South Sudan News Agency

Wednesday, Jul 23rd, 2014

Last update09:28:25 PM GMT

You are here: Opinion

Saving South Sudan from Further Implosion and Disintegration

By Tongun Lo Loyuong

June 22, 2014 (SSNA) -- The devastating violent implosion that befell South Sudan at the turn of the year is no longer defensible and nor do claims to remain in power. The alleged coup that precipitated the violent social disintegration has since been found to be null and void by the overwhelming majority, including by regional powers that were previously “concerned” by the matter and committed armies to come to the “rescue.”

But this was always a coup against the people of South Sudan, fabricated by a minority rogue elements in the political leadership to rid political opponents, protect the illicitly acquired assets and consolidate grip on unjust political and economic power by all means. Unsurprisingly, it is this lonesome rogue minority clique that continues to believe in its own lies and that is now left joggling its manufactured coup narrative to explain the violence away, while posturing on claims of “legitimacy” as a pretext to continue clinging to power come rain or shine.

Both president, Salva Kiir and his deputy, James Wani Igga among others, continue to defy logic and common sense. Igga has been shuttling the region and lamenting the possibility of an interim government without president Salva. “There will be no interim government in South Sudan without the legitimate president, Kiir,” he is paraphrased as saying while begging for support from the “Good Samaritan” to the effect. Meanwhile Kiir attempts to fallaciously reason with the public that “if there was no coup how can the eruption of the violence mid-December last year be explained?!” There many explanations to the violent eruption. But coup attempt in the conventional sense is not one.

Kiir has since issued an ultimatum in this vein likewise that there will be no interim government without him, much to the delight of a choir of South Sudan lawmakers who chanted elementary school songs of “we shall never surrender.” But who can blame the “parliamentarians” for assuming such a schoolboy mentality when their memory is still vivid with the threat of being made “to roam the streets” should their disobedience prove noteworthy!

Away from the mental processes of Kiir and coterie and their cognitive ability to see that which even a real schoolboy sees, South Sudan is bleeding as a result of their intended or unintended actions and poor choices. With it all claims to legitimacy to cling to power have equally evaporated. What remains should be the undertaking of justice and accountability rather than the reward of presiding over an interim government to restore sanity in South Sudan.

The unspeakable atrocities and wanton human rights abuses that have been committed against innocent South Sudanese largely across ethnic lines and the tens of thousands of lives lost in this war of power and greed demand justice and accountability let alone staking legitimacy claims to continue ruling South Sudan. Add to this the nearly 1.5 million displaced people whose livelihoods have been ended, properties destroyed and villages razed by this meaningless civil war.

Famine is poised to further claim more lives of perhaps another generation of the vulnerable South Sudanese—mainly women and children—a situation that seems too late to reverse. The emergency response efforts pursued by members of the humanitarian community though laudable are, at best, damage limitation mode to redress their own complicity or complacency in failing to read the signs and prevent the violent conflict. The coup narrative has crumbled under its weight and is advisable to be let go. The claims to legitimacy equally ring hallow in the face of the grim ramifications of this senseless civil war and the innocent killing rampage.

As the peace talks enter negotiations on security and interim government arrangements in South Sudan, the regional and international stakeholders officiating the peace process can enhance the process of saving South Sudan from further implosion and violent social disintegration by primarily factoring in the tragic realities of the civilian massacres and the circumstances around which this war broke out in South Sudan. This should serve as the premise of any attempt to find lasting solution to the crisis.

The strategic objectives of the current phase of the peace process should therefore, aim to facilitate the so-called “new political dispensation.” At the center of this new political outlook should be the establishment of a neutral governing body to oversee the beginning of the groundwork for building viable federal democratic state institutions that can assist South Sudan to begin to take the first steps towards nation building.

The administration of transitional justice and national healing, peace and reconciliation, which is integral to any way forward in South Sudan, requires such a neutral governing body. The composition of this government must be without those who are yet to clear their names whether related to the atrocities committed in the current violent mayhem or pertaining to corruption allegations. To his credit, Dr. Riek Machar seems comprehending of an interim arrangement without him.

It does not take Wisdom of Solomon to determine the instigators of the current violence and hence their subject to investigation for their potential culpability in these crimes before international justice is paramount. The same culprits are the ones using various claims to derail and spoil the peace process from urgently concluding the crisis and restoring peace and order in South Sudan. They can be part of the process to determine the modalities to end the violence and negotiate their exit strategy.

But they cannot play any role in the interim arrangements to save South Sudan from further implosion and social disintegration and restore peace and stability, which is integral not only to South Sudan but also to the increasingly fragile regional and international peace and security. Religious and ideological extremism is on the rise and South Sudan must not be allowed to become a safe haven for these groups, which in the presence of the current security breakdown might potentially be the case.

In this context, and while the Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the regional body mediating the peace process must be commended for trying to facilitate a peace process that seeks to be inclusive in order to find lasting peaceful solution in South Sudan compared to previous ones, the mediators must, nonetheless, exercise caution and due diligence in the stakeholder selection process, particularly when it comes to civil society representation. Getting it right at the second time of asking will go a long way in determining the fate of sustainable peace in South Sudan, which will ultimately contribute to the fate of regional and international peace and security.

There are simply too many wolves in sheep skin hovering around the negotiation table at the moment, including those who at one stage or another were part and parcel of the current establishment or were its custodians but who are now disguised as members of the civil society. The civil society pretenders must therefore, be thoroughly vetted before their inclusion in the roundtable.

Not every Bari man or woman represents the interest of the whole Bari community in South Sudan. The same holds for a Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk or any other member of the various ethnic groups and tribal cleavages of South Sudan. In fact the experience from the current mess in South Sudan suggests that individualism and looking after one’s self-interest rather than serving the nation drives public service in South Sudan.

It would appear that there are genuine efforts to find lasting solution to the current crisis in South Sudan. With a little bit more rigor, perhaps current crisis may yet prove to be a blessing in disguise for South Sudan. Will we have a reason to celebrate come our third independence anniversary in a little more than two Weeks?

Tongun Lo Loyuong is a PhD student in the U.K. beginning from September, 2014. His research interest is on the role of civil society in transitional justice and reconciliation in South Sudan. He holds two Master’s Degrees with honors and academic excellence from the United States. The last of his two MAs is in International Peace Studies and Policy Analysis for Political Change, from the University of Notre Dame – Indiana. He is reachable at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For South Sudan news feed, follow him on tweeter; and for more commentaries visit his blog at: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/.

Federal system of government strengthens national unity

By Jacob K. Lupai

June 22, 2014 (SSNA) -- A debate on any topic of interest should be seen as a way of increasing understanding for an informed decision. The debate may clear some ignorance about the topic. This should be viewed as something positively contributing to mutual understanding.

The current debate on federalism should be seen as something useful to increase understanding. Some people are expressing outright ignorance mixed with fear of what federalism is all about. Some are even losing their heads as the debate heats up which seems to have touched raw nerves. Objectivity is fast disappearing, producing sycophants who are trying by all means to please their masters to sustain their high table positions. Intellectualism is being replaced with simplistic arguments where federalism is dismissed outright as non starter.

The sustainability of national unity does not depend on somebody’s subjectivity to prescribe what people should support. Rather it is an objective undertaking and collective responsibility born out of inclusiveness where people can instinctively identify with the nation. Arguably inclusiveness can be achieved through federalism when there is an active participation at the state level in addressing local issues that a centralized system is too remote to address.

As will be seen in the text there may be some hidden reasons why some people ardently reject federalism. However, as the debate carries on there will come a time when the majority will either reject or support federalism. Naturally as people gain knowledge of something it is expected that they will make an informed decision which may go either way, to reject or support federalism.

Something that is imposed on people may hardly be sustainable. People should therefore be contented that neither a federal system nor a centralized one will be imposed. Any system of government that will be adopted will hopefully be according to the will of the majority with the rights of minorities respected and dissenting views taken on board. Federalism will naturally be gaining ground.

Debate on federalism

The debate on federalism has produced proponents on one side and opponents on the other. The proponents of federalism are positive as they conceive federalism sustaining national unity.

In a federal system of government the federal constitution allocates power between the federal (national) government and the component units (states), determining which powers are the exclusive prerogative of each government and which powers are shared. It is to be noted that when powers are shared, the federal constitution defines how conflicts among the governments with regard to these powers are to be resolved. In sustaining national unity the federal constitution regulates the relations among the states and between the federal government and the states.

Adopting a federal system of government should be seen as part of reforms to consolidate national unity in view of communal heterogeneity and complexity as for example in South Sudan. Federalism creates an environment that encourages full participation of people in running effectively their development affairs to improve living standards. Who will object to services closer to home? Only the naïve may do so. This is in contrast to a centralised system where accountability may be wanting and most of the budget is retained at the centre with the peripheries nearly abandoned. This will hardly be the case in a federal system where peripheries are catered for.

Proponents of federalism are champions of equitable power sharing and distribution of resources for the benefit of all. On the other hand opponents are negetive in their imagination and will do anything to reject federalism. They should understand that federalism is like a hedge in between that makes relations greener.

Conception of federalism

The opponents of federalism conceive federalism negatively. This has generated a lot of misconception of federalism. Arguably most of the misconception is based on ignorance, fear and deliberate misinterpretation. Ignorance may be associated with high levels of illiteracy. Somebody somewhere in the debate on federalism has said, because of high illiteracy rate, 72 per cent, in South Sudan, the adoption of federalism must wait until the illiteracy rate is about 11 per cent. What a strange idea indeed.

On average the literacy rate in Equatoria is 32 per cent, in Bahr el Ghazal 22.25 and in Upper Nile it is 29 per cent respectively. It can be seen that the literacy rate in Equatoria is higher than in the other two former regions. However, the literacy rate in Upper Nile is higher than that of Bahr el Ghazal. The higher literacy rate in Equatoria may explain the level of understanding of federalism here that the overwhelming demand is for a federal system of government in South Sudan. Partly due to its high literacy rate Upper Nile may also demand a federal system of government. This makes it unacceptable to hold Equatoria hostage because of the others’ low level of understanding of federalism.

In the debate fear is the only factor for the rejection of federalism. For example, somebody in a very simplistic way cited Munuki Residential Area as excluding non Equatorian residents from attending committee meetings. Is this a major issue that can lead to the rejection of federalism? Of course, this can simply be administratively tackled if a genuine complaint is raised.

The fear of federalism cited is that federalism will divide the people of South Sudan. How will people be divided is a mystery that only the fearful may have the answer. The fear that federalism will divide the people of South Sudan is an insult to the intelligence of the people as though they are simpletons who cannot think critically. The people of South Sudan will not be divided but only if they so desire.

Naturally the people of South Sudan are not one people as some would like to preach as if others are daft. However, one thing is certain. The people of South Sudan are of one destiny and this was their only strength that sustained them through the ages in the long and bitter armed struggle for dignity, freedom and equality. As in the old Sudan, in South Sudan we are still people of one destiny united in our quest for justice and fairness for all. Federalism will never ever divide the people of South Sudan as claimed by the opponents of federalism who tend to be too simplistic in their perception. The people have a bigger goal to achieve, South Sudan that is a paradise for all. Centralisation has obviously brought many problems that solutions are hardly available.

Deliberate misinterpretation of federalism

The opponents of federalism have been relentlessly engaging in deliberate misinterpretation. A crucial discovery can be made at this juncture from this deliberate misinterpretation of federalism. The demand for federalism seems to have uncovered something dangerous to the unity of South Sudan, a neocolonialist agenda of the supposedly informed opponents of federalism. In their fury against federalism the opponents have displayed their true colors and frustrations have got the better of them.

The target is Equatoria which is the lead in the call for a federal system of government in South Sudan. So arguably, the rejection of federalism is not because it is a bad system of government but because it is an abstacle to the neocolonialist agenda. This is a contradiction to the concept and spirit of a liberation struggle to establish a fairer system of governance that delivers and meets people’s aspirations for a decent life. The turmoil we have may be due to such contradiction. So the venom is now spat out. Neocolonialism will not only target Equatoria but it will go beyond when the project in Equatoria is over.  

Conclusion

South Sudanese are people of one destiny. They share the same aspirations for dignity, freedom, equality, justice and fairness for all. How true the saying is that one rotten apple spoils a bag of apples. Some opponents of federalism may have genuine concerns. However, it is clear that others may have neocolonialist agenda. These people may hardly have the unity of people of South Sudan in their hearts but only their interest.

In conclusion, poor understanding of federalism can be addressed through an open debate and discussion, and possibly through talk show in the media. However, people’s freedom to express their views should not be muzzled. The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 is clear and allows for freedom of expression and media as stipulated in Article 24(1). Opponents of federalism may need to demonstrate that they do not have neocolonialist agenda for their position is unconvincing.

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

The Pros and Cons of President Museveni’s 'intervention' and the lessons we can learn from it

By Kuir ë Garang

June 20, 2014 (SSNA) -- Ugandan, or rather, Museveni’s ‘intervention’ in South Sudan’s conflict has caused various reactions in Africa and especially in South Sudan depending on one’s political allegiance. There are those who oppose or support the ‘intervention ‘on principle and there are those who support or oppose it given their political colors.

Like always, I support or oppose any given political incident given the valuation I give it. For me, Museveni’s intervention has both negative and positive aspects to it. And both of these have something to teach not only the South Sudanese people but the Ugandans themselves; who seem to be in a deep political slumber; or a hypnotic semblance of democracy.

While there are positive sides to this ‘intervention’, the ‘intervention’ is largely negative because it’s self-interest motivated and unintelligibly pursued.

Pros of Museveni’s Intervention

The White Army and the Nuer soldiers who joined Dr. Riek Machar in his Rebellion didn’t do so because they wanted to per se. It’s very clear that they did so as a response to the reported massacres of unarmed Nuer civilians in Juba. This tells me that had the ‘White Army’advanced to Juba or captured Juba, the city would have been a grotesque scene of massive tribal genocide. My reasoning rests on the fact that the White Army had and still has no clear political agenda. With no doubt, they only wanted to take revenge regarding what they heard coming out of Juba.

This is manifest in what they did in Bor, Malakal and Bentiu and other areas they mindlessly ravaged.

Museveni’s ‘intervention’ therefore helped prevent the capture of Juba and the avoidance of what would have been a massive genocide.

We also need to remember also that had Riek and the White Army captured Juba, President Kiir wouldn’t have just given up and leave Riek Machar to assume presidency. Having seen how the president relies so much on his Jieeng tribesmen, it’s conceivable that the president would have actually mobilized the Jieeng tribe to reclaim his presidency or wage a guerrilla-style war.

Whatever the case would have been, the capture of Juba would have been a disaster for South Sudan because the WA would have done what they did in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal by going on a killing rampage!

Another positive consequence of Museveni’s ‘intervention’ is the fact that it showed South Sudan’s leadership that a strong, cohesive, well-trained and always-paid-on-time army is crucial for national defense.

The Cons of Museveni’s Intervention

Museveni and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) made a mockery of not only the South Sudanese national army but also, South Sudanese generally. Had President Museveni been a conscientious leader who’s helping out a fellow president, Museveni would have put his UPDF forces under the solid command of the SPLA without any exception.

When the government forces recaptured the state capital town of Bor from the rebel forces in January, the indiscipline Uganda commander, one Paddy Ankunda (or whatever his name is) unashamedly announced that “UPDF has captured the town of Bor in S. Sudan. Big relief to trapped Ugandan, international community.” How about the SPLA acknowledging UPDF instead of UPDF unashamedly claiming credit in a war that’s not theirs! You’re only helping! Duh! Whatever happened to humility among Africans?

This was for one a great insult to the President of South Sudan (who asked for UPDF’s help), the SPLA as the national army, and the general spirit of building bilateral relations. If this is the best discipline the UPDF top brass can offer then good luck to dear Uganda populace!

Embarrassing the nation you are supposedly helping is naïve at best and imbecilic at worst.

A good lesson is this: Get a real friend next time; a friend who’d not embarrass you and selfishly call it ‘intervention’.

Besides the fact that UPDF, the supposedly brotherly force helping a good neighbor, were nothing but hired mercenaries who were paid by the government of South Sudan as the average South Sudanese died of hunger and diseases, they did nothing if little to save the lives of innocent civilians.

Civilians were butchered in Bor, Malakal, Bentiu and other areas of South Sudan in their presence and they had the nerves to brag about capturing the town of Bor? They captured ashes and dead civilian bodies!

As if it wasn’t immoral enough for Uganda to delve into the coffers of a poor nation at war and whose citizens were dying through guns, hunger and diseases, they took the money but did nothing to protect the civilians. South Sudanese died in their thousands as UPDF took the SPLA money! SPLA wasn’t paid as UPDF took the money!

The moral lesson: Next time you need a friendly force, get us someone who actually cares about civilian lives not just money!

And we also know that any leader who thinks he’s the only person capable of leading his country is delusional and cares less about his own people. A good leader knows that each and every citizen is an equal and that a host of citizens is capable of leading the country. This latter sentiment fosters self-esteem among the citizens and a sense of equality. However, Museveni believes he’s the only man capable of leading Uganda. Why would we allow such a mind to be a close ally when he doesn’t care about his own people?

I’m sorry, Uganda, but President Museveni is treating you like idiots and that’s the same way he’s treating South Sudanese leaders. Think for yourself for once! Vote Museveni out!

I know some South Sudanese and Ugandans will rush to say: “But Museveni helped you during your liberation war! You’re being such an ingrate!”

The average Ugandan is the friend of South Sudan not President Museveni!

Well, if you know what politics is then know that nations and leaders don’t ‘care’ about other nations and their leaders. They show interest as long as there are tangible and visible benefits obtainable from such an ostensible ‘care.’ Museveni never cared about South Sudanese. He had high stakes in helping late Dr. John Garang de Mabior succeed! America of course!

But remember, I’m not aiming this at the average citizens of Uganda (who are our actual friends) but National Resistance Movement and UPDF. (I don’t know what Museveni is still resisting!) Resistance against Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom?

And worst of all, President Museveni either has a mental problem or is utterly and blindly arrogant. How on earth do you say you’re part of a bloc (IGAD) that wants to end the war in South Sudan but then you take side? How on earth do you declare yourself part of the mediating body and then take up guns and shoot at one side of the two parties you’re supposed to bring together? Maybe NRM has a different definition of a ‘good leader’ or ‘Intervention’! This man is way worse than Goodluck B. Jonathan of Nigeria and Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan.

The same Museveni, who had to get help from South Sudan, Central African Republic and Congo to go after a weak rebel group under another delusional and murderous man, Joseph Kony, is making fun of leaders facing crisis! Wasn’t Lord Resistance Army (LRA) killing people in Northern Uganda, abducting girls and boys, cutting off people’s limbs and terrorizing the whole population? Why didn’t Museveni hang himself then?

Why did it take years for Museveni to reduce the effect of LRA in Northern Uganda? Why are UPDF and NRM unable to capture Joseph Kony even when Riek Machar was able to meet him! Isn’t UPDF such a mighty army?

Lesson: A man who can’t put his house in order can’t put another man’s house in order. Thousands of Ugandans were terrorized, maimed or killed by Kony while UPDF and Museveni were there! Why did we think Museveni and UPDF could prevent our civilians from being killed?

And lastly, South Sudan, as a new nation, wants to develop as a democratic and human-rights-conscious state. President Museveni is a grotesque figure to even think of as a role model. Besides his shameful treatment of opposition figures like Dr. Kizza Besigye, his determination to remain in power for eternity is a good but scary example! He’s a scary figure to run away from!

To recap, Museveni showed no respect for South Sudan and its leaders, has no heart as he allowed his UPDF to be paid by the struggling South Sudanese government, failed to protect civilians, and he’s not a person to be emulated at all. Human rights are just like Britain in the 15th century. Freedom is regarded as anti-NRM and Museveni thinks there’s democracy in Uganda!

While Museveni has helped in keeping Kiir in Power, his name should be considered incompatible with humane care, freedom, democracy, human rights, honesty, human decency, and respect for one’s friends! Sorry Beny Museveni, it looks like Kiir isn’t going to hang himself anytime soon!

Unless Museveni democratically and peacefully transfers power, and actually democratizes Uganda, South Sudan should stay away from this mad man! Seriously, what good can we possibly learn from President Museveni? Many bad things: Stay in power for eternity, intimidate and make opposition figures’ lives hell on earth, assume regional supremacy, stifle human rights and freedom, spend the money on the army not development, hoodwink the civil population…oh man!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet and author living in Canada. He’s the author of ‘South Sudan Ideologically’and 'Is 'Black' Really Beautiful?' For the contact visit www.kuirthiy.info

More Articles...

Page 13 of 555

Our Mission Statement

To bring the latest, most relevant news and opinions on issues relating to the South Sudan and surrounding regions.

To provide key information to those interested in the South Sudan and its people.