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.
Responding to allegations made by Peter Biar Ajak, the office of the president has said that, given the ongoing situation in the country, there will be no General Elections in 2022.
” During the recent US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State of Democracy in the World, Dr. Peter Biar Ajak testified making a series of largely unsubstantiated allegations against President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Government of South Sudan. Some of these baseless claims merit a response,” the Office of the President denied Peter Biar’s unsubstantiated claims while testifying before the U.S. Senate on Foreign Relations.
On allegations of human rights violations committed by the notorious national security services, Kiir’s office said there is no concrete evidence that innocent civilians are killed on a daily basis in the country.
“The charge incessantly repeated by Dr. Ajak that he narrowly escaped death at the hands of South Sudanese Security agents in Nairobi, Kenya is patently false. All along meanwhile under detention in South Sudan for dangerous subversive activities, he was totally at the mercy of the Government. Yet, not only did he suffer no harm both physically and psychologically, but the very same President Salva Kiir Mayardit whom he continues to vilify, showed clemency and ordered his release after hardly serving any significant jail term following his lawful conviction by a competent court of law.”
“Having said that perhaps Dr. Ajak is entitled to sorme credit after all for this elaborate ruse, probably crafted with the help of his lawyers, to enable him instantaneously gain political asylum in the US as an applicant whose life was allegedly in immediate danger. In that he has succeeded with flying colors. On the mandate of President Kiir, Dr. Ajak asserts that the President assumed power upon the country’s independence as an appointed rather as an elected leader.”
“By this he insinuates, that as an unelected leader of independent South Sudan, President Kiir lacks legitimacy. Naturally the new political dispensation ushered in at South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, was an interim arrangement that could not conceivably start in a vacuum. The incumbent Government led by President Kiir had by necessity at the time, to be entrusted with the task of steering the country through transition to elections.”
“It is fanciful to think that the SPLM should have dispensed with and proceed to organize elections immediately upon the proclamation of independence. need for an interim period The unfortunate and tragic events of 2013 denied South Sudanese the opportunity of exercising their inalienable right to go the polls and elect their leaders in 2015 as originally envisaged.”
“Had elections gone ahead as planned, President Kiir and the SPLM would have undoubtedly sought the renewal of their mandate to run the country. It is regrettable that South Sudan missed the chance of holding elections, but that is not a credible basis upon which to brand the current Administration as a regime that is undemocratic and hence bereft of any legitimacy. Legitimacy does not stem from form but rather from substance or essence. When President Kiir was elected in 2010 as the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, those who cast their ballots for him are the very same South Sudanese who would have done so again had elections been held in 2015.”
“The fact that eligible South Sudanese voters voted in 2010 in the context of a united Sudan and were expected to vote again in 2015 as citizens of an independent South Sudan, does not affect one bit, the mandate they bestow upon whoever they vote into office.”
“The constitutional and political context in which they vote is immaterial for as long as the voters remain the same people. Therefore President Kiir’s right to lead South Sudan, at least till the next elections determine the post-transition power architecture, is undiminished.”
“Furthermore, the claim that democracy in South Sudan is being stifled is totally without merit. Responsibility Sharing (Power Sharing) during the Transitional Period among multiple political entities is the bedrock of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) of September 2018.”
“These arrangements that have been embedded in the Agreement, constitute an eloquent manifestation of democracy in action. Therefore the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU), by its very nature, is a recognition and full acceptance of the reality that South Sudan is irreversibly locked into a trajectory towards multi-party democracy.”
“The call for early elections in 2022, is again without justification. It must be borne in mind that the actual inauguration of the (R-TGONU) following conclusion of the Agreement in September, 2018 took some time. Hence the time lost must be recouped so that there is adequate time to complete all the tasks of the transition before elections are held.”
“Dr. Ajak himself would acknowledge the absolute necessity of first producing a Permanent Constitution and conducting a population census as indispensable pre-requisites to holding any credible elections. And since these two processes, especially adoption of the Permanent Constitution on the basis of which elections shall be held, and others require time, there is no plausible rationale to insist on rushing elections.”
Juba—The main armed opposition group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In- Opposition, came under a surprise attack on Monday, leaving at least five soldiers dead and a senior commander in charge of Lowereng cantonment area.
“On 22/03/2021 in the morning hours, the SPLA-IO cantonment site of Lowereng was attacked and burned down,” said Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson.
The senior military officer said that, although the attackers had not yet been verified, the aggression constitutes a breach of the permanent ceasefire signed by the parties in September 2018.
“This surprised attack led to the lost of five SPLA-IO soldiers including the commander of the cantonment site. Much as the attackers are yet unknown, this attack amounts to violations of the permanent ceasefire that needs to be investigated.”
The SPLM/A-IO calls on peace monitors to investigate the ongoing violations of the peace ceasefire and hold those responsible to account.
“The SPLA-IO calls upon the JDB and CTSAMVM to investigate this aggression and bring those responsible to books. The SPLA-IO remains committed to the implementation of the Security Arrangements but has the right to self defence.”
South Sudan’s government and the opposition signed a permanent ceasefire in Addis Ababa and re-committed to the cessation of hostilities. However, sporadic attacks and intercommunal violence remain an issue of concern.
Full Text: Response to the testimony of Peter Biar Ajak at the recent U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State of Democracy.
During the recent US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State of Democracy in the World, Dr. Peter Biar Ajak testified making a series of largely unsubstantiated allegations against President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Government of South Sudan. Some of these baseless claims merit a response.
The charge incessantly repeated by Dr. Ajak that he narrowly escaped death at the hands of South Sudanese Security agents in Nairobi, Kenya is patently false. All along meanwhile under detention in South Sudan for dangerous subversive activities, he was totally at the mercy of the Government. Yet, not only did he suffer no harm both physically and psychologically, but the very same President Salva Kiir Mayardit whom he continues to vilify, showed clemency and ordered his release after hardly serving any significant jail term following his lawful conviction by a competent court of law.
The narrative that Dr. Ajak was set free and allowed to leave the custody of South Sudan’s penal institutions only to be pursued and hunted down in Kenya with the objective of murdering him is a cock and bull story that deserves to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
Having said that perhaps Dr. Ajak is entitled to sorme credit after all for this elaborate ruse, probably crafted with the help of his lawyers, to enable him instantaneously gain political asylum in the US as an applicant whose life was allegedly in immediate danger. In that he has succeeded with flying colors. On the mandate of President Kiir, Dr. Ajak asserts that the President assumed power upon the country’s independence as an appointed rather as an elected leader.
By this he insinuates, that as an unelected leader of independent South Sudan, President Kiir lacks legitimacy. Naturally the new political dispensation ushered in at South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, was an interim arrangement that could not conceivably start in a vacuum. The incumbent Government led by President Kiir had by necessity at the time, to be entrusted with the task of steering the country through transition to elections.
“It is fanciful to think that the SPLM should have dispensed with and proceed to organize elections immediately upon the proclamation of independence. need for an interim period The unfortunate and tragic events of 2013 denied South Sudanese the opportunity of exercising their inalienable right to go the polls and elect their leaders in 2015 as originally envisaged.”
Had elections gone ahead as planned, President Kiir and the SPLM would have undoubtedly sought the renewal of their mandate to run the country. It is regrettable that South Sudan missed the chance of holding elections, but that is not a credible basis upon which to brand the current Administration as a regime that is undemocratic and hence bereft of any legitimacy. Legitimacy does not stem from form but rather from substance or essence. When President Kiir was elected in 2010 as the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, those who cast their ballots for him are the very same South Sudanese who would have done so again had elections been held in 2015.
The fact that eligible South Sudanese voters voted in 2010 in the context of a united Sudan and were expected to vote again in 2015 as citizens of an independent South Sudan, does not affect one bit, the mandate they bestow upon whoever they vote into office.
The constitutional and political context in which they vote is immaterial for as long as the voters remain the same people. Therefore President Kiir’s right to lead South Sudan, at least till the next elections determine the post-transition power architecture, is undiminished.
Furthermore, the claim that democracy in South Sudan is being stifled is totally without merit. Responsibility Sharing (Power Sharing) during the Transitional Period among multiple political entities is the bedrock of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) of September 2018.
These arrangements that have been embedded in the Agreement, constitute an eloquent manifestation of democracy in action. Therefore the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU), by its very nature, is a recognition and full acceptance of the reality that South Sudan is irreversibly locked into a trajectory towards multi-party democracy.
The call for early elections in 2022, is again without justification. It must be borne in mind that the actual inauguration of the (R-TGONU) following conclusion of the Agreement in September, 2018 took some time. Hence the time lost must be recouped so that there is adequate time to complete all the tasks of the transition before elections are held. Dr. Ajak himself would acknowledge the absolute necessity of first producing a Permanent Constitution and conducting a population census as indispensable pre-requisites to holding any credible elections. And since these two processes, especially adoption of the Permanent Constitution on the basis of which elections shall be held, and others require time, there is no plausible rationale to insist on rushing elections.
All the critical transition tasks on which genuinely free and fair elections would be predicated must be accomplished before the polls, even if that means adjusting the electoral time-table to accommodate these tasks. Premature elections cannot reflect the true will of the electorate and would consequently amount to an act of practical disenfranchisement, a travesty of political justice and a recipe for disaster.
The Government’s commitment to the further consolidation of peace and rendering the current dispensation more broad based and inclusive is underlined by ongoing peace talks with hold-out opposition Groups. The three separate rounds of negotiations held under the auspices of St. Egidio Community with the two factions of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) thus far, have yielded promising results.
This engagement will relentlessly continue till (SSOMA) joins the peace fold. Conflict-induced political instability continues to seriously aggravate the already daunting economic challenges facing the nascent Republic of South Sudan. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. However this grim scenario is not without a silver lining. Thanks to the (R-ARCSS), which is being successfully implemented, albeit at a somewhat slow pace, the factor of conflict and its impact on the economic situation is fast receding.
The Government has been pro-active in the search for solutions to economic difficulties. The Ministry of Finance & Planning has undertaken in collaboration with and the active participation of South Sudan’s Development Partners, a Public Financial Management Reform Process that will enhance accountability and transparency. And in tandem with this process the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of South Sudan (Central Bank) have engaged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an economic policy review exercise aimed at liberalizing the exchange rate and improving overall economic performance.
We are optimistic that the cumulative effect of these measures will among other things, assist the Government meet its financial obligations, notably the payment of salaries, fully and on time. The humanitarian situation currently obtaining in South Sudan is difficult and continues to demand robust intervention. Acting in concert with the international community the Government has managed to ameliorate the level of suffering engendered by the humanitarian crisis.
The Government constantly strives to remove bottlenecks constraining the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to needy communities. Inter-communal conflicts over access to pastures and water among pastoralist and agro-pastoral communities have been largely exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms among the civil population.
Ultimately it becomes imperative that these illegal arms are collected and disposed of in a manner that ensures they never find their way back again into the hands of those from whom they were taken in the first place. The ongoing disarmament process that is regulated by law is essentially a peaceful exercise whereby Chiefs and Traditional leaders solicit the voluntary surrender of weapons from their people.
It is hoped that this endeavor will succeed and the Government will not be compelled to have recourse to coercive measures to strip the civil population of these weapons. However, in the event that the use of force becomes unavoidable the Government will not hesitate to use it to save lives and preserve law and order.
And such action if at all needed, will be carried out meanwhile strictly observing fundamental human rights. The Government of South Sudan cannot reflect on the humanitarian situation without pausing to express its profound gratitude to the international community for all that it has done thus far to mitigate the crisis.
We thank the United Nations, its Agencies and the international NGO community for the action they have taken to date, to ease the plight of the thousands that have been uprooted from their homes in Jonglei State and Pibor Administrative area by a combination of violent conflict and devastating floods. Given the recurrent nature of the phenomenon of flooding in those areas, we urge continued support in helping devise more durable solutions so that flooding and its attendant woes in flood-prone areas of South Sudan becomes a thing of the past.