Views and Articles

Recent Posts

Tags

News

  • Materials published by Sudanese Online reflect authors' opinions and do not necessary reflect the opinions of Sudanese Online

Community

Email Notifications

Archives

Peace and Stability Can return to South Sudan as Result of Good political Discourse

By: Gabrial Pager Ajang

President Washington knew it better than many of his predecessors, peace and stability are more important than presidency. James Madison, vice president and Thomas Jefferson, his secretary of state disagreed while serving in Washington administration. They disagreed over policies and directions the United States could take at that time.

Nevertheless, Washington did not like political parties. He did not like the fact that Jefferson and Madison had formed their own parties. And he articulated his points at his Farwell Address Speech to the nation. He declared that he would not seek second time for presidency because that would not serve national interest---it can only played into simmering divisions and conflicts.  He alluded in his speech that he never wanted to be part of political parties.  He suggested that he was better off to remain above national politics and a true nationalist. He thought that his accomplishments were enough to solidify his legacy, at least in his opinions: he led the revolutionary war, won and gained independent. Washington allowed Jefferson and Madison to engage citizens in political discourse that would be vital to America political history for centuries to come.

Washington knew very well that United States constitution provides political parties a forum for debate, liberty and election. Hence he delineates his opinions from constitution. Those very decisions Washington made were fundamental to peace and stability at the inception of United States. Citizens were given voices and rights to political participations from the onset.

This is vital to emphasize because once you eliminate voices of people from national discourse you risk conflict and war. So as long as leaders of South Sudan focus what game can be employed and who can be employed to get which constituencies as means of clinging to power-- war and instability would continue to define South Sudan future. Only honest political discourse among leaders and citizens can bring peace and stability to South Sudan not allocation of positions among elites.

Therefore appointing Riek as vice president, deployment of security forces to Juba and silence voices of citizens in pivotal political discourse would never bring peace and stability.

Peace and stability would come to South Sudan—when leaders stop backroom deals, bargain games and be honest to nation. Peace and stability would return to South Sudan ---when people are given forum to voice their opinion and their rights.

There is no normal citizen that would support a government that does not a salt to you or your family. Country is not something that people wear on their sleeves…it is a tool that provides families with health care, security, education, roads, housing and many more but if the government does not provide basic need, citizens to have options to find other leaders. Apparently, South Sudan had accomplished the following since time of Dinosaur:

To his credits, Kiiir had achieved destruction of Riek Machar career and his dreams of presidency. And I may add, Riek career was destroyed at expense of all citizens’ lives and national resources. Why would you sacrifice so many lives for a person you can beat in an election. My own dad would beat Riek in an election let alone Kiir mayardit. 

United States government had built tarmac road between juba and Nimule.

South Sudan government hasn’t implemented any her ambitious program since 2005 and it simply has not because it lacks capacity building and institution to deliberate on real issues. Insane citizens can wear their sovereignty on their sleeves but the current sovereignty does not exist if the country does not offer basic security. 

The government had a responsibility to protect all her citizens and if the government does not protect its citizens, it loses her sovereignty. This is reminiscent of miscarriage, once you lost your wife lost her first unborn child; you are not called a father of child. It a political suicide to en gage in a political discourse that yields no results at all. Not a single statements from Juba pertaining South Sudan’s aspirations had been proved to be true….and that alone is concerning. It concerns me for senior government officials to be saying. A lie travels faster than truth and history proves that truth win at the end. Only truth will bring peace and stability to South Sudan.

It is self-deprivation to think that the country belongs to you and you have all rights to silence particular groups of communities who have equally sacrificed like you in the liberation struggles. It is self-defeating and destruction to think that if I constantly lie to the world and citizens, they would believe me. It is self-defamation to continue to say that these groups are the most corrupt in South Sudan, for instance G10, when you--yourself is corrupt to the core. 

 I would certainly agree that challenges and issues facing South Sudan are becoming problematic and complex each day. It is now very clear that South Sudanese people have legitimatized and affirmed division as a powerful tool of governing a state. Tribalism is used to inject fear into citizens. The fear of unknown has clouded South Sudan since 2005. Citizens of South Sudan are brained washed to solely secure the principal leaders.

 Dinka and Nuer are lionized to finish each other while leaders watch it like movie on a television. Folks killed themselves and their killing is affirmed and legitimatized by Juba and Fagak Leaders and their surrogates advanced hatreds to maintain powers. Juba surrogates argued that Riek is a terrorist and monster. The man had killed people in 1991. This argument was not engineered by Bor intellectuals. It was started in early 2013 by people like Gordon Buay and his cohorts in Nuer community, folks who saw it best for them to push Riek off the rail of leadership to get employments. They didn’t know that this saga would cost lives. This idea that Riek would stage a coup d’état to secure state arsenals was sold to Juba surrogates. It was never within to stage a coup when majority long for free and fair election.

The fear of unknown that engulfed Kiir‘s Kitchen cabinet was escalated by Awuwau (preemptive fear). Kiir’s administration continues to be restless. Juba restless forced them to accuse Mach Pual, Dr. Majak D’Agoot, and Oyai Deng Ajak of coup. It gradually became clearer that these Lieutenant Generals had never organized even unit of 50 men and women to secure presidency. Evident of their false accusation became apparent after their court in case of South Sudan vs. the detainees. So these Lt. Generals were declared not guilty.   In the light of South Sudan dissension to tribalism and abyss, president Kiir groomed Dr. Riek Machar and deceptively gave him gesture of even succeeding him. In normal democracy, presidents are mostly succeeded by their vice presidents through contested elections.

Nevertheless, Kiir appointed Riek as a vice president in 2005. He entrusted him with South Sudan affairs while serving as vice president of Sudan. 1991 SPLM/A split that resulted Bor massacre, a case that was not contextualized in vetting for vice president. Hence, Kiir appointed Riek as vice president in 2005. But 1991 should have been used as litmus test for his appointment but it was disregarded. Good leaders get thing right from onset because walking backward work to derail the nation and it is an illustration of incompetent in leadership and decision-making.  Subsequent to 2005, the fear of unknown kicked in because the SPLA was flooded by the Rebels of Peter General, Gatdet Yak, L.t, general, Paulino Matip Nhial, L.t, General Monytuil, Gabriel Tanginya, Olony and many others. 

War broke out in 2013 in presidential guards—it started because of fear of unknown. Guards of Riek, Matip and Kiir fought for almost a week in the capitol-Juba. Riek called for national army to overthrow the national government. Immediately, three states of Upper Nile were embroiled in vicious conflict. Three capitols of these states were completely annihilated in periods of two months. Fagak propagandists and surrogates succeeded to convince white army to ransack Bor Town, and other youth were told to attack Malakal and Bentiu. Riek lured white army to attack Juba. Joint operations of Juba and Kampala unleashed deadliest on attack untrained youth. These children of South Sudan were badly defeated by joint fighting.  

The international and regional states leaders call for moratorium on conflict and cessation of hostilities. Juba and Fagak lend no hear. The rival leaders and surrogates found their voices in deceptions and slowly became lucrative. Juba created among South Sudanese people and wielded her messages and policies on the premise that Rebels leader, Riek is being supported by the WEST. Little did they know that the West lost interest South Sudan let alone supporting a leader that had blood on his hands. Fagak surrogates found their voices on NGUNDENG, a prophet that had prophesied that Riek Machar would be president of South Sudan. Little did they know that---even in fair and free election, Riek would have a hard time to win let alone fighting wars---he had never won single battle? In 1991 and 2013, Riek won few battles but never maintained those cities for a year. Riek and Kiir entered into peace negotiation to end the bloodiest civil war in South Sudan. The two principals signed agreement to form a transitional government, with Kiir president and Riek vice president. 

Dr. Riek sent his messiah, Taban Deng Gai to Juba to prepare his way. While in Juba, Taban cozy up with Kiir and Nhial Deng to build mutual and exclusive relationships, while Riek enjoyed his security in Fagak with dried old men and unenlightened youths killed themselves. Kiir, Taban, Nhial and IGAD leaders persuaded Riek to come to Juba---to possibly implement the signed provisions. Riek came to Juba in 2016, ---- President Kiir reappointed as a vice president as stipulated in the accord. The two leaders had one month in Juba and not scheduling one physical meeting. The Kiir and Riek were told and pressed by IGAD and friends of South Sudan to meet because of developing unhealthy and dangerous brewing environments. They agreed and met at the presidential palace. 

Because of fear of UNKNOWN, miscommunication, and coup allegations led to another war. Kiir was advised to protect Riek because killing him would ignite international outcries or his advice come as a result of fear of UNKNOWN. Hence, Riek was protected in Juba but as soon as he went to bush, he became Bin Laden.  Apparently, they did not know that Bin Laden is Bin Laden whether in Juba or Jungle. We need each other. Calling some a rebel and pushing him away by making bizarre statements does not solve our problems. In fact it escalates hatred and divisions. 

Sequences of 2016 Conflict Claims

First claim: It was believed that the low level SPLA/M/O generals/guards set a false alarm and circulated a message in the SPLA/M/O headquarter that Riek Machar was arrested. They alleged that the meeting between Riek and Kiir was not actually a meeting; it was orchestrated platform to arrest Riek.

Second Claim: Fighting erupted at the presidential palace in Juba. Kiir and Riek made a joint statement, asserting that both of them were not aware of what caused conflict. They went on a state national television and called for national calm, the Two warring parties restrained from fighting and they finally vowed to implement peace agreement.

Third claim: Kiir provided Riek with bulletproof vehicle, guards to protect him and was transported to his house.

Fourth claim: Juba Coup narratives, Riek Machar came to the meeting with pistol. He ordered his guards to kill president Kiir. Machar’s headquater was attacked and his base was captured.

Fifth claim: Riek was given 48 hours to come and assume his roles as a vice president. After no show, SPLM/O poliburos and NLC convened and replaced chairman of SPLA/M/O, Riek Machar with Lt.general Taban Deng Gai. Taban was sworn in as vice president of Sudan.

Sixth claim: Machar became a private citizen and government cannot pursue a private citizen, said Ateny Wek.

Essentially, Kiir is not just Salva Kiir Mayardit from Awan. He is state man, the symbol of our nation and president of South Sudan. Hence, protecting him is paramount. Kiir Mayar and all the presidents around this world would agree with me that if Machar had indeed staged a coup, all the appropriate military and security operation would have been applied in such situation. The coup orchestrator could have been arrested or killed…it is bizarre to protect a coup plotter. So why president kiir did provides guards to protect Machar if he indeed staged a coup? It is puzzling to me and many leaders around the world.

Conclusion

We, citizens need to start building trust among tribes and leaders. Trust has been erased by our leaders among south Sudanese tribes. In Juba, leaders working for the same government fear, they fear of themselves, citizens and competence well informed citizens. How can we bridge tribal gap, engineer trust to stabilize South Sudan and bring lasting peace? How can we overcome tribal hatreds? This is not easy to do folks. Our country is fundamentally more important than current leaders that would leave leadership anytime. It is about time to speak in unison to end war and call for peace because any minor war makes our country weak and make president Kiir even weaker. This extremism that being shown in in the country and in peace process and it is not part of peace and caring, it will place the country on the wrong hands. Political elites focus on positions metric and division of positions and do not look onto their suffering citizens. This idea of awarding themselves with positions first before peace isn't reflective of stewardship and faith people entrust in them. Peace among citizens is ultimately and principally important than peace among leaders. Killing Riek or replacing can never bring peace and stability to South Sudan.

 

Gabrial Pager Ajang, Political Science and History Instructor .. He can be reached ajangassociates@gmail.com

Sudan openly mulling ties with Israel

BY: HERB KEINON 

In yet another sign of shifting ground in the region, Sudan this week openly discussed the possibility of normalizing ties with Israel.

The Sudan News Agency reported that the committee for external relations of the National Dialogue Conference discussed the issue at a meeting on Monday. The report quoted one member of the committee, Ibrahim Suleiman, as saying that the majority of the committee called for the establishment of “normal and conditioned” relations with Israel.

The National Dialogue Conference is a forum initiated by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir – with the participation of a wide array of opposition elements – aimed at mapping out the future of the war-torn state.

Just three years ago, Bashir – following an attack on a military factory in Khartoum that Sudan blamed on Israel – vowed that his country would never normalize relations with the “Zionist enemy.”

At that time, Sudan was firmly in Iran’s camp, and was seen as a key link in smuggling arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

In the interim, however, Sudan and Iran have had a falling-out.

The Sunni Muslim African state has moved closer to Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh has reportedly invested billions of dollars in Sudan to bolster its faltering economy.

Earlier this month Sudan followed Saudi Arabia’s lead and severed diplomatic ties with Iran following the sacking of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, which was triggered by the Saudi execution of a leading Shi’ite cleric. Iranian diplomats were given two weeks to leave Sudan, and the last one reportedly left on Monday.

The Africa Review website on Saturday reported that Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said at a public meeting in Khartoum last week that Sudan is open to discussing normalizing ties with Israel, despite decades of hostility.

Answering a question at a speech on Sudan’s foreign relations, and about the US conditioning the lifting of its sanctions on Khartoum with Sudan’s normalization of ties with Israel, Ghandour said: “We don’t mind to study any such proposal.”

On Wednesday, however, Ali Al Sadig, a spokesman for Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted by Agence de Presse Africaine as saying that the foreign minister’s comments were taken out of context.

“The support of the government and the people of Sudan to [the] Palestinian cause is well known. It did not change and will remain unchanged,” he added.

The Sudan Tribune this week quoted Suleiman, of the National Dialogue Conference’s External Relations Committee, as saying that the position of the ruling National Congress Party toward normalizing ties was unclear.

According to the report, Suleiman added that those who support the idea of normalizing ties with Israel believe it would help further Sudan’s interests. “The United States and Israel are two sides of the same coin and if the government underscores the importance to establish relation with America, why does it not establish ties with Israel?” he was quoted as saying.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had no comment on the discussions in Sudan.

On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold said in a speech that Israel has the ability today to communicate with “almost every Arab state.”

Though Gold did not name the states, there are persistent whispers that Israel and Saudi Arabia – facing the similar threats of Iran and radical Islamic extremism – are cooperating “behind closed doors.”

Sudan is one of 22 members of the Arab League.

Israel has diplomatic ties and good relations with non-Muslim South Sudan, which broke away from Sudan and declared independence in 2011.

My Message to South Sudanese Citizens

By: Gabrial Pager Ajang

This year I will scale down my writings on South Sudan’s issues. This decision is not New Year resolution. And it is not because am busy, if anything, I have been busy man since I came to United States. Each year, my responsibilities grow, grow and grow. I am busier this year than last year but here is my message to South Sudanese:

Issues that are confronting our country are enormous and dire. They can never be resolved by Dinka alone or Nuer or any other organizes tribe. We have now learned that this tribal organization in an attempt to secure power is detrimental to our country and it had worst political ramifications. It might be self-serving and gratifying for Riek Machar to organize his own tribe in attempt to secure power. On one hand, it might be good for Kiir to organize his tribe in an effort to maintain power.  But in the midst of these tribal organization efforts, we have lost precious lives to poverty, starvation, diseases, and war. Most importantly, our state sovereign had suffered, and indeed South Sudan had lost its legitimate place it holds at its inceptions, among communities of nations. 

Concurrently, our problems will never be solved by being contented because my brother, uncle, and relatives are appointed. They will never be solved by rewarding renegaded generals who took up arms against the state. They will never be solved by changing leadership through armed revolutions. Let me honest, these pressing issues will never be solved by President Kiir and Riek Machar.

In fact, the magnitude and scale of our problems have widened. The wounds and donuts holes of issues are too deep to be filled by very leaders who dug them. I should make clear that not even Jesus would solve our problems. In fact, there is no president who could maintain salaries of generals want to break away if they are not paid thousands of dollars. Not Riek or Kiir or one of the detainees. There is no president who could maintain 28 states and cabinets with revenues from Oil. There is no president who could maintain such corrupt establishment (heroes of liberation struggles) of South Sudan. There is not president who could launch development with shrink resources of oil. Let be mindful that constructing 100 miles of road can cost millions of dollars, (Nimule-Juba road is a classic example). Hence, constructing 100 miles road among 28 states is impossible in such economy. 

I want every single South Sudanese to be mindful about the destiny and fate of our nation is at your hand. We are all stakeholders and we must continue to hold our country dear to our hearts than leaders.  It is time to do soul searching, and go through redemption, sacrifice or repent, and finally solve our problems as collective citizens of this nation, not as tribe.  

I wish everyone to have a successful year.

Gabrial Pager Ajang, he can be reached at ajangassociates@gmail.com or gajang@wrightcc.edu

What will NCP ruled Sudan look like in 2016?

By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

While one wishes a blessed New Year 2016 which marks the 60th Anniversary of the Independence of Sudan, the hegemony of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) regime for past 26 lean long years reduces the hope for a bright future for the people of Sudan. The Sudanese people who have been living more than a quarter of a century under the rule of the tyrant genocidal criminal fugitive from international justice Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, see prospects of democracy very meagre. The question that imposes itself is what is in store for the Sudanese people in the New Year 2016, God willing?

We the Sudanese people lived and witnessed in bitterness the level of damage and deterioration caused to Sudan over the past Twenty-Six lean years by the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) regime, with its Multi-marathon nomenclature, the National Islamic Front (NIF), National Congress Party (NCP) and Popular Congress Party (PCP) using a Demolition Pick. Nevertheless, now it is time to look ahead for what the Sudanese homeland would look like in the year 2016, which marks the 60th Anniversary of Independence of Sudan from the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium on the First January 1956. It is a matter of Speculation, forecast and wishful thinking; because nobody knows the unseen but Allah, Almighty God.

Thus, we would like to see how much and what is in the Destiny store for the people of the State of Sudan, once referred to as the country of a million square miles.

Of the top wishes of the components of the people of Sudan amongst many others is the demise of the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP). The successful attempts for the arrest of the fugitive from the international justice the genocidal criminal of the people of Darfur, Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir to face the justice he deserves for the heinous atrocities he has perpetrated. The second is the return of freedom and democracy for our usurped country. The recovery of our beloved homeland of Sudan that the authoritarian regime usurped and subjected its peaceful gallant people to all kinds of injustice and deprivation for too long remaining another priority. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) led regime proved a failed corrupt criminal castaway, hateful hypocrite entity.

The people of Sudan appreciate and value the ingenious gesture of congratulation bestowed by the US President Barack Obama on them on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the independence of Sudan by the first of January 2016.

The ruling regime of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) in Sudan has been committing murderous crimes since the beginning of their ill-fated coming through the military coup on the thirtieth of June 1989. The (MBM) despots killed through a Death sentence each one of the pilot Girgis and Majdi Mahjoub who were accused of trafficking currency in US dollars. Furthermore, the MBM entity then decided the killing of the group of the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) officers for an alleged military coup attempt. The unrepentant hypocrites carried out a massacre of camp students in the locality of ai-Ailifoon. The blood thirsty (MBM) regime directed their heinous crimes to the people of Darfur in 2004 committing the crime of genocide. The killing of Sudanese citizens of the Beja in Port Sudan represented part of the war the bloodthirsty regime. The unabated civil warfare of the (MBM) continued to target the citizens protesting peacefully for their rights of compensation for their properties destroyed by the flood of the River Nile resulting from the construction of Dams. Those killings hit the people of the regions of Amry and Kajbar in Northern Nilotic region. The NIF regime carried out its atrocities of torture of opponents in the notorious Ghost houses. These series of atrocious crimes resulted into condemnation of Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC). He remains on the run as a fugitive from international justice.

Let us celebrate the festive seasons of the beginning of 2016. The 2016 came across marking the Sixtieth Anniversary of the independence of Sudan and coincided with the holiday of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (PBUH), and rejoicing the birth of Prophet Issa son of Mary, peace be upon him (PBUH). The Anniversary of the martyrs of the Movement for Justice and Equality (JEM) and all the martyrs of Sudan bring hope, peace and prosperity for all the people around the Globe with the wishes of the demise of radicalism, extremism and terrorism in the name of the Peaceful Islamic religion in the world.

Ironically and sadly, while the governments of the world and its peoples share their congratulations cards for the festive holidays, we find the regime of the NCP provides death sentences as presents to scores of Sudanese citizens whose origins are descendants of the Darfur region. Furthermore, the NCP regime besides deciding to lift the government subsidies on basic commodities and raising prices of oil, electricity, bread and water in spite of the suffering of the majority of citizens in extreme poverty, destitution and deprivation. In spite of the foregoing situation referred to the head of the ruling regime of the NCP and his entourage, continue abusing public money through corruption living luxurious lives inside the palaces and mansions in their own neighborhoods in the three towns Capital, Khartoum. At the same time the Muslim Brotherhood movement (MBM) and influential, leaders in the government lived in a state of luxury and opulence and extravagance with satiety and obviously, they do not feel the degree of suffering of the disenfranchised people of Sudan.

Satirical thinkers said that after the bankruptcy it sustained through corruption the ruling regime of the NCP has sold the professionalism of the Sudan armed forces (SAF) to the Janjaweed militia forces now called Rapid Support Force (RSF). Moreover, when bankrupt escalated the regime sold the project, which is called Civilizational Project and Messianic Orientation when they got out the Islamic religion out from its contents and paid it in lieu for the debt of the services of the security apparatus, which is called the National Intelligence and security services (NISS)!

There are no solutions to the chronic crises of Sudan other than finishing off the criminal regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) by oust it through popular uprising. The establishment of the State of citizenship that does not isolate anyone based on ethnicity or religious belief, colour, gender, age, cultural background or regional affiliation or political party affiliation follows.

The Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) claimed that they ruled the Sudan on behalf of the people falsely. In fact, they continued for 26 years shedding the blood of innocent civilians, looting public money and committing all the taboos and claim to be Muslim Brotherhood, but they, in fact, corrupt hypocrites, racists and failures in managing diversity and masquerading on the State of citizenship. Furthermore, they wreaked havoc with the aid of Janjaweed militias and mercenaries to fight the Sudanese people at a time when neighboring states occupy a vast territories and swaths of the homeland of Sudan. It becomes more difficult to get rid of the regime easily, given the conflicting positions of the opposition component divide. Nevertheless, one would offer greetings and call for the opposition solidarity.

The Sudanese people miss the full moon of democracy and freedom in the darkness of arbitrary totalitarian era led by the Muslim Brotherhood movement (MBM) with its marathon of nomenclature which include the National Congress Party (NCP), popular Congress Party (PCP) and to the rest of the another hocus-pocus!

The achievement of democracy and public freedoms in Sudan under the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) rule is a distant dream. Nevertheless, the continuing struggle to overthrow regime is the first step and the last in the march and the million-mile journey, as they say in the adage.

Those who count on reforming the (MBM) regime of the current (NCP) regime seem living in Alice in Wonderland or in the coco’s land, and so to speak! As the proverb keeps wondering and saying as to whether a perfumer -perfume vender - perfume salesperson reform and repair what is marred by age?
In other words: Can a perfume seller (a perfumer) repair the devastation caused by the ages and destroyed by the systematic pick demolition of the regime of the NCP during the twenty-six years; a genuine and timely question that waiting for a satisfactory answers.

The destructive exploitation of economic resources through the failed policies and corruption for the benefit of the powerful members and privileged supporters of the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) has been a phenomenon.

On the top of the list of corruption comes the sale of the historic house, called the House of Sudan in the Knights Bridge neighborhood of the City of London near the famous Harrods department store in lieu for a price of less than 5% of the real price. Moreover, the regime in its corruption spree went on selling airstrip at Heathrow Airport, which was dedicated to the airline Sudan Airways, AKA, Sudan-air to one of the brokers also in a value less than its worth and thus deprived the Sudan Airways plane landing rights at Heathrow Airport in London.

As the saying goes, without a critical event in the destruction and privatization of the sources of production, the Government of Omar al-Bashir has also got rid of the fertile Agricultural irrigated Project of al-Gezira in the Central Region of Sudan lying between the Blue and White Niles. The Sudan Railways have also been a victim of cheap corrupt sale to the NCP cronies and associates. The sale of river transport to influential members of the government and their relatives remains similarly part of the endemic and epidemic corruption of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) entity.

The corruption list is long, non-exhaustive and endless. It includes drying and privatization of the reference hospitals like the Old Khartoum Teaching Hospital, established in 1902? and so on!

The last question is what awaits the components of the Sudanese people from the unjust ruling party National Congress for the answer to this question is no good system of criminal plausible genocide So remove the duty of everyone!

The National Congress Party (NCP) regime led by Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir has perpetrated crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in the region of Darfur in western Sudan in the year 2004 and continues fugitive from the international justice.

In the wake of grinding poverty and continuing crumbling of educational and health and medical services and deprivation, the people of Sudan are left with no choice but the resorting to sorcery and the ilk. Nevertheless, the continuing struggle to overthrow the despotic regime is the first step and the last in the march and the million-mile journey, as they say in the adage.

There are no solutions to the crises of Sudan but the overthrow of the ruling regime of the National Congress Party (NCP).

People quoted the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto as saying that Extremism can flourish only in an environment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfare of the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessness create the desperation that fuels religious extremism.

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com/

Twic East Community-USA Announces Her General Elections

BY: Gabrial Pager Ajang

The Twic East Community leadership asks all competent members to announce their intentions to run for the Twic East Community-USA presidency. Twic East Community leadership in the United States calls on its members, and friends to attend the Twic East general that will be conducted in July 4th weekend, 2016. Stay tune, the venue and time will be aired. The election will be organized by impartial body, the electoral commission. 

The Twic East Community Payam leaders have nominated members of electoral commission. The candidates who wish to announce their candidacies can context members of electoral commission for specific requirements, i.e. qualifications and fees. Blow are names of the members of electoral Commission:

1. Dhieu Lueth Juach

2. Atem Wel Atem 

3. Deng Akur Mabior

4. Biar Gak Biar

5. Ajak Dau Akech

6. Yuot Alaak Pager

7. Kuek Aleu Biar

The office recommends that candidates who wish to run can start to gather information or explore the feasibility of becoming candidates.

Again, anyone who is considering running for office of Twic East Community leadership in the United States can submit their relevant documents or qualifications to the office of electoral commission. The Electoral Commission had requirements and qualifications of the candidates.

For more information about Twic East Community-USA organization and developmental programs, please visit our website at: http://www.twiceastcommunityusa.org/

Yours sincerely 

Gabrial Pager Ajang, Secretary, you can reach him at, ajangassociates@gmail.com

David Kuol Anyieth, President, you can reach him at kuolmadool@yahoo.com

Settling for Mediocracy

BY: Gabrial Pager Ajang

For the last 27 years, I have witnessed our leaders on their rigorous journey for excellence. They have aggressively trained us (Lost boys) not to settle for less.  Dr. John Garang de Mabior, William Nyuon, Salva Kiir, Pieng Deng, Ajang Alaak, and Maker Thiong set the highest expectations for us.  They did not just teach us but they grilled us to be the best in the world. 

Today, I can fairly say we have lifted up to their expectations. We have transcended barriers, defeated all odds and went to the best universities this world had produced. So why do our leaders and citizens settled for mediocacy?  Many of us who have been criticizing President do not do it out of hatred; we offered constructive arguments to help shape his plans for country.

Certainly current leaders diverse from visionary programs….. programs they themselves set in the past. So it is not surprise that there are huge contradictions and dialectic forces in today politics of South Sudan.  

I was not expecting government to build that isolated island called Juba and left the populace at the mercy of diseases. I was not expecting government to build that isolated Buur and left the populace at the mercy of poverty. I was not expecting Juba to build the isolated Agoro and left the populace at the mercy of insecurity. I was not expecting Juba to be so corrupt palace and not “taking towns to village.” It never crosses my mind that folks who contributed their grains, goats, and cows would be deprived. I never thought that the best minds, the learned would be seen as enemy and killed (for instance Dr. Diing Chol Dau, PhD of Oxford University, Neurosurgeon) killed in Juba. 

I have never thought that orphans of previous wars would be pitch against each to kill themselves. I never thought leaders would build their leadership on hatreds and violence. The current levels of hatreds and escalation of violence has only worsened Kiir’s Presidency. It is now clear that Kiir will leave presidency disgraciously---- if we continue to defend mediocre presidency. It does not help Kiir or people of South Sudan if you blindly defend or support him to settle for less. His legacy is at stake. 

To those who want to fight Dr. John Garang de Mabior. I got news for you; the man is dead and had written his legacy, fighting Garang is not a winnable battle. Whether you fight him in this life or next life, chances of your successes are slim. Work for peace, maybe you can reverse current dreadful leadership of Juba.

Certainly, you could be better off if you can start articulating programs that would help president Kiir creates stability, establishing lasting peace and healing. Stop this obvious argument and rhetoric because it is not going to cut it. A legitimate government that does not provide basics services is not good government in the eyes of citizens. A legitimate government that does not provide security to citizens isn’t a good government.  A government that does not target educated folks isn’t a good government. A government that infringes upon people liberty and does not provide justice isn’t a good government. A government that does not balance powers among branches of government isn’t good government either. 

Work and implement peace and nation building. Finally criticisms of government ensure perfect unity of citizens and alert lawmakers to promote development. Settling for mediocracy is the worst one can do for nascent country and next generation.

Gabrial Pager Ajang

You can reach him at gajang@wrightcc.edu or ajangassaociates@gmail.com

Pushing For Women’s Health in South Sudan

By Maggie Cassidy

In the next installment of the Roaring 20s series in the Sunday Valley News, you’ll read about 22-year-old Geneva Jonathan, a researcher at Geisel School of Medicine’s Center for Technology and Behavioral Health in Lebanon who is helping to test the effectiveness of smartphone apps to treat mental illness.

In between graduating from Wesleyan University in May and moving to the Upper Valley for the research job in July, Jonathan spent about six weeks in South Sudan this summer, laying the foundations for a women’s health clinic near the village where her father grew up. The country is in turmoil as the result of an ongoing civil war.

Jonathan was in South Sudan working on the project with her sister, who was an Arabic student at Wesleyan, two University of Vermont students with women’s sexual health experience, and her father, who teaches Arabic at UVM. They were joined by her mother, a pastor whose church in East Longmeadow, Mass., donated $1,000 to the project, and her brother, who came to see family.

Weeks after the group returned to the United States, though, the government burned the village “to the ground,” Jonathan says. She and her sister have since used a GoFundMe page to raise nearly $3,000 to help the village rebuild, with hopes of raising at least $4,000 total. She says the money will be distributed to the United Moru Community Associationwhich has an office in Kansas City.

The trip wasn’t Jonathan’s first to South Sudan, but it was her first attempt to visit her father’s home village.

“We didn’t even actually get to go there because they were raping women and children on the road, which is almost 72 miles from the capital city (of Juba),” Jonathan says. “It takes nine hours and you have to be in a Land Rover, as well as cross a river.”

Americans in the country face another set of dangers, Jonathan says.

“When they know Americans are in one place, they know, OK, there’s money there,” she says. “And you’re not necessarily sleeping behind a locked door. It’s not necessarily safe to be in one place for a really long time as an American in South Sudan right now.”

Jonathan, whose mother is white, says she was “constantly told that I wasn’t Southern Sudanese, and even when my dad would say, ‘These are my daughters,’ people would be like (laughing),” she says. “And then when they’d see my mom, they’d be like, OK, I get it. It’s tough because people just don’t believe that I’m Southern Sudanese.”

The current dangers mean Jonathan can’t make another attempt to visit her father’s home village anytime soon. But for the long term, she’s confident about her return.

“I will be back,” she says.

Why so many African leaders hate the International Criminal Court

By: Adam Taylor

When the International Criminal Court was established in 2002, there was little doubt that the theory behind it was noble. The multilateral treaty that resulted in the court, the Rome Statute, had set out a number of international crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity. The Hague-based court was designed to step in, investigate and prosecute when states were "unable" or "unwilling" to do so themselves.

Unfortunately, the reality of the court has been more difficult. Consider what's going on now in South Africa, where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attended an African Union summit and flew out on a private jet Monday. Since 2009, the ICC has sought Bashir's arrest for a range of crimes, including genocide, relating to the conflict in Darfur. As a country that has signed the Rome Statute and is in the ICC's jurisdiction, South Africa was technically obligated to arrest Bashir.

Instead, in spite of a travel ban while judges at Pretoria High Court examined the ICC arrest warrant, he escaped.

Bashir's exit from South Africa and South Africa's apparent hesitance to arrest him fit into a broader problem the ICC has: The huge levels of skepticism and outright lack of trust the court now has among African leaders and, to an extent, the general public. In a statement released Sunday, before Bashir exited the country, South Africa's ruling African National Congress party plainly suggested that the ICC was biased against Africans, and that it was "no longer useful for the purposes for which it was intended."

This isn't a unique perspective. Bashir, who has refused several requests to visit the court to face the charges against him, has declared the ICC "a tool to terrorize countries that the West thinks are disobedient." Other African leaders have expressed support. "The court has transformed itself into a political instrument targeting Africa and Africans," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Ethiopian foreign minister, said at an A.U. summit in 2013.

Nor is it an entirely unreasonable perspective. Of the nine situations the court is officially investigating, all are in Africa. Every one of the 32 individuals indicted by the court so far are African. Clearly, that does seem a little unfair, but experts attribute this to factors such as the way the court is set up and the high number of conflicts on the continent.

"The ICC definitely has a credibility problem in Africa, and, at first glance, the criticism that the court has focused too much on African states is a fair one," says Jeffrey Smith, an Africa specialist at the nonprofit Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. "This argument, however, fails to acknowledge that independent tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Cambodia, to take but two recent examples, have thus far led to a natural reduction in the ICC's scope."

African states also signed the Rome Statute en masse, granting the ICC jurisdiction. This didn't happen elsewhere in the world: Many Middle Eastern states did not sign, for example, and major countries such as Russia and the United States signed but did not ratify the treaty (which makes the State Department's statement about Bashir on Monday a little awkward). Sudan did not sign the Rome Statute, but the ICC didn't choose to investigate it on its own: The investigation was requested by the U.N. Security Council.

"It's important to remember that, for the most part, the ICC does not select its own cases," explained Kate Cronin-Furman, a lawyer and PhD candidate at Columbia University who has worked at The Hague. "So while it's true that all eight of the countries with open ICC investigations are located on the African continent, half of them [Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic and Mali] asked for the court's involvement. An additional two (Libya and Sudan) got there through action of the U.N. Security Council. It's only the Kenya and [Ivory Coast] cases that were opened through the prosecutor's own initiative."

The focus on Africa may be due to these practical considerations, but it has clearly created a negative impression of the court in Africa. "The most horrific mass atrocities in recent years have taken place outside of Africa, and the ICC simply is not there," said Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the Center for the International Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice (CCRJ) at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. The ICC would need U.N. Security Council intervention to investigate war crimes in Syria, Vinjamuri points out, but it has not received it.

"It's not a good position to be in," Vinjamuri says. "When you find yourself in a situation where you are justifying bad outcomes on the basis that they follow the rules, then it is probably time to change the rules."

It's hard to deny that these optics have hurt the ICC's credibility in Africa. "Many Africans look at the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and laugh outright that she poses as a paragon for legal virtue given that, while an African and a woman, she served as minister of justice for a literal tin-pot dictator, Yahya Jammeh of Gambia," said J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. The fact that a white South African judge of Afrikaner descent ordered Bashir's travel ban only made things worse, he said.

"Appearance alone just reinforces the stereotype of a runaway court out to get Africans," Pham added.

Still, despite the court's problems, self-interest likely plays a role for some of the ICC's greatest African critics, too. It was only after the prosecution of heads of state such as Bashir and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta that the A.U. began to forcefully criticize the ICC.

"African leaders have had few complaints when the court goes after rebels or militia leaders in Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo," said David Bosco, an assistant professor at American University's School of International Service and author of a book on the ICC called "Rough Justice." "It's the pursuit of senior government officials that has provoked the tension."

Kenyatta in particular was able to portray the case against him as slanted and imperialistic, and it's likely that played some role in the case's subsequent collapse late last year. (Critics have also suggested that Kenyatta, as a head of state, was able to manipulate evidence and witnesses in a way that made a case impossible; the Kenyan president has always denied the charges against him.) It's worth noting that since its inception in 2002, the ICC has convicted only two minor warlords.

Bashir has traveled to ICC states without arrest before, but the South African situation was especially fraught as the country is both a regional power and a rare voice of support for the ICC within the A.U. In 2009, South Africa invited Bashir to attend President Jacob Zuma's inauguration, but after outcry from activist groups, South African officials said Bashir would risk arrest if he entered the country. (In the end, Bashir did not go.)

As host of the 25th A.U. summit, South Africa was put in a very difficult position by Bashir. "Refusing Bashir entry or arresting him during his stay would have provoked a diplomatic crisis for South Africa with a number of other A.U. members," Bosco notes. Allowing him to enter and leave the country may have avoided that crisis, but it's far from an ideal situation for Bashir. Just hours after the Sudanese leader left the country, the court in Pretoria came to a decision that the Sudanese president should be arrested. It seems likely that Bashir may not ever return to South Africa.

To the ICC, that's a small but important victory. "I think that what happened over the past couple of days, and in particular today, demonstrates that an ICC warrant of arrest actually means something, and clearly the court in South Africa took that view," ICC deputy prosecutor James Stewart told Reuters.

It is possible that perspectives could change. While some on social media argued that Bashir's flight was a blow against the anti-African bias of the ICC, there were also many from Africa who argued that even critics of the court should want to see Bashir on trial.

"Shameful," Sisonke Msimang, a South African journalist, wrote during a series of messages posted to Twitter on Sunday. "ICC has many problems but Omar al-Bashir has a case to answer [and the] people needing answers are all Africans."

SOUTH SUDAN: peace or genocide?

By: Richard Moula

President Salva Kiir of South Sudan has once again declared a war of genocide and ethnic cleansing on the small ethnic tribe of Moru in Western Equatoria.

As from 16th September 2015 up to date, Kiir’s forces have been killing civilians (women, children and the elderly) as well as, looting and destroying their property in the entire Amadi state of western Equatoria. Everybody has since then fled their homes to the bushes and yet Kiir’s forces continue to pursue and bombard them with helicopter gunships. Homes are burnt, shops destroyed, dogs, goats and chicken are all killed (almost every living thing).

In the last three days three helicopter gunships have been shooting at random through the villages of Kediba, Wandi, Dosso, Amadi., Mundri, Lui, Lanyi , Buagyi and Jambo killing over 300 civilians and the dead bodies are rotting and smelling throughout the bushes. Many more are yet to be accounted for.

There is clearly abundant evidence that President Kiir is against the recently signed Peace Agreement on South Sudan. If that were not the case why do his forces attack innocent Moru civilians after the declaration of permanent cease fire a couple of weeks ago? The fact is that while Dr. Riek Machar, Kiir’s former rival and now first Vice President designate, is preaching peace in U.S.A., President Kiir is busy annihilating smaller tribes in South Sudan suspected to be supporters of Dr. Machar. Is Kiir normal or has he run amok because of his miserable intellectual defeat at the negotiating table in Addis Ababa on 17/8/2015 when he had declined to sign the agreement?.

As of now, thirty fully armed Lorries are expected to converge on Mundri town today coming from three different directions. Twenty trucks are leaving from Juba to Rokon. While at Rokon, ten trucks will branch and pass through Minga, Kediba, Dosso, Amadi and then to Mundri. The other ten will continue straight and pass through Jambo, Buagyi, Lanyi, Lui and also end at Mundri. The third lot of ten trucks will start from Mvolo in the North and pass through Yeri, Mbara, Gulu and finally join the rest in Mundri. The plan is that when the thirty trucks gather in Mundri, they will then draw the sand model for the total annihilation and clansing of the entire Moru tribe. Indeed the war now is in full swing in Equatoria.

IGAD plus needs to take urgent and tougher measures against the genocidal government of President Kiir before he wipes out smaller tribes like the Moru from South Sudan. We appeal to the international community to take swift action instead of issuing threats.

Dr. Richard K. Mulla is a MP representing Mundri Constituency (Currently in Nairobi)

Message to Cyber-socialists and oppositions

BY: Gabrial Pager Ajang,

President Obama imposes targeted sanctions against Russian Mega Business and it works and works very well, President of Russia, Putin change his behaviors in less than three weeks.  I hope the generals of the SPLA armed forces and oppositions changed their behaviors and immensely take the lives of our people seriously to observe protocol and cessation hostilities issued by President Kiir Mayar and Opposition leader Riek Machar.  I would also hope that all the ambassadors take this message seriously, especially ambassadors in the United States.  Thousands of South Sudanese intellectuals, professors and medical doctors, political analysts, lawmakers, commentators, journalists and general public of the United States will not turn blind eyes to South Sudan problems.

It is time for all South Sudanese to unite and go after individuals who are benefiting from the blood of our people. War had become business, and this business will not spare legacy of President Kiir, if it continues the way majority of Kiir's supporter want to. If you like president Kiir, than you must work to bring peace, likewise, if you like Riek, you must also work to bring peace because ---if there is no peace, the world community and South Sudan will go against these two principal leaders, and you will not be happy. I do not want you to say that "I wish I had endorsed peace." There is no good way of end war, and it does not matter how it stops. What matter is that the war had to stop.

Besides, there are people in the West who have made diplomatic grounds as a launching pad for war, divisions and hatreds. Gordon Buay, for instance had written messages that provide sufficient ground for legal steps or even asking president to remove him from ambassadorship. His messages can be brought to the U.S. Department of State attentions, if he continues. It is important for all South Sudanese to understand that anything you write while your brother or sister is working for government.... can be used against your brother.....if it is clear and there are sufficient evident which indicated that you are using national resources to undermine peace. For instance, the case of the so called "London Welfare Queen" Awut Akol Wol who makes and sends out execrated videos at her brother house.  Her words can be examined to check if her statements constituted libel or acts of escalating war in South Sudan.

It should be made clear that it is against the rules of diplomacy and international norms to write messages of escalating war, hatreds and divisions in the house of South Sudan ambassador. Because this diplomatic grounds and messages of war be must never be sent out in Washington DC. Gordon Buay has sent out messages of war several times. Peace has been signed by president Kiir-- enough is enough. Another saga or shallow political division orchestrated by him or others would mount to a legal case. It is time; we all take roles of ambassadors like we did in pre-referendum periods. The generation that brought peace to South Sudan, the 7th fronts in diaspora must roll up their sleeves to bring peace, stability and unite this country. There are no other people that will lead in this initiative. We need peace, if we want a country; we need peace if we like your leaders.

South Sudan Warring parties are currently exchanging blames; they will suffer consequences---of allowing their own people to suffer in the process of securing leadership greedy and resources.

However, we in the West must understand that the International norms and obligations do not protect individuals who send out obscene, defamatory, execrated messages such as mentioning private parts, messages that advance wars and hatreds.

International norms and agreements do not protect people who send messages that can put communities in immediate danger. Freedom of Speech and expression had a limit. And if we deemed that there is sufficient and compelling evident of coming after such people,.... we may bring lawsuit against individuals who engage in such acts. This is not South Sudan, where leaders send out libel messages and still work for government

 Gabrial Pager Ajang, political Science Instructor at Wright Career College, he can be reached ajangassociates@gmail.com or gajang@wrightcc.edu

Let Sudan’s President Come to New York. Then Arrest Him

BY: LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO,

THE fugitive president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, plans to attend aUnited Nations gathering later this month in New York City on the future of global development. To travel here, he needs a visa. His application for a visa gives President Obama an opportunity to take a landmark stance in the slow evolution of international efforts to prevent genocide.

A century ago, when more than one million Armenians were exterminated, the word “genocide” did not exist. Killing millions of people was a domestic affair in which no foreign country could intervene.

Only after the Holocaust did this state of affairs change. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a genocide convention, which rejected the idea that “rulers” are immune from accountability for killing their people, and envisioned an “international penal tribunal” to try them. It took until 1988 for the United States to ratify the convention.

Ten years after that, in 1998, 120 countries voted to establish the permanent International Criminal Court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The United States has not signed on. Nonetheless, in 2005, President George W. Bush accepted a United Nations Security Council resolution that referred the Darfur case to the I.C.C.

In 2008, as the I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Irequested arrest warrants against Mr. Bashir for genocide. Mr. Bush pushed for the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur and for humanitarian assistance. I.C.C. judgesissued arrest warrants in 2009 against Mr. Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes and in 2010 for genocide. The challenge now is to arrest him.

Sadly, Mr. Bashir’s ability to commit atrocities in full sight of the international community has kept ahead of humanity’s ability to protect genocide victims. Rape and hunger are his new silent weapons, replacing open attacks on villages. To avoid the international spotlight, the Sudanese government expels aid workers and denies access to refugee camps. Mr. Bashir has tried to shift attention from his criminal actions by making the argument that the I.C.C. is biased against Africans.

Who will arrest Mr. Bashir? While he is in power, Sudanese forces certainly will not arrest him, and the Security Council did not authorize the use of force to execute the arrest warrant. The only remaining option is to arrest him when he is visiting foreign countries.

Mr. Bashir tried to visit South Africa in 2009 and 2010, but was informed that he would be arrested if he did. Earlier this year, the South African government relented, offering him immunity so he could attend an African Union meeting in Johannesburg. However, a South African judge ordered his arrest; Mr. Bashir managed to get away as the court proceedings were underway.

In 2013, Sudan’s government requested a United States visa in his name, to attend the annual General Assembly meetings in New York. The American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said “it would be more appropriate” for Mr. Bashir to travel to The Hague, where the I.C.C. is based, than to New York.

Sudan ultimately called off the trip. And the Obama administration hasn’t given any indication as to what it will do this time. Under the convention that designated New York as the headquarters of the United Nations, the United States is supposed to grant visas to leaders traveling to United Nations events, with a very limited exception for national security.

In effect, Mr. Bashir is betting that support from some African leaders, the intelligence his government can provide about terrorist organizations in East Africa, and America’s need to manage Sudan’s ongoing conflict with South Sudan, will make the United States look away.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the United States doesn’t have to let Mr. Bashir in. If it does, it should arrest him when he arrives. Under the Nuremberg Charter, the genocide convention and the I.C.C. statute, there is no immunity for heads of state who face charges before international tribunals.

Furthermore, a federal law, the American Service Members Protection Act, authorizes federal support of international efforts “to bring to justice” foreigners accused of atrocities. Under that law, a Rwandan warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, was surrendered to the I.C.C. in 2013.

Mr. Obama has a political choice. The United States should grant Mr. Bashir his visa, and then, upon his arrival, arrest and surrender him to the I.C.C., where he could present any legal arguments he wishes about innocence, immunity or alleged prosecutorial bias. This would represent an important stand. The United States should do everything it can to isolate Mr. Bashir and express its solidarity with the people of Darfur and its commitment to prevent and punish genocide.

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Will the Obama administration fix its Sudan policy?

By Ahmed Hussain Adam

President Obama concluded his three-day symbolic visit to Africa this week, but the 12-year old genocide of Darfur is still unfolding. One would welcome Obama’s achievements during this visit, including his strong position and active diplomacy on South Sudan’s crisis. Nevertheless, it is sad that there was no similar action to end Sudan’s crisis. President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, the International Criminal Court fugitive, has been accelerating his genocidal campaigns in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states - the killing fields of our time. Bashir has been exploiting the divisions among the world powers that have failed to respond to his genocidal wars and gross violations of human rights across Sudan.

The US, as a leading world power that was founded on the values and principles of justice, human rights and democracy, has ceaseless moral responsibility to act against genocide. In September 2004, Colin Powell, then-US Secretary of State, had declared the ongoing conflict in Darfur as genocide. It was a rare precedent in the history of the American administrations’ response to genocide since the 1900s. By recognising the Darfur situation as genocide, the US is under a legal obligation to stop it, as enshrined in the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide of 1948, which has now become international customary law.

The Obama administration is well-informed about the ongoing genocide in Sudan. Before assuming office, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and US Representative to the UN, Ambassador Samantha Power, had visited the region and met with the Darfuri refugees in the early years of the Darfur genocide. Suzan Rice, the national security advisor was also outspoken about the genocide in Darfur. All of them had pledged to stop the genocide in Darfur. Advocates, including myself have expected much more from Ambassador Power - the humanitarian intervention champion, influential member of the administration and author of the compelling book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. In this book, Power, poses a haunting question: “Why do American leaders who vow ‘never again’ repeatedly fail to marshal the will and the might to stop genocide?” So why do policy makers, including Ambassador Power, repeat the same failure by not responding to the genocide of the 21st century?

Undoubtedly, Obama is on the tail end of his presidency. Analysts also believe that US foreign interests have shifted from intervening in the affairs of African and Muslim countries towards repairing relations with old enemies like Iran and Cuba. The Iran nuclear deal is currently dominating the national debate in the US, especially with the looming elections season. Public opinion is divided, mainly due to the sharp political differences and calculations between President Obama and the Republican-dominated Congress. Bashir is determined to exploit the current political climate in the US. The Obama administration and the current Congress must not tacitly allow the suffering bellows of countless human beings be their legacy.

Earlier this month, a senior Sudanese diplomat in Khartoum announced that Sudan had invited Ambassador Donald Booth, US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, to visit Khartoum. According to the Sudanese diplomat, the sole agenda item of the visit is to discuss ways to normalise bilateral relations. Some observers have regarded the move as surprising, given the problematic diplomatic relations between the two countries since the Islamists seized power in Khartoum in 1989.

Sudan has also blocked the US Special Envoy from visiting Sudan since 2013. Bashir’s regime complains that the US had repeatedly broken promises to normalise bilateral relations, despite Sudan’s cooperation in allowing a smooth and peaceful referendum in South Sudan, and eventually recognised its results that led to the independence of South Sudan in 2011. Bashir’s regime also claimed that the US has not rewarded it for its continuous collaboration on counter-terrorism efforts.

So, why has Sudan invited US envoy to visit Khartoum? Some sources in Khartoum believe that the US has recently taken some steps that have been considered by Khartoum as positive and encouraging. First, last February, Dr Ibrahim Ghandour, then al-Bashir’s senior assistant and, currently Sudan’s Foreign Minister, visited Washington DC, where he met with senior officials of the US administration. Ali Karti, the former foreign minister, also visited Washington during that time. However, the State Department distanced itself from his visit.

Second, last February, the deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights and labour visited Khartoum and met with some Sudanese officials. Third, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has relaxed the sanctions on Sudan to allow exports of personal communications, including smartphones and laptops as well imports of some agricultural equipment. Fourth, the US has repeatedly recognised Sudan as a valuable partner in counter-terrorism efforts and that Sudan is no longer harbouring or sponsoring terrorist organisations. Al-Bashir believes that the emergence of the Islamic State terrorist group will make him a more valuable asset to the US and may push the US to normalise relations with Sudan.

Fifth, earlier this month, the US embassy in Khartoum condemned the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/N) for some military activities in South Kordofan state. This move was widely reported and praised in the government’s media and perceived by the regime as a positive sign that indicates a change in US policy. Sixth, earlier this month, the US Embassy in Khartoum announced the resumption of immigration visa processing in Sudan for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Dialogue is an important method of international and diplomatic relations. However, Bashir is only interested in getting rid of US sanctions to consolidate his autocratic regime. But he is not prepared to take any tangible measures to stop the ongoing genocide and gross violations of human rights, which his regime has been perpetrating. How can a genocidal dictator remain in power, and lead his people into meaningful democratic transition, when he himself fractured Sudan?

The UN Security Council has issued nearly 20 resolutions on Sudan under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, but al-Bashir has dishonoured them all. His real intention is to mislead the world, bide time, and continue his old bloody tactics. During last March and April, Bashir rejected the call for a national dialogue with his fellow citizens; instead, he imposed the rigged one-man and one-party elections, which were strongly denounced by the majority of the Sudanese people and some key members of the international community.

The ongoing genocide in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile, as well as the gross violations of human rights across Sudan, should shock the US and the world into action. Bashir should not be allowed to exploit the current focus on the Iran nuclear deal and other world flashpoints. The US should send a clear message to Bashir that it cannot and will not ignore the suffering of millions of innocent civilians who have been subjected to his genocidal campaigns.

It is imperative that the US and its partners set a clear road map with specific benchmarks that apply punitive measures, including smart targeted sanctions, to stop the genocide, realise an inclusive peace and facilitate a political transition in Sudan. It should be clear to Bashir that there will be no normalisation with the ongoing genocide and tyranny.

Obama can still fulfil his long overdue promise to stop the genocide of the 21st century. He should not be held back by narrowly defined national interests, since his administration has already considered the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities as a core American national security interest. If there is a will, stopping the horror in Sudan can still be a part of the Obama’s foreign policy legacy. It is not too late for President Obama to fix his Sudan’s policy.

Ahmed Hussain Adam is Visiting Fellow at Cornell University’s Institute for African Development (IAD) and a Research Fellow at the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo.

Sudanese documentary wins big at Durban International Film Festival

BY: Kevin Kriedemann,

Beats of the Antonov was a big winner at the 36th Durban International Film Festival, taking home both Best Documentary and the freedom of expression award. 

The uplifting documentary is a celebration of the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan, who fought with the South for independence but now remain trapped in a civil war in the North.

The jury awarded Beats of the Antonov R25 000 for Best Documentary “for its story, characters, relevance and visual interpretation,” and for a “story told with grace, while honouring the integrity of the people who gave them access as well as the subject matter.”

The jury for Arterial Network’s Artwatch Africa Award for freedom of expression, which carries a cash prize of R15 000, added, “This compelling film shows how the power of music, dancing and culture sustains the displaced people living in the remote war-ravaged areas of Southern Sudan.” 

City Press similarly hailed Beats of the Antonov as “the must-see film at the Durban International Film Festival this year.” Scoring the documentary 9/10, reviewer Charl Blignaut said the "truly extraordinary film dances a line between cultural expression and an exploration of identity in a pure, textured and impossibly complex Fanonian sense… Beats of the Antonov is the purest kind of cinema. One man and a camera that unpeels a story of the unmakings and makings of identity through cultural production, one where the musician and the audience is unseparated, where music is able to express both lament and healing.”

The documentary also re-opened debate over the South African government’s decision to allow Sudan’s current president, Omar al-Bashir, to leave South Africa last month, flouting a court order and international convention. As Tymon Smith wrote in his festival review in The Times, the “excellent Beats of the Antonov… got tongues wagging.” As the headline of a Sunday Tribune op-ed said, “Zuma needs to see his Sudan documentary,” which positions the civil war in Sudan as a racist war driven by an anti-black notion of Arabisation.

"Omar al-Bashir, who is by all counts a black African, chooses to identify mainly as Arabic-Islamic,” hajooj told The Financial Mail. "This is not an issue until he, and previous Sudanese governments, impose this, at gunpoint, as a national identity on the rest of the 56 major ethnic groups that make up Sudan. This one-dimensional Sudanese identity creates marginalised second-and third-class citizens and an endless state of war in Sudan."

Beats of the Antonov has charmed audiences around the world, winning The People’s Choice Documentary Award at The Toronto International Film Festival and four other international awards. Sudanese filmmaker hajooj kuka directed and shot the documentary over two years, at immense personal risk. He also produced alongside South African Steven Markovitz, as a coproduction between Sudanese production company Refugee Club and South African company Big World Cinema. South African Khalid Shamis edited the documentary with hajooj in Cape Town.

What people are saying:

"I was quite wrong about where Beats of the Antonov would take me… Despite its vicious political plot, Beats of the Antonov is a story of triumph. The very thing that the dominant regime wishes to stamp out – black African identity – is what saves these people from complete desolation. By gathering to make music in local languages, and pass on these cultural practices to a new generation, they sing their identity into being: a defeat of the Bashir project.”

 Binwe Adebayo, CityPress

"Every now and then, it seems as if there is nothing new out there. Everything seems derivative, repetitive or just plain bland. As a filmmaker, I sometimes go through moments of extreme lack of inspiration; and even question my choice of career. And then an unexpected spark happens to light the way. Beats of the Antonov… is such a spark… Kuka paints a beautiful picture of music, war and identity in the Blue Nile and Nuba regions, and the film is unlike anything I have ever seen… Beats of the Antonov and its infectious music stayed with me for days after viewing it… With more films like this coming from African directors, we could be witnessing the start of a new canon of African film.” Dylan Valley, Africa Is A Country.

‘’Beats of the Antonov is a true standout…’’ Variety

“Uniquely captivating… finds a new, genuinely interesting perspective from which to explore a complex situation… Deeply personal but also deeply enlightening record of a situation that so many of think we know but don’t truly understand.” Shadow & Act on Indiewire.

“Equal parts war-documentary and visual ethnomusicology project…  a nuanced portrayal of cultural identity, the trauma of civil war, and what it means to be Sudanese today.” OkayAfrica

“A vivid picture of culture and identity in times of war… While the war dictates the rhythm of their lives, the resilience of the community – and their music making – shines through.” The Daily Vox

Regards
Kevin Kriedemann
+27(0)83 556 2346
www.kevinlikes.com

SA has become a partner in Bashir's crimes

BY ABDELGADIR MOHAMMED,

When the news spread that the High Court in Pretoria had issued an order banning President Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa pending an urgent application for his arrest and surrender to the International Criminal Court, the victims of his crimes and their families and friends were confident that Nelson Mandela's country would not let them down.

They were confident that the country which had taught the world the first lesson in the fight against racism and apartheid was on its way to present the second lesson by establishing justice and redress for the victims of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Bashir and his government against the Sudanese people.

Thousands of elated Sudanese started exchanging congratulations and sat glued to their televisions or monitored the internet, waiting for news of his arrest.

The truth behind Bashir's great escape

Their belief in the integrity and independence of the South African judiciary was strong, so their confidence that Bashir would be arrested was also firm.

A huge sense of disappointment and discontent gripped a large segment of the population when they learnt that Bashir had been allowed to leave South Africa. How had your government allowed itself to help a fugitive criminal escape justice?

The action of your government, President Jacob Zuma, in conniving with Bashir is as heinous and ugly as the murder, destruction, mass rape, burning of villages and killing of civilians practised by his government every day in Sudan.

Did your government not know that the man had killed hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan's restive western region of Darfur? And more in South Kordofan? And thousands in Blue Nile state?

Did your government not know that his militia still carry out atrocities today?

During the past 12 years, the people of Darfur have never enjoyed tranquility or peace. Bashir's soldiers and militias have launched frequent attacks on the civilian population, spreading havoc and burning villages, schools and hospitals, and even places of worship.

In Darfur alone, Bashir has killed thousands and displaced millions who have been forced to flee, many of them to Chad and other countries neighbouring Sudan.

His Antonov warplanes have been bombarding villages, hospitals and schools and killing hundreds of civilians in South Kordofan, on the border with South Sudan, for four years now. Thus, the caves and forests have become the only safe shelter for the people of the Nuba mountains.

Conniving with Bashir is as heinous as the murder and mass rape practised by his government

A few months ago, Sudanese army helicopters bombed the only hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the town of Kaduqli in South Kordofan, leaving the residents of those areas without any medical care.

At the beginning of June, the UN announced the displacement of 2825 families from the Bao locality in Blue Nile after Sudanese army soldiers burned four villages, claiming they supported anti-government rebels.

Bashir's government has decided to deny access to relief and humanitarian aid to affected people in war and conflict zones.

The UN and the humanitarian organisations operating in Sudan complain that the Sudanese government is imposing restrictions on the movement of their employees and denying them access to deliver humanitarian assistance.

Bashir's government is using food as a weapon in the war.

Media reports talk about the mass rape of hundreds of women in the village of Tabet in North Darfur.

Bashir's government did not let the UN conduct an independent investigation to uncover the facts.

In the big cities, away from the war zones, Bashir's militias also practise murder, lynchings and the ugliest forms of torture against anyone who criticises his government.

At the time when your government was arranging to smuggle Bashir away from the grip of justice, his soldiers in Khartoum were shooting unarmed citizens who were marching peacefully to demand their right to government services, and killed one protester.

They also arrested and injured dozens of peaceful demonstrators.

In September 2013, Sudanese youth took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to denounce higher food prices. In only two days, Bashir's bullets claimed the lives of nearly 200 people who were demonstrating peacefully in the cities of Khartoum, Omdurman and Wad Medani against the rising prices.

Bashir and his militias are silencing their critics with brutal efficiency, as opposition parties are deprived of their right to peaceful assembly and the right to organise.

Journalists in Bashir's Sudan are deprived of their right to express their views. Since the beginning of this year alone, Bashir's government has confiscated copies of various newspapers in Khartoum.

The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service is imposing strict control over local newspapers and mass media, and is also seeking to intimidate journalists who report on the country for international news agencies.

Al-Bashir's arrest would have been a disaster for Africa

Dozens of journalists are facing criminal complaints and charges punishable by execution for expressing their views.

Do you know that the news of the failed Bashir court order in South Africa was covered by Khartoum newspapers only as a victory over the ICC?

The detention centres and prisons of the Sudanese security service are packed. Some detainees were arbitrarily incarcerated and deprived of their liberty without proper charges being brought against them.

The majority of them are peaceful demonstrators or civilian activists.

The atrocities committed by Bashir's government are countless and Sudan cannot progress unless justice is served for the victims.

But your government has undermined the efforts of justice.

It has become a partner in the crimes of Bashir and his government.

This not only harms the reputation of South Africa, but is a deep wound in the hearts of the victims of the crimes of Bashir and his government.

  • Mohammed is a freelance journalist, researcher and human rights analyst based in Khartoum
Bor County Community USA Elected Akol Aguek Ngong as president

by Gabrial Pager Ajang.

Almost a year ago, the chairman of Bor County Community Electoral Commission, Mangok Mach Bol announced Bor County election. The election was announced a year before term of the incumbent ended.  It is a democratic tradition to declare one year as a period of campaign. It also gives candidates ample time to interact with voters. Besides this exciting announcement, the incumbent, Mabior advanced and asked members of Bor County to give him one more term to serve this prodigious community. And subsequent candidates’ announced their candidacies: Akol Aguek Ngong launched a compelling theme known as “One Bor Campaign.” Akol initiated grass roots organizations reminiscent of the United States presidential elections. He embarked on state to state based campaigns, a political strategy which gave him access to more members. One Bor campaign established strong connections and enhance relationships with voters. Meanwhile, the unfamiliar candidate, Rev: Ayuen Agok Alith propelled his campaign on social network. Ayuen succeeded in his message of unity of Bor County members and bettering relationship with neighboring counties. Besides, his program of unity, Ayuen is married to articulate woman, Amer Mach Aleu, a woman whose members of Bor County would have loved to see run for Bor County Community USA Presidency. Ayuen seized rare opportunity and became competitive opponent in last four months of campaigns. 

In addition to Bor County’s election on May 25tth, 2015, Ngor Biar Dengaguek and Abeny Chinkok scheduled their marriage on the same weekend. Marriage receptions were conducted simultaneously on Friday, May 22, and Saturday, May 23, 2015. The wedding was scheduled at the St Andrew's Episcopal Church, 5720 Urbandale Ave Des Moines and wedding lunch at Marriot Banquet hall at 1250 NE 56th Des Moines Iowa. The marriage and elections lure communities of Jieng to Iowa. It also attracted hundreds of relatives and friends across the globe to Iowa.  Relatives of bride and groom came from as far as Australia. For instance, Abeny Kucha Tiir came from Australia, Abeny kuol Tiir from Canada, and Professor, Mayom Kuoirot Dengaguek from Bor, South Sudan. These relatives of both bridge and groom wanted to see their daughter and son had special occasion and honorable marriage. They wanted to see the bride and groom had marriage occasion compatible with values of values. It was divine a reunion in marriage, and Bor Communities united in election. One can only struggle with finding words that would capture the historic significant of this election and reunion conference. Only pictures and videos would best capture the numbers of people who attended two events. The hall with capacity of 3,000 seats was filled by the sea of people. Therefore I can safely say that over 3,000 people flocked into Iowa, the building was filled by sea of people filled with excitement and enthusiasm.

Debate, The Candidates Square Off! 

Electoral Commission structured debate into five continuous segments, and these segments were organized into dire issues confronting Bor County. Hence, candidates were grilled on five topics or subjects matters that are consequential to members of Bor County Community in South Sudan and United States. On both fronts, candidates were questioned by the moderator on how they can improve INSECURITY, EDUCATION, HEALTH, DEVELOPMENT, and DISPLACED POPULATIONS and some questions were taken from audience. Candidates squared off and beneath are their summarized talking points and programs.

President-Elect, Akol Aguek Ngong

In the first segment of debate, Akol stated that he had appointed over 40 members in his campaign. He stressed that the proposed ideas that would develop and move forward Paan Bor were organized by over 40 well educated members. Akol anchored ONE BOR CAMPAING ON: “communication, seamless and unfettered Communication plan, internal organization of diaspora, Identifying and utilizing talents, and better collaboration with all the stakeholders.”  In his opening statement, he urged 40 members to stand up for audience to see them. 

He added, that if elected, he would develop a “state of the art website”, a website that would premier projects/programs, Payams, state leadership, and main office leaderships. He pledged that his office will conduct an extensive headcounts to know the number of members of Bor County that live in the United States. He suggested that it is vital to know the number of people living in the United States because the only vital resource of a community or locale are its people. Akol asserted that he would collaborate and work with members of Bor County in Canada, Australia and in African, and would ask them to pledge their contributions toward development. 

As part of his debate strategy, Akol cornered Ayuen in series of investigative questions. Akol asked Ayuen, were where you when Mabior asked members to contribute money toward 2013-2014 disasters caused by war? He made it clear that he had raised over $950 and $400 on different occasions from his home state of Vermont to toward Bor Leadership effort under Mabior Achiek Chaw to rescue displaced persons back in South Sudan! “Were where you Ayuen?” Asked Akol! He suggested that it would be very hard to ask members to vote for you when you never participated in community’s activities. He asserted that you have not or never attended a single conference organized by our community. 

Akol cautioned members that peace comes from the position of strengths. He clarified by saying… if Bor County is developed and had vibrant economy, and we are able to protect ourselves, we can have meaningful peace with neighboring counties. 

He concluded his talk by getting to the emotional feelings of Bor County members by invoking the names of Bor legends and fallen heroes. Akol emotionally appealed to voters by saying this community has over and over again sacrificed the lives of our prominent leaders and members for the greater good of all in South Sudan. It is a community that knows who can do what at what time. It is a community that chooses its leaders based on their ability to face the challenges of a given time. Akol paused and asked if this is the community where Vice President Abel Alier Kuai or Judge Hon. Martin Majier Gai were enthroned and allowed to shine and lead; if this is the same community where Gen. Ajak Yen Alier and Gen. Abraham Jongroor Dengalich recently sacrificed their lives, than it will elect me because this community sees the capability of its sons and daughters. Akol pleaded “Paan Bor, you know I can do this! You perfectly know I have the capacity to lead this community better than the other candidates. I know I am not righteous but I can do the work. I beg you to elect me as the next Bor County leader in the United States,” Akol concluded his closing remarks.

The Incumbent, Mabior Achiek Chaw

Mabior took four minutes of his five minutes greeting members of Twic, Duk, Bhar El Ghazel, and most importantly praising members of Bor Community for their work they have done in the course of his term. He expressed it is vital to change leadership on time. He suggested that it is an achievement to change office on time. Mabior campaigns on the platform of constructing a Vocational Training School. He expressed that this will be center for training students to learn or study Carpentry, Masonry, welding, electric engineering and Business. Mabior painted Akol as elitist. He attempted in several occasions of debate to use Akol’s education as his a strategy to win election. 

Challenger, Rev: Michael Ayuen Agok Alith

Ayuen expressed that he would ensure “unity of Paan Bor.” He assured members that he knows Murle dialect. He articulated that he would initiate a comprehensive dialogue between Dinka Bor and Murle. He suggested that he knows David Yau Yau well. They have worked before and they can work again to resolve issues of cattle rustling, insecurity and child abduction between. He also wants to resolve issues that are facing “single parents in the diaspora, especially in the United States.” At the end of debate and election, Ayuen conceded to Akol. And at his conceding speech, his wife, Amer Mach Aleu acknowledged the miraculous event that occurred during voting process. This happened when members of Twic and Duk were asked to leave the hall till all members of Bor County voted.  She discerned and told that audience “you see, it immediately rained outside.” “Twic and Duk members are blessing to us. They perfect our unity” Amer explained. They are important component of our community, and that is why it rained outside so they returned to the hall.

Who is This Man: Bor County President Elect, Akol Aguek Ngong?

Birth place and life growing up: Akol was born in Malith Village of Gwalla Clan about 1 mile South of Kolnyang Payam in the 1970s. He grew up in Gwalla village in modern day Kolnyang Payam, Bor County, Jonglei State. Earlier in his young life, beyond cattle camps in Bor, Akol spent quite amount of times at cattle camps around Gemeza and Mongalla (East of Nile River) as well as around Jubabui, Buko and Tombek (West of River Nile) all areas in the modern day Terekeka (Mundari) County, Central Equatoria State. Akol also spent sometimes in the cattle camps around Kalthok, Minkaman (Guolyar) all the way to Bunagok in modern day, Awerial (Aliab) County, Lakes States. Akol developed co-existent and multicultural perspectives living with Mundari and Aliab people during his young life. 

Marital status: Akol is married to Thiei Machar Dengdit of Pale, Anyidi Payam, Bor County, Jonglei State. They live in Burlington, Vermont, USA with their two kids: a son (Dengdit) and a daughter (Adut). 

Education: Mr. Aguek holds a Masters’ Degree in Government (diplomacy, international affairs and social policy focus) from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and another Masters’ Degree in Business (management focus) from University of Vermont’s School of Business Administration; and a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics (finance) and Political Science (international affairs) from University of Vermont’s College of Arts and Sciences. Akol got his elementary and high school education in Ethiopia and Kenya before resettling in the United States in the summer of 2001.

Professional Experience: Akol is an educator by profession with experience in enrollment management focusing on international education and undergraduate admissions. He is a former assistant director of admissions and transfer coordinator at the University of Vermont’s undergraduate admissions office and is currently the International Student Services’ Advisor and University of Vermont’s Designated University Official to the US Federal Agencies on behalf of International Students. Akol loves working with international student and new American communities to expand their access to American college education. Akol was tapped as a teaching assistant for modern diplomacy course by former undersecretary of States, Nicholas Burns in 2013. And he has been selected for the prestigious Aspen Ideas Fellowship as 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival Fellow as one of the young and upcoming leaders under the age of 40. 

Leadership Experience: Akol was appointed a Staff Council member at the University of Vermont. The staff council is the body charged with negotiating pay raises and benefit packages with the leading university administrators on behalf of over 1,000 staff members at the University. Akol spent a quite amount of time on the council in which he successfully negotiated pay raises and generous benefit packages for his fellow staff members. 

Akol was also one of the founding members of the University of Vermont STAND Chapter; an organization that was campaigning to end genocide in Darfur, South Sudan and at other troubled places around the globe. In the summer of 2003, Akol negotiated free summer housing benefits for all Sudanese students attending the University of Vermont with the office of residential life; a benefit that was granted and subsequently offered to all Sudanese including those who were attending other Vermont’s state colleges. 

Akol was also the founding President of the Sudanese Community in Vermont Association and a founding member of the Sudanese education fund; both organizations were dedicated to improving the lives of Sudanese (and now South Sudanese) living in Vermont with social services and access to college education. During his leadership tenure, Akol led lobbied Chittenden County School District to allow all Lost Boys who passed high school age to attend high school in Vermont; an opportunity that turned out to be a huge success with increased enrollment in high schools and full progression to colleges in Vermont. 

At the advent of the arrival of the Somali Bantus in Burlington, Vermont, Akol was tapped as a Refugee Advocate (without pay), by the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP) to give testimony to the Burlington City Council urging the members to accept Somali Bantus to resettle in Burlington, Vermont. Akol was also recruited as a College Advisor (without pay) by the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) to advise new Americans on access to higher education in the United States.

Akol has traveled around the US to as far as Oregon sharing the story of the plights of South Sudanese during the 22 year brutal civil war between North and South Sudan and of new Americans in their adjustments to the realities of American life here in the United States. 

Akol loves Bor Dinka traditional dance and over the past 2 years, he has composed over 30 traditional songs (some of which are now widely sung by East Coast wrestling team members). He is a founding member of East Coast wrestling team; a team on which he plays the role of information secretary since the organization founding up to this day. Akol has played some leadership roles with on and off temporary advisory and commission tasks supporting leaderships of Bor County and Greater Bor Community in the United States (Akol has no pending assignments with both organizations at this time). 

Over the past several years, Akol has been engaged in South Sudanese public policy debates in which he contributed articles for public consumption as an opinion editorial columnist for the New Sudan Vision. More importantly, back at the refugee camp in Kenya at the time of his resettlement to the US in 2001, Akol was the vice chairman of Gwalla Community Youth in Group 17, Kakuma Refugee Camp. It was a role full of daunting tasks including organizing youths to peacefully engage in community and traditional festivities among others. Akol was briefly a teacher at Imatong Primary School; a position he relinquished upon his departure for United States of America. 

During the recent crisis resulting in South Sudan Civil War, Akol has engaged the current Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, in person on the current South Sudan crisis including the destruction of Bor and Kolnyang Massacre in which over 30 people were killed and 11 children abducted. Akol has also reached out to Sarah Sewall, the current US Undersecretary of State for Human Rights, advocating for the accountabilities for those who have committed heinous crimes against humanity in Bor and other areas during this current civil war. Akol also engaged Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (2005-2008), and Meghan O’Sullivan, Deputy National Security Advisor (2004-2008), David King, Chair of Bi-Partisan Program on Newly elected Members of Congress, on current crisis in South Sudan especially on the crimes committed in Bor in late 2013/Early 2014. As Harvard’s professors, all five current or former US government officials have taught and mentored Akol as a student at Harvard University. 

Akol also engaged Lise Grande, former UN Representative to South Sudan on UNMISS Chapter 6 &7 mandate on civilian protections, on then aborted UNMISS facilitated peace talk between Yau Yau’s Cobra Rebels Group and Government of South Sudan, and on role of UNMISS during the current crisis in South Sudan. 

What Can Politicians and Voters Learn in This Campaigns Organization? Here is the Analysis!

Even though candidates campaigned for a year, and community was consumed by politic, Bor County Community is not a political organization. Politic only comes at time of elections because presidency is contested. It is a significant time for members to elect a leader of their choice. It is significant that electoral Commission gave candidates one year period of campaign, which is a decent time for candidates to have ample interactions with voters before election. 

In politic, at least in the West, and particularly in the United States, it is difficult to unseat the incumbent. Defeating the Mabior suggested otherwise, Bor county members wanted change.  Bor County leadership contest of 2015 demonstrated paradigm of achieving and sustaining democracy. South Sudanese leaders of today and tomorrow can learn from this election.  Perhaps, new generation is a transition from often ineffective leadership, rigid personalities and politics to a more effective political program that can move South Sudanese contemporary society forward. This pending episode became clear in this election. From the declaration of his candidacy, Akol presumed and validated political maturity of leadership. He initiated a riveting campaign strategy that would not only unseat the incumbent but also defeat prominent opponent. 

So what necessitated Akol’s huge victory? The best answer would be the team he put together. Akol organized a team of prolific individuals who were not afraid of criticizing and exposing their leader weakness. A team of over 40 members campaigned for period of nine months were able to identify mistakes, weaknesses and provided solid remedy them. Akol is Harvard University and University of Vermont Alumni with MPA and MBA but it will be a mistake to credit his victory to educational achievements, programs presented, wealth experience, strong community leadership Akol had from Vermont, and Bor Community and, whether individual, collective or both. 

In fact, on the account of individual achievements, Akol’s ground works, the team he put together and campaign he led in key battle ground states or swing states could be the best answer to his victory. Akol spent more times campaigning in Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Michigan than other two candidates. He spent more times in states were larger numbers of Bor County members are residing. He is a man of people.

 For over nine months, voters were able to learn more about candidates. In a campaign period, candidates had a chance to crisscross key states, a state where large numbers of Bor County members are residing. In this rigorous trips, candidates spent extensive times on campaign trails to convince voters to vote them. At the end of their campaign, members flocked to Iowa State to decide 2015 Bor County Presidential election. Most voters came to Iowa decided of which candidate they would vote for, and only small number of about percentage 30% came undecided.

The debate started and candidates were grilled and questioned on unity, security, development, repatriations and many other projects. These debate segments exposed candidates’ weakness and strengths.  This became quite clear in the first around of debate. Mabior was dormant in the first round of debate and that hurt him. He, at the end unleashed barrage of negative attacks against Akol. Such escalation of attacks on reputable candidate hurt him. It is important to mention that Mabior and Ayuen were able to make their case and proposed programs to members but they both failed to connect the dots ….on how their programs would be funded or simply identifying source of funding. One hand Akol became more credible candidate. He articulated programs and enunciated sources of funding. Akol indicated that he would ask contributions from members before he would embarking on writings various kinds grants and requests money from American friends for development and reconstructions of Bor County. President elect, Akol Aguek Ngong articulated his programs, and his articulation showed good correlations with voters which better explained the outcome of election. Akol provided answers which indicated on how undecided voters make the last decision to vote for him. The way candidates answered questions, and personal presentation suggested whether candidate looked presidential. In short, questioning candidates and answers constituted the most satisfactory that measure skills of leadership and help voters to make more informed decision on whom they could vote for to lead a community. However, all candidates were able to articulate their programs. The President elect, Akol Aguek Ngong was rewarded by his grassroots organization. He toured the United States and made compelling arguments. He portrayed himself as an individual who has wealth of experiences.

In 2001 and 2002, Akol together with other Lost Boys in Vermont helped championed access to high school and that enabled lots of Lost Boys to eventually to attend college. He had served at various levels at Bor and GBC communities. Akol began to organize multi-day rides around the state to promote ONE BOR CAMPAIGN programs. He chronicled his campaign on state to state base with a heavy focus on social media as his news outlet.

His programs of peace with neighbors and a strong sense of community and, often, more conservative ideals of embracing Dinka values gave him edge. Akol loves dancing wearing traditional dance gowns (Agangrial or Thoh). His traditional dancing alone slowly becomes a colorful lobbying force, and a platform that enhances his social interactions with members of his community than other candidates.  Although the outgoing president criticized his involvement in Dinka Bor cultural activities, Akol stood firm and sang a song of his father at his victorious session.  He humbly confesses that his had decent relationship with Twi and then Bor, and it is in this context his father composed songs that turn to appreciate his relationship with Twi.

However, when examining campaigns, it's important to note that although these three candidates seem quite different, in substance they occupy a relatively restricted area within the universal political spectrum. Democracies with a system of proportional representation give expression to a wider range of political views. In this wide open field, candidates make their case to all potential voters. In contrast, the incumbent, Mabior Achiek Chaw attempted to brand himself as an individual who has experienced and had a better understanding of issues affecting Bor County community. Even with experience and community resources and privilege of having served community for 4 years, he suffered a nerve wrecking lost to election. This is because he even lost to unknown and unfamiliar candidate, Ayuen Agok.

Concurrently, the five Payams were equally present and it was shown by their diverse present on Election Day. This also means that numbers of people that voted were proportional to that of five Payams of Bor County. Even with this view, there was sentiment circulating that majority of members who voted in election came from Gok and then Athooch. Members cited wedding of Abeny and Biar as one reason that encouraged more members from Gok to attend the election or maybe two candidates were from Gok. And this could be another reason that attracts people to election. It is important to acknowledge that Gok had three Payams and Athooch had two. The fact that Gok had three Payams can explain why it seems Gok were majority in Election Day. With this political demography, some commentators before election thought Ayuen would be in advantageous position because Marriage would attract members of his Payam to election and this may be translated into his victory. Although Ayuen came out better than Mabior, this analogy was proven wrong them. But, to what extent is this representative of Payam electorate? I have spoken with member of Electoral, Chol Kuch (Chol Mang’aai) in an attempt to obtain Payam’s Data. He had told me that the data of five Payam has not been released by electoral commission, and they have not shared data with no one.  Chol told that they will release Payam’s data once it is completed.

In conclusion, political sentiment which could effectively to capture the voting intentions and explains demographic would be voters voted for candidate with better qualities of leadership and skills warranted by the time. I have observed and combined my observation with sentiment analysis and evaluated, and I say with clarity and equivocal terms that our community is in a better political positions. I have explored the underlying content of Akol’s victory and came out with this result. Bor County elected merited leader. The members elected leaders with better qualities of leadership, who has better organization and conducted a better campaign. Voters did not along Payams lines as commentators had suggested.

The Results of Election 

The electoral commission revealed to me that 609 people were registered to vote. 14 people who were registered did not vote in election, and 3 ballots were declared invalid. 282 people voted for Akol Aguek Ngong, 189 people voted for Rev: Ayuen Agok Alith and 122 people voted for Mabior Achiek Chaw. These results are interpreted in the above pie chart which illustrated that Akol got 47%, Ayuen, got 32%, Mabior got 22% and 0.005% were invalid. 

Victory Speech, President of Bor County Community USA Akol Aguek Ngong

In his victory speech, Akol Aguek Ngong gave his Vice president, Ajok Atong Ajok a chance. Ajok recounted this emotional story that captures suffering and death of our people during the liberation struggle, and he did with this captivating message. Ajok gave one example of sad stories of family that war had not spared a single person. The whole family perished because of 21 year conflict. Ajok narrated that 1984 he was taken to “Abii Cattle Camp, Wun e Ruar.” He went and met his friend Chol Dakbai. And amongst his closest friends was Janglou Mayen Janglou. They were only three in the family, his father, him and his sisters. Janglou was in Group #3 in Pinyudo. 

Janglou voluntary joined Cdr Ayuen Mabior Garang as a soldier and left Kakuma to fight in South Sudan. Janglou had one sister. His sister was shot by a person at dancing field. Janglou fought in Upper Nile, Equatoria and Abyei and came back to Bor and married, and had two children. Janglou was killed in Manyingak by Murle. In 2012, his orphan wife went to live in Sudd areas, along the Nile to at least survive or support her family. Janglou’s wife boat capsized in the River Nile and his wife died in the River.  

Besides, this horrific story, Ajok said that my own mother ran 1991, and spent months in the bush because I was not in the United States but not now. In 2013 my mother did not run because I am in the United States. She lives in Nakuru. People whose relatives are suffering are people who had no people in the West or people whose relatives have no decent incomes. If we want to remove our orphans from the streets of South Sudan and if we want to develop Bor County, please put your hands in your pocket if you want this community to function. People who are now living in Guolyar or in other displaced camps need our help now. 

In conclusion, Akol praised and congratulated Ateny Thiong Ajak for remarkable campaign he conducted. He also congratulated all the campaign managers for awesome job they have done. He stressed that time of politics is over. He said that I have neither denigrated nor turned down Beny Mabior Achiek during his tenure. I was with him during his time. Akol asked Mabior to work with him during his tenure for the next 4 years.

Bor County Community USA Electoral commission

Ateny Thiong Ajak (Chair of the Board)

Dr. Sarah Bullen Alier

Chol Kuch Chol, (Chol Kuch Mang’aai)

Deng Achol Abui

Mangok Mach Bol (resigned as a chair of Electoral Commission because his minor disagreement with former president, Mabior Achiek Chaw.

The Validity and Fairness of the results was affirmed by the following Payam Observers 

Jok Luol Ngong Kolnyang Payam

Dut Leek Deng Makuach Payam)

Mawut Kur-Aninjot Baaidit  Payam

Mabil Majak Geu Anyidi Payam

Bol Kon Jalle Payam 

Campaign Managers of the Candidates

Aguet Kuany Aguet of One Bor Campaign  appointed by President-elect, Akol Aguek Ngong;

Gai Makor Akuendel of One More Chance Campaign appointed by former president Mabior Achiek Chau

Abraham Machol Mach of Unity Campaign appointed by former candidate, Rev. Ayuen Agok Alith.

This story was contributed by Gabrial Pager Ajang.  Pager was on the ground in Iowa on Election Day. He is political Science and History instructor at Wright Career College. He can be reached at ajangassociates@gmail.com or gajang@wrightcc.edu 

More Posts Next page »