeed a Kiir that is never intimidated by anyone. This goes to explain why he was too soft on the 75 officials. It also confirms that anytime should he have the political will to bring the 75 to book, he can do it without the least obstacle. But why use the same powers now and not before? Wait…….was there a conflict of interest? Or was he using the letters to blackmail the 75 into paying allegiance to him?

Back to the core issues of corruption, nepotism, cronyism and tribalism, it will be a total naivety to assume that the president has in any time worked to fight any of them. Dismissal of Dr.  Riek Machar and Cdr.  Pa’gan Amum will without the least doubt help the SPLM as a party to go down faster than we first anticipated, however until the whole monster comes crumbling down, it will continue to corrupt.

As for the wait for a new government, this may take a whole while, yet in the end Kiir will never come with a cabinet that can reflect anything different to what was dissolved. It is bound to share resemblance to all his former cabinets, albeit to be dominated by yes men.

And a new cabinet may win the battle for Kiir, but the war is still far from been won. Corruption will remain, possibly multiply. As for tribalism and nepotism, both are likely to become the rule and not the exception.

Dismissing Riek, Pa’gan, Kosti, and Deng Alor or the whole government as he did will only become fruitful in an event of a new president to preside over a government of technocrats. For none of this mega dismissals are in any going to stop the president’s relatives from breaking into the State House for some dollars to finance their newly acquired habits.

While President Kiir readjusts himself for more blunders, he has however succeeded for the time being to publicly humble his former colleagues, by his retaliatory presidential decrees.

Constitutional articles were quoted from all over the place to justify his moves and intentions.  In the hurry even the very important ministry of Health was missed out in the initial declaration to be remembered only 24 hours later, but at the end he got his job done. Now where is the vision or the mission?

Is it that Kiir was quick to have his rivals for breakfast, before they had him for dinner? But that  in short was purely a  battle for survival. And that is what it was and not a political vision for South Sudan.

Justin Ambago Ramba is the Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party [USSP] party. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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