April 2014 - Posts
By Gabrial Pager Ajang
If there is anything that I have learned about Juba government, it is that government is run by COWARD. And if you are a coward, Mr. President Politics isn't for you. Our government had no confident at its core leadership and that continues to exacerbate panic and anxiety in its executive.
The president has accused Oyai Deng Ajak, Majak D’Agoot Atem and Mac Paul of d’état coup eight times, and when facts were examined, there were evidences that supported allege allegations. This fear is caused by insecure people who run their mouths in the government and who do not know what exactly they are talking about. It is done by members that were rejected by Dr. John Garang during liberation struggles.
I think cowardliness is increased by people who are determined to destroy South Sudan or people who do not know how to help run the national government. They feed Kiir with nonsenses. They have told kiir that “solution to South Sudan’s problem should not be imported.” Well, what can we do when our government does not trust anyone to solve its problems? The South Sudanese government do not trust (USA, UK, Norway for instance) countries that helps South Sudan to gain its independence. And the people are faced with immense problems and challenges.
This government of South Sudan had made mistakes after mistakes, and creates problems after problems. With these evidences, can this government of South Sudan bring peace to her country without help from foreign countries? And who will solve our problems, when the government rejected diverse opinions of our citizens?
However, President must be a person that holds up core principle of leadership and basic standards of governance, and stops pays attention to criticism because it distracts you from delivery of services to nation and solving grave problems that are facing our nation. I think the president should be real president of South Sudan, and starts denouncing this empty rhetoric from cabinet ministers.
These ministers that threaten former political detainees are entrenched in their failures and wallowing in desperations.
They have threatened to rearrest former political detainees if they continue talking, and run their mouths.
Besides, gets this logic, political detainees were arrested because of their talking, and the Special Court found now sufficient evidences that support attempted coup, and the government knew it was losing a case. Therefore the president order the minister for justice to breach judicial proceeding, and prisoners were released. Now, these freed prisoners are told by minister for information that claims to have a law degree that he will arrest them if they continue talking.
I will not dig down cabinet resumes but this abhorrence speech warrants attention!!!
I think the former political detainees can be granted the civic life of democracy by participating in interviews, movements, and building bonds of trust among citizens, and by participating in the political process that fuels form of good government that could serve its citizens betters.
To conclude this paper, based on the records of the liberation struggles, Tilar Ring, Makuei Lueth, Aleu anyieny cannot question patriotism of Pagan Amum, Oyai Deng Ajak, Maja D’Agoot Atem, and Deng Alor Kuol. It is that clear and simple.
Former political detainees are threatened because South Sudan is an orphan, and the country is run by the dead president. The president is morally dead, if he is alive, than he must reverse course and looks for peaceful sequential political resolutions to problems.
Gabrial Pager Ajang
The author teaches political Science and History at Career College, former Nebraska legislative assistance and passionate advocates of responsive government that observes rules of laws, and guarantees citizens protection; as an important principle of democratic government.
Besides, he is specialized in Public administrations and policy
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Muhammad Jihad Ismael
We have to remember, that all the holy books (Bible, Quran ) , had appeared before too many centuries, In a time that environment was so simple, and not complicated like today. In the cradle days of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam , environment was so simple, and the means of pollution were not common yet, so before 15 or 20 centuries ago, people hadn't petroleum, gas, charcoals, chemicals, uranium …etc.
Environment was so simple in these ancient centuries, so when Bible and Quran had appeared, they used to speak in a shallow way, or not in specific & scientific way, about environment and its ecological issues.
Actually, the ecological discourse was not powerful, or not clear enough, in both of Bible & Quran. However, in my personal opinion, I think we have to exclude Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy ) from this generalization, Because Torah has a strong presence for ecology. Specially, when Torah contained directions about ( Purifying the holy sacrifice – sheep or cow- .
Ways to avoid the infection with skin diseases. Cleaning the camp of Israelites from plague and other infections. Sterilization of Israelites houses. Ways to avoid gynecological & sexual diseases. Leaving corners of the planted lands without harvest, to be eaten by poor people & animals ( to keep sustainability of nature & life cycle … etc ).
To summarize this point, I think that ecological discourse, is appearing in Torah and old testament, more than in New testament & Quran.
It's right that Quran doesn't contain a strong ecological discourse, but this doesn't mean, that Islam is careless toward environment.
Of course no, because Islam is concerned strongly with environment & ecology. However, this concern appears in Muhammad's Sunnah ( Hadiths – or holy sayings of Muhammad ) more than Quran.
Actually, In Muhammad's Sunnah, we have hundreds of hadiths, are speaking about various & different ecological issues. For instance:
- We have to consider the wide behavioral theory of Muhammad: ( NO HARM ). Of course this theory involves ecology.
- There are several hadiths about ( removing the garbage from roads, cleaning the houses & yards ).
- Before the battle of Mu`uta, Muhammad gave the Muslim army, several ecological commands, like: Don't destroy houses, Don't pull out trees, and Don't burn palm tress ).
- There is a hadith, that says: ( Every Muslim plants a tree, Allah ( god ) rewards him.
- Another ecological hadith says: ( If dooms say come, while one of you has a plant in his hand, he should plant it ).
- There are several hadiths about: ( avoid throwing garbage in roads, avoid throwing garbage in river, avoid peeing beside trees, rivers, and creeks …etc ).
Theoretically, Islam is really a green religion, and a pro-nature religion too. But practically, we find most of the contemporary Muslims, are against nature, & enemies to the environment. Unfortunately, most of Today Muslims, are not following the ecological commandments of Islam. If you visit Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, or Tripoli , you'll see how the heaps of garbage, are filling the streets.
Muhammad Jihad Ismael
By Amir Idris
The recent politically motivated violence against unarmed civilians seeking shelter from the violence in South Sudan in the United Nations compound in Bor exposed not only the criminal act of the perpetrators but also the mindset of those who ordered and executed it.
The unprovoked brutal attacks on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp had been justified by the government spokesperson Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Michael Makuei Lueth, and interlocutors’ reaction to the IDPs celebration of the fall of the city of Bentiu in the opposition hands.
The IDPs were labelled as ‘rebels’ and ‘supporters’ of the opposition who deserved to be punished for their act of celebrating the defeat of the government forces. Hence, the victims were asking for it.
The attacks and its bogus justification have raised questions about how the government of South Sudan understands the key concepts of citizenship, responsibility to protect, and the rule of law. These three concepts are considered to be the sacred pillars of any modern political community.
After all, those who were subjected to violence in their UN shelter are South Sudanese citizens. Their rights and duties as citizens of South Sudan are enshrined in and protected by the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan which the government claims to respect and defend in its war against the opposition forces.
None of this has stopped the government from blaming the IDPs, calling them pejoratives such as ‘lazy’, ‘lovers’ of free food and handouts from the UN.
The justification of the attacks not only dismisses the claim to equal treatment of the IDPs as citizens of South Sudan, but also denies their very existence as human beings.
Ironically, instead of exposing the fraudulent assertions of the government spokesperson, government supporters, including a handful of intellectuals, bought into the bogus explanation.
The bogus official narrative about the IDPs began earlier when the violence erupted last year. Government officials circulated distorted propaganda about the IDPs’ connections with opposition forces.
They were unsuccessfully portrayed as enemies of the state – ‘rebel fighters in civilian clothes’, and ‘potential agitators’ from within.
However, the truth is the government is attempting to escape responsibility by placing the blame for crime at hands of the victims. The IDPs are not guilty for violence committed by government forces and armed youth in Bor.
This violence occurred because the government failed to protect them in the first place. The government could have prevented the attacks by disarming the youth and holding those who broke the law accountable.
To say that government’s claim is a woeful over simplification would be to give it way too much credit.
In fact, the claim is an embarrassing debacle filled with worthless platitudes to back an argument that is insulting not only to the IDPs and the people of South Sudan but to anyone who respects critical reasoning.
It also seems to make the tribalistic assumption that all Nuers are rebels and worthless of trust. And even those Nuers who have the interest of mending bridges of peace and reconciliation are categorized as potential enemies.
The tendency to smear a whole population of IDPs or an ethnic group reflects what is among the worst aspects of the human condition, where perpetrators blame the victims for their experiences.
The danger of this kind of mentality and attitude may worsen hostilities between the conflicting communities, incite ethnically driven revenge, and drag the whole South Sudan into chaos and an uncontrollable bloodbath with unimaginable human tragedy in the 21th century.
The unfolding tragedy in South Sudan is a man made one. And to end it and restore the deep respect for human virtues in particular respect for life to all South Sudanese irrespective of their ethnic, religious, and gender identities, collective political efforts have to be made by the victims and the perpetrators of the violence.
This of course can be done if the government and the opposition first recognize that the IDPs are human beings and citizens deserving their constitutional entitlements including protection from both the government and the opposition forces.
No valuable lessons will be learned from this inhuman tragedy in South Sudan so long as the government and the opposition and their interlocutors continue to perpetuate the monstrous claim that those who are victims of political violence, including unarmed IDPs, deserve such a fate.
The writer is a Professor and Chair of Department of African and African American Studies, Fordham University, New York City, USA. He can be reached at email@example.com
By Amnesty International
Osman Hummaida who died from a heart attack on 17 April was a vital, exuberant, passionate and dedicated human rights defender, and a central figure in the Sudan human rights movement over the past 20 years. From 2008 until his sudden death he was Executive Director of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), a Sudan human rights organization. Osman was a close contact and friend of Amnesty International. He was always ready to help, to find out information, to discuss the situation. His aim was to end impunity and bring torturers and – especially – those who gave the orders, senior officials, ministers, the President – to justice. “We are building up the evidence, we will get him in the end” – he would say about a particularly suspect minister.
A political activist in Sudan in the 1980s, he was arrested in 1990/1 after the military came to power in Khartoum. After his release and escape from Sudan it was human rights which took up all his energies. In exile in London, Osman helped to found several important Sudanese human rights movements. The Sudan Organization against Torture (SOAT) was based in London. Later, by 2000, when there was more space for local non-government organizations in Sudan, he played a part in founding the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Protection (KCHR) and the Amel Centres for Rehabilitation and Treatment of Victims of Torture in Nyala and El Fasher in Darfur. The Amel Centres were later to win many international prizes for their work.
These organizations Osman helped found, developed out of networks of lawyers, journalists and doctors. They recognised the need for careful and accurate documentation of torture and of other human rights violations. Osman organized workshops and training sessions in London and Sudan which initiated many young activists into human rights work. A vital cornerstone of the work of these organisations was strategic litigation to bring perpetrators to justice in Sudan, and when this failed, using regional and international channels such as the African Commission on Human and People’s rights, the UN human rights councils and the International Criminal Court to seek justice. One of the cases before the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights involves Osman. He and two colleagues were arrested and two of them tortured in Khartoum in November 2008.
Osman, and the organisations he helped found were also heavily involved in advocacy. They published cases, submitted reports to the African Union, UN Human Rights agencies in Geneva and other governments. SOAT and later the ACJPS would hold joint meetings with other NGOs to inform and campaign on human rights issues. In 2003, when the massive displacement and killings in Darfur were growing, Osman brought Darfur lawyers to Geneva to lobby and explain the situation to every African country’s delegation and other members of the UN Human Rights Commission. In 2004 SOAT and the KCHR set up the Darfur Consortium, a network of African NGOs who were fundamentally important in carrying the fight against ethnic fighting in Darfur to the African Union, leaving Sudan isolated even among fellow African states. A network of Arab human rights NGOs led a similar campaign.
When the International Criminal Court indictment was issued against President Omar al-Bashir in March 2009, the KCHR and the Amel Centre, along with other Sudanese Human Rights organizations .
were banned. Osman and colleagues left Sudan fearing arrest. However, from Kampala the group founded the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies to continue the struggle for human rights in Sudan, using documentation, training of activists, strategic litigation and, as always, advocacy. In May/June 2014, the ACJPS will celebrate its fifth year, a tribute to the tireless work of Osman Hummaida, its executive director, for human rights in Sudan.
Osman’s passing leaves a big void in the Sudan human rights defenders landscape. Amnesty International will greatly miss him.
By Peter Gai Manyuon
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death", from unknown author.
April 22, 2014 - According to what had happened in Jonglei State Capital Bor on the 17th of April 2014 where one hundred and forty five (145) Nuer civilians were massacred in United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNIMISS) Compound and two hundred and seventy five (275) people wounded, justify that someone like Michael Makuei Lueth who is the Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Government of South Sudan is behind the scene. Why do I say this? On Friday 18th of April 2014, Comrade Makuei stated on both electronic and print media that “the people killed in the attack on the UN compound in Bor the previous day were ‘rebels’ who committed the ‘intolerable’ act of celebrating the fall of Bentiu, which was captured from government forces last Tuesday”. He also as well said “The genesis of the problems goes back to the recapture of Bentiu town by the rebels.”
Logically, what can you analyze as an individual citizen of South Sudan in this scenario where the Minster is inciting the violence? Base on my own intelligentsia and curative thinking, I think Makuei is very wrong to come out verbally with that statement and moreover, he is a National Minister for all representing the entire Republic of South Sudan. He is not the Minister for Bor South or whatever the case may be. Due to high level of disorganization or Lack of Public relations within him (Makuei), he aired out a word that might bring a very big problem to himself in the nearer future, if am not mistaken.
However, according to my own observation about Comrade Makuei, he is the one who instructed the soldiers to go and attack the UNIMISS Compound in Bor basing on what he had said during the time he addressed the Press conference last friday in Juba after the massacred happened already. Therefore the International Communities and South Sudanese should know that, Makuei Lueth is a criminal number one who deserves hanging from the President of the Republic of South Sudan because; he is the very person who is spoiling the government of Maryardit in Juba at this particular period of time.
Most of the people within the government of South Sudan thoughts that, this current crisis will not come to an end very soon but mind you; in every crisis, there is a beginning and ending; therefore those who did wrong things to the people of South Sudan especially on the tribal agenda, should be discipline afterward, so that other people should learn from the experiences.
Some people might ask themselves why I come with this article today. For your information by dear Countrymen and ladies, someone who has no boundaries in talking is good to be hang like what happen to the former President of Irag or given a life imprisonment for some times. More so , if the option of hang should not work, then he (Makuei) deserve to be indicted for the war crime against humanity because killing one hundred and forty five (145) civilians who have no arms ,moreover in the house of United Nation need a good investigation otherwise UNIMISS might be regarded as an Institution which is bias.
Someone like Mr. Makuei Lueth, deserves hanging after the war due to the fact that, he (Makuei) has gone beyond the jurisdictions of communications ethics and laws. Every profession has got its ethics and laws that should be respected.
Well, some people said that Makuei Lueth is a graduate of the University of Khartoum in faculty of Law but am not sure whether he (Lueth) really understood what he was doing at that time, I think he is among the people who like choosing courses because they have a good name due to my surprise, he does not deserve the title as the Lawyer. For those who are informed up stairs know that, Lawyers are people who can be evaluated from the way they talk, think and reacts toward certain things in society but for someone like Makuei, should go back and study Law very well again because right now he is spoiling the Legal Professional Internationally.
Since the crisis occurred last December 2013 in Juba, Comrade Makuei have been in forefront propagating and telling lies to the huge audiences across the globe.
Makuei incited the crisis by speaking words that does not carry meaning, moreover meaningless in the sense. He had been abusing western diplomats and government without good approaches, he always talk any how without proper communication skills and techniques. Makuei made a very big crime when he was trying to go to Jonglei state UNIMISS compound early this year, therefore; he deserve punishment after the war end, because what he did was really unacceptable and unbelievable in the human history Internationally. All the messes he advocated for, shows he is a number one criminal in Kiir regime in Juba and deserve to be given individual sanction and indictment in the Hague for the War Crimes against humanity.
International Communities especially the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNIMISS) should question Makuei for the incident that had happened in the Jonglei State Capital Bor. Innocent Civilians were killed resulted from Makuei Lueth influence and you will justify my statement due to the fact that, early this year he (Makuei) attempted to enter to UNIMISS Compound in Bor with guns but he was denied the chance to do what he was suppose to do at that time by United Nation soldiers those were in Bor.
The President of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit, should dismiss, Makuei Lueth , if he really want to be in the leadership or gain a momentum from western diplomats, otherwise this is the very person who have destroyed and will remove Mayardit from the leadership that he (Kiir) was suppose to enjoy for some times.
In conclusion, I will end with the quotation which says” A ’civilization’ that makes such a ridiculous fuss about alleged ’war crimes’ - acts of violence against the actual or potential enemies of one’s cause - and tolerates slaughterhouses and vivisection laboratories, and circuses and the fur industry (infliction of pain upon creatures that can never be for or against any cause), does not deserve to live.” ? Savitri Devi
Author is the Independent Journalist and Columnist who had written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan. You can follow him on twitter@Peter Gai Manyuon or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Steve Paterno
April 21, 2014 - The theme of this article develops as a result of my extensive research and writings on a culture of revenge killings among South Sudanese communities, particularly among cattle herding communities. Of recent, with abundant supplies of deadly arms to civilians, the age old ethnic rivalries among South Sudanese escalate into unprecedented scale. The level of killing, looting and destruction is drawing much international attention and concern. Worst yet, political and military leaders are exploiting this adage of traditional revenge killings to advance their personal interests.
The current conflict in South Sudan perfectly follows the pattern of this backward traditional way of thinking and is pretty much being exploited by political and military leaders alike. The trigger starts after the ever ambitious Riek Machar long quest to ascend into presidency failed whereby he staged yet a failed coup d’etat organized primarily by his Nuer tribe. After a failed coup attempt, the Dinka tribe of President Salva Kiir then organised themselves and carried out targeted retaliatory killings against the tribal members of Riek Machar. This episode, which occurred in capital Juba, quickly spread throughout the country, with even examples of one time colleagues from rivaling communities, turning into bludgeoning and slaughtering each other without mercy.
Unfortunately, this culture of retaliatory killings now form the bases and core ideology of Riek Machar, a former vice president turned warlord. Machar message for mobilizing military support for his ambition is rather simple: "Dinka killed our people in Juba." This then feeds into the culture of a need for revenge, which very much is embedded in a long held tradition and psychic of the people. As a result, the tactics draws huge armed Nuers, popularly known as the White Army, a notorious group noted for cattle rustling, looting and pillaging. The actions of this so called White Army are of course met with retaliatory response from armed Dinka groups, perpetuating the cycle of violence.
The situation is now such that a culture of revenge is prevailing while the vision for a nation base on constitution and rule of law is losing traction. The idea of justice is overtaken by need for revenge, where the victims are often time the most innocent. Until then, there is no hope for nation building when aspiring national leaders bent on ideology of primitive culture of traditional revenge killings—a culture that perpetuate the cycle of violence.
Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at email@example.com
By Dong Samuel Luak
Many people in South Sudan are asking, how long did it take President Salva Kiir to plan all this tragedy befalling our young country now? Recruitment, training and arming the private army in Luri around Juba. Dismissing the whole cabinet, agreeing with Ugandan forces to intervene in case of any eventualities(alleged coup), putting innocent people on trail, now the most crucial question is the appointment of the Chief Justice Chan Reec from home area of the President, was it part of the plan? The legal community was taken by surprise when a presidential decree was voiced over the national media appointing a new Chief Justice to head the Supreme Court of the republic of South Sudan, the dubious circumstances which led to this appointment were not disclosed.
Among the many responsibilities granted to the president of the republic by our transitional constitution 2011 few are more serious or more consequential than appointing a chief justice, so this appointment shouldn’t be taken lightly, it should be made only after deep reflection and careful deliberation, because there are qualities that a chief justice must have, for instance his or her rigorous intellect, mastery of law, ability to provide clear answers to complex legal questions and understanding judge’s job is to be in office up to five (5) o’clock in the evening or beyond, not sleeping on the job, approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent and determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand just to mention a few.
The process of replacing Justice John Wol hasn’t been rigorous and comprehensive; the President acted on the ill advice of his close advisors, the president never sought advice of members of the parliament, legal affairs committee, Bar Association and Law society, the president never reached out to constitutional scholars, advocacy organization, representing any array of interest and opinion.
The best practice of appointing a Chief Justice was recently demonstrated by the Republic of Kenya, were lawyers submitted their written application to a screening committee made up of Judges, lawyers, government officials and members of the public, these committees asses the candidates and submit a list of those who are considered qualified to be Chief Justice.
The process of appointing a Chief Justice can be controversial like the recent appointment of Justice Chan Reec Madut .
Chief Justice is “the pillar of our entire justice system and the public has a right to demand that the Chief Justice must strive for the highest standard of integrity in both their professional and personal lives, which i believe beyond reasonable doubt is questionable and lacking in the character of the newly appointed Chief Justice.
President Kiir at the time of appointing Justice chan Reec Madut, is aware that the supreme court of Southern Sudan was the only one organ of the new Republic of South Sudan which had failed in its purpose, all international reports, meetings of the SPLM political bureau, Civil Society, chiefs and grassroots testify to that effect.
This is another fiasco because we the legal community are perfectly convinced that Courts under the leadership of Justice Chan Reec Madut would never acquired proper weight and dignity as long as its organization being fatally defective and this is a serious injustice to the people of South Sudan, justice always is about doing the right things.
Greed is a vice, a bad way of being, especially when it makes people oblivious to the suffering of others, laws can’t banish greed, but they can at least restrain its most brazen expression, and signal society’s disapproval of it, by punishing greedy behaviour rather than rewarding it. By this appointment Greed and failure is rewarded.
In conclusion in African democracy always the president is right. But for those of us who believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights, i think a public hearing to question an appointee of the president, would have been what wounds deserve is Purple Heart, a Chief Justice with empathy, enough feeling for what many people are going through. The courts essentially become the rubber stamps of the powerful in Society, so why hire a lawyer if you can buy a judge or the whole Judiciary.
The writer is a lawyer in South Sudan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mahmoud A. Suleiman
April 17, 2014 - This article comes against the backdrop of the Decree number 158 of 2014 passed by the National Congress Party (NCP) president Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir to regulate the activities of Sudanese political parties. The people of Sudan are extremely sick and tired of al-Bashir’s never-ending fruitless never-implemented decrees. From the outset, the decree gave a slap on those who have illusions about al-Bashir’s decrees. The decree stated that it prohibited any meetings of political parties within their party premises without prior permission from the authorities! The satirists jocularly said it seems that the National Dialogue of Omer al-Bashir has become an (April Fool’s) and a trap for the opposition; but only managed to catch in its trap the ones of the right size. That prey turned out to be just (Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi)!
The Presidential Decree number 158 for the year 2014 to regulate the activities of the Sudanese political parties in accordance with the provisions of article 58 (1) of the interim Constitution of 2005 was no different from previous absurd resolutions of Omar al-Bashir’s many absurd ones. Al-Bashir’s decrees usually appear as though they are permitting fundamental freedoms, whereas they in fact prohibiting them in disguise by inserting the phrase ’ according to law ’! Thus, for every decree there is an associated opposing clause. With such devious manner the failed fundamentalist racist ruling regime of the totalitarian National Congress Party continued to suppress the Sudanese people with the view to empower himself and continue the grip on power alone and exclusion of others throughout the lean years of the past quarter of the century. The same pattern of governance has been going on since the bad omen Coup d’état carried out by the National Islamic Front (NIF) on Friday 30th of June 1989.
Furthermore, Omer al-Bashir’s reference to the 2005 constitution that was made for the Interim period based on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is farce, given the fact that it has become null and void since the purpose for it’s existence is no longer valid constitutionally by the Secession of the southern Sudan region on 09. July 2011 after the landslide Referendum held in January 2011 by more than 99 per cent to become the nascent Republic of South Sudan, the UN member Number 193 on 14.07.2011. On the other hand, there are repressive laws contrary to the terms and reference of the 2005 Constitution that continue to be applied against the opponents and opponents of Al-Bashir’s Government, parallel to the Constitution referred to and used by the security and intelligence service notorious despite decisions of the Republic and should not forget the ongoing war now in Darfur, the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile, despite frivolous resolutions that come out from the bloodthirsty Omer al-Bashir and his worn-out regime.
The hero of the farcical play of the Muslim Brotherhood was the Godfather of the Islamist Movement in Sudan Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi and right-hand obedient Army Brigadier Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir. As a Director and for a better Production for the Soap-Opera al-Turabi ordered Omer al-Bashir to go and stay in the Presidential Palace in Khartoum (AKA. General Gordon Palace) and he went to the notorious Kober Prison, as a camouflage!
The lies of the Genius liars will not stop trying to fool the people of Sudan. It is impossible for Snakes to dispense with their deadly venom.
For those who know the devious mechanism of the entity of the Islamist movement in Sudan and beyond, their initiatives -so to speak- are all vacuous trickery exercises guaranteed to prolong the suffering of the people of Sudan. At the same time providing them with a window of respite taking them way and out of the cumulative disasters in the form of political, economic, diplomatic, social and beside the painful blows and military defeats the regime sustained at the hands of the gallant forces of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). The well-known tricks and lies of Omar al-Bashir are no longer capable to fool the wit of alliance of national political parties under the umbrella of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) and the Sudanese revolutionary front (SRF).
The worsening political situation in our homeland needs urgent stance and contribution of all components of the Sudanese people to dismantle the despotic NCP political corporate stronghold and discard it into the history dustbin once and for good without anyone shedding tears of sorrow other than the regime’s hirelings employed by Omer al-Bashir to do the dirty jobs. And the decision taken by al-Bashir for the alleged national dialogue was intended to try to deceive the regional and the international communities that his regime has made major political concessions extended them to the opposition parties to enjoy democratic freedoms. Al-Bashir resorted to the so-called National Dialogue after the means for way-out of the impasse afflicted his mangled regime narrowed and at the verge of falling because of the many crises resulting from the mindless policies and wrong decisions over the past 25 odd years he has been ruling Sudan with absolute power.
The biggest flaw in the planned national dialogue invitation issued by President Omar al-Bashir, it came under the terms and preconditions of the National Congress Party (NCP). There should be sufficient political will for the development of a political transition sytem leading to radical solutions to the countless Sudanese crises. The crises that halting the progress of the country are the results of the wrong policies taken by the Government during the years of the National Congress Reign which lasted for a quarter of a century.
It is noticeable that the ruling regime led by Omar al-Bashir was in violation of the Constitution in 2005 during the transitional period of the comprehensive peace agreement and was hardly applied certain provisions of that Constitution under threat by the international community, especially the pressure by United States, sponsor of the comprehensive peace agreement. What appears absurd is the continuing support of the former US President Jimmy Carter for the regime of the (NCP) in spite of the reprehensible crimes against the people of Sudan in Darfur committed by the militias and army of the regime. Political analysts say that is because of the Carter Center’s interests that intersect with those of the perpetrator of genocide in Darfur Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir remaining in power. The people of the war-stricken territories in Sudan, on the call on Mr. Carter to halt his backing for the Ramshackle regime. Mr. Carter knows well the degree of corruption of the regime since the time his centre (Carter Centre) presided over monitoring the rigged Sudanese General Elections won by Omer al-Bashir and his party between 11 and 15 April 2010. What is more strange and worrying is the Khartoum Newspapers reports attributing a statement to Mr. Carter that he said that the initiative of the national dialogue is serious but America reneged on its promise of lifting sanctions against the (NCP) government , but Omar al-Bashir did not renege on his promise ! Such statements if truly issued by Mr. Jimmy Carter, former US President, they will tarnish his impartiality and his credibility will be at stake. Furthermore, Jimmy Carter’s appeal of creditor nations to exempt the debts of Sudan came to support Omar al-Bashir’s project of national dialogue, which rejected by the people of Sudan.
The people of Sudan in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, Beja of Eastern Sudan and those in the Far Nubian North tell Omar al-Bashir that his unsold merchandise and the depressed goods under the so-called ’national dialogue’ to sell it to the group of the isolated traditional political entities who are rushing and scrambling to get grants and allowances from their master of grace. The genuine and honest political opposition which consist of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), National Consensus Forces (NCF), Civil Society Organisations, Activist Youth Movements, Students Associations, Women Associations, Professional Trade Unions and Labour Trade Unions have heading forward with sincerity to implement their constituents’ wish to overthrow the (NCP) regime. This political position became more urgent following the renewal of the crimes of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Darfur. The crimes recently committed by the militias allied to the (NCP) regime in Darfur are more atrocious compared to that of the years 2003 and 2004. They are renewed after ten years after the massacre in Darfur-genocide-and on the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. It is the duty and onus upon the Sudanese people to disregard the scum of Omar al-Bashir and his mercenary militias and proceed to overthrow its mangled regime available, including military force. The dismantling of institutions of the regime becomes a duty. Furthermore, the perpetrators of the heinous crimes must be held accountable. Application of Transitional Justice for retribution for the relatives of crime victims and for the thousands of survivors of the inferno of the massacres should follow. ’Democratic Alternative’ by establishing an inclusive Transitional Government with prescribed tasks formed to implement the following duties:
• Constitutional Conference
• Permanent Constitution for Sudan
• Population Census of the Sudanese People
• Fair Distribution of Electoral Constituencies
• General Elections (Free, Fair, Transparent and monitored by Credible International Observers
• Handover to a Democratically Elected Government that guided by the New Dawn Document (NDD) adopted during the Transitional Period by the Interim Government.
The Presidential Decree No. 158 of 2014 issued by al-Bashir is Old wine in new bottles. The desperate attempts of al-Bashir to trick the Sudanese people into his self-styled national dialogue are futile to the core.
To conclude, political wisdom indicates that The Darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in Times of Moral Crisis. Moreover, the famous Irish statesman, author, political theorist and philosopher, Edmond Burke – 12January 1729 – 09July 1797 was quoted as saying: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men/women to do Nothing".
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Gabrial Pager Ajang
Systematic social-economic and political moral
philosophy of humanity is deeply rooted in the concepts of justice. The
judicial concept of justice is only construed in a logical manner. It is in
this context that the people of South Sudan with their president can view
Supreme Court as an important component of delivering peace, justice and
reconciliations to corners of South Sudan. Known generals in the SPLA, and
rebels led by Dr. Riek Machar have committed crimes against humanity, some form
of ethnic cleansing in Baliet for example, and massacre in Juba, Bor Town,
Bentiu, and Malakal. Crimes at such magnitude can only be remedied with proper
deliverance of justice. It is only then, can the government repairs and restores
harmonious relationship among warring parties and tribes. The trial of the four
political detainees is small part of sequential political settlement of the
conflict and deliverance of justice. Therefore, it is vitally important for our
president to avoid looming judicial miscarriage. It is inherently unjust to
falsely prosecute innocent people, while criminals are continuing with their
rampages in the key states of South Sudan.
Since the tragic incident of December 15th,
2013, the Western and some of IGAD leaders have been steadfast and persistent
in their call for the release of the four political prisoners. Concern South
Sudanese citizens have added their voices in these calls. Before investigations
begun into the attempted coup allegations, senior officials in the government
of South Sudan have reiterated and affirmed that Dr. majak D’ Agoot, Oyai Deng
Ajak, Pagan Amum Okiech, and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth are criminals and will be
charged for treason. These officials have put themselves in awkward and odd
positions by simply declaring political detainees as criminals before
investigation and trial. We, citizens have been told that all the political
detainees are guilty till proven innocence. This is either lack of legal knowledge,
or they are trying to appease presidential advisors (Telar Ring or interior
minister, Aleu Ayieny) or serous judicial miscarriage is occurring. These political
detainees have been done a great harm and irreparable injustice. Their careers
have been harmed, their families have been harmed, their reputations have been
badly harmed and South Sudan image has been badly damaged, and the worst of all
thousand South Sudanese people have perished in this senseless war. As the
investigation continues into the allege coup allegations, the government
officials continue to violate judicial orders or legal protocol of criminals’
prosecution. These officials have forgotten that detainees are “suspects” till
proven guilty in court of law.
political detainees were collected from their houses as suspects, and their
guards did not participate in the fighting that took place in Juba. Evidently,
the government took wrong judicial order of proper investigating crimes and embarked
on misinforming citizens and world that political detainees mastermind coup. It
was televised in South Sudan, and Eastern African countries that the “flag”
that had indigenous European cow was solely evident that links political
detainees with coup d’état in Juba. This flag that had European cow made it clear
than ever before that the arrest of the 11 political detainees was caused by
the political disagreement or political among members of the SPLM and not a
Subsequently, the minister for justice completed the
investigation of the detainees on January 28th, 2014 and submitted
the report to” the president for consideration” (Sudan tribune, 2014). The fact
that the investigation was completed and submitted to president for
consideration instead of Special Court breaches judicial impartiality and
violated South Sudan’s constitution. In addition to the Minster for information
who informed public that “the people we have in jail were not political
detainees or suspects, they are criminals.” And odd enough, President Press
Secretary, Ateny Wak took tour in East African primary to convince leaders of
IGAD that the detainees master minded coup d’état. These episodes are bizarre
South Sudan foreign policy that earns the government empty support.
Yet, the war that broke out on December 15th, 2013
sap life of out of South Sudanese, and brought the country nearly to its knees.
Today, there are no compelling evidences that indicate coup was plotted. However,
there are many hypotheses that transpire to December 15th tragedy. Some
people have claimed that fighting in Juba might have been triggered by fear or
poor judgment. Some people said that fighting
might have been started by disagreements among guards of president Kiir, Pualino
Matip, and Dr. Riek Machar. There are many hypotheses that tend to narrate the
beginning of the fighting in Juba. However, professionals will assess and
analyze to find the truth in coming years. We know two crime scenes; Giada and
Bilpham. And until today, the military generals that head TIGER DIVISION have
not been investigated. Who fired the first bullet and why? The crust of this
investigation was missed at the initial. Majority citizens and world leaders
would like to be informed about investigation conducted at the crime scenes,
separate from the political detainees’ investigation.
It is even odd or not normal for fighters to fight
for four days in the capitol city without ranking officers (or an individual
with military ranks giving them directions. The government own investigation
fails identify individual with ranks leading rebel fighters. The Deputy Chief
of South Sudan’s military intelligence, Mac Pau testified in Special Court, and
said that there is nothing that links political detainees with coup d’état that
almost overthrow democratic elected government of South Sudan. Telling the
truth is not easy but he told the truth. He is a military general who had great
deal of moral ethic and integrity. Mac Paul has preserved our endearing values,
norms and tradition South Sudanese community. Besides, he came from a community
were lying is impermissible.
Political and legal Ramification of mysterious
Juba’s tragedy continues to haunt South Sudanese in South Sudan and around the
globe. The South Sudan constitution grants member of Legislative Assembly
abilities to investigate ministers into crimes link to executive branch or at
least exercising their legislative oversight over the cabinet. However, the legislature
aborts its legislative powers and allies itself with executive for reasons not
known to public. However, the prosecutor refuses to scrutinize generals leading
security and presidential guards, who else will know what caused fighting or
violence in the presidential guard? It vitally important that the government managed
to arrest soldiers who killed innocent people in Juba but it remains a mystery
not knowing who initiated fighting in the military headquarter in Juba.
The prosecutor that carried interrogations into alleges
attempted coup in Juba on December 15th, 2013, came up with the
following charges against detainees;
of the masses
disaffection among police or defense forces
the government of South Sudan
the authority of or insulting the president
tape of conversations between Oyai Deng Ajak and Taban Deng Gai
The above points are normal part of democracy.
Politicians disagreed over the way forward. The violence seems to stem from political
fear or political disagreement, and exacerbated by the last cabinet reshuffles.
The long brewing political volcano erupted instantaneously rage in three key
states because there were conditions and situations that exacerbated conflict. These
incidences affirmed that our country is fragile. We just emerged from wreckage
of wars fought for six decades. The environment and climate of South Sudan is
ethnically tense and political charged. Opportunists like Dr. Riek Machar took
advantage of such mild situations and killed thousands innocent people. The International
community and government must pursue leaders that have committed crimes in Juba
and Great Upper Nile and bring them to justice.
Like all the victims and survivors of the Bor
Massacre of 1991, and recent mayhem of 2013-2014 in the Greater Upper Nile
region, the raw and bitter memories war have come back in full swing by the Mayhem
in Juba, Bor Town, Malaka, and Bentiu. I am also mindful that there no amount
of justice will ever ease our pains of 1991 Bor Massacre when our people were
mercilessly murdered; the year they were robbed of their wealth passed on from
generations to generations and everything they had clung to since time
immemorial was turned upside down. The magnitude of loss could not be compared
to what happened in 1991 when thousands of defenseless women, children,
disabled and elderly from Bor were maimed and left to wallow in destitution.
The land that once breathed life and rich heritage became a playground where
wild animals and birds like vultures could take turns to feast on dead bodies
like never before seen. Images of dead
people at the hospitals in Bor and Malakal indicate the horror and inhumane
crimes committed. The justice must be first ensure for the victims of Bor,
Malakal, and Bentiu must get reparations, or be allowed restitution, repayment
for pain/suffering/punitive damages and the recognition by the perpetrators or
the government of South Sudan, IGAD, and International Community that crimes
were committed. It is the victims at their own personal volition that should be
allowed to bring charges against rebels and government leaders.
Therefore, case of political detainees is a small
component of addressing the whole conflict and ensuring deliverance of justice
in South Sudan. This special Supreme Court trying political detainees can
exclusively use its enumerated judicial powers of justiciability to exclude
this case of political prisoners from judicial consideration, because this case
lacks concrete and compelling evidences. There is not single evidence that
indicates political detainees, their guards or soldiers participated in
fighting in Juba last December.
Hence, this case of political detainees warrants judicial
requirements application. This special court has jurisdiction to trash or throw
away such case that is not justifiable, it only embodies political questions. Judicial
impartiality demands that court judges and justices do not hear cases or
matters that involve political questions. Political coup is dismissible in the
court but military coup is permissible for trial. There are more impending evidences
that suggests this case against four political detainees is exacerbated by
political disagreement among members of SPLM party than a military coup.
Instead of allowing their big egos, greed, and deep seated hatred to divide
them, they should seek to unite their members and hence unite the country. However,
there are members that claimed the ownership of the country’s leadership, and
these members want nothing more than just to obliterating political detainees’
career or see them hang. Any case that involves political
motivation or political disagreement is dismissed by the court it does not
matter whether it is against members of your own party or opposition. Treason
charges of this case are difficult to construct and link them to political
detainees. The fives charges leveled against them are irrelevant; I wonder
whether judge and prosecutor understand prosecutable charges for treason. If
there is no that links coup with political detainees, there is no case. The
prosecutor that constructs coup evidences lack sufficient hard evidences of coup
d’état or compelling evidences that implicated political detainees in allege
coup. Coup is heavy in evidences. Government cannot indict detainees with
arguments premise on empty rhetoric.
Such case warrants judicial restraint or dismissal
in order to preserve judicial independence. This act could mount to judicial
miscarriage and injustice to South Sudan’s justice system if the judge and
prosecutor insist to satisfy government’s position on the allege coup d’état
allegations. This case could even hinder the upcoming sequential political
settlement of conflict. It is significance for this court to do the right thing
now in order to secure peacemaking in coming few months. The fundamental
problems of South Sudan are leaders. Citizens must be made aware of their
problems. South Sudanese citizens know your advisors that work day and night to
manufacture problems that claim thousand lives. It is time Mr. President to get
rid of people who have been giving wrong advices that divide your government.
In conclusion, the people of South Sudan have
endured nerve wrecking hardship in wars, we have wept, mourned and rise up
together hopping that better days are head.
I urge the people of South Sudan to compromise, forgive, and seek for
clear and HONEST reconciliations and JUSTICE.
We must forgive one another because our tribes never abhorrence each
other; it is political leaders that caused conflict for their political gains,
AND they must be brought to justice. Good people of South Sudan, Kiir-Riek led
government had mismanaged our resources and we remained silence, senior
officials had built their houses and mansions, and we remain silence. They have
bought their cars, and built hotels, and we remain silence. Now, they have
caused conflict, and they are killing people, and we remained. The whole epic
and chronicles of Kiir and Riek must stop. We must now to kill people and
destroyed our resources. The future of South Sudan lies on its resources.
Rebels had destroyed oil refinery worth billion U.S dollars outside Bentiu.
There are no reasons that justify such destruction, Kiir and Riek will soon die
and the country will remain for next generation. Let all stop violence in all
forms and call for peace; it is our utmost responsibility to pave ways for
peace and conflict management, and initiate peace-building programs/projects.
It is significant for our generation to pioneer capacity building programs,
encourage justice for victims, and use groundbreaking programs to establish
long relations among warring tribes. We must lift up to highest moral
obligation and human dignity to bring peace and justice to South Sudan. Let us
all hold leaders that were implicated in this war crime accountable and free
the innocent, for the simple fact free political detainee is an important part
of peace, healing and reconciliations.
author teaches political Science and History at Career College, former Nebraska
legislative assistance and passionate advocates of responsive government that
observes rules of laws, and guarantees citizens protection; as an important
principle of democratic government. Besides, he is specialized in Public
administrations and policy.
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jacob K. Lupai
April 14, 2014- “Bor Community Association in Alberta, Canada has written to the three governors of the Greater Equatoria, South Sudan, urging them to take care of the welfare of their displaced people currently seeking refuge in the region.”
The above quoted piece by Bor Community Association in the Diaspora was released on the 9th April 2014. The Bor community urged the governors of Equatoria to promote a peaceful co-existence between the local communities and the displaced population from Bor. It asked the offices of the governors to appeal to the people of Equatoria to be more understanding and tocontinue to temporarily share resources with the displaced people while the country is finding a lasting solution to the problem.
The appeal from Bor Community Association in the Diaspora to the governors of Equatoria for the welfare of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Bor was interesting. One would have expected that the appeal should have been instead directed to the Bor IDPs, earnestly urging them to embrace peaceful co-existence with the communities in Equatoria. The Bor IDPs have been violent on the local communities.
Who are IDPs?
This is not meant to be a sarcastic or a cynical question but rather for an understanding. IDPs can be defined as people who are forced out of their homes or ancestral lands within a region or a country either by natural disasters or man-made problems. Natural disasters include floods that destroy homes and man-made problems include conflicts that may become bitterly fought wars, displacing thousands of people within the state, region or the country.
In the case of South Sudan currently IDPs are a reflection of the on-going conflict in the country. The division of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) into SPLM in Government and the SPLM in Opposition and the subsequent conflict, has created massive displacement of people from their homes and ancestral lands. This in turn has produced enormous populations of IDPs where some are housed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) camps. Other IDPs find their way to the adjacent states for security or to the neighboring countries to become refugees.
Bor IDPs in Equatoria
For the people of Bor the safest place to enjoy security is Equatoria. This is not only during the current conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) into SPLM in Government and the SPLM in Opposition but even during the 21-year old war of liberation. Equatoria has always been a safe haven for people of Bor. It is not clear whether the Bor IDPs in Equatoria have been complaining of any mistreatment by the host communities.
It is important to note that the people of Equatoria and those of Bor are of two distinct cultures. The people of Equatoria are predominantly sedentary farmers in contrast to those of Bor who are pastoralists. As farmers the people of Equatoria are mindful of boundaries and won’t encroach into a neighbor’s field. In contrast the main livelihood of people of Bor is cattle keeping and the movements of cattle are conditioned by the availability of pastures.
As always cattle do not distinguish between pastures and food crops. This is where problems occur between sedentary farmers (Equatorians) and pastoralists (people of Bor). Quite often pastoralists deliberately let loose their cattle to feed on food crops in the fields. When the farmers protest the pastoralists have no sympathy but instead threaten violence in protecting their cattle in feeding on food crops.
In Equatoria, Bor IDPs have been the problem. They are always armed, arrogant and insensitive of the feelings and situation of the host communities. Instead of behaving like guests, the Bor IDPs behave like the masters of the land or landlords. What would one expect? Of course resentment from the host communities who are powerless because the IDPs seem to have the support of some powerful quarters.
IDPs in host communities
Generally IDPs are like uninvited guests of the host communities. However, because of the conditions that have made people IDPs in the first place, the host communities are sometimes sympathetic. Land is availed to the IDPs and the host communities may be willing to share resources with the IDPs.
People of Equatoria are well known for being peaceful. This may explain why Equatoria is the safe haven for most warring pastoralists in South Sudan especially IDPs from Bor. The peaceful nature of the people of Equatoria has attracted people from any corner of South Sudan to make a home in Equatoria.
Somebody may say Equatoria is a part of South Sudan and so any South Sudanese has the right to settle in Equatoria. This is true. However, how can people abandon their ancestral areas undeveloped just to settle in Equatoria? Who will develop those areas for a high standard of living for the people there? Those who have travelled length and breadth of South Sudan confirm that Equatoria is moving fast in development while other areas hardly see any meaningful development. Those areas are lagging behind.
People of Bor seem to take their status of IDP as an advantage to occupy the lands of Equatoria and then use the barrel of the gun to oppress the people. The current conflict in the country is not the only one that has pushed the people of Bor to Equatoria as IDPs. During the 21-year war of liberation, Equatoria was the safe haven for all, flooded with IDPs from the other regions.
After the 21-year old war ended did the IDPs from Bor move back to Bor? Never! Instead they consolidated their hold on lands in Equatoria. The Bor IDPs in Nimule are an example of brutal occupation of Equatoria lands with constant threats of violence on the host communities. So the appeal from the Bor Community Association in the Diaspora to the governors of Equatoria is adding insult to injury. The Bor IDPs in Equatoria are well armed, arrogant and intimidating the local communities on daily basis. The Bor IDPs in Equatoria are the problem but not the peaceful people of Equatoria. This should be noted by anybody who has common sense.
Appeal to Bor IDPs
The Bor Community Association in the Diaspora is well advised to instead appeal to their community leaders in Equatoria to urge their violent IDPs to embrace peaceful co-existence as the people of Equatoria are already peaceful. The people of Equatoria have neither threatened violence on Bor IDPs nor harm their cattle. It is instead the Bor IDPs that are wanton in behavior and deliberately letting loose their cattle in a sadistic manner to destroy food crops, thereby causing unnecessary food insecurity to the people of Equatoria.
The Bor Community Association is informed that the Bor IDPs will always threaten violence whenever their cattle are stopped from feeding on food crops in Equatoria. Now to where should the appeal for a peaceful co-existence be directed. The Bor Community Association in the Diaspora should stop being tribalistic if it is truly nationalistic. Tribalism is already tearing the country apart. How far should we allow this to happen?
The Bor Community Association in the Diaspora appeal to the governors of Equatoria would have been in place if the people of Equatoria were behaving like pastoralists who were always inclined to threats of violence on the peaceful people of Equatoria. The Bor IDPs in Equatoria were welcomed and respected but have now abused that respect.
As the story of the Arab and the camel goes the Bor IDPs cast their eyes on Equatoria lands with unrestrained appetite to occupy them permanently with no due consideration for the local communities and their legitimate right of ownership of the land. The IDPs virtually refused to return to Bor because probably some powerful elements were on their side until the current conflict is adding more IDPs to the existing ones.
Equatoria is a peaceful region and any IDP is expected to reciprocate to integrate. However, pastoralists IDPs in Equatoria have introduced a culture of brute violence where land grabbing is done by force. IDPs deliberately let loose their cattle to graze on food crops by force. Everything is a macho culture.
In conclusion, the members of Bor Community in the Diaspora who have experienced peaceful co-existence in their respective adopted countries should pioneer the concept of peaceful co-existence among their pastoralist communities. The sedentary people of Equatoria are ever peaceful and they do not need a lecture on peaceful co-existence from culturally violent people who have no sense of peaceful co-existence. The problem is of pastoralists own making and they need to solve it. People of Equatoria are peaceful and respectful, and they do not expect less.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
By Biruk Mekonnen
The recent media hype regarding military cooperation between South Sudan and Egypt grab the attention of those who closely follow developments in the region.
This is mainly because of the central role South Sudan is playing in the region’s peace and security and Egypt’s vested interest in relation to Nile water vis-a-vis the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
South Sudan’s relative peace and stability only lasts for three years after it gained its independence in July 2011. The newest nation’s peace thrown in to abyss in December 2013, after the country’s president first sacked his entire cabinet and second tried to imprison his political rivals alleging them of conspiring for Coup d’état. He also relieved around 170 army generals from active duty. Some of the officials were jailed while the main opponent, former vice president Dr. Reik Machar, escaped and waged a rebellion. The war continued along with mediation effort sponsored by the Inter Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and other partners like Norway, the UK, US, China, the AU, EU and the UN. The mediation effort leaves much to be desired as far as bringing peace and order in South Sudan is concerned.
South Sudan is a country endowed with resources such as oil, water, fertile land, livestock, wetland and wildlife. Among these resources, rarely discussed, however, is that right to water and sharing the resource to the benefit of the society. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Sudan and South Sudan did not include an agreement on South Sudan’s rights to the Nile water after independence even though both parties rely on the Nile as their principal water source. South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in July 2011, however, directly impacts the water scarce Nile basin’s legal framework.
Initially, South Sudan’s independence, for Egypt, presented great opportunity; namely the prospect of resuming the longstanding plan to increase the Nile flows by means of river engineering in South Sudanese wetland, as envisaged by the 1959 agreement, which Egypt hopes South Sudan would accept.
On the contrary, until the aftermath of the December 15, 2013 conflict, it was very much likely for South Sudan to align itself with the upstream Nile riparian states that have always contested the 1929 and 1959 colonial agreements as valid and acceptable. Even, the country declared its intension to sign the new Comprehensive Framework Agreement. This position made Egypt nervous.
Geo-political developments following the crisis in South Sudan gives an opportunity for Egypt as the countries in the IGAD Sub region witness presumable different positions as to how the crisis should be approached and solved.
Some regional and international players also involved overtly or covertly in the conflict to exploit the opportunity for their own political and economic advantages. Uganda said based on the bilateral military pact it has and with the invitation of the government of South Sudan it intervened militarily and backs president Kirr while other IGAD members prefer to advance only with the mediation effort. As the issue of South Sudan goes complicated, time will tell which approach prevails. Be this as it may, nevertheless, the government of President Kiir is trying every avenue to galvanize any political, diplomatic as well as military support to defeat its arch-enemy and its main ethnic rival, a rebellion led by former vice president Dr. Reik Machar. The president was not as pleased as expected by the second group of country’s approach to the conflict. He expressed his discontent through various means. He is also trying to play different cards to arm twist countries that are not directly support his "coup" version of the crisis, condemn the "unconstitutional change of government" and throw their support even by putting their arm-boots into the country, like Uganda did.
One such country is Ethiopia and the card against it is rapprochement with Egypt. This approach for Egypt, otherwise, gives an opportunity to influence the government of Khartoum on various issues.
For Egypt, South Sudan’s conflict represents a greater opportunity. On the one hand, Egypt is more interested in preserving the waters of the Suud, the immense wetland that dominates South Sudanese territories crossed by the Nile.
As the White Nile makes its journey from its source in the equatorial Africa, it forms the Suud Wetlands in Southern Sudan, which stretches for 450 Kms. Historically the Suud has been vital to the pastoral economy and livelihoods of South Sudanese. Historical accounts documented that Britain, which was the colonial power ruling Sudan jointly with Egypt, proposed building the Jonglei canal in the 1930s that would deliver around 7bn m3 of water annually, seeking to provide the Egyptian people with increased water for agricultural use. According to these accounts, a second phase for the project was also planned, which would completely dry up the wetlands.
The canal project never materialized under the British rule, but was resurrected in the 1970s by the Nimeri Military regime of Khartoum. The Nimeri government sought to share the increased Nile flow with Egypt and claimed that the canal would facilitate national development in the South. Work proceeded until the civil war resumed in South Sudan in 1983 and SPLA missiles destroy the canal project.
After South Sudan’s independence, by agreeing to share the water that the Jonglie canal would transport equally with South Sudan, Egypt was hopeful that this hydro-diplomacy would cement its ability to exert influence in the new nation. However, this strategy seemed failed as South Sudan was attracted towards the upstream countries that have always contested the colonial water agreement.
Why renewed interest on cooperation with South Sudan?
Egypt renewed its interest to forge cooperation with South Sudan at a time of shifting alliances and changing geo-political balance in the region.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project became inescapably a reality for Egypt to contest. Khartoum, the other signatory of the 1959 agreement, gives its diplomatic backing to the construction of the GERD after the study of the International Panel of Experts (IPOEs) report concluded the Dam would not cause significant harm to the downstream countries (Egypt, South Sudan and Sudan).
Since December 15, 2013, South Sudan has lost its peace and different actors in the country compete for power. It also lost its strength to endorse the Comprehensive Framework Agreement. By backing whom who has the means of coercion, through its special need of military cooperation, Egypt gambits on the one hand to proceed with harnessing what it sees as alternative source of water, the Suud Wetland and on the other hand, exert its influence on Addis Ababa as well as Khartoum. President Kirr might also seal a deal with Egypt to save his government from collapsing.
Until recently, Khartoum and Juba were at loggerheads over alleging one another of supporting groups who oppose central governments in their respected territories. The Nuba Mountains and South Kordofan conflicts are serious threats for Khartoum along with the contested area of Abiye and the disruption of the oil revenue that flows from Juba through its port. The resurrection of the recently resolved conflict in eastern Sudan via Eritrea’s manipulation might also be another fear for Sudan. These are the weakest links of Khartoum to think of whatever decision it takes in relation to South Sudan. South Sudan knows this very well and so does Egypt. Hence, Egypt sees an opportunity in South Sudan conflict to arm twist the decision of Khartoum while cooperating militarily with Juba, and this includes Khartoum’s GERD position.
The recently publicized military agreement between South Sudan and Egypt also presents a real danger to Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam. To think of the worst and as it is repeatedly pronounced by Egyptian scholars and politicians, South Sudan and Sudan are the best launching pads for Egypt to disrupt the stability of Ethiopia and sabotage its peace and development. Sudan, as it has shifted its alliance vividly, became a disappointment to Egypt to use it as a play ground, while South Sudan seems offers the best opportunity for this destabilizing act.
The way forward?
As a sovereign nation, South Sudan has every right, offered to it by international law, to be party to any cooperation agreements with another country. Hence, the military cooperation agreement between South Sudan and Egypt can be seen in light of this international norm.
However, for Ethiopia, such an agreement should be a red light to be crossed as it would present a real and present danger. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a national project, one of Ethiopia’s greatest achievements, but seen by Egypt as a cause for its embarrassment. The Project as well as the national development endeavors should be protected at any cost and South Sudan should clearly be told not to play dangerous games against the survival of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, time and again, accuses Egypt as it works tirelessly to destabilize its peace and security through various means, one of which is through proxy conflicts. There are also reports that implicate Egypt supporting extremist groups like Al-Shabab in Somalia and spreading terrorism in the Horn of Africa region to weaken Addis Ababa and halt construction of the Dam. Eritrea is another front for Egypt for its ploy against Ethiopia. According to media reports, Egypt also offered its interest to mediate the conflict in South Sudan, the old tactic it has used for Somalia since 1991 in organizing proliferation of initiatives to counter Ethiopia’s effort. Egypt’s intention to involve in South Sudan will give the conflict a regional nature that will have a dangerous spillover effect on the preservation of international peace, as Ethiopia will not see it as an easy matter. This is what Egypt really wants; hence it seeks the intervention of the collective body of the international community, aka, the United Nations in regard to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam vis-a vis South Sudan conflict.
Everything, in this regard, needs great caution from Ethiopia and the IGAD countries. IGAD decided to deploy Monitoring and Stabilization Force in South Sudan and facilitate "progressive withdrawal of allied forces from the theater of the war." Simultaneously, the organization intensifies its effort to find political solution for the conflict. South Sudan along with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan should see the Nile water as a bond for stability and development in the region and work together for mutual benefit. The government of President Kirr should not be a victim for short sighted political benefits vis-a-vis Egypt’s hegemonic policy against the Nile water, and should refrain from opening a space for destabilizing forces that would have a spillover effect to regional peace, stability and development. Weather Egypt’s intention is to harness the Suud Wetlands or deter Ethiopia; South Sudan would not be beneficial either way.
The writer is a political and security analyst trained in political science and with over 10 years of experience in analyzing African affairs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dong Samuel Luak
The story of the two orphans is very interesting Cdr. Salva Kiir and late Dr. John Garang have been together in the movement for 22 years, and have been close friends, when Dr. John visited Malual Kon and the “Luak” of the family of Cdr. Salva to show comradeship and a long cherished friendship. Dr. John was told; “You are the two orphans” left because the original members of the High Command died, both of you will carry on bringing peace.
Peace was achieved in 2005, and late Dr. John Garang was welcome by waves of marginalised people in Sudan, he was later sworn in as the first vice-president of Sudan and president of the Government of Southern Sudan. After (21) twenty one days in office Dr. John died in a plane crush under mysterious circumstances.
The CPA was clear that in case the position of the first vice-president falls vacant the SPLM will nominate their candidate within (60) sixty days. Leadership council met in new site Eastern Equatoria and unanimously selected Cdr Kiir Mayardit to be the predecessor of late Dr. John, Kiir was sworn to office and started to put in place the first government of Southern Sudan. I believe when government was being formed the memories of president Kiir were still fresh especially his famous address to the leadership council, the secretariats, and the members of the general staff in Rumbek meeting in 2004, to the benefit of our readers I would like to take this opportunity to remind president Kiir of this historical address which I quote.
“If we are National Leaders, which I don’t believe we are because we have no cohesion within our leadership structure, let us be sincere with ourselves. After meetings are concluded, we run to foreign countries. There is no code of conduct to guide the Movement’s structures. When the Chairman leaves for abroad, no directives are left and no one is left to act on his behalf. I don’t know with whom the Movement is left with; or does he carry it in his own brief case?
The Chairman killed the National Executive Council (NEC) by creating the Leadership Council. But there is no provision in the Convention for a ‘Leadership Council’. Does he want to revive the Political Military High Command? The Leadership Council creates a situation where all are directly reporting to the chairman – including SPLM County Secretaries. When I mentioned these facts, they should not be construed to be my personal or family problems. Those around the Chairman don’t tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from a finance officer to one at the lowest level.
Corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate.
In fact, there are many outstanding administrative problems that require our attention. These include the infrequent converting of conferences at the leadership level, causing an absence in the SPLA/M chain of command and making others to directly communicate with the chairman without following the right procedures. This should be corrected. If the responsibility of governors goes directly to the chairman, what will be the work of Cdr. Daniel Awet? I hope Cdr. Daniel Awet will address all those things. The chairman should not make appointments of SPLM county secretaries; it is the work of the governors.
The other issue I would like comrade chairman to address is how the CANS structures are now operating, e.g., take the absence of the SPLM Regional Secretary for Bahr El Gazal from his area of responsibility while there has been sporadic tribal feuds within the region – and which has resulted into sectional conflict. The chairman most of the times send Cdr. Deng Alor on foreign missions which were supposed to be the work of Cdr. Nhial Deng.
There are several other administrative issues that require correction. We are three deputies without functions. The chairman is responsible for all systems including the army general headquarters. Our HQs. started in Yei, then Rumbek, then new Cush and now Ramciel. When are we going to establish our HQs? The deputies of the general staff are the ones commanding the forces; they should stay in the general headquarters instead of commanding. Yet the Chairman is the one who dismantled the general headquarters. Comrade chairman, the establishment of the general headquarters hasn’t been fulfilled and this I have been requesting ever since Yei was liberated. Branch officers such as the director of military intelligence and his deputy are now in your Headquarters, though they are supposed to remain at the general headquarters. The chairman concentrates on his headquarters forgetting the rest of the army. It is only his headquarters, which has military uniforms, boots and other supplies.
Our present situation requires us to be organised and prepared. If peace is signed, the question is; what have we done in training our military cadres so that they meet the standard of their counterparts in the integrated army. There are rumours that the Chairman had already selected by name those commanders who would command the Joint Integrated Army. What about the rest of the army and who will pay them? The chairman seems to have taken the movement as his own property. As we leave Rumbek after this meeting, I would like to see that all our administrative issues be addressed and implemented following this meeting’s resolutions.
I would also want Comrade Chairman to give me full powers of the Chief of the General Staff (COGS) to enable me expedite the regrouping and reorganisation of the SPLA, and if Comrade Chairman sees that I am not able to do that job, then he can appoint another person to do it.
The Chairman is to be 1st Vice-President of the Sudan and the head of the Government of Southern Sudan, but he is not talking to Southerners. The North is organizing southern militias so that we fight among ourselves. We must unite our own ranks and not just unity with the north. On a personal basis, I don’t have any problems with the Chairman but our working relationship is bad and leaves a lot to be desired.
I would also like to say something about rampant corruption in the Movement. At the moment some members of the Movement have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system we are going to establish in South Sudan considering ourselves indulged in this respect.
I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you, must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will lead us to a very serious political defeat. Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem”. End of quote.
29 of December 2004 meeting in Rumbek was a turning point in the history of struggle for the people of New Sudan when late Dr. John Garang was confronted by his comrades who judged and awarded him grade (F). But nevertheless those we judged late Dr. John join President Kiir government in the implementation of the CPA until the women and men of South Sudan from different background voted overwhelmingly for the independent South Sudan, which was celebrated in 9/07/2011, the reason was that they share a common vision for the people of South Sudan to leave in peace and harmony among themselves in an independent country called South Sudan.
Now we have President Kiir the surviving orphan who is answerable only to God because the structures of governance are there but never function. Constitutionalism has a verity of meanings most generally it is a complex of ideas, attitude and patterns of behaviour elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from the people and limited by the Constitution. A political organisation like ours in South Sudan is constitutional to extent that it contains institutionalise mechanism of powers control for the protection of the interest and liberties of the citizenry including those that may be in the minority. Let me ask these few questions even though the answers may be obvious.
1. Do we have National Leaders?
2. Do we have a code of conduct to guide the Movement’s SPLM structures?
3. Do we know who own the Movement?
4. Is the National Liberation Council NLC operational?
5. Do those who are around President Kiir tell him the opinion of the public?
6. Does President Kiir have control of everything, from Parliament, finance, bank, executive and Judiciary?
7. Does Corruption exist in the movement and the Government of South Sudan?
8. Is there any accountability in the Government of South Sudan?
9. Governors of the (10) ten states who are they accountable to?
10. Does President Kiir talk to Southerners?
11. Do we have senior members of the SPLM and Government of South Sudan who formed private companies? Who bought houses and have huge bank account in foreign countries?
12. Do we have any system in South Sudan?
13. Is President Kiir security makes him popular or unpopular in South Sudan? Do they misled or give false information about others to the President?
I leave these few questions to concerned people of South Sudan to answer, but Mr. President my advice to you is (if you delay time will not delay). The same people who awarded late Dr.John grade (f) are still around you and Rumbek meeting will repeat itself and I believe they themselves will award you grade (f +). Remember that you have millions of orphans at your hand now.
In conclusion my only humble answer will be about the participation of the public in the drafting of the Constitution is a crucial component of the process. It adds indispensable legitimacy to the final document adopted. It also assists the definition of a national identity and the articulation of common aspirations for the future. Internal exclusion in any constitutional making process is a substantial impediment to the successful implementation of participatory democratic reforms in post-conflict states.
The writer is a lawyer in South Sudan, he can be reached at email@example.com.
By Amir Idris
April 7, 2014- We all remember that South Sudan gained its political independence in July 2011 after long devastating liberation struggles against the central government in Khartoum. The liberation struggles were a response to economic and political marginalization, exclusive vision of national identity, and discriminatory and racist practices.
After securing their political independence, the people of South Sudan expected their new state and its political leadership to avoid the ills of the old Sudan. In addition, they also expected their government to attend to their social, economic, and political aspirations. No doubt, the new state from its inception has been besieged by heavy burden of its recent and past history. On the one hand, the history of its long costly war against the North becomes visible in the conduct and the performance of the newly independent state. Many political, economic, and social challenges have emerged including the absence of a clear vision of economic and political development, weak institutional capacity, inter communal conflicts and tensions, common practices of corruption and nepotism, and growing tendencies of undemocratic practices within the government and the ruling party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), among others. On the other hand, the nature and the orientation of its political leaders has shaped how the government responds to these challenges. A lack of inclusive vision, political commitment and political will coupled with deceit and mendacity seem to be the main qualities of the political leadership.
In turn, the gap between the society and the political leadership has begun to widen. Hence, feelings of alienation and frustration among the masses have grown rapidly. To preserve their political interests many political leaders took refuge into their ethnic and regional affinities at the expense of their national roles as representatives of all people of South Sudan. The distribution of national wealth, allocation of political offices, and access to economic and political powers are defined and shaped by these narrow parochial identifications. The ongoing political violence not only exposes the failure of and inability of the state to mitigate conflict in a divided society but also raises questions about the meaning of political independence. South Sudan independence has to proceed on the basis of the cultivation of agreed constitutional principles as well as a national consensus on economic and political development. History has taught us that political independence cannot be an end in itself. Like nationalism, political independence is not enough to guarantee a stable and prosperous post-independence South Sudan. Post- independence South Sudan has its own challenges which require an inclusive, democratic, and transformative vision articulated in a socio-economic project geared towards the realities of the society.
Against this backdrop the deadly events of December 15, 2013 should be analyzed and understood. The violent conflict which led to the death of over 10,000 and the displacement of nearly 1 million people internally and externally was a manifestation of a political crisis led by the collective failure of political leaders who seek to preserve their political power and privilege through violence. The rise of ethnic tension is a symptom of a political crisis. This is not a crisis of ethnicity, but ethnicity punctuated the crisis. Ethnicity is the lens through which people come to perceive the way the crisis is developing. Hence, we should differentiate between the ethnically driven violence and the political crisis which led to the ethnically driven violence in the first place. Otherwise, we will run the risk of condemning the cultural heritages and demonizing the ethnic particularities of the people of South Sudan.
The quest for national reconciliation and justice for the victims in the aftermath of political violence is always a political process. South Africa and Rwanda offer insightful lessons for South Sudan. Let me first note that I am aware that the history and the circumstances of both countries, South Africa and Rwanda, differ from South Sudan. But the processes of reconstructing the polity after the demise of the apartheid regime, and the civil war in South Africa and Rwanda respectively have shown how national reconciliation, seeking justice for the victims, and political reform are linked.
The success of forging national reconciliation and seeking justice for victims of violence through the mechanism of a power sharing agreement in a divided state such as South Sudan requires that both the political leadership and the rest of the society understand that they will have to coexist in order to avoid a return to political violence. But to do so, those who accept to live together in South Sudan must also have the ability to withstand the pressures of extremists that seek to mobilize on divisive issues for their own political gains. Power sharing cannot be about a coalition between friends, but rather it must be reconciliation between adversaries. The government of national unity in South Africa included all major political parties in a proportional system. But I should note that the political leadership should be committed to peace negotiation, a shared common vision of a democratic state, and a willingness to compromise. If these conditions exist, then power sharing can be a practical option for a democratic political reform.
It is clear to me that a power sharing government is not a desirable option for the current crisis in South Sudan, for the necessary preconditions are either two weak or absent at the moment. Political leaders of both factions have shown little commitment to negotiate political settlement; and they have exhibited an inability to forge a common vision about the future as well as to restrain their hardliners. Similar to Rwanda, a power sharing government in South Sudan most likely will lead to a political arrangement that will satisfy the narrow vested interests of warring factions. That will not end the conflict, for it assumes that the political stability can be restored if the two warring factions or ethnic groups agree to share political power. It also marginalizes the role and the participation of other ethnic, civic, and political groups in the current peace talks sponsored by the Inter - Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
What is desirable then is the formation of an interim government that gives the people of South Sudan an opportunity to return to the drawing board of cultivating a consensus on the fundamental principles of governance and citizenship. This interim government should be given a clear mandate to carry out specific tasks of ending the war, restoring law and order, returning the displaced, writing a new constitution, and conducting fair and credible national elections. Above all, the interim government should call for an inclusive national conference to bring together delegates from all states to debate the future of South Sudan.
In conclusion, South Sudan does not possess the political leadership to resolve the current crisis of governance and citizenship. But, the state can be saved from its demise if political leaders and the people accept to form an interim government that will enable them to address the vital issues and questions that they did not address immediately after independence. If they do so, surely South Sudan can produce a committed leadership, with a shared destiny, and a willingness to compromise for the sake of all South Sudanese.
Professor and Chair of Department of African and African American Studies, Fordham University, New York, USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Magdi El Gizouli
April 4, 2014 - Mahjoub Sharif had his way with words. Throughout decades of poetic passion he managed to refashion the colloquial Arabic of the Sudanese town and chant it back at its speakers enriched with emancipatory themes. Mahjoub wrote poems for freedom, crisp, pregnant with music, witty, agitating, but always didactic. He proverbially breathed poems, till his very last breath at his Omdurman home on Wednesday 2 April at the age of sixty six. Thousands accompanied the ‘poet of the people’ as he was known to his last resting place in a mass act of baraka that not even the most pious of sheikhs can claim.
A school teacher by training, this secular prophet spoke truth to power in a creative language that readily transformed into powerful memes, and as a consequence landed him habitually in the detention cells of Sudan’s military rulers. He was incarcerated repeatedly during the reign of Jaafar Nimayri and then under Omer al-Bashir. It would be no exaggeration to say that the long spells of jail in Cooper prison set the stage for the lung ailment that ended his life. Like scores of Communist Party members he was dismissed from government employment during the extensive purges of the civil service in the 1990s. No prison however could blunt the sharp blade of Mahjoub’s poetry. His joyful compositions cut through the fallacious fat of official propaganda to bare the bone of daily existence as experienced by the nas, the toiling women and men who came out to honour him on Wednesday.
Beyond exposing power’s sins, Mahjoub had the extraordinary capacity to imagine another future in feather-light lines, suitable even for the playful entertainment of children. He nursed dreams of emancipation on behalf of the country and its people. What sounded hollow and barren in the tedious declarations of Sudan’s politicians, Mahjoub could articulate in immediately accessible promises of a tomorrow waiting to be made. He had the will to dream, so much so that Sudan’s chattering opposition occasionally employed his words as an ersatz for action. Mahjoub Sharif wrote and Mohamed Wardi sang; the perfect duo produced songs that became over time part of the politically erotic repertoire of opposition congregation whenever opportunity allowed. High on these valiant chants many overlooked their subversive root: the taxing commitment of an exemplary counter-effendi. That said, Mahjoub survives not in the gushes of individual eulogy but in the indecipherable hum of the masses that carried him to his grave. His legacy is indeed talking out the mind of the collective.
The author is a fellow of the Rift Valley Institute. He publishes regular opinion articles and analyses at his blog Still Sudan. He can be reached at email@example.com
By Nurye Yassin
April 3, 2014 - The changing world of the 21st century requires nation-states to transform the systems under which they have traditionally conducted their diplomatic activities. The contemporary media-saturated system of international politics needs wider public involvement in regional and global affairs to advance the desired goals of shared interests. Superseding traditional diplomacy, with ambassadors and politicians negotiating in dark corners, a new public approach to diplomacy has come to the fore, placing transparency at the center of affairs in attempts to communicate foreign policy goals and objectives, cultures, histories, traditions and values. The objective is to win the hearts and minds of both publics through discussions of ideas, the results will provide for a continuous development of friendly partnerships. It is in this sense that Ethiopia and Sudan have recently embarked on the process of sharing and communicating all-round ideas and publicizing their ties, in effect positioning two friendly peoples at the epicenter of their diplomacy.
One excellent example of this was the recent tour of an Ethiopian cultural troupe in the Sudan. The group toured a number of places in the Sudan during the second week of March (March 7 to 12) giving musical and cultural performances along with Sudanese counterparts in Medani, capital of Al Gezira State, El Damazine and Roseires as well as Omdurman, before ending their musical and cultural displays in Khartoum. Their much appreciated performances underlined the value and importance of deepening and enhancing already existing people-to-people relations.
The two countries have also been forging further partnerships in new areas including linking their universities, scholars and think tanks to promote scientific cooperation for the sustainable development, peace and stability of the Eastern Nile Basin communities. Addis Ababa University and University of Khartoum held a symposium under the theme “The Eastern Nile Cooperation: Opportunities for Regional Development” earlier last month (March 10 to 12). The symposium addressed five major themes: Water Resources of the Nile; Eastern Nile Geology; Trans-boundary Water Resources Management, Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation in the Eastern Nile; Gaps in the Scientific Research and Capacity and the Role of Universities in filling these gaps; Bridging the Gaps between Policy and Research for Sustainable Management of Water Resources.
These developments arise from Ethiopia’s change from the myopic foreign policy directions based upon suspicion and misperception that used to prevail under previous regimes into a farsighted approach devoted to seeking long-term mutually beneficial partnership with the Government and People of Sudan focusing on promoting mutual progress, peace and prosperity. It is an approach that stresses, as Kinfe Abraham put it, that “mutual trust is the basis; mutual benefit is the objective; equality is the guarantee; and coordination is the means”. It is a policy that demonstrates that the future of the Sudan and Ethiopia, and other countries in the Horn, are intertwined. It also emphasizes that all should direct their efforts for the improvement of peoples’ lives through the spirit of peaceful interdependence, greater economic integration, joint-partnerships, and indeed a win-win approach to utilize trans-boundary resources.
This public diplomacy, which is characterized by cultural performances, academic and professional conferences, cultural events and other exchange programs, is in effect an extension of the current foreign policy of Ethiopia. In respect to the Sudan, its fundamental aim is to ensure that the challenges and opportunities of the bilateral, regional and global issues of the two countries remain in the public eye. It has the effect of cultivating long-term relationships, and increasing mutual understanding through dialogue as well as encouraging professional networking mechanisms, and promoting the shared interests of the respective populations. The recent cultural performances, which involved both Ethiopian and Sudanese performers, certainly helped communication of the cultures, values, traditions, histories and aspirations of both countries. They will motivate both peoples and encourage a common vision and their common interest in rooting out poverty, hunger, instability, drought, land degradation and other threats.
Similarly, the recent scientific symposium held in Khartoum from the two Universities of Khartoum and Addis Ababa will unquestionably provide the basis for scientific studies and enhance the capacity for policymakers on both countries to push forward efforts for sustainable and inclusive development of the Eastern Nile. The scientific cooperation the symposium will generate will also help the two countries work towards equitable and reasonable use of the waters of the Nile and move towards a win-win approach for sustainable management of trans-boundary water resources maximizing benefits for all. It is a very timely scientific partnership to encourage the region to remove their differences and look at ways to resolve the new security threats facing the region, including climate change, drought, inadequate rainfall, and food insecurity in the Eastern Nile region.
Besides, the two countries share a long border together with similar cultures, languages, history, values, religions, and traditions that have cemented the bilateral relations in various fields including trade, businesses, investment, agri-business, and power supply. In the area of investment, 800 Sudanese investors have gotten investment licenses to work in Ethiopia. The new public diplomacy accompanied by long historical ties and cultural affinities inspires the publics of the two countries to further join their efforts in the fight against poverty, famine and instability as they crushed the heels of colonial powers in Omdurman in 1898 and Adwa in 1896. It also helps them to revitalize and renew the civilizations of Nubia, Merowe and Aksum on the bosom of the Nile Valley. This will pave the way for the realization of African Renaissance or Rebirth.
This common understanding between the Governments of Ethiopia and the Sudan is making possible the creation of an enabling environment to cooperate on working for mutual benefits from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. Ethiopia and Sudan are following up the implementation of the recommendations of the International Panel of Experts report on the Dam. These included further studies on a water resource system/hydropower model and a trans-boundary environment and socio-economic impact assessment impact study on the GERD in the context of the Eastern Nile System. In the three rounds of the tripartite Water Ministers meetings in Khartoum, the Ethiopian and Sudanese sides agreed on most the proposals raised despite the unnecessary and unreasonable suggestions raised by Egypt. Among these was the creation of yet another Panel of Experts, parallel to that already agreed upon, and some proposed “Principles of Confidence Building, “ neither of which related to the purposes or agenda of the meetings. Indeed these two proposals were unequivocally rejected by Ethiopia, and by the Sudan.
This sort of understanding and the firm stance of both countries would have been unthinkable earlier in the second half of the 20th century. Prior to the independence of the Sudan in the 1960s and indeed afterwards until 1991, the relations of Ethiopia and the Sudan were marked by regional and international rivalry that paved the way for the various regimes in both countries to play lethal ‘tit-for-tat’ games as client states for their regional and international patrons. The ill-suited policies of these previous regimes in both countries, according to Professor Peter Woodward, allowed at various times passage for the ideologies and interests of a radical Nasserite Pan-Arabism (with Sudan signing a unilateral Nile waters agreement with Egypt in defiance of its own national interests and providing a limited water share for its own growing population). At other times it was a Pax Americana which allowed the projection of influence and its interests into the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, or a Pax Sovietica, creating a constellation of socialist states in the Horn and southern edge of the Middle East). Even the ideas of radical Ba’athist countries of the Middle East including Syria and Iraq were able to infiltrate the Horn of Africa. All operated at the expense of the peoples of Sudan and Ethiopia, and indeed of the peoples of the region. .
Both sides firmly relied on increased militarism and violence to accomplish the tasks given to them by their patrons. The regimes in Sudan supported any insurgents who claimed they wanted to throw Ethiopia’s peace and stability into disarray. Following Ethiopia’s failure to provide religious equality for Ethiopian Muslims, Sudan’s rulers made efforts to encourage religious fundamentalism in Ethiopia. Leaders in Ethiopia failed to realize that religious inequality precipitated sympathy from Sudan’s radical Islamism.
This encouraged Ethiopia’s foreign policymakers to return to the old and deep-rooted anxieties of the ‘siege mentality’. Aklilu Habte-Wold, Prime Minister in the 1960s and early 1970s even repeated the old medieval mantra: “Ethiopia is a Christian island in a Muslim sea.’’ This sort of long outdated foreign policy direction prevented Ethiopia from rethinking its problems with Sudan, and led it into persisting in supporting the Anya Nya movements and SPLA insurgents in southern part of Sudan. Sudan reciprocated, extending its support to Ethiopian rebel groups. Unhappily, the destructive tit-for-tat game resulted in harrowing famines, droughts and deaths for the peoples of Ethiopia’s Wollo and Tigre provinces, and of Sudan’s Darfur and South Kordofan regions, and indeed more widely throughout the region in the 1970s and 1980s.
Today, all this is gone with the changes of regimes. Today is the time for both peoples of the two nations to fully own their own destinies and secure their own future in the spirit of shared visions for inclusive and sustainable development through the use of Nile waters. The peoples of the Sudan and Ethiopia can see the Nile today as a shared river through which all the peoples of the Nile Basin can ignite the fire of African Renaissance to build the modernization, development and transformation of the Nile Valley on the principles of comparative advantage.
This is not the time for any centralized, small or exclusive elites in our region to try to decide the fate of the people. Ethiopia’s policies of public diplomacy are beginning to build a new tomorrow, improving personal and institutional ties to harness opportunities for the shared prosperity, peace and tranquility of the peoples of Sudan and Ethiopia. They are also righting the wrongs of yesterday through the genuine discussion, dialogue and scientific partnerships being built between the peoples of Ethiopia and Sudan. The way forward is very clear.
The writer is an independent researcher on African and Middle Eastern Affairs.
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