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The Greater Fangak’s peaceful co-existence and its bordering community

By Bol Tut

November 7, 2014 (SSNA) -- Greater Fangak is a home to Padang Dinka of Pigi County and three sub-ethnic groups [clans] of Nuer tribe, namely; the Thiang Nuer, Gawaar Nuer and Lak Nuer. With Padang Dinka in the North-east, Lak Nuer in the North-west, Thiang Nuer in the Centre-western part and Gawaar Nuer in the Southern part of the Greater. Contextually, Greater Fangak derived from British old Districts system introduced before, the Coordination Council for Southern States [CCSS/GoSS] could divide it into the contemporary three different counties based on decentralization policy. Hence, the Pigi, Ayod and Fangak Counties were all once under One County called “Fangak County” which now becomes different constituencies but these constituencies still have spirit of togetherness as one people. These four sub-ethnic groups named above have been living side-by-side ever since and are strongly united through many shared social histories, borders, languages, cultural values and bonds of intermarriage. They also share basic needs, accommodations in time of need etc. For instance, when the GoSS-late George Ahtor war had happened in 2010-2011, the displaced citizens there were warmly welcomed and harbored by the people of the two sisterly counties, in Ayod, Fanagk North and Fangak South of Gawaar Nuer, Lak Nuer and Thiang Nuer respectively.

So, it is worth noting that the whole fragmentation of dividing the district into number of different counties was an administrative division, developmental one and not people’s division, as may be erroneously conceived by any or an ill-informed outsider. Unwaveringly, despite the recent imposed deep ethnic and divisive enmity started in Juba last year which did involve mass killing, Jonglei state majority ethnic group neither turned against the minority opposite community in Greater Fangak in particular and the state in general nor reversely. This was/is a patriotic, harmonious determination and an exemplary spirit of a peaceful co-existence life enriches by a geographic proximity, a cohesive society can do. As previously stated, the people of Greater Fangak almost always share interests and they are also living (or will continue to live) in the same world—area unlike those people who started unnecessary ethnic cleansing in Juba. It is morally wrong for minority group nearby to indulged, as they did, in one way or another especially the northern neighbors—in form of the so-called Chollo Defense Force of Johnson Ulony. This was evidently ascertained that Ulony’s tribe men have visible hands in an incident which took place in Tabuong on 3/11, 2014. Where number of civilians was indiscriminately got killed, mostly elderly, children and women; with a whole sub-village set ablaze and the culprits went away with killed people possessions.

The same thing also allegedly repeated yesterday, Wednesday 5/ Nov, 2014 at the other adjacent village. This issue (or any other likely one) shouldn’t be given a deaf ear again and cannot be consider anymore as “Konyokonyo talk”. But can such scenario strengthen peaceful co-existence among the proximate societies? I don’t think so. Because any an emulated step taken by anybody, either from near here or there will certainly have a devastating effect at the end of the day especially on the future well-beings of these proximate communities— in Jonglei state or Greater Upper Nile as a whole. This is plain and simple!

Therefore, in my view the onus to keep a spirit of maintaining peaceful co-existence is on everybody, particularly the youths, elders, educated and intellectuals from Greater Upper Nile. Peace building, not only at the level of Greater Fangak terrain alone but even beyond, was our paramount objective and priority. Alas it had to be interrupt by the prophets of dooms who opted for one ethnic cleansing in the heart of national capital for an obscure reason which rapidly spread to Greater Upper Nile region. Now though, we still strongly believe that, as soon as this imposed chaos which cracked the nascent nation exactly at the seam comes to an end that very prime objective shall be our starting point. God, sometimes, may be required first to instruct peace. Thus, it would be too absurd to try to initiate by now or imposed peace on the grassroots, a peace that won’t succeeded; be it at the state or national level. So we would want to congratulate the people of Greater Fangak for having reserved (as we do encourage them to distant) themselves from war and violent conflicts ignited by the people of different part of the world—country. Just in time, we would also want to advise an indulged people from neighboring lands to better learn from Naath or else prepare to harvest their financially-motivated involvements results. And work, instead, to help bring about peace and changes in South Sudan, just as the true Nationalists are doing.

Practically, however, as I see it Jonglei state grassroots peace conference in particular and South Sudan peace conference in its general outlook won’t be achieved by now, unless the needed changes to these partial situations are first prevailed. Moreover, all South Sudanese people from different works of life are now struggling as [to be] part and parcel of National Resistance Society— which badly striving for permanent changes.

So the peaceful co-existence among the Padang Dinka, Lak Nuer, Gawaar Nuer , Thiang Nuer of Greater Fangak and other South Sudanese people including the northern neighbors should be encouraged. Primarily by the minority themselves and strive even harder to the realization of an English wise saying that goes “discretion is the better part of valour” for them as a best way to avoid future regrettable discontent at the end of the day.

The author, Bol Tut, is a Thinag Nuer Youth Association’s Secretary for Information & Public Relations.

Government of South’s Sudan delegation objects setting up special tribunal courts and victims’ rights to justices

By J. Nguen Nyol

November 4, 2014 (SSNA) -- As the saying goes, wherever there is justice, holiness exists. The flip side is, wherever there is injustice, bloodbath looms and agony takes its ugly course. In comparison, South Sudanese want less of the latter. For it robbed so much, so far. Because justice led to holiness, we must collectively thrive to garner it, at all cost even at a gunpoint. We must fight to survive. Life is a survival of fetish.

The negotiations between the war factions in South Sudan has resumed on Nov. 1st, 2014 in Ethiopia and ongoing. We all yearn for justice at the end. Rumors flew that President Kiir has recalled his negotiating team back to Juba citing the violation of cessation of hostilities, but this is far from truth. I can certainly assure my readers that all the warring parties are stick-glued at the peace talk in Ethiopia. No single soul left the venue directly or indirectly or otherwise.

This is a good sign but hopeless at the core. I am obliged to write this piece to inform my readers and fellow South Sudanese about the progress being made, and hurdles eating up peace deal in Ethiopia.

As far as the timeline is concerned, IGAD member states’ summit is scheduled for next week, probably November 10th or so. The negotiation was given five day. This mean pressure is looming on negotiators from both sides. They must come up with something, even if it means nothing in real sense. At least something for the Eastern African’s leaders to brags about, call it misconstrued progress.  In 5 days, South Sudan’s warring parties probably will come out united with one text, even though mistrust lingers and run deep in everyone’s veins.

As things stand, the Government of South Sudan has so far objected every step on the following items:

1. Rights and access to justices for the victims

2. Independence and garnering powers to judicial system in South Sudan

3. Victims’ rights to reparations and compensations

4. Setting up a special tribunal

5. Involvement of ICC and seeking assistant from international investigation bodies on enquiry.

As you might be aware that the talk in Ethiopia is sectioned up into six chapters, and where chapter one dealt with good governance, presented by none other than a charismatic Kenyan Professor, Patrick. L.O Lumumba. Under the good governance discussion is the separation of three branches of government, whereas the Government of South Sudan’s delegation has out rightly objected all attempts.  

In particular, President Salva Kiir’s delegation refused to garner independence and powers to South Sudan judicial system, while the other parties fully support independence of all three branches of government. Chapter two of the talk focused on the transitional Security Arrangements and reforms. It was report that both side disagreed flat out. Points of disagreement will be made available tomorrow for public consumption.

Chapter three dealt with resources, economic and financial management on which no progress reported. Chapter four focused on the transitional justice, reconciliation and healing, of which the GRSS delegation has objected rights and access to justices for the victims, setting up of special tribunal courts to trials those who have committed gross war crimes and crimes against humanity. The government delegation also rejected involvement of ICC and seeking assistance from international investigation bodies on enquiry, while the others parties were in agreement to perfect and establish these commissions.

Chapter five dealt with humanitarian protocols which include relief programmes, repatriation, resettlement, reintegration, rehabilitation and the reparations. It was reported that GRSS delegation objected reparations and compensations flat out, while the others parties were in support for reparation and compensations for victims.

Chapter six focused on the parameters of permanent constitution. All parties agreed that the Republic of South Sudan’s permanent constitution making process shall be based on the principles of federalism, while taking into account unity, diversity of the people and to devolve more powers to the states.

However, both parties disagreed on the point of reference or technicality to the lesser degree. The SPLM/A- Resistance Movement and the SPLM Political Detainee proposed a new constitution- zero drafted, while the GRSS delegation poised current constitution and utilizing already formed National Review Constitution commission.

In closing, it’s legally correct to assert that the Government of South Sudan wants to forge an agreement on a mold hill or pushing for establishment of rubber stamp agreement to say the least. The government delegation wanted an agreement where impunity takes the upper and killers are let loose and get away with bloody hands.

Paradoxically, the government of South Sudan want to make us believe that nothing has happened. That no crimes were committed and it’s business as usual. I negatively envy this distorted and wishful thinking. Note, there shall never be business as usual in South Sudan after this senseless war. Love it or hate it.

J. Nguen is a South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The marginalisation of Equatoria

By Elhag Paul

November 3, 2014 (SSNA) -- Whether by design or coincidence, once again Equatoria has been marginalised in the affairs of the country. President Salva Kiir’s SPLM-IG, Dr Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO and their off shots the SPLM-G10 together with IGAD have to a large extent connived to exclude Equatoria to maintain the strangle hold they have over the people of the most peaceful part of the country.

SPLM’s creation from the outset was intended to fight and subjugate Equatorians. The silent policy of this organisation towards Equatorians has been crystal clear. It strove to oppress and marginalise the Equatoria region through violence to disempower its people within and without the movement. This was done through the policy that stated no groups are allowed to join the movement but only individuals. This policy evidently was designed and intended to keep individuals isolated and weak. It is associated with predatory groups wanting to dominate and control people. This had a devastating effect on the Equatorians within the movement because what it did was it directly eliminated Equatorian leadership. It cut Equatorian leaders and potential leaders from being recognised by their own people while at the same time installing and building Jieng as their direct bosses.  Please see ‘The broken social boundaries in South Sudan.’

However, this policy was not applied to the Nuer. The Nuer joined the movement in all sorts of groups with their leaders intact and recognised. This obviously ensured the continued survival of Nuer power within the SPLM/A. Unlike the Equatorians who became victims of violent elimination under the watch of the current useless Vice President James Wani Igga. For example, a certain notorious cousin of Dr John Garang by name Deng Agwang openly executed Equatorian officers and soldiers of the SPLA at will in Eastern Equatoria during 1980s and early 1990s without any accountability. The net effect was total disempowerment of Equatoria. The Nuer continued to grow in strength because as a group they could assert their interest. This group approach to the membership of SPLM is the single act that has helped the Nuer to resist and face down the Jieng at different critical times including the current conflict.

The balance of power between the Nuer and the Jieng in South Sudan has always been maintained through this unspoken arrangement. Now that the two are at each other’s throat, both want to use Equatoria to strengthen their position in order to control the country without any discernible benefit for Equatorians. Basically both groups view Equatorians as their donkeys or slaves to be exploited. Equatoria’s patriotic stand to always fight for the freedom of South Sudan unfortunately has made them to ignore their inalienable rights in South Sudan to their own detriment. By default, their patriotism has turned them into the underclass in the country they greatly sacrificed for. This is unacceptable and Equatoria must re-strategise to regain their rightful place in the social structure of the country. They should no more play second fiddle.

The exclusion of Equatoria from the talks in Addis Ababa should serve as the final straw that broke the Camel’s back. Dr Machar has openly claimed that he is fighting for implementation of democracy in South Sudan. This is welcome and everybody in the country is looking forward to it. However, a mere statement stating a noble position is not good enough if it is not followed by action. If the actions of a supposed leader who promises something contradict his words, then alarm bells ought to ring loudly lest the people are taken for a ride.

This article is the alarm bell. Dr Machar has been part of the system (Dinkocracy) since 2002 when he returned to the fold of the SPLM after having led a rebellion against it from1991. For nine solid years he fought the system in order to change its objective of united Sudan. He did not succeed. The rebellion movement that he led fractured into two. The other part that Dr Machar led which was renamed South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) ended up signing the Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 which granted him the position of Vice President of General Omer Bashir. While he was a ceremonial Vice President in Khartoum he found himself powerless and this led to his return to the SPLM under Dr John Garang in 2002. In the process of defecting, Dr Machar basically abandoned all those he took with him to Khartoum. They remained at the mercy of President General Bashir.

There is a crucial thing here to be noted. The quality of leadership of Dr Machar, his values and principles and his ability to hold a group together is highly questionable. It is important to note this point because Dr Machar may eventually sacrifice the Nuer and the Equatorians with him now exactly in the same manner he did in 1997 and in 2002 if he sees an opening for seizing personal power.

The alliance with Nuer must not be confused with support for Dr Machar. South Sudanese standing with the Nuer is based on the fact that they were subjected to horrendous and unacceptable killings by President Kiir and the Jieng. Everybody acknowledges, accepts and condemns the ethnic cleansing done on them. Because of this, the Nuer have all the rights in the world to be given support to fight for their own survival. Dr Machar as a Nuer happened to have been targeted and so people sympathise with him. But unfortunately Dr Machar is taking the fight of Nuer as a chance to advance his own personal interest. He seized on the massacres of the Nuer to promote his personal ambition to accede to power. The evidence can be gleaned from the interview he held with Al Jazeer on 22nd December 2013, a week into the ethnic cleansing. Dr Machar categorically stated that he wished to become the president. There was no need for Dr Machar to unequivocally express his ambition when the Nuer people were being hunted down in Juba by the Dootku Beny militia. This reckless behaviour exposed his lack of care for his own people. 

As far as Dr Machar was concerned he wanted to be president and that was all. The ongoing killing of the Nuer was not an issue. Initially, he even resisted naming the targeted killing of Nuer as ethnic cleansing. If Dr Machar was a true leader, he should have used the interview to articulate the horrendous experience of the Nuer and by extension the suffering of South Sudanese people. This would have presented him as a conscientious leader in waiting which would be exactly like what he verbalised.

Others could argue that Dr Machar is an ally of Equatorians because he championed the cause of federalism. Yes, it is indisputable that Dr Machar has called for the implementation of federalism. However, the question to ask is why did he not show his support when he was the vice president? Crucially, in July 2011 at the adoption of the infamous interim constitution of Mr John Luke Jok and following the three Equatorian conferences Dr Machar did not side with the Equatorians. This evidence raises serious issues with the integrity of Dr Machar. Simply put, when Dr Machar was in alliance with President Kiir and as his Vice President, he was happy to step firmly on Equatorians with his Jackboots. He was happy helping President Kiir and the Jieng to lord it over Equatorians mercilessly.

Since Dr Machar rebelled following the mid December 2013 incident, he sung all the right songs to woo Equatorians to support him. He has succeeded to some extent but unbelievably he has started to backtrack in a very worrying manner. Those people in SPLM-IO should not just be carried away by the heat of the moment. They need to scrutinise Dr Machar’s speeches (some through his spokesperson James Gadet Dak) and actions carefully to see the very worrying signs in the open political space now. Dr Machar is already displaying dictatorial and tribal tendencies akin to Dr John Garang’s behaviour at the early stages of SPLM inception which morphed into the monstrous organisation that we now know. The evidence to this lies in, 1) the manner Dr Machar makes his appointments, 2) in how he dismisses the participation of the stake holders in Addis Ababa by emphasising direct talks between him and Kiir only and 3) in how he neglects the rights of other oppressed groups. 

The second and the third parts are very crucial because these are the bits responsible for marginalisation of Equatorians from the talks in Addis Ababa. As it is now, the talks technically are clearly between Bahr El Ghazal on one hand led by President Kiir and Upper Nile on the other led Dr Machar as an armed opponent of the system (Dinkocracy) with the SPLM-G10 playing the role of supporting both regions ensuring Equatoria is kicked into the long grass.

The exclusion of Equatoria is a combined effort of President Kiir, Dr Machar and the IGAD. First of all, President Kiir used the machinery of the state of South Sudan to exclude the Equatorian leaders from the process by quarantining them in Juba. Although they were officially invited by IGAD to the talks, the system (Dinkocracy) illegally denied them the right to travel and on top of that, their passports were confiscated. This severely oppressive action amounted to direct exclusion of Equatoria from the talks. 

Secondly, all the other parties invited to the talks in Addis Ababa found themselves abused and corralled to accept being represented by Dr Lam Akol as their leader.  Dr Lam himself has now been fouled and quarantined by the system. This shameful act was done by IGAD and the delegation of government of South Sudan exposing the collision between them. 

Thirdly, IGAD from the outset has all along been interested in patching the SPLM as a solution to the problems of the country. Within this position, they deliberately ignored the violation visited on the Equatorian leaders and the other invited participants. Not only that, but they participated in forcing the other parties to be led by others whose ideology and values widely differs. This was a violation of the very principle of stakeholder participation. The question that IGAD must answer is: why have they violated their own principles by denying all the lawful South Sudanese political parties participation individually in their own right? Please see, ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’, and ‘Reflections on Justice Peter Sule’s indefinite incarceration’,

As it can be seen, the quartet: SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-G10 and IGAD have all connived to exclude and marginalise Equatoria. There is no doubt that the views of Equatoria are not represented in Addis Ababa. This raises serious issue of legitimacy of the talks going on in Ethiopia. Now that the views of a third of the country (Equatoria) are not taken into consideration, whatever the outcome, it may not be binding on Equatoria.

Equatorians should not accept any outcome from Addis Ababa as binding upon them because their interest was not represented, articulated or considered in the current talks taking place in Addis Ababa. If Dr Machar was a democrat and an ally of Equatoria he should have demonstrated it by fighting for all the stakeholders regardless of whether they are his supporters or not. As a freedom fighter (based on his claim) espousing the ideal of justice, he should have been in the forefront showing that he wants to see the country return to peaceful co-existence by insisting on the participation of all stakeholders including the Equatorians. Unfortunately, he only fought for the participation of his own people and in my opinion Dr Machar has failed the test of a truly national democratic leader.

Therefore, clearly without any doubt, Equatoria is on its own. It remains marginalised and oppressed by grand design of Jieng, Nuer and IGAD. What does that mean? Simple, Equatoria is not weak as perceived and believed by others and some Equatorians. Equatoria is the sleeping giant. It only needs to wake up. The only thing crippling Equatoria is the dysfunctional SPLM. Equatorians must first desert the SPLM or the Equatorians in this hopeless organisation need to think outside the box and join their sisters and brothers to realise its interest. Equatorians, therefore, need neither the Jieng nor the Nuer for allies. What it needs is internal unity of purpose, unity of survival and unity of destiny. Without such unity, the options before it are limited. Thus this suggested kind of approach is a must to offset the brutal jungle politics employed by fellow countrymen from the other two regions.

On its own Equatoria can lead and bring stability to South Sudan. After all, South Sudan numerically (population) is equally divided between the three regions. Each region is a third of the country. If Equatoria organises itself, it has equal chances of winning the presidency in any elections held in the country. This should now be the policy of Equatoria. Go it alone and if any alliance is to be made, the leadership must be of Equatoria.  Anything less than that should not be entertained or accepted. Equatoria must not take this insult from the SPLM warring factions and IGAD lying down. Enough is enough because the unnecessary bloodletting in the country needs to stop.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. 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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