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Riek Machar, adopt Nuer egalitarianism as your manifesto and watch your popularity skyrocket!

By Margaret Akulia, Canada

May 15, 2014 (SSNA) -- Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, espouse Nuer egalitarianism as your official manifesto for the new South Sudan and watch your popularity skyrocket locally and globally! Continue to be a champion for actual Democracy and you will automatically become the People’s hero. That means allying with the people of South Sudan who must largely comprise of political parties, civil society and faith-based leaders in “the negotiation of a transitional government of national unity, in order to ensure broad ownership of the agreed outcomes” and gaining their consensus on the way forward for South Sudan in relation to “the permanent constitution, and any other items that concern the political future of the country and reconciliation of South Sudanese communities”, as outlined in the agreement you signed in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014.

Your appeal for calm after Salvatore Kiir Mayardit dishonoured your 2010 “gentlemen agreement” and your refusal to dignify his self-aggrandizing, reckless and uncalled for cock-a-doodle-doo “I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country” with a response during the somber occasion of signing the agreement to halt the carnage in South Sudan in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014 distinguished you as the superior statesman!

Machar calls for calm, commends army for restraint
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What Does the IGAD Peace Agreement Means to South Sudan?
Transcript: Kiir and Machar speeches at South Sudan ceasefire signing

Even though you would have offered a lucid response to Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s attempt to “ruffle your feathers” in spite of the fact that you have effectively “clipped his wings” by forcing him as an incumbent president to negotiate with you, your self-discipline to stay silent speaks volumes about your ability to resist the temptation to be jerked into a foolish power struggle at the expense of the people of South Sudan! You did extremely well by refusing to dignify Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s deflated and sacrilegious “cock crowing” about being the president of the country he has desecrated with a response because as a higher-class statesman, you understood and discerned that it was a glum occasion resulting from death and destruction. Consequently, the haughtiness Salvatore Kiir Mayardit exhibited would be out of place. That was why you earned a warm welcome in Ethiopia instead.

Dr. Machar Was Not Threatened In Addis Ababa, He Was Warmly Welcomed!

You remain tight-lipped about what transpired in Ethiopia behind “closed doors” in relation to allegedly being “blackmailed” byEthiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn into signing the agreement to halt the bloodbath in South Sudan as a wise statesman ought to because you understood that any “persuasion” by the Prime Minister was intended for the good of the people of South Sudan. However, Salvatore Kiir Mayardit flippantly “broadcast” it on “hilltops” and continued to lay bare the lack of discipline that caused South Sudan to plummet into a lawless country in the first place! You did well not to “blubber” and allege duress as Salvatore Kiir Mayardit has done because Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s “persuasion” was not duress but a duty to ensure that the suffering masses of South Sudan can stop being executed in cold blood!

We signed peace deal under duress, Kiir claims

The Proverb “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall(Proverbs 16:18)” is playing itself out right before the eyes of the world and Salvatore Kiir Mayardit only has himself to blame for the looming humiliating tumble that will result from his ill advised “cock crowing” in Ethiopia and “loose talk” before an entire world that is watching the two of you very closely. Take your caliber to an unparalleled level by trumpeting an interim government of the people, by the people, for the people which bears close resemblance to your Nuer egalitarianism after all and your popularity will skyrocket locally and globally!

Salvatore Kiir Mayardit started off the agreement to halt the massacre in South Sudan in bad faith but you don’t have to follow in his footsteps. His are the murmurings of an undiscerning wannabe “king” who wants to impose a warped “kingdom” called South Sudan onto “subjects” who actually despise him now because of the way he morphed into a tyrant instead of remaining a “freedom fighter”! It is obvious that Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his cronies are completely ignorant about the fact that his so-called “democratic election” was actually a plebiscite and not a Presidential Election! A simple explanation by an incorruptible and intelligent lawyer with the aptitude to understand that the people of South Sudan can actually “dethrone” Salvatore Kiir Mayardit from his self-styled “kingship” legally would have wiped off the smirk preceding the cock-a-doodle-doo “I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country” from his face!

However, why bother continuing to sound like a “broken record” to try and explain this high-level legal detail to “deaf” ears anyway when the People now have an immediate opportunity to turn a new leaf and forge forward with an actual Democracy? Why bother prolonging the suffering of South Sudanese by “dragging” Salvatore Kiir Mayardit through the dysfunctional judiciary and “kangaroo courts” he has instituted in South Sudan to try to “unseat him” legally when the people can now move forward without the brutality he and his cronies have meted on them for almost a decade?

Suffice it to say that despite assuming power without the correct process and mandate from the people of South Sudan, Salvatore Kiir Mayardit has grossly let down the People and abrogated his implicit duty to foster the country and prevent every South Sudanese from being harmed. Consequently he and his supporters need to stop the absurdity of enunciating that he should serve his full presidential term because there was no such term!

The people of South Sudan have had enough mortification to last a life time. It is time for them to heal from their unfathomable wounds and recover from being a laughing-stock after enduring the humiliating high jinks of a so-called President who is clueless about the importance and workings of the United Nations system.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir told UN of acting like a parallel government JAN 20, 2014

The only reason Salvatore Kiir Mayardit continued as President of South Sudan is the tyranny that has precipitated the mass murder of South Sudanese from your Nuer tribe and his Dinka tribe but there is now an opportunity for new beginnings which you as a superior statesman should safeguard by allying with the political parties, civil society and faith-based leaders and obtaining their consensus about what the transitional government of national unity ought to be. Salvatore Kiir Mayardit has proved that he is incapable of redeeming himself, which puts the onus on you,Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon as a more sophisticated statesman in the harmful game of “Russian Roulette” that has severely injured the people of South Sudan and ravaged the country beyond recognition to work with the people of South Sudan in championing their aspirations for an interim government. Such a government needs to be sanctioned by the People without intimidation. 

The interim government is temporary, interventional and preparatory in nature but critical for the survival of the South Sudan you yourself risked your life for. It will be a critical bridge between the bloodbath in which you and your cronies participated and a Democratic South Sudan that is the envy of all African countries. It will usher in much needed healing and pave the way for resolving the six key challenges that you highlighted during the meeting you had with members of the South Sudan politburo on March 5, 2013, which included but were not limited to the rampant corruption, tribalism, economic problems, insecurity, poor international relations and the loss of vision and direction by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement that led to Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s decision to eject you from the vice presidency of South Sudan after you attempted to offer him “constructive criticism”. 

The bloodletting that has brought South Sudan to this point of utter despair has devastated individuals, communities and the country at large but the extreme injury cannot be reversed. However, the people can try to heal only if peace is reinstated. You can bring about that peace by continuing your call to action and the “fundamental change” that is also supported by your brother from Equatoria, Lieutenant General Ladu Gore while supporting the People’s aspirations to constitute an interim government.

Make your fight for Democracy about restitution for the devastated people of South Sudan, not you or Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and watch how high the global community exalts you. You have already ushered in South Sudan’s much needed “truth and reconciliation” by taking full responsibility for your role in the Bor massacre of 1991 and I am confident that you will make another unprecedented “U Turn” by taking full responsibility for your role in the current bloodbath while morphing into the People’s fervent protector and defender! Find a way to reach out to members of the White Army and the other Nuer people who are still out to avenge the senseless murder of Nuer people. Impress upon them that two wrongs don’t make a right and revenge will never bring back their loved ones but the restitution the interim government could also be tasked with might aid in the healing.  

Riek Machar in tears as he admits to 1991 Bor massacres

Ally with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Protect the people of South Sudan from Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his cronies because unlike Salvatore Kiir Mayardit, you are capable of being remorseful for your actions and making a total “U Turn”. Above all, listen to the wise counsel of the people of South Sudan in their aspirations for an interim government. Be open to instruction, “constructive criticism” and correction starting with the instruction and appeal by your sisters at the South Sudan Women Cry for Peace.

South Sudan Women Cry for Peace’s Position Paper on the Way Forward for South Sudan

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Justice Peter Sule on a legal & grassroots solution for South Sudan
Solution oriented conversations with Lt-Gen. Alfred Ladu Gore

Margaret Akulia is co-author of the sequel Idi Amin: Hero or Villain? His son Jaffar Amin and other people speak. She brings to the South Sudan dialogue a multidisciplinary professional background including but not limited to “grassroots activism”. Additional information at https://travellinglearningcircles.com/Save_South_Sudan.html

Cease-fire in South Sudan Falters

By Eric Reeves

May 11, 2014 (SSNA) -- There are many threats to the cease-fire signed on Friday, May 9, 2014 by Salva Kiir, President of the Republic of South Sudan, and Riek Machar, former Vice President and nominal "leader" of the Sudan People's Liberation Army/In Opposition (SPLA/IO).  Not least among them is the woeful inadequacy of command-and-control by the SPLA/IO.  Much of this stems from a continuous misreporting about Riek Machar and his "leadership" within the rebel movement.  He is not the leader of the political opposition, and indeed is the only major figure pushing for military rebellion; the title of "opposition leader" probably belongs to Rebecca Garang or Pagan Amum, and both have publicly declared the urgent need for substantial reform, but also that this cannot be achieved by military means. 

But nor is Riek a true leader of the forces in the field, increasingly divided along ethnic lines and divided by a vast geography with almost no communications or transport infrastructure (and the seasonal rains have already begun). For example, his control of the White Army (Nuer youth militia) is highly doubtful, and he simply doesn't have the ability to communicate with the widespread military forces that are much more heterogeneous than the title "SPLA/In Opposition" would suggest.

There are authoritative reports of fighting in and around Bentiu (Unity State) this morning (May 11, 2014 EST).  One reason may be suggested by this extraordinary quote obtained by Radio Tamazuj (May 11, 2014):

Lul Ruai, spokesman of the SPLA-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO), said their forces on the ground still did not receive any directives from the opposition leadership on Saturday [May 10].

If this is true—that a day after the "landmark" cease-fire agreement, SPLA/IO forces in the field had still not received any directives from the military "leadership"—we catch a glimpse of the immense obstacles to an effective cease-fire.  Individual fighting units will likely be making critical decisions on the basis of woefully inadequate information.  An accidental shot might turn into a full-scale battle.  Rumors will spread like wildfire if there is no authoritative communication-and-command system in place to control actions by opposition forces.  Only widespread, credible monitoring can forestall dangerous rumors, deliberate misinformation, and propaganda. 

Remarkably, this same SPLA/IO spokesman (Lul Ruai) declared today in the midst of the fighting:

"The violations of the Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan shows that (President Salva) Kiir is either insincere or not in control of his forces," rebel military spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said in a statement. (Middle East On-Line, May 11, 2014)

There are certainly real command and control issues for the SPLA; but this is the same spokesman who declared that SPLA/IO forces hadn't even received any "directives" proceeding from the cease-fire agreement—the day after it was signed.

We must also wonder where UNMISS and the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) are: to this point they have not been able to confirm publicly the nature of the fighting that has occurred today (Reuters reports today an anonymous "UN official" as confirming the heavy fighting around Bentiu).  It was clear to all who would only look that the first day or two would be the most dangerous for the cease-fire: why were urgent deployment preparations not made even before the signing of the cease-fire?  Why was the MVM not fully ready to begin actual deployment the moment the agreement was signed, or first thing Saturday (May 10) morning?

And where is Secretary of John Kerry now?  Apparently South Sudan received its one and a half days of attention, and now—after a week in Africa—Kerry is home.  Perhaps he is sailing today.  He does appear to be following, and indulging in unctuous condemnations of, the agonizing tragedy of Boko Haram's kidnapping of some 300 Nigerian girls; but this must be put in the balance with hundreds of thousands of lives at acute risk in South Sudan.  Clearly kidnappings have touched an emotional nerve, and American diplomacy seems to be prepared to respond to this atrocity as an extraordinary priority.  But here we might ask why Kerry has expressed so little explicit concern for the thousands of girls—some as young as eight and even younger—who have been brutally raped, often gang-raped, in Darfur?  Hundreds have died or suffered grave physical injury from the consequences of these horrific crimes, and all will be traumatized for life.  And the rapes continue on a daily basis.

Do you have an eye for anything that is not in the "diplomatic limelight," Mr. Kerry?

And where are the militarily capable nations of Europe, which might have provided critical transport, communications, and logistical assistance?  We have heard much from these nations about the urgent need for fighting to be stopped in South Sudan, and for accountability, even sanctions.  But at the moment of true need, when there was a cease-fire in the making that required careful observation and monitoring, especially in its critical opening hours, the Europeans have been caught flat-footed.  They have done nothing to speed the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism into the areas most prone to violence and cease-fire violations.  The world is flying blind, with the exception of what UNMISS can report—which to date, is nothing about the cease-fire violations they are well aware are occurring.

It may already be too late for any vestige of the cease-fire to be saved: news of the fighting in and around Bentiu is being reported in ways that are dangerously vague; it is already being used for propaganda purposes.  All that can give this acutely vulnerable cease-fire a chance is urgent international commitment to rapid and effective monitoring.  IGAD's MVM is not up to the task; only nations with an urgent response capability can assist MVM and UNMISS in ways that provide true monitoring.  For one thing should have been clear to all: that without effective, timely monitoring, this cease-fire never had a chance.

Eric Reeves' new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 - 2012; www.CompromisingWithEvil.org).

Reconstituting a Regime that Abused “Power and Wealth” is not the Solution!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

May 8, 2014 (SSNA) -- According to the facts on the ground, South Sudan has already reached the tipping point in its inter-ethnic hatred and targeted killings. However it is only of recent that much talk of averting a possible genocide at this advanced stage of the onslaught is beginning to be seriously considered in the international corridors where decisions are made.

Yet judging by what is happening in other parts of the world like Syria, the Central African Republic Somalia ......etc, one does  know if it is not all down to the usual last minute political P/R  for which many of these big powers are known or they could still be ways of keeping up appearance. It is simply too early to pass a judgement.

Much of the scepticism expressed here is not intended in any way to discourage any well intended efforts at stopping the vicious cycle of revenge killings. We are all in agreement that people shouldn’t be left to be butchered while the world watches.

But the fact of the matter is that innocent souls were already lost to these brutal massacres that engulfed parts of this new country, since its President chose ‘ ethnic cleansing’  as his way of dealing with all those he perceives to be enemies or rivals.

You don't have to call it genocide if you don't want to.  Yet the bottom line is that a real targeted killings, on ethnic basis and on a massive scale have long taken place in South Sudan under the current leadership, while the world watched and talked.

And those who continue to talk as if this new country was indeed some kind of a good, peaceful and stable place prior to the December 16 – 19, 2013 massacres in Juba, are right out hypocrites. They are doing so simply to justify their inactions when this embattled country was sleeping-walking into the current self-destruction.

Killings of innocent civilians were ever since a common place not just in remote parts of Jonglei, Lakes state, Yambio, Wau, or Nimule.  But even in Juba where the President and his ministers, advisor and MPs wine and dine, people’s lives are constantly in jeopardy from the undisciplined security agents. Life for the common person has long since become a gamble between surviving it today and possible not being able to do so the next day.

If the SPLM/A led government of President Kiir Salvatore excelled in one thing, then that thing is the state orchestrated insecurity.

This also is not aimed at exaggerating the current state of affairs where the Dinka and the Nuer have butchered one another which only confirms the message being passed here.

But even outside the Greater Upper axis of Bor, Malakal and Bentui, there is an under-reported human disaster going on right now in the Lakes State. All that President Salva Kiir did was to send in another criminal and human right abuser in the person of the current Care-taker governor, who only made the situation far worse.

The underlying message of this article is, when a system of governance is rotten to the core as it is with the ruling SPLM/A government under the current leadership, no amount of sweeping real incompetence under the carpet can improve the image of what for all practical purposes is a fast sinking ship.

It is very unfortunate that the whole world chose to turn a blind eye to the pariah leadership of this nascent country even though every bit of its many deviations from the international laws and norms kept unfolding on a broad day light and on everyone’s watch. 

Even the Obama administration was aware of what was brewing inside the SPLM/A - administration, but yet it chose to allow it to hatch into what it is now!

So why the change of heart now that the US is at last rethinking its initial position of standing on the fence and only to throw its weight after hundreds of thousands of innocent people had been lost.

This carnage could have been stopped much earlier.   First the “Black December” 2013 of Juba, then Bor, then Bentui, then Malakal and finally Mapel in Western Bahr el Ghazal State and now of recent Nasir Town in Upper Nile.  All could have been stopped.

The true number of people killed in these onslaughts cannot be told as many died of their wounds after escaping deep into the swamps or bushes where nobody even recovered their bodies. But many have also survived to tell the horrors!

Unsurprising people all across the globe, knew from day one that the current wave of ethnically targeted killings that engulfed South Sudan, has its roots inside the SPLM/A – liberation history.  Yet they chose politics to actions.

President Kiir and his Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin were given the audience they never deserved while they travelled around justifying the government orchestrated killings of the Nuer in the name of some imaginary foiled coup attempt.

In a place like South Sudan where everything is done on tribal lines, it is only fair to openly recognise the role of ethnicity in the politics of the country. Hence it is natural that every fight, even a tiny local bar brawl anywhere in the country will be fought on ethnic lines. Is it a good thing?  Well, I don’t know! But what I know is that it is how South Sudan operates.

It is for this reason that we need to be cautious when dealing with issues that are often overshadowed by ethnicity. And by the way there are no shortages of these kind of issues in South Sudan. 

In such circumstances it may be a good thing that, even optimism that could have helped in bridging the gaps, will need to be taken with a pinch of salt. To underrate the magnitude of ethnic politics in this parts of the world, is in fact to gamble with human life.  Be it your life or someone else’s.

But whether the country can really be rid of ethnic politics, is another thing. Some people will answer “Yes”, yet in many cases they are just being too superficial.

Nevertheless something can still be done to minimise the extent of these things if they are to be kept away from negatively impacting on issues of sovereignty, statehood and the likes. This too will also need to be tackled through a breath-taking and tedious efforts at bargaining.  But never ever through coercion.

To a local South Sudanese it is only natural that people have to gang on ethnic basis whenever there are national issues that needs tackling. Unfortunately it does not only stop there as even South Sudanese University Students have also become notoriously known for constantly ganging on tribal basis when electing their Students’ Union Bodies. Then how worse can it really get to be?!

A wiser decision at this stage, would be in fact to disengage the people for a while in a Federal System that dis-incentives the Central Government. Why not create more states and take most of the development budgets over there.

Let people go and serve their own areas.  We shall then see who are those who will embezzle their local areas’ funds and still get the tribal support that they now get for the same actions as they ruthlessly embezzle funds at the Central Government level?

The call by US administration requesting President Kiir Salvatore and his rival Dr Riek Machar to negotiate a Power and Wealth sharing system can only serve the purpose of peace if the power and wealth to be shared are moved out of the centre and into the periphery.

In this way, it can be guaranteed that indeed the Power and the Wealth will be shared by all South Sudanese in their various localities without having to come and ethnically gang against the rest of the countrymen with the hope of getting away with the lion’s share.

It must also be stressed that the current government in Juba can no longer hide behind a legitimacy that it has since betrayed when it chose to indiscriminately butcher a whole section of its citizens in what will always be remembered as the infamous “Juba Massacre” of the post-independence South Sudan.

The people of South Sudan must be given the opportunity at this critical moment in their history to voice their views and hold their leaders accountable.  There is nowhere on Earth that people can be butchered in their hundreds of thousands and still the perpetuates continue to keep their jobs and are continued to be looked at with reverence and respect.

It is true there is a US targeted sanctions which has targeted two of the most senior military officers on both sides of the warring factions.  Obviously the common person in South Sudan expects the international community to do more than just punishing the field commanders, while the real “Godfathers” are left untouched.

The announced US economic sanction on someone like President Kiir Salvatore’s Commander of the notorious Presidential Guards’ Unit a.k.a the “Tiger Battalion”, Major General Marial Chanuong Mangok, may not mean much to stop the onslaught.

However it does signify that the Obama administration is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that he, Marial Chanuong Mangok has a major role in the December 2013 massacre of the Nuer citizens in Juba, that went on to trigger the crazy wave of killings and revenge killings.

The same can be said of the rebel General Peter Gadet Yaak, who oversaw the SPLMA in Opposition’s recapture the town of Bentui, the country’s Oil hub and capital of the Unity State.

We are told that under the US sanctions, both men are banned from travelling to the US and any assets they have in US financial institutions will be frozen. But do they really want to travel to the US or does anyone of them really have their cows in some ranch in Texas, which they will be worried  about!

It is for these kind of reasons that the US should not “Americanise” the South Sudan crisis. For any step towards justice make any real difference, it must have to be tailored to suit the local circumstances. First it is no good beginning down-low when the true perpetrators are high up in the top offices.

Apparently president Kiir ordered Major General Marial Chanuong Mangok, who in turn ordered his men to go out on the man-hunt of Nuer citizens. No way could Major General Marial Chanuong Mangok had carried out the Juba Massacre on his own, and still keep his job.

After all he (Marial Chanuong Mangok) is just an officer serving under a commander in Chief who in this case happens to none other than President Kiir Salvatore. And given the nature of the carnage, it is now anyone’s guess that the orders were given in “Classical Dinka language”, practically leaving no room whatsoever for any Dinka soldier on duty to misinterpret.

That was how the authorisation of the mass butchering of Nuer people made its way down the chain of command to the foot soldiers of the Presidential Guards who then went out on the killing spree of their Nuer countrymen.

Nowhere on Earth can a General in the army order his troops to carry out a carnage of this magnitude and still keeps his job unless he did it under orders from the highest authority in the country.

In this particular situation of South Sudan these orders could have only emanated from President Kiir Salvatore. It was upon his orders that the indiscriminate onslaught that took place in Juba between December 16 to 19, 2013 and thereafter could have taken place.

People of South Sudan are in a dire need for peace and stability so they can go along with their lives. After all it is not really much of a life. But that is all what they have. And they have the right to live it to its full potential. However should this peace come at the expense of justice, it will without the least doubt only help breed more bitter feelings of frustrations  and a quest for future revenge.

At the end of the day it is not too much for the people of South Sudan to ask for an alternate leadership when the ones the US administration is seriously contemplating to force down their throats are better-off in some maximum security prisons somewhere in The Hague or the Guantanamo bay! Is it not where they lock up terrorists and mass murders?

Our people are fed up of this ‘‘déjà vu scenario’’ which took place between 2005 and 2011. The same abusive wealth and power sharing that occurred between the generals and politicians of the SPLM/A- and the northern NCP under the Government of National Unity (GoNU, happened in the total exclusion of the down-trodden masses.

John Kerry is free to utter all kinds of threats but he should not be allowed to reproduce that abusive CPA style Power and Wealth Sharing arrangement again. No group of disgraced Generals or Politicians should be allowed to serve under the transitional arrangement when all they cherish is to have a share in the abuse of state Power and Wealth!

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba is a concerned citizen and a voice for the voiceless. 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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