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IGAD Complicity Towards South Sudan Peace Negotiations in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

By: Chuol R. Kompuok, PhD

November 13, 2014 (SSNA) -- The South Sudan’s 11—month old conflict pitting the Nuer dominated opposition forces aligned with Dr. Riek Machar, the former vice president, against the Dinka dominated forces under Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of South Sudan, has its historical roots dating back to May 2008, especially when the South Sudan was at the brink of war during the 2nd SPLM National Liberation Convention held in Juba.  The National Liberation Council members, including delegates from the ten states, were bribed to the teeth by the president and his cronies, inter alia, the late Dr. Justin Yac Arop and Lt. Gen. Dominic Dim Deng, to oust Dr. Riek Machar. As a matter of fact there was no single stone left unturned to ensure meticulous elimination of Dr. Riek Machar. Pagan Amum, the then Secretary General of the SPLM was brain washed to the core, admitting to oust his comrade Machar without knowing he was also part of the plan to be exited out, together with Dr. Riek Machar. Pagan uncovered the plan at the last minute when people were in the middle of the convention and became so mad at his principal, Salva Kiir. Miraculously without human interference God worked in opposite direction. The two architects boarded the same plane to Warrap, in order to mobilize the National Liberation Council members from the Region, against Dr. Riek Machar but technically, the architects perished on May 3, 2008 on their way back to Juba before the National Convention kicked off.

Given all the odds surrounding the plane crash the rhetoric of the long-term plan of elbowing out the former vice chairman of the SPLM in the National Liberation Convention never changed course. The president of the South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit, has always been relentlessly busy digging grave to burry alive his vice chairman, Dr. Riek Machar, who was by then busy negotiating CPA outstanding issues, between Khartoum and Juba. Although the plans to oust Dr. Riek Machar were dormant for a while, Kiir’s group never abandoned it all together but was picked up by those of Paul Malong Awan. This is how the mobilization began in the two states (Aweil and Warrap) by none other than Paul Malong. However, Kiir’s plans never come to realization until December 15, 2013 dubbed as the Nuer Massacre in Juba. The intention was to accomplish the failed project of Dr. Justin Yac, the main architect, who at one point in time said before his demise “the prophetic Ngundeng Thak made of clay, we the Dinka shall stumble on crashing it to the ashes if the Nuer tended to believe what the prophet Ngundeng said long time ago to get the leftover from Ngundeng Thak”. According to the notorious Dr. Justin Yac all of us shall benefit nothing out of it, leading to the so-called zero sum game.

Now that the war long planned to wipe out the Nuer, who are supporters of Dr. Riek changed its ugly face, and is currently consuming the whole nation of South Sudan—a circumstance that was not foreseen by the architects of Juba Massacre. It seems that Kiir’s group is surprising about the dimension the war has taken as it has taken an unprecedented turn. Since the project seems to be long overdue, the mobilization of resources and manpower from within and across the region took a couple of years to make it a reality in December 2013. The participation of the UPDF, JEM and SPLM-N in fighting the war of South Sudan against the Nuer and other South Sudanese sympathetic to the cause is the clear indication that Salva Kiir planned the Massacre of Nuer and the invasion of their land for the last 9 years or so. Enough preparation were made to rally behind his government the regional leaders from East and the Horn of Africa making the undergoing negotiations difficult for the IGAD coupled with the packages each countries involved receiving.

The current peace negotiation that is taking place in Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa from January 23, 2014 until now brokered by the IGAD between the government of South Sudan and the SPLA/M—IO appears to be a direct insult to the Nuer and South Sudanese intelligentsia. There is no clear distinction between Salva Kiir and the IGAD, but only invisible a line separating the two who are negotiating the peace deal. In this line of argument Salva Kiir and IGAD heads of state are one and the same. How credible is the outcome of the peace deal entrusted in IGAD and the heads of state by the UN, the Troika and other world bodies?  In all accounts, there are no negotiations of winner takes it all but fair game of win-win circumstance of the contemporary world practice. In the fair game of contemporary negotiations, a middle ground is reached based on the number of concessions given up by the parties involved in the actual confrontations. The East Africa regional bloc (IGAD) and heads of state complicity towards achieving negotiated settlement to South Sudan conflict is a clear signaling of heavy baggage each country faces. For IGAD’s heads of state to tell the truth about the Juba incident and the crime committed against the people of South Sudan is signing arrest warrant for oneself and declaring war against his/her own government.

The war that killed tens of thousands Nuer in particular and South Sudanese in general has so many dimensions and each dimensions will be treated accordingly;

Military dimension

As a matter of fact the military strength president Salva Kiir Mayardit tended to believe in emanates from support receiving from neighboring countries including UPDF of Uganda, Sudanese rebels groups (SPLM-N, JEM etc..), Ethiopia through contribution of ammunitions and other hardware, and Kenya. But until how long will Salva Kiir put all his eggs in one basket for the regional support militarily? Are all these countries benevolent enough to support Salva Kiir government without any future returns? Uganda as prime supporter of government of South Sudan to maintain the status quo was to advance its proxy war with the Sudan considered to have harbored the dissidents of Uganda using South Sudan soil as a launching pad. According to Uganda government once South Sudanese rebels are flashed out, the other armed forces of Gen. Konyi are out of equation and the problem of Uganda directly or indirectly is solved. Published by NEW VISION Kampala on October 15, 2014, South Sudanese government has signed a long-term military cooperation with Uganda to purchase weapons and military hardware on behalf of South Sudan government in event that arms embargo is imposed on South Sudan government. The world body should watch out with open eye of the dirty game played by two countries Uganda and South Sudan. In case the war continuous as it stands now and when arms embargo is imposed on South Sudan, Uganda should not be exempted. All the treaties and the forced agreements entered into between South Sudan and Uganda implied threat to the national sovereignty of South Sudan that in a sense undermine the co-existence and the peace of the people. Uganda has done irreparable damage, derailing the integrity of the people of South Sudan a major blast forever.

Ethiopia on one hand support Salva Kiir government due to fear of other armed groups against the EPRDF government expected to have used the South Sudan soil for their operations. However, Salva Kiir government appear to be playing double standards of harboring Ethiopian peoples’ enemies mainly the Egyptians who are against the Ethiopia Grand Renaissance Dam (EGRD) construction, some of them were caught in the Gadiang operation in Ayod county. Ethiopia has long been friend to South Sudanese people in all the liberation movements where most of the Ethiopian generals currently advising the SPLA and its leadership running from the signing of the CPA in 2005. Not to forget mentioning the important element, the Derg Regime of Mengistu Hailemariam supported the SPLA/M in fighting the Arab based northern regime in Khartoum rooted to the brotherhood the Ethiopians and South Sudanese particularly the Nuer since humankind creation. The natural laws state that “blood is thicker than the water” is totally violated in the South Sudan current civil war forcing the Ethiopian government to Support the Dinka dominated government neglecting their own brothers (the Nuer) due to wealth creation. Similar violation of the laws took place in the early formation of the SPLA/M in 1983 when the separatists led by Samuel Gai Tut and Kuot de Atem were dislodged in Bilpam by team of Dr. Garang de Mabior with the Marxist—Leninist ideology. The unionists who wanted the Sudan remain united were backed by the defunct Regime of Mengistu to fight the Anyanya II forces opposed to socialist ideology. Despite all the concessions, both Uganda and Ethiopia exploit the weaknesses of South Sudan military leadership to maintaining the status quo without further studying the strength and the benefits they would have gained if the rebel movement took over from the incumbent government.

The rebel groups (SPLM-N and JEM) fighting the South Sudanese rebel movement alongside South Sudan government intention was to gain ground for their operations against the Sudanese government. This is to help the rebel groups to have constant supply roots intact without disruption. To some analysts the rebel groups seem to have no agenda for the cause of the people whom they are fighting for to liberate and maintain their existence on the soil of the Republic of Sudan. The moves of rebel groups (SPLM-N and JEM) were wrongly calculated without considering cost—benefit analysis of waging war against South Sudanese rebel movement. If the intention was to win the war against the Nuer for Salva Kiir first, in order to help fight the Sudan government, then the project cost is too huge for the movement to maintain since Nuer and other South Sudanese will not easily give in to allow the president to manipulate the people whom he killed. Moreover, previous integrations including those of Gen. Tanginya were never respected where Tanginya ended up in the concentration camp for more than one year.  Tanginya got released shortly and only when Salva Kiir fully prepared for December 15, 2013 civil war with the hope that Tanginya would join his camp. The attempt did not work best for Kiir since Gen. Tanginya later on switched side to Dr. Riek Machar, the former vice president camp against the killing of the innocent Nuer.  

Economic dimensions

One would wonder why different countries with their sovereign states involved into the affair of South Sudanese if not for economic interests. Businesses flourish in South Sudan and individual entrepreneurs who set their feet on the South Sudanese soil either through genuine or corrupt ways managed to secure money transferred to their respective countries of origin. To investigate whether the initial capital was brought in for the start up purpose, one would wonder of South Sudan without investment laws that guide the establishment of the domestic and international businesses. There is no surprise when UPDF of Uganda, the Kenya and the Ethiopia got involved in the affairs of South Sudanese without so many questions from the public justifying why they are fighting alongside South Sudan government. In the first place Uganda look at itself as a country safeguarding the strategic installations and infrastructures of South Sudan government as if it’s the main custodian for sovereignty of South Sudan, which is not the case.

The economic interest pushes those countries in question seriously dictating the circumstances surrounding South Sudan’s conflict. One aspect of Uganda involvement into the affair of South Sudan is the quest for the resources among which the encroachment of the Didinga and Toposa land along Ilemi Triangle is the case in point. The Ilemi Triangle is an area of disputed land in East Africa coupled with the oil discovery and grazing land for the pastoralist communities, the area became a recipe for internecine conflict zone for the inhabitant. Arbitrarily defined, it measures between 10,320 and 14,000 square kilometers. Named after the Anyuak chief Ilemi Akwon, the territory is claimed by South Sudan and Kenya as Turkana land and borders Ethiopia considered as land of Nyangatom and also the Karimojong of Uganda. Despite use and raids by tribes within Ethiopia, the Ethiopian government has never made an official claim on any of the Ilemi and in fact agreed that the land was all Sudanese in 1902, 1907, and 1972 treaties.  It is to be noted that Kenya now has de facto control of the area and the concessions are getting bigger and bigger after the discovery of petroleum. The dispute arose from unclear wording of the 1914 treaty, which attempted to allow for the movements of the Turkana people—nomadic herders who traditionally grazed the area. The perceived economic marginality of the land as well as decades of Sudanese conflicts considered as the factors that have delayed the resolution of the dispute. In a nutshell Uganda would have distanced itself from resources competitions along Ilemi Triangle if one studied the previous treaties of 1902, 1907 and 1972 under the auspice of British.

South Sudan has emerged in the recent years as the breadbasket and main importer of Uganda goods and services. Statistics shows that on average about 150,000 Ugandan traders operate across the border, generating an estimated income of about $900 million in petty businesses of sub standards goods and services per year. South Sudan relies heavily on its neighbors to provide goods such as construction materials and services such as semi-skilled and unskilled labor. Approximately 1,500 Ugandans work in South Sudan in the construction industry, and 1,200 Ugandan professionals are employed there with non-governmental organizations, ministries and other industries. The governments of Uganda and South Sudan have taken steps to strengthen economics ties, including a joint project to construct a state-of-the-art market in Juba, estimated to cost around US $850,000.

South Sudan after its birth in 2011 became the dumping ground for all the expired goods and services not necessary for human consumption. The trade between Uganda and South Sudan is more of absolute advantage to the Uganda government since the term of trade for South Sudan is deteriorating or worsening from day to day. Most transnational crime committed by Uganda business people are let loose without South Sudan government taking serious measures against the culprits and hold Uganda government responsible for the crime against humanity. The petty businesses run in Juba and elsewhere in South Sudan are not legally registered and whatever money collected repatriated to Uganda, Kenya, Somali, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and beyond. The stakes in this current conflict are very huge and Uganda never hesitates to take war to South Sudan since it’s the main lifeline for the Ugandan people. Kenya and Ethiopia’s interest in exporting oil through their seaports (Lamu Port and Djibouti port) and roots became another area of contestation and whoever supports Salva Kiir government’s survival be rewarded with pipeline passage through her country and all the proceeds shall be given to in return. The economic integration of South Sudan into East Africa Community (EAC) became the catalyst for South Sudan civil war so that Museveni would have free hand in amassing the wealth into Uganda. A good example is the packages for the UPDF fighting alongside South Sudan government and in returns bolster economic growth of Uganda, which has been steadily stagnating before the birth of South Sudan.

The birth of South Sudan as state of its own, widen the market shares of East Africa Community (EAC) and the Horn of Africa and Uganda stands first in the economic gains. Ostensibly, Uganda has made important progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Uganda has experienced two decades of strong economic growth and poverty has decreased significantly in recent years (from 31% in 2005-06 to 22% by 2012-13), thus surpassing the 2015 MDGs target of halving the 56% poverty rate recorded in 1992-93. However, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capital of $510 per annum, Uganda remains a very poor country and far from the middle-income status it aspires to achieve. Despite declining poverty rates, the absolute number of poor has decreased relatively little due to high population growth with Uganda’s population doubling since 1990. Inequality is also high by international standards (0.438) with the application of Gini Coefficient (GC), which could undermine the achievements in growth and poverty reduction. Such a trend would more than likely push Uganda meddling into the affairs of South Sudan in particular and some other countries to escape the criticism from within the domestic arena.  

Political dimension

The political relationship between South Sudan and Uganda has been in existence for several decades, different from Kampala’s relationships with Khartoum government, which has often been strained. The main reason for the deteriorated relationship is that Sudan’s president, Omer El Bashir is alleged to have provided support to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which terrorized northern Uganda for many years and Sudan believed that Uganda supported the SPLA, which also terrorized the peace and stability of South Sudan. Uganda’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni, was a personal friend of South Sudan rebel leader John Garang de Mabior and supported the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought for the region’s independence. Before the conduct of the 2011 Referendum Yoweri Museveni made a remarks vocally for separation, saying, “…unity should be principled unity; not unity based on suppression and inequality.”

Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda champion the leadership of EAC for many decades opposed all the time by the Republic of Tanzania desperately in dire need of allies and South Sudan fresh in politics would be seen as the potential ally to vote vehemently for Uganda’s president. The Nile water politics is another paradigm shift in the current geopolitics and South Sudan as a nascent state plays a key role in determining the future of water politics. The struggle for the ally in view of the Nile water politics bring together Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan as a bloc to revisit the treaties in the past between the British expeditions and ancient Egypt excluding the upper stream countries. In the vein of this argument Egypt sees any country tempering with the Nile Water as the real threat to its national security. Ethiopia with the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, which the Egyptian government failed to acknowledge, thus sees South Sudan as the potential ally. Egypt on the other hand went ahead and signed a military agreement with South Sudan to supply military hardware to fight the rebel movement as an important binding constraint for the reconstruction of the Jonglei canal to allow the regular passage of swampy waters from the South Sudan to Egypt without disruption in the event that the water level runs down due to Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (EGRD) from the upper stream.

In conclusion, addressing problem of South Sudan, the geopolitics of the Nile water shouldn’t be underestimated while negotiating everlasting solution for South Sudan since most of the countries involved in the negotiation have stakes in what transpired to be peaceful South Sudan given the new political dispensation. The murderous government of Salva Kiir requires tougher action against its inconsistence.  Even if all IGAD’s leaders appear complicit in tackling South Sudan crisis with the intent of conniving with Salva Kiir, they will not be able to quell the rebellion through the presence of their heavy hands in South Sudanese politics. One would expect only genuine negotiations without IGAD’s leaders siding with Salva Kiir government is what will bring peace to South Sudan. Therefore, the policy of hands-off IGAD’s heads of state in South Sudan crisis should be considered as priority. The UN, the Troika and other world body should not sit idle watching the dying South Sudanese in the hands of merciless government of Salva Kiir Mayardit. Believing in military might of other countries as a way of safeguarding the sovereign state and protection of the regime as what has been the case in South Sudan after the outbreak of civil war in its proper term is the liability and total insanity. The competitions over scarce resources along the Ilemi Triangle create more tensions and the governments of Kenya and Uganda fuel ethnic animosities. In effect, demarcating the borders using the previous British treaties from 1902, 1907 and 1972 would solve existential problem.

In view of these treaties, Nuer have good reasons to assert their territorial rights as per earlier agreements, before the matter become so muddled that people perceive the issue of land rights to be secondary, when it is, in fact, the basis of the political and economic dimensions of the conflict. Should the IGAD and heads of state negotiating on behalf of Salva Kiir Mayardit not be faithful to the settlement of South Sudan conflict, the Nuer would be forced to opt for an autonomous state, thus ensuring Sudanese, Eritrean support, and forcing Ethiopia and Egypt to side cum Nuer (or in the case of Egypt, at least split their attention between the Nuer state and the South Sudanese). Ethiopia will have to side with the Nuer since they mainly deal in Nuer territory anyway, and would get an indirect win-fall from the Nuer oil revenues. The Egyptians would have to deal with the Nuer regarding the construction of Jonglei bypass. An independent (or at least confederate) Nuer state would effectively isolate Uganda, Kenya and the Dinka of Bahr El Ghazal. Again, the Nuer are the game changer here.

Thus, maintaining the Ugandan army at the expense of the people of South Sudan is unacceptable; this has led to squandering of billion taxpayer’s money that could have been used for productive activity to the benefit of the people in question but not for the protection of regime that turned against its people. For IGAD to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan withdrawing all the allied forces, including UPDF of Uganda, the SPLM-N and the JEM is number one demand for the rebel movement to accept the poor concession though not enough for the peace to reign in South Sudan. Last but not least to give peace a chance, Salva Kiir must go so that new political dispensations can kick off to avoid backlash. The Transitional government of National Unity MUST be formed without Salva Kiir together with some of his cronies that are currently perpetuating the crisis in South Sudan, and above all an overhaul of the entire systems needs to be thoroughly conducted. The current political system imbedded in the governance in South Sudan is too deformed and needs to be reformed.

Dr. Chuol R. Kompuok holds a PhD in Economics, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He can  be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Disposition of Hon. Wani Igga or Other Positions Should Not Be Redlined

By John Adoor Deng, Australia

November 13, 2014 (SSNA) -- In recent days, the wishers of South Sudan peace saw a glimpse of hope igniting a possible return of lost peace to the dying people of South Sudan. Unlike other peace talks and summits, recent East African leaders, Summit appeared to have yielded considerable fruits. For the very first time, both President Kiir and Dr Machar were seen showing an inch of their white teeth in a cordial smile. Other protagonists known to have red-eyed each other in the previous talks, have shown courage in recent days to mixed warmth of their hands in hands shakes with one another.

Also, the few women who have attended the mini signing ceremony at Addis-Ababa demonstrated their happiness by giggling and clubbing. The mood at the hall was notable and fervently peace encouraging. Although other factors such as pressures or call it striking   hammer from IGAD countries, AU and UN Security Council, are believed to have precipitated the mood. Arguably, one could still believe that out of pressures, South Sudanese at the peace talks were in one accord to bring peace back to their country.

Surprisingly, we are confused by post-Summit utterances from Juba and the from the Rebels side respectively. One notorious example of these utterances is the notion of equating the possible removal of Hon Wani Igga as redline!! What is redlining in the South Sudanese politics? This phrase ‘red line ‘has been used extensively and inappropriately in the conflict. Correctively, let look at the etymology of the Phrase ‘redline' before unpacking why it is inappropriate to be use for Hon Wanni Igga. The phrase ‘Red line   is use, both in Hebrew ( קו אדום‎, Kav Adom) and English to mean a figurative point of no return or line in the sand, or "a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.

If this meaning is what is implied by those referring to the removal of Wani Igga as redline, then chances of domesticating peace to South Sudan would be extremely narrow. Truthfully, to make peace a long lasting peace, institutions or factions involve in the peace making must first achieve a balance of powers--an interlocking of mutual. For example, accommodate demands that would implicitly concede one's superiority or may make completely unjust demands in the hope that through compromise long lasting peace is achieved. If there is genuine calling or questing for peace, then positions of individuals do not amount to be a hindrance. Peace only comes through readjustments, change of status quo, in other words, peace grows well on a new surface.

I, therefore, think there is nobody's position is to be above peace in the context of South Sudan. Our dying masses do not want Wanni Igga or Riek Machar or even president Kiir Mayardit as substitutes for peace, but they are in their languishing conditions calling for genuine peace for their survival. Nobody position, whether current positions or future positions should be regarded as untouchable or redlined in the expense of peace.

Finally, brothers and Sisters in the peace talks or leadership of both factions, bring genuine peace to South Sudan not for you but for the innocent victims who are now dying of starvation and diseases. Whoever is preventing these innocents to enjoy peace in their country should be redlined Not positions of certain elites.

The Author, John Adoor Deng, is a director of Civil Society Organization in Australia, Former President of Sudanese community of Queensland INC, & Former Interim President of the Federation of Sudanese Australian communities. He is reachable at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If Salva Kiir survives the call to step down, will he also retain an absolute power to run the country as his own property?

If Salva Kiir survives the call to step down as the head of South Sudan for ordering his private army to massacre Nuer to give peace a chance, will he also retain an absolute power to run the country as his own property by the so-called presidential decrees in an awaited transitional government of national unity?

By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak

November 9, 2014 (SSNA) -- This article is looking at the current IGAD summit on South Sudan and remind the readers about the historical facts that lead to this crisis.  On November 6-7, 2014 the IGAD assembly summit convened by the heads of State and governments of East Africa countries attended by Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, the president of Sudan;  Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, Ismail Omar Guelleh, the president of Djibouti; Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda;  Sheikh Hassan Mohamud, the president of Somalia; Hailemariam Dessalegn, the prime minister of Ethiopia and Salva Kiir Mayardit the president of South Sudan in present of Dr. Riek Machar the commander in-chief of the SPLM/A in opposition, Dr. Dlamini Nkosazana, the chairperson of the African Union commission: Mahboub Maalim, secretary of IGAD: the IGAD special envoys for South Sudan Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia , Lazaro Sumbeiywo of Kenya and Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa of Sudan; in addition to the representatives of the United Nations, China, Denmark, Japan, European union, the Troika governments of Norway, united Kingdoms and the United States of America made very mere progress as far as final deal to South Sudan crisis is concern. The two parties have been given 15 days to convey the progression deal to their subordinations. Currently, we are anxiously waiting to see what will happen after 15 days dateline and also see if the SPLM juba will agree that the structure is: 1, President, 2, Prime minister, 3, vice president, and finally the deputy of prime minister.

During the summit, the above important institutions pressured South Sudan warring factions to reach a compromise deal. Out of that pressure, two key leaders, Salva Kiir juba faction leader and Dr. Riek Machar the leader of the SPLM/A in opposition, were locked up in a room for six hours in present of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia to deliberate on what would be the transitional national unity government which IGAD chief mediators had proposed.  According to their proposal, the government of South Sudan president, will retain the presidency and rebels will be given the newly created prime minister position. The president and Prime minister will have separate functions as well as joint functions.  For instance, the president shall remain the commander in-chief of the armed forces and chair the council of ministers, while the prime minister shall chair subcommittee of cabinet and oversee government activities, in addition of being a commander in-chief of SPLM/A in opposition armed forces during an interim period. Then, the president will have powers to appoint senior positions including the prime minister, vice president, ministers and deputy prime ministers, in accordance with the peace agreement---which is expected to include a provision requiring the appointment of the SPLM/A in opposition members to certain roles. On the other hand, the Prime minister will have powers to appoint undersecretaries and heads of public corporations, as well as executive directors, commissions, and other senior civil servants pertaining to approvals of the parliament and so on and so forth.

What do the public think of retaining Salva who have killed their loved ones aimlessly as president in the upcoming national government? Profoundly, one would like to argue that, IGAD proposal has given Salva Kiir more powers over the prime minister and some of the reasons why we are in these mess is because of an absolute power 2011 Transitional Constitutions of South Sudan had given to Salva Kiir. That mistake cannot be made repeat itself.  Which mean, some of the functions that are designated to Salva Kiir at the moment need to be reduced further or taken away. For example, the provision that Salva is tasked to appoint Prime minster can be taken away from him. During the interim period, a Prime minister can be appointed by the leadership of rebels rather than Salva Kiir and the appointment of the council of ministers would have been added to joint functioning duties. Other functions such as the statement that both president and the Prime minister “Shall jointly appoint State Governors and may remove a State governor and/or dissolve a State legislative assembly in event of a crisis in the State that threatens national security and territorial integrity subject to approval of the council of States” would have been restated.One would like to state that, Governors should be elected by the people Instead of being appointed. In term of a territorial integrity threat, council of the States can impeach the governor by a 2/3 majority vote when the later fail to keep the peace in the State rather than federal government interfering to remove governors. In that regard, such a statement should be reversed. Not only the governors, county commissioners, and members of legislative assemblies in both federal and State levels would be subjected to election as the constitution is rewritten.  

Although we categorically oppose military solution to our current crisis in South Sudan,  and support the calls of the IGAD countries, the African union, United Nations security Council, China, Denmark, Japan, European union, Norway, and the united States of America amongst many other nations, for an immediate end to this  crisis, yet, we urge these powerful international community bodies to refrain from making premature judgments aiming of finding a quick fix approach to the problem that would immediately resurfaced again tomorrow had root causes of the conflict been addressed amicably. We want the above mentioned nations to note that Salva Kiir failure is the cause of this mess. Conferring and absolute power on him again is not different than taking South Sudan out of today’s headline in the meantime and make another headline again in the near future. I am saying this because the current crisis is driven into this dangerous stage by an absolute power Salva have in South Sudan transitional constitution of 2011. If IGAD and the world at large are not familiar of Salva Kiir mischiefs, bellows are the details and the processes that lead into this dark chapter of our story.

Succinctly, the genesis of the party power struggle began when the SPLM leadership dispatched members of the political bureau to ten South Sudan states---- to thank masses of South Sudanese people for their unwavering overwhelming support rendered throughout the  years of liberation struggle and for leading a successful referendum that subsequently bring the unquestionable overdue independence. While in the States, these political leaders had quickly found out that, what was planned to be a congratulatory interaction between them and ordinary citizen--turned out largely to be a condemnation of the party. In the view of ordinary grassroots citizen, the ruling party (SPLM) had lost vision and direction, due to the fact that, it had not been able to deliver badly needed essential basic services such as roads networks, health facilities, security; education and clean drinking water.

The grassroots’ message of disapproval disturbed the leadership. Upon the return of the dispatched leaders from the field, figure pointing has emerged as to who should be blamed for this apparent failure. The affair did not just stop at figure pointing, declaration of contest or intentions to unseat the president from chairpersonship of the party engulf the political arena. Dr.Riek among ambitious contenders, had highlighted six critical issues including herein “rampant corruption, rising tribalism, overwhelming insecurity, dwindling economy, poor international relations and that the country’s ruling party (SPLM) is losing vision and direction.”  He believes he could tackle these tough challenges once he had given a chance to hold the country’s number one job. Meanwhile, party secretary general Pagan Amum Okiech, accused both President Salva Kiir and vice president Riek Machar for failing the country. Instead, he wants himself to lead the party and subsequently run for presidency comes 2015. Rebecca Nyandeng as well has the same ambition.

Rather than taking charge of the emerging situation as the SPLM party chairperson, Salva Kiir allowed matters to slide taking different turns until when the country find itself being ruled by more presidential decrees. Hence, on April 15, 2013,  Salva Kiir issued a presidential decree to withdraw powers delegated to the vice president which include stopping him from conducting the “ National Reconciliation”  that was stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to be carried out in order to heal the bitter hatred that had built among Sudanese communities during the wartime mainly between South Sudanese. A week later, Salva Kiir has sugarcoated the move he had taken by delegating Dr. Riek to lead a team of delegations to Khartoum to iron out some outstanding issues between South Sudan and Sudan especially oil reproduction and Abyie demarcation. After the delegation had returned, there was no signaling changes of the party internal agony; only rumors had heavily occupied Juba from end to end and masses were bragging on implications new political development will bring. It was an anxious political development waiting to be resolved once convention is ultimately convened.

Promptly, the month of May that party elections supposed to be conducted had arrived and Salva tactically delayed the function. Instead, he had decided to “influence” inner circle confidential individuals to conduct regional conferences. Urgently, Equatorians and Bahr el Ghazalians begun to conduct conferences and declare their support to Salva Kiir. A move Riek Machar had rejected. He discouraged Upper Nile conference conduction, saying “conferences should be conducted on political parties’ bases rather than regional bases” which sound so logical to those who understand democratic functioning process.

In that particular period, negative accusations are usually interchanged and the atmosphere in Juba was cracking sluggishly. While the issue of party rivaling dominated the media, Suddenly, on June 18-19, 2013 Salva Kiir had decided to sack two political bureau members----Kosti Manibe and Deng Alor Kuol through another presidential decree and order them to appear before an investigation committee to answer questions relating to the transfer of nearly 8 million dollars to a firm called “Daffy Investment Group Limited.” The money was allegedly said to have been transferred to buy special fire-proof materials for the government offices. While the two men investigation process were pending, Dr. Riek and Pagan Amum continue to be vocal, criticizing Kiir’s arbitrary actions. Sooner thereafter, on July 23, 2013 Salva Kiir issued another presidential decree dismissing Dr. Riek Machar from vice presidency, dissolving the whole cabinet and suspending the SPLM party Secretary General Pagan Amum and subjected him to criminal investigation over corruption charges. Pagan suspension came as the result of his outspokenness against the dismissal of Manibe and Alor in addition to many remarks he previously made about the ruling party’s failure attributed to kiir mismanagement and dictatorial tendency.  Ultimately, the party was sharply divided.

In the period of July 31 to August 4, 2014, Salva Kiir issued a series of Republican Decrees, aiming of restructuring the government by appointing new ministries, deputies, and moving and repositioning some appointees. Many long time SPLM leaders he had fired, are left out and new appointees including individuals who previously associated with NCP in Khartoum had been brought to picture. In another word, the group in his new administration is clustered with new faces, those who were coming from Khartoum after South Sudan secession and the group outside made up of most of the dismissed ministers who were movement former commanders plus two unconstitutionally dismissed governors of Lakes and Unity States respectively. These two governors are chol Tong Mayai and Taban Deng Gai. Chol was removed on January 21, 2013 because rumours were suggested that he is too close to Riek Machar. Then, Taban was removed on July 7, 2013 for opposing a further presidential term for Kiir. In both governors’ removal cases, many south Sudanese people accused Salva Kiir for violating the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan. For instance, article 101 of the (TCSS-2011) states that, “the president can remove a state Governor and/or dissolve a State Legislative Assembly only in the event of a crisis in the State that threatens national security and territorial integrity.”

However, in the case of Unity State, there was no proof of any crisis that threaten national security and territorial integrity. Then, in Lakes State, there are some minor disputes between civilians which sometimes involved national army but, such skirmishes could not be termed as the threat to territorial integrity or State insecurity. But, Kiir remove Chol Tong anyway without any justification. These two cases are clear violation of the supreme law of the land by the head of the State and such an act is unacceptable in a democratic society. The same article had stated that, “the president can appoint a State care-taker Governor who shall prepare for elections within sixty days after the removal of the seating serving Governor.” Nevertheless, Salva failed to order his care-taker appointees to conduct elections within 60 days as require by the constitution.

As power struggle was continuing, the nation became deeply concern and worried that this political maneuvering might result into something uglier. Some elders particularly the church group, made many attempts to persuade both leaders to raise beyond their differences.  Thus, efforts to reconcile the differences between the two rivaling groups fell on the deaf ears especially from the members of the faith groups who made many attempts---urging leaders to sort their differences out. As the situation was turning here and there unbearably, Salva travel to Khartoum on august 2, 2013 and reportedly promises Omar El Bashir that, he will suspended all aid to the SPLM-North, which he always denied providing. In South Sudan, he began touring Bahr El Ghazal region preparing for worse days ahead. In Akon his hometown, where he address a large group of people in Dinka language, which was aired on SSTV. He had the following words to say. “Look, this power which I have belongs to you. You fought and died for it.....now some people want to snatch it from me....will you accept that?’ The whole mass reply by saying “ace be gam” meaning we will not accept.  That trip lasted by him requesting 15,000 militias he has secretly trained under the watchful eye of Paul Malong Awan to be deployed to Juba. The move caused shape disagreements between Salva and James Hoth Mai. Hoth opposed the nature of illegal recruitment of tribal militias without his knowledge as a chief of general staff and also urged the army to stay away from political influence. Then the two men remain at odd and Kiir kept his new militias separate from the country main army near Juba.

Day after day, rivaling kept widening and the voices that were clamoring for change of the attitudes went through deaf ears. Kiir proceed ahead with his presidential decrees and sometimes threaten to even dissolve the parliament if the later fail to approve his appointees. This warning came after a vetting committee chaired by Hon. Abuk Payiti Ayiik, wife of dismissed minister of education peter Adwok Nyaba, reports concerns to the national legislature about the qualifications of the president’s appointee for minister of justice, his close ally Telar Ring Deng. The committee also highlights Telar’s role in a proposed deal to purchase land for the Bank of South Sudan. Parliament, in a closed ballot, votes to reject Telar’s appointment. All other cabinet ministers were approved. On august 23, 2013 Kiir issues a decree appointing James Wani Igga, speaker of the national legislative Assembly, as vice-president. After many Nuer refuse to occupied the office.  He is confirmed three days later by the parliament. Then, on September 2, 2013 he appointed Magok Rundial as the new speaker of the parliament, he nominated him while there were many voices favoring Dr. Riek Machar for the position.

After Salva has done with nominations, his sacked former ministers and the vice president still wanted him to call SPLM party meeting since they all are still senior members in the party. Yet, Salva kept to avoid calling a meeting. While officially opening the new offices of the SPLM Secretariat on November 15, 2013 in Juba, Kiir announced he is dissolving all political structures of the SPLM, which include the highest executive organ, the political Bureau and the National Liberation Council (NLC). Salva declared SPLM had dissolved itself except his position as the chairperson despite the fact that the dateline in which SPLM convention would have been held has passed. A tone that the sacked seating SPLM members were not happy about. They responded by calling a press conference on December 6, 2013.

On December 6, 2013, a group of senior SPLM politicians sacked by Kiir on July 23, 2013, held a press conference at the new premises of the SPLM Secretariat Kiir had just opened while Kiir was on an official visit to Paris. The group is led by the former vice president and the deputy chairperson Dr. Riek Machar in present of Rebecca Nyandeng (widow of the late John Garang), Pagan Amum Okiech, Deng Alor Kuol, Alfred Ladu Gore, Oyay Deng Ajak, Majak D’Agoot Atem, Madut Biar Yel, Gier Chuong Aluong, Peter Adwok Nyaba, Chol Tong Mayay, Taban Deng Gai, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, John Luk Jok, Kosti Manibe Ngai, and Cirino Hiteng Ofuho. They call on Kiir to hold a meeting of the SPLM Political Bureau—which he declined calling since March meeting—to discuss differences over the management of the party. They accuse Kiir of dictatorial tendency. They also announce a public rally to be held on December 14, 2013 in Juba, at the site of John Garang’s mausoleum. By hearing that a rally is going to be held on the 14th, Salva and his group had subsequently announced that, the SPLM’s long-awaited Political Bureau meeting must be met on the same day. The fact that Salva had conflicting the days by scheduling the meeting on the day sacked group scheduled their rally is that he wanted to create different party members and those who are with Riek may decide what to do next. Instead of proceeding with plan, Riek issued a statement on December 13, 2013 declaring that the planned rally by his group will be postponed until 20 December, aiming to allow more time for the dialogue. He did this for two reasons. Once, he doesn’t want to conduct rally while Salva is convening a meeting and second, he was responding to calls by the elders and religious leaders who were demanding more dialogue between the two groups. During the meeting, Salva ton was to declare the war and in the next session, the sacked party members decided to avoid showing up given the insult words Salva was expressing. Then Salva ordered the arrest of all senior party members. This is a power abuse IGAD and the whole international community need to avoid as they are pressuring two parties to form a national unity government with Salva as the president.

In summing, from the above historical facts, it is easy to see that South Sudan had been a victim of Salva Kiir misrule, giving him the same power, the country will continue to suffer under him miserably and probably fall backward again. Many international experts and South Sudanese alike know that Salva Kiir is the only person who plunge the country into war through above describing presidential decrees. It is now clear that the war is coming to an end, but let us be mindful that Juba massacre and the horrors that follows are not repeating again. This is the reason we want the power to be balanced between Salva and the Prime minister. We are for peace, but at the same time we want to caution IGAD, African Union, and the whole international community to carefully look at the facts one have written in this article and consider our call for less power to Salva Kiir Mayardit.

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

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