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Editorial: Kiir’s end term best chance for a new beginning

By Deng Vanang

August 3, 2015 (SSNA) -- What became 15th December, 2013’s ethnic violence pitting the Nuer and Dinka was not the two groups’ exclusive political affair. If any, is the microcosm of a wider national issue, personalized by two major ethnic groups.

Due to their history of hate and power struggle in South Sudan, the two took the matter up on themselves. Otherwise, core issues driving the wedge between Kiir and Machar are socio-political and economic malignancies ailing the whole country.

These differences, as always stated, are tribalism, corruption and inequitable distribution of power and resources among all ethnic groups. All these ills have been complicated by dysfunctional institutions of good governance.

While running an autonomous region as well as independent South Sudan, Kiir had been above board to be advised by his principal deputy in both party and the government, Dr. Machar. Other eminent South Sudanese offered their pieces of advice to Kiir on how to best to run the country to no avail.

He either used to pretend to have taken heed of all these advices without putting them into action. Or his delusion has been that he is the elected President with the free hand to rule the country as he so wishes. With the end of his term, all these defense mechanisms should have been over and country returned to its owners, all South Sudanese, in order to debate its future.

In pursuant, Machar should as well own up from personally pushing for what are deemed to be public demands, now that Kiir from whom he has been trying to wrestle peoples’ power is no more a leader.

IGAD and its partner Troika should as well stop forth with from running this scam of viewing South Sudan as Nuer – Dinka’s entity whose spoils should be divided between two ethnic groups solidly standing behind the two leaders.

What many expect of IGAD and TROIKA is one of the followings: to re-instate the past peace formula of President and Prime Minister on equally shared power. If it is not the case, UN should instead take over South Sudan for five years until required reforms are all carried through. Or tell Kiir to vacate for a new leader, presumed to be none Dinka, Nuer and Shiluk now the apparent contesters for country’s leadership, for a consensus leader from either the Church or an eminent person from minority ethnic group as the transitional and transformative leader tasked with steering the country through required reforms till the UN’s supervised and monitored elections.

Meanwhile Kiir and Machar to go to The Hague where they will answer  legal cases against each other and people of South Sudan. Whoever comes out clean shall contest in the next Presidential elections with other interested contenders except the yet to be slated transitional leader.

Reason being, one of the two having an edge over the other in power arrangements or all remaining at the top during transition, there shall be friction with each trying to influence the direction of required reforms, ending with yet another more disastrous conflict than IGAD and TROIKA are trying to resolve now.

Without considering this formula IGAD and TRIOKA could be prolonging the crisis and continuous suffering of South Sudanese. Why? They are imposing Kiir on the country, leave alone Greater Bhar El Ghazal and Equatoria for a few more years. The same applies in the case of Machar on people of Greater Upper Nile.

Again, their current peace plan is the way of belittling a wider national agenda to a narrower ethnic one. With the isolation of Dr. Riek Machar and his Upper Nile constituency from main stream politics, while it gives unfair advantage to Kiir or whoever will be his successor in the next Presidential elections after the end of transition.

This is not without saying the peace plan encourages rebellions in other regions by those who will feel left out from proposed political dispensations. Should Machar and his Upper Nile constituency, especially the Nuer, fail to win Presidency by default, the current reforms agenda shall translate into secessionist quest of declaring Greater Upper Nile region as new independent state from the rest, a Nigerian Biafra in the making.

Greater Equatoria too, will echo the same separatist sentiments than join with Greater Bhar el Ghazal against secessionist Upper Nile. This view is based on concrete evidences than far-fetched notions. For Kiir, like Ivory coast’s former President, Laurence Mbago, has perfected the fine art of Presidential term’s extensions.

In 2010 he cruised through bungled mid-term presidential elections. A day before independence declaration on 9th July, 2011, he cajoled parliament into extending his term to 2015. Fearing a likely defeat in 2015 elections, he created 2013’s violence that made it unconducive to hold an election as scheduled. The current peace’s proposal giving him three more years in office is what he exactly wanted when he instigated the same 2013’s ethnic violence. And there is no guarantee the next elections won’t go according to his usual unorthodox plans of continuous presidential terms’ extension.

Simply because IGAD –TROIKA handing him two regions 100% while he shares Upper Nile with Machar is the hidden strategy already meant to help Kiir regain the lost ground, the Upper Nile region. That will be in dividing Machar’s loyalists through either political manipulations or financial bribes and eventually kicking him out of the region politically or military.

Since Kiir, according to current peace plan, has indirectly regained his imperial presidency in appointing to and relieving from public offices Machar and his people top down. With three individuals nominated to a single position by Machar for Kiir to appoint one, is enough to stir series of lobby for positions and drive a wedge between Machar and those appointed or left out.

Without federalism being automatically implemented during transition, Kiir shall still have control of country’s oil riches in Greater Upper Nile to continue influencing the situation in his own direction. The same grip and manipulation will be replicated in two other regions since security arrangement gives him full control of all security forces there, which is enough to intimidate electorate against voting for his rivals, Machar and the rest.

In re-uniting and professionalizing the two armies into one regular national force, Machar is at a disadvantage since bulk of his armed loyalists are illiterate Nuers who will be demobilized to civilian life while Kiir since 2005 has been sending his Dinka’s soldiers for language courses and routine military trainings. The latter no doubt will be in control of the army against the former and dictate through military might and means how should remain in power.

In constitution – making, Kiir will put a simple majority clause to pass the constitution in referendum and in parliament he knows he has the majority of MPs according to current peace plan. This will include elections being run by local National Elections commission he controls supervised by the international community. Every wise person knows international observers always don’t have enough presence on the ground during referenda and elections and fear damaging their credibility by declaring such processes as unfair as well as not free.

Using all the above numerated advantages, Kiir will win while Machar and others trying to cry foul will be fought by international peace keeping force on Kiir’s behalf.

All these ill game plans make Kiir a serial war criminal locally and internationally. While Machar getting clawed back always to the system he leaves since the time of Garang paints him a political weakling and irredeemable failure locally and internationally.

For it all shows he is only capable of reforming his rivals and systems of governance against himself, making him to be used temporarily and dished eventually after a job well done. Machar by always returning to SPLM/A he either storms out voluntarily or chased out forcefully also confirms the long held belief of Dinka political elites and SPLM/A that they are indeed invincibly irreplaceable.

Such notion of mystery or sheer invincibility as created by internal weakness, by either Machar or his camp since 1991, shall live to demoralize the Nuer and other potential reformists forever from raising a finger against any persistent wrongs in the country in future.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and Author. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Unrealistic hopes, President Obama’s visit will not bring peace to South Sudan

By J. Nguen Nyol

July 29, 2015 (SSNA) -- Hope is an “expectation of positive outcome, with confidence and to cherish a desire with anticipation." Thus is the mindset that my people have about President Obama’s visit to the continent of Africa, East Africa in particular. They say President Brack Hussien Obama’s visit to East Africa is a positive step and a hope to progress to achieving peace in South Sudan. Peace can return to suffering people of South Sudan.

That the war torn nation called South Sudan shall suffer no more. It sounds logical and pleasant in every one ear me included. We and they experiencing peace and stability as a result of America’s President’s visit to South Sudan’s vicinities, Kenya and Ethiopia would be undeniable gift. However, I disagree, this is a false hope, unless certain approaches are undertaken and change occurred on America and its people does things.

My disagreement so to speak is based on the America Government’s foreign policy, particularly its decision making process in the event of ending wars. There has never been such a quick fix to war by American Government and its policy makers and it’s unlikely to occur this time around. America’s solutions to conflicts are long and often centered on America’s national interest.

As President Obama tours East Africa, I bet there will be tough and strong talks spewing out from the world most powerful President on planet earth. Evident of this tough was seen in Kenya and Ethiopia at African Union address. Unfortunately these strong words are not always enforced. They do not mean anything. If one said empty threats, I concurred.

This has happened before, too many times. It happened in Iraq. Late President Saddam Hussien of Iraq gassed Kurdish people with chemical weapon before the eyes of the international community in the 1980s and thousands innocent civilians Kurdish Iraqis have died and nothing happened as a result in consequential manner.

The United States and other nations made loud noise followed by strong condemnations but never acted upon them. I believe it is a strategic policy of instilling false hopes to suffering masses to avoid blame of responsibility and inaction in the face of injustices.

To bring this rhetoric close to home, the United State of America allowed Rwandans to butcher themselves in 1994 in their watch and so is the United Nation. Relative to South Sudan, President Kiir has ready butchered 20, 000 innocent Nuer civilians in cold blood and no actions were taken. Much more personal to H.E. President Obama, he was himself lied to and even called a “liar” by President Kiir Mayardit. Many Americans were infuriated by these insults to their president and no action was taken to discipline the undisciplined mad general of South Sudan.

Though this happened in a face –to –face meeting between President Kiir of South Sudan and U. S. President and even on Americans’ soil, President Kiir didn’t a shit I supposed. To remind my readers on the circumstance on which this event happened, it was in a formal conversation between the two.

President Obama took a centre stage and told Kiir that the government of South Sudan was supporting Sudan’s rebel. When Kiir responded, he told Mr. Obama to fact check his Satellites imageries. In other word, Kiir was basically telling President Obama that he was lying and nothing was truthful on the topic under discussion. While in this regard the whole world knew the Government of South Sudan was indeed aiding the Sudan’s rebels.

In contrary, Kiir chose the high road and insulted his counterpart; the world most powerful man and in position of power by calling him a liar in his face. President Obama was reported to have been outraged and disgusted by disrespectful remark but didn’t do anything. The buck didn’t stop there, when USA, UN, EU and Great British threatened to impose sanctions against Kiir’s regime for massacring his own citizens, Kiir replied that he was not intimidated by the ‘stick’ of sanctions waved by Western powers, saying “let them hit ‘wherever the like to hit.

In defiance, Kiir went ahead anyway and ordered onslaught against innocent civilians in Unity State. Thousands of civilians were killed as a result. The American Government and the rest of the world watched on and didn’t do anything either. They only things they have done were condemnation of the brutality of Kiir’s regime while the prelude severe consequences never materialized.

In my view, in these circumstances, the United States of America and the rest of the world would have acted vigorously by force protecting the common humanity of man.

Therefore, these are parts of my doubts, why I believed President Obama’s visit to East Africa shall never bring peace to South Sudan, his are empty threats. My other argument lies on how double-faced this nation has become.

A decision to use force in America Government have multiple layers to traverse through. Above all, such decision must clearly define America’s national interest. For South Sudan case, Americans’ national interest is murky not well defined because China controlled South Sudan’s oil fields and in part lands lease. Therefore, it will take U.S to act forcefully on South Sudan civil war because there are not benefactors in anyway should peace come now to South Sudan.

For the warring parties, it’s unlikely that President Kiir regime will not settle peacefully and through peaceful means. With the help of Uganda government militarily, the regime has already trashed too many agreements including the ceasefire signed on January 2014. In numerous times, Kiir’s regime has also denied UN’s passage to relief corridors to save the dying populations in Upper Nile region. In all these cases, the world including U.S never act on humanitarian ground defending common humanity and right of man to life.

Further, the recent IGAD’s Compromised Proposal Agreement is already trashed too before President Obama returned home, to North America. For example, Kuol Mayang Juuk, Kiir’s Government defense minister called it an invasion of nation’s sovereignty if allowed. He told his generals that this peace proposal is mean to disempower them and put Dr. Riek on the path to toppling the government.

Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, President Kiir’s official spokesperson called the “proposal “too complicated and too difficult for his government to swallow. Evidently, these are the realities on the ground on the side of the government. One may argument these are individuals’ utterance and may not mean anything as faras government’s position is concerned.

My counterargument is that Kiir’s government is run by individuals of Dinka descent, particularly those who have already spoken out against the proposal. I bet the government’s position on the IGAD’s Compromise Proposal won’t deviate much from that of Kuol and Ateny.

Besides, President Obama is well aware that his visit to East Africa is not a blessing to South Sudan problem and the visit will not bring peace in any way to the war torn nation. News outlets have already reported some indications validating my point. It was reported that President Obama was “strategizing ... next steps in the event” present peace “doesn’t succeed.”

For instance, tough sanctions and East Africa military task force were pronounced to protect civilians and create buffer zone between the warring parties. This proposal doesn’t grant peace and not tough enough. The other dumb idea was the fact that Uganda was in the meeting as part of East Africa’s countries to bring peace to South Sudan, yet, the Uganda Defense Forces (UPDF) are in South Sudan fighting alongside President Kiir government.  

The other the issue that stuck out in this proceeding is the so- called Friends of South Sudan. They are Americans and have lobbied the Americans’ Government to push for South Sudan independence during CPA, in 2005. They were personal friends to late Dr. John Garang and not to the people of South Sudan.  So, because South Sudan has gained its independence in 2011, these individuals think they owned South Sudan and its people.

For example, in the current conflict in South Sudan, they have taken sides and some whom are still working for the government of South Sudan. Dr. Francis Mading Deng is the Government of South Sudan ambassador to United Nation and while Ted Dagne and Roger Winter are President Kiir’s official advisors.

Their mouthpiece, Eric reeves is a diehard supporter of G10, allegedly called “the Garang Boys” who just surrendered to the Government of South Sudan.  Mr. Reeve has been very boldly and negative against Dr. Riek Machar, the armed opposition leader. To my dismay, Eric Reeve never acknowledged the victims of South Sudan government. According to him, Dr. Riek is the sole culprit of all wrongs. The truth is the man is out of touch and no sound minded person should ever listen to him. The bottom-line, Eric Reeve is a shame to good American people.

This is where fault line lies. The Friend of South Sudan is now part of IGAD-Plus negotiating peace for South Sudan.  Yet neutrality of this group is question. They have vest interest. If I may, the Friend of South Sudan is a negative post and should be remove from IGAD -Plus. I urged President Obama to take extra care dealing with this group. They don’t mean any good whatsoever to South Sudanese people.

I conclude this writing with Nyaleel’s story. Nyaleel is a ten year ago girls whose mother was burned alive by Kiir Mayardit forces and allies militias in Leer. My aim is to stress my people need peace. The story begin, blood run deep; it’s called motherly love. This is no longer a case for Nyaleel because she has no mother. Her mother with other 80 women and girls were killed.

They were burned alive by President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s forces in Leer. Nyaleel’s mother underwent gruesome and excruciating pains. She didn’t die in peace. It was this past June 2015 when Nyaleel’s mother was burned alive because she was a Nuer and from Dok -Nuer.

It was one of the devilish brutalities to say the least. It reminiscent crimes committed against Jews by Nazi. Subsequently, the world is much safer without Adolf Hitler then and now. Hitler was a man who masterminded massacre of 7 million Jews, the holocaust. The bad legacy of this historical narrative is that no child is named after Adolf Hitler. Calling someone Hitler in jokingly manner in the west is a punishable crime.

This is how ugly it could get. For crimes he committed against Jews, Adolf Hitler was not forgiven and peace was forced upon German. Jews were freed by force in the concentration camps.

This was remarkable and humanistic at best. Though, I sincerely believed President Obama will not bring peace to South Sudan in his visit to East Africa, as a brother, I urged him and the world to take necessary steps to rescue people of South Sudan. Not more empty threats but forceful actions.

Evidently, President Kiir and his dying institutions will not accept IGAD’s Compromise Agreement Proposal. The end game must be, Kiir and whoever that opposes peace must be force to accept it.

As piece of wisdom, they say do not envy a sinner. Well, I do. The world should and so is Nyaleel. President Kiir and likes must be held to account to ends impunity.

J. Nguen is a South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Editorial: Garang and his resurrection allegory

By Deng Vanang

July 28, 2015 (SSNA) -- 30th July is heroes’ day in South Sudan calendar as known to almost everybody in the country. The choice of this day is to coincide with the day Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in 2005 in a plane crash. He is also feted as one among top heroes and heroines, besides meeting his death while a leader of the then autonomous region, Southern Sudan. It is the same autonomous arrangement that propelled the region to independence in 2011 as the result of Comprehensive Peace agreement, CPA he signed with Khartoum- based government following half a century internecine conflict.

And therefore, were he to resurrect, the surprise would no doubt create as much confusion among numerous politicians leading SPLM/A factions as it could in himself. As some of these politicians would be more than happier while others could be overcome by rage.

Since these politicians are squaring it off with one another over country’s leadership, the only source of daily bread and ruthless authority to exercise over the weak. That is apart from being the pride of some exclusively filthy rich, Godless and shamelessly bragging oligarchs.

God couldn’t allow him to risk resurrecting at his famous tomb, now located between customs market and National Legislative Assembly in Juba. Since for certain, those soldiers manning the historic site 24/7 may not be doing so in his best interest.

Being shot in sight or getting kidnapped and spirited 100 KMS away in undisclosed location from his beloved people couldn’t be ruled out either. Followed by an intense questioning as to why he returns.

His crime is, wild suspicion that he returns to reclaim his throne already having claimed countless lives, millions maimed and others displaced internally and externally. Not between North and South he previously knew but between fellow South Sudanese.

In secret location where he is being held for questioning, he could be warned by new Juba’s authorities not to dare ask for his position of an autonomous Southern Sudan for its term has already elapsed ever since 2011’s successful referendum. And probably be told the country is an independent Republic now led by His Excellency, democratically and popularly elected President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit if he ever cares to listen.

To guarantee his safety, God could allow him to rise up mysteriously in the compound of United States of America Embassy’s residence, the most fortified fortress in the war ravaged country.

There the armada of journalists and curious masses could flock in order to have a glimpse of a long lost leader. A cordon of both American marines and UNMISS’ peace keeping troops could be thrown around the high walled compound. If not done, it could either be scaled or broken into by surging crowds, its height and state of security notwithstanding.

Up on hearing the news, opposing factions of SPLM/A could definitely be falling over one another as each wants to be accorded the first opportunity by Americans to brief him ten years after he went up in flames in the Zulia Mountains on the current state of the ruling SPLM and the nation presently in tatters.

While opposing factions are in stampede arguing loud and throwing punches at one another, Garang could be in state of confusion and nervousness as he stares up, down and about in blanks at bull necked and stomach protruded men that fight their way through thick walls of crowds with report files.

These are none other than his previously known associates changed by age and luxury of power. That is besides the city in which he finds himself.

For Juba he knew in 1980s as dust filled town over grown with tall elephant grass, grass thatched and mud-walled shacks  is now teeming with some sky scrapping buildings.

The scenery is replete with a few kilometers stretches of tarmacked roads with a sea of humanity and automobiles plying them as they chase South Sudanese tender notes visibly featuring his portrait.

If British war time of 1930s – 1940s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s political dictum ‘’ a week in politics is a long time’’ then what often plus years?

Certainly, Garang could be in need of one month induction course in order to acquaint himself with unusual environment called modern South Sudan.

That is in terms of fast evolving history, roller - coaster politics and infrastructural architecture more than a brief from bickering politicians and warring army Generals complete with press interviews from parading armies of both local and foreign journalists.

Not to be surprised, the pompous social change his inductors may talk big about could be nothing short of usual notoriety of history repeating itself anyway.

As he is being inducted by Americans and a few trusted South Sudanese, especially priests and Pastors lest he is misinformed in favor and at the expense of some politicians, Garang could break his jaws in laughter as well as cry out his eyes mournfully at the same time in bewilderment.

In a series of mindboggling revelations, he could learn his lessons hard that autonomous Southern Sudan controversially held elections in 2010 had resultantly caused the death of his once trusted General in rebellion against Juba, George Athor Deng. That is if either he or George lives in one of good heavens’ corners: paradise or hell.

This was followed by referendum in the South minus Abyei which is now facing the fate of being slaughtered if not halved, than one side between North and South takes it all.

South Sudan is now sovereignty but full-pledged failed state and regional destabilizer although fortunately no longer disputed territory between Afro – South and dominantly Arab North. But with SPLM/A being a pail shadow of former self.

SPLM’s remnants in the North and a coalition of Darfur rebels are waging a protracted guerrilla insurgency against Al-Bashir, his longtime rival over the Sudan’s Presidential stakes. Another SPLM – South has so far so good metamorphosed into ragtag warring factions in an irredeemable self -destruction.

That his better half Rebecca and beloved son Mabior declared themselves persona non-grata in the town and country he helped liberate.

His treasured apples in the eyes in the names of Pagan Amum, Deng Alor, Kosti Manibe, Hiteng, et al have just returned home from nearly two years’ old political exile while on the run from goons let loose by Salva Kiir Mayardit, now doubling as his successor and Alpha and Omega at the helm of tripartite system - ruling SPLM faction, government and the entire country.

He could also learn his tough lesson that some elements of the group were recently restored to their long lost positions after wobbling on their knees as they begged Kiir to be pardoned.

While Oyay and Majak are still unaccounted for as they roam in the wilderness stretching far and wide between ever repelling Juba and Pagak.

As if that amazement is not enough, Garang could come face to face with reality of Machar and Lam walking back in time to what he famously called theoretical coup of 1991. Lam heading DC faction in an open prison that passes for Juba as Machar heading IO in the torturous bushes of Upper Nile region.

He with Lado and Taban is having a trillion Dollars bounty placed on their heads by Kiir and his government they accused of most heinous of crimes against humanity such like ethnic cleansing, endemic tribalism, totalitarian dictatorship and runaway kleptocracy.

He could be gasping for a breathe when learning his dream towns are far from getting to villages but political leaderships surrounded by rivaling cults of tribal elders’ councils due to the above numerated ills.

To his even more annoyance, he could be told Juba is just a clearing in the jungle called South Sudan. For what he sees as marvelous development in Juba many disparagingly regard it as tiny drop in the gigantic Indian Ocean.

Reason being countless billions of United States Dollars enough to turn the entire country into an East African economic tiger are starched away in individual bank accounts as loots. Not by anyone and everybody but the very leaders who don’t lead by example but looting.

The dire consequences of these socio –economic ills trapped people in the viciously and deadly triangle of the ongoing devastating war, abject poverty and terminal diseases, he could then be told as he pays his usual attention patiently.

All soldiers having been fitted against each other went to the killing fields with their families gone begging the same greedy politicians en mass should they refuse to face the shame of returning to the refugee camps they left a decade ago, that is 2005.

No tamarack beyond Juba – Nimule road with clean drinking water and electricity supplies remain a pipe dream. Upper Nile region is now ungratefully consuming like a mass human grave with rapid ripple effects into the whole country spreading fast and furious.

Then, the invaluable lesson to be learned by all and sundry is the stake truth that nothing is new for John Garang to see other than the same horrors in different forms he left behind when he died on 30th July, 2005.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and Author. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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