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Wednesday, Jul 01st, 2015

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Self-centred men who married 50 (fifty) wives are the ones fuelling South Sudan’s conflict

By Gatwech Deng Wal

June 4, 2015 (SSNA) -- Corruptions and crimes such as bribery, embezzlement, nepotism and war plus many more are caused by leaders who have married fifty wives or multi-marriages. Chief of General Staff, Paul Malong Awan and President, Salva Kiir Mayardit are in that circle.

There is no doubt that Paul Malong Awan and Salva Kiir Mayardit are the ones fuelling South Sudan’s conflict. Under their leadership, South Sudan will forever remain divided and thus country instability will never come to an end. This is because their main aim is to feed their families and children, not thinking of the country and its people.

South Sudan’s conflict is not between Nuer and Dinka tribes, it is between interests. Interests of those who wanted to live under chaos, corruptions and oppression leadership and those who want to bring the change of stability, peace and fair justice in the country.

Paul Malong Awan and Salva Kiir Mayardit recruited, trained and equipped their tribal men, that is, Mathiang Anyoors and Gelwengs under the guise of protecting Dinkan’s interest against other South Sudanese tribes. This was not the purpose; however, it was a plan to protect their wealth. Mathiang Anyoors and Gelwengs are innocents. They were misled and deceived with unfolded purpose. Therefore, even if criminal justice needs to be served today, they cannot be guilty or be charged with anything but instrumental offences and accessories. The conflict causers, transgressors and real serial killers are Paul Malong Awan and Salva Kiir Mayardit.

The main concerns of Paul Malong Awan and Salva Kiir Mayardit are their wives and children. They stressed and depressed with their families’ responsibilities, thus, their staying in the leadership is not the aim of leading people but it is the question they always ask themselves with- “who will feed our fifty wives and hundreds of children once we stepped down from the leadership”! Without their families pressure on them, peace should come into place in a minute. This pressure of their families’ feedings will not let the two leaders practice patriotic country’s leadership, rather than pushing down, destroying and leading country and its people on the verge of collapse.

Although international communities such as UK, USA and Norway and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries have wasted their times and resources in order to bring peace in South Sudan, I doubt that peace will prevail, however, unless some wives from Paul Malong Awan and Salva Kiir Mayardit are being divorced.

I felt that what triggered conflict and prevent peace to come in South Sudan are those who have fifty wives or multi-marriages. But what they do not know is that South Sudan is bigger than their families. Even if someone wished death to their families and it happens, South Sudan should still exist. And South Sudan should not be a country if all 64 (sixty-four) tribes perished.

South Sudan is rich in terms of resources – only good management needed from those who call themselves leaders. If its resources are well managed, then the cumbersome situation South Sudanese are now facing should not be in place and everyone can get something little. And those who wanted to destroy the country for their families’ benefits would still survive and live a good life.

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

The celebration of the new Pagak County on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak

May 30, 2015 (SSNA) -- Three weeks ago, an invitation notice was extended and circulated on media, urging sons and daughters of Pagak to attend the commemoration of Pagak promotion to County level which is said to would have taken place in June. One made a plan to attend the function. Unfortunately, on Monday May 25, 2015, cousin Chan Nyak Kuoth, drop me a line communicating the fact that the day celebration supposed to be held has been changed from June to May 27, that change ruined the plan.  

Although one hasn’t made it to attend the celebration of the new county--Pagak, heart, thoughts and feelings are with the people who are physically celebrating. Insightfully, one thought about his paternal uncle who established the town using his own herds as the primary sources for use during that process. The author is also been mindful of all individuals who help in making the establishment of Pagak a reality over the years. Pagak County is located in the eastern-most of South Sudan along Ethiopian border. The area is the home of variety speakers of Nilo-Saharan languages such as the Nuer and Burun/Majangir as well as their Anyuak brothers/sisters on the side of Ethiopia. The Nuer who lives in Pagak County are eastern Jikany branch, consisting of Gaatjaak, Gaatguang and Gaatjiok. These clans are the majority of the Nuer who live in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan.

When Pagak got established in 1988, Gaatjaak were only habitant. The complexity of the social composition of Pagak increased when the SPLM/A follow the citizen who explored the town and make it a training center for new army recruit in 1989----that when other South Sudanese nationalities entered the area. Like many outer-posts, Pagak has for years----remained a remote unreachable jungle village between Zarzar and Lare. Native dwellers who habited this would be the future business center---survive primarily on livestock, cultivation, fishery as well as hunting and gathering. Below is a succinct background story of Pagak, covering the period of its early establishment up to the moment.

How Pagak came of being? The story of Pagak date back to 1970s when late Vincent Kuany Latjor defected from Sudan in 1975 and slipped into the bushes of then Southern Sudan toward Ethiopia. He and his colleagues made contact with the Dergue regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam looking for military assistance. Out of the retaliation of what Sudanese government was doing by supplying Eritrean rebels, Ethiopian authority began to provide liability support and stationed mutineers in a remote camp called Bilpam.  At first, Ethiopia did not provide their food item, which left the group struggled for their own survival. Initially, Kuany became close friend to this author’s paternal uncle who help them wholeheartedly using his own cattle.

In the fall of 1975, Kuany left Bilpam after the area was devastated with heavy flood and stationed in uncle Puok home in Lare. Approximately, he led a group of one to two thousand soldiers. Every week, uncle Puok has to slaughter an ox for them to eat throughout their stay, with the help of the community members, Kuany and his soldiers managed to stay in the community for a period of two months before they went back to Bilpam after Baro water went down.

When SPLM/A took over and Kuany was detained, uncle Puok got no recognition, given that those who took over did not know about his contribution. By the time Vincent Kuany got released in 1988 after SPLM/A cemented its unification with Anyanya-two, Kuany called uncle Puok to visit him in Itang. One remembers Puok took two rams with him to Itang as a gift to Gat-Latjor. Before the end of the visitation, Kuany told Puok to go along with him to meet William Nyuon Bany. It was in that meeting Kuany declared to William Nyuon that, “during our eight years stay in Bilpam, part of our survival comes from this man. Since we have now had gotten plenty of ration from the United Nations, I want you to recognize this man for what he has done.” Then, William asked Puok what would he like to do? Puok told him “I would like to lead my community and establish a town that will serve as the seat of my authority.” Ultimately, William authorized a letter to be written bearing the seal of the SPLM/A. The tone of the letter directed whoever comes to have contact with uncle Puok to respect and comply with the content and the terms of the letter. Basically, the letter described Puok as the head chief of Lare. After Puok went back to Lare, he called general assembly meeting and the letter was read aloud by Hoth Nyamai Ruei who eventually became his secretary assisted by this author.

Shortly, within the fall of 1988, Puok and the group of sympathizers moved to Pilual Donnie, an area previously used as a refugee resettlement center during Anyanya-one era. Three months later, then governor of Gambella region Mr. Thowath Pal Chai, ordered the removal of the town from Pilual Donnie; saying, “Pilual is on the side of Ethiopia territory.” Then Puok relocated the town to Larping currently known as Pagak. The name Pagak is originated to a nearby village which previously occupied by Burun/Majanger before they vacated it in early 1980s and the use of the name Pagak was promoted by Dr. Riek Machar over the name Lerping. I bet he was in a mood of avoiding confusion between Lerping and his home town Leer.  First, the establishment of the town was Vincent Kuany Latjor influence. Kuany was the one who encouraged uncle Puok to explore a town. In 1989-90, then Itang refugee camp coordinator comrade Taban Deng Gai promoted the residency of the town by ordering soldiers to build John Garang house. From that time onward, different personalities contributed one way or another to upgrade the town.

In late 1990s and early 2000, Dr. Riek Machar encouraged citizens anywhere in South Sudan to open airstrips so that commercial airplanes may drop food aid to needy local residents.  Pagak became one of the chosen centers where NGOs has stationed permanently to distribute urgently needed necessity. In 1995, an importance political development took place in Pagak; Dr. Riek came back to town from Addis Ababa after he had traveled to Addis Ababa seeking alliances with NDA after NDA form alliances with SPLM/A John Garang’s faction. When Riek’s quest for joining NDA was rejected and got ordered out of the country by the Ethiopian government, he cross the border and stationed in Pagak one of his headquarters and decided to form alliances with the NIF regime which later on resulted into the signing of a political charter with the government of the Sudan . Hence, the charter that culminated to Khartoum Peace Agreement and inked or signed on 21 April 1997 originated from Pagak deliberation. Currently, story repeat itself, the deliberation of adopting federal system as the form of the governance in South Sudan has again taken place in Pagak. These are historical facts children of Pagak should indubitably be proud of.

When CPA was signed in 2005, Southern Sudan interim government structured the system of governance by establishing five levels of the government i.e.; the country, State, County, Payam and Boma/Buma; Pagak ascended from being just a village to Payam. While the end of the interim period was approaching, many people in various places in South Sudan submitted proposals and grievances to power holders whether from State or National levels demanding more counties. Like others, Pagak citizens demanded that the town should be upgraded from Payam to county but all complaints did not work out. Such demands of creating more counties was put on hold until when the country was plunged to war and find itself in this current disorderly manner.

When Dr. Riek came to Addis Ababa from South Sudan in the first week of May 2014 following the European Union, United Nations and the United States’ pressure to involve high profile leaders in the stagnant peace talks in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Riek brought with him the idea of adopting the federal system of the governance as the basis of ruling South Sudan once peace has prevailed and attained. Under that proposal, Dr. Riek has recommended that, “former southern Sudan districts under British-Egyptian rule, must be upgraded to State level” the idea had equally invited restructuring and promotion of more Payams to the county level. By the time peace talk broke down in October 2014, IGAD mediators demanded South Sudan warring parties must convene conferences in order to communicate IGAD proposal to their respected constituencies. Out of the SPLM/A-IO convention on December 6, 2015 Pagak and many other Payams were made counties after the function had endorsed Dr. Riek’s proposal of federation.

This past Wednesday on May 27, 2015, sons and daughters of Pagak had converged in the town to celebrate the birth of the new county. It was a well-attended function where joyous participants euphorically sang and ululated. Profoundly, the transformation that is taking place in the political structure of South Sudan under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar is pioneering given that it has introduced the principle of decentralization under federated units opposing Juba tendency of ruling the country under unitary State where power is vested on the hands of the few people. This well thought restructuring, has to be carried on if we are really aiming of fulfilling our forbearers’ popular demand of federalism since 1947.

In conclusion, one is so grateful to the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO for making much needed transformation of the country. Without doubt, majority of South Sudanese people are yearning for federalism to be adopted as the system of the governance. Federal system unlike the mere centralization Juba dragging its feet of promoting, is a constitutional arrangement in which the sovereignty of the nation is divided between the national, State, county and all local governments. Such arrangement provides stronger degree of autonomy to various levels of the government to fulfill citizens’ need. As the celebration has been concluded, one would lastly appeal to Pagak sons and daughters, to promote spirit of mutual understanding as they are running new county activities. It is now up to us to develop the town. Development does not only mean building bricks, cement or zinc houses. It involves everything including combination of mud, grass and tree houses. In that extend, one would like to urge the commissioner and all his council members to build  (federal republic square, a large center for conferences and public guess house) with wood, grasses and mud; using our women league, youth as well as civil society of Pagak men group. Modern infrastructure institutions will follow once peace has been achieved. Moreover, one would equally urge compatriots in Pagak to avoid being rigid over the land issue. Give land to all NGOS that wish to establish their stay and all SPLM/A-IO various institutions particularly department of education and health, their work will one day remain Pagak future benefit. .Long live the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO, long live the dream of our fore fathers.

May God bless Pagak!!

The author is a political commentator: he should be reach by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Vetting and Verification (V &V) Should Always be Upheld with Pious Passion

By Kuir ë Garang

May 20, 2015 (SSNA) -- When President Kiir fired his entire cabinet and appointed a new one in July of 2013, many of us thought it was the advent of a new era of accountability. Sadly, as the subsequent series of events would prove, it was actually the advent of a gloomy era of serious flood of errors. Even for some of us who knew that Mr. Kiir was already an incapable leader as early as 2005, we didn’t know his incompetence would be this destructive and eternally damning. As he metaphorically and fatefully said when he assumed power after the demise of late Garang, the country is running with no ‘reverse gear.’ So it is easy to see why there is no stop to killings, meaningless decrees, economic deterioration, and political intimidation.

But when the cabinet was initially named, a semblance of a democratic process was exercised with a nominal ‘vetting’ of the ministers. There was even a rejection of one of the president’s nominees. South Sudanese therefore thought the dawn of democracy was in the air. However, the acrimonious vetting process of Telar Ring Deng for Justice Minister soon revealed something sinister. Mr. Telar was the only one actually vetted as the rest of the cabinet wasn’t seriously vetted. Telar’s rejection was later understood to be ‘revenge’ as he was seen to be the power behind the president’s decisions.

Our democratic utopia was therefore dashed. The process was even aggravated when the president warned the parliament after they expressed desire to subject the president’s nominees for the speaker of legislative assembly and Vice Presidency, to scrutiny. The president warned parliament that there’d be consequences if they reject his nominees. It was the classic African preference of personality cult as opposed to democratic or parliamentary principles.

While the president found it easy, or even necessary to do away with the vetting process to bolster his hold on the presidency and power, he can now see that the chicken are coming home to roost.

The constant defection of the likes of Peter Gatdet and Johnson Oliny is a result of not following due process in the institution of any given policy proposals. The incorporation of militia into the national army needs to be done in a manner that reduces any chance of such rebellion-prone folks to rebel. A government, or even the army, can’t just make decisions because they feel they are necessary at the time. Long-term effects have to be put into consideration before any decision is made.

We all know South Sudan has become a totalitarian regime that has copied Khartoum’s theocratic totalitarianism letter by letter and word by word. The political atmosphere is stifling in Juba and any political opposition is treated with pious brutality. There are people who are in government’s controlled areas but they disapprovd of the government. They just don’t see rebellion as a solution to the problems in South Sudan. However, the government doesn’t take it seriously that the more they stifle the political breathing space in South Sudan, the more they drive the disgruntled minds toward rebellion. The SPLA and National Security Agents arrest people anyhow and detain them without any due process of the law. Ateny Wek, the presidential spokesperson, argues that the president doesn’t order such arrests. If the president doesn’t order such arrests then who has the authority to do so? Without doubt, we know such arrests are unconstitutional, so why doesn’t the president stop such arrests given the facts that he’s the guardian of the constitution, ideally speaking?

The government brags about having been elected; that it is a democratically elected leadership. However, the president doesn’t explain to the people—who gave him the mandate to rule—the logic behind some of the decisions he makes. He breaks constitutional provisions and finds it unnecessary to explain to the people the reason why. In what nation on earth, even dictatorial ones, does a president select the leadership and board members of the supposedly independent bodies such as media authority? Media authority is supposed to be an independent body that employs people of merit by subjecting them to credential assessment in their hiring process.

Doesn’t the president have something to do, something presidential? It has come to the point in which the president is going to pass decrees employing janitors for his office and the parliament. This president has either been reduced to this level by those who’d want to see him destroyed; or he’s reduced himself to his level through incompetence. Either way, the president needs to wake up and salvage what’s left of his legacy. The failed Nigerian former president, Goodluck E. Jonathan, salvaged his legacy in the last minute. He’s going to be remembered for having conceded election loss and for having peacefully handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, rather than through his failures.

It’s time for President Kiir and Riek Machar to realize that time is up for them and that the leadership needs to go to a different, younger class of South Sudanese leadership.

It’s high for the leadership in South Sudan to subject policies to verification and stern vetting mechanics. We know with certainty that cabinet ministers contradict each other day in day out because of lack of systematized verification process. Ministers have to consult one another before they go public in order not to reflect the government as confused and incompetent. The minister of foreign information says one thing but he’s soon contradicted by either the minister of foreign affairs or presidential spokesperson.

Transparency, information verification, respect for human rights and respect for democratic ideals have never harmed any civilians or leadership.

Kuir ë Garang is the author of “South Sudan Ideologically.” For contact, visit

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