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Monday, Mar 02nd, 2015

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More reshuffles will not prevent President Kiir government from decaying

By: Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut

January 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- It must be a terrible life to be a minister in this government, knowing that you may be fired at the drop of a hat for no particular reason other than suspicion of your disloyalty.

This, of course, is regardless of how you may have served the people of South Sudan. Honestly, how can we run a country like that? A colleague of mine jokingly said to me that “Mashalah fi duol jaahin lom, at least they have international friends coming to them” and I agree.

Make no mistake, I feel no compassion whatsoever for the potential victims because they joined SPLM-Juba faction with their eyes wide open hoping to pursue personal and not national interests. So they must reap their harvest of sorrows.

I am really more concerned about the damage that is being done to our country’s potential through mismanagement and sheer waste of precious time and resources as ministers are hired or fired at President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his close colleagues' whims. Our land is tied of welcoming fresh bonds.

I do agree that there is a lot of deadwood in the Cabinet and, of course, if we try and quantify the losses to the country caused by the actions of some of these ministers, they would definitely be in prison were we in a normal democracy where there is accountability.

Some obvious names pop up in my brain which I am sure my dear readers are aware of.

Throughout my experiences, I have learnt that if you want to change the results of a system, you change its structure because it is the structure that determines behaviors and the output you get.

The results we are getting from the SPLM-Juba faction management style are not solely determined by who occupies what position at ministerial level; it is because we have a fundamentally flawed political system.

As long as we have a system where a partisan President has the sole discretion of appointing ministers, their loyalty will not be to the country first, but to the party and in our case to the President and lately his close friends, regardless of their competence or intent.

We certainly have a structural problem and this has been the case for many years. Ministers that are corrupt and incompetent, but loyal to the party have tended to get away with it despite the damage they continue to cause the country. The recent purges are a clear indication of how flawed our system is.

Of course, the situation is made worse when you have a dictatorial President because he will tend to protect his incompetence and position by appointing yes-men who will not dare challenge him. Ask expelled SPLM-Ministers. This leads to substandard solutions to our problems.

I would certainly prefer a system where Parliament is responsible for appointing ministers and these ministers are accountable to Parliament with the President only having oversight. This removes patronage bias and creates some collective accountability. That is what I will definitely promote as President.

Our country will continue to stay arrested by the selfish pursuit of power and privilege by a few at the expense of having smart and ministers around who can deliver to the millions of our people who deserve a better life.

For far too long we have bought the lie that only those that participated in the struggle have the inalienable right to rule, even when they have shown us that they are disinterested in creating the future we desire. Their core competency will remain being popular within the party structures and groveling to the President and his entourage, nothing else.

We can also no longer pretend that SPLM in its totality stands for our good because throughout their disastrous reign, we have seen how they only stand for themselves.

We must believe that as a nation, our potential must only be limited by our imagination and not by guns or fear. South Sudan has all it needs to be a great and prosperous nation and it is our responsibility to ensure that all South Sudanese take the opportunity to live to their full potential and gain access to opportunities to serve others in public office if they so wish.

The sad reality is that amongst us lie all the skills and talent we require to take South Sudan forward but we continue to be limited by a political system of patronage that draws talent from a limited pool with limited competencies and narrow political motives.

In my opinion, leading South Sudan into the future will take a totally different kind of leadership than what we have seen within SPLM-Juba faction we cannot accept the caliber of the average SPLM cadre to lead this nation into the 21st century.

We also cannot have leaders and ministers who have conflicts of interest as is the case with most of them. Our political leadership must never be in business or be involved in money making ventures because this creates a serious conflict.

As a result, our public resources are not allocated or managed efficiently and this has led to the plunder of our resources, patronage and corruption and theft.

The long and short of it is that, no amount of Cabinet reshuffle will change the fact that our political system no longer serves the interests of the country and those involved in it are therefore not the people we should expect to create the South Sudan we imagine.

In my opinion as Cde. Sirir Gabriel, the President can reshuffle all he wants, but this will not lead to new results. We are stuck in a rut of entitlement to power, non-accountability, mismanagement and lack of national interest.

That is not about to change until we begin to source talent outside political party structures.

I have said my words and may gods of the land hear my voice...

Cde. Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut is a writer and commentator and He is the Chairman of SPLM Youth League Chapter in Egypt he can be simply reach through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

South Sudan: The need to eradicate tribal politics and dictatorship

By James Gatdet Dak

January 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- Oxford dictionary defines tribalism as a behavior or attitude which is based on being loyal to a tribe or other social group; or the state of being organized into tribe or tribes.

By that social definition allow me to add that tribal politics is about the identity of a given group or tribe that is based on common ethnic identity or cultural factors that are used to induce the group into a functioning political unit subtly or in a dynamic pattern.

A tribal grouping although based on a defined or understood interest may have some disagreements on how to express a common purpose but will, likely, ultimately rally behind that common purpose.

Formations of groups or tribes for mere social reasons have some advantages, such as clear communication and the establishment of traditions that are expected to be observed for tranquility and social development.

However, tribal politics always has bold negative side as it creates a barrier between the various other tribes that make up a given societal political constituency in a given country.

The consequences of this is that ascending to or maintaining political power in many instances becomes less about presenting attractive ideas such as visions, principles, policies and programs that are for the welfare of the collective all, but rather about manipulating tribal political alliance.

Groups and individuals therefore concentrate on struggle for influence, position and money, and in most cases play along without concerns about the consequences for cohesiveness and national development, which is being ignored and eroded.

This phenomenon also carries the danger that societies may become oligarchies by default, as an outgrowth of the shifting alliances of tribal leaders.

Thus, groups or individuals with a strong sense of tribal unity and identity can benefit from kin selection behavior such as common property and shared resources.

The tendency of these tribal members to unite against an outside tribe and the ability to act violently and prejudicially against that outside tribe is in this situation likely seen to be boosting the chances of survival in prolonging the reaping of the fruits of that unity of tribal purpose.

South Sudan Crisis

In the light of the above discription one may confidently say the ongoing crisis in South Sudan emanated mainly from the curse of tribal politics.

A group of tribally motivated elites, which became desperate to scapegoat and avoid genuine national issues, unfortunately bent on entrenching dictatorship in order to dominate political power and control the country’s resources at the expense of the rest in the country?

Prior to the 15 December 2013 violence, cues were clearly written on the wall.

This group led by the president of the Republic, chairman of the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and commander-in-chief of the organized forces – in government – was driving at it.

General Salva Kiir, in a seemingly mindset which combined tribalism and dictatorship, perfectly concluded his plan by first dismissing reformist leaders from his government and further dismantled organs of the ruling party.

In that he unconstitutionally dissolved the SPLM structures including the Political Bureau (PB) and the National Liberation Council (NLC).

He strangely further declared that only his office survived that unconstitutional undertaking and that the secretariat should singlehandedly report to him. All these he did as the party’s national convention was to be conducted.

Coincidently or by design, his action was more or less a replica of what he previously accused our late chairman of 10 years ago with these remarks.

“The Chairman killed the national Executive Council (NEC) by creating the leadership Council. But there is no provision in the Convention for a ‘Leadership Council’. Does he want to revive the Political Military High Command? The Leadership Council creates a situation where all are directly reporting to the Chairman – including SPLM County Secretaries. When I mentioned these facts, they should not be construed to be my personal or family problems. Those around the Chairman don’t tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from a finance officer to one at the lowest level,” Salva Kiir Mayardit, from the minutes of Rumbek meeting in November 2004 while reconciling with the late chairman, Dr John Garang de Mabior.

As if he was not the same leader who later on became president and administered tribalism as a silent criteria for selections in employments to public and civil service jobs, in which more than 90% of the civil servants at the ministry of finance, for example, came from one tribe; and as if 90% of the culprits and beneficiaries of the infamous Dura Saga were not from his home region, he further accused the late chairman.

“…Corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate….,” also from the Rumbek meeting.

General Kiir in that meeting also clearly showed that his primary interest and obligation as a leader was to first and foremost look after the welfare of his tribesmen or region when he stunned the same meeting with this anti-nationalistic statement.

“I assure you that the allegation that I am against peace is not true. I am really for peace so that the International Community could rescue our suffering people. People of Bahr El Ghazal have suffered too much from repeated famine and from the Arab militias – and for these reasons I am the first to embrace peace to relief them from suffering,” Salva Kiir.

When in 2013 he felt that he was losing popularity in the Political Bureau as colleagues declared intention to constitutionally contest for his chair, General Kiir went to his home region and uttered tribal remarks in which he asked his kinsmen whether or not they would allow “their leadership to be taken away.”

The answer was a big NO followed by an assurance that the homeboys would defend “their” leadership with bloody iron fist.

From that moment he relentlessly continued to play up threats against the Nuer community from which a leading reformist and challenger, Dr Riek Machar, hails.

Immediate recruitment of tribal private militias was then entrusted to the then governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Paul Malong Awan.

The recruitments ensued in the president’s regional states of Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal without the knowledge and consent of the then army’s Chief of General Staff, General James Hoth Mai.

This is the private militia group which teamed up with the presidential guards and carried out the targeted massacre of Nuer unarmed civilians in the capital, Juba.

General Awan was later on given the new task as army chief in recognition of his role in the recruitments of the tribal militia group and the subsequent massacre.

Thousands of the Nuer civilians butchered inside their houses and in the streets of Juba for many days knew nothing or had nothing to do with the political debates in the SPLM.

They were simply targeted due to sharing ethnicity with the leader who happened to come from their tribe.

I want to reiterate by underlining that before the 15 December crisis, reformist leaders were much concerned about the prevailing state of tribalism, insecurity, corruption, stagnant economy, poor foreign relations and lack of vision and direction in the ruling party.

The leaders were also from different ethnic groups, of whom members from the Dinka tribe were the majority.

However, the ongoing challenge to democracy in South Sudan is not the prevalence of ethnic diversity, but the use of tribal politics to promote narrow tribal interests. This is tribalism.

This is a worrying trend given its obvious negative consequences. The 15 December tribally motivated violence by Salva Kiir and his accomplices revealed the extent to which tribal forces could deny freedom, democracy and development and quickly plunge the country into civil war.

The regime would argue that their blood tainted administration recognizes inclusivity in ethnicity. But this is just a coated cover on a bitter pill.

It is crystal clear that elite leaders in Juba have exploited tribal loyalty, coupled with the treason of surrendering the country’s partial sovereignty to foreign agents to advance personal gains.

These unsecure leaders also engage in patronage to these foreign agents and continue to dwell on parochial interests at the expense of the suffering masses.

In essence, tribal chauvinism and practices have occupied a vacuum created by lack of strong democratic institutions in the country.

South Sudan needs peace and introduction of various reforms including political reforms under an able leadership so as to build genuine democratic institutions and viable political parties that compete on the basis of ideas, not tribal groupings, as foundations for political platforms and competitions.

There should also be concerted efforts to organize and step up civic education among the populace as well as create a common identity for South Sudanese with the aim to discourage tribalism and dictatorship and instill nationalism and democratic values in the minds of the people.

We should not allow the gains of the decades of our collective struggle for freedom, democracy, justice, equality and prosperity, etc to be swept under the carpet by these unremorseful elite leaders in Juba.

We should be one people, free, secure, equal, prosperous and happy.

The struggle continues…and may God bless South Sudan!

The author is a Spokesperson in the Office of the Chairman, SPLM/SPLA. The opinionated contents in the article are however his personal views. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Analysis: South Sudan 2015 Election—a One Man Ideology!

By Peter Gai Manyuon

January 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan Government said on 16th January 2015, it has fully prepared to go ahead with planned elections despite the United States and other foreign countries refusing to support the ballot. South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, called on the international community to work with South Sudan, describing the decision as disappointing.

On the other hand, the electoral commission head, Abednego Akok Kacuol vowed that the elections would go ahead as planned in accordance with the country’s Transitional Constitution.

He assured that the polls would be free and fair, despite criticisms from some political parties and civil society organizations who want peace prioritized before the elections.

The question, which is clicking in people minds, is; what is the reason for government of South Sudan claiming to follow the constitution when it was the violation of the constitution that has taken South Sudan to zero level internationally and regionally as per now? How can one man interest destroyed the demand of all South Sudanese people?

In reality, South Sudanese some times are comedians in nature. They sometimes said controversial things that, they don’t contextualize /conceptualize first on what might affect people in the Country in the near future. Most of South Sudanese leaders don’t think for peaceful co-existence of society but rather advocating for the dis-integrations of society in to disarrays!

More interestingly; if South Sudanese leaders especially the opposition and government have sense of togetherness, patriotism about their country, why should they unite first before elections? Very disappointing that, most of South Sudanese leaders only thinks about their stomachs not general publics!

Ideally, agenda related to the elections in South Sudan, need proper analytical thinking from all the people because it is not easy to carry out general elections when there are very many burning issues that need re-settlement at first before anything.

Logically, what kind of election could be carrying out when thousands of civilians have been displaced? What election is Juba government talking about when half of the population has been massacred in Juba in 2013? What will help South Sudanese in the election process when Greater Upper Nile region is destroyed by two warring parties? Who will participate in the election when thousands are under United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protection? What kind of shamelessness and hopelessness is with Juba government? Do President Kiir Mayardit and his cabinets have sense of humanity or their senses are lost? Is President and his Parliamentarians good mentally, psychologically or they want serious diagnosis from specialized medical doctors?

Truly speaking, if people have sense of humanity; what kind of election could be held when the entire Nation is in mess from National government to the states level? Do South Sudanese who are in the Electoral Commission have mental disorder or they are forced by something else?

The Chairperson of Electoral Commission of South Sudan is advocating for elections to be carry out soon in the Republic of South Sudan, when he is aware that, there is civil war that has been going on and still going on in the Greater Upper Nile Region and some parts in Bhar-Elgazal and Equatoria respectively.

Possibly, elections are suppose to come when two parties answers the reason of killings innocent civilians in South Sudan especially from Bentiu, Malakal , Bor and Juba where thousands have been massacre based on ethnicity by both sides.

President Kiir and his group MUST answer the killing of civilians at the International Criminal Court (ICC) first unless otherwise world is happy with the genocide carried out in Juba by (Gelweng) of Kiir Mayardit and Malong Awan who is the current Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA)-Juba in South Sudan.

Obviously, the people who are suppose to face charges for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in South Sudan are only seven individuals, the rests will come afterward.

But don’t ask the author about the names and titles of the seven individuals!

Besides, if elections are going to be carry out in all ten states of the Republic of South Sudan, will elections be free and fair or 2010 malpractices will happen, where Taban Deng Gai of Unity State, Kuol Manyang of Jonglei, Wani Konga of Central Equotoria, Malong Awan of Northern Bhar-Elgazal were imposed to the Citizen/publics by the SPLM government of South Sudan?

Hence, if elections are to be held in South Sudan this year as some people who are not informed upstairs are advocating for it; will elections be free and fair from the National Government to the states Government or insurgencies will increase and take over the government by forced?

In summary, no one globally, regionally and nationally is of the view of carrying out election in the Republic of South Sudan in 2015; accept some few people who run the affairs of the country as tribal, family agenda/manner to fulfill the interest of consumption of country resources in one way or the other. Very shameful scenario to be advocated for!

Conclusively; I wish Government of South Sudan should adopt evaluation mechanism to resolve the conflict with the rebels first before any agenda to do with election in 2015 June.

The Author is an Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on issues of Democratization Processes and Human Rights in South Sudan. Follow him on www.independentjournalistpgm.wordpress.com.

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