“Spread love not hate”, Silver-X urges citizens to embrace peace

A South Sudanese award-winning musician, Okut Cease Malish, famously known by his stage name Silver-X, has called on the people of South Sudan to do away with hate speech on social media and embrace the spirit of love, unity and tolerance.

“Spread love not hate”. We need to teach our children to stop fighting and embrace peace. We belong to one tribe,” he said.

Speaking in an interview with Radio Miraya this morning, Silver-X urged young people to shun tribalism and preach messages of peace, love and unity.

Silver-X, who started his music career in 2008, has received a number of international awards and recognitions for his quest to bring peace and love through his music.

In 2014, he was chosen by the U.S. magazine Foreign Policy as one of the 100 Best Global Thinkers, and subsequently won Eye Radio’s Awards in 2015.

South Sudan descended into a deadly conflict in 2013 between two majority tribes, the Nuer and the Dinka, sparking wide-spread violence has so far claimed more than 400,000 lives and displaced millions from their homes.

In 2018, the South Sudanese parties signed a peace agreement that has now restored peace and calm in major parts of the country. However, hate speech and incitement on social media remain a major threat.

Pibor, Jonglei communities wrap up 2-day Peace Conference in Juba

In a meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, communities of Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area have wrapped up a two-day Peace Conference aimed at ending insecurity and inter-communal violence in the two states.

“Delegates comprising of over 250 representatives from the youths, women, chiefs and intellectuals of Bor Dinka, Gawaar and Lou Nuer, Murle and Anyuak met in Juba from 25th – 27th January 2021 to resolve the ongoing inter-communal conflicts in Jonglei State and Pibor Administrative Area,” the Presidency noted in a statement.

“The conference deliberated on the issues pertaining to the insecurity and inter-communal conflicts in Jonglei State and Pibor Administrative Area under the auspices of H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit.”

“After a thorough deliberations on the report from the high-level investigation committee constituted by H. E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, headed by Vice President H.E. Dr. James Wani Iggi , the conference resolved for the communities to commit to end the persistent insecurity and conflicts in Jonglei State and Pibor Administrative Area and with the neighbouring communities.”

In his remark, President Kiir urged the tripartite communities to forge peaceful coexistence and unity and put an end to cattle rustling in the country.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit said, the inter-communal conflicts that happened are very shameful stating that he is not happy with the behaviours and actions shown by the communities in killing each other for nothing.”

Kiir stressed the need for the full implementation of the peace agreement as a way to end inter-tribal conflicts across the country.

“Vice President and the Chairman of high- level committee H. E. Dr. James Wani Iggi said, H. E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit will establish a high- level committee with representatives from the affected communities to monitor, evaluate and follow up on the implementation of the resolutions that will end the inter- communal conflicts.”

“In addition, H.E. Dr. James Wani Iggi urged the Communities of Jonglei State and Pibor Administrative area to consider the resolutions of the conference as a ceasefire agreement stating that without the ceasefire, the resolutions cannot be implemented. H. E. Dr. James Wani urged the two communities to end the hatred and begin the process of forgiveness among each other.”

Planned Upper Nile State Conference canceled till further notice

Opposition pleader D. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon delivers an opening remark at the 6th SPLM-IO National Conference in in Juba |Photo: Vice-President’s Office

Dec 16, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Upper Nile State Conference, scheduled to commence on 16th to 19th December 2020, has been abruptly canceled until further notice, the office of the First Vice President announced on Tuesday.

“The Office of the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan hereby informs the people of Upper Nile State and the public in general that, the planned “Upper Nile Conference” scheduled for 16th to 19th December 2020 has been postponed due delays in preparation arangements. A new date shall be set and it shall be communicated to you all,” the Office of the First Vice-President announced in a statement.

On Sunday, the presidency resolved to hold a conference with the aim of reconciling and promoting unity among communities in Upper Nile State.

According to the presidency, the meeting would have touched upon important issues affecting the state, including the long-pending appointment of General Johnson Olony among others.

The objectives of the conference were to:–

• Provide a platform for the people of Upper Nile State to dialogue among themselves and address their grievances;

• Enhance the process of peace. reconciliation, healing and unity among the affected communities;

• Restore the destroyed social fabric and peaceful co-existence; and

• Encourage the return and resettlement of the internally displaced persons, refugees and POCS residents in Malakal and elsewhere into their homes.

In Memory Of The Nuer Innocent Souls Massacred in 2013

Could it have been prevented?

Opinion | By Deng Wal Gatluak

Opinion (Thessherald)–December 15th, 2013 marked the darkest day in the Nuer history, a fearless tribe known for its bravery and always revered a warrior as the prophet Isaiah prophesied [Isaiah: 18]. Their ancestors and traditional leaders used to be strong and conquerors except for the time when Riek Machar took the helm with countless bloodshed, loss of many lives and destruction of properties.

Not only did the past seven years bring misfortune to this society, but it ultimately led to intergenerational illiteracy among the Nuer children.

For instance, if an eight-year-old [Nuer boy] had been enrolled in class 8 in 1991, he would have obtained a master’s degree or worked in an office by now.

Since 1991, Machar’s quest for self-determination has not brought good news to the Nuer community, but rather a disgraceful surrender to the very enemy, putting the Nuer at a more disadvantage.

For example, majority of his forces were unconfirmed after merging with the late John Garang in 2002, and had it not been for late Paulino Matip Nihal who at heart fought very hard to see Nuer officers in a military parade. The scenario is now repeating itself – all Machar’s forces are assembled in the bushes at contonment sites with little help to them from the very person; while in Juba the man is enjoying the bloody cake with his children, closest relatives and aides driving V8 vehicles after other luxury cars.

Everyone in Juba prior to the Nuer massacre in 2013 knew that the doomsday was going to befall the country, after the president had brought in notorious militiamen/Mathiang Anyor and Gelweng. If Riek Machar had had strategies or wisdom, he would have challenged the president by preventing him from recruiting paramilitary groups from the Bhar el Ghazal region.

A leader who cares about the welfare of his people could have challenged the president both in Parliament and in cabinet meetings to make his voice heard. Similarly, if Kiir had refused to stop enlisting his paramilitary groups in his hometown, then Machar would have emulated the same policy by recruiting and bringing the White Army from the Lou-Nuer to counter such an ill-intentioned plan.

Allowing militia groups to reach Juba in Machar’s watchful eyes is a curse that will haunt him forever – let’s not shift the blame onto James Hoth Mai, as some writers always scapegoat him in their analysis opinions. Salva Kiir refused to listen to James Hoth Mai’s advice regarding illegal recruitment, so Machar could have used this as a justification for bringing young Nuer men closer to Juba as long as the president was acting out of the constitution.

President Kiir is a coward – who doesn’t know him? –if he knew that the White Army were around Juba, he might think twice before plunging the country into such a meaningless war.

The 2016 peace agreement that resulted in the killing of young men at J1, as well as his recent return to Juba (bare-handed) following the signing of the R-ARCISS are his blunder mistakes. The ongoing attacks on SPLM-IO forces around Moroto and elsewhere in the country are clear evidence that the peace agreement is teetering on the verge of collapse, it is just a matter of a ticking time bomb.

Not far from reality, the Nuer community in the near future may be trapped and massacred once again by the same regime due to the same ignorance and Machar’s unchanging behavior. The time will surely come when a true leader will emerge from this community. Rest in peace Nuer victims!

The writer is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reached via his Email: dengwal@gmail.com

Note: The views expressed in the ‘Opinion’ section are sole responsibility of individual authors and will take full responsibility, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The South Sudan Herald is not liable for any comment submitted by individuals or authors and reserves the right to delete any opinion piece for any reason whatsoever.

Should you wish to submit your opinion piece or analysis, kindly contact us at: thessherald@gmail.com

Machar’s full statement on Upper Nile State Conference due on Wednesday

The Upper Nile State Conference is expected to be held in the capital, Juba, from December 16 to 19, and will attract about 500 participants across the country as well as neighboring countries.

Chairman of the SPLM-IO and First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar delivers a speech at the opening of the 6th SPLM-IO National Conference held on December 1st – to 5th in Juba |Photo: © FVP Office

1: Introduction:

Dec 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–On December 9, 2020, the Presidency held its forth meeting in which it decided to declare the formation of the nine (9) states and local governments except the government of Upper Nile State and its counties.

The Presidency also decided to convene a peace and reconciliation conference for all the communities of Upper Nile State in Juba. The conference shall run for three (3) days under the theme:

“Peace, Reconciliation, Healing and Unity among the people of Upper Nile State”.

2: Background

Upper Nile State is home to five (5) ethnic groups namely the Chollo, the Dinka, the Koma, the Maban and the Nuer. These diverse communities have been living together in harmony since time immemorial. Their social, cultural and linguistic co-existence has been cemented by long history of intermarriages and neighborliness. This social cohesion reflects the unique relationship between them.

For centuries, there has been no history of devastating conflict and enmity among the people of Upper Nile. However, twe isolated incidents, to be recalled, occured in 1973 (The Hippopotamus Incident) between the Chollo and the Nuer, and on the day of the CPA Celebration in January 2009 at the Malakal stadium between Chollo and Dinka, were amicably contained.

The major violence in history breakout on December 23, 2013, following the Juba December 15, 2013 crisis, resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and
property among the five communities.

The violence has awfully devastated the state infrastructure, forced many people to seek refuge in the United Nations Protection of Civilian Sites (PoCs), displaced others internally and created an exodus of refugees neighboring countries, and destroyed the social fabric of the communities.

However, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS of 2018) provides an opportunity for the people of Upper Nile to reconcile, heal, unitr, and restore the social fabric of their society as well as rebuild their State.

3: Objectives:

The objectives of the conference are to:–

• Provide a platform for the people of Upper Nile State to dialogue among themselves and address their grievances;

• Enhance the process of peace. reconciliation, liealing and unity among the affected communities;

• Restore the destroyed social fabric and peacefal co-existence; and

• Encourage the return and resettlement of the internally displaced persons, refugees and POCS residents in Malakal and elsewhere into their homes.

4: Participants

The conference under the sponsorship of the RTGNOU is estimated to bring together around four hundred and ninety-six (496) participants from all political and social spectrum of the communities of Upper Nile State.

The breakdown of invited delegates from different locations inside and outside South Sudan is as follows:

Neighboring Countries:

• 1 Sudan:––65 delegates
• 2 Ethiopia:––26 delegates
• 3 Uganda:––26 delegates
• 4 Kenya:––26 delegates

Inside South Sudan:

• 1 Malakal POCS:– 30

• 3 Counties of the State:– 65 delegates

• 4 Juba:– 232 delegates

Grand Total: 496 delegates

Cognizant of the report of the Tribal Boundaries Commission (TBC) on the tribal boundaries in dispute in South Sudan; and the reverting of the country to ten states recognizing Upper Nile State as the geographical, administrative and political entity as it stood in January 1956, the sons and daughters of Upper Nile State shall engage in an all-inclusive dialogue amongst themselves to address, among other things, the following:

a) Reconciliation and Healing

• b) Cohesion among the communities living in the State;

• c) Civil Administration of the State, especially the redress of the status of the civil servants that were laid off without due procedures of the civil service;

• d) Cooperation among the political leaders in order to develop the State; and

In the light of the above, the Upper Nile Conference shall be held in Juba at Freedom Hall from 16 to 19 December, 2020 under the patronage of HE. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan and under chairmanship of the First Vice President, H.E. Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.

NDSC Co-chair Beda blames leadership failure on the SPLM

         Press Statement 

Statement of the Co-Chairman, Hon. Angelo Beda |On the Occasion of the Opening Ceremony of the National Dialogue Conference 3rd Nov. 2020

President Kiir after attending an SPLM Parliamentary Caucus meeting in Juba 2019 at the SPLM House


Your Excellency, Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of
South Sudan

Your Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South

Your Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African
Union Commission,

Your excellency Molano Abel Alier, Co-Chairman of the National
Dialogue Steering Committee,

Your Excellency, Naohiro Tsutsumi, the Japanese Ambassador to the
Republic of South Sudan

Your Excellency, David Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary
General to South Sudan,

Members of the diplomatic community accredited to the Republic of
South Sudan,

Members of the International organizations,

Distinguished delegates to the National Dialogue National Conference Members of the Steering Committee,

Fellow members of the Steering Committee Leadership,

Members of the Steering Committee Secretariat,

Members of the press core,

Invited guests and observers,

Ladies and Gentlemen: Good morning.

It is a great honor to welcome all of you to this opening ceremony of the National Dialogue National Conference. Your presence here attests to the significance of this occasion and it is a demonstration of your love and care for the people of South Sudan and for that, I must thank you very much. Welcome to Juba! Welcome to the National Conference!

I am greatly humbled to convene and chair this conference with His Excellency Molana Abel Alier, a man who has served this country for his entire life and continue to do so despite his physical condition. It is a great honor to serve in this capacity side-by-side with him and Hon. Bona Malwal Madut Ring and Francis Mading Deng and all these great men and women of the Steering Committee leadership.

I want to thank the eminent members of the Steering Committee who have been incredibly committed and dedicated to the service of their country and to this process without whom, this process would not have succeeded. They had to go to the most impossible places to get to access our people for consultations. Their actions were heroic.

I also want to thank wholeheartedly, the Secretariat of the Steering Committee made up of young men and women of South Sudan who are dedicated and who have demonstrated exceptional skills and expertise and have been the engine driving this process. We are indebted to them and we thank them for organizing this beautiful occasion.

Most importantly, we want to welcome and thank the delegates of the National Conference who have struggled in the floods and difficult roads from all corners of our country to come and attend this conference. We want to thank them for participating in this process from the grassroots consultations, the regional conferences, and now the National Conference. These men and women of South Sudan proved to the whole world the bravery, candor, and the commitment to speak the truth no matter what the circumstances. We thank them very much; they are the owners of South Sudan and this process. We are simply their servants.

To our President and the whole government, we must thank and honor you for this process, conceived and underwritten by your government. We want to thank you because you have kept your words. When you launched this process on the 14th of December 2016, you said and I quote, “I am throwing the full weight of the government behind it, but the government will not lead or control this process.” You have kept your words Mr. President and that is a demonstration of leadership.

This process has been so critical of your government, your security forces, your ruling party and your person as a leader of this country. But you have kept your composure, and you kept faith in this process. The people at the grassroots have even call for your resignation and for Riek Machar and Lam Akol to step aside, you still kept faith in the process and this process will go down in history as one of your wisest decisions and it is a legacy that no one can take away from you. Up to this point, no one has ever been arrested or harassed for speaking in a National Dialogue event. We hope this remains the case until the end of this process. You have provided the resources needed to sustain this process and we thank you and your ministers of finance for their cooperation.

We also want to thank the Government Japan, the only international partner, that has kept faith in this process and provided resources to the UNDP to support the Steering Committee. Despite pressure not to support us, they kept their promise and for this, we thank the people of Japan represented by the Ambassador here.

We must also thank our technical partners UNMISS in the person of the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for his support, especially during the grassroots consultations, and most importantly, UNDP in the person of Dr. Kamil Kamalluddeen and his dedicated staff for standing with us throughout this process.

We want to extend a special thank and gratitude to the South African government, especially His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa and Roef Myers for sharing their experiences with the National Dialogue Steering Committee and its leadership at the inception of this process and thereafter. We are truly indebted to them for inspiring us and for helping us understand the essence of our assignment.

Last, but not the least, we want to thank the people and government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for their support in providing our secretariat with equipment and tools to carry out their duties.

The Launch of the National Dialogue and the formation of the Steering Committee

Fellow Delegates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

We are gathered today to open the National Dialogue National
Conference, the last stage, in what has been a three-staged process starting with the grassroots consultations, the regional conferences, and now the National Conference. The South Sudan National Dialogue process was launched by His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit in the National Parliament on the 14th of December 2016, that is nearly four years ago.
After announcing his intention to take the nation through the Dialogue, he formed a Steering Committee of eminent persons and a small unit of the secretariat. The process ran into some challenges, so the President decided to restructure the Steering Committee, and this is how I got my poor self to be the Co-chairman alongside H.E. Molana Abel Alier and the able Rapporteur Bona Malwal Madut Ring steering this process. I got the news of my appointment in Tumbura where I was a farmer, as I had retired from politics.

When the President launched the National Dialogue, this country was in an extremely dangerous situation. In July that year, a day before the celebration of our fifth independence anniversary, there was a dog fight at the State House, the bloodiest act of violence ever experienced in this country and the lives of the President and his two deputies were online that day. Hundreds of their bodyguards were killed. This incident revibrated across the country, especially in the Equatoria and violence was spreading and consuming this country like a wildfire. The UN Special Representative on the Prevention of Genocide came for a visit here and later released a report to the Security Council, saying that there was a real threat of genocide in South Sudan. Millions of people had fled the country and tempers were extremely high and ethnic targeting of civilians was rampant. There was a real fear that this country was heading for collapse and disintegration. There was no political process at the time and Dr. Riek Machar was stuck in South Africa.

This is the context in which the National Dialogue was launched and our assignment as the Steering Committee was to reverse this spiraling trend. To a greater degree, the National Dialogue did help in cooling the tempers and in restoring a sense of hope. The Steering Committee was sworn-in here at Freedom Hall on the 22nd of May 2017 and we started our work right away. For the purposes of transparency, at the time of the launch of the National Dialogue Steering Committee, the President was going to be the patron of the process, but he came under severe criticism, so he relinquished being the patron and gave us the full mandate of an independent body to make decisions and to steer this process without asking for his blessing and this is what we have done.

Second, there was a great deal of skepticism about the intention of the President and this process and many people rushed to the conclusion that this process is simply a smokescreen to whitewash the President’s actions and to extend his stay in power. Some people as far as saying that this process was simply a monologue as the oppositions were not part of it. To the contrary, the people of South Sudan did dialogue, though it was not a dialogue about power sharing.

Third, in the first session of the Steering Committee, not many of us, including me, the Chairman, had any idea what the National Dialogue actually was. We had to try and reflect on this ourselves and so we decided to open a debate among the members of the Steering Committee asking a simple question, “what went wrong”. The members of Steering Committee spoke for nearly a month in a debate where no one was timed. People spoke until they ran out of words and they could sit down, and someone would take the mike. Through this process, a very rough sketch of what was wrong begun to emerge, and this generated a lot of thoughts about what this process was.

After completing internal debates, we asked for help from people who have had this experience here on the continent and around the world. The UNMISS and UNDP came to our support and we organized seminars and workshops were experts from Tunisia, Rwanda, South Africa, Liberia and Yemen, came to share their stories. Institutions such as the United States Institute of Peace, UN Mediation Unit, Berghof Foundation, and CMI also came with more expertise. These exchanges were extremely useful in preparing us for the task of taking our nation through the dialogue process.

We decided then to organize the Steering Committee into subcommittees. We first defined for our purpose what the grassroots were going to be and what the regions were going to be. We also decided to define inclusivity for our purpose to be both geographically based on 80 counties of South Sudan including Abyei and 11 categories of stakeholders were identified in each county as the key participants in the process. These stakeholders include women, youth, political parties, traders, farmers, religious leaders, organized forces, community-based organizations, people with special needs, teachers, and traditional leaders.

We defined regions as the 10 states of South Sudan and Abyei and Pibor Administrative Areas. So, the Steering Committee set up 12 subcommittees representing these regions. We also created three additional subcommittees, one representing the organized and security forces, one committee for the national capital, and one to reach out to refugees and diaspora. The Steering had a total of 15 subcommittees. The purpose of this subcommittees was to carryout grassroots consultations and facilitate the selection of delegates to the regional and national conferences.

Grassroots Consultations

At the grassroots consultations, we went to the counties and simply asked our people, what went wrong? Our job was not to respond to what they said, we simply documented what they said in video, voice and written minutes. After completing their consultations, each subcommittee submitted a report of what people said and the report was presented to the Steering Committee for adoption. Now, we have the 15 reports of the subcommittees, containing evidence of what people said in each of the 80 locations. We also have this recording in video for future reference.

The able Secretariat of the National Dialogue Steering Committee, then analyzed these reports and compiled a document of the key issues coming from the 15 reports of the subcommittees and produced a document called “The People Have Spoken”. The Secretariat went further to group the emerging issues into four broad clusters. There were issues under governance, security, economy, and social cohesion. After the grassroots consultations, we had a very good idea of what is happening in the country and what truly went wrong.

What went wrong

Your Excellencies, delegates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to highlight a few points of what we found went wrong in our country, according to the people at the grassroots and our own analysis as the Steering Committee. I do this not to point fingers at individuals, but in the honesty and transparency required as one of five principles of the National Dialogue and to prove to the delegates who have gathered here that what they said is relayed as it was. We are not doing this to name and shame our leaders, we do this as a way to seek the truth and to restore normalcy in our people’s lives.

Prominent among the issues we found went wrong, is that the people at the grassroots blamed the crises in the country on the ‘failure of leadership, particularly under the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).’ When we reference SPLM, are talking about the SPLM before it broke into the numerous factions as we know today. The SPLM took helm of power in South Sudan following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005. The failure of leadership and of the SPLM is manifested in a number of ways.

First, the SPLM and its leadership, per the provisions of the CPA, was charged with a responsibility to build a new political system in Southern Sudan that was to contrast the then existing system in the Sudan—a system that was perceived to be undemocratic, unjust, oppressive and based on parochial distorted Arab and Islamic identity. The CPA provided for two systems of government in one country. The SPLM demonstrably failed to build a new political system in South Sudan, so by the end of the six years Interim Period, the reverse was true, there was one system, two separate countries. The SPLM simply took the poorer version of the Sudanese state and ran with it. Notably, the SPLM built an authoritarian system in the country, which is becoming more and more tyrannical, although without the substance and authority of a functioning state.

One of the defining features of the authoritarian system instituted here in South Sudan is the centralization of power in Juba.’ During the Interim Period, states had functioned largely without the interference from the central government. After independence, the central government took over state power and governors were being dismissed and appointed at will. This obviously choked and paralyzed the states and this contributed to the collapse of the system in the regions, which exacerbated instability across the country.

As we speak, citizens’ civil liberties are violated daily. Freedom of speech, of assembly, freedom of press, and even freedom to associate politically have largely been curtailed by the state.

“People were arrested arbitrarily and detained, forced disappearance as well as intimidation of journalists and political opposition leaders are common occurrences in South Sudan.”

These actions are a far cry from what the SPLM fought for and what it envisioned to build through its New Sudan vision where all are equal, where justice reign, and where prosperity is shared across. The government of South Sudan derailed from its democratic commitments long time ago, it is a system that is a complete opposite of what was envisioned that is now in place.

The 2013 political conflict is explained in large part by the fact that the governing instruments of the SPLM were undemocratic and political competition was not tolerated and a strict political hierarchy established during the war was dogmatically followed. Hence, those who had political aspirations had no chance, they must wait for their turn in what was clearly a long line. This also meant that debates about the future of the country could not happen in the party, as such was considered indiscipline. This is why the party raptured and the resultant chaos is what the Steering Committee is assigned to remedy.

“Second, the SPLM government failed to contain widespread ethnic conflicts in the country and so insecurity became the hallmark of autonomous region of Southern Sudan and this situation extended to an independent South Sudan and as we speak, this situation is persistent.”

The rural areas of South Sudan are at war communally and inter-communally besides the political conflict. Hence, the government demonstrated inability to penetrate the society and exert control. Since the SPLM was in charge, hardly could we, and the people we consulted, find anyone else in the country to blame, but the SPLM.

Third, while the SPLM-led government succeeded in mobilizing the people of South Sudan for a referendum, and thanks to the SPLM, we now have a country we called our own, but the government failed to prepare the people of South Sudan for the independence. This is why after independence, it was not so clear what was the political, economic, and socio developmental program of the government and where we were heading next. In essence, there is a blurred vision and up to now, it is not so clear what is the grand vision of the state for the society.

Fourth, from 2005 to July 2011, South Sudan was earning lucratively from its 50% share of oil revenues, earning more than half a billion in a month.
These financial resources were wasted and squandered and there is nothing significant to show for this amount. Estimates show that South Sudan collected more than 20 billion in oil share during the Interim Period, yet there are no permanent roads, Juba still lacks clean drinking water and electricity, not to speak of the rest of the country. Where did the money go?

“Fifth, corruption became the hallmark of the SPLM-led government and South Sudan, if it is not the most corrupt country in Africa, it is the second according to the corruption perception index.”

The President in 2013 issued 75 letters to his ministers and members of his government, to return allegedly 4 billion dollars they have stolen. Only two members came out clearly saying they did not take any money and are willing to be investigated. The rampant corruption is thriving on the sense of entitlement among the liberators, that since they fought, all power, money, and even the law were their personal trophies.

Six, the decision of the government to shutdown oil production in 2012 and its decision to attack Sudan forces in Panthou, clearly bankrupted the country, a situation that arguably precipitated the events of 2013 and the country has not recovered from the negative impact of that decision to this day.

Seventh, the ethnicization of politics was fomented by the SPLM leaders, for example, political appointments are based on ethnicity and not necessarily on competence. Besides, the military was also ethnicized with the President having allegedly recruited exclusively an ethnic militia from Warrap and Dr. Riek Machar recruited the White Army exclusively from the Lou Nuer area. By the time the fighting broke out in December 2013, the formal military, the SPLA also split along ethnic lines. This suggests that the leaders of South Sudan had no plan to build a nonpolitical national army that is able to stand independently from the political leaders.

This situation got worse after the events of 2013 when ethnic Nuer were targeted here in Juba and ethnic Dinka were targeted in Upper Nile. The Equatoria got its share of this following the dog fight in the State House 2016. The core of our country was shaken, and it cracked deeply, but our job is to mend these cracks and to piece together the broken pieces.

The most serious challenge is that the contenders over the power of South Sudan each believe that they must have an army of their own, by which they can overcome the current national army of the young South Sudanese state. It is now a practice in South Sudan that every ambitious political aspirant to power does not want to accept and respect peace in South Sudan unless and until his forces are also integrated as part of the national army, the SPLA. This situation has created a feeling that the National Army is now dominated by two ethnic groups, the Nuer and the Dinka. If the SPLA did not split and target civilians ethnically, it wouldn’t matter whether army is dominated by one family. One of the most difficult and intricate matters to resolve by the South Sudan National Dialogue is the tribal animosity that the failure of the political system has engendered in South Sudan today.

Eighth, South Sudan, though endowed with fertile arable land, is permanently a humanitarian hub. Our people are being fed by the international community since 1983 and the government failed to create a conducive environment for investment in agriculture, and so our people, almost 10 years into their independence, are still fed with handouts from the international community. This is an extremely shameful situation and we must really feel sorry for ourselves having been unable to wean ourselves off this dependency. Our sense of collective worth and pride is insulted everyday our people receive food from the World Food Program.

Ninth, South Sudan squandered a huge international goodwill. This happened because our allies then, the United States, Norway, and the UK plus the European Union are democratic states that cherish human rights and democratic governance. They supported the people of South Sudan because the vision that was put forth by the SPLM was appealing as it had democratic aspirations in it and elements of justice and development. Upon close scrutiny, they found that neither did the SPLM leaders believe in these values nor do they practice these values, so they withdrew.

Overnight, these friends became the fiercest critics of South Sudan to the extent that some of them regretted their support for our independence. In the nutshell, the SPLM government’s foreign policy failed spectacularly and South Sudan now is under the UN arms embargo and targeted sanctions are placed on individual leaders of the government. How did we get ourselves to this, from the darling to now being the laughingstock?

Tenth, gross human rights violations have characterized the conflict that broke out 2013. The level of ethnic hatred was exacerbated by the brutality that the government and rebel forces exacted on the citizens. Young girls and women were raped, and no one is held to account. Pregnant women were killed, and their fetuses removed and mutilated. Members of Dinka community were targeted on the Equatorian roads, especially Nimule and Yei roads and removed from buses and killed. There was that incident where nearly 200 people were killed on Yei road including women and young children. These abuses and human rights violations characterize a state and rebel groups that have no shred of respect for democratic values and human dignity. These actions divided the country further. This is partly what pulled our friends away from us and our image around the globe and in Africa is tarnished irreparably and it will take a lot of efforts and a lot of reforms to restore it.

Lastly, just to name a few, impunity. Public officials commit so many mistakes and crimes, but no one is held to account. South Sudan is the only country in the world where government officials are free to do whatever they want and even some ordinary citizens do as they wish. They can kill people through rebellion and the next day they are rewarded with lucrative financial packages and prominent positions in the government. There are many who have committed horrendous crimes, who are now prominent in the current government. One pays absolutely nothing for public offenses, if anything, the public pays you for your misconduct and corruption. No system built as such can stand.

I don’t want to belabor too much on what went wrong, but I wanted to give you a sense of what it is that we are dealing with and what the meaning of the National Dialogue has been. At the National Conference stage, we are going to tackle the question of what we can do in light of everything that has gone wrong. If you come for the closing ceremony, perhaps you will have a glimpse of what our resolutions will be.

The Regional Conferences

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

After we completed the grassroots consultations, we organized the regional conferences and we decided, instead of organizing 12 regional conferences, we went for three greater regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile. This decision was influence by time and resources. The objective of the regional conferences was to validate the findings of the grassroots consultations and to screen and prioritize the issues that really matter in our current situation and to simply ask the delegates what to do about what we have found. Each region discussed and made recommendations to the National Conference.

The Steering Committee, through its Secretariat, sat and analyzed the recommendations of the regional conferences along the four thematic areas, and found that though each region met separately, the agenda was structured the same and so there are issues on which consensus has already been reached and there are issues were the regions have diverged. The National Dialogue National Conference will therefore tackle those outstanding issues and make final resolutions, including a proposal on the implementation and follow up mechanism.

The political parties joined the South Sudan National Dialogue after the completion of the Bahr el Ghazal Regional Conference. Following the signing of the R-ARCSS on the 12th of December 2018, the organized peace celebration in Juba in October that year and during the occasion, the President invited all the parties to join the National Dialogue. By February 2019, we met with all the political parties and discussed the modalities on how they will be joined. We then when to South Africa to develop a shared vision for the National Dialogue and signed the Pretoria Declaration. It was agreed that the political parties would participate in all structures of the Steering Committee, so four were accepted to the leadership, 35 to the Steering Committee and 10 to the secretariat. For reasons unknown to us, the SPLM-IO pulled its members out of the National Dialogue later, but all the other political parties have remained. We actually organized a special conference for all the 52 parties of South Sudan from the 20TH—25the May 2019. The South Sudan National Dialogue is and has been an inclusive process supported by most political parties.

The National Conference

Your Excellencies, delegates,

Today we are opening the formal session of the National Conference. The National Conference has the mandate to deliberate on the recommendations of the regional conferences and any other emerging issues, make final resolutions, and issue a final communique of the National Dialogue. This will formally end the National Dialogue process, although the Steering Committee through its leadership and the Secretariat will write the final report, which will be handed over to the Presidency together with the final resolutions, and the President will then take this report and the resolutions to the parliament for endorsement and thereafter the implementation will follow.

The link between the National Dialogue and the Peace

We get asked regularly what the link between the National Dialogue and the Peace Agreement is. It is our considered view that the political Agreement signed in September 2018 is a top down process dominated by the political elites whose primary motivation had been power; be it military, political, or financial. The National Dialogue process, on the other hand, is a bottom up process where ordinary people discussed issues, which they believe affect them in terms of their relations with the state and among themselves. Hence, their decisions should be considered sovereign and of course can only be implemented by the government. We therefore believe that the two process are each one-half of the other and when put together make a complete whole. The difference though is that the ordinary people, coming from the rural villages of South Sudan, discussed these issues in an environment free of political pressure and it is our belief that their resolutions will be objective and will aim at laying a strong foundation for a more peaceful and stable South Sudan.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to conclude by reiterating my gratitude to all of you for coming and to thank each one of you for your support. You are all invited to the closing ceremony of the National Conference, which is now scheduled for Sunday the 15th of November 2020. By that time, hopefully the final resolutions would have been ready and could be read out. If anyone of the dignitaries wishes to attend our working sessions any of the days, we should be notified in advance to ensure proper sitting arrangements are made for them. Fellow delegates, our real business shall begin tomorrow when we will present to you the draft agenda of the National Dialogue and the Rules and Procedures. I wish all of you a pleasant day today and,

Thank you all, very, very much.

Opinion | Why Cde. Gola Boyoi is a Champion of Unity & Peace in S. Sudan

Unity through Inter-marriage

Opinion | By Ustaz Gum Thany

October 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–In 2015, during the first convention of National Youth Union at Freedom Hall in Juba, H.E. Cde. James Wani Igga called on young people to embark on inter-marriages. According to him, he said marrying from other tribes within South Sudan will be the major remedy for the unity of our fragmented country for its promote social cohesion. This was during the closure of the four days conference that brought Bol Dhieu as the first president of SSNYU.

From that very time none of us including the former leader answered the call of Cde. Wani. Four years characterised by divisions among young people went with this word unfulfilled and none of us thought of it as a quick remedy of uniting our communities as echoed by Vice president Wani Igga.

In his one year term in office and without being told in the convention, Cde Gola Boyoi Gola Jr. did unbelievable and amazing things that worth millions of thanks and appreciation from all South Sudanese and most especially the peace loving population. Besides the great things he is doing now in regards to the implementation of his manifesto, the young man from the Murle in the far South East of the country crossed many states full of impassable roads, bushes and rivers to the far North of the country only to humbly asked the Ngok Dinka of Abyei and the whole region of Bhar El Ghazal to give him their beautiful daughter.

Miss_Aweer_Ayoukchol , the queen of the region, welcomed the young man from Murle and introduced him to the family. With wonderful approach from Murle community and from Gola in particular, the great community of Ngok Dinka of Abyei didn’t hesitate to accept the proposal. Without reservation, Gola was allowed to proceed with his colourful marriage which he did last week.

Gola Boyoi breaks the rare records and most especially from Murle to marry from such far. The young man deserves great applause from all of us. He has answered the long time call from Cde Wani as far as the unity of our people is concerned. Now, should any Dinka not only from Abyei goes to Murle land, he or she will be granted or treated with a noble welcoming and hospitality just because of being an in-law of Gola Boyoi Gola. With no further fear of being killed, he or she will eat the food Murle eats freely. If such thing happens, who will not like it again? This is what we have been yearning for as South Sudanese. How I wish all young people of this country were like Cde Gola, this country wouldn’t be the same again.

Dear Nesip Gola, as your in-law, I welcome you to the region of Bhar El Gazal. It is a land of great people and your beautiful wife is a testimony on who we are. I encourage you not to listen to negative emotions being raised on social media by few individuals in regards to what happened during your traditional wedding. All that were exhibited were the beauty of our culture and you will admire more as you will be staying with your beautiful wife. In our culture, if a young beautiful girl moreover from a great family and having all the qualities that your wife possesses got married to other community, every young man of that village will not be happy.

They wish to be one of them taking her not a stranger. White people call it jealousy. Just ignore it Nesip and continue to make us happy as your in-laws. You are the champion of peace and feel free to visit your in-laws’ region anytime and you will be accorded with great welcoming you have ever seen.

Dear South Sudanese, why can we look at a bigger picture of everything other than always dwelling on tiny negative expect of everything. Let’s learn to appreciate and always be positive towards things that matter to us. Through positivity, we will soon overcome our differences and live a happy life as one people in one nation. Our diversity shouldn’t be equated to division instead it is our pride and we should appreciate it.

Finally, join me in congratulating the new couples and bless them to erect a strong foundation of their house and be a symbol of unity across the country. However, I believe and prove now, the connotation given to him during election time that Gola is a ‘gold of 2019’ indeed, he is a gold of our time and his deeds justified. For us to have many golds in this country, let’s adopt Gola’s style of promoting inter-marriage as well as tirelessly working for the welfare of this country.

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Luo people commonly known as Jurchol to Change Their Identity to Luo.

Opinion | By Charles Kon Bona

August 17, 2020 (Thessherald)–One of the minority tribes of the Republic of South Sudan called Luo which is being wrongfully referred to as (Jurchol), a Jieng’s (Dinka) phrase that has controversial and disputable meanings has awakened and in the awakening, the Luo tribesmen has launched a huge advocacy on social media stating in their numerous posts that the name Jurchol has to be changed to Luo under the laws of the Republic South Sudan.

Luo tribe is one of the earlier inhabitants of Western Bahr el Ghazal State (Wau) originally, calling themselves Jo Luo and draw a reference to themselves as Jo Luoi with a classification under the Northern Luo, Western Luo, Eastern Sudanic and Nilo-Saharan. Luo people are one among the tribes gifted with the attitude of learning languages and dialects. They are familiar with English, Bongo, Thongmuonyjang, and Arabic. The Jo Luoi are commonly known for iron mining and forest agriculture unfortunately, in 1855-1956 the English rule abolished mining and some of the Jolui who still insisted with mining activities were either victims of jail terms or a resultant of death sentence.

According to Luo People, they are arguing that they have no definition for ‘Jur and Chol’ in their language Dheluo claiming that this phrase is Jieng’s. In Thongmonyjang, Jur is someone or group of individuals who don’t speak Jieng’s language, don’t know their culture or have nothing in common with Jieng people while ‘Chol’ as per the arguments some Jieng raised in response to Luo advocacy on social media, have different understandings and explanations. Some Jieng say Chol is a black color which clearly implies that Luo people when called Jur Chol in Thongmuonjang means a ‘Black Stranger’.

This explanation has even created disputing inputs among Jieng because some Jieng say Chol is not a color in reference to the name but some sort of resting. In light of this explanation, those who raised it explain that the Luo people came as stranger who were on a journey and rested in one of the Jieng’s villages and later in the even when the sun heat eased, they continued their journey. Up to now there is still no common understanding or conclusion among Jieng people themselves. In regards to a conclusive disagreement or agreement on this advocacy, Some Jieng object Luo’s advocacy of changing their tribe name from Jurchol to Luo on the ground that, the history of Sudan has known this community as Jurchol and not Luo and some Jieng also think that the rationale behind Luo people changing their tribe name is political dating it to 2010 when Dr. Lam Akol was contesting and campaigning for presidency of the Southern Sudan of which he stated something about Luo community as a whole while on the other hand, some jieng understand and gave a green light for Luo tribe advocates to follow legal procedure in documenting it as Luo. What is making matters worse is that, Joluoi are frustrated because even in their national Identity Cards and passports their tribe is written as Jurchol however, Joluoi still think that it is too earlier for them to just follow legal procedure for the documentation of their real identity as Luo tribe so they chose to advocate and making awareness to the public so that once the media is fully aware and convinced then the legal procedure shall be initiated to help create less misunderstandings later when it is changed from Jurchol to Luo. Below are the international laws and national laws that legally support the right to identity and culture and the rights of ethnic and communities which also apply to Luo tribe of Western Bahr el Ghazal to change their tribe name from Jurchol to Luo.

(1). The International Bill of Rights.

The international Bill of Rights are rights which are recognized, respected and protect by all the nations which are parties to the United Nations. These bill of rights universally apply to all persons in countries even those countries which are not parties to the United Nations. The International Bill of Rights are altogether Wrapped in the following three International legal binding instruments:

(a). Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on the 10th Oct 1948 8 during the third session of the United Nations Assembly at the Chaillot Palace in Paris. The adoption of declaration of the human rights was envisaged as the very first item on the United Nations agenda within the program of the International Bill of Human Rights followed by the adoption of its two part (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).

The fundamental message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights lies in the statement under paragraph 1 of its preamble that ‘recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights also has general principles such as, the principle of equality and non-discrimination, the principle stating the right of everyone to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration can be fully realized and spelling out a concept of the duties of everyone to the community and permissible limitations in the exercise of the human rights and freedoms and, the principle for the prohibition of activities by any State and group of persons aimed at the destruction of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration.

The declaration also states the fundamental substantial rights contained in the Civil and Political rights and Freedoms, as well as Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

(b). International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16th Dec 1966 and entered into force on the 23rd March. It is an international covenant that protects and grants political and civil rights to all human beings and that the government should not interfere in civil matters and should not treat individual as per their distinction to color, race, gender, religion, culture, political opinion and others. As per now, the main focus of the Luo people is the cultural rights which are also recognized universally under international laws as stated by Lexy Yaya Mangok Kuot.

(3). International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1976.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16th Dec 1966 and entered into force on the 3rd Jan 1976 puts every state or all governments of both nations parties to the United Nations and those which are not under the obligation undertaking to provide improvement in the fields of economics, social and cultural activities stating under its preamble. Under this covenant, the rights to communities to practice their beliefs, culture, religion, identity and others is recognized, respect and protected by the government and as a duty of the citizen of a given nation.

The universality of the International Bill of Rights.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are universal. The universality of these rights means they are without boundaries and that these rights apply to all nations in the world whether those nations whose governments are parties or not. The universality of these rights is stated under different international laws starting with the Charter of the United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a cornerstone with its two international covenants (International covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), the 1993 Vienna Convention and others. These rights are enshrined in constitutions of nations with no contradictions of which the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan is not an exception. The Bills of Rights apply to all ethnic groups of all nations without any interference from other individuals, group of people or the governments themselves in violating of these rights.

(2). The Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011

Under the constitution of The Republic of South Sudan 2011, the constitution states in its part two the ‘Bill of Rights’ which are numerous and under section 33 specifically states (the right of Ethnic and Cultural Community) that “Ethnic and cultural communities shall have the right to freely enjoy and develop their particular cultures. Members of such communities shall have the right to practice their beliefs, use their languages, observe their religions and raise their children within the context of their respective cultures and customs in accordance with this Constitution and the law”. As per the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan part two ‘Bill of Rights’ (Right of Ethnic and Cultural Communities) Luo tribe of South Sudan have constitutional right to freely enjoy and develop their particular cultures. Luo tribe shall have the right to practice their beliefs, use their language, observe their religion if it exists and raise their children within the context of their respective culture and customs in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.

The Statement that says “within the context of their respective culture and custom” includes even changing their identity from Jurchol to Luo because Jurchol is not within Luo context of their respective culture. Furthermore, this section states the right for the ethnic community to use their language so Luo people are asking that how comes that the Luo People are not allowed to use their own term from their own language to name their tribe and a Jieng’s term is imposed on them which is in violation of the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan and the International Bill of Rights? Luo people are also claiming that the speaker of the national assembly at the time when the phrase Jurchol was documented as Luo identity did not consult Luo tribe representatives for a concrete and a consensus agreement on how they should be called and documented and they added that in a democratic nation like South Sudan, they have every right to start the documentation of their original Identity by suing the speaker of the house who was there at that time for wrongfully allowing such a grave mistake of using Jurchol as a way of referring identity.

The writer is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and he is reachable via his email: bonamagtkon@gmail.com

Opinion: “Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, A Controversial Character,” Jieng Elders


Opinion | By Joshua Dau Diu

August 1, 2020 (Thessherald)–One year past, I had advised in a written note, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba that he and I are close acquaintances and have shared some common interplays along the way of our social interaction.

Thus, we agreed to avoid irresponsible utterances against one another, and not to engage in confrontational arguments, particularly on matters related to public domain. We also agreed not to use literature in social media against each other. Now, here we are exhibited before the public display stage at the cross road exposing each other’s imprudence and ills. It rhymes with the same conclusion, by other people, that Dr. Peter Adwok neither safeguards the sanctity of human relations nor maintains personal commitment.

This odd and quire character of Dr. Peter Adwok being a controversial character that respects no bounds in friendship or relationships might have emanated from mixed upbringing background. He hails from Chollo (Shilluk) autocratic society of native kingship. He would have wished to be a king, unfortunately due to such repulsive behaviours, his family lineage could not be permitted to kingship hereditary. However, his ambition propelled him to imitate the excessive manner by which kings wield power and extravagant way of life he observes from the present king whom he claims to be his maternal uncle.

In order to fulfil his missed ambitious opportunity, Dr. Peter Adwok went to Catholic Church school where Catholicism, in outlook, presents cloudy similarities of feudalism. Moreover, even that did not satisfy his urge for power through the catholic hierarchical doctrine. So while in his prime age in the University of Khartoum , he immersed himself into communism together with those of late Joseph Ukel Garang, Tarcisio Ahmed, Gabriel Acuoth Deng, among others. Later on after the demise and the decline of communism during the cold war era, he became an ardent member of the socialist party which is an offshoot of communist dialectical materialism.

In his “Letting the Cat Out: Jieng (Dinka) Attempt to Impose Hegemony and Domination on South Sudan” Dr. Peter Adwok wrote, “It’s not possible that people who have common enemy for nearly six decades could turn in the end against themselves as if nothing strategic bound them together”.

This is an extraordinary striking statement that should have come from an aggrieved, repentant and contrite soul and mind. But unfortunately enough, this is not the case. It is, however, immensely contradicted in the subsequent story of condemnation and judgement which he mischievously levelled on the person of Gen. Daniel Awet Akot together with the Jieng community.

This man, Dr. Peter Adwok and Gen. Daniel Awet were comrades in Arms during the SPLA 21 year war of liberation of South Sudan. In the same war that killed thousands and millions of their fellow comrades, Dr. Peter Adwok lost one of his limbs but he survived. Both men have enjoyed the fruits of their hard and distinguished struggle as they equally shared and participated in the government of SPLA/M as dignitaries and ministers at different times and different stages.
Yet Dr. Peter Adwok mercilessly turned to write using vile language against his fellow comrade, Gen. Daniel Awet.Akot. “Simple minds discuss personalities while great minds discuss issues” goes an English idiom.

In his article: Independent Administrative Areas and States. Dr. Peter Adwok wrote: “Viewed literally, the IAA as well as Rev. Joshua memo to President Kiir, appear like an expression of vain glory or something devoid of implications. However, given the present context of socioeconomic and political development of South Sudan, and the manner the parasitic capitalist is deeply involved in the speculation over land as a potential for mechanized commercial agriculture and livestock ranching. Joshua’s design to dispossess the Chollo of their ancestral land on the eastern bank of the Nile comes not in context of population explosion of the Padang Dinka but in the context of clearing this land and adjacent Dinka lands for some Arab and Middle Eastern investors in commercial agricultural production.”

“The establishment of independent administrative areas, whatever that means is a leaf borrowed from colonial policy of ‘divide to rule’, capture and control their natural resources particularly land – the most important means of production. The primary objective of the scheme is to sustain the regime in power as its elements engage in the extraction and plunder of the natural resources, while the people have the illusion of exercising power”.

It is indeed mind boggling and absolutely absurd to find highly educated South Sudanese utterly opposed to and rejecting establishment of administrative system after military and political hard- won liberation and independence of their country – South Sudan. Establishment of institutions as organs of functional state machinery is part of transformation of both colonial biases for which the people fought against as well as being creative tools for reform of socio-economic, political and security development and/or stability of any country like South Sudan that has just emerged out of a long liberation war and just within a short period of less than 2 years from independence was plunged into civil tribal war by senseless power-hungry elites.

“The creation of independent administrative areas is dangerous scheme” wrote Dr. Peter Adwok, page 5. The British colonial powers in South Sudan created 23 districts under 3 provinces. These are acceptable to our elites in the opposition parties although they were created based on tribal settlement. The Arabs who took over the wheel of power from British colonialists in Sudan created 10 states and 3 regions yet they are also acceptable to these elites. But when an independent South Sudan Government led by South Sudanese who themselves fought for this country, created more states following similarly the same pattern of both the British and the Arabs colonial powers, the elites in opposition parties (SPLM/A-IO and FDS) of which Dr. Peter Adwok was a member, vehemently objecting to the most popularly applied ethnically based federal system.

What is surprisingly shocking, is that it was the same Dr. Peter Adwok who, under the influence of Switzerland ambassador to Kenya in 1990s, Amb. Joseph Bucher convincingly advocated for the institution of federal system based on ethnicities in South Sudan; similar to that of Switzerland. Now, he is objecting to a modified model and arrangement suitable and appropriate to our situation and circumstances, especially in the case of Chollo tribe in the kingdom, to be honoured with an independent Administrative area or state through which they can preserve their peculiar lyrics and submissive traits, and traditions. What a paradox!! The same system South Sudan is adapting and introducing is practised in Germany, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Kenya as well as in most parts of Europe and many other countries in the world. The system conforms to the former colonial boundaries or borders and only modifies and adjusts to suit new realities according to the new circumstances.

Perhaps Dr. Peter Adwok and his colleagues in opposition are jealous and prejudiced against what is being done without them. They would rather like to do it themselves and not others. It was acceptable to them when SPLM/A-IO created 21 states on more or less the same premises of old colonial districts. But when the incumbent government of Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit added 11 states (with some minor adjustments) to make 32 states, an uproar came up in the opposition circles, compelling the Government to reverse the Presidential Order 36/2015 which established the 32 states. At the same time the 21 states created by SPLM/A-IO are functioning with their governors till this time of discussion.

Justification for the Creation of New States in the Republic of South Sudan

The purpose of decentralization policy and the creation of ethnic or community based states is in order to take services nearer to the people. The second objective is to put into action the concept of developmental self-reliance through local resources by the people themselves. Thus, the creation of states to be administered by the indigenous citizens themselves is a tremendous innovation for hard work, control and responsibility for the resources which the people very much value as means of their livelihood and the product of their initiative and creativity.

To empower the people to administer themselves is a source of pride for realization of their own achievements and raises morale and zeal to accomplish more productive services as well as infrastructure. The spirit of competition is cultivated and instilled in them through empowerment to achieve more and to be responsible over their affairs.

Hence, fairness is required by granting every community a state or an administrative area for which they take charge over their affairs and therefore the government avoids any blame or complaint for not being fair, Let all succeed or fail without feeling of injustice being inflicted on them by their own Government.

Therefore, immediately after the issuance of the Presidential Order No.36/2015 for the creation of 28 States, other communities felt aggrieved and submitted complaints through their respective state governors to the President of the Republic of South Sudan and relevant institutions such as the Council of States for establishment of their states. The governors of those communities together with their representatives in the legislative assemblies follow up these submissions on behalf of their constituencies.

The principle of self- governance has always been a long held popular demand of our people. At the founding of the SPLM, this demand was recognized in form of taking “towns to the people” so that the people could stay in the villages where their social fabrics could be strengthened and sustained. That the SPLM has finally resolved to put this vision into practice is not surprising. Denying our people the right to govern themselves within their distinctive cultural domains runs counter to the principle of liberal democracy around which the world is currently structured.

South Sudan comprises many nationalities. Some of these nationalities are small compared to others. This establishment order gives those small nationalities a chance to determine their political future without being smothered or swallowed up or dominated by the larger ones. The SPLM sought to fight marginalization anywhere and anytime in South Sudan. Therefore, with the same zeal, the SPLM will not allow any small nationality to be marginalized.
Malakal and East River Nile Land Dispute “The creation of independent administrative areas is a dangerous scheme. It is the work or JCE, co-chaired by Hon. Rev. Joshua Dau Diu, agents of parasitic capitalist penetration of South Sudan. Its negativity lies in the manner it differentiates instead of integrating; divides instead of uniting our people and consolidating our fraternal relation in the context of nation building. The scheme conflicts our people in order to cause displacement and immense suffering while leaving land to prospective investors. It is anti-people and should be rejected in its entirety”. Wrote Dr. Peter Adwok.

Page 5.
I do neither intend to personalize nor get entangled in bogus argument about why Padaang communities are claiming all the lands east of River Nile. This matter has been long time ago resolved by colonial boundaries and borders of 1956. Historical records and documents are in plenty which even convinced African Union (AU), IGAD and Technical Boundary Committee (TBC) and Independent Boundary Commission (IBC) 2019-2020 Report in favour of Padaang’s ownership of lands on the Eastern bank of the River Nile.
However, Dr. Peter Adwok with his Chollo community have not presented strong persuasive reasons of why only the land presently occupied by the Chollo immigrants east of the Nile is the best for economic exploitation for which “some Arabs and Middle Eastern Investors shall be invited to engage in commercial agricultural production”. There are no proofs that Padaang are grabbing Chollo’s ancestral lands which are not belonging to Padaang. In any case, it is clearly stated that Padaang are not against Chollo immigrants or any other South Sudan nationals that have migrated and settled peacefully with Padaang east of the Nile or elsewhere and are amicably cohabiting with the land owners whether in the towns or in the rural areas.
They are accorded the same rights, privileges, treatment and granted land title deeds as are enjoyed by Padaang people.

Jieng Council of Elders (JCE)
Functional Concept

In its semantic context, the term Kochdit is specifically used by Jieng for those elderly people who are distinguished reference personalities, known to have special acumen and sobriety. Kochdit are old persons known to be custodians of accumulated wisdom and experience and are those rich of acquired historical information, tradition, customs, functionary concepts, ethical values, virtues and norms which are cherished by Jieng Society. Because of their age and experience, Kochdit are known to be the most tolerant, the most patient people who always impart wisdom. Kochdit picked all these qualities from the old men and women who handed them those historical and cultural values from the glorious deeds of the ancient past.

For their objectivity, impartiality, good track record, logic oriented and well known moral excellence, Kochdit maintain or control the society’s moral order and are the connecting link between the society and their past. As reference personalities, they are always the source of inspiration, role models and identification for the members of the younger generations. Kochdit are not necessarily leaders of their respective communities but mostly play an advisory role as senior members of the society.

In the past, as it is still the case today, Kochdit form an Advisory Body or a Council which at times, in all Jieng communities, form a Jury of Kochdit to decide and approve serious community matters. Nowadays, some young people are born out of wedlock and adopted or grow up in streets or in slums. They have no opportunities to sit on the laps of their fathers, uncles or elder relatives. Such persons, even if they are educated, cannot appreciate ethical community’s moral values.

The Intervention of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) in the current conflict 2013-2019

This is, however, an additional information to many illuminating documents JCE had put out on different occasions since its inception in 2013. Social stratification is an obvious God’s order of life which, without it, obligations and responsibilities, cannot be adequately discharged and accomplished in the human realm. JCE felt morally obliged to inform, furthermore, those many people out there, who of late through social media often but obnoxiously exhibit their complete ignorance about who an “elder” is and what he/she does in the Jieng community. At the same time, it is a universal order in both human and animal world that those who are born first or created before others assume indisputable functions which others that follow after take for granted, or at best to a great extend adhere to, till some improvements are made, much later in the course of life. The elders rightly assume the role of the first born in our Jieng society and we think it is the same in other communities. However, the role of elders and senior citizens might be denied, opposed or resisted by some people who would wish to be without the privilege of the past: values, responsibilities, heritage and accountabilities.

Again, those who allege not to know that elders are morally duty bound to settle scores of conflicts in societies are evasive of responsibility. Issues abound to be enumerated but just to mention a few like marriage settlements, grazing land and water points disputes (which in most cases result into disagreements) might end up in fights and perhaps loss of lives. In accordance with the hereditary traditions and norms, the Community Council of Elders, from the disputing sides intervenes to resolve the matter.

Hence, when conflicts erupted in the ranks of SPLM leadership in Juba over power struggle and eventually degenerated into killing of civilians of Jieng and Nuer, JCE which was founded earlier that year felt confronted and challenged by a situation that required timely decisions and actions.

JCE approached Nuer council of Elders and the two met in Juba and Nairobi in which they reached consensus on causes of that conflict as being wholly a political power struggle within the ruling party (SPLM).

Similarly, JCE met with Equatoria Elders as well as with particular communities’ councils like Mundari; Jubek state community council of elders; Western Bahr El Ghazal state Elders of Fertit, Jieng and Luo over their disputes. JCE and all other communities’ council of elders are out to mediate and to resolve feuds of social, economic or political nature among the communities. JCE strongly propagated against retaliatory vengeance on the civilian population.
Jieng communities all over the country have not responded to the provocation and killing of their members in Equatoria roads by Equatorian unknown gunmen; in Upper Nile by Nuer rebels and in Bahr El Ghazal by Fertit militia.

This tolerance on the part of Jieng resulted in Twic state accommodating Bul Nuer IDPs from Bentiu; Rumbek, Yirol people received Nuer in the midst of Jieng communities; similarly Duk communities hosted Lou Nuer IDPs by offering shelter amongst Jieng of Jonglei. These endeavors have maintained usual social cohesion, hospitality and peaceful co-existence among respective communities. And because of the spontaneous and responsible role that JCE has carried out in contacting other concerned elders of other communities, there is now relative calm in the country. Therefore, life and communication are gradually returning to normal and social fabric is building up throughout the entire nation. This is due to effective intervention of the Elders (JCE).

As stated earlier, JCE is well informed and conscious of its national obligations. Therefore, it does not wait to be told by anybody or government to act. It is a policy to totally reject regime change by other means apart from the constitutional process of democratic elections which is fair, credible and just, leading to peaceful transfer of power according to the will of the people.

Hence, it was the people of South Sudan that fought hard to secure the liberation of their land. Therefore, it is not easy to allow whosoever hell bent to destroy this legacy. JCE is and will always be against “all enemies”, local or foreign. They are all deadly enemies that must be confronted by all South Sudanese with necessary means. For this reason JCE with all other communities’ councils stand together to defend and preserve the hard won Peoples’ liberation benefits, namely: political liberty, cultural and linguistic assimilation, economic deprivation and social assimilation. These and other fruits of sovereignty must be jealously guarded against the aspirants of the material resources by hawkish local political elites with their foreign neo-colonialists ambitions to squander and to deprive the populace of their rightfully earned independence.

This article is authorized by the Jieng Council of Elders, an informal group of elders who are advisor to the South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardit. They are reachable through email at jiengcouncilofelders.ss@gmail.com

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