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Is SPLM Party reunification a root cause of current conflict in South Sudan?

By Deng Turuk Liem

March 8, 2015 (SSNA) -- Per reading an impressive public statement on allegedly purging reunification agreement signed by SPLM warring factions in Arusha, Tanzania by Brigadier General Joseph Gai Gatluak, the SPLA-In-Opposition Field Commander of Northern Upper Nile on West Bank. It comes to my philosophical understanding that I can’t agree with him no more. Is SPLM reunification a root cause of current conflict to serve as roadmap to resolve the conflict even though such event unfolded upon its default? I do not think so. In fact, a fabricated coup plot led to the systematic killings of over 23,000 innocent civilians from one tribe in capital Juba is the crystal root cause of this conflict that have to be thoroughly examined and fully addressed in order to serve as roadmap to resolve the current conflict. Dodging around the fundamental root cause of this conflict at the expense of the utmost victims is another huge mistake with the same degrees as root cause itself.

It is a matter of fact, implicitly or explicitly, that, such a fragile agreement signed by SPLM warring factions in Arusha will never serve as roadmap to achieve a lasting peace in South Sudan, even if the vehicles to achieve a permanent peace in the country are inevitable. Salva Kiir must, however, step aside as president and chairman of the ruling party, respectively and that the root cause of this conflict as mentioned above led to the death of over 23, 000 innocent civilians, is thoroughly investigated and fully addressed. The cuprites or perpetrators are to be held responsible for the death of innocent lives. Through such vital acceptances, either conditional or unconditional, however, the justice must serve its course, while the young nation will move on unconditionally with nation-building programs and expedite its path toward democratic transformations, rules of law, accountability, and unscathed national reconciliations for the entire citizenry and amongst various ethnic nationalities.

More of the same failures of Salva Kiir leadership and Impunity Corrupt System (ICS) that Salva Kiir has invented and coined it “Lion’s Share” or “Have It All System” which created 2013 unspeakable violence in nascent country, are vehemently equivocal and daunting political solutions for the country. They had been retired and could not be entertained once again. They are indeed wicked mechanisms fell in line as history and currently having no shelters to rest, as they will never yield any fruit to peaceful coexistences among the people of South Sudan and let alone affirmative paths toward a democratic prosperous South Sudan.

I do concur with the statement put forth by Field Commander General Joseph Gai Gatluak, as matter of fact, I personally thank my big brother General Joseph Gai Gatluak for the job well done, as it is an obvious that miraculous things have never happened in a vacuum, but in person like him and colleagues in resistance movement. He deserves it as all the opposition commanders in the title of generals and lower ranks whose have been parcels of the movement’s success in Northern Upper Nile region and elsewhere in the country for the last 12 months, or so. I personally believe that Salva Kiir must go whether he likes or not, hence, it is a just a matter of time.

Within a line of ethical reasoning, the reasonable human beings who have tremendous senses of knowing what sought a different between right and wrong must not, whatsoever, accept Salva Kiir as their president once again, as it is decisively shown and dictated by his December 16-19, 2013 Juba systematic massacred of South Sudan citizens based on ethnic grounds. The cripple SPLM as a party must understand that the 2013 intentional killings of over 23, 000 unarmed civilians in Capital Juba coined a fabricated military coup adds to existing persistent rampant corruptions, quest for federal system as mean and way to governing South Sudan; ultimate freedoms and respects for human rights are not longer, either partially or wholly, party issues. They are nonetheless compelling national issues. They must, therefore, be discussed and agreed upon in open peace talks led by regional blocs (IGAD) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A private peace talks in Arusha will not bear productive solution to the current conflict. To limit a hinted fundamental quest for all the aforementioned inalienable rights and the utmost interests of the citizens of South Sudan to merely a small SPLM problem, is another invitation for unfathomable continuation of current conflict and the future gloomiest events in such a category.

Death is an enormous and feasible choice over Salva Kiir’s additional sole ruling years in a presidency to commit more genocides, as it is a feasible choice for him to everlastingly stay in nation throne to just do that. Killings of innocent citizens as the best political apparatus of current genocidal regime of Salva Kiir to secure omnipotent power is undeniable business that had seen taking place in Capital Juba and deemed setting horrendous instance in South Sudan history witnessed and loudly echoed the whole world. It was a move that would never be forgotten and easily not to be forgiven equally to Jewish massacred during Second World War and other genocidal crimes which had been committed in world based on political or ethnic grounds. When a time comes, it may only justice, and nothing else, can spare Salva Kiir from these intentional committed genocidal crimes against selected citizens within the country.

This matter is hinted beyond the realm of death panicking, foul-nationalism and intra-party emotional reunification. Those who had been massacred by Salva Kiir and Yoweri Museveni in Capital Juba as result of splm political decay that led to violent fallout, were unarmed civilians who have nothing much to gain or achieve as result of this allegedly political reunification of splm party, while their wrongful demised surfaced as calculated crimes to lively demoralize and deter the entire ethnic nationality at the expense of president’s tribe to obtain its ethnical superiority-sect in the country, to dictate about everything that suits their ethnic superiority. They are crimes which abundantly came on the deeds of superiority thinking, therefore, we, in the SPLM/SPLA-In-Opposition organization must be dealt with such a cultish mentality so seriously to make sure that such a mindset is not longer the case in South Sudan day in and out.

Come to IGAD and AU responsibilities as organizations responsible to bring about permanent peace to South Sudan. If nothing else feasible to begin with, one would come to conclusion that, it is a monstrous stupidity by IGAD and AU leaderships, respectively to allow Salva Kiir and Yoweri Museveni to participate in IGAD and AU decision-making discussions to solve South Sudan conflict which they had initially invented. For IGAD and AU to reshape themselves as Africans vital organizations to bring about lasting peace to South Sudan and to thoroughly investigate the root cause of this conflict, they needed to exempt Uganda and South Sudan leaderships from participating in any IGAD or AU decision-making discussion which concern South Sudan conflict, as they are officially members of warring parties. It gives a wear look to both IGAD and AU leaderships, respectively for negatively believing that Salva Kiir and Yoweri Museveni are keen super human beings beyond their human egos and audacities to convict themselves in calculated crimes which they had committed in South Sudan against sole ethnic community.

In wishing to bring about permanent peace to South Sudan and denounce war and all ills come along with it therein, therefore, we need genuine third party rather than toothless IGAD and AU as regional and continental blocs, respectively who their member countries, wholly or partially, participated in active combat missions against South Sudan opposition forces in defending genocidal regime of Salva Kiir. It was critical and yet remains a fundamental issue that the world community needs to vigorously pay attention to it and address it thoroughly should it seriously eager to bring about permanent peace to South Sudan. In real world where problem solving is a critical business, Salva Kiir and Yoweri Museveni couldn’t have been allowed to act as they are defense Attorneys, judges and criminals in trial at the same times before the world community. It is a horrendous mistake that needs to be immediately corrected to expedite peace process, and for a concrete peace to surface once again in South Sudan. They need to be rightfully cornered and placed in a solid criminal category where they belong.

For Salva Kiir to seek more leadership legitimacy to rule south Sudan once again over impending tainted term, either through reunification of disarraying ruling party or daunting unilateral extension of its term by tainting national legislature, is completely insanity or bears no value to sell. Mr. Salva Kir has a personal incurable leadership problematic merely boosted by corruptions and tribalism-sect, which will never rescue South Sudan as nation until he runs away for his own unworthy life to a foreign country vs. freedom fighters. In a business perspective, his quest to lead South Sudan once again after he had committed systematic massacre against sole ethnicity within the country simply because his main political rival is from that community is an item that had depreciated to the ultimate retirement, compared only to a wicked notion of borne to rule cultish thinking. It is an item or notion that will never deem itself a chance to heal. The days of perpetuating such an awful cultish thinking are outdated and that, those mindsets are ultimately dead beyond resurrections.

Finally, it is a fundamental fact that the ongoing war is fought by citizens of South Sudan on both sides of warring parties and not the SPLM members. One could wonder if the warring SPLM factions reunite their ranks and files based on previous leadership hierarchy and needs, which are deeply based on dictatorship, totalitarian regime, rampant corruptions, excessive human right violations and tribalism-sect led to massacre of sole ethnic community members in 2013 event in Capital Juba. Is that really what citizens have been fighting for the last 13 months to achieve rather than total reforms in the country? I believe not. If so, where will they put Nuer White Army, Dinkas DotkuBeny militias, Gulwang, Mathienganyor, Shilluk and Mabaan Defense Forces? Will they offer just thanks you to them and ask to go back home and cultivate their farms once again as Salva Kiir recently offered to Nuer White Army in his last fake amnesty decree? If it is the case, what will they do to those who had already demised in the middle of the conflict defended them on both sides? I am carious.

The Author is rebel commander deployed in Northern Upper Nile. He can be reached @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Peace, census, and then elections in order of priority

By: Dr. Chuol R. Kompuok

March 6, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan since its inception on July 9, 2011 has presented itself to the world as a great peace project not limited to South Sudanese, but also to the region and beyond. It was meant to create a community of peace and democracy based on the conviction that peace does not emerge from discussion or just utterance of plain words Salva Kiir uses to sing “no reverse gear to war,” but rather out of cooperation. Surprisingly enough, the unpopular president never honored his song for a very long time; he broke the accord and shattered the great peace project after most SPLM gubernatorial candidates lost 2010 Elections. After the president learnt that most of the staunch supporters lost the battle to private candidates for the gubernatorial posts for the ten states, he ordered the organized forces to take full charge of the polling stations across South Sudan to confiscate by force all the ballot boxes for the benefit of the SPLM candidates. The event culminated the rebellion in Jonglei state where the SPLA sector two (2) commander Lt. Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak under the direct command of the president Salva Kiir pulled the trigger and fired the first bullet, a circumstance that grazed Doleib Hill in Panyikang County of Upper Nile State to ashes on April 20, 2010 bringing the total losses from the government to 22 soldiers and wounding 19 others but, the rebel group led by Gen. George Athor lost only one person.

However, South Sudan after the long suffering of its people attempts to remodel Africa by realizing the European Kantian dream of “perpetual peace”, which is not based on the balance of military powers (or the supremacy of one of them) but rather on the universal recognition of the dignity of the human being, on the universal guarantee of human rights, and on sustainable human development, which mean superseding the current neoliberal model of globalization. In a sense, peace has its own definition that can be looked into from all angles. However, the uncivilized civil war, which is now consuming the best lives of future leaders and professionals of South Sudan, should not be considered the only best option, unless and otherwise all possible avenues for peace are exhausted. More so, the Troika and other international world bodies try to mediate the two warring parties through IGAD—led peace talk that bore no fruits for the last 15-month, but costing international community million of dollars weekly for maintenance of all the parties involved in the peace process. The Addis Ababa peace project becomes a melting pot for many, maximizing both abnormal profits and leisure should the war continue while serious human rights violation is taking place in South Sudan. To halt that profitable project the main focus now for both parties to the war should be geared towards achieving genuine peace without delay provided the root causes of the conflict are addressed. Without proper understanding of the term “peace”, it’s difficult to swallow the bitter medicine and forge a meaningful coexistence. 

The standards definition of peace in the WIKIPEDIA using contemporary world view is a state of balance, and understanding in oneself and between others, where mutual respect is gained by the acceptance of differences, and a total guarantee for tolerance, conflicts resolution through dialogue, people’s rights are respected and their voices are heard, and everyone is at their highest point of serenity without social tension. In light of the above definition, one would pose a question, where does South Sudan feature as a state at peace with itself where respect for individuals or other people’s rights taken into consideration? We can squarely blame the government of South Sudan under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardit, who only cares about the term limit but not the lives of South Sudanese and their welfare whom he put under the unprecedented suffering. In fact, it has now become a talk of South Sudanese leadership in Juba of election as if they have never seen election in their life time when people that voted them in the offices in 2010 are suffering on the tips of their noses. What a shame!

The civil war that takes away the peace from the rightful peace loving people is the war that must be fought by all to reclaim people’s will and aspirations for the better South Sudan. This is because, the prophet of doom Mr Salva Kiir Mayardit, ignited the war by firing the first bullet at the people for no apparent reasons but to effect self-aggrandizement. In reality, this mayhem was a mechanism president concocted to loot the oil resources and property and nobody should stop him at any cost. If human wants are satisfied, Salva Kiir together with his henchmen could have gotten rich a long time ago out of the oil money since enough has been siphoned out for the maintenance of their families and mistresses at the expenses of poor South Sudanese.

Hardly, for primary school leaver to maintain power with no basic political career, he decided to go wild and deployed the UPDF contingent after having seen his vice president Dr. Riek Machar whom he terms as the worst enemy threatens his power house and aspired to run for 2015 national elections. It is more than telling, in a recent briefing of SPLM-Juba, president Salva Kiir went viral accusing his rival of instigating war by saying Dr. Riek Machar onetime said, “much as the Nuer in South Sudan Army constitutes 75 per cent of SPLA army, it will take him (Dr. Riek) 2-hour to get rid of Salva Kiir Mayardit and form his government within the same span of time”, what a concocted version a coup plotter painted, the Kiir Kuethpiny narrative the whole world failed to buy, but only in the markets of the lemons in and around East Africa. In this tone of presentation, it was very clear from the onset that president Salva Kiir was preparing for the worst case scenario while his rival Dr. Riek Machar was very much hibernating not knowing the lioness got into the state of dementia, a state that wiped away the precious lives of all those whom we may not see in our life time. 

Salva Kiir’s psychic problem toward Riek Machar agitated him to the level no South Sudanese could imagine and exposes his old rift with Riek Machar over South Sudan 2011 Constitution. It is important to note that in his speech, while addressing the Sixth Speakers’ Forum on Wednesday Feb 8, 2011 in Juba, which gathered leadership of legislative assemblies across South Sudan’s ten states, the president of the government of South Sudan Salva Kiir accused his vice, Dr. Riek Machar, of running a parallel government within the government. The president in particular accused his deputy of floating a document supporting amendments to the current Constitution. Here is what the president had to say, “If we drive with this full speed, in reference to the circulating documents, which he said were unreasonable and creating disinformation, I believe we will not reach our destination, we will crash in the middle.” The president went on and said he did not want to see the parliament divided over the issues raised by the documents. “You are not here as tribes,” he told the Speakers. “You’re building a nation and building a nation is above any tribe and any tribal grouping will never take us anywhere,” he said. Mr. Salva Kiir further said, “There were those who display unity and nationalism at day time, but turn into tribal at night.” 

Given the above quotes and narratives of the president, the question one would want to ask the general public is who inclined to the tribal affiliation between the president and the vice president? Simple and clear answer is Salva Kiir Mayardit himself. The president was pushing very hard the passing of unpopular Constitution of 2011 with powers vested in him almost equal to God who created Heaven and Earth. Distinctively, under God’s creation, all the living and non-living things are living under the protection of HIM (the God) with the delegated powers to human being as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on earth. For Salva Kiir who claimed to deliver South Sudan to all South Sudanese on Golden Plate delegated executive powers to none, but those South Sudanese who voiced their concerns on his (Salva Kiir) fascist rules are convicted to death, an action that gave birth to December 15, 2013 Juba Massacre of more than 20,000 Nuer plus the other non-Nuer who happened to fall into the jaw of a deadly crocodile. In fact, sometimes people overlook the number of dying children who are not accounted for in the UN camps all over South Sudan. If we estimate the dying children together with initial Juba massacre, the figure would stand on average at about 50,000 people. These innocent children whom Salva Kiir’s militias spilled over their precious blood for no good reasons are now watching in their graveyards with no mercy until Salva Kiir joins them. From his speech in the Sixth Speakers’ Forum, one would deduce that the unpopular president was ready for war, which many South Sudanese underestimated. Nonetheless, Salva Kiir who is the driver of the vehicle without gear caused the accident head-on without shame while directing the blame to other people who were not party to the skidding car on the icy road.  

From the bird’s eye view Dr. Riek Machar was not trying to run a parallel government within the government as perceived by Salva Kiir, but in furthering the democratic processes when he suggested some amendments in the 2011 Constitution for the betterment of the lives of the entire South Sudanese, an act Nuer community were condemned to death. The president who claimed to be non-tribal in nature become the main architect, training 15,000 private army in Luri, 10 miles north of Juba without the knowledge and consent of former Chief of General Staff, Gen. James Hoth Mai, a Nuer. This is a proof beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. President was not for peace but his hands are tainted with Blood of innocent South Sudanese. In real sense Mr. Salva Kiir causes serious violation on the Constitution he claimed to have uphold, nonetheless, the Constitution does not grant him the powers to train private army without the approval from the toothless parliament whom he all the times threaten to fire at will and end up begging on the Juba streets.

Therefore, scheduling elections for June 30, 2015 to extend the bloody hands of Kiir, before achieving Peace and conduct of National Census is a violation of the rights of people of South Sudan. Such is linked with a direct robbing of people of South Sudan the right to democratic processes. Salva Kiir will always play a ticket of peace loving person while bleeding the country if he continues leading the country. Indeed, South Sudanese should be aware of such a game player in the overcoat of democrat. In the same vein of argument, conducting South Sudan population and housing census before 2015 elections was the pre-condition that was stipulated in the 2011 Constitution.  

Rewinding the history, prior to 2011 Historic Referendum, the Fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was conducted from 22nd April to 6th May 2008. Many South Sudanese believed the census to be first all-inclusive census ever since Sudan became independence in January 1956 and assume the results will help decide on how wealth and power ought to be shared in the Sudan. However, the anomalies came to be the order of the day as both South Sudan and the Sudan traded accusations when the official results of the Census got announced with the South Sudan population estimated on average about 8.2 million or 21.10% of the total population. The semi-autonomous Southern region disputed the results as manipulated and represented nothing of Southern population.

The then Sudanese First Vice President and the head of Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) Salva Kiir Mayardit warned he would not accept Census results that appear unreasonable. Again, Salva Kiir said, he is unhappy with the results of the census conducted in 2008 and called for it to be excluded from wealth and power sharing which was thought to be used to determine the distribution of wealth and power, including booming oil proceeds. President Salva Kiir told a rally at Lainya, Central Equatoria state that we will not accept less than 15 million as population of Southern Sudan. In another venue in Bentiu capital of Unity State where president spoke to the South Sudan Chiefs Conference on May 14, 2009 and said “he is unhappy and unsatisfied with the census results.” It was also Salva Kiir who rejected the results and at the same time accepted the census results, a big contradiction from the president.

Given all the odds of the population census, South Sudan as a sovereign state promises itself to conduct population census before conduct of the national elections scheduled for June 30, 2015. The 2008 Census helped in determining wealth and power sharing, not limited to Sudan only, but also explicitly applied to South Sudan wealth and power sharing. Salva Kiir who championed the rejections of the Census results when South Sudan still an autonomous region, now change the tactic by supporting elections in the absence of Housing and National Census. Without shame, the head of National Statistics and Census Bureau Isaiah Chol Aruai supported the president and said the Bureau’s failure to hold Census ahead of elections should not stop the polls from taking place although he agreed that collecting census data, under normal circumstance, was supposed to precede the elections. The Chairperson of the Bureau violated the South Sudan’s 2011 Constitution, which stipulates that the census data are to determine among other things, … the number of electoral constituencies for the general elections” in favor of the president. Moreover, the drafting of the Permanent Constitution should have preceded the elections as one of the requirements in the process but only cowardice person, Isaiah Chuol Aruai, the head of National Statistics and Census Bureau should have been the one to admit the conduct of elections in the faces of all crises the country has engulfed in. God sometimes works miraculously, Isaiah Chol Aruai, the head of South Sudan Census and Statistics Bureau fell in the hands of the SPLM-IO after plane that carried him landed in Jiec payam of Ayod County in the hands of the people whom he denied their plight on the postponement of 2015 elections, a call supported by every sound minded South Sudanese citizens. Anyway only God knows.        

In the scheduled June 30, 2015 elections, many South Sudanese forecasted it to be another mayhem that serves only as a catalyst for unprecedented catastrophic awaiting South Sudan. Many officials in the government of South Sudan appear to beat the drums, “elections must go ahead” including those whom their constituencies are grazed to zero ground cum non-existence population or yet to be born. For instance, nearly the entire greater Upper Nile Region become ghosts town and if at all the ghosts conduct the elections, it will be the first experience of its kind ever in the world and South Sudan as the nascent state will be the real model of the day. If not because people are obsessed with greed and lust for scrupulous rent seeking behavior now in the South, none of these officials would talk about 2015 elections before achieving the prerequisites—peace and national census. Greater Bahr el Ghazal region is not exceptional. Lake state for instance, is susceptible to intra clans fighting since the time the president Salva Kiir imposed illiterate Gen. Matur Chut Dhuol as the military governor. The move of the president to remove unconstitutionally the elected governor Chol Tong Mayay of the Lake state further the suffering of the people and to make the matter worst president put to shelf people’s call to remove the caretaker governor Gen. Matur Chut to give peace a chance.

Can we really say Salva Kiir is a man of peace or just a chameleon who dance to the tune of the criminals? Without further analysis, one would conclude that president Salva Kiir Mayardit is a culprit who will directly report to ICC after the conclusion of the peace deal. Salva Kiir government’s rejection of the advice of the US government and other international bodies for South Sudan not to hold elections before the conclusion of IGAD mediated peace is a sign of dying horse with little hope to live longer. The outdated lawyer, Michael Makuei Lueth and obsolete pharmacist, Barnaba Marial Benjamin creates a lot of havocs to the people of South Sudan and the country at large. Sometimes, one wonder as to who, the spokesperson for the government since both of them utter words with strong bearing effect on the people who voted for them together with the unpopular president. In a nutshell, one would be able to deduce that the government of Salva Kiir Mayardit is the government with no direction, now experimenting on the mode of governance with weak institutions. As for Barnaba Marial Benajmin, who came into the parliament through Uror County ticket because his biological father believed to have come from Uror County of Lou Nuer, but breastfed and groomed in the Lake state, has betrayed his people shamelessly in favor of Dinkaism. He has totally forgotten that those who rejected him from Bahr el Ghazal yesterday are the one whom he is trying to jump into bed with them in pretext of working for one people, one nation, a total abomination.

The South Sudan cabinet’s current postponement of scheduled 2015 elections for the next two years to give peace a chance is a tactic that will not save Salva Kiir’s government towards the concerns of all South Sudanese, who are crying for peace than the government’s concern for the president’s term limit. The rubber stamp parliament the matter was referred to for further consideration has no legal mandate for the extension of the president’s term limit since their term limit is on the burst of expiration comes July 9, 2015. As a matter of fact, none of them would have legal backing from the public to extend the term limit without the consent from the people and the 2011 Constitution of the land that everyone upholds by imposition. All South Sudanese are tired and sick of the game the government plays every time they see reactions from the public and would by all means try to please them but run in vain. The government in Juba should admit committing the heinous crimes against the people immediately and further unconditionally accept publication of the AU Commission of Inquiry results to make peace a reality. And IGAD heads of state including those who are fighting alongside government while negotiating on behalf of the government should distance themselves from South Sudan’s internal affairs to give South Sudanese a breathing space.    

In conclusion, election plays key role in the democratic transformation in the most contemporary world where transfer of power ideally runs smoothly without fail. However, South Sudan though has come a long way achieving its hard worn independence on July 9, 2011, making it 194th country in the world failed to be in the same category in the implementation of the international laws. Therefore, it’s not excluded in adherence to the international laws governing the fair conduct of business in line with world businesses, and respect for the rights of all human beings irrespective of their color, race, creed, sex, age … to live without fear of any sorts. South Sudan leaders decided to rule the country with impunity denying people their basic rights. Approximately, about 150,000 people live in the UN concentration camps in the South and about 2 million people live as refugees in the neighboring countries. Such a state of affairs put the country to test.  However, to think of elections at this point in time is an insult to the intelligentsia of South Sudanese without laying good ground for peace as number one priority followed by national census. 2015 elections, is a mere propaganda from the center, and the project is not achievable either. It rather serves as recipe for more wars and not to forgetting, the South Sudan independence was achieved through historic referendum, for which South Sudanese were the main participants all over the world. In this case, Salva Kiir as individual cannot hold the people and the land hostage to maintain his grip on power and lay down the law of the land to rest. All South Sudanese people MUST rise tall, above, and beyond individual interest but against one man’s fascist rule and say enough is enough for them to enjoy peace, tranquility, and stability. May God help South Sudan!

Chuol Kompuok is a concern South Sudanese and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Leaked Excerpts of AU Commission of Inquiry’s Report and IGAD’s Threat of Imposing a Government in South Sudan

By James Okuk, PhD

March 6, 2015 (SSNA) -- On March 7, 2014 and based on decision of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and after consultations with different parties involved in the outbreak of the mid-December 2013 conflict, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma appointed a Five-Member Commission of Inquiry [ i.e. 1) H.E. Olusegun Mathew AremuObasanjo – Former President of Nigeria, 2) Lady Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo – Ghanaian and President and Justice of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 3) Professor Mahmood Mamdani – Ugandan and Executive Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research, 4) Ms. Bineta Diop - Senegalese and AU Chairperson’s Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security; and 5) Professor Pacifique Manirakiza - Burundian and Commissioner at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights] to “investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan, and make recommendations on the best way and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities” based on the designated terms of reference: [i.e., 1) Establish the immediate and remote causes of the conflict; 2) Investigate human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict by all parties from 15 December 2013; 3) Establish facts and circumstances that may have led to and that amount to such violations and of any crimes that may have been perpetrated; 4) Compile information based on these investigations and in so doing assist in identifying perpetrators of such violations and abuses with a view to ensuring accountability for those responsible; 5) Compile information on institutions and process or lack thereof that may have aided or aggravated the conflict resulting in violations of human rights and other abuses; 6) Make recommendations based on the investigation on the following: a) appropriate mechanisms to prevent a recurrence of the conflict; b) mechanisms to promote national healing and cohesiveness, particularly focusing on the need for all South Sudanese communities to live together in peace; c) modalities for nation building, specifically focused on building of democratic institutions and post-conflict reconstruction; d) and accountability mechanisms for gross violations of human rights and other egregious abuses to ensure that those responsible for such violations are held to account].

The Technical and Administrative Support Team for the Commission was based at the AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The Secretariat established necessary contacts with the AU Juba Liaison Office, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Juba, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and relevant stakeholders, so as to enable members of the Commission to amply carry out their mandate and finalize the required report.

The 60-page report was presented to the African Union's Peace and Security Council on Jan 29, 2015 but restricted from publication so that it doesn’t spoil the atmosphere of IGAD-led peace talks. According to the excerpts from the leaked report by Reuters: 

1) South Sudan's president Kiir and his rival Riek be barred from transitional government because both of them are responsible for the political collapse in December 2013 and "the organized massacres and the large-scale violence that followed." The violence "ethnically cleansed" the capital Juba of Nuer, who then sparked revenge attack. The conflict reopened ethnic fault lines, pitting Kiir's Dinka people against Machar's ethnic Nuer forces. The United Nations and aid agencies accuse both sides of Kiir and Riek of ethnic-based massacres and grave human rights violations including widespread rape and executions.

2) Ministers who were in power prior to cabinet's dissolution in July 2013 "be barred from participation in the transitional executive" because they were accomplices in Kiir-Riek conflict and could have been involved in corrupt practices against the development and welfare of the Republic of South Sudan.

3) An AU-appointed and U.N.-backed three-person panel to effectively control and oversee a five-year transition and creation of an executive for South Sudan that would place all oil revenue in an escrow account overseen by the African Development Bank.

4) An African Oversight Force for South Sudan made up of troops "without prior involvement or direct interest in South Sudan" that would be under AU command and "the overall charge" of a U.N. peacekeeping mission.

5) The African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights, instead of the International Criminal Court, be given criminal jurisdiction over "high state officials individually responsible for war crimes and/or gross violation of human rights."

6) United States, Britain, Norway and IGAD are to blame for creating "a politically unchallenged armed power" and “unaccountable political class" who have been acting with impunity and legitimized "rule of the gun" in South Sudan through the 2005 CPA deal. Particularly, the United States supported Kiir until it lost confidence in him in late 2013. Washington had hoped he could oversee a stable, oil-producing, majority Christian state allied to the West in contrast to neighboring Muslim-led Sudan, which is hostile to Washington.

Now, by trying to connect the dots for sensibility of the report, you could detect from March 6, 2015 press release by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Chair of IGAD after declaring the collapse of the latest session of Government-SPLM/A (IO) peace talks in Addis Ababa, that the region together with the UN could impose ‘by all means’ a transitional government for South Sudan by July 2015 (perhaps including the Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo ousting model, justified by his illegitimacy in holding power beyond elections mandate and Angola Jonas Sabimbi’s crushing model, justified by his intransigency on continuous rebellion).

This might mean that the recommended joint AU-U.N ‘trusteeship’ would be effected to oversee a five-year transition and creation of an executive for the Republic of South Sudan and place oil revenue in an escrow account overseen by the African Development Bank. It could be sensed that such AU-UN sovereign controllers would rule the country in collaboration with some selected South Sudanese technocrats. What is yet to be known in details is whether the proposed AU-UN panel that shall be handed sovereignty of South Sudan would be doing it by ‘remote or proximity control.’ It shall be impossible for one country to have many governments claiming the same sovereign power at the same time. That is, how will the AU-UN imposed government operate inside the country successfully side-by-side with Dr. Riek Machar’s declared federal bush-government and with President Salva Kiir’s city-government? How would South Sudanese technocrats who shall participate in such imposed alien government be perceived by the public? May be betrayers versus patriots, depending on where someone who judges stands.

The possible aliens’ intervention into the Republic of South Sudan is now imminent if our leaders don’t come into their proper senses and see politics clearly the way critical analysts see it. “By all means” would then mean including military takeover of the government of South Sudan by AU-UN peacekeeping forces and crushing the rebels’ government if it doesn’t comply with peace that is imposed by the superpowers.

Surely, our political leaders are to blame for this unfortunate situation of opening the country to aliens’ intervention. This would have not come if the internal front of all legal political forces were united for securing the dignity of their country. The price of disunity is always fall and collapse of sovereignty, nationalism and patriotism. We might even reach a day to say “there was a country” called South Sudan, God forbids!

However, perhaps, the stalled IGAD peace talks is going to be a blessing in disguise for the serious and concerned nationalists of the Republic of South Sudan (intellectuals, politicians, religious leaders, civil society leaders and ethnic sages) to rethink out alternative internal avenues of finding a lasting peace and rescuing the hard won independence dignity of the Republic of South Sudan from aliens’ or betrayers’ grabs.

The IGAD mediation deadlock on peace negotiations could open a ripen opportune for an urgent calling of an inclusive national peace and governance conference in Juba before the AU and UN reach the tipping point of taking over the country from both the government and the rebels by July 2015. It could be learning by hard ways after our leaders have knocked their heads on hard walls of tough choices between war and peace, and after they have gotten humiliated and chickened by threats of sanctions. Keep crying my beloved country!

It is now time for the honest nationalists of the Republic of South Sudan to come together as soon as possible and deliberate on available avenues of securing a dignified fate of their beloved and embattled country, before giving a foolish chance to outsiders to decide for them via regrets. It is high time to abandon politicized selfishness and embrace altruism for the common good of the new nation in the making.

Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer and political analyst in the area of politics. 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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