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Peace, not Appeasement

By Deng Vanang

May 9, 2015 (SSNA) -- Just, durable and sustainable peace is deeply rooted in openly and honestly discussing the root causes of the conflict. It is these root causes that distinguish between who is an aggressor and aggressed. With this finding, the aggressor is served with reasonable punishment and aggressed rewarded with verdict of innocence.

The aggressor is then asked to pay the aggressed the losses he incurred in order to restore him to safe position before the time of the inflicted harm, be it physically or materially.

With punishment, aggressor is taught invaluable lesson that crime doesn’t pay and never to repeat the costly exercise in future. While this apportioned punishment cools the enraged heart of the aggressed that there is a lot to gain morally when standing on the side of justice that sets social trends for exemplary life of peace and stability.

From this point of view, it is not the appeasement in apportioning blame to all sides of the conflict by mediator just to be seen fair that matters but just peace that points out where wrong or right lies so as to craft practical solution that addresses the crisis at hand amicably.

As it is impractical for two sides of the conflict to be both right and wrong and equally not the retribution against the perceived wrong doer the best way forward but reasonable act of deterrence becoming the hallmark of justice system if premeditated crime shall be anything of the past.

Window shopping for peace that treats the aggressed and aggressor as equally wrong or right is not only impractical approach to unravel in more foreseeable future, but also a cruel method of covering the wrongs of one side with which to get away. It is a recipe for even more disaster than the one people seek to tackle now.

In families and societies immoral behaviors are taken as normal struggles of daily life, then there exists a continuous tendency of the same being committed over and over again with dire consequence of such set ups remaining in vicious cycle of stagnancy or retardation or even both.

Again, warring parties don’t choose the kind of peace each wants. The course peace takes is dictated by myriads of ingredients, such as root causes both principal and subsidiary, disastrous effects – long term and short term and most sustainable remedies to the conflict.

Yes the perceived wrong doer may own up while the wronged honestly accepts and forgives for a just peace mutually acceptable to all sides can be attained.

However, in the case both sides pull the ropes the mediator has the final word based on his fair assessment of what really caused the conflict.

The mediator in pursuit of just peace shouldn’t be blackmailed by consequences of his perceived just act no matter how dire they may be. In avoidance to take the course of justice for fear of the side his act will adversely affect, then justice that could resolve conflict is not served.

It is equally scaremongering and defense mechanism at best to the benefits of the wrong doer as cited by some opinion writers.  To them, a stronger SPLA backed by its local defense forces could manage to marshal and destabilize the country if bad peace is imposed on the government in the country built on the foundation of tribal sentiments.

The said opinions are advanced without considering the fact that the same SPLA with the full backing of Uganda’s People Defense Force, UPDF, the allied Sudan’s rebel groups and locally trained multi-ethnic militants has been contained by a pre-dominantly single ethnic armed group in the name of SPLA-In- Opposition. What if it is the UN’s backed military intervention, can SPLA and its allies survive in the face of such onslaught?

Whereas, the same advanced hypotheses wrongly defined South Sudan’s problem as that of tribes which hate themselves than the lack of equitable development as promoted by corrupt and tribal politicians who use resources to divide and rule tribes in order to maintain tight grips on positions of political supremacy and economic plunder.

Truth be told, before formation of SPLM/A back in 1983, not a single tribe mobilized itself and occupied the land of another or had been in constant feud with another save for isolated peaceful land encroachments and sporadic rustling incidents orchestrated by a few individual cattle entrepreneurs.

If United Nations peace keeping force takes charge and forms people - centered government that delivers social services in healthcare and education, roads and communication networks as well as creates favorable environment conducive for rule of law, freedom of speech, fair employment, and business and trade these politicians will just be deprived of recruitment ground to wage self-serving wars against one another.

Also citing cases of Somalia, Iraq and Libya so as to influence the third party’s intervention in a way wrongly favorable to certain side or else South Sudan will go the same way those countries have taken is an empty political rhetoric.

The deterioration of situation in these countries followed third party’s intervention that aimed at totally supplanting the favored opposition with hated establishment.  It is a win -loss political approach.

In Somalia it was destroying Ahmed Farah Aideed with Ali Mahdi in the past and currently Al-shabaab with moderate Islamic groups. It is pitting Shiites against Saddam Hussein’s Sunnis in Iraq. In Libya, it is propelling long aggrieved people of Benghazi over and above Tripoli’s ruling clique.

That is all done at the expense of creating a whole new system in those countries comprised of members with no criminal records from all warring sides followed by rigorous process of national reconciliation and healing.

The same quarters similarly feel warring parties be given an ample time to make peace in order to avoid an imposed peace from outside that shall rather serve to aggravate the already worse situation in South Sudan.

The problem is not shortness of time given to parties to make their own peace but it is impossibility of these parties to reach a workable peace agreement even if given a century and the destruction the war shall cause the longer it takes while rumbling on.

Within a span of a year and half, the war caused the death of modest estimate of 50,000 people, displaced 2 million others and unknown number of those it maimed, then how destructive it will be if allowed to go on indefinitely in discretion of the warring parties?

When it is common knowledge worldwide the longer the conflict takes, the more it creates high human casualties and material destruction while arousing in the process terrible emotions too difficult for the parties to reach comprises for any future agreement.

Another impractical opinion doing the round among some members of academia is that South Sudan’s war should be ended by world powers’ consensus, probably in the United Nations Security Council. When it is known to all and sundry members of global UN, regional and sub-regional blocs in AU, Arab League, etc. hardly agree on a single course of action ever since the cold war’s era.

Given the current multi-polarity of the world, five permanent members of UN’s Security Council such as US, China, Russia, Britain and France are even more divided. With US as sole super power is getting more weakened to impose its will by over ambitious China and resurging Russia as formidable challengers.

Hence, required unanimity of decision with subsequent action remains a distant mirage. Although US with its Western allies in European Union, EU still wields some considerable leverage to bulldoze its way against certain set obstructions.

Though given a considerable period of time, South Sudanese leaders failed to come up with political will to address issues of bad governance for the last ten years that eventually caused December, 2013’s violence as well as their unbridled intransigence to reach a required compromise at peace talks. 

With mediators’ failing suggestion of two principals that include those accused of political and economic crimes in yet to be released AU’s Commission of Inquiry reports be barred from purposed Transitional Government of National Unity, TGNU.

Or South Sudan to be governed under the UN’s trusteeship for a five – year term also falling flat on its face.

It is now safe to say that let the benevolent world in the next rounds of peace talks intervene in whichever way it thinks fit.

That is in the best interests of ordinary, economically deprived, ethnically divided and long suffering South Sudanese, being the real victims of this war so as to rid the country’s dented image of warmonger Generals, corrupt politicians, incompetent bureaucrats and pseudo intellectuals.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and Author of ‘’South Sudan the Making of a Nation, A Journey from Ethnic Polities to Self-rule, State and Democracy’’. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Editorial: IGAD peace talks must be inclusive

By Elhag Paul

May 6, 2015 (SSNA) -- By virtue of my membership of an Equatoria internet forum I came across an article authored by Mr Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi titled ‘South Sudan needs fresh start without Kiir, Machar – Dr Miamingi’ published by the Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor on 26th April 2015. This article features a photo of Dr Remember Miamingi wearing the famous Nelson Mandela shirt. http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/PeoplePower/South-Sudan-fresh-start-Kiir-Machar-Dr-Miamingi/-/689844/2697290/-/ecinnuz/-/index.html In addition to this article Dr Miamingi also appeared in an NTV debate discussing the same topic. Please watch the video: ‘Fourth estate: South Sudan, a conflict with no end in sight’ on youtube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiRx1hb7bII

On reading the article, I found it very stimulating. The timing of this piece obviously suggests Dr Miamingi may have doubts about the ability of the newly revamped IGAD-Plus mediating team in bringing peace to South Sudan unless it abandons its flawed strategy of wanting to concentrate power to the two principals of the conflict by diversifying the peace talks to reflect the entire social groups in the country. Who can blame Dr Miamingi for thinking like that?

IGAD since appointing itself to the role of mediator in South Sudan has done nothing to demonstrate its impartiality. Throughout it has been biased in favour of the regime in Juba and so its failure on 6th March 2015 was not a surprise to South Sudanese. Please see, ‘To achieve in South Sudan, IGAD talks must be diversified.’ http://www.southsudannation.com/to-achieve-peace-in-south-sudan-igad-talks-must-be-diversified/

Dr Miamingi brightly highlighted the obstacles to peace in South Sudan. It must be emphasised, his arguments are not new. Many writers have articulated these views in the last 16 months of the conflict and IGAD for reasons best known to it ignored them. For example, the South Sudanese professionals produced a document titled ‘South Sudanese professionals in Diaspora’ capturing the issue. https://paanluelwel2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/negotiating-peace-through-federalism.pdf 

There can be no doubt that the arguments raised are useful in the current atmosphere of hopelessness created by the failure of IGAD in mediating peace. If only IGAD could unplug its ears, the key to peace in South Sudan lie in some of the arguments Dr Miamingi is promoting which will be slightly modified in this piece.

Having given this brief background, let us look at the point of view expressed by Dr Miamingi as reported by Mr Sserunjogi. In the article, Dr Miamingi under the sub title ‘Who are the “We”?’ describes himself as a member of diverse group at home (South Sudan). He asserts ‘the ”We” represent South Sudanese who are in the Diaspora, who are in refugee camps and have been basically uprooted from their home, who are united in the desire for peace in the country.’ What is intriguing is that this “we” has no name given its wide membership. Dr Miamingi claims this identity less organisation is ‘organised around what we call the “Four point campaign for a just peace in South Sudan”.’ He goes on to outline them as: 1) Just peace through inclusivity. 2) The architects of the war should be excluded from the process of peace making. 3) Peace talks and establishment of an interim government, and 4) Military intervention by African Union (AU) backed by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Article 7.

These points Dr Miamingi encapsulated and promotes are useful in helping those involved in the mediation. Since there are only 4 points let us briefly talk about all of them in their current order and they can then be re-arranged in order of priority suitable for resolving the problem in South Sudan. 

It goes without saying that for peace to return to South Sudan the peace talks must produce a “just peace” through an inclusive process that values all the people of South Sudan. What this translates to is that all the stakeholders and civil societies of South Sudan must have a say so that the process and outcome is owned by the “people”. It becomes a “people peace” and not an “SPLM/A peace” in which the “people” are excluded. The question asked is: Why is IGAD naively conniving with the abusive SPLM/A to deny the people of South Sudan their right in deciding their own future? Is the sovereignty of South Sudan not vested in its people? If it is, then the right thing is to let the people participate in the peace talks as of right. If it is not, why not? Why are criminals allowed to run the show? Please see, ‘President Kiir, Riek and the SPLM are the problems of RSS.’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201405070248.html

If IGAD truly is seeking a lasting “Just Peace” it must abandon its short sighted strategy of pursuing grand empowerment of the destructive SPLM/A, the very party responsible for the chaos as a solution. Otherwise, whatever outcome from its mediation will be short lived and the region will once again sooner or later find itself in the same position like now. This takes us to the second point for barring of the culprits responsible for the chaos from the peace talks. 

This point is plainly clear and no reasonable person will disagree with it. All over the world people involved in crimes are apprehended and arraigned in court of law. They are not tolerated and treated as if they were decent people. The mistake the world has done with South Sudan’s case is to tolerate ethnic cleansers and listen to them as if they have not committed grave crimes against humanity. 

The world unfortunately seems to have not learnt a lesson from the history of the Second World War. The major powers of the time appeased Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany and treated him initially as a decent person possibly in the false hope that he might change. But what did the world get from this unethical act? Holocaust! with a sharp shock to the global system. In terms of saving lives, the late intervention of the world to save the Jews was too little too late. The lesson from this horrific and heinous crime of Hitler tells us not to entertain dictators and totalitarian rulers who have tendencies of extreme hate of rival social groups especially if such leaders have already started ethnic cleansing on small scale. 

The late President of Iraq Sadam Hussein gassed the Kurds of Halabja and the world paid a blind eye. Sadam got emboldened and he went on to further his military adventures in Iran and later on Kuwait. As a result the whole region eventually got thrown into turmoil. President Salva Kiir with his false image as a peaceful person indisputably belongs to Sadam Hussein-like class of dictators. The world should deal with him appropriately now to account for his crimes before he plunges the region into turmoil. He should therefore not be allowed to call the shots in Addis Ababa. Does this make sense?  Yes, certainly it does, he should be barred from the talks. Please watch this video, ‘President Salva Kiir of South Sudan on BBC Hardtalk’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_-WncqcZ5o

As I write now, the economic mismanagement initiated on the watch of both President Kiir and Dr Machar from 2005 following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and promoted by the entire SPLM/A leadership coupled with the political mismanagement of the last decade which blew up in December 2013 has brought the country to its knees socially, economically and politically. When the country was at a relative peace the SPLM/A entire leadership looted the coffers of the state and in war as now the revenue is spent on lethal weapons and the regime supporters. Unsurprisingly, South Sudan has just gained a new name, ‘Kleptocratic State’. Please see, ‘In IMF view, a kleptocratic state bordering on bankruptcy.’ https://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-gb/suite and ‘Corruption saga: the SPLM five big guns or the quintet squirrels’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/corruption-saga-the-splm-five-big-guns-or-the-quintet-squirrels

The third point Dr Miamingi raises is very crucial as it relates to the issue of security of the stakeholders itself. Dr Miamingi argues that the peace talks should be taken back home. In other words he wants to see the peace talks held inside South Sudan. This proposition is imprudent and fails to take into consideration the safety of the stakeholders. 

Any talks held inside the country will not yield a lasting solution. The reasons are:

1) Lack of security for the participants. What will stop President Kiir from intimidating the stakeholders? What will stop President Kiir from arresting some or all the stakeholders and declaring peace achieved? Let us not forget, the regime in Juba has neither respect for human rights nor values of decency. To understand these points just think about the experiences of Mr  Peter Sule and Dr Lam Akol Ajawin with regards to their invitation to the IGAD peace talks. Did President Kiir’s government not deliberately obstruct their travel plans to the peace talks and threatened to harm them? 

If the regime was intolerant to allow stakeholders to attend the peace talks in Addis Ababa, would it tolerate their participation in such talks inside the country under its jurisdiction? Actually as much as nobody would want to say it, should the talks be held inside the country President Kiir may be pushed to silence a good number of the stakeholders whose voices he does not like hearing. 

2) The regime does not believe in freedom of speech and expression. Those who speak freely in the past like Isaiah Abraham paid the ultimate price with their lives. The outspoken leader of civil society organisations Mr Athuai Deng narrowly escaped death on two occasions for speaking out. The first time the security agents of President Kiir kidnapped him, beat him up thoroughly and threw him into a garbage site by the river Nile thinking he had died. He was lucky to be rescued by locals. The second time, President Kiir’s agents in broad day light shot him in public. Luckily the bullet hit his leg and he survived. 

These are just few examples of the government’s usual tactics to muzzle the people. With such an environment of terror, how could Dr Miamingi make the futile proposition for the talks to be held inside the country. For the sake of a lasting peace the peace talks need to continue being held outside the country in a neutral secure venue.

This brings us to Dr Miamingi’s final point of African Union intervention backed by United Nations Security Council Article 7. The first thing South Sudanese need to acknowledge is that since the Independence of South Sudan on 9th July 2011 the country has been under UNSC Article 7. So the UN can actually exercise this power any time if it wants. Military interventions are always fraught with difficulties to both the interveners and the intruded because of the issue of emotions linked to pride and humiliation. 

Apart from this, it is not clear whether the international community will want to commit to such a project given its costs and the uncertainties around success. Nevertheless it is something worth pursuing because already there are foreign forces in the country - the Uganda People Defence force (UPDF) in addition to the Blue Helmets of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). UPDF can not be part of a solution as it actually deployed to protect the government of President Kiir which has been carrying out ethnic cleansing of the Nuer. Therefore, UPDF needs to withdraw back home soonest. It has no business being in South Sudan – Uganda interest or no interest is immaterial.

These four points delineated by Dr Miamingi are poorly arranged and for them to be effective, the order should be reversed starting with the last point and ending with the starting one. Therefore, African Union backed by the United Nations should take over the country for a strictly specified period as recommended by the leaked Draft Report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.  http://nyamile.com/2015/03/07/draft-report-of-the-au-commission-of-inquiry-on-south-sudan/   There should be no worries because the report clearly sets out a hybrid plan of action (comprising South Sudanese and international experts) regarding the intervention.

Point three should take the second place. The interim government can be set up as envisaged by the Obasanjo report without any peace talks, but with wide consultation with all the stakeholders without those allegedly involved in illegal acts like the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). 

Point two becomes redundant simply for the reason that when the country is taken over by African Union and United Nations, the architects of the chaos would vanish into exile or they will have been arrested and farmed off to some detention facilities to await trial for their grave crimes. 

Point one becomes feasible and essential to implement in a violence free and peaceful environment. The main purpose would be to address the vital constitutional issues and the critical problem of national reconciliation and healing.

Following the above re-arrangement, the modified “Four point campaign for just peace in South Sudan” of Dr Miamingi now becomes ‘Three point campaign for just peace in South Sudan’. This can offer a solution to the quagmire South Sudan is in now. However, whether this plan will be considered by IGAD or not, the most important thing is not to let the SPLM/A in all its different forms and shapes to dictate and monopolise the peace talks. For South Sudan to be de-tribalised socially and politically, state power must equally be de-tribalised which means the talks must include all the stakeholders and it must be in a neutral venue.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

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

A letter to Brig. Gen. Malaak Ayuen Ajok

By: Cde. Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut

Dear Brig. Gen. Malaak Ayuen Ajok,

April 27, 2015 (SSNA) -- I am writing these few paragraphs to you for the reason that you are well informed of. Gen. Malaak, everyone is unhappy about how you holds and utters your daily presentation in [SSTV], the country's popular Television. The Country's tribalism rate, nepotism rate and killing rate is continuing to be higher just because of your hatred discharges to public through the national TV.

Brig. Gen. Malaak Ayuen Ajok, I am a simple man who is prompt to react, I stopped watching the state own Television because of your hate speeches and messages against other tribes in the country, and I hope many other lost hope the same way to watch the country's TV (SSTV) for reason clear to be you destroying the media. Gen. Malaak, hatred only brings a man down to total destruction rather than making a man successful in life, I would advise you to review your presentation and to fully abstain from dirty politics for it is written in the transitional constitution of 2011/ SPLA act that soldiers shall not participate in the national political arena.

Brig. Gen Malaak Ayuen, I want to remind you of the crimes you committed some years back.  

Malaak Ayuen's 1st offence

Between 1986-1987 you were an officer in Military Police unit deployed in Bentiu 'Tharkuer' barrack, you were a controller of armory and other valuable staffs in the barrack since you were among the few intellectuals in that barrack. With your heart of Satan you decided to sell guns to the local population which made you to be arrested and taken to Leer town which was the HQts of Dr. Riek Machar who was by then had the current ambassador to Russia Hon. Telar Ring Deng as his chief Justice and whose court was in Leer too.

You were kept for some months in Leer military prison by his Lordship Justice Telar Ring Deng. The same Telar made consultations with Bonga/ Bilpam general headquarters for your possible sentence to death for violating the regulations of the movement and for selling the weapons. Dr. John Garang on hearing the case immediately issued an orders that read "Lieutenant Malaak should be killed through firing squad"

Went the letter reached the desk of Dr. Riek Machar, the current leader of the opposition, He decided to downplayed the orders and look for other possible and peaceful ways to get you out of situation. He Dr. Riek and his boss Dr. Garang agreed to set you free due to some facts that Dr. Riek Machar had lateral understanding with Garang, through understanding Dr. John forgive and forget your incident. I wish it should be a lesson you should not forgot so easily.

Malaak Ayuen's 2nd Offence, I thought you had learned

After you were freed from jail, you were set for mission to take the 4000 children (Red army) who were stationed at Koch Mayiandit County together with Brig. Gen. Ruai Makuei who was a Sgt. by that time to Bonga for military training.

Gen. Malaak, by the time you left Adok el Bhar, for Tayer, Ziam-Ziam and unto Shambe where you ordered the Ship Cpt to station the ship for a day and asked the Dinka of Lake state to load cows to the ship which was small to carry too many cattle. After collecting money from the passengers who loaded the ship with their cows you ordered the captain to continue with journey toward Bor. Not far from Shambe, the ship wrecked and killed almost the entire crew God was great there was survivors to name but only few. Among the survivors was Gideon Gatpan Thuor former commissioner of Mayiandit County, Mr. Makuei William SPLM Secretary in Koch, Brig. Ruai Makuei and few other survivors.

The children [red army] were lost and the cows that overloaded the ship also perished.

When Dr. John Garang De Mabior heard the news that the red army have had sank to death in River Nile due to your recklessness, He sent a unit of army to arrested you and take you to Jabel Buma Prison where Kerbino was jailed.

Dear Malaak Ayuen, who among the Dinka commanders came for your help? There was nobody who was bold enough to confront Dr. John Garang to withdraw his decision of killing you? There was none but only Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon.

However, after the split of SPLA, the officer who was in charge of Jabel Buma jail was from Nuer of Gajaak, went the movement split he also defects to Dr. Riek taking all the prisoners with him including you with him and delivered you to Dr. Riek in good condition not so long, You became the writer for the commander himself [Dr. Machar] you was promoted and given good hospitality not knowing you were a wolf in sheep clothing till you deserted to the other side in Panyagor where Cdr. Kuach Kang met his death.

Perhaps I also understand how you left SPLA for refugee camp and to come back in 2004 when Gen. Salva Kiir the current incumbent President defect against Dr. John Garang de Mabior. This was the moment you returned together with your colleagues Michael Makuei Lueth and Telar Ring Deng and joined Salva Kiir because you already had no position in Garang government. Had it not been the fateful death of Dr. John Garang, you could have been in exile by now.

And the same Good Samaritan Dr. Riek Machar you hate so much today made your boss Kiir to reconcile with Garang in Rumbek in 2004 which made us reached to where we are today. If Dr Riek didn’t speed up to resolved the differences between Kiir and Garang we could have not achieved the Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA]. Let's learned to be thankful in life for what goes around comes around.

South Sudanese are tied of tribalism, corruption, nepotism, ignorance/ supremacies race, violence and hatred among others.

We need eloquent presenters to preach peace and reconciliatory messages to all ethnics in the country instead of Malaak Ayuen who don’t know how to say good words but violence.

I have spoken my words and may gods of the land hear my voices...

The Author can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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