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Me against my brother: The defection of General Dau Aturjong Nyuol

By Martin Garang Aher

June 4, 2014 (SSNA) -- President Kiir had of late made two appointments that would ensconce rebellion in the state of Northern Bahr El Ghazal in the form of pitting rivalries against each other. Of the significant appointment is that of the army’s chief, general Paul Malong Awan, who was uplifted from a gubernatorial position as a civilian governor, to the army top stratum. Malong’s appointment and that of the caretaker governor of NBG State closed all doors on Dau, leaving him with only one way: that of rebellion.

Dau Aturjong became the latest South Sudanese military general to break ranks with Juba and joined Riek Machar in circumstances that swerved from claims of personal security, marginalisation of his community and the state, intense political rivalry and superimposed nationalistic dream of good governance. The news of rebellion of a well-respected general, much known for a high level of technicality in tactical guerrilla warfare than his wealth; the latter which he never had but dreams of, just like future-hopeful citizenry, was made in a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya and carried to a resounding propagation by Paris-based Sudan Tribune which published a full version of the press release, SBS Dinka radio in Australia, which later interviewed the general in his language of comfort, and many other local and international media.

Like every other rebels from within and without of Juba who made their discontent apparent since president Kiir took office in 2010 in circumstances sympathetic to colonial breakaway from the Sudan, general Dau, singing to the tune of others before him, has a keen interest in removing president Kiir from power in the country. He accused him of scandalous stewardship of the nation to catastrophe. Well, the nation is already in the abyss. The question to ponder upon is how to get out of it, something that every leader in South Sudan who calls for arms insurrections finds difficult to undo because of inherent fears of retributions and other complications that arise from combatants and acquired allies with own political interests. For now, General Dau has his finger on the trigger and has no time to droop down attending to the political opportunistic networks that weave around every step he makes.

Why did Dau really rebel? It is the question that South Sudanese who think that Aweil and Kiir are inseparable and one and the same, would want to know? Many people want to know why Aweil, an area that contributed a river full of blood in the most unsurpassed and bizarre conditions during the war of liberation with Sudan, fails to decelerate in the war of political opportunism emanating from Juba.  As difficult as the questions are, so are the answers, and I think General Dau can provide hints. Dau was the area commander of SPLA forces in Northern Bhar el Ghazal in 1990s, a position he swapped so often with Paul Malong, sometimes in the uncanny lobby with the general headquarters where Malong won the army politics of appeasement and deployment. Although Dau was popular solid protection of the area against Marahaleen counter-insurgency units, mobilising local resources to buy uniforms for the battalions in his command in the periods when SPLA soldiers at the extreme peripheries of war in Aweil were completely rugged and indistinguishable from the poverty-stricken civilians they protected; and introducing the now famous ‘Toyota war’ among the Darfur rebels by purchasing numerous Toyota utes cars and transformed them into military fighting vehicles, Dau could not hold on to his position in Aweil. He found himself transferred to the vicinity of Wau and replaced by Malong Awan.  Since both men are undoubtedly battle-groomed for battle madness that often result in successes, civilians in Aweil have always struck an understanding with Dau who remained a bad student of snobbishness much to their liking. That is where he always picks an axe to grind with ‘King Paul Malong,’ as adorned by a few toadies with interests. 

The bitter differences between Malong and Dau are national in character. President Kiir knows about them and with him on Malong's side, there is no better ally for Dau. When Dau was interviewed by SBS Dinka Radio from Australia, he said that it was the late John Garang that knew his mind and how he rationalised situations. No wonder president Kiir saw a 'Garang's boy' in him and played a one-sided favouritism in the fraternal battles of fame. During the 2010 elections, the SPLM, too, under new masters who were busy setting up traps for themselves by setting them up for the future enemies of the party, disapproved of Dau’s nomination as a front runner for gubernatorial position in Aweil. Dau went on to contest the elections as an independent candidate with no assurance of support from core. To him, he won the majority votes only to receive swapped ballots, followed by a humiliating condemnation and accusation of rebelling. For the second time, Malong ruled the state and kept Dau at bay in Juba. The hope, to everyone who watched Dau from afar, was that he would circumvent Malong in Aweil and finds a consolation in what the country would offer him at the national level. It never came to pass. What came to pass was that an enemy, ‘The King,’ was given the ‘knife’ at his expense.

Adding to his frustrations was an occasional presence of security personnel wolfing around his house in Juba, sometimes, firing a few aimless shot at it. For a man near a hostile core of politics, stakes could not be any higher for making up his mind. If anything, assumed impression is that notorious army men do not like to be fired at in awkward positions. Their bravery has an underlying fear. In a meeting held under a tree in Mapuordit, Yirol, in early 2001, and which was attended by Marial Nuor, a not-to-mess-around-with commander, a disgruntled soldier appeared from nowhere and cocked his gun so loud that everyone was taken by surprise in the meeting. I did not know what he had in mind. But the first person to stand up, shouted at the soldier and ordered him disarmed, was Marial himself. Ask the late Karubino Kwanyin Bol why he moved around to every place with a pistol just like Yasser Arafat, he would tell you that nothing was certain. In the case of retired general Dau, left without orders to give but a security report to make when fired on, the situation became less peaceful in Juba than in the bush: the only door that remained opened for him. 

Had president Kiir wanted Dau to stay, he would have pushed him to Aweil as the caretaker governor. But that would anger president Kiir’s darling in his army chief.  Already a caretaker governor in Aweil in the person of Kuel Aguer Kuel closes all avenues for a rebellion rethink from Dr. Dhiew Wol.  The two have truck-loads of colonial baggages they brought with them. The only difference is that they have unwillingly exchanged positions proportional to their past. 

For the people of Aweil, it was the dilemma that forced Dau out of Juba. The question is not why he rebelled but who has he joined, and at what time did he do it. That is where he misjudged Aweilians and where his right answers started with a wrong formula.

From Kuol Manyang and George Athor, Malong Awan and Dan Aturjong, Taban Deng Gai and Angelina Teny, Riek Machar and Kiir Mayardit and others, the SPLM knows how to create rebels. With Dau in the list, they might have created General Terrible.

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

Pagan Amum is lobbying for an Interim President: What a disgrace!!!!

By Peter Gai Manyuon

June 2, 2014 (SSNA) -- Comrade Pagan Amum has been talking indirectly here and there that, he want reforms within the SPM as the party and moreover his interest is to be the Interim President of the Republic of South Sudan (inside his heart) incase President Kiir step aside as many diplomats globally are pushing for it.  However for those who do not know Amum very well, let me give you small highlights about Pagan Amum who want to become the interim President. Well, Amum speeches in the media these days, you find the gentleman is diverting or digressing from the main point which he (Amum) and Dr Machar were looking for.  What a disgrace from Amum?

Each and every one in South Sudan knows that Pagan Amum Okech was the former Secretary General of South Sudan's ruling political party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), a position to which he was elected by the National Liberation Council. He was also South Sudan's Chief Negotiator with Sudan on post independence issues. He served as the Minister for Peace and CPA Implementation in the Government of Southern Sudan, prior to independence in 2011 and as well the caretaker Minister of Peace in the first government post independence, taking office on 23 July 2011.

Amum was born in a small post known as Wat in row Luo Nuer area on 3rd January 1959. His father was a non-commissioned post officer responsible for the Wat post. His family moved to Malakal after his grandfather, chief of the Ubuar people, died and Amum's father was asked to take over the role. His father went from being a clan chief to later being paramount chief and president of the court. Amum's father was also a farmer who used modernized farm methods that greatly impressed Amum who realized that South Sudan had great agricultural potential.

On 23 July 2013, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Presidential Decree suspending Amum and forming a committee led by James Wani Igga who is known as a Comedian and the Vice President of South Sudan, to investigate Amum for alleged misconduct. Amum was accused of mismanagement of the party, financial irregularities and insubordination, including opposing Kiir's decision to suspend former Finance Minister Kosti Manibe and former Cabinet Minister Deng Alor on corruption charges.

However in South Sudan context Pagan had been known for misrepresenting the party and that was why President of the Republic of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit gave an order of restricting the movement of Amum in 2013 after he was suspended from the Party as the Secretary General.

Nevertheless, Amum can be a leader in South Sudan because no one is entitle to hold the position alone, but due to the circumstances beyond description about Pagan Amum as a person, he could not be the right person to lead the Interim Administration of the Republic of South Sudan due to the followings points, if need may arise from the peace talk in Addis-Ababa.

Partly, from family level, Pagan Amum has no supporters from Chollo Community from Upper Nile state, most of Chollo people are on Dr Lam Akol side , he (Amum) if I may guess has got only zero point ten percent (o.10%). Realistically if you have such a support from your own locality, can you look for Presidency of South Sudan? What a shame to Mr. Amum?

He was supposed to gain momentum first before lobbying for Presidency. You cannot tell the author of this article Pagan has got many supporters.

Interestingly, it was not a surprise to hear that rumor that Comrade Pagan Amum was proposed by United States and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to be the Interim President of South Sudan since President Salvatore Kiir and his former Deputy Dr Machar had been having big differences that paralyzed the government of the new Nation.

Analysis

First of all, Pagan Amum has been accused of being a corrupt person by his former boss Salva Kiir Mayardir and many people in the world are more aware about the issue. Pagan was the very person behind the down fall of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) because he was the General Secretary who was suppose to make thing right in the Party with the Chairperson of the Party and his former Deputy Dr Machar but because of divisive and too much talking from Mr Amum, he has buried the party up to zero level. How can someone who destroyed the party be the interest of International Communities? What a disgrace and insult to South Sudanese people? What is wrong with International Community?  Does International Community have a sense of realizing the facts and realities?

Secondly, Pagan Amum was among the people who organized for the rally of the SPLM that took place on the 6th of December 2013 in Juba together with Dr Machar and other Political Cades of the party. Logically what is the different between   Pagan Amum and Dr Machar who is leading the rebellion? What I know is that, they don’t have different; he (Amum) and the rests of other political detainees including Dr Machar, all were looking for reforms within the party. And if that is the case, let all of them wait for reforms.

If Dr Machar is the rebel, why not Pagan as well? Pagan was detained with the others eleven Political detainees due to the connection of having organized a big rally that provoked President Kiir and his allies that lead to the serious opposition that is still going on and thousands of civilians lives were lost in Juba, Malakal, Bor and Bentiu.

Justification

International Communities and regional body like Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should first of all look at the background of all the political detainees and make evaluation on who is the best and who is not. Well Pagan is very good in speaking but here we have to differentiate between just talking and delivering of services to the people of South Sudan.

In South Sudan as the new Nation, there are many tribes that were left out since the formation of the government. Why not them to be given a chance to lead the Interim Administration? It is not only (Chollo) who are smallest community/ tribe in the Country, there are many in Eastern and Western Equatoria as well. International Communities should be caution on that, their interests is not the South Sudanese interests.

When you look at the set up of the government of Southern Sudan since Dr Garang was there up to last year 2013, you find that Chollo, Nuer and Dinka were the one holding a very important positions in the Country, don’t ask the author who are they?

Well, each and everyone know that Nuer as a Tribe plus some portion of certain communities in the Country took arms advocating for the respect for the rule of law and democratization processes. Therefore Nuer as well should not dictate the process even though they die in big number, they are fighting for the prosperity and the freedom of all South Sudanese regardless of what might be circumstances.

Proposed names for the Interim Government

The author believe in delivering of services to the people of South Sudan , am not looking at it in different way as many people mind guess or wishes. South Sudan have been destroyed especially the Greater Upper Nile Region, therefore if there had been destruction then after the peace, people should focus on the development issues. Well if we are talking of the development , we should not talk of bringing in faces implicated with many things already rather, we should focus on technocrats human resource personnels who can lead South Sudanese to elections and coming up with good ideas of reconciliation.

The author believes that the followings people can be the best for Interim Government, if International Communities, regional bodies and South Sudanese agree with it.

First of all Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth has been Ambassador of the South Sudan to United Nations and United States of America, and had work tirelessly for the interest of South Sudanese in several occasions, therefore deserve to be in the Interim Government. Diplomat Lol Gatkuoth has been good to the entire South Sudanese and his records are very clear, he is not among the seventy five (75) corrupts officials who have been identified by the World and South Sudanese as well even thought their names were not disclose to the public’s but rather it was in the people minds who were part of the scandals of millions of dollars and who was not part. He was detained last year 2013 December because he was part of the rally that took place on the 6th of December 2013 and his education background is known by the world and beyond the description.

Secondly, Dr Cirino Hiteng Ofuho the former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport is also good to be part of the interim Government because; he (Hiteng) is a good diplomat as well, for those who might not know him very well, he lectured in Many Universities across globe and he had got a PHD in International Relations and Diplomacy and he is regarded as someone who is well informed upstairs and a human being who has got dignity. In summary Dr Hiteng holds BA, MA and a PHD in International Relations and Diplomacy from Universities from Kenya and United Kingdom and has extensive experience in working with the government and in academia. His expertise and knowledge might help in interim government.

Thirdly Governor Joseph  Bokosoroof Western Equotoria State is good person that many South Sudanese have seen skills and developmental ideas in him , he deserve as well to be in the Interim administration. According to the research and rumors I had from some individuals, he (Bokosoro) is a graduate from NKUMBA University in Uganda and his education background is not doubtable as many South Sudanese in Juba are forging documents and other are claiming to have finished from Universities that has got fictitious names.

Fourthly Jok Madut Jok is cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States. He is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jok recently joined the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and after Kiir government realizes he was excellent in his position, he got many enemies within. He was a J. Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in California, from which he is on an extended leave. He has also worked in aid and development, first as a humanitarian aid worker and has been a consultant for a number of aid agencies. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan. His book Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence, was published in 2007. Jok is co-editor of The Sudan Handbook, 2010. When you evaluate Professor Jok, you will find that, he is excellent and brilliant to be in interim Government of South Sudan because this is a time of using technocrats not using illiterate to run the people government. And according to my own research, many people in South Sudan are very happy with the way Professor Jok is conducting himself as an individual.

In conclusion, I would urge Mr Pagan Amum to join the rebellion because his ideology with the four members and the seven members is not different with the one of Dr Machar and Alfred Ladu Gore. Confusing the South Sudanese population will not be the solution to Amum.

The author is Independent Journalist and Columnist who had written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan. He is reachable on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Federal system of government in South Sudan not “kokora"

By Jacob K. Lupai

June 2, 2014 (SSNA) -- English speakers will find it difficult to know what the word kokora is because it is not an English word and hardly found in any English dictionary. It may therefore be convenient from the outset to define the word kokora for the benefit of readers.

The word kokora is a Bari word of the Karo ethnic group (Bari, Pojulu, Mundari, Nyangwara, Kakwa and Kuku) and Bari is one of the languages spoken in Equatoria, precisely in Central Equatoria State. In English kokora may simply be defined as division or to divide equitably.

From the definition of the word kokora the greedy will have a problem because they are people always inclined to have the lion’s share at the expense of equitable or fair sharing of resources and positions in government.

Federal system of government

After having given the English definition of the word kokora, it is important to highlight a federal system of government. For people who may be deliberately mixing up a federal system with kokora, they are informed that unlike kokora, a federal system is constitutionally seen to allocate power between the national (federal) government and the component units; for example, states or regions, determining which powers are the exclusive prerogative of each level of government and which powers are shared.

For those who equate a federal system with kokora as a violent eviction of others from one state or region is nothing but a ploy to promote and consolidate ethnic hegemony. By all accounts South Sudan is diverse in ethnic groups. It is therefore improper for one single ethnic group to monopolise all powers in a neocolonial mentality of oppression as though other ethnic groups do not exist. People must remember that South Sudan is home to 64 ethnic groups.

The genesis of kokora

Collectively South Sudanese have similar aspirations. They will not accept to be treated as second class citizens, will not accept to be oppressed and will not accept to be marginalized. This may explain why the people of South Sudan collectively struggled in some of the long and protracted liberation wars in Africa that at last brought them independence so that they could enjoy freedom, justice and equality. However, the problem arises when the leadership turns ethnic or tribal, promoting the hegemony of their ethnic group.

The genesis of kokora can be traced back to the first 17-year (1955 – 1972) war of liberation. After the 17-year armed struggle for freedom, South Sudan found itself an autonomous region with limited self-rule. The leader of the armed struggle was an Equatorian, who under nationalistic sentiments surrendered his leadership to a Dinka to head the government of autonomous South Sudan for southern national unity. The leader of the armed struggle instead opted to continue safeguarding the southern self-rule through his presence in the national army. However, as time went on and when people were trying to settle down, the spirit of national struggle turned tribal.

Dinka hegemony was promoted, prompting the semi-literate and unfortunately some literate Dinka to coin a mythology that the Dinka were born to rule. This is not difficult to understand how this mythology came about. The High Executive Council of the autonomous South in 1981 consisted of 50 per cent Dinka. The heads of units in the various ministries were about 53 per cent Dinka. This is all in contrast to the fact that South Sudan is home to 64 ethnic groups. Without any shred of doubt the Dinka had the monopoly of positions in the government of autonomous South. This, nevertheless, does not suggest that there were no Dinka nationalists although they hardly came out openly against such outrageous overrepresentation of the Dinka.

When the people of Equatoria saw the excessive insensitivity to tribal hegemony, they called for the decentralization of the administration of the autonomous South into three regional administrations of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile for a fair sharing of power. Equatorians in their enthusiasm innocently called this kokora. This did not go well especially with the Dinka who felt they were the target because they knew very well what they were doing.

The word kokora generated bitterness, ill-feelings and occasional insults and physical aggression. Nevertheless, kokora went ahead sadly with no due process of reconciliation and forgiveness for what had happened. The Dinka left Equatoria with bitterness as though they were unceremoniously evicted although most left on their own accord. This sums up the genesis of kokora which was grossly misinterpreted that caused unnecessary hangover and animosities.

The second liberation struggle

Immediately after the kokora the second liberation struggle took off. It was considered the continuation of the first liberation struggle. It was not strange that when those who were very angry and utterly bitter with kokora, flocked in droves to join the second liberation struggle. Those who joined the second liberation struggle did not forget their imaginary cruel eviction from Equatoria, one of the most peaceful and progressive regions of South Sudan.

It was obvious that when the liberation struggle progressed into Equatoria people suffered tremendously as they were mistreated. In Equatoria the people were perceived as elements who had advocated kokora. After the end of the second liberation struggle through a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), there is little evidence that Equatoria has fared any better in sharing the cake of the liberation struggle. The conditions in the pre-kokora era seem to be replicating themselves. Like hunters who have just killed an elephant, Equatoria seems not to have its fair share of the Caracas as measured by its contribution to the liberation effort. People seem to have hardly learned anything as to why kokora had taken place. However, Equatoria should not be underrated. It can provide the leadership that can move this country from war and chaos to peace, stability and prosperity for all.

The call for federal system

It can confidently be asserted that the people of Equatoria are pioneers, forward looking and do not live in the past unlike others who are still living in the kokora era, reminding themselves of their imaginary cruel eviction and so their suspicion of and bitterness with the people Equatoria. The call for a federal system of government is an original concept of Equatoria since 2011. On the 18th February 2013 Equatoria re-affirmed its call for a democratic Federal system of Governance for South Sudan. It is never against anybody in South Sudan. However, the point here is to make a distinction between the Equatoria call for federation and that of the 15th December 2013 rebellion.

There is no doubt that Equatoria is the pioneer of federalism for South Sudan through peaceful means. Unlike the chaotic Upper Nile, peaceful Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria will greatly benefit from a federal system of government. Federalism accelerates development. For nine good years after the CPA examples of underdevelopment are glaring. One example is that after the long nine years Juba city does not have running water to homes. The only alternative now is a fleet of water tankers that are operated by foreigners.

Roads are extremely poor and insecurity is worrying where people disappear without a trace. Land grabbers are above the law because they use their positions and firearms to threaten and chase away the legitimate landowners. Nine years on people still depend on foreign food imports. With federalism these will all be things of the past. This is because in the federal system the state/region does not need to depend entirely on directives or grants from the centre to effect development. The three arms of government will also be reflected in the state which will also have the power to tax to generate revenue for development.

To highlight once again, federalism is the constitutional sharing of power between the centre and states/regions. It is not kokora to evict people from a state/region as scaremongers would like people to believe. Those who equate federalism with kokora may have their own ulterior motives. The hidden agenda may be the promotion of ethnic hegemony hence the fear of federalism. However, those with the open agenda of nationalism will, with open arms, welcome federalism as a guarantor of national unity in diversity and acceleration of development.

Conclusion

It can be asserted that a federal system of government in South Sudan is not kokora. Equatoria is calling for a federal system because it does not want to be bogged down in development. It is not to evict others to their states/regions. A federal system will not only free Equatoria from the yolk of centralized bureaucracy where billions of dollars are squandered with states left in the cold without adequate sources of revenue for development but a federal system will also free the other regions of Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile. The dura saga and the billions of dollars stolen by alleged 75 thieves are examples of how a centralized system of government could be a liability. A federal system of government is therefore likely to accelerate development which in turn is likely to promote national unity as ethnic hegemony is addressed through equitable sharing of power and wealth.

In conclusion, the smallest ethnic group in South Sudan must be seen to be represented and this is likely to be achieved through the adoption of a federal system of government.

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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