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Re: A response to "From CPJ to Members of AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan:" 31 March 2014, South Sudan News Agency

By Dennis E. Paul

An open letter to the Citizens for Peace and Justice

April 1, 2014 (SSNA) -- I have been observing events in South Sudan since before independence.  The recent events - intertribal conflict and deteriorating social and judicial structures and the merciless unconscionable deaths of innocent and defenseless - are beyond heartbreaking.   My sympathy goes out to all South Sudanese who have lost loved ones in the horrendous regressive violations of human rights.

The offer the following - in my most humble demeanor - observations and suggestions that may be of value in the  reconciliation process.

I have been reading “Letter From CPJ to Members of AU commission of Inquiry on South Sudan,” [31 March 2014, South Sudan News Agency].  I feel the CPJ’s efforts to turn ideals into actions are exceptional and commendable.

The ideas are obviously well thought out and I suspect the CPJ has researched experiences of other nations in developing “Initial Recommendations on the Implementation of Inquiry.”  I urge readers to read the “Letter.”

I think all five pillars seem substantial and appropriate but I am propelled to ask: Have the five pillars been tried and tested?  Are there other programs or policies that have been shown in other nations to be more effective?

Truth Before Forgiveness.

I find comments (in the “Letter“) regarding Truth Before Forgiveness particularly noteworthy -- “Once the guns are silenced, people are urged to forgive one another and move on.   To adopt such an approach in South Sudan would be a grave mistake—one that has been made in the past and is increasingly considered to be a contributing factor to the enmities that led to the current conflict.     People cannot be asked to forgive others who have wronged them until they know for what their     forgiveness is being given. In that sense, forgiveness can only come after the truth and atonement.”

I believe this concept is particularly indispensable.

On another note; “Justice is Non-Negotiable,”  it is mentioned that:

“Men and women in positions of authority and those in uniform have committed serious crimes on the assumption that they are absolutely immune from any accountability for their actions. The only way to correct this shortcoming is to assert individual accountability and liability for criminal behavior.”

“Accountability should form the bedrock of a new institutional culture in which all citizens are equal and subject to the rule of law.”

I am aware that the greatest detriment to crime is the that those that intend to perpetuate crimes, know that they will be punished.

Those enforcing the law must maintain professional standards.  They must  have extensive ethical and moral training.  This offers insurance that objectivity in the service of law enforcement will protect all ethnic groups from unlawful prosecution.   I believe this is an issue that must bear great weight.

A few small programs were introduced in 2013 in South Sudan to train South Sudanese law enforcement personnel  abroad and to accept advanced training from law enforcement personnel from UN programs.  [“South Sudan  cadets join Ethiopia’s Police Academy“;  Sudan Tribune 12 Feb 2013 AND “UNPOL Trains South Sudan Police in Upper Nile“; Gartung 13 Nov 2013].  I feel, programs of this nature must be pursued vigilantly.

Lastly, with current events, it appears tribes are becoming more and more socially isolated. One paradigm that might be useful is a liaison (shuttle diplomacy for example) between tribes that might, with sensitivity and perseverance, slowly encourage unity of purpose in nation building.

I offer my observations with humility and respect.

The author lives in Iowa, United States. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Should Salva Kiir still alive in 2020 and president altogether?

By Deng Turuk Liem

Worse still, Should Salva Kiir still alive in 2020 and president altogether, he will insist to seek third term in office as chairman and president

April 1, 2014 (SSNA) -- Facts concerned root causes and rapid escalations of current conflict in South Sudan have been libelously distorted by certain opportunists who dared to lengthy the courses for status quo as baseless, useless and tribal war. First, the war Freedom Fighters are fighting now, is neither a tribal nor to revenge unfolded mass-killings in capital Juba last year, as opportunists are taking it. Second, it is, however, a war to deter future genocides from happening once again in South Sudan, either from this or future governments, and most significantly to impose extreme democratic transformations and ultimate freedoms of all sorts, which are the fundamental causes the south Sudanese have fought for many years. Third, it is war that has imposed on South Sudanese by President Salva Kiir, and that, those subjects who are not keen to fight it on grounds of self-defense, must either surrender to dictator or wholly leave the country. It is a task that President Kiir has given to us, either to take it by surrendering to him, or stand our ground as citizens and face him militarily.

Predicamently, the next target citizens should be massacred by Salva Kiir government should it allows to get away with Nuer massacre, trashes to dustbin Dr. Riek Machar, the most reformist and indisputable sole champion of historic self-determination that indispensably paved way to final destination for South Sudan independence (2011) and SPLM colleagues, and continues its ruling as legitimate government, will be a tribe that its member opts to challenge President Salva Kiir in SPLM party top post. For example, if Wani Igga opts to challenge Salva Kiir in 2020 party national convention to be SPLM flag bearer for presidential election as top senior member and hails from Equatoria region. Therefore, the Bari tribe from central Equatoria will be the next prime target.

Remember this fact, Dictator Mugabe of Zimbabwe was 82 years old the last time he ran for presidency. The age issue is not a matter for African dictators. A one can even governing the nation in his grave through spouse or offspring if allowed to do so.

If Salva Kiir still alive in 2020 and president altogether, he will insist to seek third term in office as party chairman and president. Should James Igga empties his stomach, tie’s belly and fully declares to challenge Salva Kiir for SPLM chairmanship, as Dr. Riek Machar and his colleagues did in 2013, so that the winner will be flag bearer in national presidential election. Salva Kiir will, therefore, manufacture another self-inflicted fails coup attempt against Mr. Wani Igga as he did in 2013 against group of senior SPLM leaders who vowed to challenge him for party chairmanship should a party national convention took place, and then to massacre Bari tribe or all Bari speaking tribes in central Equatoria state as he did to Nuer tribe in 2013. That business will continue even after the death of Salva Kiir as one from his Dinka tribesmen, the tribe that its members doomed with havoc illusion that they are borne to rule and not to be ruled, will take over and does the same political uncertainty to his/her political opponents, as well.

Most importantly, Nuer politicians were not the only attendees of December 6, 2013 press conference. There was a group of South Sudanese politicians from all walk of lives who attended that press conference for the benefit of group and not Nuer. Having said that, there were no logical reasons deemed appropriately to merely target Nuer Ethnic Nationality, if a press conference was an extreme triggered of coup suspicion. The killings would have been carried our universally, if they were sincerer instruments to handle such unfolded political crisis. When Nuer reacted to a targeted massacre against their community members by government agents and took serious retaliations around the country, the opportunists had called it a baseless, useless, or tribal war, and invented ills against Nuer Ethnic Nationality that it members had been pursued on Juba streets by their government agents like wild animals wanted to be executed for food. Their citizenship values was reduced to nothing and subjected to harsh treatments and killings.

What had happened in Juba last year, is an irresponsible act from power thirsty politician in Salva Kiir caliber to initiate massacre of unarmed civilians because one of their tribespersons, was challenging him for the top post in the party leadership. Those mass-killings of unarmed Nuer wouldn’t have surfaced even if Dr. Riek Machar indeed committed a military coup to overthrow government because Nuer would have nothing to do with it. The case would have taken against Dr. Machar and political colleagues who might have involved in a coup plot business, if evidently approved. Half of those who had been massacred in Juba by criminal Salva Kiir’s tribal militias through his order, were his diehard supporters. Those who thought they painted themselves with disdain president’s name alphabets; therefore, they would not be killed, then relaxed and exposed oneself to murderous presidential guards of Doot Koch Beny tribal militias.

Criminal has never be forgiven or protected. Salva Kiir is the utmost criminal who had massacred his own citizens based on tribal grounds for something that didn’t fit the situation. Worse tills, he bought foreign mercenaries using country resources, brought them home and killed his own citizens, as matter of fact, he will lengthy his tenure in office as president. Are these horrendous acts committed by Salva Kiir serves or lines up with typical qualifications and president’s fiduciary responsibility? He must go whether he likes it or not. Foreign soldiers can never defense a foreign land for two years against it owns citizens. UPDF had already failed to secure a victory for Dictator Salva Kiir and his tribesmen. IGADD will also falls in suit if it will deploy army to fight directly on government side and that will make East African Bloc fails miserably both politically and militarily to bring conflict to an end. From the point it deploys troops, its neutrality will be questioning and the opposition will have rights to look for either African Union or United Nation to mediate warring parties to bring conflict to an end.

Freedom Fighters are not fighting for Dr. Riek Machar to be president, if he will be president as result of this conflict, it will be because he is innocent person who works harder to reform SPLM and government of South Sudan into democratic institutions. We are fighting to make it abundantly sure that, be it cruel Salva Kiir, Wani Igga and the list goes on and on, must not kill any given citizen in South Sudan because his like, is looking for the top seat in the land, and the democratic principles are genuinely realized.

Portrayed opposition/democratic forces as cruel Salva Kiir’s like, is indeed a libelous misrepresentations of facts against the good cause to liberate South Sudanese from tyrannical regime. We are fighting to get rid of sufferings which have been the daily business in South Sudan for the last nine years. All South Sudanese are in fact vulnerable victims to Salva Kiir’s regime premeditated politics and policies put forth to govern the South Sudan. The freedom will not come to us alone in a golden plate. If we will not fight to get it, therefore, no other people must step in and do it for us. We need it, therefore, we must bring it home not in a golden plate, but through hard struggles and difficult challenges, and loss of lives is at the peak of these challenges.

We, in Democratic Forces/Freedom Fighters, are vehemently graceful for the tremendous task we have been doing for the fundamental cause to bring tranquilities and pure democratic transformations to all South Sudanese include illusionists who are doomed with negative impressions and hopes that they are borne to rule and not to be ruled. They will be ruled in their watches and nothing else they must do to avoid it, but to accept it likes other South Sudanese brothers and sisters who accepted it firsthand to be ruled by anyone who deemed fit to lead the nation at that particular moment and time.

The opportunists must refrain from negative views of distorting facts, but to joint up with true democratic fighters and discuss issues with substances must recuse our country from its total demise. Let push the dictator out along with his Loin’s share mentality and democratically elect a different person who can lead us with twenty first century ideas of economic, political, personal and properties rights to all given citizens in the country.

The author is South Sudanese and freedom fighter, living in the United States. He can be reached @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Isolation of South Sudan Civil Society Will Bring Gaps in the Peace Process

By Peter Gai Manyuon

March 31, 2014 (SSNA) -- There have been a lot of debates and confrontations from the Juba government about civil society participation in the peace process in the Ethiopian capital, Addis-Ababa. Partly, there are some individuals within Government of South Sudan who do not want full participation of the civil society working groups due to what is best known to them and when you look internationally and regionally, civil society’s role is fundamental; that is put as a number one priority among the countries that claim to be called democratic nations globally. But for the case of the Republic of South Sudan, I am confused because the work that civil society has exerted for a long time since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the Referendum process in 2010 and the declaration of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan on the 9th of July 2011. Civil society’s role and responsibility has never been acknowledged in one way or the other by Juba government.

Highlights about civil society in South Sudan

Civil society in South Sudan for the last two years has moved to the all ten (10) states of the Republic of South Sudan collecting views of the citizen on how the constitution of the Country should be amended. They started the program in 2011/2012 and accomplished collecting views in 2013, respectively. The work was carried out by the South Sudan Civil Society Resource Team on the Constitution. Hence, according to what I have noticed, only the validation process, compilations or computation of the finding, recommendations and giving feedbacks to the Community in various states is what has remains so far. Reflecting on the sensitivity of the ongoing crisis and the peace process in Ethiopia, will you say civil society cannot participate in the process and they are doing the needful to the entire republic? If civil society will not participate in the mediation and negotiation process, who will be the right body to point out the rights and the wrongs things that are affecting the people of South Sudan in particular?

Well for the case of South Sudan where dictatorship, corruption and tribalism are the mission and vision of the regime; things have turned upside down.

Sometimes, it seems like the government of Juba have not research about the goodness of having civil society working groups in the Country.

Therefore, after I have learned about the comments and reactions from some concern people about the civil society involvement in the negotiations and mediations processes in Ethiopia, I was very happy but after some government officials reacts and said, civil society should not be allow in the peace process, I was very shocked and get discouraged at the same time. More interestingly the person who came out verbally and said civil society should not be allow was the current spokesperson or Press Secretary of the President of South Sudan, Mr.AtenyWekAteny, who was one a senior activist who criticize the government in various meetings and conferences in Juba. 

Realistically on the one hand, civil society is more vibrant and dynamic than ever, with social movements emerging in different parts of the world and in spontaneous, online forums on issues ranging from civic participation and women’s rights to corruption. Politicians and private-sector leaders are recognizing civil society as an essential ingredient in an effective, stable democracy and as a vital contributor to innovative development solute but for the case of South Sudan is not. The question is,is South Sudan not part of the world? And if yes, what make the government of Juba to complain about civil society participation in the peace process in Ethiopia?

Furthermore, to be part of civil society, groups must meet some other conditions as well. In a democracy, civil society groups have respect for the law, for the rights of individuals, and for the rights of other groups to express their interests and opinions. Hence since then, civil society in South Sudan are in far front advocating for the welfare of nation building, respect for the rule of law and democratization processes.

Roles and responsibilities of civil society

The first and most basic role of civil society is to limit and control the power of the state. Of course, any democracy needs a well-functioning and authoritative state. But when a country is emerging from decades of dictatorship like South Sudan in particular, it also needs to find ways to check, monitor, and restrain the power of political leaders and state officials which I think South Sudan is inclusive in this context. 

Civil society actors should watch how state officials use their powers. They should raise public concern about any abuse of power like what is happening or manifested in Juba. They should lobby for access to information, including freedom of information laws, and rules and institutions to control corruption, and that is what the civil society in South Sudan is doing and the government does not appreciates the importance of its for a Country which has just been exposed to the world. This constitutes a second important function of civil society: to expose the corrupt conduct of public officials and lobby for good governance reforms. Even where anti-corruption laws and bodies exist, they cannot function effectively without the active support and participation of civil society.

Another function of civil society is to promote political participation. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) can do this by educating people about their rights and obligations as democratic citizens, and encouraging them to listen to election campaigns and vote in elections. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) can also help develop citizens’ skills to work with one another to solve common problems, to debate public issues, and express their views. And therefore, many civil society organizations in South Sudan are really working with the entire citizen of the Country up to date and the government is looking at the civil society as opposition which is not the case.

Meanwhile, civil society organizations can help to develop the other values of democratic life: tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view. Without this deeper culture of accommodation, democracy cannot be stable. These values cannot simply be taught; they must also be experienced through practice. We have outstanding examples from other countries of NGOs especially women’s groups that have cultivated these values in young people and adults through various programs that practice participation and debate.

Another interesting issue is, civil society also can help to develop programs for democratic civic education in the schools like Universities as well. After dictatorship, comprehensive reforms are needed to revise the curricula, rewrite the textbooks, and retrain teachers in order to educate young people about the crimes of the past and teach them the principles and values of democracy which should be address now in South Sudan. This is too important a task to leave only to officials in the education ministry. Civil society must be involved as a constructive partner and advocate for democracy and human rights training.

In a develop world, civil society is an arena for the expression of diverse interests, and one role for civil society organizations is to lobby for the needs and concerns of their members, as women, students, farmers, environmentalists, trade unionists, lawyers, doctors, and so on. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and interest groups can present their views to parliament and provincial councils, by contacting individual members and testifying before parliamentary committees. They can also establish a dialogue with relevant government ministries and agencies to lobby for their interests and concerns. South Sudan government is too bitter about the roles and responsibilities of civil society. What a nation?

And it is not only the resourceful and well organized who can have their voices heard. Over time, groups that have historically been oppressed and confined to the margins of society can organize to assert their rights and defend their interests as well. 

Key recommendations

Both the government of South Sudan under President General KiirMayardit, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in opposition, the inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and International Communities should allow civil society to participate in the peace process because civil society are the voice for the voiceless and therefore; they must be given a space in dialogue to bring back peaceful co-existence to the South Sudanese people because without involvement of the civil society working groups there will be more gaps in the peace process.

Civil Society themselves should delegate members to represent them in Addis-Ababa, people who are very well informed intellectually, morally and has a good negotiation and mediation skills in them not just opportunists who lack intellectual dynamism in them as persons. The delegation of civil society should compose of high profile civil society activists who have got experiences in strategic communications, Public Relations, diplomatic approaches and people who cannot be manipulated by money.

Because some times, in negotiation there is bribing that sometimes lead to crossover.

Conclusively; I want to stress that civil society is not simply in tension with the state but civil society is independent of the state doesn’t mean that it must always criticize and oppose the state. In fact, by making the state at all levels more accountable, responsive, inclusive, effective and hence more legitimate a vigorous civil society strengthens citizens’ respect for the state and promotes their positive engagement with it.

The author is Independent Journalist and Columnist who had written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan. You can contact him through; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . He is writing a book on tribalism and corruption in South Sudan context and soon will be in market for sale.

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