Thessherald—Universal for Knowledge & Empowerment Agency, a Juba-based national organization, spares no effort in its endeavor to improve livelihoods of vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach and flood-prone areas.
Last year, as part of its efforts to boost resilience among rural communities, UNKEA distributed hundreds of goats to vulnerable and elderly people in Ulang county, Upper Nile state – one of the states hit hard by devastating floods.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the situation in South Sudan remains extremely dire across the country with approximately 7 million or 60% of the population still struggling to find adequate food every day.
In November 2020, UNKEA provided cash transfers to eligible groups in Upper Nile State in a bid to meet their basic needs, such as access to food, healthcare and shelters.
It also provides free education to thousands of children deprived of decent education as a result of conflicts in South Sudan.
South Sudan, despite having achieved peace, continues to face numerous challenges with economic collapse being the most difficult problem affecting vulnerable populations across the country.
South Sudan’s capital, Juba is being affected as the nation’s power utility company, JEDCO, has begun load-shedding in certain areas, leaving residents in sombre moods. Earlier this week, the company announced that due to the ongoing shortage of hard currency in the country, JEDCO would have no choice but to conduct a rotating outage in Juba.
“Dear Valued Customers, JEDCO management has been informed by Ezra Construction & Development Group, that because of a lack of foreign currency and lack of commitment from other stakeholders, the power plant is in a critical state and cannot supply power at full capacity as usual. Consequently, JEDCO will be forced to start shedding power starting from midnight, 6 April 2021, until further notice. The affected areas with their respective power outage times are presented in the below table.”
“We once again sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and humbly request your patience and understanding. We’d like to further reassure our customers that JEDCO is working urgently with all the stakeholders to resolve the problem and resume regular services to our esteemed customers.”
On the same development, the African Development Bank distanced itself from the unilateral decision taken by JEDCO and its partner companies, saying that they are no longer responsible for the maintenance, distribution and operation of the electricity.
“This statement is to inform the general public that the African Development Bank Group is not involved in any decision-making regarding power shedding in Juba, South Sudan’s capital city. The African Development Bank Group wishes to clarify that the Bank has played no direct role in power generation in Juba and is not involved in any matters concerning the operation and maintenance of the electricity distribution networks in South Sudan.”
“The Bank funded the USD 38 million expansion and rehabilitation of the electricity distribution network in Juba. The project was primarily financed through a grant. It was implemented by the South Sudan Electricity Corporation, which is the power utility created by the Government.”
“The Corporation falls under South Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Dams. On being commissioned in 2019, the African Development Bank-funded project significantly helped to restore electricity supply in the central business district. It has brought electricity to Juba homes, businesses, educational institutions and hospitals.”
The Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei Yol, has received her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and urged the country’s leaders to do the same. She’s the first person in the country to be vaccinated against the virus.
In the coming weeks and months, all frontline health workers in South Sudan will be offered the vaccine through a national vaccination campaign. Subsequently, people with co-morbidities and people above 65 years of age will also be offered the vaccine. 25 March 2021, South Sudan received 132,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility.
“The first phase of the vaccination is conducted in Central Equatoria State targeting health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, given their increased risk of severe disease and death due to a potential COVID-19 infection”, said Minister of Health Hon Elizabeth Achuei. “The aim of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect the prioritized groups against COVID-19”.
South Sudan aims at vaccinating 40 per cent of its population against COVID-19. The COVAX facility has committed to providing half of the required doses meaning 732,000 doses in total. Therefore, the vaccination must be done in phases as the vaccines arrive.
“This is a significant moment for the people of South Sudan. “said Patience Musanhu, Gavi Senior Country Manager for South Sudan. “By protecting the most vulnerable groups, we can save lives, take pressure off health systems and ease the economic burden brought on by the pandemic.”
A person being vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine requires two doses to ensure optimal immune response against the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 vaccination in South Sudan will be provided on a voluntary basis and free of charge. All people receiving the vaccine will be asked to consent prior to being vaccinated.
“The COVID-19 vaccination marks an important step towards control of COVID-19 in South Sudan, which pose a threat to our well-being”, said Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative a.i. for South Sudan. “Safe, effective, and quality vaccines for COVID-19 are our best hope for bringing the pandemic under control, together with other public health interventions, such as physical distancing, washing hands and mask use”.
Over several months, COVAX partners have supported governments and partners, particularly in low-income countries including South Sudan, to prepare for the vaccination roll-out. This includes assisting with the development of national vaccination plans, supporting cold chain infrastructure, as well as stockpiling of half a billion syringes and safety boxes for their disposal, masks, gloves and other equipment to ensure that there is enough equipment for health workers to start vaccinating priority groups as soon as possible.
“If there is one lesson we can draw from the pandemic, it is that we need more partnerships like these in the world,” said the UNICEF South Sudan Representative Hamida Lasseko. “UNICEF is proud to have made vaccine deliveries all over the world including South Sudan on behalf of COVAX. Children in South Sudan are now safer because the warm hands of health workers are safer through vaccination.
Opinion—On March 24th 2021, Nhial Deng Nhial, Minister of Presidential affairs stated that President Salva Kiir is not imposing himself on the citizens. In response to this statement, I would like to make a short comment on why and how I disagree with the thesis advanced by the Minister, the official position of the regime. I and most South Sudanese citizens, inside and outside the country, believe President Kiir is actually imposing himself on the citizens and the Ruling Party structures as advanced by Dr. Peter Biar Ajak as supported by the arguments that follow.
The Minister refers to the 2010 elections which ushered Salva Kiir to the Presidency of the Country, as the main legitimate reason for continuing in office. This, most observers and the public do not agree with for some or all of the following arguments.
Firstly, democratic processes have put in place periodic elections either to maintain the representatives of the people or being removed through a smooth participatory citizen-driven process. The Interim South Sudan constitution had foreseen Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2015 and periodically thereafter. Suffocating those elections is evidence of self imposition
Secondly, periodic elections are held to allow wide citizen participation, since there is a natural and constant change in its composition. Some citizens die natural or negative conflict effect) and some reach maturity or voting age. Some migrate to neighbouring countries for security reasons. The 2010 elections are no longer valid for Kiir to impose himself on the patriotic citizens of South Sudan. The representatives of the people, carefully selected by the Kiir administration, clearly spoke out at the national dialogue demanding Kiir hands over power to the people and leave. It is unlikely that he will favourably consider the advice. Earlier similar instances point to the conclusion to the contrary.
Thirdly, the Minister casts doubt on holding the elections in 2022 due to delay in forming the government issue of the Revitalized Agreement 2018. Many citizens and I believe this is not the Minister’s position, but that of the administration which is used to perpetually avoid the 2015 elections till now. South Sudanese have heard a plethora of reasons against holding the elections at scheduled times. It is a deja-vu situation that they are now reliving. Many of them hold the opinion that by so doing, Kiir is imposing himself on them. For how long can you deny a peoples’ rights? Will it work again? Probably it will not. The citizens have understood the game and may not buy into the same old tactics this time.
Most citizens had expected this to be revealed later. Now that the citizens know, their voices calling for the elections will be heard loud and clear, in the streets of Juba, major towns in the Country and in the diaspora. It will be heard on the mountain tops, hillsides, in swamps, villages and camps within the Country and in refugee camps abroad.
Lastly but not least, Minister Nhial declares, “the constitutional and political context for citizens to vote is immaterial” because the voters remain the same. This is another fallacy. Even when electoral processes are repeated as recently seen in many parts of the world, hardly will they reflect the views of the earlier voters. Those who might have not voted earlier find their way to the polls. This does not require a rocket scientist to recognize.
Therefore, most of the arguments presented by the office of the President fall short of convincing not only the ardent supporters but fail to enlist neutral or uncommitted citizens. The fact that he is imposing himself on our citizens, therefore, becomes the only plausible conclusion.
Allow me to refresh your memory on the background to the genesis of the crisis and early return to violence in our country. While the SPLM prepared itself for those elections, the Political Bureau (PB), its highest structure, reviewed its options and two positions emerged. One, Vice President Dr Riek Machar opted to contest for the Presidency against Kiir. Two, another view proposed to effect internal reforms through consultations and consensus within the PB. It became clear that Kiir would not allow either. Realizing that the proposed changes and challenges arose out of the impending elections, he opted to suffocate attempts for elections and prepared himself to militarily resist and crush any opposition to his perceived view. He introduced undemocratic procedures, like voting by show of hands rather than secret ballot (earlier practice) into the PB decision-making process. It was this resistance that resulted in the division within the SPLM PB and press conference of December 6, 2012.
We know what followed and the early return to violence and war some days later and the rest is history. Democratic processes were now replaced by military might and undemocratic systems. Governance by decree and favoritism, nepotism and corruption became the system of rule, though resented by most. It was imposed on the citizens the same way the president imposes himself on them.
The citizens grew tired of Kiir imposing himself on them and expressed their desire for change for a better South Sudan but were met with iron fists. Civil society leaders spoke out against self-imposition but were made to disappear. Artist freely expressed themselves or loudly relayed what they heard from others but they were jailed, maimed or killed. Students braved the streets of Juba but were met with live bullets!!!
In brief, the south Sudanese populace spoke through their political leaders, parties, civil society organs and eventually, the organized forces. There is no doubt in minds of most citizens that the current Kiir administration has failed and should go. However, President Kiir has decided to adopt draconian methods to impose himself on them. Elsewhere, such methods have given more months to the then leaders of those countries. However severe they might have been, they invariably were overcome by the determination and will of the citizens in those countries. If done through such methods, the outcome is always regretted by those imposing themselves. Most leaders like to leave behind a good legacy. Consider a legacy for which you may be remembered.
Dr Akec Khoc is a former Sudan and South Sudan’s ambassador to the USA. He was the first South Sudanese practitioner to join the SPLM/A in 1983 months after its formation.
A well-known and outspoken Catholic Emeritus Archbishop of Juba Diocese, His Grace, Paulino Lukudu Loro, has died in the capital, Nairobi after battling an illness.
“The Lord is my shepherd…Even were I to walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no danger, for you are at my side… (Ps 23:1.8). My brothers and sisters in Christ and fellow-citizens of our great nation.
“I, your shepherd, by God’s will and design, bring to you the saddest news of my entire life-time: My predecessor and Father, His Grace Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro, a star that ceaselessly was shining over our church and nation for well over thirty years has this morning flickered out in the Kenyan Capital City of Nairobi.”
“This tragic and saddest of all news will not affect only the church but indeed the wider community of our South Sudan society.”
In a statement, the Archbishop of Juba declared three days of mourning in honor of Archbishop Paulino Lucudo Loro until the beginning of the Requiem Mass.
“I therefore announce, beginning as of today, a 4-day mourning period for His Grace Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro. Further pieces of information on the content of the mourning period will be announced as soon as they are available.”
“Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.”
A giant and notorious crocodile responsible for the death of hundreds of people in Gambella has finally been killed and its body exposed in the open air.
The crocodile believed to have lived for more than 70 years was killed yesterday by a sharpshooter.
Last week, a group of police officers comprising of snipers and sharpshooters were deployed along the Baro River to kill the carnivorous crocodile that has been terrorizing residents for more than 30 years.
According to several eyewitnesses interviewed by the South Sudan Herald this morning, the giant crocodile is said to be 17 feet or 5.2 meters long and weigh about 500 kilograms.
In December last year, a 17-year-old South Sudanese refugee, Varsalam Nhial Chagiy, was eaten by the same carnivorous crocodile.
This is not the first time a cannibal crocodile has been killed in Gambella.
Responding to the recent sanctions imposed by the European Union, South Sudan’s blacklisted military commander, General Moses Lokujo, says that travel ban and asset freeze will do him no harm, citing that he doesn’t have a bank account in Europe.
“This is rubbish, I have never gone to European countries nor will I set foot on their territory. Since I was fighting to defend my country and as long as I do not have an active bank account in Europe, the dogs may bark, but the caravan goes on,” said Moses Lokujo in an exclusive interview with Thessherald.
Earlier this week, the European Union imposed a travel ban on Musa Lokujo, for serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and attacks on opposition forces in Kajo-Keji county.
“In South Sudan, the EU has imposed sanctions on Major General Gabriel Moses Lokujo for serious human rights violations in South Sudan in particular extra judicial killings.”
“Three officers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition were abducted and executed on the orders of Major General Gabriel Moses Lokujo,” the European Union.
“Lokujo Announcing his defection from the SPLM-IO to SSPDF Major General Lokujo defected in September 2020 from the SPLA-IO to the SSPDF and is responsible for the ensuing clashes in and around the Moroto Training Center in southern Central Equatoria.”
“As a consequence, several deaths and injuries were reported on both sides during the last quarter of 2020, and civilians were also displaced, especially in the Kajo-Keji area of Central Equatoria State. Major General Lokujo’s forces remained in the area where several further clashes have been reported and the safety and security of the civilian communities continue to be in jeopardy.”
Under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime established on 7 December 2020, the listed individuals and entities are subject to an asset freeze in the EU. In addition, listed individuals are subject to a travel ban to the EU. Moreover, persons and entities in the EU are prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed.
Responding to the recent statement issued by Kiir’s office, the South Sudanese human rights defender, Peter Biar Ajak, says the current incumbent President, Salva Kiir Mayardit is too illegitimate to rule the country and should have been dethroned.
Greetings to the people of South Sudan. I am sure by now you have seen the clear intentions of Juba. Minister Nhial Deng Nhial’s response to my testimony has only confirmed the validity of the points that I raised.
Biar said the government’s decision to withhold long-awaited General Elections is the tip of the iceberg and a sign that the parties are not ready to allow the people of South Sudan to choose their next leader.
“They want to continue to rule the country without allowing our people to have a say. This is what they want to accomplish through a crash-22 situation. They don’t want to hold elections because the country is in conflict and the peace agreement is yet to be implemented. But at the same time – they deliberately create the conflict and drag their feet when it comes to the implementation of the peace agreement.”
“So by default, elections will never happen because that’s their intention. So, you people of South Sudan must realize this. You have a legitimate government that was never elected by the people of South Sudan – that wants to use the conflict as an excuse to forever rule there.”
The human rights defender says that Kiir has become illegitimate and does not have any mandate to run the country.
“This is not the first time. This is why the election was extended in 2015 and extended again in 2018 — and now they’re arguing again for another extension. So, it’s very clear, the objective is to perpetrate corrupt rule so that continue to steal from you, kill you and displace you. So, let me repeat, Kiir was never elected. He’s an illegitimate president.”
“They only thing that is keeping him in power is the peace agreement; and the peace agreement requires that elections be held by March 2022. If that time comes and has not held any election—his illegitimate regime and will have expired.”
“So, the choice is this, hold the elections and do whatever you want to do and, implementation the agreement or by that time we will demand a Liberian model… Just like Charles Taylor was removed, Kiir will be removed, I assure you.”
The activist accused the Kiir administration of being responsible for the death of opposition officials, Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idris, who were kidnapped by the National Security Services in Nairobi in 2016.
“Regarding the denial that they didn’t want to kill me, where’s Dong Samuel?… Where’s Aggrey Idris? — or didn’t you kidnap them, bring them to Blue House and kill them?. If you produce Dong Samuel and Aggrey Idris, you would have proved me a liar. Bring them and show them to us.”
Biar fled to the United States in July after accusing President Kiir of ordering him killed by a death squad, a claim vehemently denied by the South Sudanese government, which in turn accused him of seeking asylum in the Western world.
Opinion —When rumors started going around about the health and whereabouts of my friend President John Pombe Magufuli, I placed several calls to him. Later, I sent him a text message. Both went unanswered. I then resigned to expect the worst while hoping I was wrong. When his death was confirmed as I was self- isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, I felt the full weight of double tragedy and emotions dealt by the cruel hand of fate. It was the worst time to lose a friend and a comrade.
It was a bond forged over war on corruption and quality infrastructure. I first met Dr. Magufuli at an international conference on infrastructure in Durban, South Africa some time in 2003. I had just assumed office as Minister for Roads, Public Works and Housing in the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) government of President Mwai Kibaki. By that time, Dr Magufuli had held a similar portfolio for some time in Tanzania. At the ministry, I discovered that I had inherited a bigger problem than I had imagined. The ministry was mired in massive corruption.
Contractors were demanding pay — and getting paid — for works they had not done, or those done way below specifications. Nearly the entire ministry budget was being used to clear pending bills that kept rising. The ministry was neither constructing any new roads nor maintaining the existing ones.It is in that context that I attended the Durban conference.
I wanted to share my experiences, learn from fellow ministers and other experts and, hopefully, also attract some funding for the massive infrastructure Kenya needed when Narc took over. Corruption Dr. Magufuli took immense interest in my presentation.
He was particularly intrigued by my admission that corruption had found a home in the ministry and it was denying the country the good infrastructure needed for economic growth. The two of us had lengthy discussions on the side-lines of the conference. During our discussions, he disclosed that the problems I had mentioned were the same ones he encountered when he took over at Roads and Public Works in Tanzania.
He offered to share his experiences in dealing with the vices of corruption and cowboy contractors and driving them out of town. For a start, he advised that I look into two areas: procurement and designing and tendering processes. From his experiences in Dar es Salaam, he had ring-fenced these areas as the hideouts for corruption and conduits for loss of government funds. Shorten procurement process His advice was that I needed to shorten the procurement process, which is usually long and winding just to facilitate corruption.
Then he advised that we adopt a system of designing and building roads at the same time as opposed to designing the entire road first, then tendering and then constructing. That, too, was a conduit for corruption. His advice was that the sections of the road that had been designed could be tendered and construction commenced as design of other sections went on. That way, we would get quality roads faster and at cheaper prices. It had worked for him and he wanted us to try it. From there, our friendship kicked off.
We became advisers to each and partners in the war on corruption and cowboy contractors in the roads sector.Before the conference ended, Dr Magufuli asked me to get my engineers at the ministry for a meeting with his engineers in Dar-es-Salaam so that they could exchange ideas on how to deliver quality infrastructure at value-for-money costs. I immediately instructed my Permanent Secretary Erastus Mwongera to assemble our team. In Dar es Salaam, we had extremely exiting discussions on simple, fast and efficient ways to deliver infrastructure. Raila Odinga Road, Dr. Magufuli invited me to accompany him on a tour of Mwanza where he was to supervise and launch construction of hospitals and roads. It was during this trip that he named a road after me; Raila Odinga Road in Mwanza.
During this trip, we visited his home in Chato. I also invited him to visit us in Kisumu and Bondo. As we got down to work here in Kenya, we identified the Meru-Maua Highway as one of the key roads that needed immediate and massive renovation. I invited Dr. Magufuli to launch the reconstruction of this road, which he did. I also instructed the ministry to name the road after him. AS Prime Minister in the Grand Coalition Government, I visited him with a delegation that comprised Senator James Orengo and Governors Sospeter Ojaamong and Josephat Nanok, among others. On this trip, I launched the construction of the University of Mwanza.As we prepared for 2012 elections, Dr Magufuli defied protocols and stood with us, physically attending our party’s National Delegates Conference where I was handed the party’s ticket to run for president.
Consultants for each other this time, we had become consultants for each other. We were available for each other whenever either of us needed assistance or advice. When Dr Magufuli declared his interest in the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ticket for the presidency in 2015, I took keen interest because his contest was my contest, just as mine had been his. We got deeply involved and we were excited when he won.He invited me to Dar almost immediately after his inauguration. During that visit, the newly elected president was frank. He said he had known how to run ministries; now he needed advice on how to run a government. He particularly wanted to know how we managed under Narc and the Grand Coalition Government to raise revenues to deliver services and stop corruption. I advised my friend that, for a start, he should look no farther than the revenue and procurement officers at all levels of government. I told him that in most cases, those officers were the ones driving latest car models, building classic apartments in cities and putting up castles in rural areas despite lower salaries. He needed to subject them to lifestyle audit, retire or even jail the incorrigibly corrupt and transfer others, then revenue collection would shoot up.He listened.
In some cases, he personally walked into offices to see how work was being done. Soon, Tanzania’s revenue doubled, then trebled. The new president suddenly had money to build roads, ports, hospitals and railways without relying on donors. SGRThe President developed very keen interest on what happened to Kenya’s standard gauge railway in terms of its cost. He was determined to avoid the pitfalls, and he did. That is how he constructed Tanzania’s SGR four years later at a much lower cost than ours.
President Magufuli was a very independent-minded person. During his tenure, people developed this belief that he would always listen to me. While we did exchange views and agreed on many things, it is not true that he agreed with every suggestion I made. When Dr Magufuli disagreed, he did so firmly, no matter who he was disagreeing with. When he ordered the confiscation of Maasai cattle that had crossed into Tanzania, I pleaded with him several times to release the cattle but he just wouldn’t budge. ASaeryp a politician, President Magufuli was a populist.
Ideologically, he leaned towards social democracy. He allowed the private sector to grow, but under very watchful eyes of the State because he felt that the private sector, if not watched, could be overbearing especially to the lowly in society. Enemy of corruption. Magufuli was an avowed enemy of corruption. That, in my view, is his most outstanding trait. He could not stand the idea of public officials using public resources for their own benefit. If you hated corruption, you were on the first row as Dr. Magufuli’s friend and confidant. He was determined to put Tanzania ahead in the region and Africa through industrialization.
In that endeavor, he saw Kenya as the stumbling block, hence his sometimes-hostile stand against Kenya. We had a discussion on this, too, my position being that industrialized countries in Europe and Asia, for instance, co-exist and we could do the same here. He was not convinced. His primary business was Tanzania. Outside Tanzania, his other business was Africa. He had little interest in other continents. Even in Africa, he was selective with his visits. I remember he visited Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. Otherwise, he was a Tanzanian preoccupied with Tanzania.
CCM ideologueDr Magufuli was a CCM ideologue who grew through the ranks of the party and embraced some of the founding President Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere’s ideals on patriotism, nationalism and self-reliance for his country. In about six-years, he went farther than Mwalimu Nyerere in trying to economically empower his people. While Mwalimu Nyerere embraced internationalism and had a broader view of the world and Tanzania’s place in it, Dr. Magufuli was a super nationalist with little regard for the rest of the world. Where Mwalimu Nyerere was a constant voice on the global stage, especially for Africa and the Third World, Dr Magulfuli reserved his voice and energy for Tanzania.
Transformed TanzaniaDr Magufuli was, however, overly successful in transforming Tanzania in just about six years. He transformed Tanzania’s highways, ports, created Rapid Bus Transit to decongest Dar es Salaam and delivered SGR at a competitive rate, all because of a crackdown on corruption. Despite all these, Dr. Mgufuli’s legacy that may live for years, especially if his successor builds on it, is that of unity, hard work and discipline.
Hapa Kazi Tu, Chapa Kazi and its legacy will endure. He pushed hard the idea that success comes from hard work. In Tanzania today, people report to offices very early and they do not just sit there, they work. I hope the new President builds on this tradition that is good for Tanzania and Africa.May Dr Magufuli fare well in the next world.
The writer is the ODM party leader and former Prime Minister of Kenya.