Mabior Garang de Mabior, a prominent member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-IO, has ruled out that he will never set foot in Juba no matter what —unless the IDPs and refugees return to their homes.
“I would like to assure our civil population that, the only thing that can take me to Juba is the freedom of our people in the IDP and Refugee camps. I will not go to Juba for a V8 Toyota Landcruiser, nor for Kombo Samak and Shurba La’am,” said Mabior Garang in a Facebook post.
On June 3, Mabior resigned from the unity government as Deputy Minister of Interior in protest at the slow implementation of the peace agreement, however, his position has not yet been replaced.
“It has become abundantly clear that our partners in peace implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the only way we can restore some semblance of sanity to our nascent Republic.
Adding that, “the SPLM/SPLA (IG) – have no intention of as Your Excellency is aware, I am among the many SPLM/SPLA (IO) cadres who have been suspicious of the intentions of a regime which insists on implementing the Agreement without security arrangements,” said Mabior in his resignation letter.
“I personally protested and brought it to Your Excellency’s attention that I could not put my hand on the Bible and swear on a lie – an illegitimate R-TGONU – and so I declined to participate in it.”
He accused the Kiir administration of dragging it feet on the implementation of the peace agreement and using lame excuses as delaying tactics.
November 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–On Tuesday, the National Dialogue Conference on Peace concluded in Juba, South Sudan with the release of a communique aimed at identifying a way forward for the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
Recommendations covered a host of topics ranging from the economy to safety and security, to governance and social cohesion. In a historic step, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees also brought their unique perspectives to the deliberations.
The Dialogue provided a platform for a frank and earnest exchange of views among over
500 participants from all walks of life. In light of the global pandemic, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, assisted a dozen participants to connect virtually from five asylum countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. In addition, 26 IDPs and returnees across South Sudan connected to the proceedings online, in close coordination with the National Dialogue Conference’s organizers. Many more watched the livestreamed discussions.
Refugee, IDP and returnee recommendations were included in the final report, which largely focused on displacement solutions. Concretely, they called for security sector reform and strengthening the rule of law, improvements in essential services in their home location, inclusion of women, youth and persons with disabilities in governance; reforms that respect women’s rights to own, inherit and transfer land; housing, land and property restitution; economic stability and creation of employment opportunities.
Reflecting the gravity of the occasion, President H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit addressed the Conference on the final day, along with members of the diplomatic community in Juba. In his concluding remarks, the Honourable Angelo Beda, co-chairperson of the National Dialogue, recognised that continued momentum following the dialogue is crucial, and urged the full realisation of the recommendations. Participants also echoed the call for progress. “What sets great nations apart is the implementation of policies”, said Zacharia Friday in Yambio, Western Equatoria State on behalf of internally displaced persons in South Sudan.
With nearly 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees hosted in neighbouring countries and another 1.6 million persons displaced within the country, UNHCR stresses for their voice to be heard at all stages, including in consultations which are shaping the path to peace.
“Peace is not complete until the nation is complete, and the nation is not complete until all of its citizens have a meaningful role to play in that,” said Arafat Jamal, UNHCR Representative speaking at the closing ceremony. “Thank you to the National Dialogue for welcoming the virtual participation of conflict affected communities.”
October 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR-South Sudan) has provided life-saving humanitarian aid to thousands of internally displaced people who have been uprooted from their homes by the devastating floods.
“Thousands have been temporarily displaced from their homes by floods in Bor and are currently living in the Mangala IDP settlement. As part of the response to this situation, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and its Partner Humanitarian Development Consortium, have been distributing much needed assistance,” the UN Refugee Agency said in a brief statement.
“More than 1,200 vulnerable families, for a total of 6,340 individuals, received emergency assistance.”
Currently, around 700,000 people are reported to have been affected by the floods across the country.
South Sudan has been torn apart by the conflict, forcing over 1.47 million people to seek shelter in the UNMISS camps and another 2.2 million to neighbouring countries.
In September, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and disaster management (MHADM) declared Mangalla as an IDPs camp to host flood-stricken communities.
October 2, 2020 (Thessherald)–Meeting in Juba on Thursday – the Governance Cluster chaired by the First Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar, passed a draft proposal seeking the state’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
“Governance Cluster meeting today chaired by the First Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, discussed, passed and recommended the UN Convention on Statelessness,” said the Office of the First Vice-President.
The United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness is a treaty signed by 75 countries around the world and obligates each member state to ensure that no one is left stateless.
In a statement to the media, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Vice-President, James Gatdet said that the proposal is now ready to be presented to the Council of Ministers for approval.
After approval for the Council of Ministers, the Convention will be tabled before the Revitalized-Transitional National Legislative (R-TNA) for final approval.
“After its recommendation today by the Governance Cluster, the Convention will be tabled before the Council of Ministers meeting for approval and then sent to the parliament for rectification [ratification] so that it becomes a law.”
Since gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has signed a number of United Nations and African Union treaties.
In 2016, the country acceded to the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugees Problems in Africa, making it the 46th country to ratify the Convention.
Lomong Latabu holds her son Khamis Tuth, a 1.5-year-old child with severe malnutrition, at the malnutrition ward of the clinic run by the International Medical Corps (IMC) in the UN POC site in Juba | Photo: Farran/UNICEF
September 10, 2020 (Thessherald)–The recent announcement of UN Forces’ withdrawal from Protection of Civilians camps (PoC camps) is a huge blow to peace and security and the very future of the peace process in South Sudan. For the UN to hand over security to the same organized forces which massacred those currently under their protection, is to condemn them to certain death. It must be remembered that after more than a year and USD 100 Million, security arrangements have not been implemented. This is not a mere allegation but is certifiable through the verification mechanisms of the Agreement and from the regular reports of the UN Panel of Experts.
That there is no peace in South Sudan is not a secret – it is seen in the rampant inter-communal violence in the rural areas and “unknown gunmen” violence in the towns. If the UN withdraws its forces from the PoCs, the regime will immediately move to forcefully dismantle the camps in the name of non-existent peace. The civilians will be forced to return to their destroyed or confiscated homes, only to be met with looming famine and inter-communal wars. The indiscipline and lack of command and control of the organized forces were recently shown by their excesses during the botched disarmament operation in Tonj. Are these the security forces the UN plans to hand protection of civilians to?
The regime in Juba has failed to fulfil its mandate according to Chapter I of the Agreement. The opening provision of the Agreement is an indictment of this regime which goes by the name Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity(R-TGONU). In Chapter 1.1.1., it states; “There shall be established a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) in the Republic of South Sudan entrusted with the task of implementing this Agreement.” It has become painfully obvious, despite the lies coming from the regime, that the so-called R-TGONU is not implementing any Agreement. Even half of Chapter I is yet to be implemented fully.
It has been erroneously reported that the security in the country has improved, yet senior government officials still fear sleeping in Juba – going out to find means of survival by day and opting to return to the safety of the PoC by night. Venturing out of the PoC is even more dangerous for our girls and women, who have been raped by soldiers just outside of the camps. There isn’t a big difference between the current organized forces and those which committed the Juba massacre, documented by the African Union (AU) Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan. If in April 2014 a Minister was able to force his way into the PoC in Bor, resulting in the murder of innocent civilians, what would stop the same regime from doing the same or worse once the UN withdraws from the PoC?
Despite the security of the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan being the sole responsibility of their government, the UN must reconsider this move. If the people in the PoC are left to the mercy of their tormentors, the resulting humanitarian crisis might end up being more costly than had the UN forces stayed. The so-called R-TGONU has neither the will nor the capacity to handle the huge responsibility the UN is about to add to their quagmire of an Administration. They have already botched an illegal disarmament in Tonj, failed to respond to natural and man-made disasters in Jong’lei, not to mention their failure to respond to the global pandemic. To hand over so many innocent souls to certain death borders on an abuse of human rights.
The people of South Sudan are eternally grateful to the UN for the protection they provided at the height of the Juba massacre and the resulting cycle of revenge killings in 2013 and in 2016. For this reason, the role played by the UN will not be forgotten by the vulnerable citizens of our nascent Republic. Equally historic is the failure of leadership which has led to this; it will be remembered for generations to come. The UN should not abandon the people of South Sudan at the last minute. Instead of building the capacity of the forces which killed them, the UN should build the people’s capacity in terms of civic education.
In the event that the UN’s withdrawal is fully realized in the coming weeks, our people must know that we will be on our own. Therefore, it is important for our people in the UN PoC camps to organize themselves and through peaceful means make their voices heard regarding this mischief. It is a non-starter. It is by our peoples organizing themselves in the PoC and across the country that we can give the regime an incentive to implement the Agreement. The least costly way we can end the refugee crisis, the internal displacement and the rampant insecurity in the country is through the genuine implementation of the Agreement.
In Kenya and Uganda the United Nations humanitarian work is under their respective Ministries of Interior – this is understandable in stable countries. This cannot be the same in South Sudan where the very security forces which displaced civilians will again be in charge of their security, it is a contradiction. The best and least costly way for the UN to get themselves out of this mess is not to abandon the people of South Sudan, it may prove more costly in the end. It is best to try the only thing left to try in this peace process, punitive measures for peace spoiler.
The author is a former Deputy Interior Minister and senior member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In -Opposition (SPLM-IO)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 9, 2020 (Thessherald)–Our people in the UN PoCs got lost and have forgotten who and what brought them into these camps in the first place and to be refugees and second class citizens in their own country. They should know that even the leaders whose power wrangling within their decayed SPLM and the ones who forced them to rot in the UN PoCs for the last 7 years have now reconciled, are in peace, giggling in joy and feasting in their luxurious and extravaganza mansions while you are submerged under water of the flooded UN PoCs and at the mercy of mosquitoes, venomous snakes and all the possible diseases.
Such a true hell needs no additional complications by your infighting, staged by the same power drunk and greedy so-called leaders. More fear, insecurity and extra trauma are the only horrible outcomes of such awful divisions and feuds. I know incidents happen for a reason or another, but letting such gruels be manipulated by the same masters of your suffering is a complete mistake if not a fatal ignorance. We heard that the fight started with wrangling over a memory card but now we are hearing it is between Western Nuer and Eastern Nuer. Before the R-TGoNU peace agreement, it used to be either within the Western Nuer themselves, Bul and Dok or within Eastern Nuer various clans. It seems the nature of fight also have changed with the nature of politics and this can’t happen without some organized devilish claws behind the scene.
How a disagreement on a memory card which apparently was between two individuals developed that quickly to a clannish and sectional fight devastating the already embattled mother community, the Nuer at large? That is the question in itself.
While the recent defections have further divided the embattled Nuer community into divided clans supporting their defected Generals and politicians from here and there, it is also clear that the same agents of divisions are the one fanning the infighting of their various communities.
What would be the gains in putting people’s lives at clear risk such as that? How does our politicians feel comfortably on their seats and positions upon the dead bodies of their own people? This is a sad example of how one’s horrible life case can be lost with time and circumstances is how the case of our people in UN PoCs got lost and developed with time and various circumstances until it transformed the very victims and to be the agents of their own destruction.
It happened throughout the years of building frustration, hopelessness amidst hardships of all sorts. We thought that, the priority of R-TGoNU was to workout an effective plan to bring the country back to normalcy at all social, economic and political ends. This should have started with IDPS and the refugees who are the real victims that have beard the burns of the war for the last 7 years. They have lost everything, dignity, properties and their kids future is also in question. Thanks to the UN and the NGOs, it could have been worse.
I remember that it was only Mabior Garang, the recently resigned deputy interior minister to be the first and the only leader that has started his short tenure with the visit to trauma hit populace of PoCs.
To these forgotten citizens, the effects and loses of 7 years long stay in those camps are enormous and disastrous. But who care? Three months have passed already and the states governors aren’t appointed and political wrangling over irrelevant issues continues to be the norm. Citizens’ lives should be of high concern and without a clear agenda; the R-TGoNU is ending up in limbo where the accommodated leaders of the former oppositions have gone into silence and complicity since they have secured their seats and salaries.
They have gone in their separate ways with the very people and reforms they have used as the slogans and the ladders to climb to those seats. But remember, Kiir’s seats and positions are permanent and some should have learned from the lessons of the past. At least if you can’t improve the lives of our suffering people in PoCs and help change the bitter frustration they are in, can you please stop manipulating these vulnerable people and your attempts to use them again to attain their power ambitions through their own destruction.
Until the rivalry and lobbying for governors seats is over, my poor people will continue to be the target of our greedy politicians, dividing them and using them for cheap political gains. But one thing those who are devastating their communities for the sake of winning those governors’ seat is that Kiir and Machar may also surprise you as usual, choosing the governors from their own nepotistic nests and there you will be a loser twice, losing the seats and your dead people in such risky gambling.
The author is a South Sudanese national, columnist and lives in the United States. He has authored a book “In a Nutshell. He can be reached through his email at email@example.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 authors and reserve 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: firstname.lastname@example.org