Monday, January 7, 2008

My Articles 2003-2007

The issue of the national capital: how secular is secular?

The issue of the secularization of the national capital appears to have somehow come to a rest after a heated debate that was sparked off by the meeting between the leaders of the Umma and DUP parties, Al-Mahdi, Al-Mirghani and Dr. Garang, the leader of the SPLM/A in Cairo, Egypt, when they addressed the issue of the national capital. This debate has been so useful that Sudanese of all walks of life spoke their minds and the majority Muslim seems determined not to secularize the national capital.

Sherif Al-Hindi, the leader of the DUP here in Khartoum was quoted in one of the dailies as saying that "those who want to drink alcohol should go and do that in Juba. Bishop Deng of the Khartoum Catholic Archdiocese was also quoted by the BBC as saying that "those who are against the secularization of the national capital are telling non-Muslims to go away from the capital.” Both extreme views are not Sudanese in nature and are aimed at widening the very gap that has to be narrowed if unity of the people of this country is to be achieved.

Before going any deeper to discuss this hot topic, it would be good to understand the meaning of the word secular and whether there is anything called secular and if there is, in whose understanding the word was coined. Lawyers could define this word better than the journalists but nonetheless a definition is a must so as to make the reader understand what is being talked about here. In simple terms, secular means the opposite of religious or religiously dominated. This word was coined by the Europeans when they waged war against the domination of the Church in government and political issues at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. This word as it stands means non-religious but how non-religious is it?

America is probably the ‘champion’ of secularism in the world, so it is believed, but it is not that secular unless practice does not make perfect: "In God we trust" is a religious phrase that the most democratic 'Uncle Sam' allows in its local currency termed 'hard currency' in the rest of the world, the US Dollar. In England, a US ally, and perhaps the next in practicing democracy, the Queen is the head of the Church. How secular could the British system be? Does it then mean that secularism becomes non-religious when might backs its imposition? Most of these questions would only be answered by Sudanese who should understand that it is their country and people who are at cross-roads and no word imposed or otherwise could help entangle the crisis.

Sudanese should ignore the word as its meaning is cloudy and should try to think of what is good for them and choose what is good for them and not what is good for others. The 'natural justice' which used to be often referred to in the British statements on colonial policy was implemented by legal and other conventions so that from the point of view of British culture, (ethnocentrism – assumption that the way we do things is normal and natural – E.A. Oke, 1991:24) natural justice was self-evident, essential and right beyond doubt for human societies everywhere (Oke, 1991:26). Could we as a people that have a civilization – Christian and Islamic, Arabic and African – co-exist? The answer is yes because we are citizens of the same country.

It is in the interest of unity and peace in this country to address the issue of the national capital so that the confidence building between the Sudanese, especially north and south is made easy and indeed possible during the interim period, should peace be achieved. What is suggested by Dr. Garang is not fair to the people of Khartoum state as one of the northern states that is supposed to practice Shari'ah laws. It would also be unfair to the non-Muslims who live in Khartoum because they cannot be cocooned in Khartoum as if they have no relatives and friends in the other parts of Khartoum. Failure to address the issue of the national capital by the Sudanese themselves would definitely make the southerners decide to completely leave Khartoum and move to Shari'ah laws-free southern Sudan. This would be good to Muslim extremists who are actually fed up with the southern Sudanese drinking habits and other related behaviours that they view as immoral. But this would also be good to Christian extremists who would automatically use such an extreme view to opt for separation since the view gives no alternative to co-existence.

Could secularism assume a different meaning in the Sudanese context? May be not but it would be good if the Sudanese rephrase it to mean ‘Muslims and Christians in the Sudan working for the interest of each other to help cultivate peace and unity in this country so that equal development could be achieved.’

THE NAKURU DOCUMENT: to whom should the blame go; SPLM/A, Sudan government or IGAD?

The Sudanese peace talks under the auspices of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which started from 1994's Declaration of Principles (DOPs), have finally come to an end. The recent Nakuru talks witnessed the beginning of the end to these talks.

IGAD has been mediating from 1994 and since then there has never been any agreement reached between the warring parties. Nakuru is certainly the end because there can never be any further talks but negotiations to narrow down the differences between the parties in the current controversial document so that they reach a final agreement that may then be called a comprehensive agreement. Nakuru is the third largest town in Kenya about 160 kilometers west of the capital, Nairobi.

The proposed document for agreement between the government and the SPLM/A for peace was probably produced and presented in Nakuru to the parties. The SPLM/A accepted the document but the government rejected it out rightly. The document, had in a general overview, tabled the following:

a) that there should be two armies; SPLA with its minister of defense under Dr. Garang in the South and Sudanese armed forces with another minister of defense in Khartoum and under Lt-gen. Bashir;

b) that there should be two monetary systems with two central banks, one in the South under the SPLM/A and the other in the North and under central government;

c) that SPLM/A should form the government in the South without the participation of the South Sudanese inside the country; and

d) that Dr. Garang becomes the only V-P with the same status as that of the president of the republic and with an extra power: to veto any decisions made by the interim parliament and the head of state.

There have been mixed reactions to this document from both the South and the North of Sudan, including those outside the country. To some southerners, only one of the above is a problem: SPLM/A's interest in forming the interim government of the South without the participation of those inside the country.

This school of thought belongs to those southerners who would want the South to separate from the north today and not tomorrow. Some northern Sudanese reject this document entirely and this school of thought is interested in safeguarding the unity of the country.

Generally, both South and North Sudanese politicians are disappointed in this document and one message that is coming out of them is clear: that the document calls for war in the South between southerners and the brandishing of guns in the North after the current cessation of hostilities to defend the 'faith and the land'.

Who should be blamed for these renewed hostilities, is it the SPLM/A, Sudan government or the IGAD? The latter should be blamed because it has acted in the most unprofessional manner. In conflict management, it is important to consider the views and indeed the interest of both parties. 'Give and take' is the order of the process in conflict resolution. IGAD appeared to have ignored this basic rule of conflict resolution and more so, something very important: the identification of a political system that should run the South during the interim period. For example, would the South be run by the current federal system or confederation? The Nakuru document does not – very sincerely – fit in either of the two because the current federation has the central government and confederation especially that between mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar does not have two ministries; defense and finance and two central banks.

Both the DOPs and the Machakos protocols talk about running the country in a form that is acceptable to both parties and within the framework of a united Sudan during the interim period but without identifying the type of the political system.

They also affirm that at the end of the interim period the people of the South shall hold a plebiscite to decide on the options of unity and separation. The process is called self-determination. Self-determination itself appears to be a misunderstood concept by all the parties and up to recently the IGAD who have drawn an agreement separating the south from the onset. As for the Sudanese, there are those in the South who want to believe that self-determination guarantees the separation of the South from the North.

There are also northerners who would want to believe that self-determination would reaffirm the unity of the country. Both could actually be true but a lot of work ought to be done by both interest groups to achieve either of them and antagonizing each other during the interim period would not help the process to succeed.

The crisis being faced by the country now requires an urgent solution and no one is going to come to give the Sudanese a miracle solution to the problems that exist. Sudanese being the target to resolve their own problems, then the South-South dialogue is necessary for the people of the South to agree and come up with an acceptable proposal for the partial solution of this civil war and the other part should come from the north. In South-South dialogue, southerners of all walks of life would gather just like they did in Entebbe I&II and resolve any problem that tries to hinder a process towards ending the war in the country. Northerners too, have to address the other part of the problem and come up with an acceptable proposal to end the civil war.

Disunity of the people of the southern Sudanese people shall continue to hinder any process that aims at achieving a comprehensive peace in the country. And if any solution is imposed like for example the Nakuru document had succeeded, southerners inside would not have allowed the SPLM/A to form any government and would always be ready to fight till they are recognized by the SPLM/A.

This south-south problem would always make it impossible to achieve either of the two options: separation and/or unity of the country because their role in determining the success of either of them is as important. In short, there will be no peace agreement and the absence of peace as we all know, is war, which the people of the Sudan, both northerners and southerners, are fatigued of and must work hard to end it through a constructive dialogue between its citizens.

SPLM/A Misses a Golden Opportunity for Reconciliation

The topic of this article's is reconciliation, which means to harmonies a misunderstanding or to understand each other's problems and conciliate. It analyses the visit to Khartoum by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) goodwill delegation and why they disregarded forgiveness not only as a step towards reconciliation but also as a political strategy for the meetings it held in Khartoum with most political parties and civil society institutions, including the Church. It also looks at the refusal of the SPLM/A to meet the Coordinating Council for South Sudan (CCSS), United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF) and the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). Could this refusal be a testimony to a revelation of SPLM/A's true colours? If not, why the hostile attitude? These and many more questions and some answers form the basis of this article.

However, the meeting was regarded by many as a positive development in the search of the Sudanese people for peace. It was also regarded as a step before the last to attain peace in the country. Sudanese of all occupations, including the host, Sudan government, were thrilled at the emotional arrival of the SPLM/A goodwill delegation to Khartoum airport.

On its arrival, the delegation embarked on very serious meetings with the northern political parties and the United Sudan African Parties (USAP). The SPLM/A goodwill delegation refused to meet UDSF, CCSS and SSDF. A valuable question one could to ask is why did the SPLM/A do such a thing? This question found an unofficial answer from one of the delegates. The Delegate, whose name is withheld, said "the delegation could not meet these forces because the SPLM/A does not recognize their existence." This answer is certainly a very serious development, especially to those from South Sudan and other marginalized areas of Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains who expected a reconciliatory approach from the SPLM/A.

This lack of recognition, however, comes as a result of the misunderstanding that was created during the 1991 split in rank and file of the SPLM/A. The split did not only affect the relationship between the South Sudanese and the SPLM/A but also the other fighters from the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains who later broke away from the SPLM/A mainstream and are today within the rank and file of the Sudan government and its ruling party, Mutammar Al-Watani (National Congress Party – NCP). SPLM/A did not apply reconciliation as basis for its current visit to Khartoum, at least in as far as its relationship with forces that broke away from it is concerned. This was evident in their meeting with UMMA party, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the National Popular Congress amongst other northern political parties. They also met with the Union of Sudan African Parties (USAP). What on earth could have prevented the goodwill delegation from meeting the rival factions currently in Khartoum? Well, the answer to this question could be attributed to the bad signals coming out of the Naivasha closed doors meeting. It looks like the Naivasha talks are aimed at reconciling Sudanese in exclusion of others, especially the SPLM/A rival parties mentioned above.

The goodwill delegation's visit should have been a golden opportunity for both SPLM/A, CCSS and its factions to launch the South-South dialogue in the country's national capital, Khartoum, and this could have spread all over the ten States in the South as well as Sudanese living in exile. Here, the goodwill delegation failed to show signs of interest in reconciliation in order to gain what it has always assumed to represent, the South as a constituency. Why did SPLM/A fail to show interest in reconciliation? The answer to this question should be left to rational South Sudanese who must be wondering as to why the SPLM/A goodwill delegation could not seize such an opportunity to reconcile with South Sudanese and the others from the marginalized areas with whom they have differed in the past!

The visit, however, has been met with three major reactions from the Sudanese inside the national capital, Khartoum. The first one is that the visit assured pessimists of the possibility for the country's arrival at peace, that a final peace is at hand or as usually said, 'imminent', as opponents who once fought each other tooth and nail were not only at peace with each other but also that they were in Khartoum and before their naked eyes. The second one is that there are those who perceive the visit as a mere public relations exercise employed by both the SPLM/A and the NCP to strengthen the future bond of their new partnership. The third and last reaction is that the partnership may be aimed at giving the SPLM/A a free hand in the South and NCP the other free hand in the north and both would coordinate efforts to suppress the other parties. Maj-Gen. Clement Wani, Deputy Chairman of CCSS, and others expressed fears like this on the need for South-South dialogue as a process forming a prerogative for the unity of South Sudanese.

SPLM/A's interest in trying to organise the South-South dialogue in its own terms as mentioned by the head of its own peace desk, Cdr. James Kok, is a dangerous move. In an interview published by Sudan Vision (SV) newspaper December 13th and 14th , 2004, respectively, Kok affirmed fears that SPLM/A is a monopolist movement, that is trying to rally behind the South Sudan rank and file in its own terms. This also appeared to have had light shed to it by the delegation's refusal to meet its South Sudan rival parties. SPLM/A head of the goodwill delegation confirmed in a press conference in Naivasha upon his from Khartoum, in which he said, 'southerners inside, including the constitutional post holders, are for separation, and that a lot of work needs to be done to ensure the unity of the Sudan', (SV, December 13th, 2004). Monopolizing the South-South dialogue would not be in the interest of the SPLM/A or, to say the least, in the interest of South Sudanese themselves.

The South-South dialogues, which were organised in the past, were organised by the Church in both SPLM/A and government controlled areas. The Churches role was and continues to be neutral unless for some reasons SPLM/A has lost confidence in the Church and is up to usurp the role of the Church in the South-South dialogue. If it has, then the SPLM/A would be in for a very rough ride as it assumes the reigns of power in the South. Because the Church is a constant representative of the grassroots in the South and South Sudanese are not going to settle in for anything less than a democratic system. A system which must respect the management of public affairs in a morally-guided manner (good governance). Democracy does not entertain despotic tendencies, let alone subjugation of any kind. What would be SPLM/A's interest in trying to marginalize others when it claims to be fighting for marginalization of the Sudanese?

Therefore, another war seems to be 'imminent' between those who would-be marginalized and the SPLM/A-NCP future partnership government after the signing of the Naivasha negotiations into agreement. If this occurs, a setback to the entire peace process in the country would be a possible consequence. Either way it makes it so apparent that the partnership intends to address the South-South dialogue and other differences in the north after the signing of the expected Naivasha agreement. Should this be the line of thinking (hope not) between the partnership , then one would draw a single conclusion out of this development: that the partnership would be borrowing SPLM/A policy of trying to impose, in their own terms, a reconciliation that may not be in the interest of the Sudanese people. Should this be true and war happens to breakout, no amount of force could settle the would-be outbreak of war, which could be regarded by those waging it as a war against marginalization and their right in the peace agreement.

Sudanese are resolved that peace and not war is the only way forward and this has been the vision of the forces SPLM/A says it does not recognize. It was this vision that encouraged them to sign the Sudan Peace Agreement (SPA) in 1997 – and one would doubt the success of the current negotiations if the rival factions did not sign the SPA and continued to resist the SPLM/A in the bushes of South Sudan! The SPA brought all the SPLM/A rival factions under one umbrella and they are now partners of the government yet their needs are not taken care of by the Naivasha negotiations.

Unity of the country and separation of the South are matters that no South/North political organization could handle on its own without the participation of the other political forces in the country. More so, unity and separation are part of an exercise that requires campaign and campaign needs people to implement it. Some South Sudanese have expressed their desire to secede openly; but does this desire come out of the blue? No, because throughout their history of struggle for freedom, justice and equality – represented in the Juba conference of 1947, which had called for federation between the North and South but within the framework of the country's unity. Addis Ababa, SPA and now the would-be Naivasha agreement affirm the survival of the country within the framework of a united Sudan during the interim period.

The successive governments in the North, however, continued unabated to work for any programme for peace whereas the current government is making up for the mistakes they committed, including giving the people of the South the right to self-determination. Nevertheless, the South Sudanese have already tested the better pills of Sudan's unity and some of them are now saying the pill for separation may be better and as such, it is worth trying. This call for separation came due to frustration because strict Islamic laws were introduced in 1983 and those South Sudanese in the North suffered from these laws.

Hypothetically, say South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for the unity of the country in the forthcoming plebiscite, that very unity would have to be re-defined. Like for example, would that unity be the same unity, which denied the people of the South their basic rights to justice, equality, religious and other freedoms? Of course, not, it has to be a unity based on new basis altogether, basis that guarantees justice, equality, religious and other freedoms for all citizens of the Sudan, so that no war erupts in the country again. That is why the SPA and the Naivasha agreements have both called on the North Sudanese to make unity of the Sudan attractive so that no one feels alienated and hence think of separating from the rest of Sudan.

North Sudanese are asked by South Sudanese to change their somewhat superior attitude, develop the South and give it equal share in governance of Sudan and management of its resources. This is what South Sudanese call making unity attractive. Should the North Sudanese fail to make unity attractive during the interim period, a matter which would obviously imposed the option of separation to South Sudanese, they will have themselves to blame. Instead of complaining, they should accept the results of the plebiscite and work towards maintaining bilateral relations with the South as the two entities share ancestry that imposes on them a commonality, 'Sudanism.'

The current negotiations in Naivasha are aimed at reconciling the socio-economic and politico-military imbalances, the imbalances that have sustained the war and which are represented in the power, wealth sharing and the security arrangements protocols. Nevertheless, human greed is making it difficult for the talks in Naivasha to succeed because there are northern and southern Sudanese in senior government positions who are benefiting from the continuation of the war. These individuals do not care whether war erupts again because it would delay the implementation of the would-be Naivasha agreement as proven by the limbo surrounding the SPA. These short-sighted individuals do not know that by sabotaging the reconciliation of the Sudanese people, they would not only be forcing an automatic unity of the marginalized Sudanese but also unconditional consensus of the South Sudanese and the results may not be in the interest of the Sudanese in general. North Sudanese should be aware of this because it is they and not the people of the marginalized Sudanese who are asked, not begged, to make unity of the Sudan attractive. Antagonism and direct lynching of political opponents, something feared by many could happen in the future, would not provide any solution to the problems because Sudan's past has never been any better.

All Sudanese have tasted the ugly flavours of this war whose end is said to be 'imminent.' If this time has been earmarked by the Almighty Father in heavens for the reconciliation of the Sudanese people, for God's sake let the Sudanese people seize the opportunity. Then use the divine doctrine of heartfelt 'forgiveness' and cultivate harmony between a people who share the same destiny to achieve a genuine reconciliation in the country from Nimule to Halfa and Jinena to Gallabat. Forgiveness is the first step towards genuine reconciliation. How could the people of the South achieve such an objective if those who assume to represent them on the negotiating table in Naivasha harbour ill feelings of revenge in their hearts? A 'tooth for a tooth' leaves no one with teeth and if this tooth is human life, which is actually the implication here, then there would be no human resource left in the country and such ill-intentions have prolonged the war in the Sudan. Evil should not be given another chance to infiltrate the hearts of the Sudanese people.

None from the parties involved in the Sudan conflict could claim to be clean and without mistakes. Naivasha negotiations have taken a while but are on track to address the grievances that would heal the hearts of all Sudanese. How could the country claim to enjoy peace when the very peace would ignite another war? Does it really mean that forgiveness and reconciliation are not found in our Sudanese vocabulary? Even if it is not, the Sudanese could learn from other experiences like that of South Africa. South Africa did not only learn from its past mistakes but has also understood what forgiveness really means. It is now enjoying the fruits of national reconciliation. It was this nationalistic vision of forgiveness, which President Mandela employed to end differences in his country. President Mandela did not only use the vision of national forgiveness to his rival, the Inkata freedom Party Chairman, Chief Mongusutu Butelezi, who worked with the apartheid regime for his past mistakes, but he made him to act one time as President of South Africa, when he and his Deputy, Thabo Mbeki, (now President Mbeki), were out of the country. This is a true meaning of reconciliation, which brings about trust not hate. Could we emulate this beautiful style of African leadership? Yes, we can, because Mandela is an African and so are we!

Equatorians Have Transcended Tribalism

Views about to be expressed in this are article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any party or organisation. Unity and Nationalism became a topic for discussion in this article when a friend from Northern Sudan asked a very interesting question: “what is the view of Equatorians in regards to the 'unity' of the country that is the Sudan and whether 'Nationalism' is embraced by the Equatorians? This question has two elements; 'unity' and nationalism' and so this article will handle both concurrently. The question was very important although the good friend felt that his it was embarrassing and aggressive at the same time. The importance of this question, however, is that Equatoria, found in South-South Sudan, has a multitude of nationalities and tribes, yet it is always referred to as single entity, Equatoria. This reference affirms the cohesion of the nationalities and tribes in Equatoria and this is a good step towards the development of any nation, let alone the Sudanese, into a Nation/State.

Before losing the track of this argument, it would only be fair to note that the Northern Sudanese have no trust in Equatorians. This lack of trust resulted from the first Anyanya war masterminded by Equatorians in 1955 in the South Sudan. The Northerners also have a conception that Equatorians are more separatists in their orientation than unionists are.

Today there is a common belief amongst the Northern Sudanese that Equatorians would work for the separation of the South from the North come the plebiscite after the interim period. However, if one would ask, why have the Northern Sudanese lost trust in Equatorians, including those serving them loyally, is it because they lit the torch of liberation in the Sudan? No, but there are a number of reasons; this article will discuss later, why the Equatorians and Northern Sudanese look at each other with suspicion.

The Torit mutiny, which was responded to by the rest of the South, was bloody and some of the Northern Sudanese lost their loved ones in this mutiny. Equatorians, thus, became very careful and remained on the watch out. The desire for revenge by the North Sudanese for the Torit mutiny was not ending and as such they are aware of being a targeted entity.

The origin for the mistrust is Equatoria's civilization. Civilized people would know what are exploitation, oppression, domination and certainly religious and racial discrimination. This probably is what has brought about the mistrust and make those with tendencies to practice the above feel threatened. This being the case, the successive regimes in the Sudan marginalized Equatorians and so isolated and marked them for an enemy.

Since the current peace, process is meant to heal wounds of the past and reconcile the hearts of country's citizens irrespective of whom they are and where they come from. The North Sudanese should seriously heed to the call to accommodate all Sudanese and make the so-called unity of the country attractive. To make unity attractive, various steps are supposed to be painfully adhered to. Domination, exploitation, suppression, oppression; religious and racial discrimination should really end. This is not an easy thing to do but for the interest of this country's unity, concessions have to be made to make unity attractive.

One-a-half years of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) life have passed. Meaning the period for referendum is closing up and the gap that is supposed to make unity attractive is really widening rather than narrowing. When the points mentioned above are adhered to then equality, justice, freedom and religious co-existence would automatically be produced and the results would be an automatic resolve to preserve the unity of the country. This unity will be a new unity with new bases as opposed to the unity we have now. The new unity shall have the characteristics of a Nation/State. The whole idea of Nation/State building is to organize various cultures and races into a singe entity. It does not mean that these cultures and races are to be merged or united. Because merging or uniting those cultures and races means to have the intention of assimilating other cultures and races into what is main, the dominating culture and/or race.

It is clear before everybody’s eyes that the Sudan has a potentiality of becoming a nation/state because the current government is keen in the development of a Sudanese Nation. This could be seen in its seriousness to end all the wars that were encouraged by the previous regimes. This seriousness should also address the question of participation by all Sudanese in all sectors of the Sudanese Nation and this participation should really be based on a just territorial representation, fair competition and the selection of Sudanese nationals on merits in the public and the private sectors.

Sudanese need to learn and know the values of other cultures in the Sudan so that some cultures are not judged from the perspectives of other cultures. Anthropologists have made it very clear that those who judge some cultures from the perspectives of their own cultures, and, to add, values, are suffering from a cultural shock. The unnecessary religious tension should be relaxed and there is a need to respect other religions so reciprocity could be expected.

Equatorians, therefore, have transcended tribalism and have now moved into a stage of nationhood. They are waiting for the rest of the country to overcome tribal and nationality barriers to build a strong Sudanese Nation/State. Equatorians are being careful and are fully aware that jumping on a boat whose course of sailing is not known is dangerous. This is necessitated by the fact that they have suffered in the hands of both SPLA and Sudan government. This being the case, they certainly are on the watch out and it seems they will remain so until they have witnessed their unconditional recognition as Sudanese citizens, having equal opportunities like the other Sudanese.

Unity of Eastern Equatorians is essential

The views about to be expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of anybody or organization. The topic of this article is unity of Eastern Equatorians. The author has been prompted to write this article because the people of Eastern Equatoria state are not united and that certainly would affect the state and the people whom these very politicians are appointed to serve.

Eastern Equatoria as it is known by the majority of its citizens was established in 1994. But its people have not enjoyed any cohesion, an essential element in building of unity. This kind of situation was encouraged by some sections of state politicians who apply a rather parochial way of tackling politics. It has been known that some previous leaders in Eastern Equatoria used nepotism and tribalism to entrench themselves, including their relatives and friends from one tribe in power. This therefore gave rise to an illegal removal at ease of the state’s technocrats who do not necessarily come from their tribes and are not related to them in any way.

A trend such as this would not help to improve the governance in the state and certainly helps to encourage corruption in the state. Because the appointed relative or friend may not be qualified to do the job and even if he/she is qualified, he/she would feel protected by the relative or friend boss when he/she extends a hand into looting state’s meager resources or funds if you like.

The way forward would be that any appointed government must respect the system and as such protect all the civil servants in the state and from time to time hold seminars and workshop on good governance and need not to encourage tribalism or nepotism. In other words, the civil servants constitute the main aspect of a running system as their presence ensures continuity of governance since the newly appointed politicians need them as references to many things regarding the system of government in Eastern Equatoria state.

Therefore, the unity of Eastern Equatorians, politicians and civil servants is essential. The formula for this unity is that there should be no heart feelings when the time for one or all the politicians in the cabinet has come to retire. Because there is no way that someone appointed as a minister, advisor or commissioner is to remain in that seat of his forever. There is no such thing and it will never be there because our country is moving towards the complete democratization of the country, which will obviously include all the states in the country. The states of the country will eventually adopt the federal policies on how to establish and register political parties at state level. This also means that any politicians who would like to vie for the posts of the government’s top offices, MPs and local government councilors must bring people around them. Nepotism and tribalism are quite opposed to the essence of democracy.

Eastern Equatorian also need to strengthen such unity so that together they would be able to extend a welcoming hand to the brothers and sisters from the SPLM/A who are coming to take over 70% of power in the state. The strength of those in the state may help change the attitudes of those coming from SPLM/A; because some of them who would be appointed to the cabinet in Eastern Equatoria are also aware of the fact that to maintain their interim positions in the government, there is a need to join hands with the brothers and sisters who are in the state in order to gain votes three years later when the elections of those intending to run for offices in the states come. Unity is strength; divided we fall, united we stand.

GoSS to Consider Advices on Repatriation of Bor People

This article attempts to look at responsible journalism, how it could promote the interest of peace and subsequently help the implementation of the CPA. However, before looking at the topic of this article, it would be good to put the readers in the picture so that they know why it is important to discuss responsible journalism.

The Citizen newspapers issues No. 15 and 16, p.2&3 respectively published two articles entitled: "Dinka-Bor relocation: Will history forgive and forget?" and "Bor displacement: One of the bitter issues." These two articles touch three major communities in Southern Sudan: Nuer and Dinka tribes found in Upper Nile and Equatoria (a multitude of tribes) found in south-south Sudan. The articles insinuate three major reasons that could be recipes for a serious renewal of tribal conflicts in Southern Sudan. Here are two excerpts marked (a) and (b) from the two articles to support the argument: a) Issue No. 15: "the strategy {of} our PhD holders (Drs. Lam Akol and Riek Machar when they split the SPLM/A movement in 1991) and alleged saviours were to plunder Bor area and wipe it out of human race." b) "THOSE WHO KNOW THE HISTORY and the politics of South Sudan will agree with me that it is not only the complaint that the Dinka allowed their herds to graze the farms of the Equatorians. It is because of the ideology cultivated when the South was enjoying its fruits of the first struggle and germinated into a terrible thing known as Kokora, a Bari (tribe) word for division, which (in 1983) called for all the Dinka in Juba to move to their land. This issue weakened the southern stand, which led to the abrogation of the Addis Ababa Agreement. Guess what will happen to the CPA if such a thing continues (?)"

The first quote is as clear as the sun in the sky. It would mean nothing less than the refreshing of memories of the bereaved families. Those who lost their dear ones in the Bor incident and certainly, the Nuer who lost their dear ones as the SPLM/A spearheaded by Dinka Bor hunted down the Nuer in the bushes of Upper Nile after the disagreement and subsequent withdrawal of Anya-nya-two from SPLM/A in 1984. These refreshed memories could result into vengeance from both sides and hence refuel the Dinka-Nuer tribal conflict.

The second quote would also refresh the memories of Equatorians to some of the infamous speeches made in the past. Dr. Justin Yac Arop, the current Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the GOSS made one of these speeches before Kokora in the regional assembly in Juba in which he said, "it took the British 50 years to rule the Sudan; it will take the Dinkas 100 years to rule the South."

The other aspect of the second quote is that it implies the continued stay of Dinka Bor in Equatoria so that the South is not weakened and for the CPA not to meet the fate of Addis Ababa Agreement.

The authors of these two articles are trying to address the GOSS to delay the process of repatriating the Dinka Bor people from Equatoria until such a time that landmines laid on their path during the war are cleared.

The articles did not only offer good advices to the GOSS but made suggestions on what to do. They should not have gone to the press, but if they happened to have found their ways to the press, the press should have been responsible enough to withhold them in the interest of peace. By sending them to the press, the authors want the Sudanese to know. This being the case, the authors should also expect some reactions to these articles from the Sudanese people. The reactions would be the refreshing of the bitter memories that seemed to have disappeared into excitement over the signing of the CPA.

With a sincere respect to the colleagues in the Citizen Newspapers, the publication of these two articles was a mistake. Although it was done good faith, the understanding that it would solve rather than cause a problem. However, this always is where problems begin: lack of collective scrutiny of the information and collective decision to either publish or reject it. Collective scrutiny of information by editorial board helps the board arrive at some expected reactions or call it feedback from the consumers. Should the feedback feel strong then it should be spiked off in the interest of peace.

Responsible journalism thus is one, which sincerely looks critically at the information it intends to publish for public consumption and speculates the repercussions of such information. Freedom of speech is not freedom of the press. Freedom of speech means saying anything anytime and anywhere. Nevertheless, freedom of the press means to publish any information but with caution. A government secret for example, which is not officially been released to the press, could, if published by the press, be a slap in the face of the press freedom. The government would definitely pursue the case to its logical conclusion – sometimes dragging the media people concerned to courts of law. Articles likely to agitate people and cause conflicts could, if published, undermine the very press freedom.

The CPA may face some serious problems if the press is going to be so free that it could cause another conflict between brothers and sisters of one country. Responsible journalism should therefore give critical analysis on every article before it's published so that articles that intend to agitate the people to fight are not published. Responsible journalism at this stage should encourage articles that emanate from the people on governments' oversights in the implementation of the CPA. Using the words of Nhial Titt Nhial, the author of the article in p.2, issue No. 15, "What will happen to the CPA if" every article that is published affects each tribe or community every time it's published?

The GOSS should indeed consider the advices given in these two articles on the repatriation of the Bor people back to Bor. It could be true that the interim constitution of South Sudan provides free settlement of South Sudanese everywhere in the South. Although the interim constitution is not available for public consumption yet, it may not provide for the influxes to resettle but individuals, most likely.

Therefore, the idea that each group of people goes back to its states in order to develop them is still a popular idea, which is enshrined in the CPA, that is why the ten states in the South remained as they are. Repatriation should be encouraged by the GOSS.

MobiTel to Review and Reconsider Its Offer to the Public

Views about to be expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any party or organisation. Sudan Mobile Telecommunications Network, (SDN MobiTel), is by no means the largest mobile phone service provider in the whole country. MobiTel services, one must stress, have been useful in effecting all kinds small and large scales of businesses within the country and overseas. Locally all appreciate it. These services, coupled with internet services that have initially provided by Sudan Telecommunications Company SudaTel, have helped add the Sudan to the membership of the global village, a village in which everybody is closer to each other through information super highway and certainly other means such as the above-mentioned. MobiTel, as compared to some of the companies in the neighbourhood, has three major problems:

a) extra services such as conference, call forward, call divert, call waiting, voicemail etc and not offered for free to pre-paid MobiTel Lines butchargeable against the post paid accounts;

b) both post and pre-paid lines are extremely expensive, ranging from 50 to about 100 United States Dollars; and

c) the network is accessible in Khartoum but inaccessible in the states; Juba and Port Sudan offer good examples in this case.

In the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda, services such as those in (a) are offered free and they become effective, as the network has reactivated the SIM Card. In Kenya particularly, there are more than two Mobile Companies. However, there are two major ones: Safaricom and Kencell. As compared to (b) above, Safaricom sells a pre-paid SIM Card for less than Four United States Dollars without airtime. Meanwhile, Kencell sells a pre-paid SIM Card for less that two Dollars also without airtime.

In Uganda on the other hand, a SIM Pack from Mobile Telecommunications Network, Uganda (MTN-UG), and Cellular Telecommunications Uganda (CelTel-UG), both of which include airtime were upto 2002, sold at 40,000 Ugandan Shillings, that is about 22 United States Dollars. According to latest information from Kampala, MTN-UG and its major rival, CelTel, have reduced the SIM Pack prices by half.

Again, both Uganda and Kenya offer excellent network coverage through their countries, which extend the borders of their countries, including the Sudan. However, MobiTel has serious network problems. One good example is the network coverage in Juba. In fact, MobiTel is not operational in Juba and one would wonder why? Because those who own Cell phones in Juba are indeed paying for services, they do not get from MobiTel. There complains from Port Sudan and other areas in the country about MobiTel's poor network services.

A question one would love to ask is, why is MobiTel exploiting the Sudanese people? Could the answer to this question be found in the word MONOPOLY? This is doubtful because MobiTel now has a rival, areeba Mobile Network, and monopoly per se losses meaning in this context.

This is because areeba, MobiTel's latest rival, which does not offer external calls to its subscribers as it's just beginning, includes the services in (a) to its customers without extra costs. What is doubtful still is whether the cost of producing those microchips, SIM Cards, is any cheaper in Uganda and Kenya!

Looking at the comparisons above, one would feel that MobiTel has been a little hard on its own customers, the Sudanese people and their foreign friends living within the country. This should not continue because MobiTel, as a leading Mobile Company in the country, has to play its part in the development of the Sudan, especially the South, West, North and East of the Sudan that are facing serious underdevelopment and telecommunications problems. MobiTel needs to review and reconsider its offer to the public to help expedite communications, which is a prerequisite to development in the country.

SPLA Soldiers Not to Blame, they volunteered for too long

Reports coming from Juba are very disturbing. According to Juba Post, Volume 3, Issue 3, January 26th-February 2nd, a number of incidents have been reported ranging from rape to torture. Two cases are prominent in the incidents, which took place on January 16th and 17th respectively. The First one is on how a woman selling her local brews to SPLA soldiers who drank it but refused to pay. When she insisted to get her money for the brews, the soldiers beat her thoroughly. When her husband tried to intervene, he was also beaten and shot dead. The second incident is how a young man, strolling with his girlfriend along Tumbura road, got beaten or humiliated before his girl and left lying with broken ribs.

Two main reasons could be attributed to this kind of behaviour: 1) the delay to remunerate the SPLA soldiers and 2) failure of SPLA commanders to control the SPLA soldiers’ behaviour.

One of the dailies quoted the Official Spokesman of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) as saying that his government had met and among other things discussed was the disarming of the SPLA forces that were not on duty. This statement insinuates that there was a problem with armed soldiers but roaming in and around Juba.

The GOSS is sincerely asking for citizens still and exile and those displaced with the country to return home to help in the reconstruction of the South. Some of the refugees had openly expressed fear for the insecurity. They are obviously right because a good number of them went out of the major towns due to insecurity and they would not come back when they still hear news of insecurity such as those reported by the Juba post.

SPLA soldiers should not be blamed for their misbehaviour in Juba, for they have been voluntarily for more than necessary and some could not do it anymore. Now the movement that they helped come to power is in a position to address some of their problems but expected results are not out. The problems could be under process, one would believe, but that is taking time because red tape usually takes time to address problems that have much to do with cash. Therefore, some emergency measures have to be taken by the GOSS to address partially the problems faced by an SPLA soldier in Juba and the other towns of South Sudan.

The GOSS is a major CPA partner and is definitely aware of the fact that the SPLA soldiers who are not part of the Joint Integrated Units are supposed to be remunerated by GOSS. Thus, the GOSS needs to form, if they have not, an SPLA high-level committee to look into the SPLA soldiers’ rights to payment, gratuity after the service and the retirement benefits for future of the SPLA officers and men.

SPLA soldiers know what discipline is in an organize force, as they had received the training that includes discipline as its fundamental ingredient. If discipline has failed within the rank and file of SPLA it should be attributed to their commanders who might have relaxed and forgot to address the issue of the discipline in its rank and file.

Soldiers are supposed to be camped in the barracks and any one of them who wishes to get out of the barracks should obtain permission for a specific purpose. Once they are camped, it would be very easy to know who from the number of the soldiers given permission committed a crime out there.

Such a measure would not be complete unless military police (MPs) are created from each of the units who would track down soldiers roaming about without permissions in and around Juba. Once a measure such as this is put in place, the soldiers will be self-disciplined because they know that they left with permission, could be tracked down if sneak out of the barracks and would obviously not get themselves into any problem for fear that the MPs would get to their crimes scenes as soon as possible.

The people in the South have suffered from insecurity caused by the war for quite a long time. They are not in a position to be under another era of insecurity when the CPA has is supposed to have ended all kinds of insecurity.

Governor of Khartoum and His Cabinet Commend for a Job Well Done

Views about to be expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any party or organisation. Khartoum is undergoing some very serious beautification process ranging from expansion of roads to the creation of new gardens along some of the major roads. These developments came about as Khartoum was preparing to host "The Khartoum, the capital of Arab Culture" symposium. The symposium came and went but the beautification exercise continued. This seriousness to complete the beautification exercise alone is something that should not pass unnoticed when it is noticeable.

The Sudanese people, therefore, should commend the governor of Khartoum and his entire cabinet. They have done a job well done and should really be encouraged if Khartoum, through views and suggestions from the Khartoumers, could be made more beautiful and its example emulated by the other major cities in the country. Some of these views and suggestions could be discussed in three areas:

a) expansion of roads;
b) plantation of trees; and
c) Plantation of lawns.

Most of the roads that have been widened within the framework of beautification of Khartoum have already gone bad. This is because standard road constructions procedures may not have been followed. Otherwise, it is difficult to see why roads without any rains go bad while other countries come rain or shine, have concrete roads that appear to be lasting. Kalakla Sharqi-Abu Adam-Gas depot road junction, made less than a month ago, now has an east west crack about ten metres long, Arkoweit-Burri bridge highway is gone bad, and God knows how many others have gone bad. The central, Southern and States' governments should really look into the credibility of some road construction companies because governments cannot make budgets every month to maintain the newly constructed roads.

Khartoum is a notorious city when it comes to sandstorms. The sandstorm to almost every human being feels like hell let loose. The federal and Khartoum State governments are well positioned to fight the menace of sandstorm by planting tree, which could be irrigated by the waters of the two Niles to act as windbreakers. This could just be a one to two years project in which people could be mobilized to help in the exercise and later on, a system could be set to manage the system.

Lawn grass could also be grown along the trees to help stop the sandstorms from penetrating deed into the national capital. This exercise too, could be done concurrently with the tree plantation. Enough water should be put to use in order to improve the environment of the Sudanese people within Khartoum and the entire north. Breathing fresh air is a natural right.

Finally, a word of caution on the newly created gardens along Ghaba flyover and Burri bridges! They should be fenced off from the main roads because vehicles that would lose breaks could cause harm to people enjoying the beauties of these gardens. Prevention is certainly better than cure.

Refusal to Elect Sudan to the AU Chair: Africa’s Fate Is Doomed If Its Leaders Operate By Remote-Control

African leaders have just concluded their African Union (AU) Sixth Summit in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The results of this Summit raise more questions than answers: 1) why were the AU leaders divided about Sudan's sole candidature for AU chair? 2) Were these leaders under duress not to choose Sudan for AU chair? 3) Why was the tradition of electing the host country compromised? 4) What would be the fate of AU if its leaders were remote-controlled? These questions should be difficult to answer since they are supposed to be answered by the African leaders themselves. Nevertheless, analyses rather than answers would be helpful to the readers of this article.

Questions 1 and 2 are related and would be taken care of by one analysis. Analysis one: It is obvious that AU's divided opinion on Sudan's interest in AU chair is based on pressures that are not necessarily African. The US and its allies are behind this. This is evident in President Bush's statement in which he said that he was concerned about Sudan's interest in AU chair. The President said that ‘the US is following the controversy over Sudan’s interest in chairing the AU, despite the government’s poor human rights record and alleged support for the conflict in Darfur.’ “Obviously, that should be a concern – a concern to us – and it should be a concern to the AU nations.” Bush made these remarks on Monday during a VOA question and answer session at the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues at Kansas State University.

The human rights groups like Human Rights Watch had also clearly expressed their concerns over Sudan's interest in the AU chair. Their reasons are that Sudan supports terrorism, it is committing atrocities in Darfur and not interested in bringing about peace in Darfur.

One would be rest assured that probably with the exception of the Sudan itself, the rest of the African leaders could have been acting under pressure from the US and its allies to block Sudan from AU chair.

Questions 3 and 4 would also be handled by one analysis. Analysis two: To compromise one of AU's basic tenets (electing the host to the chair) has very serious repercussions on the continent. First, it makes one member country unhappy; two, it does not help the cohesion of the continent; and three, it means that the continent may be free from colonialism, but certainly not from neocolonialism.

Independence of the mind is a true independence that will not only liberate African leaders but their people too, from neocolonialism. The continent's fate, which is relying on the independence of the minds of its leaders, is doomed if the leaders continue to be remote-controlled by the Superpowers.

The refusal to elect the Sudan to the AU chair is not the issue at stake here. What is really at stake is that what happened to Sudan could happen to another member of the continent's States. The fear should be on 'who is next' since the chair of AU rotates.

Most of the leaders who received pressures and acted upon them should not be surprised if they fit into Sudan's shoes tomorrow. In fact, it is easy to guess how President Mugabe is going to fail in both hosting and becoming chair of the AU when his turn comes because of his differences with the West. Sudan or any other member of the continent's States has its past and so do any of these Superpowers and individual Heads of State.

The AU chair is a centre of focus and it is on this basis that it should be considered as a chair from where leaders could be made to change rather than resisting to change. It is easy to put pressure on an AU chair but not on any other ordinary member, because the AU chair is under pressure day and night for 12 months, worried about the continent and its problems, President Obasanjo must have felt a sigh of relieve from January 24th, 2006, when he handed over the AU chair to Denis Sassou-Nguesso, of Congo Brazzaville.

Sudan’s selection as Deputy to the Republic of Congo should be considered as a step towards the right direction. It was an African consensus that chose the Sudan as Deputy and as a sole candidate for the year 2007. One year comes very first and what one would wonder about is would the Sudan then satisfy the US, its allies and the human rights groups!

African leaders need each other in order to expedite true unity of the continent, unity that is based on sincerity. They have to put pressure on any of their colleagues whom they see going astray. Sudan is not an Island; it has made mistakes, although most of the current problems were inherited from the previous regimes, the regimes that the US, its allies and human rights groups called democratic but failed to bring peace to the Sudan. The African leaders should drop the habit of being used against each other, as this does not help in bringing the continent together.

Without sincere unity, no matter which name African leaders give AU next time, it would not succeed. May God Almighty strengthen and guide them to lead Africa with sincerity, justice, equality and, more importantly, true independence of the mind.

GoSS and Its States' Governments to Attract Refugees by Improving the Situation of Returnees

A tripartite agreement was signed last week in Kenya between the UNHCR, Sudan and the Kenyan governments on the repatriation of the Sudanese refugees in Kenya back home. The State Minister, Ministry of Interior, led the Sudan government side to the negotiations for repatriation; the Kenya Immigration and Naturalization Minister led Kenya side; and the High Commissioner to Kenya led the UNHCR side. The negotiations agreed on amongst other things the voluntary repatriation of the Sudanese back home.

The Chinese News Agency, Xinhua, reported on January 14th that many South Sudanese refugees were reluctant to return home until education, health and other services were provided in South Sudan. A Sudanese refugee, Jacob Deng, after the signing of the tripartite agreement in Nairobi, said that it is not time to go back home. "I feel it is not secure still", he stressed.

The Sudanese State Minister for Interior was quoted by the same Xinhua report as saying that "he rejects the argument of some refugees that they cannot return because of lack of basic services and infrastructure."

South Sudanese who fled the country during the war could be categorised into three types: Political; economic and knowledge-seeking refugees. Thus, political and economic refugees would prepare to return home. The knowledge-seeking refugees would not return home unless infrastructures for quality basic and secondary schools is put in place, in addition to the establishment of quality institutions of higher learning.

Both the State Minister for Interior and the refugees who expressed reservations to return home are right. The infrastructures are needed and these infrastructures cannot drop from heavens unless the South Sudanese themselves go back to build them.

The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) could only harmonize these correct but contrary views. GoSS is in a position to rehabilitate some of the old infrastructures to accommodate the returnees who expressed fear for lack of health and educational services. The returnee is helpless and merely expresses his inability to improve his situation once he or she gets home.

The repatriation is voluntary and not coercive and as such, the Southern and States' governments need to attract the refugees by improving the situation of those who have already returned home. It is the messages from these returnees sent back to those still in camps in the neighbouring countries that would encourage and eventually attract them to return home.

SPLM/A's Divided Opinion on Integration of SSDF into Its Rank and File

This week the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) reacted to the last week's decision by Maj-Gen. Paulino Matip Nial to integrate the SSDF into the rank and file of the SPLA forces. It appears that some secret talks had been going on between Maj-Gen. Matip and the leadership of the SPLM/A without the knowledge of most SSDF's factions. This action seemed to have angered the majority SSDF officers and men, a matter that prompted Maj-Gen. Gordon Kong Chol to take over the leadership of SSDF from Maj-Gen. Matip.

This moves made by both Maj-Gens. Matip and Chuol are likely to upset the relationship developed between the First Vice-president of the Republic and president of the South Sudan government, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, on behalf of the SPLM/A on one hand and Maj-Gen. Matip, on behalf of the SSDF on the other. Mistrust is likely to redevelop between the SSDF, particularly Maj-Gen. Matip's SPLA group and the SPLM/A mainstream.

One factor is likely to aggravate this mistrust: SPLM/A's divided opinion on whether or not to integrate SSDF into its rank and file. There are two schools of thought in the SPLM/A that share the above-mentioned divided opinions.

The first school of thought believes that the SSDF are sellouts and they should not be given a share in the South Sudan and States' governments, let alone integrating them into rank and file of the SPLM/A. In other words, SSDF should not reap from where it did not saw.

The second school believes that SSDF officers and men are made of Southern Sudanese and therefore should be given a share in both South Sudan and States' governments and, on their free will, should integrate into the rank and file of the SPLM/A.

Analyses on these two schools of thought would, perhaps, demonstrate the seriousness of some SPLM/A in genuinely trying to reconcile and unite the South with the perspective of effective implementation of the CPA. This school of thought understands the diverse tribal differences that existed in the past and sincerely attempts to address them.

The second school of thought cannot hide the true feeling of an SPLM/A officer and man towards their fellow brothers who defected from the SPLM/A in 1991 and worked with the government of Sudan against them.

It falls short on understanding the revolution's cardinal tenet, 'liberation of people without exceptions' and hence adopting a positive attitude of a liberator towards his people. A question that emerges from these two analyses is, does the South need reconciliation and unity? The answer would be a straight yes because a reconciled and united South would extend a helping hand to the partners as they try their level best to implement the CPA.

However, an irreconcilable and disunited South would not help in the implementation of the CPA. The implementation of the CPA cannot be done through the barrel of a gun because such an approach would ignite another civil war in the South, which has suffered for more than necessary.

The late former First Vice-president, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, quoted Jesus Christ's phrase in which he was telling his disciples, "There are many rooms in my father's home." The latter and article in Security Arrangements Protocol, which states that other armed groups within the ranks and files of the negotiating parties were free to switch sides, do offer a solution on how to go about in as far as the relationship between the SPLM/A and the SSDF is concerned.

Have South Sudanese Learnt Lessons from their Past?

'South-South Dialogue' (SSD) should be an understood phrase to many South Sudanese by now. Most of the substance this article intends to discuss is politics and its intrigues. The intriguing part of the 'SSD', which this article is trying to address is the way in which some politicians – some very veteran indeed – are working against it.

Before getting into our today’s topic, a political intrigue is a common phrase used by politicians themselves and some of their subjects who know what it means. It ought to be explained and the explanation is going to tackle the two words each separately. Therefore, political is that which belongs to politics and politics could be defined as “all those activities which directly or indirectly are associated with the seizure of state power, the consolidation of state power and the use of state power” (Nnoli, 1986:7).

This definition agrees with the topic of this article and it disqualifies the other definitions of politics, which are useful to the students of political science: the art of the possible, the governing of men, the struggle for power, who gets what, when and how, the authoritative allocation of values and state power. Except the latter, which is truncated in explanation, the rest could be exercised in families, Churches and other non-governmental organizations, the rest, however, should be left to scholars to deal with in class rooms. Intrigue, on the other hand, means secret plot or love affair (Collins paperback, 1994:328). This definition helps us to understand how intrigue is used by politicians and other public figures in the South to work against the 'SSD' and other public interests.

The definitions of these two words are so important in that they would make the reader understand how some political or public leaders use political intrigues to advance their selfish interests, South Sudanese politicians are not an exception. As mentioned in the introduction, there are indeed some individuals and politicians in the South who are opposed to the 'SSD'.

This article would not call names but would try to ask one but very important question: why would some individuals – some very veteran politicians – work to sabotage a process that attempts to resolve a chronic problem, one that tries to unite the people of the South? There are about three reasons as to why some individuals and politicians see the need to work against the 'SSD': tribal interest; nepotism; and greed for power. Tribalism is a tool that is oftenly used by those politicians who know that politics is about the seizure, consolidation and use of state power.

They use it so maximumly to ensure that their tribe reaps what it did not saw, in other words, benefits from the sweat of others in an organization or government. Nepotism is favouritism shown to relatives in business. Here those who use nepotism would want to make sure that their own relatives benefit from within any established organization, including the government. Last but not least, greed is excessive desire or want. Relating greed to our topic, it means that someone, however great a person might be might be, s/he would want to ensure that everything good, including leadership goes to him/her first, his tribe, state and then the rest may follow.

There are political leaders who exercise all of the above in our country. None of the above could make anybody who exercises them a politician as none of them falls within the definition of politics, not to mention its real exercise, which requires people for it to function. Some of the leaders being talked about here did practice tribalism, nepotism and greed during their tenures of office (1972-1983) in the regional government of the South. The results of this was the disintegration of the South and, the majority of Equatorians who were mostly affected by this crude politics, had to join hands with other South Sudanese to campaign for re-division of South Sudan or decentralization since the unity of the South then did not work in the interest of the majority in South Sudan.

The action for decentralization of the South – upto a certain extent – was met with a military resistance, the current SPLM/A is a counteraction to the re-divisionist policies of the majority of South Sudanese who had voted democratically to re-divide the South so that each group of people could benefit from the devolution of power which was only centred in Juba. There are some people who would disagree with this statement but there are living witnesses, including the author who can testify that some people in the SPLM/A said that re-division of the South forced them to go to the bush while others, as known by this author, did have genuine reasons to struggle for the people of South Sudan. There are some Equatorians and other South Sudanese who seem to be regretting to have worked to advance the policy of re-division – some of them are paying it in kind by joining and tirelessly working for SPLM/A, hoping that such labour would cancel what they think is perceived as a sin. SPLM/A on the other hand continued to exercise tribalism, nepotism and greed, the very indicators of the disintegration of the South. Most of those who had either joined the SPLM/A or just observed it from afar believed that SPLM/A had the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of tribalism and re-division in the South before its inception in 1983. In other words, SPLM/A could have used its establishment to detribalize the officers and men who joined the SPLM/A, but unfortunately this did not happen to date.

Then comes this last and important question, have the people of the South learnt any lessons from their past mistakes? It appears that they have not learnt from their past mistakes because those who are helping the opponents of the 'SSD' to work contrary to it are trying to take the people of the South 20 years back in time.

A friend one day said that there are people, Sudanese and foreigners alike, who are capable of persuading SPLM/A leadership to accept the 'SSD' but due to their personal and/or countries' interests they have decided to ignore their important roles. Some of these persuasive people have been convinced by SPLM/A leadership not to entertain ‘SSD’ as it would work against their tribal and/or sectional interest. Some South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) commanders were, during the Naivasha negotiation period, approached by some of these individuals in Khartoum and Nairobi, telling them that the SPLM/A leadership is only interested in talking to them individually but not in a public forum like the ‘SSD’. Some of these SSDF commanders were swift in their response: that they are public leaders and any discussions with them must be done in public and not in private.

Understood or misunderstood, 'SSD' aims at reconciling the people of the South and to restore peace, love and unity. Anybody, be he/she from the Church or political adventurist disinterested in 'SSD' should understand that the unity of the people of the South is not a thing to ignore and he/she should know that it is not an easy thing to achieve and it certainly cannot be achieved through political naïvety. South Sudan needs leaders who have it at heart and ready to reconcile its people unconditionally but not through tribalism, nepotism and greed. The veteran southern politicians are now very few because SPLM /A leadership, war, sickness or age has killed some of them. Those remaining few, therefore, should really try their level best to avoid backing leaders who are either tribal or dictatorial in nature; otherwise, the history of the South will judge them very harshly if they help to produce some 22nd century Hitlers and Moslinis. Such leaders should instead help direct the younger generation of the South towards how to play ‘real politics’ at the state, South Sudan and national levels. Seizure, consolidation and use of state power requires the presence of an established system to seize so as to consolidate power and eventually use it and all that is achieved through national participation and not the participation of a section of people, clan, tribe, plus the actor, the naïve politician.

The First Vice-President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, recently echoed his concern for this disease called tribalism. He said we can eradicate tribalism by loving one's neighbour. This is what he said when he addressed a breakfast prayer at the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, reported by the Sudan Tribune Website on August 4th, 2007. "President Kiir says by loving one’s neighbour as oneself, you can eradicate tribalism in our country the Sudan. Tribalism has been used for a very long time in our country to divide the people of southern Sudan and it has been a serious weapon against our people but I now believe that southern Sudanese have become mature enough to know their previous weaknesses where they went wrong. These weapons will not be used again in our situation so that our people are divided according to their ethnic group."

Deadly H5N1 Virus Is Home, What Measures Have Been Taken?

The Bird Flu virus has been killing both birds and humans in South-East Asia from as early as December 2003 when it resurfaced. It continues to do so to this day only that the virus has already engulfed the countries neighbouring South-East Asia, the Middle East. The virus has recently been detected in Turkey and Iraq and these two countries are the immediate neighbours of the African continent.

The question one would sincerely like to pose to all the African governments is, what arrangements have they made to prevent the citizens and their poultry on one hand and the beautiful species of birds on the other of Africa from future dangers posed by this deadly virus?

African Heads of State who met during the African Union Summit in Khartoum recently appeared not to have tackled serious health issues such as the spread of the deadly Bird Flu across the world. Even the issue of HIV/AIDS was left to be discussed at the level of their wives who, one must acknowledge – at least by African Standards – cannot influence executive decisions in their governments. By the time these leaders met in Khartoum, the Bird Flu had already appeared in neighbouring Turkey and there were symptoms of this deadly virus detected in yet another neighbouring country, Iraq.

Perhaps, there was and continues to be a complete misunderstanding from the African leaders of how the virus spreads. Even if this is true, which is doubtful, the leaders of the continent are in a position to commission a research institution composed of virologists to study the spread and mutation of this deadly virus. It is common knowledge that sea and/or ocean birds do migrate for long distances. In fact, from coast to coast and Africa shares three major coasts namely, the Mediterranean Sea in the North, Indian Ocean in the East and the South and Atlantic Ocean in the West. How safe could Africa be when each and every of these coasts could bring birds infected with the virus home?

Well, the deadly virus is already home and it is reported by the BBC, which quoted the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as saying that the deadly Bird Flu virus is now in Nigeria. In a report to the Associated Press, OIE expert, Alex Thiermann, said a "highly pathogenic" strain of the H5N1 Bird Flu virus is the one detected in Nigeria, and that 'More than 150,000 birds have died recently in what vets thought was Newcastle disease, a common ailment among birds in the region.' The last question is how safe is the rest of the continent from the dangers of this virus?

Sudan is a country that is emerging out from one of Africa's longest civil wars. It is trying to consolidate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed in January 2005; but it has been faced by the Darfur crisis. It is quiet definite thus that it may not be in a position to control the virus when it enters the country as most of its basic health infrastructures have either been destroyed by the war or money that could have used to develop such infrastructures was diverted to finance war.

Nonetheless, Nigeria is not far away. Thus, one bird from Nigeria could infect birds in the western borders of the Sudan, another from Egypt could infect birds in the northern borders, and the virus could spread to both North and South Sudan. What a crisis this could become!

African leaders and Sudan is no exception, enjoy managing crisis as it emerges. Now that the Bird Flu is home, let the African leaders wake up and manage the crisis by laying down appropriate measures through their Ministries of Health, in coordination with the Ministries of Agriculture or Poultry Departments.

In the Sudan, the Federal and States' Ministries of Health and Agriculture should begin to lay down strategies in order to deal with the deadly virus. Three quarters of Sudan is home to birds of different species, including chickens and when it finally arrives in the Sudan, the virus is likely to spread in its deadliest form ever within the country if nothing is done to control its spread.

'Commercial farms have been badly affected in Nigeria by this deadly virus with one in Kano, Nigeria, losing some 60,000 chickens.' God knows how many chickens the farms in Sudan will lose, let alone the lives of human beings that will be claimed by the deadly virus when it finally gets to Sudan.

The Federal Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, the South Sudan and States’ counterpart Ministries should start making awareness campaigns to chicken farmers to have some basis for an early warning system to be devised by the Ministries mentioned above. Most of the chicken farmers in the Sudan stay with their chickens at homes and so they have to be made to know the dangers of this virus and what they should do when one or two of their chickens are infected. Some Sudanese eat birds and they need to know about the dangers of the virus and what could happen to them when they eat an infected bird.

The virus has not reached a crisis level yet but in very latest reports, the BBC said cases of the deadly bird flu virus have been detected in Egypt and so there is virtually no time but the concerned Ministries ought to do their utmost best। The doctors’ phrase that ‘prevention is better than cure’ is to be made use of now and not later. The country is under threat and so is the rest of the continent, indeed. Let us do something before it is too late.

SPLM/A Supporters Don’t Respect Their Leaders

Most of the contents in this article have been published in one of the English dailies as its editorial without the consent of the author. The author gave it to be published under his name but it was not. Therefore, the author decides to republish it under his name. The author therefore reclaims the intellectual rights over this article. This article has been re-edited by the author and any inconveniences caused by republishing this article are regrettable.

Something has been puzzling and it keeps nagging many minds throughout. That is the lack of respect some South Sudanese have for their political leaders. There is a tendency to always undermine those that have been given positions at the public leadership levels. Some of these behaviours could be caused by jealousy but forgetting that these positions rotate and anyone of them could be nominated to fill any of them. They sometimes associate these jealousies with what they believe are unfitness of those appointed for such leadership positions.

One very clear example dates as far back as August last year when the President of the South assumed the leadership of SPLM/A following the death of Dr. John Garang, the former First Vice-President and President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), there were and continue to be skepticism over H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit’s inability to perform the task of the assignment left by his predecessor.

There are also those who acknowledged being supporters of the SPLM/A but wrote articles in The Citizen saying that the Vice-President of the GoSS, Dr. Riek Machar, and Dr. Lam Akol, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, were murderers who murdered people in Bor. Recently a letter, alleged to have been written by SPLM/A supporters, which also appeared in ‘The Citizen’ newspaper murdered the character of Dr. Lam Akol in every aspect.

Therefore, one is tempted to say that within the circles of South Sudanese there is no respect for the Party and Party Leadership. In a political Party, criticisms may be made by members but are contained within the Party circles and not outside. Once a member criticizes the Party or a Party member outside the Party, he/she as a matter of fact should resign from the Party, because another party whose interest does not conform to his/her Party has politically infected the member or the critic.

Respect is something that expects reciprocity even at the simplest level of a human being, if there is any such thing. A person does not have to be a President, Minister or Chief in order to be respected. This is not a lesson but a mere reminder to all of what they know: that you do not earn respect if you do not give it. This applies to those Ministers who, once they climb up there, do look at those down as inferiors.

There is no need to assassinate the characters of other people and refer to them as murders as if some people in the society are licensed to murder while other are not. But it is understandable that during war many murderers emerge, some murder in the name the of whatever hidden cause they seem to be fighting for.

His Excellency Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and President of the South; his Deputy, Dr. Riek Machar, and their fellow colleague, Dr. Lam Akol, the Foreign Minister, are SPLM/A top members and undermining them or any other SPLM/A leader in public would mean nothing other than the fact that SPLM/A supporters do not respect their leaders. Such an attitude does not help these leaders or any other leader to concentrate on matters such as the implementation of the CPA and more importantly, the development of South Sudan.

Meanwhile, It should be absolutely clear that SPLM/A and its supporters are partners of NCP and its supporters. Any attempts to antagonize each other are a recipe for conflict, which would undermine the implementation process of the CPA. Reference to each other as enemy, a word mostly used by SPLM/A members to describe NCP, is unhealthy. After reconciling with your enemy, he no longer maintains the status of an enemy, unless the reconciliation that brought about the CPA was not seriously undertaken.

HAMAS Needs Support, Judgment of Who They Are is for Palestinian People

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, has been engaged in urban gorilla warfare with the Israeli government and their Western allies since its emergence. HAMAS has used several means to make itself felt by the enemy and the Palestinians people.

HAMAS has been referred to by the entire Western world, including their ally, Israel, as a terrorist organisation, something it has neither denied nor accepted, because for HAMAS it is a liberation movement. HAMAS has used terror to: 1) terrify the enemy into submission; 2) get local recognition; and 3) get an international recognition. HAMAS has realised that to seek for a mandate from the Palestinian people would help it deal with the issues of the struggle in a recognizable manner and so it went for elections and got the mandate.

HAMAS did not realise that while it waged its struggle against the Israelis and their allies, it has found that the Globalization has been introduced by the very people it calls enemies with whom it would now seek to negotiate with for its international support and the solution to the Palestinian problem. HAMAS also found that the rules of Global Engagement have actually changed; what it refers to a struggle has been renamed terrorism.

If the architects of Globalization fail to give HAMAS recognition, Russia, China and France may not be in a position to bring about the support of HAMAS. The trend for the recognition of HAMAS has already started from Russia and what follows is commonplace. America and Britain on the other hand could do nothing other than veto against HAMAS should the issue of its support be put to vote and vise versa. In other words, HAMAS would hang like a computer whose Hard Disc has damaged segments and is about to crash.

HAMAS would not crush but rather cause divisions in the Arab and Islamic world between for and against the architects of Globalization. This has already been seen from the recent visit made to Saudi Arabia by the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. The Saudi government told Dr. Rice that ‘it would support HAMAS for the Palestinian people.’ This poses one important but straightforward question, should HAMAS be supported or not?

Having sought for the mandate from the Palestinian people in a democratic and not terroristic manner, HAMAS has moved from one stage to the next. In other words, HAMAS has moved from unilaterally assuming support of the Palestinian people to seeking for it through a democratic process. This by itself is a good sign and more importantly, it should be realised that HAMAS did not shoot or terrorise its way to the win these elections; it is the will of the Palestinian people and that will has to be respected by all, especially the authors of democracy, United States of America and the United Kingdom.

The Palestinian people wanted change and that they did get by exercising their inalienable rights to vote. The rest of the world has no right to reject the choice of the Palestinian people unless those who once supported the PLO do not want to help now because even the Palestinian people have become terrorists like HAMAS.

Just like they got rid of the PLO, the Palestinian people would also get rid of HAMAS when the time comes. However, that time is not going to come unless the Palestinian people get the opportunity to test the leadership of HAMAS as they did that of the PLO. Thus, USA, UK and indeed the rest of the world should give HAMAS the support they need, use their legitimacy to put on track the Road Map and leave the judgment of who HAMAS really are to the Palestinian people.

Juba University Students Involved in Outdated Emotional Politics

Juba University students demonstrated recently citing the administration's refusal to register their union and the return of the university home. The police clashed with the students and some 51 of them were arrested and are likely to be charged with causing damage to the University property and disturbing public tranquility.

Juba University students, like everywhere in the third world, are agents of political parties within a country. Thus, one would not be surprised that NCP, SPLM, DUP, Umma, CP or Sha'abi and the Islamic Brotherhood Party are not using them. The most active students nowadays are the senior members of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Some of the parties mentioned above are not parties to the CPA and hence to the Government of the National Unity (GONU). If this is true, then students representing the NCP and SPLM and the other parties that have accepted to share in the GONU form an overwhelming majority in the students' politics of Juba and other Universities. As one of the frequent writers in the 'Sudan Vision' newspapers once said, "Those who support peace in the Sudan are 98%, those who do not are 2%, and that is very healthy."

Unfortunately, students of Juba and other Universities have failed to see the healthiness of this partnership to the CPA. Instead of forging their cohesion based on party partnership to the CPA, the students opted to join emotional politics.

SPLM/A supporters who practice emotional politics are so many; some are beginning to come out with threatening remarks like SPLM/A could opt to 'go back to war' if the CPA is not implemented. There are also emotional members of the NCP who do hope for the collapse of the CPA so that the status-quo is reversed. As opposed to the healthy 98% support of the Sudanese people to peace, this is unhealthy. The 98% support includes the students in all the Universities in the country.

The 98% students, who support the CPA need to identify themselves, forge a physical alliance like the one in the GONU and Government of South Sudan GOSS and finally yet importantly, work for the interest of and advance the CPA at the students' level. For example, the students from all the universities in the country could, based on their majors in the Universities, form programmes to support the cause of peace in the whole country.

The programmes could be developed by the finalist students like Architectural group would be led by their top colleague and the membership of the other classes to visit South Sudan and construct some buildings there. Medical students could also form similar groups, seek for drugs and medical facilities, visit Southern Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan and offer free treatment to the sick and malnourished there.

The examples above are some activities that the students could embark on in order to enhance their knowledge and even understand the country, in addition to getting involved in practical implementation of the CPA. Getting involved in emotional politics as students has, over the years, been outdated, connected with communism who sought for recognition through students politics. Even though, it had and continues to have repercussions, which the students do not see until when it happens to one of them. These repercussions are: 1) closing the University down and therefore delaying the students for years before they graduate. The students pay the price for those who have completed their studies long ago; 2) Getting shot at and either maimed or simply killed in skirmishes between the law enforcement agency and the students; 3) meeting the vengeance of those who are not interested in the CPA, the case of the 2%, who should not be ignored because they are there in every aspect of our lives, including the law enforcement agencies and the staff of the Universities in the country.

Students at all levels form the biggest group of our youth and they should identify their talents and utilize them so that the country could benefit from them. Beware of emotional politicians, especially those who do not care about your future when they have ensured theirs.

Analyse every political move critically, especially moves that are emotional and do not have any basis for support. Remember, if a student gets killed, maimed or chased away from the University after involving himself or herself in emotional students' politics, the student would not have an opportunity to develop his country and people and what a waste that could become! Thus, the struggle for emotional politics becomes futile and it should be avoided.

SPLM/A’s Threats of Going Back to War Are Threats to Sudanese and Not the Government

The implementation of the CPA seems to be developing from stresses to hiccups, which if not addressed, may truly result into the renewal of the war in the country. The SPLM/A Northern Sector Official Spokesman, Walid Hamid has affirmed this, in the statement he gave to 'The Citizen' Newspaper of January 31st, 2006.

In a statement, which appeared on 'The Citizen' newspaper's front page as a lead story, Walid Hamid said, “The CPA is a sound mechanism for conflict resolution, but difficulties have been encountered in the course of implementation.” He identified the mechanisms as the Presidency, IGAD and the UN. “If these mechanisms fail, there are various options, including going back to war,” the Spokesman concluded.

IGAD and the UN are not the other mechanisms for the CPA implementation. Because these two agencies were mechanisms for conflict resolution, and they did their best to ensure that the Sudanese parties to the Naivasha talks reached an agreement.

Walid Hamid should know that the Federal and the South Sudan Interim Parliaments, the Federal and the South Sudan Councils of Ministers and the Presidency are the mechanisms known to IGAD, the U.N. and the Sudanese people through which the implementation of the CPA could be addressed.

The CPA is part of the Interim National Constitution of the Sudan and the representatives of the people from the partners and other parties in these Interim parliaments have to be made aware of any crisis in the CPA. They would convene special sessions to discuss the crisis, resolve it and then forward such to the Presidency, which in turn would table such a resolution to their Council of Ministers to advise it on what course of action to take.

There are problems over the implementation of the CPA; there is no doubt about that. The reasons for these problems are there and they have to be identified by the Presidency. Certainly, the Presidency cannot ask the IGAD and the UN to identify these problems for it or, say the least, to implement the CPA. These problems could only be addressed through the national mechanisms that were agreed upon during the Naivasha negotiations to safeguard the CPA.

Threats such as those made by Walid Hamid like ‘there are other options, including going back to war’ to address the government’s lack of seriousness to implement the CPA should be considered threats to the Sudanese people and not the government.

H.E. Lt-Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit has made his point when he said in a press conference he gave in late January 2006 to the newspapers editors-in-chiefs that the Presidency would sit and discuss the issue of the implementation of the CPA. He did say there was lack of seriousness from the side of the NCP, a normal political reaction from a senior partner, but did not make any threats like those made by Walid Hamid.

The calmness of H.E. the First Vice-President should be emulated by the SPLM/A ‘spokesmen’ to avoid the renewal of hatred that had been the order of the one time foes now political partners. Thus, H.E. the First Vice-President and President of the South needs to intervene in order to address the issue of many SPLM/A spokesmen as it were in the past.

The common saying that 'many cooks spoil the broth' does not originate from a vacuum but rather experience from how messy the broth becomes when each of the cooks adds to the broth any of the many ingredients as he or she wishes. SPLM/A at one time had three spokesmen and many uncoordinated statements were issued.

There is every reason for anyone to believe that a statement such as the one made by Walid Hamid could not be made by the SPLM/A Official Spokesman as a general SPLM/A policy. Because the SPLM/A is aware of its responsibilities and are prepared to, one would believe, live upto them.

There should be no threats either from within or without that would narrow the SPLM/A’s approach to peace, because both the SPLM/A and the NCP have set the Sudanese people on course to establishing peace in the country. Otherwise, a redirection of this course would amount to warmongering rather than trying to resolve an issue peacefully. SPLM/A and NCP have both laboured to make the CPA what it is today and the happiness of the Sudanese people for the CPA is attributed to them.

SPLM/A and the NCP should not give the impression to the Sudanese people that they were under some kind of duress when they signed the CPA in Naivasha. The Sudanese people know how much efforts they put to that serious work for peace. Peacemakers cannot degenerate to warmongers because the word peace would simply loose its meaning.

SPLM/A Championed the 'People's Cause' Voluntarily, to Seek Mandate in Two Years

From the three Khartoum-based English Daily newspapers of February 18th, two commented about the recent visit made by President Al-Bashir to the South. In its theme, "Rebuilding South Sudan Should be the Urgent Cause," Sudan Vision (SV, February 18th, 2006) also referred to President Al-Bashir's most Popular Phrase, "We shall respect the option of Southern Sudanese when the referendum on unity and separation is concluded."

The Citizen's (CT) editorial themed, "The President's Remark is Another Technical Mistake," (TC, February 18th, 2006) did refer to that popular phrase as a 'technical mistake' and the following quotes are excerpted from The Citizen's editorial. 1) "The people of South Sudan include the communities of the Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile and Nubians of Nahr Al-Nil". 2) "Separation or unity cannot be decided by a presidency headed by Al-Bashir". 3) "Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was mandated in 2001 to speak for the above mentioned regions". This article will concentrate on analyzing the CT's editorial as it has some very serious implications on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the partnership between the SPLM and NCP Parties.

The first quote is obviously misleading because the communities of Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile are not included in the South. The CPA was negotiated with open-minded people that is why these two areas, Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile), including Abyei each has a separate Protocol and the three were given special statuses by the CPA and are governed under supervision from the presidency and not the GOSS.

As for the community of the Nubians of Nahr Al-Nil, there is no comment, because this entity does not even share a border with South Sudan, let alone its being 100% Northern Sudan territory as opposed to that of South Sudan with its January 1st, 1956 boundaries and it did not, like the areas above, participate in the struggle.

The second quote is just as misleading as the first one. Al-Bashir has not made any decision, as TC possibly misunderstood the statement, which said, "We shall respect the option of Southern Sudanese when the referendum on unity and separation is concluded." One can deduce two things from the President's statement when he said 'We'. The first one could be a reference to the Presidency and the second one to the NCP. Either way it does not mean a decision by one person but collective that is why he had to use the pronoun 'We'.

On the other hand, SPLM as a party has no mandate to decide on the options of separation or unity but the people of South Sudan, led by the SPLM/A, NCP as major and other minor partners in CPA as well as GONU, do. This is more so because the referendum is an exercise in which a people is freely allowed to make a choice between two options, yes or no – yes or no for separation or unity in the case of South Sudan.

The last quote sounds very strange indeed in the sense that SPLM/A, upto this very moment, has never been mandated to represent the people of South Sudan, Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile or Nubians for that matter. SPLM/A volunteered to champion the 'people's cause' and would, if they play their cards well now to win the 2009 elections, they then be mandated by these very people to speak on their behalf.

The President's remark referred to by TC as 'technical Mistake' was made in the wake of many statements flavoured by taste of mistrust made by South Sudanese both within the leadership and without regarding the President's and his NCP's seriousness to let the South go, should the going be its option during the referendum. This statement was the sincerest ever made by the President and it was definitely not an easy thing to say but, with the bravery that helped bring about the CPA, he had to say it. To reaffirm that he was not bluffing, he qualified the statement by adding that, "Even if that option was for cessation, we would share with you the celebration of the establishment of your State." The people of the South, Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains and Abyei have no reasons to doubt the President and his Ruling Party, the NCP.

The President and his entire NCP have broken the record of every leadership in this country before and after independence by bringing about reconciliation and peace. This peace did not come simply, but men of wisdom, guided by their principles and leaderships, sat down for nine months to conceive and produce the CPA. Respect should be offered to NCP and the SPLM/A.

The people of Sudan are also duty bound to, through their legislative representatives, check and balance NCP and SPLM/A so that they follow the right path – the path they set us for to follow – the CPA path.

People Affected by Cholera, a Responsibility of GoSS

Cholera Epidemic is reported to have claimed at least 47 lives since its outbreak was reported by UNWHO in early February. According to reports from Juba, UNICEF and other NGOs are doing their best under the circumstances to deal with the situation.

The same reports, however, also say that the Government of South Sudan (GoSS') Ministry of Health is laxly about the problem or has not done anything in terms of exerting its efforts, as the Ministry concerned, in trying to address the Cholera Epidemic, which has now reached the GoSS' seat, Juba. On February 20th, 2006, almost two weeks later, the President of GoSS, Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, convened a Council of Ministers meeting to discuss the ‘crisis’, following his return to Juba from Rumbek, the visit he and the President of the republic made last week. He has visited Juba hospital to inspect those suffering from the epidemic.

The previous Central Equatoria State government had a history of constant disagreement with the previous government of the South even though both the Governor and Chairman of Council were from the same NCP or National Congress Party.

It is, thus, hoped that differences between the Central Equatoria State government led by NCP and GoSS' Ministry of Health are not the matter in the GoSS' Ministry of Health's laxity to respond to the epidemic. Because South Sudanese people from all lifestyles and different political colours, especially those in the areas affected by the Cholera outbreak, are indeed the responsibility of the GoSS before they are of the State government.

Because Juba is the capital of South Sudan and Yei has been Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A's) twin headquarters to Rumbek before the peace agreement was signed on January 5th, 2005, and the transfer of the SPLM/A headquarters to Juba. Since the Governor of Central Equatoria is NCP, partnership should be at its best in dealing with situations like this and worse more others to come. If the Cholera Epidemic 'crisis' cannot bring NCP and SPLM together at a time like this, what then could?

Outbreaks of this nature are sole responsibilities of the ten Southern States’ Ministries of Health with the GoSS at the top. The GoSS Ministry of Health, irrespective of what differences there might be, needs to mobilize the State Ministry of Health in Central Equatoria so that they address the Cholera Epidemic.

Once the Yei and Juba outbreaks have been contained, the GoSS Ministry of Health is required to map out strategies on how to deal, in future, with similar outbreaks in greater regions of Equatoria, Bahr Al-ghazal and Upper Nile. Now that the rainy season is closing in and the population in these regions is increasing by the day and, with poor sanitation facilities, such outbreaks usually become more deadly than they are now.

The GoSS and UNHCR recently signed an agreement to repatriate home South Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring countries. Coupled with an equal return of IDPs from Northern Sudan, the greater regions are likely to swell up in populations. This being the case, the GoSS' Ministry of Health in collaboration with State Ministries of Health needs to speed up the implementation of its health plans for the ten States with priority on the following:

* Rehabilitate, refurbish and equip all the former district hospitals found in the three regions.

* Construct new hospitals and Primary Health Care Units (PHCUs) in the States and the newly created counties that do not have them.

* Revive the PHCUs that have been rendered ineffective by the war and other war-related activities.

* Double the current health/medical cadres in the South by training and refreshing those already trained.

* Equip the operational hospitals with latest medical equipment, including Ultra Sound and X-Ray machines.

The governments that ran the States in the South before peace had no chapter three or development money normally earmarked for developmental activities. Nevertheless, all the chapters, i.e. one, two and three – chapters one and two being salaries and services respectively – are now being given to the Southern State governments, and so the State governments should be in a position to start their developmental activities, including the improvement of health facilities. The situation of the people should be improved in the South by providing them with health, education, water, electricity and telephone services.

South Sudanese should stop crying wolf because the Federal government is supposed to channel the dues of the South to the South as per the CPA's wealth sharing protocol. It has no obligation – whatsoever – to take responsibility of what is to be or not to be done in the South, as it would amount to interference from the North and a contravention of the CPA. This is a fact the South Sudanese must wake upto to the Federal Government Cannot Utilize North Sudan Resources for South Sudan.

The previous or sectarian Northern Sudanese governments had portrayed South Sudanese politicians as incapable of running the South and South Sudan as lacking civilization or uncultured. They also portrayed its people as savages whom, if left alone, would destroy themselves. This misconception was aimed at giving a wrong impression to the world over and legitimize the denial of the people of the South Sudan and other marginalized areas their inalienable rights to govern themselves.

Now through the efforts of a new breed of the Sudanese politicians and decision makers, a contract has been concluded. The CPA, within which new basis for coexistence has been developed thus rendering as outdated these misconceptions.

Qualified South Sudanese and those from the marginalized areas are now managing the affairs of their constituencies. It is time to reflect to the world, which was once misinformed about South Sudanese and the other marginalized peoples, the capabilities at hand. Display the ancient civilization of the indigenous Sudanese people and hence the ability not only to govern ourselves but also to deal with 'crisis' such as the current Cholera Epidemic and jointly handle the fight against the epidemic from a non-partisan approach.

GoSS' Newly Appointed Undersecretaries to Address Transparency and Accountability Issues

The First Vice-president of the Republic and President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued a presidential decree on January 12th, 2006, appointing 18 undersecretaries for the GoSS. The appointment of the undersecretaries is a step of many to come in the implementation of the CPA.

The selection of these undersecretaries is balanced and indeed representative of South Sudan and those appointed are not only capable but also fit for the jobs. The president and his cabinet deserve commendation for the careful selection they have made on the undersecretaries.

The position of undersecretary was created above that of Director-General (DG) particularly to check and balance the behaviours of ministers who, in most cases, tend to look onto their political interests and occasionally overpower the (DG's). As they bully their ways through the weak DG's, they do not hesitate to deep their hands into the ministries' coffers and misappropriation of public funds becomes the order of the day.

Therefore, the cabinet of GoSS should collectively ensure that, while the undersecretaries respect them as their seniors, they in return ought to reciprocate and avoid bulling the undersecretaries, as was the case with the defunct Coordinating Council for South Sudan (CCSS). Undersecretaries had very bad experiences with some of the CCSS ministers who threatened undersecretaries that they would fire them if they do not do what they wanted. No minister has the power to fire an undersecretary because the undersecretary is an appointee of the president after the approval of such appointment by the cabinet.

The undersecretaries on the other hand should also bear in their minds that being appointees of the president does not license them to disobey the ministers' orders. A minister's recommendation to the Council of Ministers – seeking the firing of a particular undersecretary – could be accepted and he or she would be fired. Thus, mutual respect has to be developed to ensure the smooth running of the ministry.

Transparency and accountability in post conflict South Sudan were some concerns discussed in many workshops and seminars on 'good governance' in Abadares and Nairobi in Kenya. The resolutions of those seminars, whose making had included some of these undersecretaries, need to be reviewed and, if possible, implemented now that the undersecretaries have been appointed.

As Technocrats and through their efforts, the undersecretaries should address the issues of transparency and accountability in South Sudan to avoid corruption. Technocracy means 'government run by technical experts' who would help the ministers formulate policies, draw short and long-term plans and programmes on the activities of the ministries.

Thus, a serious policy needs to be formulated by these experts to help stamp out corruption and institutionalize transparency and accountability in the GoSS and its public institutions.

There is a lot of money from the Oslo Donors' Conference and the 50 percent oil revenue in the country earmarked for the development of South Sudan. Nevertheless, if not properly managed, however, this money may end up in the pockets of individuals and the efforts to develop South Sudan would be frustrated.

Congratulations to all those appointed as undersecretaries by H.E. the First Vice-president and president of GoSS. Hope for a better South Sudan is now placed on the undersecretaries who should not betray it and the confidence bestowed upon them by the president and his cabinet.

AU Forces in Darfur Could Have Their Helmets Turned Blue

Sudan seems to be under immense pressure once again. The issue of foreign intervention in Darfur has resurfaced and it is the reason for the pressure. The US and its allies are calling for the replacement of the African Union (AU) Mission Forces by the 'Blue Berets' – UN or Multi-national Forces under the control of the UN. The reason for the would-be replacement of the AU forces is assumed to be their inability to robustly deal with the situation in Darfur. In fact, US and its allies have always referred to the AU Mission in Darfur as a failure.

The question that would quickly come to mind is, has the AU failed as claimed by the US and its allies? The BBC asked the Nigerian General in Charge of the Mission the same question in late February. His answer was precise; he said 'I define failure as a person given all the facilities to perform a particular task but could not.' The General was very honest and he certainly needs the continent to sympathise with him. The General is obviously a disciplined soldier who did not want to say the Mission could succeed but if only funded.

The AU Forces who are currently in Darfur were deployed as a compromise to a previous threat by the US and its allies to deploy UN-US forces there. Sudan and its people, including its allies had stood firm to reject such a deployment.

How could AU Mission in Sudan be defined, is it a local, regional, international, or multi-national force? The Mission could be defined after a little explanation of the following: Local means within borders, regional means within a certain territory with more than two countries that cooperate; East Africa and IGAD in the greater Horn of Africa and SADC and ECOWAS in the Southern and Western Africa respectively offer good examples. International means beyond borders of a nation, region, overseas or simply linking continents; and multi-national means collected from each nation or 'inter-national'. Thus, AU Mission in the Sudan is an inter-national-multi-national force, which, if the helmets of their soldiers are turned to blue, could assume the role of the UN force.

Nevertheless, it appears that the US and its allies do not want AU forces' helmets turned blue. That is why the US Congress recently rejected Dr. Condoleezza Rice's request for the AU funding and that by itself is suspicious.

The US and its allies certainly appear to have a secret agenda. It is not the Darfur issue, which is the problem but one would guess that they have not cleared the Sudan off their list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

The US and the allies perhaps need Darfur for some strategic reasons; perhaps not even known to some of their diehard allies. Whatever the hidden agenda, the US should know that the representatives of the Sudanese people have unanimously rejected any foreign intervention other than that of the AU in the Sudan. Democracy, which is respected and seriously adhered to by the US and its Western allies, has spoken in the Sudan and they ought to respect it. The BBC quoted the UN's Jan Pronk on March 1st, 2006, even as saying 'any intervention in Sudan's Darfur is recipe for disaster.'

There is every belief that the US and its allies are not satisfied with the pressure that they put on the AU leaders to reject Sudan's leadership of the AU. This is actually more so because it appears that the AU leaders are yet under another but very serious pressure to withdraw their forces from the AU Mission in the Sudan. Once achieved, then the US-led- NATO-UN forces would-be deployed in the Sudan's Darfur. However, It would be good to look at how and when actually is an intervention into a country necessary? A number of factors need to be considered before any such intervention is done:

a) Government's intransigence;
b) Government's inability to control its organised forces;
c) Absence of government; and
d) Absence of law and order.

These four factors mentioned above may not be the only ones but if found in the Sudan, form a basic characteristic of an anarchist State – like Somalia some two years ago. Sudan, however, does not fall under any of the above factors because the government is now under constant check and balance from its senior and junior partners in the Interim National Assembly and Government of the National Unity or GoNU. The representatives of the Sudanese people have, on behalf of the entire Sudanese nation, unanimously voted against any UN-US intervention in the Sudan and any effort to push this by force would be futile.

The GoNU needs to hold an extraordinary Council Session to include the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and all the State governors. The aim of this session would be to get the viewpoint of the country's executive and come out with a strong memo that should be presented to the Security Council challenging any resolution supporting the US-led-NATO-UN intervention in the Sudan at a time when the GoNU is capable and in control of the country.

The problem that caused this pressure on the GoNU on one hand, the people of Darfur on the other, and the Sudanese people at large needs a Sudanese solution that is acceptable to the allies of the Sudan so that they use it for reasoning to reject any imposition of such a deployment.

This is the time to put to work Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the National Congress Party (SPLM-NCP) partnership. Thus the NCP and the SPLM and their junior partners need to meet and agree to form an equal number of forces from SPLA and Sudan Armed Forces that are redundant (not part of Joint Integrated Units) to be deployed in Darfur. As a matter of urgency, a committee has to be formed to immediately workout modalities for the formation of such a force.

Museveni Might Have Particular Vision He Intends to See Come True

Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of Uganda, and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), have recently and very successfully campaigned and won general elections that extends the Museveni’s term of office for the third time. This latest election was tougher as compared to the previous two because Museveni had more than one candidate vying for his post.

A press release from the Ugandan Embassy in Sudan, dated February 27th, 2006, said, "President Yoweri Museveni has won Thursday's (February 23rd) presidential election in Uganda with a margin of 1,508,308 votes over his closest rival, FDC leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye. International and local observers endorsed the election as free and fair."

Museveni's NRM and his defunct National Resistance Army (NRA) now Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), came to power in 1986. Museveni shot his way to power by resisting the governments of the late Apollo Milton Obote and toppling that of the late Lt-gen. Tito Okello, undermining a peace agreement he (Museveni) signed with the latter in 1986 in Nairobi.

He has been in power for 20 years and that has made some Ugandans a little very uncomfortable, especially his former physician and comrade-in-arms, Col/Dr. Kizza Besigye. There are a number of Museveni’s former bush colleagues and NRM diehards who have disagreed with him but do not have the bravery to challenge Museveni.

But Col. Besigye, who believes that Museveni and his supporters rigged him out of the presidential elections in 2001, became frustrated and decided to flee the country in 2001 and allegedly allied himself with some rebel movements in Uganda; an action, according to Ugandan laws, is treason and it is punishable by death.

Col. Besigye was Museveni's physician and combatant comrade-in-arms, friend and colleague during the days of the NRM/A struggle in the bush. Col. Besigye headed the NRA's Medical Corps, a position he held upto the year 1999/2000 when he started to develop dislike for his friend who is popularly known in Uganda as 'M7' (Mu-seven(i)'s style of leadership.

According to analysts on Ugandan politics, Col. Besigye's interest to unseat President 'M7' is believed to be the idea of his wife, Winnie Biyanyima, a member of parliament from 'M7''s home, Mbarara, who, during the NRM/A's bush wartimes, was President 'M7''s official girlfriend as Jennet, the President's wife, was in the US.

Col. Besigye was fully aware of this relationship but could not hide his possible admiration to the then young and extremely beautiful Rwandese-shaped Biyanyima but patiently awaited the coming of Jennet from the US so that the fate of Biyanyima is finally decided. But Jennet did not come quickly and so Biyanyima stayed on at the Entebbe State House for a little longer, therefore raising high her hopes for a First Lady and obviously shuttering the hopes of Col. Besigye who wanted her out as soon as possible. Winnie Biyanyima had hoped that 'M7' would marry her, and that before the coming of Jennet, she lived in Entebbe State House as President 'M7''s official girlfriend.

Hon. Biyanyima, therefore, analysts conclude, was evicted out of the State House by ‘M7’’s younger brother, Salim Salih, as State House prepared for the reception of the First Lady, Jennet. After she was evicted from the State House, Col. Besigye, who must have thanked God for the eviction, engaged Biyanyima and actually married her. Hon. Biyanyima, thus, intends to re-seize the State House from Jennet by working hard to make successful Besigye's bid to win the presidential election in her country.

The people and not personal ambition should really inspire challenging 'M7' or indeed any other leader within the continent. In Africa, the people usually start the winds of change in politics and politicians take the advantage of this and fan the changes from underground. A very good example is Kenya some decades ago where people inspired change and then politicians joined in. Challenging 'M7' in a ballot box, however, is the right of every qualified Ugandan as stipulated in the constitution of Uganda.

What may not be constitutional is the February 13th, ambush on President Museveni's campaign convoy in Karamoja District. Such an action would not bring about a democratic and/or constitutional defeat, but rather strengthen ‘M7’, even in his death.

Some Ugandans somehow attribute this ambush to the cattle rustlers. This would be brushing away the reality. Cattle rustlers in the first place do not rustle in their own area. In the second place, cattle rustlers do not rustle for vehicles or whoever is in the vehicles but for cows and nothing less. The cattle rustlers in Karamoja are well aware of the fact that ‘M7’ wants their weapons and did send them a warning earlier. They cannot be so naïve to attack a convoy of more than 700 officers and men or a Ugandan military formation of a battalion that is supposed to be guarding President ‘M7’ in his presidential campaign.

There is a common understanding that human being are so simple in that they forget that another being fought for the very life they enjoying. Well, that could be the very essence of the liberation struggle but, obviously, not to forget the person who liberated you unless he has not done anything good for the country and its people.

There is no insinuation here, whatsoever, that President ‘M7’ should stay, because that would be the decision of the Ugandans. However, it is the responsibility of every Ugandan to reflect back at how they were treated in the neighbouring and other countries during refuge days and what they are today. President ‘M7’ brought back the dignity of every Ugandan with a style of a leadership that is obviously admired and set to develop the country. It should also be remembered how the inflation and HIV/AIDS rates skyrocketed before his time and how these rates were brought down to earth in Uganda through his personal efforts.

As an economist, President Museveni insisted to revive State and private corporations and companies, encouraged farmers to produce and liberalized the country's economy. He personally declared HIV/AIDS as a national disaster, campaigned against it and insisted on the use of the condoms countrywide.

Ugandans can remove ‘M7’, if they are so determined to do so, but through the constitutional channels and not by assassinating him. The Pearl of Africa needs to wake up and stand on its feet in order to take over from where it was denied by bad leadership. In a democratic society, like Uganda now is, bad leadership is condoned by the people who decide on voting in wrong leaderships.

While fighting in the bush, like any intellectual who programmes his plans, 'M7' might have planned for Uganda a particular vision he intends to see come true. By amending the constitution to reconsider electing him for another five-year term in office or third term in office, 'M7' should be carefully aware that another five years would be enough to complete his vision of the Uganda he planned for while fighting for the freedom of its people.

The US, Its Allies to Exercise Fairness to End Darfur Conflict

The Pressure on Sudan to allow the deployment of UN troops in Darfur has found a temporary solution in the African Union (AU). The AU Ministerial Council met on March 10th, 2006, and temporarily resolved the Darfur crisis. The AU Ministerial Council has extended the period of AU Mission in Sudan for another six months. This crisis, however, has four parties namely the Sudan, AU, US and the rebel groups fighting in Darfur. What seems to have happened so far is that two parties to the crisis, Sudan and the AU are contented with the decision. How about the other two parties to the crisis, the US and the rebel groups? This article tries to make analyses on whether the AU's decision would be acceptable or satisfactory to all the parties to the Darfur crisis.

It seems clear from the AU's decision that the extension of the period for its Mission in the Sudan would buy time to have the Darfur war settled through its mediation efforts. For AU, these words are not put to its mouth, it is doing what it did in the past, avert the deployment of US-led troops, a matter that prompted the presence of the current AU forces in Darfur. The other important aspect of the AU decision is to send a strong and clear message across the world that it is capable of resolving its own problems by itself.

The United States of America has received a shock of its life from this decision. It did not expect such a decision to come from AU because it always does its homework well, lobbying the AU leaders to yield to its pressure. Six months would be perceived by the US as an un-intolerably long a period to wait for. The US is not going to keep quiet and wait, it is going to pursue other means, possibly after some conversations with its allies. There should no surprise if the Security Council convenes and UN comes out with yet another resolution, possibly overriding the decision made by the AU in Addis Ababa.

The rebel groups in Darfur, although disunited; the US and its allies hear their voice. In a statement quoted by the BBC on March 11th, 2006, Sudan Liberation Movement and Army (SLM/A) said they would not accept any peace deal unless those who committed crimes against humanity are tried, in the Hague, first. What message could someone possibly get from here? It means that the Abuja talks are already predetermined – they are doomed to failure, what a petty!

The Sudan government, like the AU, hopes to buy time too during which a possible solution could be found to Darfur problem. Sudan's Minister of Justice, who said that by the time the six months are over, solution to Darfur war could have been found, confirmed this in a BBC interview on March 11th, 2006.

Sudan government may prepare to make concessions that do not include trying of Sudanese nationals in the Hague, because this too was a crisis by itself some months ago, to make the Abuja talks succeed but the rebels are likely not to accept any such concessions. Pooling a thin robe drama with begin between the government of the Sudan and the Darfur rebel movements. The thin robe, whether pulled or not, rots in six months, then what? The parties to the crisis would get back to the ring and start the show of muscles. In a situation like this, the one with tougher muscles will win either the show or the fight.

The US and their allies do not want Rwanda scenario to repeat itself and be caught unawares. They keep blaming themselves for not responding to that calls that were made to intervene in the Rwanda crisis, a move that could have possibly saved lives. Therefore, it believes that it has a moral obligation to avert the repeat of the Rwanda Scenario in Darfur. This is acceptable, because it also means that the situation in Darfur has not reached a 'genocide situation' as the US and its allies keep saying. To have an obligation to avert genocide means there is no genocide at all.

The US and their allies are powerful enough to intervene not in the Sudan but in the negotiations to end the conflict in Darfur, just as they did to end the conflict between the SPLM/A and the Sudan government. The SPLM/A-Sudan government war was more complicated than the one waged in Darfur but the SU and its allies-backed IGAD and managed to remove all kinds of obstacles such as preconditions in order to make the talks succeed. The talks succeeded and what now popularly know here in the Sudan as the CPA was produced. Could this happen to the Darfur rebels who are demanding the trial of those whom they think committed crimes against humanity? Does it also mean that crimes against humanity were not committed during the Anyanya and SPLM/A war with the successive governments in the Sudan? The US and its allies are giving wrong signals to the rebels and that would make them to insist on working against all efforts exerted to bring about an end to the Darfur conflict. The US and its allies need to exercise fairness and help end the Darfur problem.

If SAF & SPLA Work Against Each Other, CPA is Doomed to Failure

Fighting was reported on March 7th, 2006, between the forces of Maj-Gen. Abd Al-Bagi Ayii, (SPLA) and the SSDF forces in the areas of Abyei and Meiram. Different reports indicated conflicting stories about the incident. However, SSDF sources said the Forces of Maj-Gen. Ayii attacked them in the night of March 7th, 2006, and so they had to repulse the attackers, killing 21. SPLA sources say they were accompanying IDPs from Khartoum to Bahr Al-Ghazal when they got attacked.

Maj-Gen. Ayii had deserted the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and joined the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA) in the merger made between Maj-Gen. now Lt-Gen. Paulino Matip Nial and Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) in February this year. One of Maj-Gen. Ayii's sons declined from joining the SPLM/A and had to assume the command of the forces that refused to join Maj-Gen. Ayii.

Meanwhile, SPLA forces formerly SSIA of Dr. Riek Machar, lead by Bol Kong, are reported to have clashed with SSDF forces in Akobo area. According to the reports, SPLA is trying to disarm all those it conceives are militia and loyal to the Government of National Unity (GoNU). One proud SPLA officer was quoted as saying, 'disarm or join us!'

The United Nations' (UN) Observer Force is reported to be investigating the incidents. While the UN does its work, a few genuine questions pose themselves: Who from either side ordered the attack and what does he expects to gain from such? Who has given the SPLA the authority to accompany IDPs, is this stipulated in the CPA? Why try to disarm a force that is clearly under a command? Who is SSDF? This article will attempt to answer these questions although those behind these incidents would give better and clear answers to these very questions.

Starting from bottom up, the SSDF is South Sudan Defence Force. The Security Arrangements Committee of the Sudan Peace Agreement (SPA) or the defunct Constitutional Decree No. 14 created it in their discussions. SSDF consisted of five (5) armed groups namely, SSIM/A, EDF, SPLM/A Bahr Al-Ghazal Group, SPLM/A-United and SPLM/A Bor Group. The SSDF officers and men should really be those who are not yet integrated into the SAF. This is more so because the Naivasha Security Arrangements discussions had decided that militia in the country were free to choose which of the two armies they should join so that there is no force in between the SPLA and SAF. However, the process of integration of SSDF into the SAF is not over yet. Thus, each SSDF armed group is under its own command and the leadership of each of these armed groups is integrated into the SAF.

It sounds a bit incongruous though to hear the Vice-President (VP) of the South, Dr. Riek Machar, stating in a report carried by 'The Citizen' Newspaper of March 14th, 2006, p.1, that "GoSS should disarm militia so as to maintain the rule of law. He urged nomads bordering Upper Nile State not to move with their arms in disputed areas." The VP seems to be legalizing the nomads' weapons and illegalizing those of the so-called militia. The so-called militias were once his own army that he left under various commands. The disarmament is a matter that needs discussion with the leadership of the so-called militia and, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) should do this task and not the SPLA.

The Version of the SPLA on the Abyei and Meiram attacks is not satisfactory because they should have been ambushed rather than attacked and perhaps some vehicles in which they were traveling burnt and IDPs killed or injured. This did not happen, thus, there is more into it than meets the eye.

The SPLA needs to discipline the officers and men of Maj-Gen. Ayii's group and indeed any other armed group that has joined them recently because they are unhappy as to why should there remain part of their armies within the ranks and file of SSDF. Encouraging Ayii's group or any other group with a view to coercing the groups left behind into SPLA would be a mistake and that is against the principles of the CPA.

The CPA has an arrangement on how to repatriate the IDPs and how to protect them. Such unilateral repatriations are supposed to be coordinated with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs that is supposed to settle and rehabilitate the repatriated.

Nevertheless, whoever is behind this kind of pitying one group against the other be he in SPLA or SAF, is obviously working against the CPA. The CPA's Security Arrangements Protocol should always be a reference in the dealing of the two main forces, SAF and SPLA. The two forces are the defenders of the CPA but if they start working against the CPA then the CPA is doomed to failure. Such a failure would set the CPA on a reverse course and the final destination of such a course, the reverse course, is the war. Are these two armies ready to engage each other once again after the good period of disengagement?

Some people in both the SAF and the SPLA who did not come face to face with an actual battle scenario and who do not care what happens to their people so long as they are happy, are working to reverse the CPA course. The GoSS and GoNU need to identify such elements and either dismiss them or simply withdraw them from where they make trouble. If taken, this would be a good action for the peace-loving people of the Sudan and certainly for the smooth implementation of the CPA.

Legislators Ought to Probe GoSS for the Whereabouts of $702m

Immediately after the meeting between the Presidency, Government of National Unity (GoNU), Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Ministers of Finance, and the Governor of the Central Bank on oil revenues early March, Sudanese of all occupations are producing more questions than answers. Speculations are on the increase on the 702 Millions US Dollars received by the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) in the year 2005. The streets of Sudan are full of rephrased stories refined conclusions on who received the money, when and how it was utilised.

The South Sudan Assembly, which joined in to inquire for the whereabouts of the cash, has supported a genuine inquiry, already set force by the people of South Sudan. The very many questions asked by the South Sudanese on the whereabouts of the 702 Million US Dollars are the inquiry of the people of South Sudan. The Assembly needs some clarifications so that those that it represents, the constituents, know what the executive has done with the money. The Assembly needs to know how the cash was utilised or to say the least, ask the executive to account for the cash already spent and state the balance before the representatives of the people. There are two obligations for the Legislative Assembly to know about the whereabouts of the cash: a) It is the Assembly's duty to do so; and b) the First Vice-President and President of GoSS had promised the people of South Sudan that his government would fight corruption and institute transparency and accountability.

There is every hope that the GoSS is working hard to bring the figures that tally before the Sudanese people in order to rid themselves of wrong doings. However, the GoSS and its Parliament came to existence months after the appointment of Dr. Garang. Dr. Garang as the head of the South had to utilize some money to facilitate the work for the constitution of the South and in making arrangements and consultations to form both the Parliament and the GoSS. The question would be who should account for the money already used if there was no proper transparency? The use of the money is always traceable because the late Dr. Garang had his lieutenants who facilitated his movements and work. These lieutenants should cooperate with the GoSS and its Parliament and trace back the use of the money.

Nonetheless, any cash, however small or big, used in either small or big way, a genuine user of such cash would always make transparency and accountability his/her shield. Therefore, the GoSS does not have to hide anything from the people of South Sudan. They have to say the truth and the truth will set them free and may be help them in two years time to win the elections due to be held throughout the Sudan in about two-and-a-half years' period from now.

The Assembly of South Sudan has the right to question, in parliament, the GoSS' Minister of Finance to account for the cash on behalf of the GoSS. If the Answer is unsatisfactory, the Assembly has the power to form a parliamentary a committee to probe the executive and make public its findings so that who did not get involved in the misappropriation of funds, should the probe committee finds out exists, should have their names cleared and those guilty made to face the law.

The Legislative Assembly of South Sudan should institutionalize transparency and accountability in the South. While the implemented of such an institution carried out by the executive of the GoSS through their newly appointed undersecretaries. Donors would be very much willing to help South Sudan, but without transparency and proper accountability, they would decline from donating anything. The failure to account for what has been used to the donor makes it difficult for the donor to receive funding. The reports that the secondary donor makes to his primary donor is what makes it eligible for more funds. The primary donor is a taxpayer or multi-national individuals who own conglomerates. Secondary donors are governments, which have a surplus of money levied from taxes or a non-governmental organisation that seeks for funds from well-wishers to help the poor.

Comparing Salva Kiir with Late Dr. Garang is Unfair

Many sound minds in South Sudan have failed to absorb the 'lack of respect attitude' displayed by a good number of highly educated South Sudanese towards the less educated, especially those who are privileged with higher educational qualifications. This tendency is associated with the belief that those less educated – bellow a degree – are, to say the least, unqualified and therefore unfit to run top offices in the country – judging the said less educated before they even start.

How demoralizing could this be to the so-called less educated whose morale for the job could be as higher than the more educated, hereinafter referred to as 'highly qualified!' This article identifies such an attitude like that of the 'highly qualified' as a recipe for future conflict in the South. This is more so because there are those who sacrificed their own education to liberate the 'highly qualified' but undermined by the latter. The article defines the word intellectual to benefit the reader and offers a suggestion for the development of extramural programmes, specially tailored for those combatants who have survived the war but did not either go to school or complete their studies.

From as far back as August last year when the current President of the South assumed the leadership of SPLM/A following the death of Dr. John Garang, the former First Vice-President and President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), skeptics did not hide their true feelings and did not mince their words – they said Lt-Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit was less educated and unfit for the job. They passed judgment on Lt-Gen. Salva as not having the qualities of the late Garang. On the other hand, unable to perform the task of his predecessor even before he started.

This is a fact that is known in the South, especially in the circles of the SPLM/A Movement (now a political party). This notion was developed, maintained and continues to be maintained by the 'highly qualified' in the SPLM/A. These ‘highly qualified’, some of whom came to the Movement in the early 1990s, created an affiliation for intellectuals in Nairobi and met Dr. Garang several times. In this affiliation of the ‘highly qualified’, the definition of an intellectual is one who has acquired a Masters Degree and above.

Exceptionally though, undergraduates who were very close to the 'so-called intellectuals' organizing the affiliation, were invited from time to time not only to attend the meeting per se but to offer services during meetings such as their first meeting with Dr. Garang. Since then they, together with some foreign friends or benefactors of the SPLM/A had, surrounded Dr. Garang. The 'so-called intellectuals' was a phrase used by the late Dr. Garang when he met the students from various universities in Kenya a day or so after his meeting with the 'intellectuals' at the SPLM/A office in Lavington, Nairobi. An excerpt from his opening remarks said, "good morning, I am pleased to meet you here today…. this is where I met the so-called intellectuals (yesterday)."

For the interest of the reader, it is useful to go back to the word intellectual and see if intellectual could be defined as holder of Masters Degree and above or actually the 'highly qualified' have redefined the word to suit their own interests? The word intellectual, however, is defined by Collins Paperback Dictionary (1994:324) as the 'power of thinking and reasoning.' This meaning thus includes the thinkers in all communities, including those who do not read and write. The power of thinking and reasoning is not offered in schools as a subject but developed by schools, which add reading, writing and certainly more knowledge to an already powerful thinker and logician.

These 'highly qualified' people are there, they are very well known for their notoriety and disrespect for other leaders within the SPLM/A whom they undermine and categorize as less educated or semi-illiterates, having no respect for the late Dr. Garang, while they, the 'highly qualified', almost worshiped the late Dr. Garang.

This group of the 'highly qualified' and those who execute their plans within the SPLM/A struggled to do anything for Dr. Garang and Madam Rebecca, the bride of the CPA, some even became like houseboys, just to be given a senior position at the end of that personal struggle. Little did they know that God and not man controls fate!

Some of them were overheard doing the loud thinking immediately after the death of the late Dr. Garang that 'the power has really shifted?' How could a 'highly qualified' ask such a question when a village thinker and logician know that his village chief could be replaced anytime when he meets a fatal fate? It is because such 'highly qualified' were there not for the cause but for their personal interests. If they were there for the cause, they would not worry about the shifting of power, as the struggle does not forget those who make it succeed whether the power shifts or not. Nonetheless, the President of the GoSS did not forget them, as forgetting them could have pumped enormous amounts of blood into their fragile hearts, which could have ceased performing some months ago.

The tendency to cause divisions within South Sudan along qualification lines, an attitude possessed by the 'highly qualified' is detrimental. In fact, it is a recipe for a serious conflict, because those who sacrificed their education for South Sudan now, while the 'highly qualified' pursued their studies, would not swallow this easily today.

Politics has no school and those who studied political sciences or the art of government, as referred to by some universities, should not be deceived that they could make good politicians. High qualifications are not for politics, they are meant to develop, strengthen and advance institutions for knowledge and research.

The ‘highly qualified’ are supposed to be teaching in universities, institutions of higher learning, including research institutions and managing technocracy at both private and public sector levels. Politics is a field from where experience could be derived for its practice and the ‘highly qualified’ are certainly welcome to gain some experiences when they choose to abandon their professions but to follow the rules of the game, at least. It is a field meant for those who have their constituents at heart but not for money-making or showing off.

It is on this very basis that non-university graduates are as well capable of making good politicians because they would be very keen to learn about the rules of the game. There are many examples of leaders who did not enter universities and did not study the art of government but became successful politicians like British's John Major, just to give one of the many examples.

However, the relationship between the 'highly qualified' and those who sacrificed their education for the South shall remain a recipe for conflict if not addressed. In order to address this, a specialized educational programme, specially tailored for adult students, is needed to help educate and improve the consciences of those who thought that the war has left them useless. The 'highly qualified' as mentioned above acquired their qualifications to educate others and make discoveries. The 'highly qualified' should extend respect to these former fighters so that they, in return, could earn respect from them. Respect is reciprocal; a person does not have to be 'highly qualified' to deserve it. As of now, at least, they should help design the needed programmes for these ex-combatants instead of undermining them.

There is no useless human being just because he or she is not learned. That is precisely why educationists have developed the extramural departments in most of the institutions of higher learning. They are meant to teach adults and identify some powerful thinkers and logicians that may not be found amongst the 'highly qualified, to help improve the society and the country. These adults have experiences, which if coupled with knowledge acquired from extramural studies, would improve the horizons of such adults, become beneficial to them, their families, the 'highly qualified' and certainly the country at large.

Undermining others because someone thinks he or she is 'highly qualified' equals to disrespect. To compare Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir with the late Dr. Garang who spent his time pursuing his studies and hardly fought in Anyanya, is unfair. There are those whose education was sanctioned by the Movement but have no right, whatsoever, to undermine those who availed them the opportunity to study. This is the essence of fighting for liberation. It is not a right for someone to go and fight while another goes to school unless it comes out of a vision. That vision would become a genuine policy of the Movement, which must give equal opportunities for its own citizens to further their education.

The late Oliver Tambo's African National Congress (ANC) and Sam Nujoma's South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) had such policies during their liberation struggles. These two Movements had identified institutions in the Diaspora such as the German-based Otto Benecke Stiftung or Foundation and others that catered not only for the education of South Africans, including the Namibians in exile but also accommodated and fed them well all over the world. This was obviously a successful policy, which the SPLM/A did not have.

Thus, the 'highly qualified' who struggled on their own need to know this fact. Because if there were an opportunity such as that of ANC and SWAPO, the 'highly qualified' would argue his or her case and say, 'an opportunity was availed for all…. I had to seize mine.'

'Boma' & 'Payam' Not Borrowed But Promulgated By SPLM/A

Most South Sudanese citizens in areas controlled by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) complained a lot before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of the menace in which villages were being renamed in their own areas in South Sudan. Some of these renamed areas are ‘New Cush’ and ‘New Site’ in Budi and ‘New Bor’ in Magwi Counties respectively in Eastern Equatoria State.

The renaming of these areas, however, has already been institutionalised by the SPLM/A but unknown to the majority of South Sudanese people, including those in the Legislative Assembly of the South Sudan. The imposition of words like ‘Payam’ and ‘Boma’ by Dr. Garang was not sanctioned by the majority of South Sudanese in the SPLM/A, because SPLM/A, until the time of his death, was more or less a family enterprise.

Dr Wani Tombe in his Daily Column published in Sudan Vision Newspapers, Contemplation, of March 22nd, 2006, discussed about this very subject with specific reference to the Dinka word, ‘Payam’, which is said to mean District in Dinka language. Dr. Wani did not mention another word, lower in hierarchy than ‘Payam’, ‘Boma’ and this avails an opportunity to include the word ‘Boma’ to this debate of renaming villages and imposing words that are not agreed upon by all to all.

‘Boma’ is the smallest unit of a local government set up in the SPLM/A liberated areas (now in the whole of South Sudan). This word, like ‘Payam’, has its roots in the Dinka language – it means a village in Dinka Language, so a Dinka friend clarified it. Well, this word, as ‘Payam’ is imposed on the people of South Sudan. Someone with a tribal mind would ask how is this word imposed? Imposed because both Payam and Boma have been legalised by the interim constitution of Southern Sudan and it appears that no one could, at least for the time being, be able to change them.

Linguists would argue that, borrowing words from other languages enriches other languages. They would also support this argument by saying that the language of Sciences, Latin, is dying because it is only spoken in one very tiny city, the Vatican City, and more badly, it refuses to borrow from other languages. This would be a very strong argument that is not only convincing but also acceptable.

One of the many good friend said that Dr. Wani Tombe should be informed about the fact that languages in South Sudan ought to borrow in order to survive. The Linguists form the core of the intellectual debate in the matters like this. They certainly do not have to sit back and watch because their expert opinion is needed to convince the opposing sides in the debate on what is correct. They could prepare their arguments in writing based on their expert opinion and present them to any of the English newspapers to publish to form some kind of a panel for this interesting debate.

If the linguists in South Sudan consider the use of the words like ‘Payam’ and ‘Boma’ as borrowing, they have seriously missed a point. The point is that the linguists use the word 'borrow' and Dr. Wani Tombe uses the word 'impose'. To borrow means to "obtain or adopt temporarily", Collins Paperback Dictionary, (1994:68) until such a time that it is either accepted or rejected. A good example is the Swahili word for journey, 'Safari', whose origin – with meaning – is Arabic, 'Safar'.

This word has come a long way from the Arab Peninsula to Africa's East Coast and to the Sudan, and in the Sudan, to the Otuho people of Torit County. Otuho people have adopted the word very recently; in fact, the word became mostly used from 1972 during the repatriation of the Sudanese refugees from East Africa back to the Sudan. The word 'Safari' or (Safar), in its original sound, is popularly used as a proper noun for only females by Otuho people: Imoya is the noun, which is short for 'Momoriya', a distorted Arabic word for 'Mamuriya', which again means 'Safari.'

To impose, on the other hand, means to "force the acceptance of" or "promulgate" Collins Paperback Dictionary, (1994:308-481) 'Boma' and 'Payam' on the South Sudanese people without their consent. The word 'Safari' has been floated for centuries before it is finally adopted after interactions of the people concerned (Tourists and local coastal people of Darsalaam, Zanzibar in Tanzania and Mombassa in Kenya).

Therefore, it has taken time indeed for the word 'Safari' to become part of Otuho in Torit, Sudan, or English in the United Kingdom and United States. SPLM/A has been in the bush for 21 years, wouldn't it be too soon to impose Dinka words on South Sudanese before any serious interactions could even take place?

Imposition of anything on anybody is an unlawful act. If the South Sudan is to be built on strong pillars, pillars whose basis would be strengthened by respect for law and order, respect for property ownership and privacy, unity of South Sudanese people would be achieved by consensus. However, any attempts to impose things on other people as if other people don't have those things is not only unlawful but it is actually uncouth, to say the least. The history of the South Sudan should be able to guide its people now.

The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) needs to be on the watch out and come up with some mechanisms that would check the tendencies of some tribal leaders who take pleasure in their uncouthness to impose what is theirs on others. If history is there to help people refer to it in order to correct what went wrong in the past, then let it be the teacher of the GoSS today.

Attempts to impose on others what is not theirs are likely to promote a notion that some tribes are special and assimilating others into them is business as usual. South Sudanese are complaining that the Arabs or 'Jalaba', as they are popularly known in South Sudan, are trying to assimilate the people of South Sudan into Arabicism and Islamicism, how different would the Dinka tribe be from 'Jalaba' if they were bent on imposing what is theirs on others. The Dinka tribe's people who want to impose whatever is theirs on others are trying to promote tribalism in South Sudan. South Sudan does not want to do that, does it?

Arabs to Support their Diversities to Achieve a Higher Degree of Religious and Cultural Tolerance

The Arab Foreign Ministers Meeting, which was held on March 28th, 2006, in Khartoum had prepared about four agenda to be discussed in the Summit: Iraq, Palestine, Syria-Lebanon relationship, Darfur, Somalia, in addition to reforms that are needed to be carried out throughout the Arab world.

Iraq’s issue has been complicated by some Arab countries, which cooperated with America and its allies for genuine reasons but forgot that their goodwill to cooperate has used to complicate the entire situation in Iraq and this problem is the problem has become the problem of every Arab country today. This cooperation started between some of the Arab countries and the United States and its allies in early 1990s, when the Iraqi government, under the leadership of the deposed President, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. That cooperation has been taken for granted by the US and its allies because they thought such cooperation offered them a visa to come back to Iraq, oust Saddam and created hell on earth now found in Iraq today.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister, in a press conference he held in Khartoum while attending the Arab Summit stated that there is no civil war in his country. How could the Minister call what is taking place in Iraq now? Is it terrorism and if it is terrorism by whom is it spearheaded and against whom? The people of Iraq decided to be on each other's throat and that is not on small-scale, it is nothing less than a civil war. The US may not value its own citizens that is why they do not care whether they died in Iraq or in any other part of the world. Could this be the case with the Iraqi people and acceptable to Arabs countries? The Iraqis certainly need each other and therefore must address their problems are Iraqis and Arab League has an obligation to restrain the US and its allies from encouraging the appalling situation in Iraq, which is fought in the interest of the US and not that of the Iraqi people.

Palestinian question appeared to have entered into some very serious complication, especially after the election of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) early March 2006. HAMAS has openly said it will not recognize the State of Israel and that it does not care whether it is supported in this decision it will not back down.

The Arab leaders have an obligation towards the people of Palestine and the people of Palestine include HAMAS and the other political organizations. Thus, the Arab League needs to bring pressure to bear on HAMAS to fight for the rights of the Palestinian people and not its political agenda, which is clouded with its hate towards the Jews and their allies all over the world. The Palestinian people need political maturity from HAMAS and indeed all the Palestinian political parties to address, with wisdom, the plight of the Palestinian people. Refusal to recognize the Jewish State means refusal to recognize the allies of the Jewish State. This thus, would mean that HAMAS and those who follow this fundamental line within the Palestinian political circles are trying to increase the suffering of the Palestinian people. Since HAMAS has accepted to seek for mandate from the Palestinian people and the Palestinian people did not let it down, HAMAS should reciprocate by not letting down the Palestinian people.

The assistance, which the EU used to send directly to the Palestinian Authority, is now, according to the EU, channeled through the United Nations (UN) (BBC News). Does HAMAS and those who tow its fundamental line know what it means to channel assistance through the UN? May be not, otherwise the UN has one of the most orthodox bureaucratic systems in the world that is further complicated by its interest in employing citizens of the donor countries. In other words, assistance in form of money offered to the Palestinians through the UN would end up in maintenance of the UN staff luxuriously before it finally gets to the Palestinian people. Arab League needs to dialogue with the Palestinian leadership, especially HAMAS to use wisdom in addressing the Palestinian issue in order to put back on course the Roadmap to Peace.

Syria has entered into very serious differences with Lebanon for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that the Syrian authorities are accused of killing Rafik Hariri; and the second one is that the Syrian authorities want to use Lebanon and not Syria as a springboard to attack and score their grudges with Israel. The Syrians have no right whatsoever to impose whatever is that their will on the people of Lebanon.

It is the right of the Lebanese people to send out of Lebanon Syrian and Palestinian troops that think they have a right to stay and use Lebanon without permission as a springboard for attacking Israel. Egypt used to be like Lebanon until when Anwar Sadat put an end to it in Camp David in 1978. This did not mean Anwar or the people of Egypt were against the cause of the Palestinian people but they realised that their people were dying for a cause complicated by its own people. Syria has its scores to settle with Israel and tries to use the Palestinian cause as a reason for scoring those grudges. Isn't this interference in internal affairs of Lebanon, which Arab League guards against?

Darfur case does not warrant any other foreign intervention because it already has a foreign intervention, the African Union (AU) forces. The UN’s rush to deploy in the Sudan’s Darfur does not emanate from its supposedly neutral policies but the partial United States policies towards the third world, especially countries related to the Arab world like the Sudan. However, how and when actually is an intervention into a country necessary? It would be good to consider a number of factors before any such intervention take place:

e) Government's intransigence;
f) Government's inability to control its organised forces;
g) Absence of government; and
h) Absence of law and order.

These four factors mentioned above may not be the only ones but if found in the Sudan, form a basic characteristic of an anarchist State – like Somalia some two years ago and even now. Sudan, however, does not fall under any of the above factors because the government is now under constant check and balance from its senior and junior partners in the Interim National Assembly and Government of National Unity or GoNU. The representatives of the Sudanese people have, on behalf of the entire Sudanese nation, unanimously voted against any UN-US intervention in the Sudan, any effort to push this by force would not only be futile but also bloody, and the experience of Iraq is enough in the continent. Sudan has suffered from its own wars; it now needs to rebuild its war ruins and focus on development.

Somalia’s case appears to be very complicated but it is not. Ethnic, cultural and religious differences usually complicate solution of problems that originate from political conflicts. Somalia is one of the most privileged countries in both African and Arab continents. It has two races, that is Semitic or people having Arab blood and Bantu or people having African blood but both have intermarried and do share Islam as a religion. Islam has its way of life and that way of life should be the way of life of the Somali people. The Arab League in conjunction with the AU should formulate ways and means by promoting ethnicity and ignoring clanship to resolve the Somali problem and alleviate the suffering of the innocent Somali people. Clans are extended families within one ethnic grouping and thus promoting clanship works to destroy ethnicity, which seems to be more important in resolving the Somali conflicts because the mediators would be dealing with only two ethnic groups rather than tens of clans.

The Arab League Summit in Khartoum also mentioned discussing reforms in the Arab world. This is quite an interesting subject because to talk about reforms there will be no exceptions. In other words, it would obviously include democratic reforms in the Arab world and this is likely to raise more questions than answers. For example, are the Arabs ready to embrace democracy in its real sense; which would mean that a woman should not be segregated against her male counterparts? Would the King, Emirs and Sultans accept devolving powers and allowing the participation of more than one political party to compete in democratic elections? Are the Arabs ready to respect the rights of the minorities like Christians in the Arab world and sometimes improve their constitutions to allow non-Muslim to lead their countries? There is more in to the word reform than meets the eye and the Arab countries should be prepared to reform in order to progress but not to retrogress.

This is the second time in 17 rounds of Arab Summits that the Summit is held in the Sudan. Could the Arabs compare the Summit held in Sudan in 1967 and the Summit recently concluded Sudan in 2006? What conclusions can they draw from the comparisons? For example, did the Arabs in 1967 (39 years later) ever imagined that a non-Muslim South Sudanese could become a Foreign Minister in the Sudan and actually address them in a language that they all hear and publicly acknowledged the use of its grammar without any of them using a translation headset provided for in the conference centre? No, this is a dream to some people in the Arab world and certainly a nightmare to some in the Sudan itself.

However, such is fairly dynamism in the development of human race, which progresses rather than retrogresses. The current rulers in the Sudan have come to accept this as a genuine fact and this has been one of the reasons in overthrowing the traditional forces led by Umma and Democratic Unionist Parties – this has been a wonderful reform. There is still a serious hoped that the rest of the Arab world would emulate phenomena.

The Arab countries need to support each other in their diversities and help such diversities to achieve a higher degree of religious and cultural co-existence and tolerance, so to speak so that they could be of benefit to each other. Arab countries should be aware and prepared for another miracle that is likely to come after another 39 years, like that of a non-Muslim Foreign Minister in the Sudan. It could happen only that it may be in a different way.

Dr Lam Akol has made the SPLM/A, South Sudan and Sudan Very Proud

The Arab Foreign Affairs Ministers have just concluded their Council of Ministers meeting in Khartoum. They are now awaiting the arrival of their heads of State in Khartoum to begin and conclude the Arab League’s annual summit, the 18th, on Tuesday, March 28th, 2006. This is the second summit after 39 years Sudan is hosting and first ever to be represented by a Foreign Minister from South Sudan at both Sudanese and Arab levels, who also assumed the chair of its Council of Ministers' Meetings.

The first and most interesting aspect of this summit is that for the first time in the history of the Sudan and indeed the Arab World that a South Sudanese became a Minister for Foreign Affairs. Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is the first Foreign Minister of the Sudan from South Sudan who addressed the summit on behalf of the Sudan and assumed the Arab Council of Ministers' Chair.

The second aspect is that it takes the people of the Sudan as far back as the days of the traditional parties, the parties that nurtured war in the Sudan. During those days, a South Sudanese would not become a Minister for Foreign Affairs because for them such would be a misrepresentation of the Sudan.

More so, South Sudanese were (may be the traditional parties still do) associate South Sudanese with Kuffar (plural Arabic word for Kafir), a term according to some close Muslim friends, means having religion but not practicing it. Although the general understanding of the word to non-Muslims in the Sudan and perhaps elsewhere is pagan, having no religion to practice at all.

The third aspect is that Dr. Lam Akol has made the SPLM/A on one hand and the people of South Sudan on the other, very proud. Apart from his language abilities, Dr. Lam Akol is as old a product of Khartoum University as Dr. Ali Al-hajj Muhammad, Dr. Ghazi Salah Al-din, Muwalana Ali Osman Muhammad Taha, Dr. Mutrif Siddiq and Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail. In other words he went to the same school as the above prominent Sudanese leaders and he, according to those who follow academic records in the University of Khartoum, has unbeaten records in Chemical Engineering. Dr, Akol, like his predecessor, Mustafa Osman Ismail, is qualified for the job.

The question one would like to ask is, how come then that the Former National Salvation Revolution Government (NSRG) and its ruling Party, the National Congress Party (NCP) accepted a South Sudanese to head the foreign ministry? Does this mean that the NSRG and NCP are less Muslims than the traditional parties who divided the Sudanese people on racial, religious and cultural lines? On the other hand, have the non-Muslim become Muslims? The list of the questions to be asked is very long and this article will not ask all of them.

However, all the questions above can only be summarised in one but long answer. The NSRG came to put an end to the mess created by the traditional parties and create a new Sudan identity based on freedom, justice and equality. These traditional parties denied freedom, Justice and equality for the majority of the Sudanese people. These freedoms are being restored by NSRG but that is not so easy and it will take time. With time it is possible since there is a will to do so from NCP and the majority of the Sudanese people who have accepted to join in the NSRG programme for action.

The work for peace and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is a testimony that the NSRG and its ruling party are serious. Through this seriousness, the South Sudanese in the Sudan now have a First Vice-President of the Republic; they are Ministering Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Affairs and Higher Education, just to mention some of the important Ministries in the country, in addition to autonomy with a budget probably bigger than the budgets of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania put together.

There are many South Sudanese, especially in the circles of the SPLM/A who are now preparing serious articles to condemn Dr. Lam Akol for acknowledging the Sudan as an Arab country and he as one of the Arab Ministers. South Sudanese have to wake up and make themselves welcome to the real world. Sudan is an Afro-Arab country; at no time can anyone refer to the Sudan as Arab-Afro country because the Sudan is an African country that falls within both African and Arab continents. It has Arab minority that has, over the years, asserted itself to the realm of power and made the Sudan to become synonymous with the Arab world but the Sudan never lost its African identity. The synonymy with Arab world has been necessitated by the language, religious and cultural bonds that bind the Sudanese Arabs to their Arab kinsmen and this is cemented as part of this country's history.

There are a number of examples in the world that could be emulated, the United States, South Africa, Namibia and even Kenya have whites but originally these countries are not theirs. Same example goes to South Sudanese Canadians, Americans and Australians, just to mention but a few of the examples available.

The SPLM/A supporters who are opposed to Dr Lam Akol should be able to realise now that when it took the SPLM/A time to submit its list for GoNU cabinet, it appeared that most of its members had probably declined from the position of foreign minister but Dr. Lam Akol had to take it. One really wonders how someone would ask for something and yet shies away from the responsibilities associated with it!

The sceptics of Dr Lam Akol's running of the Foreign Ministry should be pleased because without Lam Akol, whomever they had in mind would be absenting him/herself from many important meetings in order to avoid association with Arabicism and that would register the absence of a South Sudanese from the top office of the foreign ministry.

The policy of the Sudan government allies it to both Arab League and the AU. Thus, it is the duty of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Sudan to represent the Sudan in either of these organisations' meetings, including others whose invitations would come from regional groupings and international conferences, including the UN security Council Meetings.

No Motives to Kill Dr Garang de Mabior

The inquiry into the circumstances that led to the crash of the ill-fated Ugandan Chopper, which ended the life of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, his personal bodyguards as well as the Ugandan crew is over. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on March 15th, 2006 that the inquiry found out that the crash was an accident rather than a fowl play. What was not very clear, however, is which of the inquiry it was; is it the one conducted by the Uganda government or the one, which was commissioned by both countries, Sudan and Uganda, involving foreign experts from Russia, the home of the ill-fated Chopper. But since the insurers of the ill-fated Chopper have accepted liability and are ready to pay the Chopper's insurance, it means the report is genuinely over.

Otherwise, the Chopper's crash and the death of the late Dr. Garang almost destroyed the trust that was developed between the partners to the CPA. South Sudanese went on rampage in Khartoum, killing and burning vehicles and properties of innocent Sudanese people in a number of Sudanese cities, accusing the federal government of having a hand in the air crash. Sudan government had its fingers pointed at Uganda, Museveni, to be more specific. Garang's kitchen cabinet also accused President Museveni for the accident and Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit for complicity in the crash because, so it was assumed, that he and Garang were in loggerheads. This article attempts to analyse the different interests of the suspects in maintaining Dr. Garang in power and their non-complicity in Dr. Garang's death.

President Al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) have not denied their interest to maintain the unity of Sudan at all costs. Dr. Garang sympathised with the South Sudan separatists but he was not one of them. President Al-Bashir and his ruling NCP would not, under any circumstances instigate, let alone the killing of Dr. Garang. This does not mean that President Al-Bashir and NCP have the intention of killing separatists, no. Because in his recent visit to Juba and Rumbek President Al-Bashir said he wants unity but should the South opt for separation, he will join them in celebrating their new State.

President Yoweri Museveni cannot initiate the killing of Dr. Garang. Dr. Garang was not only his colleagues in Daresalaam University but he was a potential ally who is to be treasured for two reasons: 1) Uganda's gain from the vast resources of South Sudan; and 2) getting rid of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Therefore, Museveni had no reason to kill Dr. Garang.

The First Vice-President of the Republic is not an ambitious person. He disagreed with the late Dr. Garang on principles but never eyed his seat. He was instead being tempted to take over by a good number of those in his government now and in the GoNU but he maintained his position of a loyal officer. He could have taken over from Dr. Garang long ago if he wanted because the majority SPLA soldiers come from Bahr Al-Ghazal Region. He certainly commands upto this moment, the respect of the Bahr Al-Ghazal people in SPLM/A. Becoming the First Vice-President of the Republic and President of the South is accidental because he is not above the CPA or the SPLM/A constitution both of which stipulate the taking over of the top position by the vice of either party should it fall vacant.

These kinds of analyses should have dominated the minds of those who thought Dr. Garang was in one way or another killed. Instead of rushing to conclusions and making unnecessary judgments that could have produced more deaths between Sudanese themselves or with neighbouring Uganda.

Finally, skeptics should accept that those suspected for the death of late Dr. Garang have no motives, whatsoever, to kill him. Now that the results of the inquiry into Dr. Garang's death are out, relationships that had been strained by accusations and counter accusations to the mystery that had surrounded the death of Dr. Garang should be renewed so that the people who once enjoyed good relationships, open a new page. The late Dr. Garang was not immortal; he was as mortal as any other human being who is subject to meeting his/her fate when it calls up. Christians believe in fate that is pre-destined by God, meeting such fate, especially if it is a fatal one, is accepted, and thanks are given to God for giving and taking the ill-fated deceased.

South Sudan: No Infrastructures & Basic Services for Universities, Insecurity a Problem

This article follows one, which was written last month entitled 'Juba University Students Involved in Outdated Emotional Politics' in which the author argued how the students supporting the National Congress, SPLM and other parties that make up the GoNU partnership could defeat the forces working against peace by uniting their ranks to support peace. Recently, the Students of Juba University and the other South Sudanese Universities based in the national capital, Khartoum, have, through some possible political fanning, been leading a campaign to have the Universities moved to their respective homes, Juba, Malakal and Wau. This action has caused a number of problems ranging from imprisonment of students to the delay of payment by Juba Universities’ Higher Authorities to all the lecturers.

Lately, students of these Southern Universities and some South Sudanese politicians opposed to the residence of these Universities in Khartoum want an immediate relocation of these Universities to the South at all costs, thus agitating the students to cause chaos so that the relocation of the Universities becomes a reality.

Well, it appears that their noise and chaos has born fruits because, the First Vice-President and President of the GoSS, Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, on April 10th, 2006, while delivering GoSS' policy statement to South Sudan Parliament, announced that this year will witness the relocation of these Universities to the South.

Whether the relocation of these Universities does become a reality or not, the final destination for these Universities is home, that is South Sudan. However, some very serious questions involving students' welfare as they get home need to be asked and sincere answers given by both the Universities' authorities and the GoSS.

For example, have those fanning the campaign to relocate the Universities made some serious consideration about necessary infrastructures for these Universities? Could infrastructures that manage to accommodate one or two colleges in the past be enough for nearly ten colleges? If yes, which is doubtful, are essential and/or basic services like electricity and water available? If yes, which is again doubtful, what about the insecurity, especially the one posed by the LRA around Juba and other areas in Equatoria? If LRA menace is taken care of, which is doubtful still, how about the landmines in Upper Nile, Bahr Al-ghazal and Equatoria; are they removed? If they have already been removed, which is even more doubtful, what about the soldiers on the loose in towns, won't they pose a threat to the students of these Universities when they get home? Let us look at each of the question and speculate some answers to them.

Infrastructure

South Sudan's major towns of Juba, Malakal and Wau, the homes to these Universities, are recovering from war effects. Almost all the infrastructures that existed before the war in these towns are either destroyed by the war itself or they just collapsed due to lack of maintenance. In other words, there are no infrastructures in these three major towns that could be used to accommodate the Universities.

Thus, trying to address an issue such as the relocation of these Universities from the perspective of political and racial hatred normally leaves the person trying to address the issue emotionally and hence irrationally charged. To be very specific, those who are advocating the immediate relocation of the Universities to the South without considering proper infrastructures are looking at their personal interests rather than the interest of the South and its future that would very much rely on the students these Universities would produce. Those seeking the relocation of these Universities without proper planning are aiming at inflicting harm on some people they think survive through these Universities. This would not be anything less than irrationality.

However, if these advocates of relocation of the Universities home have gone South, made various assessments and serious meetings with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) on how to provide even temporary shelters (makeshifts) and basic services for these Universities, one would appreciate what they are doing today. Nevertheless, the lecturers, some of whom possibly sympathise with these emotional and irrational politicians, did not carry out any assessment in these towns with a view to providing basic infrastructures, services and security for students when they return home.

Water & Electricity

Basic services like electricity and water are the most essential services needed by the students. Without such services, it would be irrelevant to discuss about the relocation of these Universities to their respective homes. Those campaigning for these Universities to relocate should know that these Universities may relocate but may not take off and so the blame would go to them. Because they need to carry out assessment on how to provide essential services for the students when they relocate to their respective places. The basic services available in some available infrastructures in the South were meant for hundreds of students but certainly not thousands.

Thus, any attempts to use the available services meant for a few hundreds for thousands of students would mean depleting what is there and this action would not only leave the students stranded but would eventually send the people of the South back to square one.

Insecurity

The South is emerging from war and that usually is accompanied with some insecurity problems. There are landmines that need to be removed but are not yet removed and they definitely pose a threat to the students. The presence of the LRA in Equatoria is a security threat. The proliferation of small arms in the South is insecurity to the students. The presence of armed soldiers in towns is the most serious insecurity to the students who naturally are unfriendly to soldiers.

The government of South Sudan (GoSS) is reported to have earmarked four million dollars for the Universities in the South. Part of this money should be used to immediately prepare some makeshifts structures fully furnished to accommodate the students, provide security, essential services like water and electricity within the infrastructures and pay the lecturers well so that they go to the South. Lecturers are paid peanuts and so they have to work in more than one University to make ends meet. Otherwise, the GoSS ought to seriously budget for the construction of Universities, other institutions of higher learning, High and basic schools.

There is a need to do a serious study and budgeting in order to deal with every situation correctly – proper transparency and accountability – to be very precise. The four million dollars is probably released by the GoSS for an emergency plan but certainly not to build permanent infrastructures with their basic services for all the Universities in the South and at the same time use the same money to relocate the Universities to the South.

The GoSS' boss supports for the immediate relocation of these Universities would necessitate the GoSS to form a commission charged with the duties of scientific assessment and budgeting, including short and long-term development of these Universities’ infrastructures with basic services as well as the improvement of security for the students.

Must GoSS Look for Teachers from Outside before knowing whether or not it Has Enough?

The government of South Sudan (GoSS) has announced sometimes in April that it has contracted upto 200 teachers from Kenya to teach in South Sudan. This is not a bad thing to do given Kenyan government's experience in the field of quality training of teachers. The Kenyan government has certainly produced a good number of teachers many of whom are working as freelance teachers as there are no enough posts to accommodate them. To reciprocate for what Kenya has done to the people of South Sudan, the GoSS is indeed obliged to recruit not only Kenyans but also Ugandans, to work in the South.

An important concern would come up to any reasonable mind, and questions such as what would be the effect of such an action on South Sudanese teachers. Wouldn't such an action leave some qualified and well-trained South Sudanese teachers jobless? Is it necessary that GoSS go out looking for teachers from outside before making a survey to know whether it has enough teachers who could do such jobs?

There are so many Kenyans already involved in many fields operating in South Sudan. There are still many other areas of expertise that South Sudan has in which Kenyans and Ugandans could fill between now and the near future. Kenyans and Ugandans would secure employments for their own before they look outside. A good number of South Sudanese worked in Kenya, this author is one of them, but only in fields that Kenyans could not fill.

Now that the contracts of these teachers could have already been signed, the GoSS has an obligation to its citizens: to protect its citizens from diseases that may be carried into South Sudan by these good numbers of foreigners. Since these foreigners would be posted in almost all parts of South Sudan, their coming however, needs to be coordinated with their government(s); especially their Ministries of Health, to medically examine and ensure that those coming to South Sudan are not infected with HIV/AIDS and other venereal or sexually transmitted diseases.

An action such as this does not in any way insinuate that South Sudanese do not have HIV/AIDS. However, it is important that these foreigners undergo medical examinations so that those who carry the diseases mentioned are not given the contracts but those who do not have the diseases should know that they are clean and be aware not to contract such diseases from South Sudan.

The GoSS should really try to be strict about entry of some dubious characters into South Sudan. Failure to do so might make the South a sanctuary for criminals, terrorists and people infected with HIV/AIDS with deliberate intention to infect as many as they can for malice purposes.

There are so many of these characters out there in all races who have money and would like to spend that money by ending a few lives as in the case of HIV/AIDS and hide as conglomerates as in case of terrorists and criminals. South Sudan should not be a haven for such individuals for the benefit of its people, including those in the GoSS.

The generosity of the South Sudanese in particular and that of the Sudanese in general is known and thus unquestionable. However, this should not blindfold the leadership in South Sudan and as a result place the lives of their own citizens at risk. The South certainly needs many foreign friends, especially the neighbours to help it develop, but never must this be done at the expense of South Sudanese people.

Let the GoSS employ South Sudanese people first before they think employing anybody from outside because unemployed South Sudanese professionals may not acquire employment outside there and that would become a burden to GoSS. Therefore, an assessment of not only teachers but professionals of various disciplines in South Sudan should be carried out immediately so that they are given jobs.

SPLA Spokesman’s Press Release Story Unfounded and Provocative

Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has released a press statement published by the Southern Eye, 27th March, 2006, entitled “SECURITY ALERT”. The Office of the SPLA Spokesman, Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), released the statement without date. The SPLA Spokesman, Maj-Gen. Bior Ajang Duot, signed the statement. The statement said, “The office of SPLA Spokesman wishes to inform the Sudanese in general and Southerners in particular that Chief Ismail Konyi and Peter Larot were flown from Khartoum on Saturday 18th March 2006 by a helicopter to Juba. The mission is to proceed to Pibor in Jonglei State and Lafon in Eastern Equatoria to reorganize the militias and reactivate their activities against the SPLA and the population in the South. This move undermines the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Therefore, the SPLA wishes to categorically inform all those intending to destabilize Southern Sudan that SPLA is ALERT, READY AND WILL DEFEND THE SOUTHERNERS’ RIGHTS TO PEACE within SPLA powers under the auspices of the CPA. Therefore SPLA/M appeals to National Congress Party (NCP) to restrain the said militia leaders from provoking us into war and forthwith stop their mission.” This press release is very misleading because what it claims is unfounded and provocative; especially that it is coming from a senior SPLA officer and Official Spokesman.

Maj-Gen. Ismail Konye and Brig. Peter Lorot were not flown in any helicopter to anywhere as alleged by the SPLA Official Spokesman. Maj-Gen. Ismail Konye flew to Juba on a passenger aircraft at the end of February, while Brig. Peter Lorot is in Khartoum upto this very moment awaiting a swearing-in ceremony for his promotion as Brigadiers in the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). These are corroborated facts that have to be made public to set the records straight and for SPLA not to mislead the people of the Sudan in general and the South Sudanese in particular. The SPLA Official Spokesman had fallen short of reasoning before rushing to the press otherwise; he should have at least crosschecked his information before making any such press release, which he deliberately made to reach the outside world via internet. Why would the General create such a white lie, if one must ask? Anybody can just speculate the answer to this heinous act.

The press release has a number of elements that are seriously aimed at distortion and sincerely rejuvenating the grudges that existed between the so-called militias and the SPLA in the past. The statement is intended to paint a bad picture of the militias to South Sudanese all over the world, international community and it specifically targets to initiate revenge for the killing of Commander (Cdr.) Garang Deng Agwang in Chukudum, Eastern Equatoria, by the then SPLA Captain now SAF Brig. Peter Lorot.

The SPLA Spokesman is known for his notoriety, especially in killing those who are opposed to the SPLM/A and the late Dr. Garang in particular. The list of those he has killed is endless and it appears that he has stayed for too long without killing and that makes his body itch, wanting to kill and smell the blood of his fellow brothers and not what the SPLA defines as 'the enemy.'

By concocting such a story in a press release, the SPLA Spokesman wants the SPLA C-in-C to give him a go ahead so that he attacks the forces of Brig. Peter Lorot. Brig. Lorot protected the Didinga people from the Official Spokesman's Bor murderer SPLA soldiers, like Cdr. Garang Deng Agwang whom he had sent to kill Capt. Peter Lorot in 1998 but ended up getting killed. This makes true the saying that, 'he who kills by the sword shall die by the sword!'

The SPLA Spokesman is seeking revenge for the killing of Cdr. Garang Deng Agwang, a relative whose death he swore to avenge. Cdr. Garang Deng Aqwang and his relative General Bior Ajang had in 1990 in Kapoeta ordered the shooting of Lowulak (Otuho excellent fighting force made of youths) and 28 officers and men from Lowulak were killed instantly. These young and innocent Lowulak were taken down unawares but this was not the case with Captain Lorot in Kapoeta eight (8) years later.

The Spokesman also targets Maj-Gen. Ismail Konye because the Murle forces did not give room for free killing by Bior Ajang and Co. in Pibor. This does not only make the life of the SPLA Spokesman very uncomfortable but as a citizen of Jonglei State, he feels that Jonglei is too small, unable to accommodate him with the Murle, a tough fighting force he can hardly temper with. The SPLA Spokesman also seeks to annihilate the so-called Mure militias.

The Spokesman said his SPLA was "ALERT, READY AND WILL DEFEND THE SOUTHERNERS’ RIGHTS TO PEACE." SPLA is ALERT indeed but not to guard the South Sudanese but itself from its past crimes. It is READY not to defend the people of the South but to fight anybody who dares challenge it, come what may. WILL DEFEND THE SPLA'S RIGHTS TO PEACE but not the right of the people of South Sudan to peace.

In early March 2006, SPLA soldiers killed a girl and her aunt and wounded their mother in Soba, in Khartoum, in unprovoked cold-blooded attack. In Juba, SPLA soldiers unleashed by Bior Ajang to revenge on the innocent Equatorians are causing havoc and people in Juba are terrorized, especially after a number of shooting to kill incidents involving SPLA soldiers.

What is happening in Didinga Mountains, Acholi and Madi areas, Southern Bari and Western Equatoria is an occupation accompanied by killing and unnecessary mistreatment of the citizens in these areas by none other than the agents of this Bior Ajang and his Bor Megalomaniacs. What kind of defense or protection could the people expect from such bloodthirsty likes of Bior Ajang? Bor SPLA soldiers led by Bior Ajang have inclination to occupy the entire Equatoria because that is what some of them promised they would do when they come back after 1983 (Kokora or re-division of the South) with an army and SPLA is the army.

The CPA is supposed to have ended any ill feelings towards all the Sudanese, with special emphasis on the South Sudanese themselves. The so-called militias wanted to go an extra mile in this direction – campaign for the South-South Dialogue so that the bitter differences between brothers could be settled and a document, like the CPA, guiding their co-existence is produced. Dr. Garang initially rejected this as unacceptable but later he saw it as a factual reality and addressed one of the South-South Dialogue Conferences. However, the likes of Bior Ajang kept pushing Dr. Garang hard not to accept reconciliation with South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). It appears that H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First Vice-President and President of the South, is now infected by the likes of Bior Ajang that is why he put an end to the South-South Dialogue by taking Lt-Gen. Paulino Matip and killing the entire process of the dialogue.

The so-called militias have accepted peace wholeheartedly but they are instead being provoked and lured into war by the likes of Bior Ajang. The Naivasha or CPA Security Arrangement Protocol had devised ways and means of resolving security crisis so that no one declares war on another like General Bior Ajang is doing.

Let us not pretend that there can be no war in the South because SPLA is now a government and would crush everybody who does not listen to its dictates. The government of Sudan with its tanks and superior airpower could not defeat the SPLA and so SPLA should not be deceived into believing that they can defeat the so-called militias if they intend to impose war on them.

The C-in-C of the SPLA needs to form a committee to investigate the unfounded allegations of his Spokesman and instead restrain his Spokesman from his revenge attitude, which is not new. Once the facts, which must not be distorted like the Chukudum Declaration, are presented to him then he can take any necessary action. However, whatever action he takes should not include threats to fight the so-called militias.

This is not a threat but a fact that SPLA needs to understand because no government has ever succeeded in Africa with rebels fighting it. Assuming the reigns of power does not give SPLA the right to go on killing at will like the one they did in the past.

However, South Sudan would become very small if people like Bior Ajang are let loose to unleash soldiers for the purposes of revenge. Bior Ajang should know that SPLA has alienated the majority of South Sudanese people who also have scores to settle with SPLA and with Bior Ajang and others whom Dr. Garang used extensively to kill innocent South Sudanese at will.

Let the CPA heel the hearts of South Sudanese and people like Bior Ajang be informed that if he thinks Garang Deng Agwang was as important then all those others he and Garang Deng Agwang killed from other sections of South Sudan are as important. So goes the saying that 'if you live in a glass house, do not throw stones!'
No one wants to fight, especially after the signing of the CPA. Many have accepted that the relatives they have lost in the hands of SPLA would not come back if they fight the SPLA. Some even said let the blood of their relatives killed by SPLA be a sacrifice for a total freedom of the people of South Sudan. South Sudan cannot afford to fight, can it; General Bior Ajang?

Author of "SPLA Spokesman Press Release Story Unfounded and Provocative" Threatened

On April 15th, 2006, Khartoum Monitor (KM) Newspaper issued an article on page 5 entitled "SPLA Spokesman Press Release Story Unfounded and Provocative" written by Ohiyok D. Oduho. This article, according to authoritative sources, did not only send shock waves through the nervous system of every Dinka from Bor but also made them infuriated and wanting to deal with the author right away. The sources, which made anonymous phone call to the author, further said that a verbal threat has been issued by the SPLA Official Spokesman and his henchmen to deal with the author of the article in question.

Well, this is very unfortunate because it appears that the Bor people in the SPLA led by the late Dr John Garang de Mabior Atem have forgotten that they massacred thousands of South Sudanese from other tribes, including Dinka from their own southern Bor and Bahr Al-ghazal between 1984 and 1987 and as mentioned in the above quoted article, the list is endless. This is a fact that the people of Bor in SPLA will not only have to live up with but know that it is a permanent scar in their faces. Instead of priding themselves that they did something significant, perhaps they should not forget to work hard to improve their bad image and do something through dialogue or a straight apology to the people of South Sudan. But continuing to insist that they are right is wrong and could very easily isolate them from the rest of the South.

Trying to issue threats against the author of the above-mentioned article, including killing him, would not manipulate the history to favour them, instead it would aggravate the situation further and revenge would become the concern of every South Sudanese and only then can the South become a small place because everybody would be up in arms.

Nevertheless, would this be what the people of Bor in SPLA want? It is doubtful because they are such a tiny section of Dinka that may not receive any support from the other sections of Dinka for they have alienated those ones too. The world and not the South would become very small for the people of Bor in SPLA. They should not be proud of anything because their leadership in the 1972 Addis Ababa-born High Executive Council was food presented on a silver platter. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) came about as a result of participation of other South Sudanese. Therefore, the people of Bor in SPLA should save the people of the South from any empty threats and make themselves welcome to the real world, the world that would have never moved an inch if tribalism, sectionalism and nepotism became commonplace, something the Bor Dinka in SPLA take pleasures in practicing.

Therefore, the author of the above quoted article would like to make it very clear to the SPLA Spokesman and his henchmen that he is aware that they are responsible for the death of his late father, Joseph Haworu Oduho, who was captured alive and killed in Panyagor, Jonglei State, by none other than the hit-squad authorized by the late Dr John Garang de Mabior and ordered by the SPLA Spokesman, Bior Ajang, in 1993. If anything happens to the author of the above quoted article, Maj-Gen. Bior Ajang, the SPLA Official Spokesman, should know that he would personally be held responsible. The author of the above quoted article says Gen. Bior Ajang and his henchmen would not cow him down and that he is prepared to followed his late father if telling the truth becomes lethal.

The above quoted article was written in a public media and if its contents were not acceptable to Gen. Bior Ajang and his henchmen, they should be intellectual enough to use the same medium to respond to the article. "The KM is a privately-owned paper and is Sudan's number one propagator of democratic values and the concepts of freedom of speech, expression and religion", (Osman, Talal S., KM: April 17th, 06). Otherwise, gone are the days when SPLM/A's General Intelligence Service or GIS killed at will.

NCP and SPLM Popularity Rooted in CPA Partnership

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) celebrated its 23rd anniversary in Juba on May 16th, 2006. In the celebrations that marked the occasion, senior SPLM/A members delivered keynote speeches. The First Vice-President and President of Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, attacked the SPLA partner, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). He said the SPLA has not been fighting the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), because "they are being hosted by the SAF in joint camps in Equatoria. Any offensive by the SPLA on LRA locations would mean attacking SAF bases, a matter that would be construed as a violation of the ceasefire and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," (Khartoum Monitor, May 17th, 2006, p.1). The First Vice-President called on all political parties and civil organisations in Sudan to support the CPA.

Meanwhile in his speech, the SPLM Secretary-General, Pagan Amum, described the NCP government led by President Al-Bashir and Ali Osman Muhammad Taha as being the government that has taken the "boldest of decisions since independence when it signed the Naivasha agreement." "The SPLM should encourage the NCP to implement peace rather than criticise it for shortcomings," (Khartoum Monitor, May 19th, 2006, p.1).

Critical analyses on the speeches made by both the President of the South and SPLM Secretary-General would leave anybody wondering as to whether or not each of these speeches were written in different operation rooms and with different visions on what message each speech intends to pass!

The President of South Sudan seems to be missing the entire point of partnership, because partners never quarrel or accuse each other in public. Constant pointing of accusing finger to a partner in public without any concrete evidence widens rather than closes the gap separating the partners in whatever work they would want to embark on. Any partnership like that of the CPA partners has a forum in which all the problems causing harm to the partnership are usually addressed. In case of the CPA, such a forum would be the Legislative Assemblies of both the South and the National Assembly, Council of Ministers of both the GoSS and the Government of National Unity (GoNU) and finally the presidency of which H.E. the President of GoSS is a member.

The other aspect of the First Vice-President's speech is his campaign to rally support for the SPLM's position against its partner, NCP, particularly amongst South Sudanese, the other parties and the civil society institutions. However, Patience in approach towards resolving partnership crisis would be the only viable way that could give SPLM incentives in terms of support. Because SPLM and NCP are popular today and their popularity has roots in their partnership in the CPA. In other words, the success of the parties depends on how strong is their partnership. One cannot do without the other, at least for now.

It is understood that while the Ugandan government supported the SPLM/A during its gorilla warfare days, Sudan government supported the LRA. But this, in an official way, was ended in 2002 when the governments of Sudan and Uganda signed an agreement, which authorized the pursuance of the LRA by Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), in the Sudanese territories, something in which neither the LRA nor the SPLA had a hand in. In fact, the President of South Sudan is in charge of South Sudan and thus has the right not only to abrogate the previous agreements signed on behalf of South Sudan or even enter into direct confrontation with the LRA to present some evidences that directly links the SAF currently, not previously, to the LRA.

To compare the speech of SPLM's Secretary-General to that of his boss, although his speech did not go on without pointing an accusing finger at his partner, the NCP, one would like to believe that the two mapped out a strategy to address issues of one party at different angles. However, the statement made by the SPLM's Secretary-General that "the SPLM should encourage the NCP to implement peace rather criticise it for shortcomings" is indeed a statement to make. This statement shows maturity in politics, which normally requires tolerance in order to develop good partnership working relations.

SPLM and NCP need each other to ensure an unhindered implementation of the CPA. Accusations and counter accusations would only reflect to the rest of the world Sudan's inability to resolve its own problems, especially after its pride to have resolved one of the world's longest wars, the north-south conflict. If the NCP and the SPLM are constantly going to be at each other's throat, it would actually be worthless for both of them to be proud that they have resolved, by themselves, one of the world's longest civil wars when conflict between them continues unabated or looms.

It does not mean that when partners like the NCP and the SPLM are not in physical confrontation, then there is no conflict. No, they are in a very serious conflict, may be in a structural form, but such structural conflicts usually lead to fully fledged physical conflicts or physical confrontations. Do the SPLM and the NCP seriously want to get back to war? No, because the NCP is seriously busy in trying to end the war in Darfur and Eastern Sudan, while SPLM is certainly trying its best to mend its own fences and not to get entangled in a confrontation with the LRA, and perhaps the other armed groups in the South.

Let the partnership resolve the current structural conflict existing within it in order to give the people of the Sudan hope for a better life, which they have not seen since the Sudan achieved its independence in 1956.

GoSS Skips Budgeting for 20 State Ministries

A conference for the Finance Ministers in the 10 South Sudan States was held in Juba on May 18th, 2006, according to the Juba Post (hereinafter referred to as 'JP') weekly newspaper. Earlier, the South Sudan States' Governors had met in Juba and discussed about their association and formation of a club instead of discussing substantial matters such as those discussed by the Ministers of Finance. However, the States' Finance Ministers convened their conference to address a number of issues. 1. "States' Budget increase from 27% to 30%". 2. "Clarification on distribution and allocation modalities of funds to the States". 3. "Transfer of funds to the individual States instead of transferring such funds through the States' Ministries of Finance". 4. "The failure of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Finance to budget for two Ministries namely, Gender and Social Welfare and Agriculture in the 10 States", said A, Angelo, Finance Minister for Central Equatoria State and Spokesman for the Finance Ministers, (JP, May 18th-25th, p.7). This article will lay emphasis on issues 3 and 4.

Issue 3

According to the information contained in the same JP, the GoSS' Minister of Finance was quoted to have said earlier that "the criterion of distributing funds was based on the size and population of the individual State."

Well, before analysing such an outrageous statement by the GoSS' Minister of Finance, which includes the other element of direct funds transfer to the individual States, it would only be very fair to pose a question. Could the ordinary person in South Sudan be made to understand that the GoSS' Council of Ministers (CM) has sanctioned the criterion of funds distribution contained in the statement of GoSS' Minister of Finance as an official policy; or is it an internal policy formulated by the GoSS' Ministry of Finance?

If this is a policy of the GoSS towards its own States, then it is a wrong policy and it is likely to bread discontent amongst the South Sudan States. Because the States of the Sudan were created and given equal status, and there is no State which is favoured more than the other is just because it has more people and bigger territory.

If this policy originates from the GoSS' Ministry of Finance, then one would simply say that the Minister concerned did it in bad taste. In fact, one would like to add that, the Minister would love to see more money go to Northern Bahr Al-ghazal, his home State, which is densely populated. However, both ways of formulating such a policy are detrimental to the unity of South Sudanese people, as it would strengthen, rather than eradicate sectionalism and tribalism.

Moreover, such a policy whether formulated by the GoSS' CM or the GoSS' Minister of Finance sanctioning the direct transfer of funds to the individual Ministries in the States, tends to render the States' Ministers of Finance redundant. It encourages corruption, as it would create a direct link between the GoSS' Minister of Finance and the individual States' Ministers of Finance each separately without the knowledge of the governor concerned. Games of corruption could be played thereafter between the GoSS and the States Finance Ministers. Sincerely it would affirm – so to speak – the lack of confidence in the States' Legislative Assemblies.

Issue 4

It is indeed extremely interesting that two large and very important Ministries such as Gender and Social Welfare and Agriculture, which number 20 Ministries, in total, in the 10 States of South Sudan, could skip the minds of GoSS' CM, and particularly the Ministry of Finance whose obligation is to budget for all the Ministries in South Sudan. The Ministries are large and very important because Gender and Social Welfare deals with culture, social welfare and religious affairs; and agriculture deals with farming, poultry, forestry, fisheries, livestock and veterinary services. For what are all these Ministries sacrificed, in God's name? Importance and the sizes of the Ministries of Gender and Social Welfare and Agriculture could be summarised as follows:

Gender and Social Welfare: The Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare has a duty to help develop the identity of the South Sudanese through the promotion of their diverse cultures as well as values, which South Sudanese believe are not promoted by the Federal Government. It helps to promote gender balance in the South Sudanese society through encouraging girl education and empowerment of women. It helps to improve the social welfare of the South Sudanese people through the refinement of its social fabric.

Agriculture: The Ministry of Agriculture is one of the most important Ministries the world over. It is the breadbasket of any nation and most successful countries, especially in the third world attach importance to it. The Ministry offers expertise to the local farmers to produce food and other agricultural products for both local and international markets. It helps to improve the breeding and cross breeding of livestock that could sell at both locally and internationally. Its veterinary services help improve the health of livestock and poultry farming that would help both local and international markets. It develops and improves fish farming that could also help in both local and international markets. It helps in development and management of forestry that could also sell in both local and international markets.

It is logical to concur with the recommendations of the States' Finance Ministers in that, the Ministries that have not received budgets should receive their budgets so that they could use such budgets to purchase the necessary tools, implements and facilities that would make them implement their action plans. That the funds should be directly transferred to the States' Ministries of Finance so that the States' Legislative Assemblies take up their responsibilities of checking and balancing their Ministries of Finance on the use of monies received from the GoSS. That allocation of funds to the States should be equal without let or hindrance. These recommendations are basic and genuine and the GoSS' CM, not the GoSS' Minister of Finance, should review and give them due consideration.

There could be an understanding in the circles of the GoSS, something worth contemplating, that since most of the land in the South is heavily mined, the development of livestock, poultry; agriculture farming and forestry are a waste of time, at least for the time being. Should this be the reason, then it is naïve because the government is in a position to mobilise the international NGOs operating in the fields of de-mining to urgently clear some specific arable land in the South. The cleared arable land could then be used for agricultural farming purposes to help alleviate the food shortages in South Sudan. At the same time, the government could be in a position to help feed and maintain the dignity of SPLA soldiers who would find themselves Demobilized, Disarmed and Reintegrated in the society but without enough food to feed their entire families. This would also include the alleviation of the suffering of the returning refugees and IDPs whose situations may be worse than the SPLA soldiers because they would have no employment, as most of them would have not acquired the necessary qualifications or skills to help them get employment.

Assuming that the contemplation on the Ministry of Agriculture is true; what about the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare; does its area of operation fall under the areas that require de-mining process? If not why then has the GoSS' Ministry of Finance failed to budget for this Ministry? The answers to these questions are simple: the creation of these Ministries in the States signifies the obvious fact that each one of them is as important.

The time is now for the GoSS to activate every Ministry in the States' government and sincerely empower them by allocating them the necessary budgets so that they carry out the duties assigned to them. Let the GoSS start embarking on serious developmental programmes by using the available resources and by so doing, the rest of the world would see how the GoSS is seriously fairing and based on this serious fairing, the donors would be in a position to help. Donors are fatigued by the misuse of the funds they donate to countries, especially the third world, most of which is usually converted into political and military purposes. The GoSS, more than any other government in the Eastern Africa region, should know this, because it had experienced donor fatigue that had resulted in the failure to support most relief and other social services in the Eastern Africa region, including SPLM/A-controlled areas before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The situation after the CPA has changed dramatically as the GoSS now has its own budget, some money to begin with. Thus, let this budget or money be put to some serious developmental activities by being fair in the allocation of budgets to the GoSS Ministries and State governments, including the other governmental corporations that may be involved in the developmental programmes of South Sudan. This has to include a serious battle that has to be waged on corruption in all its forms and it is only after winning such a battle against corruption that whatever serious work that GoSS has embarked on would bear some useful fruits.

Otherwise, the GoSS is fully aware that unequal allocation of resources has been one major reason for the fighting between the marginalized people of the Sudan and the previous successive sectarian governments in Khartoum. Thus, encouraging unequal allocation of resources in South Sudan by the GoSS or elsewhere in the marginalized areas of the Sudan is not only a recipe for war but it encourages creeping corruption, a serious phenomenon to the underdeveloped South Sudan and other marginalized areas of the Sudan.

Resignation of Cdr. Nhial Deng Legally Implicates GoSS

An Arabic newspaper, Al-Alwn, on May 19th, 2006, reported on its front page the resignation of Nhial Deng Nhial, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Minister for Regional Cooperation. As a normal government practice, the GoSS' official spokesman is to suppose to either deny or confirm any resignation allegations made on any of the GoSS' officials. The GoSS has failed to make any comments for or against the allegations. Thus, the Sudanese people in general and the South Sudanese in particular are left to guess, and some serious one have to make their own private investigations.

Sources closed to Commander (Cdr.) Nhal Deng Nhial say that he wrote a four-line statement to the GoSS. In the statement, Cdr. Nhial Deng is said to have mentioned corruption, failure by the GoSS to deliver its promises and the lack of vision displayed by GoSS before his own eyes.

The Sources also said that Cdr. Nhial Deng Nhial stayed at home since his appointment as a Minister. This, according to the Sources, was attributed to two main reasons. One of them is that the GoSS had asked him to operate from the house allocated to him as his Ministry was undergoing refurbishment; and two that he had actually lost hope in the future of GoSS immediately after the death of the late Dr John Garang de Mabior. There could be other reasons but those are yet to come.

This author knew Cdr. Deng from the days he studied in Khartoum University as a law student. He is a very quiet man who socialised through his favourite sport, Basketball. Born in a prominent South Sudanese family, Cdr. Deng approached issues with relaxed manner, and with his legal profession taking effect on him, he never rushes to anything before giving it a legal interpretation. He seems to have made legal interpretation of GoSS' practices and thus does not want to associate himself with such practices.

The GoSS' President should not take the resignation of Cdr. Deng very negatively. It is a very healthy development in that it is a common thing in governments, and that it is a revelation for him. In case the GoSS' President did not know that corruption was taking place in his own government, the resignation and its reasons should now make him know.

The GoSS' President and his cabinet should now be aware that the resignation of Cdr. Deng has one very serious element of legal implication. This author is not a lawyer, but to see this particular element does not need a lawyer, as it is a common element in legal practice. If it were true that Cdr. Deng resigned for the reasons mentioned above, then he becomes a living witness to a possible prosecution of GoSS for corruption in future, because such an allegation cannot go without investigation in future.

Therefore, the President of GoSS is not – so to speak – obliged to maintain corrupt Ministers in his government. Perhaps, the time has come for the GoSS' President to reshuffle his cabinet (as mentioned by one prominent columnist in this paper) and appoint people who must be warned against corruption. Otherwise, the failure of the GoSS' President to reshuffle out of his cabinet corrupt Minister would make him an accomplice in this heinous allegation of corruption.

As for the individual Ministers, well, those who know that they have clean records have no reason to panic, as the law is not blind and it is always fair to those who do not commit crimes. Nevertheless, should any of them know that he immersed himself deep into the corruption practices, please, quit, as it would obviously become shameful when you are fired for being corrupt.

President’s Praise of Press a Morale Booster to Journalists

President of the Republic, Omar Hasan Ahmad Al-Bashir, was on May 27th, 2006, reported to have lauded the role of the press in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In his opening remarks at the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) joint meeting convened at the Friendship Hall on May 27th, 2006, the President said, "free press in our country has drawn our (NCP-SPLM) attention to a number of defects here and there in implementing what we pledged to do together," (Sudan Vision, May 28th, 2006, p1).

Meanwhile, SPLM Politburo member and State Minister for Interior, Brig. Aleu Ayeny Aleu, had earlier said that the media and the press should avoid 'sensationalism' particularly concerning the implementation of the peace agreement and the national unity. Brig Aleu stressed that "journalists and media men should act as Sudanese and forget about selling their papers only", (Khartoum Monitor, May 27th, 2006, p.1)

These two statements are both exciting and confusing at the same time. However, one would primarily laud the statement made by the President of Republic in which he praised the press for alerting and thus reminding the partners of the problems facing their partnership, which he said, drew their 'attention to defects in implementing the CPA.' This is a sincere statement, which should encourage rather than discourage journalists to do what is expected of them. This includes: proper utilisation of the freedom of the press (constructive criticism), which must constantly remind the leaders in the country of their national duties; as well as identification of defects on the implementation of the CPA and other problems facing the country. Thus, the press ought to remember the President's statement, which is directed towards constructive and not unconstructive criticism of the government or CPA partners, as it is the case in some newspapers.

In contrast, Brig. Aleu's statement on sensationalism or dramatisation of the information in the press and that such are made to sell the papers, would leave one to agree and disagree with H.E. the State Minister for Interior. First, one would agree with the Minister that, it is true there are some newspapers that concentrate on sensationalism or dramatise events to excite the readers and sell their papers. Although no proper study has been made as yet, it is fair to venture into a wild guess and say that not more than 5% of all the newspapers in the Sudan are sensational. If the figure above is exaggerated or it is bellow then one would sincerely like to say that both ways encourage democracy in our country.

That thus would mean that 95% of the newspapers in the country do address issues rather than sensationalise or dramatise them. One friend who contributes to this newspaper once said, "98% of the Sudanese want peace and 2% are against it. This is healthy, he said." It is healthy in the sense that the CPA is not imposed and those who oppose it have a democratic right.

However, addressing issues like those of corruption in the Government of South Sudan, something that has caused a resignation of one of the Ministers there, cannot be referred to as sensationalism. On the other hand, saying that partner X or Y does not support or respect the CPA does not amount to sensationalism.

The press needs to be encouraged and not discouraged on promoting accurate information and constructive criticism writing however disturbing the information could be to the government. The public owns the CPA and the leadership of the country is accountable to the people of this country. Thus, writing opinions in the newspapers on the performance of public officials and their governments should not be regarded as sensationalism or dramatisation of what might be an important issue.

SPLM Cannot Rename Democracy or Give it a New Concept

The President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, was reported to have complained in the recently-concluded National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) forum that Sudan Vision (SV) and Khartoum Monitor (KT) Newspapers were against him and his government. This apparently is the feeling in the circles of the SPLM and such a feeling has reached SV verbally through its editors. KM should have also noticed this unfortunate accusation made against it by the SPLM Chairman, Salva Kiir.

Why is it an unfortunate accusation? It is unfortunate because the SPLM had claimed that they are democratic, and that in their democracy, the freedom of the press will be given its due respect. Democracy, as mentioned by the KM Editor-in-Chief, is a coin on whose other side is the press. “Free press and democracy are sides of the same coin. One cannot survive without the other. They usually suffer together and usually flourish together.” This is a very true statement, which members of the SPLM need to know.

However, one cannot blame the true SPLM politicians who spent most of their time in the bush without knowing what kind of changes the world undergoes. SPLM cracked down on free speech or constructive criticism of its senior members, especially the late Dr John Garang de Mabior or the ‘Chairman’ as he was best known. SPLM radio was a film whose director was the late Dr Garang and nothing would be broadcast without the knowledge of the late Dr Garang or whoever he authorizes to monitor the radio.

However, SPLM is not static; one would hope to guess correctly, otherwise dynamism or the ability to adapt to situations – should make the SPLM – adopt to the new world instead of living in the illusions of the past where they respected no one except the ‘Chairman’, and that no change would come except from the ‘Chairman.’

SPLM may not achieve its major goal of trying to introduce democracy within itself and in the Sudan if it insists that the people, whether in the press or its own supporters, who criticize it with the aim of correcting it, are against it. SPLM cannot rename democracy or give it a new concept because democracy will remain as it is, since it is based on protecting the peoples’ basic rights.

Any attempt to temper with these rights, would be viewed as a violation and democratic people would challenge such violations by all means possible, including writing articles like this. SPLM should know that constructive criticism is useful as it uncovers what the leadership – be it NCP, SPLM or other political parties in the Sudan – cannot see.

Darfur Rebels Should Turn Up to Meet First Vice-President in Yei

Recently the press in the Sudan reported on a meeting scheduled to take place between the First Vice-President and President of Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the leaders of the Darfur rebels. Khartoum Monitor reported on May 31st, 2006, in its front page that the Darfur rebel leaders were to meet the President of GoSS in Yei, South Sudan. The President of GoSS is to mediate between them to accept the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA).

The President of GoSS has kept his promise and traveled to Yei to prepare for the meeting with the Darfur rebel leaders. The Citizen (TC) newspaper has reported that the rebel leaders have failed to turn up for the meeting. “Darfur rebel factions who have not signed the DPA have not turned up for the scheduled meeting with First Vice-President of the republic and President of GoSS, Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir. The Vice-President is still in Yei expecting the delegation,” (TC, June 3rd, 2006, p.1).

One would sincerely hope that the Darfur rebels who are supposed to turn up in Yei have delayed for some technical reasons. However, their delay should not really be based on a total rejection to the gesture of goodwill extended to them by First Vice-President. In our African society, a society which the rebels say they subscribe to, usually honours such a gesture of goodwill as that offered by the Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir.

The world, through most of its powerful institutions likes the United Nations, European Community, African Union (AU) and the Arab League, have expressed their satisfaction with the DPA. This support by the international community to the DPA has two meanings: that the DPA, which is undermined by these rebels, is believed to be a good document, one which is capable of settling the disputes in Darfur; and that failure to support such a document by all the Darfur rebels is likely to infuriate the international community, which has always stood by the side of the rebels, to drop their support on the rebels and perhaps impose sanctions against them, as mentioned by AU in some of its statements on them.

Expressing his disappointment to the rebel factions who refused to sign the DPA, AU Chairman, Alpha Konare, said that the Darfur rebels who rejected to sign the DPA “could face sanction” (see TC, p. 2). This is a serious statement which the rebels should seriously take into consideration before the very international community that listened to them turns against them.

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader, Dr. Khalid Ibrahim, hinted in the press that independence may be possible in Darfur. “Independence is a valid alternative,” (Khalil Ibrahim, TC, June 3rd, 2006, p.1). Statements such as this are un-nationalistic in nature and cannot help the people of Darfur. Statements like this should come when efforts to reach a settlement to the Darfur problem are exhausted. Statements like this should come when the people of Darfur have seriously disagreed with the government and there are no options for mediation of any kind. Is this the case with the situation in Darfur; that could warrant Dr. Khalil to release such a statement? Of course not, because the First Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan is waiting for them in Yei to help them reach some consensus on the DPA.

The rebels in Darfur should be reasonable enough to listen to the very many voices of reason, the voices that sincerely sympathise with the suffering people of Darfur and not necessarily their leaders who are living outside Darfur and in luxurious hotels. It is the people of Darfur who the rebel leaders should consult on the DPA but not imposing on them some unreasonable political demands based on individual grudges against other agreements and the government of the Sudan itself.

The Darfur leaders should instead call for a referendum on the DPA instead of rejecting the DPA for some reasons known to them and not to the silent majority of Darfur. But before doing that, the rebels should turn up to meet the First Vice-President in Yei and tell their side of the story on why they are indifferent with the DPA and those who signed it.

LRA Strikes Again Despite Deal with GoSS

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have attacked Kura Angareb village, Lulubo tribe area, 25 miles southeast of Juba. This was reported by a telephone from Juba on May 31st, 2006 and Khartoum Monitor carried the story on its first page on June 1st, 2006. The LRA killed two people and wounded one. This attack comes less than two week after the Government of South Sudan (GoSS); led by Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, GoSS' Vice-President, met Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, and handed $20,000 to him.

A great deal of writings for and against the GoSS-LRA deal has dominated the press and public scene lately. There are those who argued that the GoSS bribed the LRA to leave South Sudan and there are those who argued that the GoSS' approach was correct if peace were to prevail in South Sudan and Uganda.

Both arguments do carry weight in the sense that LRA needs support to prepare itself for the negotiations with the Ugandan government; and that the LRA could redirect the use of this money from purely humanitarian to military purposes. What perhaps skipped the minds of both those who argued for and against the donation of the money and indeed the GoSS is that the LRA could take the money and yet continue to pursue their onslaught against both the South Sudanese and the Ugandan. Unless there were some strong guarantees that they would not attack the people in South Sudan and Uganda to see how the peace process goes about. But it seems to appear that there were no such guarantees. Because the LRA have struck again despite the deal the GoSS made with them.

Since the link with the LRA was directly established by the GoSS, however, the GoSS is obliged to contact the LRA chief once more and ask him why his forces carried out the operation they did carry in the Luluba village of Kura Angareb. The LRA leader owes the GoSS a serious explanation that must be convincing as to why his forces carried out this particular operation.

It may not be the LRA carrying out these operations in Eastern, Central and Western Equatoria. There could be another group made up of some disgruntled South Sudanese who are carrying out these operations but are clever enough to make it appear as if the LRA carried them out. Be it the latter or the former, the GoSS' security personnel need to investigate this very thoroughly.

Otherwise, the GoSS may not know who is behind these attacks on one hand; and on the other, LRA may be innocent and sincerely wants the GoSS' mediation to help end their war against the Ugandan government. There is also another possibility that some group could have split from the LRA mainstream and are the ones causing havoc against both the innocent Ugandans and Sudanese.

Readers Have Rights to Criticise Articles Published in Newspapers

A colleague working in the newspaper said in one of the staff meetings that the writing of Dr Wani and Mr. Ohiyok D. Oduho were regarded by some people as anti-Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The colleague did not elaborate but insisted that some circles – he cannot mention – said this and that he wanted the newspaper's management to know.

While it is a duty to newspaper's staff to report feedbacks from the readers to the newspaper's management, the staff member who brought this particular feedback has also brought a feedback to the two authors mentioned above. This article, therefore, will discuss the said feedback and what this author, not Dr Wani, thinks about such a feedback.

To begin with, it is important to say that with the press freedom enjoyed by the country in this contemporary time of ours, anybody has the right to express himself/herself freely. The contents of such expressions, however, may differ from person to person. Some expressions are constructive, others are not and others are neither constructive nor otherwise.

This author would like to say that he has been addressing issues that are reported in the press or from reliable sources and not personalities except in one case: that of SPLA Official Spokesman who tried to lie to the South Sudanese people. The lie said that "Maj-Gen. Ismail Konye and Brig. Peter Lorot were flown to Juba in a helicopter to fight the SPLM/A and undermine the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)." If left unanswered, such a lie would cause a serious conflict in the South, something the South Sudanese are not ready to do.

However, the readers of the articles written by this author or Dr. Wani, have rights to criticise the articles written. Sudan Vision (SV) newspapers would appreciate such feedbacks – in writing – and would certainly publish them. There is no need to criticise what is written verbally. Thus the readers of SV or Khartoum Monitor (KM), the two newspapers in which this author writes, should adopt the habit of writing to criticise.

Discussing topics like corruption, insecurity, unacceptable actions by public figures, violations of the CPA and the CPA partnership are very important issues for debate. So, let us hear your contrary views to the topics discussed by either this author or Dr. Wani and send them to either KM or SV and there is every possibility that they would be published. However, to sit over a few drinks, gossip about what author X or Y wrote is not intellectual enough, and it could hardly be regarded as an intellectual exercise.

GoSS' Priority Has a Political Rather Than Humanitarian Inclination

The Minister of Development and Social Welfare in Western Equatoria State (WES), George Logali Benjamin, has accused the government of South Sudan (GoSS) of failing to transport the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) Home. "During their transportation home by Steamers, IDPs faced a lot of problems, prompting children to fall into the river and die," (Sudan Tribune (ST), June 6th, 2006, p.1).

The Minister said the IDPs, who have arrived Juba encountered problems of health, education and security. Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) did not meet their obligations in supporting the IDPs, he said, adding that Yei town, which has witnessed insecurity lately, is outside the security coverage.

The GoSS is indeed to blame for the problems faced by the IDPs returning home. However, trying to execute a programme such as that of the IDPs return, a task force (TF) should be formed under the leadership of the GoSS Minister in charge of humanitarian affairs. The responsibilities of such a TF would be to plan for the return of the IDPs. Such a planning should involve identification of areas around the ten Southern States to be constructed and named IDP Reception Centres (IDPRCs). The IDPRCs have to be furnished with necessary facilities and a group of administrators employed not only to run the IDPRCs but also to coordinate work between the IDPs, NGOs and the TF. The TF then would either identify a nearby health centre and a school to serve the IDPs or put in place new structures for health and education services in each of the would-be created IDPRCs.

The NGOs may not have met their obligations to offer the least of the services to the IDPs. However, they are not to blame because NGOs coordinate their work with the governments. The governments, however, need to do the necessary homework before the NGOs could come in to their help. Such homework would include the formation of the TF, creation of the IDPRCs, employment of staff to manage the facilities and coordinate the work with NGOs and GoSS and the provision of basic services. Nevertheless, the idea that the NGOs should establish IDPRCs, offer health, education, food and security services is impractical as the NGOs take time to assess the situation and then seek for donations while the IDPs suffer. However, with GoSS now being in a position to help provide such services, the NGOs could back its efforts but never the other way round.

It is sometimes difficult to understand whether the GoSS coordinates the IDPs' return home with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. Otherwise, the Federal Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Kosti Manibe, is a very experienced man in the field of humanitarian work – the GoSS knows this very well. Moreover, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has experts who do plan for the return of any group of IDPs – mostly in conjunction with NGOs they would identify – to offer some specific services for the IDPs.

The killing of Dr. Emmanuel Batali Banya by SPLA soldiers indeed does put Yei outside the security network of GoSS, Central Equatoria and WES States. When the news for the murder of Dr. Banya by the SPLA came, it was received with mixed reactions. There are those who are proud of the so-called 'New Sudan' or 'New South Sudan' where soldiers are licensed to kill and say this was an accident and accidents always happen. There are those who believe in the Sudan without any prefixes, who say this was madness and anarchy found in what philosopher Thomas Hoppes describes as "State of Nature" where the most powerful survived. There are those who believe that their liberators have come to protect them but are now getting scared with future uncertain or bleak – as they do not know who would be next.

The killing of Dr. Banya has indeed heightened insecurity not only in Yei but also all over South Sudan. Insecurity is now a major problem that may hinder the NGOs from working in the South. A good number of humanitarian workers were killed in the South. UNICEF Staff like Wilma, a Burmese Nurse, Kagure, a Kenya Driver and Helge, a Norwegian journalist were killed by SPLA in Eastern Equatoria in early 1990s.

Does the GoSS really have its own priorities as prerequisites for return of the IDPs and development in the South? If it does, is the return of IDPs home a priority? No, the priority of the GoSS should be the improvement of the security situation at home, putting in place health, education and other basic services so that those returning home could survive on.

However, the failure to provide such services would tempt someone to say that the GoSS' priorities have a political rather than humanitarian inclination. The GoSS seems to be in a hurry to bring the IDPs and returnees from neighbouring countries home, irrespective of whether it has prepared for them or not, so long as the coming of the IDPs and returnees would help SPLM execute its political programmes. An SPLM Minister once said, "The refugees should return home in order to rebuild home. Who would rebuild home if you do not return home?"

One would totally disagree with the notion that the IDPs and returnees from neighbouring countries should come home to rebuild the South. Because before rebuilding, those who are supposed to rebuild, need homes and services. The SPLM is proud to tell the world that South Sudan is completely destroyed by the war and thus needs support for reconstruction yet it expects the IDPs and returnees from the neighbouring countries to return to their 'homes,' if there are any.

Every South Sudanese would sincerely want to return home but with certain terms. For example, insecurity did drive them out of their homes, should they return to insecure homes? Obviously not, the GoSS is obliged to improve the security in the South before it asks anybody to return home.

To reduce problems of insecurity in the ten South Sudan States, the GoSS has to devolve security powers to the Governors so that they handle their securities in their own ways. If the 'New Sudan' or the 'New South Sudan' believes in justice and the rule of law, SPLA officers should not be made to feel that they have rights to intimidate the citizens, lash Ministers (as in the WES case) and kill medical personnel (as in the Yei and UNICEF cases). Governors are the chairmen of security committees in their States and SPLA commanders in the States fall under the chairmen of the security committees in the States. In other words, the Governors in the ten South Sudan States need to be empowered to handle their own security and a line has to be drawn that clearly shows the job description of SPLA officers and men. The Police and not the SPLA should man the roadblocks and take over any duties from SPLA that falls under their jurisdiction.

The GoSS is obliged to put in place IDPRCs all over the ten States in the South for the reception of the IDPs and returnees. The IDPs and Returnees have no home; their homes were destroyed alongside other basic infrastructure in South Sudan during the bitter war. Thus, basic services need to be provided for the entire population in the South, not just for the IDPs and returnees. Some IDPS and returnees enjoy basic services like schools, water and health in where they are; should they return to a home that is insecure and lacks basic services?

LRA Should Present Genuine Political Grievances

A delegation from Ugandan rebels, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), has arrived in the Southern Sudan capital, Juba. According to the Vice-President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Dr Riek Machar, "LRA peace talks' delegation arrived Juba to begin peace talks with Uganda's government, which assured its participation," (The Citizen, June 8th, 2006, p.1).

The LRA is widely believed by analysts worldwide to have no serious political objectives guiding their principles for rebellion against the Ugandan authorities. However, a Kenyan columnist in this paper, Gitau Warigi, disagrees. Warigi seems to believe that the LRA have a genuine grievance. "All along, the Kampala government has refused to acknowledge that the LRA are feeding on genuine grievances felt by the people of Uganda's marginalised northern region, who voted overwhelmingly against Museveni in the presidential elections this year (2006)," Reflection, Sudan Vision, May 25th, 2006, p.3).

The LRA extended an olive branch to the Ugandan government last year. The Ugandan Council of Churches pursued the case as a mediator but to no avail, because the initial talks mediated by the Church did not go any further. However, fingers were pointed at President Museveni (M7) and the LRA for lack of seriousness who, despite their interests to negotiate, were busy attacking each other’s positions. The failure of the LRA-Uganda government Church mediated talks could be blamed on lack of preparation or readiness by both sides. There is still a valid question to ask, does the LRA have a serious political objective; or they are just a bunch of bandits who have no political programme whatsoever?

Whichever is the case with the LRA, the time has come for the LRA to present some genuine political grievances to the government of Uganda to support their case. The LRA should use this opportunity to clear its name from the list of terrorists by showing some seriousness to reach a peaceful settlement. Otherwise, the failure to show some seriousness would mean that LRA will lose the GoSS as a genuine friend and would be targeted by many forces, including the United Nations forces.

On the other hand, M7 should support this process and put all efforts necessary to make it succeed. It would be useless to liberate the people of Uganda, rule them for more than 20 years and finally leave them at the mercy of yet another war.

M7 should prove to the entire world that he is a peacemaker who has Uganda and its entire people at heart. M7 should retire to a peaceful Uganda rather than on a Uganda within which his own security and that of his family members would not be guaranteed.

Uganda Government Not Serious on Talks with LRA

The Ugandan Ambassador to the Sudan has complained that he is not aware of any peace talks between government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Juba. “I have no contacts with Juba and I am only hearing reports from the press,” Ambassador Katande said, (Khartoum Monitor (KM), June 10th, 2006, p.1). The Government of South Sudan (GoSS), which proposed for talks, did its best to coordinate between the LRA and Uganda government.

It appears that there is no goodwill from the Ugandan government to respond to the mediation offer by GoSS. Otherwise, how could someone comprehend this failure in a normal way? The Ambassador should have been informed by his government of any such arrangement.

The office of the President in Uganda, which was the first to receive the mediation offer from GoSS, should have notified the Ugandan Foreign Ministry, which in turn is supposed to inform its Ambassador to Khartoum on whether or not the government was coming for the scheduled talks. What may be the problem then?

Let there be hope that the failure to inform the Ugandan Ambassador to Khartoum does not reflect Uganda government’s lack of seriousness to hold talks with the LRA. The office of the President in Uganda should clarify as to why it has not informed the Foreign Ministry officially about the scheduled talks with LRA.

What appears to be Uganda's lack of interest in the talks with the LRA raises more questions than answers. Why is President Museveni not responding to this confusion? Has he met with his military chiefs on the matter? Why is his Foreign Affairs Minister not in touch with his Ambassador to the Sudan? It is difficult to answer these questions since it would seem that President Museveni himself may be behind the efforts to hinder the peace talks with the LRA.

However, whether President Museveni is behind this failure or not, he would be held responsible in any failure to prepare for this widely publicized LRA-Uganda government talks mediated by the GoSS. However, no one could imagine that President Museveni, who was met by the leadership of GoSS and gave assurance of his government to attend the talks, could turn his back on the GoSS’ leadership and the peace process at zero hour.

Let there be no illusion that the International Police (Interpol) is in a position to arrest the wanted LRA chiefs. They cannot because they are not trained to hunt gorilla leaders in the bush. They would wait for LRA leaders to come to the towns, where they operate, to arrest them. This thus means that thousands of innocent Ugandans and Sudanese will have to die. If the Juba talks failed through deliberate attempts, Interpol may end up trying dead corpses of the LRA chiefs but after they have caused havoc.

Col. Zamoi Was Proven Guilty Before His Innocence

Col. Patrick Zamoi, the Governor of Western Equatoria State (WES), was suspended by a Government of South Sudan (GoSS) presidential decree no. 42, on June 15th, 2006. He was placed under house arrest with his entire family and his deputy was appointed to take over the WES governorship. Col. Zamoi was accused of corruption and incitement to tribal conflict.

The issue of Col. Zamoi's suspension was widely reported by most of the daily newspapers and it appears that it has come to a rest. However, a public issue such as that of Col. Zamoi cannot come to a rest so easily, because there is more into the suspension of Col. Zamoi than meets the eye.

A majority of South Sudanese, including those who did not know the details of Col. Zamoi's crimes of corruption and incitement to tribal conflict, do not believe that Col. Zamoi committed the alleged crimes. "I am a Dinka and I come from Bor itself. I was in Yambio and have lived there for the past 12 years. There have never been problems like this before. I witnessed the clashes. To be truthful and honest, I must say that if it was not because of Col. Patrick Zamoi himself who threatened the Azande and Muru communities, other Dinkas and I could not be alive", (Deng Job Marial, Sudan Tribune Website, June 20th, 2006).

On the same line of those who think Col. Zamoi is innocent, there are those who argue that democracy was not given its due process. For example, Col. Zamoi's case should have been tabled before the WES Interim Legislative Assembly (WESILA) for discussion. Then WESILA should have formed a parliamentary committee to investigate the alleged crimes committed by Col. Zamoi. The results or the findings of such an investigation should be tabled before the WESILA and, depending on Col. Zamoi's guilt, WESILA would be obliged to pass a vote of no confidence in Col. Zamoi; or in the absence of such an article in the WES Interim Constitution, recommend his dismissal to the President of GoSS.

On the other hand, there are those who think that any corrupt and tribal inciter should not only be suspended but also fired, perhaps without investigations. "The people of South Sudan should have zero tolerance towards corruption, misrule, tribally arrogant leaders and those (leaders) who lack respect for the rule of law", (Hon. Pasquale Clement Batali, Khartoum Monitor, June 25th, 2006, p. 3).

Human nature demands from every peaceful and civilized human being a just process in addressing every crisis, ranging from a crisis in a simple nucleus family institution to a crisis in an institution of government. It was on this very basis that laws to govern family and hence government institutions were formulated by men of goodwill. Thus, the GoSS has such laws represented in the Interim Constitution of South Sudan as well as that of WES government.

The case of Col. Zamoi appeared to have not followed any proper legal process. Because at first the statement of his suspension and subsequent detention said, "Following perusal of a report on investigation of tribal clashes in WES, that claimed a number of lives, the President of GoSS issued a decree suspending WES Governor, Col. Patrick Zamoi." The statement went on to say that, "His deputy has been appointed Acting Governor, pending the Governor's investigation."

A contradiction could clearly be seen from the GoSS statement to suspend Col. Zamoi. If at all the said report was genuine and indeed authentic, the GoSS does not need another investigation to prove the guilt of Col. Zamoi. If the report was not authentic then Col. Zamoi should have been allowed to execute his duties normally until such a time that an authenticated report – incriminating him of the alleged crimes – is produced.

The three arms of government, namely the parliament, the executive and the judiciary are triplet, born of one mother, the constitution. The parliament legislates, the executive endorses and the judiciary executes. Thus, the popular legal phrase that says: "Everybody is innocent till proven guilty by a court of law" was not applied on poor Col. Zamoi. Col. Zamoi was proven guilty before his innocence. This kind of upside down use of the law could only be found in the army. A soldier must be arrested first, detained and then tried later to prove his/her innocence. The army has a reason for making this kind of legal process – the soldier may run away or take his gun and shoot people at random. Although he is a soldier, this could obviously not be the case with Col. Zamoi, who seems to be a victim of tribal ire, an ire that prompted those executing his case blindfolded by tribal wrath that is why his political immunity was not even respected.

It was said that if left alone South Sudanese would not manage a civilised government, because they are barbarians. Seeing the way things are being run in the South, perhaps those who said this are not far from the truth. What could be more barbaric than putting guilt before innocence?

No one accepts tribal incitement, which is much more dangerous than corruption. It was tribal incitement, which brought South Sudan down to its knees during the era of Abel Alier in the 70s and early 80s. Those who supported such tribal incitements like Kokora (Bari tribe word for division) are now senior government officials in the GoSS; has anybody thought of trying them? No, and it would be a bad idea to do that.

Azande died in the very tribal clashes with the Dinka of which Col. Zamoi is accused. Dinka soldiers gunned down Commander (Cdr.) Luka Mpakassiro in late 90s in WES. Should those who gunned Cdr. Mpakassiro down be arrested and tried? May be not – for the sake of forging the unity of South Sudan; but why is Col. Zamoi's case an exceptional one then?

Let the case of Col. Zamoi be an eye opener for the GoSS in its dealing with sensitive issues of tribalism. The President of the South is a good man, but it appears that he too, is a victim of bad advisors. There is no tribe which is better than the other and certainly there is no tribe that deserves to die while another deserves to live. Future committees to investigate tribal incitements should always be composed of people who are not party to the clashes. In fact, a permanent committee needs to be formed, trained and commissioned by the GoSS President to resolve future tribal conflicts. This could be the only viable way to save the President of GoSS from bad advisors. It was bad advice that brought about the failure of Abel Alier's regime. The history of the South should be the best advisor to all the leaders in the GoSS, including H.E. the President of the South.

With the wave of misbahiour displayed by some section of Dinka tribes in the South, the GoSS should expect more tribal conflicts because other tribes are bound to react. Unless the said committee, which must be equipped with the knowledge of conflict resolution and management, goes around the South to sensitise the people on the dangers of tribal conflicts, conflicts would always disturb GoSS. The sensitisation process must also include the encouragement of internally Displaced People (IDPs) to return to their original homes.

The idea that every South Sudanese is free to live anywhere is a recipe for conflict and the GoSS should not entertain it. There is no anywhere, because anywhere is a land that belongs to a particular group of people. Living anywhere definitely does not mean a mass exodus of an entire tribe choosing to live anywhere. Most of the Dinka people now found in Equatoria were displaced from their original homes by the war, tribal or the just ended civil war. The war is now over and as such, these IDPs must return home and should drop out any ideas that they have homes in Equatoria or elsewhere other than their ancestral homes, which no Equatorian could ever dream of occupying.

The IDPs in WES victimised Col. Zamoi and so long as the IDPs remain in Equatoria, the other two Governors in Equatoria will fall victims, too. The IDPs seem to be encouraged by their leaders to claim lands that do not belong to them to stay in Equatoria. The GoSS should also investigate and identify these leaders and bring them under control. Failure to bring them under control, these leaders will continue to incite their tribe to occupy Equatoria and Governors of Equatoria will always be at the centre of conflicts arising from this occupation. Otherwise, what message could someone get from the suspension and subsequent arrest of Col. Zamoi?

Museveni Must Jealously Guide and Steer talks

Mr. Yoweri K. Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, has said that he would grant a total amnesty to Lord's Resistance Army (LRA's) Joseph Kony despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment, if he responds positively for the peace talks in Juba and abandons terrorism. This is an extremely relieving statement to the peace-loving Ugandans, Sudanese and indeed the rest of the world.

It has been very difficult to comprehend who in Uganda was indeed against the efforts of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) to mediate between the Uganda government and the LRA rebels. Because Museveni himself sounded pessimistic about the entire process in the past, where he and some prominent members of his cabinet stated that Joseph Kony and four others were indicted criminals and that the Ugandan government would not talk to them.

Now that Mr. Museveni has cleared the air, he needs to control some of his Ministers who seem to be against any future talks with LRA. Some of these Ministers have told The East African newspapers that, "Uganda suspects that the LRA has become a factor in a power struggle in South Sudan, implying that the South Sudan-organised peace initiative could be a ploy to buy time for the rebels to regroup." (For more information on this, see article 'Talk to Kony' on East African or visit: www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/news). Some of these Ministers seem not to know about Sudan in general and South Sudan in particular. How could they so simply say 'LRA has become a factor in a power struggle in South Sudan? Are they trying to please some ignorant Ugandans to believe that what they suggested could be true; or on the other hand, they are simply trying to make it difficult for President Museveni to accept talks with the LRA?

President Museveni needs to be very careful because peace in Uganda should be of paramount importance to him. Peace whose consequences are properly visualised and accepted by Museveni before anybody else. Uganda has become what it is today because Museveni has put a lot of efforts in moulding the Uganda he wants, a Uganda that is acceptable to him, Ugandans, the neighbouring countries and certainly the international community that continues to loud Uganda’s economic growth. Thus, the degeneration of Uganda into another era of insecurity would obviously be blamed on President Museveni himself, should he allow the enemies of peace within and without Uganda to discourage him from pursuing peace. Perhaps this is what some of the Ministers in Uganda want – to discourage President Museveni from genuinely looking for peace – to record such a move against him as a failure.

President Museveni also needs to know that the world of today is a dangerous one. It is one in which personal interests come first. Thus, President Museveni should direct the talks with Kony to avert the work of saboteurs from within and without his government. President Museveni is aware of the dangers posed by these saboteurs from both within and without his government.

A certain Ugandan Minister told the East African Newspapers at the end of June 2006 that, "Ugandan intelligence had reported that since the first contact with Kony and a GoSS delegation led by Machar, the rebels have been reorganising, stocking up on food and recruiting afresh in their hideout in Garamba National Park, (DR Congo)." Statements like these are more or less geared towards developing some difficulties in talking to the LRA. Stocking food and recruiting does not mean amassing troops or assaulting. As such, it should be worse trying to make efforts for peace rather than encourage those efforts for war. "Peace, the prize that is being sought, is worth a million failed trials if there is the tiniest hope that one of them could succeed”, (The Monitor Editorial, July 8th, 2006:
www.monitor.co.ug/news).

Museveni, however, has realised that he has no regional and international partners who could help him deal with the fight and/or the indictment of Kony and his four other colleagues. Museveni said that the noble cause of trying Kony before the ICC had been betrayed by the failure of the United Nations (UN), which set up the court, to arrest him despite knowing his location in DR Congo's Garamba National Park. "UN has no moral authority to demand for Kony's trial after failing to arrest him for nine months. I am sending my people to talk to Kony because I have no partners (with whom to cooperate on arresting Kony)," (Museveni:
www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/news).

Mr। Museveni is right, Uganda is not alone without partners but Sudan, too, is facing the same problem of unfaithful partners as regards the Oslo pledges, the mediation efforts with the LRA and Uganda government and the interest to intervene in Sudan's internal affairs. Since LRA is the problem of Uganda and the Sudan, Sudan and Uganda have to strengthen their partnership and consolidate efforts to bring peace in their countries.

Otherwise, the international community, through the ICC, are trying their best to indict Kony and his four other colleagues. They do not care about the consequences of their interest to arrest the indictees. "The Ugandan government had a legal obligation to arrest Kony despite an offer to grant him amnesty", (ICC Prosecutor, July 5th, 2006:
www.monitor.co.ug/news).

While visiting Uganda late June, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, however, suggested a Charles Taylor scenario to be applied on Joseph Kony. Frazer is insinuating that Kony should be allowed to talk with Uganda government, even reaching an agreement and whether staying in Uganda or in exile, he would then be indicted and sent to The Hague like Charles Taylor. How possible could such an insinuated betrayal work in our African culture? Are we toddlers who are supposed to be taught even how to make peace? However, Mr. Museveni's answer to the insinuated betrayal is encouraging: "They (the international community) can't make us violate our culture", (President Museveni:
www.newvision.co.ug).

Time has come for the African continent to accept working partnerships rather than partnerships that are aimed at disintegrating the continent and that deliver nothing but problems. Some ‘partners’ who believe that they are super human beings and hardly commit crimes against humanity, have refused to ratify the ICC document, yet they would literally want to force others to ratify the ICC document. The US President, George W. Bush, has refused to ratify the ICC document, saying no US citizens could be tried abroad. It is the very US which has supplemented the efforts to indict Taylor; and it is the one now suggesting that the Taylor scenario be applied on Kony. Perhaps the US should ratify the ICC document. Otherwise policing the world would be less by a judicial system, which is the ICC. Thus, the White House, the Congress/Senate and the ICC would complete the formation of an international US government with its soldiers all over the world maintaining law and order!

However, President Museveni and any other leader within Uganda and indeed the African continent need to be very strong in dealing with home matters. Home matters, however difficult they may be, should always be settled amicably because any temporary solutions to such home problems could only ensure a future that is uncertain, with troubles likely to resurface and home, not anywhere else, would continue to suffer the consequences of such troubles.

Ugandan Church and traditional leaders from Northern Uganda seem to be doing just that – trying to address the root causes of the civil war in Uganda. They have reached The Hague and might have already held talks with the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo. These Church and traditional leaders are not in The Hague to press charges on Kony and his other four indicted criminal colleagues but rather to request the ICC to drop the charges, saying ICC's intervention in Northern Uganda will seriously jeopardise efforts to end the conflict in Uganda through peaceful means. Peace, according to these Church and traditional leaders, comes before justice. "To start war crimes investigations for the sake of justice at a time when the war is not yet over risks having, in the end, neither justice nor peace delivered", (Gulu Catholic Justice and Peace Commission:
www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news).

President Museveni's decision to send his government delegation to Juba is a beautiful step towards the direction of many right bold steps to be made by a leadership, a leadership that must always show the right way to its people. Uganda has suffered more than any other country in the East Africa Region and without the efforts of President Museveni himself; Uganda could have disappeared from the world map. Through President Museveni's efforts, Uganda is now a country others could admire in terms of its economic development and rely on in terms of its natural and human resources.

President Museveni is now entering into his first year after the recently concluded elections and he is left with about four years to retire as Uganda's longest serving President. An important question usually comes to mind on how does President Museveni want to retire; does he want to retire on a Uganda that would become uncertain securitywise? Obviously not, Museveni is clever enough not to misplace all the efforts he put into making Uganda what it is today only to be destroyed within a day, a month or a year of chaos and insecurity in Uganda. In other words, Museveni must exert all the efforts he has to ensure that Uganda becomes peaceful and that would mean jealously guiding and steering the current talks to success.

Meanwhile, the LRA leader should somehow understand that President Museveni is the only hope he has to jam the ICC's onslaught on him and his other four colleagues. “On October 13th, 2005, Pre-Trial Chamber II unseated the warrants of arrest for five senior leaders of the LRA for Crimes against Humanity and war Crimes committed in Uganda since July 2002. The Chamber concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Joseph KONY, Vincent OTTI, Okot ODHIAMBO, Dominic ONGWEN and Raska LUKWIYA, ordered the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. These five LRA leaders are indicted for Crimes against Humanity on varying counts based on their individual criminal responsibilities as per the statute of the ICC. Joseph KONY lists 33 counts (Article 25(3) (a) and 25(3) (b)), Vincent OTTI 32 counts (Article (25(3) (b)), Okot ODHIAMBO ten counts (Article 25(3) (b)), Dominic ONGWEN seven (Article 25(3) (b)) and Raska LUKWIYA has four counts Article 25(3) (b))”, (
www.icc_cpi.int/press/pressreleases).

The LRA leadership or the High Command, whatever they call it, should make use of President Museveni's gesture of goodwill and seriously engage its decision-Making LRA officials to negotiate serious peace. Those officials selected to negotiate on behalf of the LRA must be empowered to take bold and unhindered decisions and such bold decisions taken, the LRA High Command must abide by the decisions these officials would take on behalf of LRA. If this is not possible as could be seen from the uncoordinated reaction of the LRA advanced delegation in Juba on Museveni’s amnesty offer. “Last weekend, the LRA delegation in Juba rejected Museveni’s offer of amnesty to Kony and his commanders, describing it as ‘irrelevant and redundant.’ But Kony and Otti accepted the amnesty and warned the delegates against commenting on issues without consulting them.” “The position of President Yoweri Museveni is that the Government can only speak to authentic and authoritative leadership. This means that either Kony or Otti should lead the delegation,” said Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, last evening. He said Museveni’s position was communicated in a letter delivered last week by internal Affairs Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, to the South Sudan President, Salva Kiir. The New Vision:
www.newvision.co.ug).

This is the time to reactivate a true human feeling and understanding that everybody who was killed in the past was an innocent brother, sister, mother, father, son or daughter; and one must really feel remorseful, apologetic and truly seek for reconciliation for the good of his people.

Northern Uganda and South Sudan have suffered from the atrocities committed by the LRA but since they have human feelings of remorse, however, both Ugandans and South Sudanese represented by their governments are revolved and acknowledge that LRA fighters are brothers and sisters. It is on this basis that the LRA is given a chance to negotiate genuinely in order to end the war, irrespective of the ICC indictment. It is through forgiveness that Africans welcomed into Africa non-Africans and despite what the non-Africans did to them; they still respected them and acknowledged them as fellow countrymen and continue to co-exist with them. This is a true African traditional method of conflict resolution and management. The method seeks for reconciliation, which brings about peace and insists on forgetting the past (forgiveness) so that peace could be managed.

However, the LRA must also know that in the same African traditional way of resolving conflicts, those members of the community who are hard-headed are usually dealt with physically. Thus, this could be the last chance for LRA to negotiate with the Ugandan government. LRA should not take this as a threat because even if it’s a threat, the Great Horn of Africa is tired of wars and it is working towards ending all of them. In other words, many chances were given and this one is the last before what is supposed to be ‘your friends today turning your enemies tomorrow.’

On the international level, the indictment will live as long as the LRA lives. So LRA must heed to the amnesty offer by Museveni, which is likely to come into effect within the context of the would-be signed peace agreement between LRA and Uganda government. LRA must accept the amnesty to guarantee it from indictment and give it reassurance of freedom, one of the most important elements in negotiation process. It is noble to negotiate as a free man than to negotiate as a convict; is that not right, LRA leadership?

Hon. Sebit Abbe is a True Representative of His People

Little has been known about some of the reasons that led to the third rebellion of 1983 in South Sudan. One of them is the issue of tribalism, which had promoted nepotism in South Sudan during the era of Abel Alier in 1970s and early 1980s. During this era, some senior tribal leaders in the Alier regime were officially quoted as saying that, ‘it took the British Colonialists 50 years to rule the Sudan and it will take their tribe 100 years to rule the South.’ Others were also quoted as saying that ‘they were born to rule.’ In pursuit of this ‘born to rule’ policy, the Alier regime was dominated and monopolised, especially institutions like Universities, Police, Prisons and Wildlife Cadet Colleges had specialised entrances to support the policy. This policy was resisted by the rest of the South who decided to ask Ja’afar Muhammad Nimeiri, the then President of the Sudan, to decentralise the South.

The South was decentralised but the decentralisation or devolution of power as it were was done in good faith. It was meant aimed at having power exercise in various regions by everybody. Some people did not like this so they had to encourage what was supposed to be an administrative crisis in Sudanese army battalions of 104 and 105 into becoming a rebellion. This became known as Bor and Ayod mutinies that gave birth to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

In the early days of the SPLM/A Movement some of these tribal leaders were quoted as saying that, ‘they were out to regain what they had lost in the decentralisation, their grip on power.’ Other senior Commanders in the same early days of the SPLM/A were also heard thinking loud that, ‘Abel Alier lacked an army that is why his regime had to go; and that they were now building an army to protect their grip on power in future.’

It is now apparent that the SPLM/A is here to pursue the ‘born to rule’ policy that is why issues of corruption, insecurity, marginalization of some people and occupation of some areas in South Sudan have resurfaced. These issues have been discussed extensively in a number of newspaper articles written by Dr. Wani Tombe, Ohiyok Oduho and other Sudanese writers.

Reactions to these articles, especially from the ‘born to rule’ tribe, have been negative. The tribe assumes that it has – beyond any reasonable doubt – concluded that the articles in reference here are tribally motivated. Why are the authors of the said articles regarded as tribally motivated in their writings by this tribe?

It seems the tribe regards them so because most intellectuals from South Sudan who are facing these issues of corruption, insecurity, marginalization of their people and occupation of some of their areas in South Sudan, are silent and reserved on voicing out their true feelings on these issues. Their reservation, perhaps, emanates from a believe that the authors are ‘hired pens’, paid by the Jallaba to widen rather than narrow the gap of disunity in South Sudan, as mentioned sometimes back in an article published in Khartoum Monitor (KM). Others think that by keeping silent the unity of the South would 'automatically' be guaranteed. Others are merely scared of making their voices heard for fear of retribution. Others think by keeping quiet they would continue maintaining the positions offered to them by the ‘born to rule tribe. While others assume that by insulting the authors of the articles on the above-mention issues, the ‘born to rule’ would favour them and perhaps appoint them in higher position in the current governments of the Sudan.

Why does this tribe think that the authors of the articles on the above issues are tribally motivated? First, it should be clearly understood that the authors of the above-mentioned articles might differ in approach towards addressing the issues mentioned above but the message is always one – 'condemnation of the very issues mentioned above: corruption, insecurity, marginalization of some people and occupation of some areas in South Sudan by this tribe which seems to observe no difference between GoSS and personal enterprises.

The tribe in question is not only over reacting but it truly has something to guard against, its hegemony, which it is now imposing without fear or shame. The tribe assumes that there should be no reaction whatsoever to the imposition of its hegemony on the South in broad day light.
However, wars in the Sudan were partly waged because of the issues that are being raised by the authors of the issues mentioned above. Thus, continued practice of corruption, insecurity, marginalization of some people and occupation of some areas in South Sudan would remain a cause for future conflicts in the Sudan and South Sudan is no exception.

It has been so difficult to comprehend the political science’s jargon, which states that 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely' because it has been difficult to see it in practice as it is the case in South Sudan today. Does the tribe in question seriously believe that by imposing its hegemony today war would not resume in the South tomorrow? A tribe that would think so is naïve and certainly does not posses the knowledge of freedom fighting. There is no human person who would accept corruption, insecurity, marginalization of his/her people and occupation of his/her land by anybody, including whoever claims to have liberated them.

Nonetheless, the people of South Sudan are now beginning to react on the issues of corruption, insecurity, marginalization of some people and occupation of some areas in South Sudan. An MP in GoSS' Interim Legislative Assembly, Hon. Sebit Worijibbe Abbe, has angrily reacted in article to KM on what he sees as an occupation of Yei, his hometown, by the SPLA soldiers. In an excerpt from his article, which appeared in KM on July 10th, 2006, p. 4, he said, "Yei has been in a state of anarchy for a very long time and SPLA soldiers continued to behave in that city as an army of occupation with little regard to human life, property, etc."

As for those intellectuals who are in one way or the other scared of challenging the ‘born to rule’ tribe in GoSS promoting corruption, insecurity, marginalization of some people and occupation of some areas in South Sudan, one would ask them to see the example of Hon. Abbe, wake up and defend the people they represent. Hon. Abbe has affirmed that he is a true representative of Yei people and seems fearless to forfeit his seat for the interest of his people. Indeed, what could be more honourable from a representative than to fight for the interest of his people!

Hon. Abbe is aware of his mission and certainly his rights as an MP and the basic human rights of his people. He is not afraid of any repercussions. Therefore, for those other representatives hiding under the carpet of GoSS and carefully calculating their chances of survival in GoSS, the message is clear: come out of that carpet, stand up for your rights as MPs and defend the rights of your people honourably like Hon. Abbe did.

ICC Should Allow African Justice to Deal with LRA

The scheduled Uganda government-Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) talks in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on July 12th, 2006, appear to have been suspended. This has been prompted by the delay in the invitation of the Uganda government delegation by the chief mediator in the government of South Sudan (GoSS), Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.

It is understood that Dr Machar is holding talks with the LRA on Museveni’s suggestion that the LRA team be led by either Joseph Kony himself or his second in command, Vincent Otti. “We were scheduled to travel to Juba on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006, but we have put it off until Dr Machar gives us a signal to travel to Juba. We are told that Machar is still holding talks with Kony and Otti”, Capt. Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Uganda Peace Team, (The New Vision:
www.newvision.co.ug).

Meanwhile, Uganda’s Minister for Security, Amama Mbabazi, has been dispatched to The Hague, the Netherlands, possibly to plead with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop the indictment case against Kony and his four colleagues. “Mbabazi will convince the ICC that there will not be any impunity whatsoever in the event the talks are successful”, (The Daily Monitor:
www.monitor.co.ug/news/news).

It should now be undoubtedly clear that the Uganda government is very serious about holding serious talks with the LRA. This seriousness is represented in three important steps which the government of Uganda has taken: The green light given by Mr. Museveni for the talks and the formation of the negotiating team led by Uganda’s Interior Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda; the need to talk to an LRA delegation led by either Kony himself or his deputy, Otti to expedite the success of the talks; and the dispatch of Security Minister for The Hague to convince the ICC to drop their uncompromising position on the indictment of Kony and his four colleagues, an important step likely aimed at restoring LRA’s full confidence in Uganda government.

The talks mediator, Dr Machar, and the GoSS as a whole need to exert more efforts not only to convince Kony or his deputy to lead the delegation but to make the LRA understand that Uganda government has never been more serious in talking to them as it is currently. Thus, Dr Machar needs to convince LRA and make them understand that a gesture of goodwill from their side – Kony or Otti to lead their team – would improve the prospects for the success of the talks.

There is every hope for the success of the visit to The Hague of the Security Minister. The ICC as a judicial body should listen to the Ugandan Security Minister and understand that Africa has its customary and/or traditional justice that should be given an opportunity to function. The results of this traditional justice should be respected by the ICC. “We will have to convince the ICC that the traditional justice will be put to use to ensure that there is no impunity. What will happen is that the rebels will appologise, there is a cleansing ceremony and reconciliation like it has been done in the post apartheid South Africa, Northern Ireland has done the same”, (Capt. Ankunda, Uganda government Negotiation Team Spokesman:
www.monitor.co.ug/news/news).

Lobby Before Claiming to Have Support

A number of representatives have been claiming to represent the people of Western Equatoria State (WES’) Maridi County recently aired their views on the issues of WES Governor’s suspension and his subsequent detention. Some of these people clearly appear to be members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). These SPLM/A Representatives from WES in most of the legislative assemblies have added their voices to the condemnation of Col. Patrick Zamoi and even claimed they were speaking on behalf of the grassroots.

WES, like any other State in the Sudan, has more than one party, with SPLM/A being the senior partner. This being the case, one sees no reason why these SPLM/A representatives usually assume that they represent every South Sudanese at the grassroots. But someone could not rule out the SPLM /A representatives’ thinking that they represent everybody at the grassroots not because they are holding the lion share in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and South Sudan State governments but because they claim to have liberated everybody and thus everybody must support them.

However, these representatives have every right to claim that they enjoy the support of the grassroots but they have to do a lot of work – they must lobby for such support. Sometimes someone does not have to be from another person’s party to support that party, but could seek support for a genuine political move from the party for in the interest of all the people in that area of representation.

The most important aspect of this kind of intriguing politics is that there must be respect for the existence of the other parties. SPLM/A ought to respect the existence of the other parties, especially those working with it in the partnership but should not assume that since they are working with it, they are SPLM/A sympathizers or supporters. Respect for the existence of the other parties is actually a serious development that could encourage people into making them accept multi-partyism and hence a democratic process in States of South Sudan, GoSS and the rest of the Sudan.

It was on this basis that H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and President of GoSS, helped to intervene to end a constitutional crisis in Lakes States. The Governor in Lakes thought that as an SPLM/A Governor, he enjoyed the support of everybody in the State and so he could do just about anything. He was wrong, because the State was almost divided into half.

Congratulations Y.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kirr for reminding the governor of Lakes that the Education Minister of Lakes whose life was made very difficult by Lakes Governor was a brother and a partner. That is the way to lead the South and there is hope that other States in trouble receive your intervention.

However, before anybody imagines that the President of GoSS rushed to resolve a problem in Lakes States because he comes from there, perhaps a visit to the other areas in the South would help resolve other problems there. The notorious behaviour of SPLM/A is known and without the intervention of the President of GoSS in most of the problems existing in the States, conflicts could be ignited for no apparent reasons and the GoSS, State governments and the people of the South would continue to suffer.

SPLM/A Arrests Minister of Agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture in Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Colonel (Col.) Paul Omoya Thomas, has been arrested by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Torit, the capital of EES. Col. Omoya, who is a Col. in the Sudan Armed Forces, was brought to Juba, the capital of Central Equatoria (CES) and South Sudan respectively, under heavy escort. He is placed under house arrest in undisclosed location in Juba, CES. Col. Omoya, who was nominated to the post by the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF), is accused of having many bodyguards, one of the similar accusations previously labelled against the Lakes State (LS) Minister of Agriculture by the LS Governor.

The crisis between the Minister of Agriculture and the EES Governor on one hand and the SPLA on the other has been going on for a while. Col. Omoya has been under constant pressures from EES Governor and SPLA leadership in the area to either join the SPLA with his forces, EDF, or quit the State. Late last month, Col Omoya called Khartoum and said they were likely to clash with the SPLA soldiers because he was being forced to disarm. One only wonders as to why H.E. Lt-Gen. Kirr has not intervened to defuse the crisis in EES as he did in the case of the LS Minister of Agriculture!

Most of these crises have developed between the SPLM/A and the non-SPLM/A partners in the State governments of South Sudan. It is, however, difficult to understand why this is happening. However, it does not need a guess to attribute these crises to the fact that SPLM/A does not want to share power with non-SPLM/A members. Could this be an invalid guess? If yes, then why are some of the SPLM/A Governors misbehaving throughout the South?

Could it be because Lt-Gen. Kiir is not aware of this crisis? May be not, but the office of H.E. Lt-Gen. Kirr in the Palace was informed about the crisis in EES, including a suggestion given to his office in the Palace that the leaders of EDF were willing, through the SPLM/A, to address the issue of disarmament in EES. However, it appears that Lt-Gen. Kiir’s lieutenants in the Palace have deliberately refused to inform him for reasons best known to them.

It would be very good and relieving if the SPLM/A come out openly and say that they do not want to share power in the South with anybody. Otherwise, it is unfair to mistreat members of other organised groups, which SPLM/A has accepted to share power with. SPLM/A should make it absolutely clear that they do not intend to cooperate with any group in the South except their own.

H.E. Lt-Gen. Kiir needs to develop some guidelines or a mechanism in the GoSS and the State governments that would control the abuse of power in the South as a whole. This mechanism also ought to restore the dignity of a Minister and ensure the Minister’s immunity. A State Minister in the State is equivalent to a State Minister in the central government – in portfolio, benefits and rights. Lack of respect to Ministers undermines the very government of H.E. Lt-Gen. Kiir. What is happening in the South now is nothing but sheer abuse of power that entirely reflects the inability of the South to manage its own affairs.

Lt-Gen. Iga and Brig. Ojetuk Ordered Minister’s Manhandling and Arrest

On Monday, July 17th, 2006, this column mentioned the arrest of an agriculture minister by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Torit. Paul Omoya Thomas, a Sudanese Army Colonel (Col) was arrested and brought to Juba. However, the details of Col. Omoya’s arrest were and still are sketchy as the circumstances surrounding his arrest were unethical, in terms of government procedures to arrest senior government officials.

According to the latest information, Lt-Gen. James Wani Iga, the Speaker of Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Interim Legislative Assembly (GOSSILA), visited Torit town for undisclosed reasons. The government of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) organised a dinner in honour of the Speaker at the State Guest House (SGH). This alleged dinner was supposed to be attended by the cabinet of EES, including Col. Omoya.

Omoya came to the SGH earlier, a must protocol wise. The guest of honour, especially when he is one of the top government officials, is supposed to find everybody seated. Col. Omoya then entered the SGH to greet those who had arrived earlier than him. While inside, Col. Omoya’s four bodyguards were ordered to disarm, and together with their boss, they were accused of trying to assassinate the Speaker.

The Speaker was informed to delay his coming because there was an assassination attempt in progress; and that the culprits were arrested. Col. Omoya and his bodyguards, according to an eyewitness who was in the company of the Speaker, said Col. Omoya and his bodyguards were thoroughly beaten.

The EES Governor, Brig. Aloysius Emor Ojetuk, called for an emergency security meeting under his Chairmanship and the patronage of the Speaker. In the meeting resolution was reached that Col. Omoya be stripped off his immunity. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir, GoSS President or Dr Riek Machar, Vice-President of GoSS, was called on his Thuraya satellite phone and asked to lift the immunity of Col. Omoya, which he did on phone without hesitation.

When the okay to lift Col. Omoya’s immunity was granted, Col. Omoya had already been beaten, arrested and locked up in undisclosed location. He was flown to Juba the following day.

Since the EES Governor, Col. Omoya and SPLA leadership in Torit were not in good terms, the GOSSILA Speaker as an Equatorian, seemed to have been sent to Torit to arrest Col. Omoya but had to drum up a story, a common phenomenon in SPLM/A. Because if anybody else within the top leadership of GoSS did it, the is that it would appear tribal and/or sectional.

However, the SPLM/A has not come out of its rebel mentality, even though they are now in a government called GoSS. During the terrible days of Dr John Garang in the bush, days some of the SPLM/A officers and men cannot forget, SPLM/A, through radio orders from Dr Garang, executed people. This could now be seen clearly in the lifting of Col. Omoya’s immunity by a phone call.

The GoSS should not claim that it respects the rule of law; because the rule of law respects human rights of individuals. Col. Omoya’s rights were not respected. Col. Omoya should have been suspended not arrested and beaten, investigated and then his immunity lifted. None of this happened and yet GoSS claims that it respects the rule of law. Does the term ‘rule of law’ have a different understanding in the vocabulary SPLM/A? Obviously not, the term has one single interpretation: rule the people on the basis of laid down laws, including the respect for international charters that advocate for the rights of people.

Lt-Gen. Iga and Brig. Ojetuk had every opportunity to deal with the situation like Lt-Gen. Kirr did in Rumbek with his people. What happened to Col. Omoya could easily happen to Lt-Gen. Iga and Brig. Ojetuk and indeed anybody else in Equatoria. Col. Omoya is a second victim in Equatoria after Col. Zamoi. More victims are expected to emerge since Equatoria seems to have no leadership to protect its own people from lawless South Sudanese in GoSS and SPLM/A. However, Lt-Gen. Iga, Speaker of GOSSILA, and the Governor of EES, Brig. Ojetuk, must know that they will be held responsible if anything happens to Col. Omoya.

People of Darfur Need More than Just the Presidency

Events on the Darfur conflict have revealed a new dimension in what has become known as conflicting interests of the rebels fighting to control Darfur. Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader, Dr. Khalil Ibrahim, said in June 2006 that his movement was not ruling out the option of independence of Darfur from the rest of the Sudan. Dr. Khalil Ibrahim, like Abd Al-Wahid Muhammad Ahmad Al-Nur, leader of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), rejects the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), which was signed by the other faction leader, Arkoi Minnawi, in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 5th, 2006.

On July 18th, 2006, Abd Al-Wahid Muhammad Ahmad Al-Nur, said said he is fighting for the presidency of the country. "The Chairman of SLM Abd Al-Wahid Muhammad Ahmad Al-Nur, in a telephone call yesterday told The Citizen that he is fighting for Darfur to occupy the post of President not Vice-President as stated in Al-Sahafa daily newspaper on July 17th, 2006."

The people of Darfur need more than just the presidency. They certainly need reconciliation amongst themselves, peace, reconstruction, development in all fields: education, health and other basic services for the people of Darfur. The presidency would simply go to an individual and not to all the people of Darfur. Underdevelopment, misrule and other racial issues, which are mostly deep rooted in Darfur’s history, started from time immemorial. “Darfur, which means land of the Fur, has faced many years of tension over land and grazing rights between the mostly nomadic Arabs, and farmers from the Fur, Massaleet and Zaghawa communities”, (
www.bbcnews.com).

Minnawi is obviously a selfless person who seems to understand the problems of the people of Darfur. It was on this very basis that he signed the DPA not based on a position but rather the position came out during the discussion on power sharing. Minnawi did not mention anything like a position but thought of discussing a number of other issues concerning the people of Darfur and the issue of position of Assistant President was a result of power sharing negotiations.

Abd Al-Wahid Muhammad Ahmad Al-Nur seems to be a very honest person. Few rebel leaders are that frank. Otherwise, many of them come through to seizing power by lying that they are fighting for democracy, a good thing to say so that the West helps; human rights and the rule of law. With the exception of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa followed by South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO), none in the continent is democratic. Instead they abuse democracy human rights and are allergic to the rule of law. By being frank, Abd Al-Wahid Muhammad Ahmad Al-Nur should know that that does not make him any less power and money hungry than any of the continent’s rebels who have assumed power. The former ANC and SWAPO Presidents have strengthened democracy, the human rights and the rule of law in their countries. More so, they have resigned, paving way for fresh blood to rule.

As for Dr. Khalil, the leader of JEM, he must know that fighting for independence of Darfur when he is claiming to fight for the people in Eastern Sudan as well, makes him a racist. Nonetheless, a number of questions would be asked such as 'independence from whom'? Because it was due to the recognition of his being a Sudanese from Darfur that he was appointed an advisor with a ministerial status in Bahr Al-Jebel State, Juba, in 1998. Is it possible that he did not know that fact then – that he was colonised and should not work with a colonial power?

Anyway, people of the same origin seem to be seeking for their kin and kiths to form groupings. Sudan is obviously a country that belongs to the Sudanese, including the people of Darfur whose history of resistance against the actual colonial musters is commendable. "The sultan (Ali Dinar) attempted to expel the foreign colonizers during World War I, but his forces were defeated", (www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/darfur1.htm). Does Dr. Khalil want to disassociate himself and the people of Darfur from the history made by the people of Darfur in the Sudan? Hope not because Khalil is just a Sudanese capable of leading the Sudan, let alone Darfur.

UG-LRA Talks in Juba Not Just the Concern of Uganda

Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, has said that even if the Juba talks with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fail, peace will remain in Uganda. He said his army is now stronger than ever and can take care of anyone trying to cause trouble.

President Museveni seems to be unstable. It is not possible to seek for both peace and war at the same time. It has been proven many a time that antagonistic statements during any peace negotiations are detrimental to the progress of those very peace negotiations. President Museveni is aware of this because he has been an instrumental member in the Inter-governmental Authority on Development Executive that helped push the Sudan Naivasha peace talks to success.

In a statement released by The New Vision website, President Museveni said, "Uganda will remain peaceful whether or not the Juba talks between the government of Uganda (UG) and LRA succeed." He further stressed that, "Even if the talks fail, peace will remain because the army is stronger than ever and can handle anyone who tries to cause trouble", (
www.thenewvision.ug).

This sounds a very unfortunate statement from a peace maker. If at all there is peace in Uganda, why should President Museveni send a high-level delegation to Juba to engage the LRA for peace talks? Is it necessary to mention the strength and capabilities of Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF)? Well, may be Mr. Museveni has better answers for the above questions. However, one would assume that Museveni’s statement is aimed at threatening the LRA.

But to contemplate on these two questions, one would say that Uganda as a country is not peaceful. There is no way that a country can be peaceful when one of its huge parts like northern Uganda is not peaceful; and its people suffering and always calling on the UG to help end the conflict. UG recognizes that Uganda is not peaceful and it was on this very basis that the UG, under the leadership of Museveni, agreed to a mediation offer from the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) aimed at ending the 20-year-old civil war in Uganda.

A man of peace would always remain a man of peace; and there is no way, whatsoever, that he could be regarded weak for discussing peace. UPDF sent the LRA out of Uganda into the Sudan and the DR Congo; there is no doubt about that. UPDF could be more stronger than ever, there is no doubt about that. But seeking for peace knows no strength or weakness.

President Museveni was talking to Kasese leaders on their controversial issue of a cultural institution. The cultural institution alone could have been enough for the President to prolong his discussion. Other issues of UPDF’s strength and whether or not it has become stronger or capable of paralysing the LRA are non-starters. These are his army secrets and certainly not every ordinary Ugandan must know.

However, President Museveni is the leader in charge of Uganda and he can say just about anything he wishes. But he should also know that the issue of the UG-LRA peace talks in Juba is not just the concern of Uganda, it is the concern of Sudan, too. Thus, both Sudan and Uganda are indeed anxious about the success of the peace talks. Museveni should be more concerned about what is happening in Juba, follow it up and redirect his delegation in Juba to concentrate on peace and a possible break through in the talks.

The Arrest of LRA Colonel: A Gesture of Bad-will

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda Government (UG) have started their long-awaited peace talks. The talks, which are aimed at ending Uganda's longest and most inhuman civil strives in the continent next to that which was waged by Foday Sankoh of Sierra Leone, started on July 15th, 2006 in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. This is the first time in the history of the 19-year-old civil war that the LRA and UG have sat down and had face-to-face talks.

The talks started with a welcoming speech from the President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, who appealed to the two sides of the peace talks, asking them to "Use the historic opportunity to end the 19 years of conflict." He also appealed to both sides saying, "Let the world see that now you are doing the right thing." He reminded them that, "you are all Ugandans with the same rights under the Ugandan flag", (Khartoum Monitor, July 16th, 2006, p.1).

It is important that the two parties heed to the advice of H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kirr, the Presdient of GoSS. It is also important that the parties need to understand that they must put the interest of Uganda before any personal interests. The most difficult aspect in the beginning of any peace talks is having courage to recognise each other and accept to sit down for painful but important talks, patience to listen to the opening remarks some of which could make short-tempered people storm out of the meeting halls and finally the resolve to carry on with the talks. The parties to the talks have by-passed all these that is why there is no collapse of the peace talks.

For the success of these talks, however, the mediators need to do a number of things that are necessary in maintaining good talking relationship between the parties. They need to pressure the two sides to agree on a ceasefire, however short it may be it would show that the two sides are serious and committed to finding an end to the conflict. This is important as there are always enemies of peace who would provoke LRA or UG and the results of such an action would be collapse of the talks; and that the parties to the talks must refrain from antagonistic statements, which are only necessary in the opening remarks but not in the negotiations, so that no party feels agitated and demoralized to negotiate. Giving pre-conditions by any side to the talks could also show lack of interest from that side. The following two examples are not helpful for the sustenance of negotiations and could affect any prospects for peace in Uganda.

Example (a) The Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) carried out an operation to arrest the LRA Colonel (Col.), Francis Oyat Lopaicho. "The UPDF Mobile Troops on Wednesday, July 12th, 2006, captured LRA's danger-battalion Commander, Col. Francis Oyat Lopaicho, in a surprise attack on his hideout at Lakalangai West of Acholibur, Pader District", (The New Vision: www.newvision.co.ug) The UPDF captured Col. Francis Oyat Lopaicho on the very day the peace talks were to begin in Juba. This operation was carried out in bad taste.

Example (b) The UG delegation to the Juba talks has given the LRA a number of conditions: 1) that “the LRA remove and abandon all forms of terrorism and cease all forms of hostilities; 2) the LRA to dissolve itself and hand over all arms and ammunition in its possession together with inventories; and 3) the LRA to assemble in an agreed location where they will be demobilized, disarmed and documented”, (The मोनिटर
www.monitor.co.ug/news/news).

The two examples above obviously indicate a gesture of bad-will from the UG delegation. Let there be hope that the conditions given by the UG have been presented to the mediators and are subject for discussion so that the mediators compare (UG position) to that of the LRA and come out with something acceptable to both parties. Otherwise, from UG’s conditions, only the first one could be adhered to but the rest could be summed up in a declaration of ceasefire by both sides that should be monitored by observers to be agreed upon by the two parties.

Victimization of Innocent People by Framing Charges

Events have revealed that the arrest of an Agriculture Minister by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Torit was triggered by personal hate. Paul Omoya Thomas, a Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) Colonel (Col) was arrested and now it is confirmed by an SPLA Commander (Cdr.) who said the Minister was "bundled up", and that he is now languishing in one of the SPLM/A concentration camps in Yei County, Central Equatoria State, CES. However, although the details of his treatment in the concentration camp in Yei County, CES, are sketchy due to poor communications with Juba and Torit, it is understood that he and other detainees are being mistreated because the SPLA are not following the conventional government's laid down procedures of dealing with political detainees.

Col. Omoya was arrested when Lt-Gen. James Wani Iga, the Speaker of Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Interim Legislative Assembly (GOSSILA), visited Torit town for undisclosed reasons. The government of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) organised a dinner in honour of the Speaker at the State Guest House (SGH). This alleged dinner was supposed to be attended by the cabinet of EES. Col Omoya responded to the invitation and arrived the SGH. While greeting his other colleagues inside, he realised his four bodyguards were quarreling and disarmed by the SPLA soldiers. He came out of the SGH to see what was happening outside with the aim of settling any differences between his bodyguards and the SPLA soldiers. Unfortunately, he and his bodyguards were disarmed, thoroughly beaten 'bundled' up and detained in undisclosed location in Torit town. Col. was driven away from Torit in less than 24 hours.

SPLA officers from second Lieutenant to Cdr. have bodyguards, let alone a Minister. A bodyguard is a bodyguard, universally known to judge situations of danger to his boss and by law; they must have their guns cocked, ready to shoot when they subjected to a threat on the life of their boss. Why should Col. Omoya's bodyguards be any different, especially given the kind of volatile situation in Torit where armed people infiltrate the town at nights and cause mayhem?

It must be recalled that certain individual within and without the cabinet of EES have personal grudges against Col. Omoya. A cabinet individual had clashed with Col. Omoya in the previous government, which was led by Abdallah Albert Ofuher.

Meanwhile, some Cdrs. from the former Equatoria Defence Force (EDF) who rejoined the SPLM/A less than a year before the signing of the Comprehensive peace Agreement (CPA) are unhappy because they rejoined the SPLM/A with only 500 EDF officers and men from a total number of over 3,000, a matter that made the SPLM/A doubt them. The EDF officers and men who refused to rejoin SPLM/A pledge their support and loyalty to Col. Omoya and other Cdrs who remained in EES. These soldiers were not interested in rejoining the SPLM/A.

Thus, this cabinet individual and the disgruntled former EDF officers made difficult the relationship between the current government of EES, the majority EDF officers and men who remained behind and the members of the previous government.

The cabinet individual and the disgruntled former EDF officers debriefed the Governor of EES on taking office, telling him lies, including unsubstantiated information that the former colleagues in the previous government were agents of the Khartoum government who were advancing the cause of Islam in Torit. As for the EDF who believed Col. Omoya denied them EDF forces, said the EDF who refused to rejoin SPLM/A were tools of the Khartoum government intended to be used to fight the SPLM/A and destroy the CPA. Statements such these could only be made by bootlickers or job seekers and can only be believed by corresponding minds.

The individual cabinet member and the disgruntled former EDF officers are said to have convinced the Lt-Gen. Iga and EES Governor, Brig. Ojetuk to seek for the lifting of Col. Omoya's immunity and subsequently disarm him together with his bodyguards and that they should be thoroughly beaten, tied or 'bundled up' and locked away.

A Member of EES Interim Legislative Assembly, (EESILA) who is also the Chairman, Security and Public Order Committee, Emmanuel Ambrose Ocholimoi, stated that, "The assassination attempt was carried out by the State Minister of Agriculture, Paul Omoya, who is one of the remaining Cdrs. of EDF and also refuses to join either SPLA or the SAF. Omoya and his bodyguards were bundled up and taken to the SPLA detention house in Yei", (Juba Post, July 20th-27th, 2006, p.1). Ocholimoi is a former EDF Operations Chief who had rejoined the SPLM/A less than a year before the signing of the CPA).

From the statement made above by Cdr. Ocholimoi, one would realise that he is full of hate and not reconciliation as it were, within the context of the CPA. However, someone would also wonder as to why the Lt-Gen. Iga and the EES Governor should listen to such disgruntled individuals, whose aim seems to be disuniting rather than uniting the State! The Governor is not for one or a group of people but everyone in the State! This is not surprising, anyway, because both Lt-Gen. Iga and the EES Governor are known as very weak individuals who would act on mere rumours almost immediately.

Moreover, in the middle of June 2006, a soul-searching meeting was organised by a senior SPLM/A member (name withheld) in Khartoum. The objective of this meeting was to discuss with the leaders of the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) the issue of how to disarm and reintegrate some of the SSDF – who would not be absorbed into the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) – to the SPLA. The meeting, which was attended by SSDF leaders from EES in Khartoum, was attended and addressed by Dr Riek Machar, the Vice-President of GoSS, the Governor of EES and two of his cabinet colleagues. The meeting had resolved that the leaders of the SSDF, who had attended the meeting and showed willingness to cooperate, should prepare to move with Dr Riek and the EES Governor to address those issues mentioned above in EES. This resolution was not implemented by neither Dr Riek nor the Governor himself. Dr. Riek may be busy but the Governor must have been carried away by intense rumours to drop the idea.

However, the SPLM/A continues to behave like a rebel movement rather than a government. It is a documented fact that while in the bush, SPLM/A under the leadership of the late Dr John Garang ordered court martial and execution of SPLA officers and men, including SPLM politicians who did not undergo any military training by radio messages. This was a policy aimed at unleashing maximum terror all members of the SPLM/A so that no one within the SPLM/A thinks of rebelling against the movement. The same policy seems to be pursued by SPLM/A unabated.

The evidence of this could be realised in the lashing of Agriculture Minister and a Commissioner in Western Equatoria State (WES), the arrest and detention of the Governor of WES, the detention of Agriculture Minister in Lakes State, and finally the arrest, beating, tying or 'bundling up' and detention of the Minister of Agriculture in EES. The lifting of immunity of Ministers by a phone call is yet another prove that the SPLM/A is in pursuit of its bush policies.

It is very difficult to comprehend the claim by GoSS that it respects the rule of law because the rule of law respects human rights of individuals. The basic human rights of the senior government officials mentioned above were not respected.

What message then is SPLM/A sending to the members of the international community who are suppose to assist in the efforts to reconstruct the South? Meeting members of the international community does not convince them that the leadership in South Sudan is ready to come out of its rebel mentality, a mentality that respects no rule of law and encourages corruption, a common phenomenon in GoSS and the governments of the ten South Sudan States now. The international community would obviously like to see the rule of law exercised but not abused.

It appears GoSS is displaying ignorance and indeed inability to run a modern government to the rest of the world. A promising modern government would start to practice – before institutionalizing – transparency/accountability and the rule of law. This could then be seen as a gesture of goodwill and donors would be encouraged to help not only by giving further donations but also by assisting in the development of institutions that would support and enhance transparency/accountability and the rule of law through training. Otherwise, how could GoSS expect the donors to entrust their donations to them when they have seen, with their own eyes, corrupt practices and the condoning of such practices by the GoSS leadership?

Unless the phrases ‘rule of law’ has a different connotation in the SPLM/A vocabulary. Otherwise, the rule of law operates on the basis that everybody is innocent until proven guilty before a court of law. The rule of law respects the laid down legal procedures and applying them where it is appropriate. The rule of law respects all the international charters that advocate for the upholding of basic human rights of people, including senior government officials, not like taking pleasures in 'bundling up, senior government officials like pieces of cargo.

Lt-Gen. Iga is a representative of greater Equatoria in the GoSS. It is incumbent upon him to protect all Equatorians in the GoSS within the basis of the laid down laws and procedures of GoSS. Lt-Gen. Salva Kirr Mayardit, the First-Vice President and President of GoSS, visited Rumbek on hearing that a similar crisis, which Lt-Gen Iga, the number two man in the South constitutionally, failed to resolve in Torit, was brewing in Rumbek. He sat down with his people and amicably resolved the crisis. Could it be possible that the leader of Equatoria cannot understand why he is in the GoSS and misplaces himself in the process?

Nonetheless, Lt-Gen. Iga and Brig. Ojetuk Should not forget that as long as the bush policies are being entertained and vigorously pursued in the GoSS and its State governments, they and indeed any other Equatorians could be victims next time. It was Col. Zamoi, Governor of WES yesterday, today it is Col. Omoya and God knows who could be tomorrow.

It would be appropriate to warn that unless some serious measures are taken to address the menace, more victims are expected to follow suit because Equatoria seems to be an orphan – without a leadership that could protect its own interest and certainly its own people from revengeful attitudes of some lawless South Sudanese in GoSS and SPLM/A.

However, Lt-Gen. Iga and the Governor of EES, Brig. Ojetuk, must be made to know that victimization of innocent people by framing charges against them, something SPLM/A is good in at, would not make them walk away with it. The people of Equatoria will hold them accountable in future. No one stays in position of authority forever, especially those who mistreat people of their constituencies. Elections are around the corner and those leaders who want to come back to power should protect their constituencies. Thus, as the English idiom says, 'if you live in a glass house, do not through stones.'

GoSS Should Not be Blamed for Rounding up Foreigners

News on the deportation of foreigners out of Juba had appeared on the local dailies in early August. Some people, especially the nationals from countries of the deportees, including South Sudanese, concerned about the incident, misunderstood the deportation of the said foreigners. The deportation of these foreign nationals, 53 of whom were Kenyans, is regarded as an act of aggression against the foreigners and their countries.

Khartoum Monitor (KM) newspapers reported the deportation of Kenyans. According to the KM, most of those arrested did not only enter South Sudan illegally but ran shops for foodstuffs and second hand clothes (Aliwara) in Juba. "Fifty-three Kenyans have been deported from South Sudan for allegedly working without work permits. Most of those affected have been dealing in food and second hand clothes", (KM, August 13th, 2006, p.1). There were also reports that the ‘New Sudan’ Immigration Authorities manhandled some of these foreigners.

There has been a lot of concern that the deportation of the Kenyans from South Sudan would bring about some implications between the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and the Kenyan Government. This is unlikely to happen because the Kenyan government is an experienced government and it has laws that guide illegal migration.

However, it is illegal for all foreigners, and that includes Kenyans, to enter South Sudan and do business illegally. It is not long ago that the Kenyans made it a point that no South Sudanese in Kenya got a job – and by law – no foreigner is allowed to either work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or own a business in Kenya without a work permit and commercial license respectively. Kenyan immigration officials do know that they never allowed any foreigner to enter Kenya without a visa and work in Kenya without a work permit and commercial license to run a business. In fact, the Kenyans were lucky to enter South Sudan and indeed do some business for some time before being detected by the immigration authorities in South Sudan.

However, one would sincerely say that manhandling of illegal migrants is illegal as it is unfortunate. Foreigners who happen to enter South Sudan illegally should be rounded up and assisted to return to their home countries in a very nice way – although Kenyan Immigration Officials and Police were never nice to South Sudanese. Illegal migrants should be issued with Prohibited Immigrants’ (PI) notice. The PI notice should not exceed 14 days and the illegal migrants must be informed that entering South Sudan illegally is prohibited.

Therefore, the GoSS should not be blamed for rounding up the foreigners as it was doing its duties. The GoSS must be encouraged to crack down on illegal immigrants because it is through some of these illegal migrations that wrong elements enter countries like Kenya and Darsalaam in 1998 and caused havoc. In short, it is not very easy to enter any country without a visa, even if you are a refugee.

However, this author remembers that when he and some of his friends entered Kenya and reported to a Police station at the borders as refugees, they were asked to produce passports with visas. When they failed to do that, they were held for ten days in what the Kenyan Police say was a safe custody. The safe custody is a cell, a cubical of about four by four, where criminals are usually locked up, with a bucket of human waste, that is taken back to the toilet every morning on rotation by the criminals, which in this case included the Sudanese refugees in that cell. This happened in Busia, Kenya, in 1984.

South Sudan obviously needs goods and certainly expertise from the neighbouring countries like Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. These neighbouring countries, however, need to sensitize their citizens that, while the entry into South Sudan is allowed, they must obtain entry visas. This way, the governments of these countries would not get into misunderstanding with the GoSS and its people.

Irrespective of what happened to the Sudanese in Kenya, Kenyans hosted the Sudanese from all the five regions now making the ‘New Sudan’ and Sudan as a whole. There should be no intention to revenge against any Kenyan for what one or two Policemen or Immigration Officers in Kenya did to any of them or their next of kin. The policy of the Kenyan government then and now is what should be a guiding principle in the relationship between the people of South Sudan and Kenya. The Kenyan government had recently, as a gesture of goodwill and a gift for the comprehensive Peace Agreement, sanctioned that Sudanese are allowed to enter Kenya by obtaining entry visas from their ports of entry.

South Sudanese should know that in the past, the Kenyan government had developed a policy, which allowed Sudanese into Kenya. All refugees from 1984 to 1988 were given full refugee statuses and were allowed to join their Kenyan brothers and acquire employments after obtaining work permits, which were issued for gratis to all of them. From 1989 onwards, however, the Kenyan government revisited its policy as increased influx of South Sudanese through Kakuma in Kenya become worrying and insisted that every Sudanese should be camped at Kakuma refugee settlement and were assisted to resettle overseas.

Kenyans who would wish to enter the Sudan are not refugees and God forbids that none of them becomes a refugee, as refugee life is a degrading life. Thus, those Kenyans who intend to enter South Sudan illegally should know that it is degrading too, to enter any country illegally. Every human being is a proud creation of God Almighty and to degrade such a pride dehumanizes ones conscience.

Where Violence is Exercised Logic Has Failed to Prevail

Al-Jezira TV on Wednesday, September 6th, 2006, confirmed the death of Muhammad Taha Muhammad Ahmad, the Editor-in-Chief of Sudanese Daily Newspaper, Al-Wifaq. The late Taha was reported to have been abducted from his house in Kobar, Khartoum North (Bahri) on Tuesday, September 5th, 2006, by unknown gunmen.

Taha was known for his controversial views, including his opposition to the Naivasha Peace Agreement now known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The late Taha was not the only one against the CPA? Obviously not; there are many who are opposed to the CPA but hiding under very different guises. Taha, one must be sincere to reiterate here, was the best. He did not hide his personal feelings in a variety of issues, including letting South Sudan secede from the north Sudan if it were hampering the advancement of Islam in the Sudan.

Why would someone have the guts to kill such a straight forward man? Taha used his pen to address issues of his conviction. His abductors should have used pens to respond to his views. Taking his life was the most outrageous and inhuman act.

Sometimes in the year 2004, this author criticized the late Taha for his opposition to the CPA using his pen but not physical action to cause bodily harm. Another intellectual, a prominent columnist in this paper, replied this author saying: “Dear Editor (Sudan Vision); Reference is made to an article by brother Ohiyok Oduho regarding Mohammad Taha of Al-Wifak paper, as published in your issue dated 2/6/2004. Brother Oduho, please be informed that more than 98% of the Sudanese people had a supportive stance towards the outcome of Naivasha peace deal; and the presence of less than 2% oppossers, including Mr. Taha, is a healthy sign of democracy. And as we all know, nothing is 100% agreed upon by all people.” (For more details, visit
http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1512 ).

The latter should have been the spirit in dealing with our colleague, the late Taha, but not abducting and killing him. By abducting and killing him, it means that his views have reigned supreme and have defeated rather than lost. It is known that where violence is exercised, logic has failed to prevail.

Abductions and assassinations are alien to the Sudan and as such, the country’s authorities need to investigate this callous act and bring those responsible for the abduction and the killing of Taha to book. What happened to Taha is a very serious threat to the freedom of speech, which is enshrined in the constitution of the Sudan.

May the God Lord, the creator of heavens and earth, rest the soul of our colleague, Muhammad Taha Muhammad Ahmad, in eternal peace? May He also strengthen the family of the late as they go through one of the most difficult times in their family’s history?

Reshuffles Should Continue to Include Other Corrupt Officials

Some State governments in the South have undergone mini reshuffles. According to press reports early September, the First Vice-President and President of the government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued decrees firing and appointing Governors in Western Equatoria and Warab States. He also reappointed the State Minister in the Ministry of International Cooperation in the government of National Unity (GoNU) to replace Cdr. Deng Nhial Deng who had resigned as Minister of Regional Cooperation in the GoSS. Two Commissioners and a Minister of Finance were fired and replaced in Eastern State.

These reshuffles are indeed a welcome development because those officials replaced are believed to have either indulged in corrupt practices or are incapable of handling the duties assigned to them. This proves that His Excellency Lt-Gen. Mayardit has been very patient and this patience has given him the opportunity to study the corrupt practices of the officials he reshuffled out of cabinets.

In other words, the list of the corrupt senior government officials in the South is long and continued study with a view to identifying more corrupt officials is necessary. The latest reshuffle is relieving indeed as the South has no money to waste on individuals who are bent on enjoying life but rather on development of the South, its human and natural resources.

The reshuffled should also be a firm reminder to those intellectuals who write in newspapers, saying there is no corruption in South Sudan. Writing to support should be different from writing to pass important information that would encourage and effect change. It does not matter whether or not someone fought, because that fighting had an aim: liberation of the people and not self. Thus, those who write to seek for positions in the GoSS or GoNU on SPLM/A ticket should know that there are other ways of making oneself known to the SPLM/A in order to get a position but should not encourage corruption.

The support that is offered to a person because he/she comes from his/her tribe or section; support offered to an organization because it is run by his/her tribe or section is a backward if not uncivilized attitude and would not advance the Southern Sudan cause for democracy. Those who offer their allegiance for tribe or section within a conventional government system should realize that the government is not a chieftainship run by chiefs. It is a government of the people that has to be checked and balanced by the people through objective criticism in the press so that the attention of their representatives in the legislative assemblies could be drawn; and a democratic process of making the corrupt account for mistakes is set in motion.

South Sudanese at large have fought in various ways for the current freedom now prevailing in the country. Sudanese refugees, for example, have told stories about how they had to leave their homes and what kind of mistreatment they received while at home. This information is repeated in the forms for resettlement of refugees in Western Europe and other parts of the world. Thus the governments of those countries that have accepted South Sudanese have the details of the problems facing South Sudanese at home. This is one of the surest means of information gathering that arms the international community and human rights organizations with facts about Sudan. This is how effective is the fighting of a Sudanese refugee or migrant abroad.

Journalists and intellectuals have, through writing and presentation of papers in seminars workshops and public lectures, given information on the nature of the war in the Sudan, especially the plight of the South Sudanese people. The information they have presented has no borders, meaning everybody would get it. There are those who lived at home who faced the previous regimes and contributed to the struggle for the freedom of South Sudanese. In short, every South Sudanese has, in his/her unique way, contributed to the struggle.

It is, thus, unfortunate to hear some circles insisting that they have physically fought in the bush and must reap the fruits of that fighting without necessarily sharing the reaped fruits with their brothers who fought in other many different ways for the same cause. The struggle did not begin in 1983 as some people might want others to believe.

Reshuffles should continue to include those corrupt governors, ministers and commissioners that are hiding, with hopes that they would not be discovered. Lives have been sacrificed for the freedom that is enjoyed today since 1955. Those sacrifices were made for development of the South, its human and natural resources. As such, few individuals who could easily be replaced for the sake of efficiency by other good-intentioned South Sudanese SPLM/A or from other parties should not be allowed to drain funds that are earmarked for the development of the South, its human and natural resources.

Efforts to Beef Up AU Forces in Darfur Wisest Decisions

The hot issue of deploying international forces in Darfur, Western Sudan, has taken yet another different dimension. The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued resolution 1706 early September in which it authorized the deployment of the international forces in Sudan with or without the consent of the Sudan Government. The UNSC resolution was received with mixed reactions in the Sudan.

Minni Minawi Arcoi, the Senior Assistant to the President of the Republic and head of the Darfur Transitional Regional Authority, head of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) supports the deployment of the international forces in his region. "We welcome the resolution and support it as a guarantee to the protection of our civilian people in Darfur," (SLM spokesman, Mahjub Hussein:
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article17670).

Meanwhile, The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the National Congress Party (NCP) partner in the Government of the National Unity (GoNU), has differed with the NCP – it supports the deployment of the international forces. It argued that “It won’t make a difference since international forces are found in Sudan: West, South Blue Nile, South Sudan, East and Khartoum”, said Dr Riek Machar, Vice-President of Government of South Sudan (GoSS), in a BBC interview. "We urge the (dominant) National Congress Party and other partners in the government of national unity to consent to the deployment of United Nations troops in Darfur. We want to avoid confrontations between Sudan and the international community, and we want to protect the civilians in Darfur”, (Yasir Arman, head of SPLM’s Parliamentary Block in the Interim National Assembly:
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article17658).

NCP, on the other hand, has categorically rejected the deployment of the international forces, reasoning that if allowed, the deployment would be an invasion and a direct intervention on a UN member-State. President Al-Bashir reacted on the resolution on September 4th, 2006. "The resolution came at a time when the government was exerting efforts to implement the DPA and to provide the necessary support for the African forces in Darfur. He added that the resolution would lead to the flagrant interference in Sudan's internal affairs and the violation of its sovereignty and dignity as well as the re-colonization of the country", (President Omar Al-Bashir:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-09/05/content_5048471.htm).

In a press conference held at the Council of Ministers on Monday, September 18th, 2006, Vice-President, Ali Osman Muhammad Taha, agrees no less. He said, "If the African Union (AU) is to form the core of a UN force, why insist on placing it under UN command instead of providing it with financial and technical assistance?" (Ali Osman Muhammad Taha:
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article17672).

New developments have revealed that there are efforts aimed at not only renewing the AU Mission in Sudan’s mandate to another nine months but there is a possibility that any international forces deployed in Darfur would fall under the AU Mission. Jan Pronk, the U.N. envoy for Sudan, told the Security Council and reporters afterwards that rather than only continue confrontations with Khartoum leaders, who have firmly rejected a U.N. force, the focus should be on the AU’s force of 7,000. “"I think the government of Khartoum is quite willing to accept an AU force, being led by the AU with a lot of support from others. I think that would also imply boots on the ground. Try it. It is possible. But you have to talk. You have to negotiate", (Jan Pronk:
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article17686).

One would hope that the latest efforts of trying to beef up the AU Mission in Sudan to help end the crisis of deploying or not deploying international forces succeed. This would be one of the wisest decisions ever thought of by the international community on the Sudan since the Darfur crisis started. It makes no sense for the international forces to come without the consent of the Sudan. "The deployment of international troops in Sudan without its permission runs counter to the UN Charter approving rights of the countries to maintain their sovereignty," (Ashaal:
http://conflict-religion.boker.tv/news/conflicts/gen_intern_geogr/sudan_resolution_1706_divides_sudananalysts).

Perhaps Sudan government’s rejection of the deployment of international forces could be blamed on the mistake made by parties to the Abuja talks while drafting the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). The DPA does not include an article or a clause that authorizes the deployment of international forces in Darfur as it were the case with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The leadership of this country should be seen united in matters of national interest and sovereignty. It is very sad to hear statements and counter statements from members of the same government in regards to the deployment of international forces in Darfur. It is true that the situation in Darfur is bad, and that the suffering people of Darfur must rescued from this suffering. The government of Sudan should not be held accountable in exclusion of the Darfur rebels who refused to endorse the DPA.

Matters pertaining to the sovereignty of a country are non-negotiable. There can be no leader in the world, however small or insignificant his/her country could be – if there is any such thing – who will accept to surrender part of his country to an international force. Unless it is invaded and its government seized like that of Panama, whose President, Manuel Noriega, is languishing in a US jail. Noriega might have been a criminal, involved in drugs, but the US had no right to invade his country.

Those leaders who encourage the deployment of international forces in the Sudan should be made to understand that one of them may become the President of the Sudan in future. If he/she did become the President of the Sudan would he/she authorize a deployment of international forces in the Sudan, especially when he believes that he/she is in controlled of his government? The answer is no, because the Ugandan forces who were allowed into the Sudan through an agreement are now making the Sudanese people as well as the authorities uncomfortable. This is not because they have done anything wrong, no, but as a foreign force, it feels like an occupation force. Could any ordinary person accept his/her house to be seized by any other ordinary person and him/her, together with members of the family, ordered around? It is unacceptable, and this is the feeling, which anyone who would become the President of Sudan in future will have.

SPLM for example, should be feeling uncomfortable with the presence of the Ugandan forces in South Sudan. SPKM might have supported the entry of the Ugandan forces before the CPA but this may not be the case presently; because it is now in charge of the whole South Sudan. SPLM is now working very hard to see in to it that the current peace talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government succeed so that the Ugandan troops leave the Sudanese territories. This is not a declared SPLM position on the Ugandan troops in the South. However, seeing the CPA’s seriousness to see Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), a forces SPLM views as an occupation force, move northwards, it is certainly not possible to believe that SPLM wholeheartedly approves the limitless stay of the Ugandan troops in South Sudan and hence the deployment of international forces in Darfur; unless SPLM has forfeited its second powerful role in the affairs of the Sudan as a country.

The parties to GoNU should really review their partnership and sincerely put some guidelines down on how, as a government, they could collectively decide on issues of the country’s sovereignty. In addition to that they should start laying down strategies on how collectively they could address the Darfur crisis, agree to replace the current SAF personnel by another force, possibly comprising of SAF, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), Minni Arcoi faction, with a new mandate: to restore security and order in Darfur.

This column had, on March 4th, 2006 – before the DPA was signed – challenged the partnership and their junior partners to find a solution to the crisis in Darfur. “Thus the NCP, SPLM and their junior partners need to meet and agree to form an equal number of forces from SPLA, SAF and (now the Sudan Liberation Army) that are redundant – not part of Joint Integrated Units – to be deployed in Darfur. As a matter of urgency, a committee has to be formed to immediately workout modalities for the formation of such a force”, (Events Column:
http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=11187).
EES Governor Must Work Hard to Stop Vengeances and Vendettas

The temporary capital of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Torit, seems to be going through a rough time of insecurity ever witnessed. The Sudan people’s Liberation Army (SPLA) within and without the Joint Integrated Units (JIU) are truly causing insecurity if not mayhem in the town. The insecurity, mostly caused by vengeance, ranges from rapes to torture, even killing.

Early September an SPLA soldier had raped a girl in Torit. He was arrested and held at the police station. He tried to escape but got shot by the police. He was taken to the hospital but had to bleed to death. On hearing this, SPLA from both JIU and non-JIU attacked the police station and gunfire was exchanged the Police and the SPLA. There were deaths and injuries from both sides.

One Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) Officers, Major (Maj.), Dominic Servilio, a member of the JIU based in Torit, organizing the last funeral rites for his daughter, was arrested and very severely tortured. Maj. Servilio was brought to Khartoum on September 19th, 2006. He is said to be in a very critical condition at the Military hospital in Omdurman. Maj. Servilio is victim of vengeance.

Maj. Servilio had fled the government-controlled areas and settled in Ikwoto, which was under the SPLA control. He was a retired Warrant Officer in the SAF. Maj. Servilio entered Torit before the CPA was initialed and decided to pursue his interest in rejoining the SAF, through the ongoing absorption of the armed groups into the SAF. In accordance with the Security Arrangements Protocol, which stipulates that armed groups from both sides are free to choose being in either of the CPA armed forces, SAF and SPLA, Maj. Servilio succeeded when he and a number of other young men were commissioned to various ranks in the SAF and transferred to the JIU in Torit. Maj. Servilio, according to reports from Torit, was arrested by SPLA who included the Governor of EES personal bodyguard. Maj. Dominic was acting commander of the JIU Battalion in Torit when he was arrested and thoroughly beaten up. He became acting commander when both Colonels (SAF & SPLA who deputize the JIU Battalion in Torit) were out of the town and he was the next on the line in seniority.

Could the SPLA regard Maj. Servilio as a defector from SPLA and must be dealt with, a criminal or otherwise that must be punished in some way? Whatever he is regarded as, Maj. Dominic is not only a senior member in the JIU Battalion in Torit but he was also reported to be its acting commander at the time. How does anyone regard what happened to a CPA partner like Maj. Dominic? What happened to Maj. Dominic is a clear violation of the CPA and worse still, that of his human rights.

Nobody has questioned any member of the SPLA in the JIU let alone arresting an acting commander of the JIU. This does not mean that within the SPLA in JIU none includes recruits, recruited from the major towns of Khartoum, Juba, Wau and Malakal. Nevertheless, the decision to deploy any SPLA soldiers to the JIU is absolutely the prerogative of the SPLA Military High Command. The opposite in regards to the SAF is true. It is that simple, because the issue of vengeance and vendetta is supposed to be settled and put to rest by the CPA. Unless some people in South Sudan do not have a right to own the CPA. However, if the CPA is indeed for every body, then let it (the CPA) be the manager of the relationship – that must grow – between the SPLM and NCP or SAF and SPLA.

The Governor of EES should be informed that the people of his State are not going to achieve an automatic unity and prevalence of security. Unity and security are worked for; they do not drop down from heavens. However, for unity and security to be achieved in EES, the Governor must work hard to stop all kinds of vengeances and vendettas, seek for rather than work against reconciliation and then sanction all the communities to hold grassroots people-to-people peace initiatives; fully supported by the government. The government support should include the hiring of conflict experts or facilitators who would be guiding the quest of each community for peace. The CPA brought peace to the country but the people in the country must work for their own peace.

EES Governor Orders Arrest and Torture of JIU Major in Torit

On September 24th, 2006, Events in page three of this paper discussed about insecurity in Torit and gave accounts of rapes, tortures, including killings, calling the entire situation as mayhem caused by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). "Torit will soon be like Yei. If people who are lacking respect and moral ethics can attack Police Stations in broad daylight then what will avoid it from becoming like Yei. Raping girls who live in poverty is completely wrong, it is against child rights and it is child molestation", (Lo Rondyang, Lukojo, Khartoum Monitor, September 16th, 2006, p.4).

Major Dominic Servilio as mentioned in Events column on September 24th, 2006, is one of the senior officers in the Joint Integrated Units, a combined force of SPLA and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Torit. Maj. Dominic, an SAF Major, was acting JIU Battalion Commander (Cdr.) when he was arrested in Torit.

According to Maj. Dominic, 18 SPLA soldiers were dispatched by the Governor of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Brigadier (Brig.) Aloysius Emor Ojetuk, to his house after he had completed the funeral rites of his daughter. They stormed into his house and as he stood up to find out what was happening, he was ordered to sit down, which he did. They bundled him up and thrown him into the Governor's escort siren Land Cruiser vehicle. He was driven to the Governor's house. While being driven to the Governor's house, Maj. Dominic said he was thoroughly beaten and kicked throughout. When the vehicle arrived the Governor's house, the Governor was given a report that they (the soldiers) brought the culprit. The Governor responded by saying, "Good, let his Ma'rasin (Arabic word for cuckolds or pimps) come and take him." Maj. Dominic said the soldiers continued to kick and beat him before the Governor who just watched and did nothing to stop the soldiers.The Governor then ordered Maj. Dominic to be taken to Hiyalla (24 Miles East of Torit). One of the soldiers arresting Maj. Dominic who was so excited said, "Maj. Dominic doesn't need to reach Hiyalla, we can deal with him on the way and return back to Torit."

Maj. Dominic said he was driven to Hiyalla and detained somewhere in an SPLA camp. The soldiers who arrested Maj. Dominic quickly changed their minds and said, "If we keep Maj. Dominic here, he can be traced." Maj. Dominic said he was taken to some compound of an NGO called CHIWESE and locked up in one of the toilets. The NGO is located some Kilometres East of Hiyalla and between Loguruny and Illoli.

Maj. Dominic said he was tied for six hours until when some good Samaritans within the SPLA rescued him by untying him. He said when he was untied, the parts of the body that were tied had burst open and the nylon rope, commonly used for bed making in the Sudan, had penetrated his flesh (see the pictures taken on September 24th, 2006 – seven days after his ordeal).

Maj. Dominic said he was returned to Torit because of decision, which was taken in an emergency security meeting. Maj. Dominic said his house in Torit was ransacked and his private money and personal belongings worth 13 million Sudanese Pounds were seized from the house. The Cdr. of the SAF stationed in Torit called for the emergency security meeting in which the Governor was asked whether or not he was aware that an SAF Maj. from JIU in Torit was arrested by his men. The Governor agreed that he ordered the abduction of Maj. Dominic because he is an EDF (a reference to the Equatoria Defence Force), thus a terrorist who was recently trained in Khartoum, given money to come and assassinate Senior SPLA officers in Torit.

It is worth noting that the Governor, in his maiden speech, which he made immediately after assuming office and during the last fasting month of Ramadan, had said that he knew all South Sudanese different but distinctive marks on their bodies. What about those Muslims who are stamped on their buttocks? He enquired. Those Muslims stamped on their buttocks are more dangerous than those who are not. Afterwards an SPLA soldiers who believed that his Governor must not divide his folks, came to Maj. Dominic and one more Muslim went to the Governor and told him to apologize to the Muslims. He agreed.

However, later on the Muslims in Torit organised a breakfast in which the Governor was invited. After this breakfast, as usual speeches were made. Maj. Dominic delivered a speech on behalf of the Muslims in Torit. In his speech, Maj. Dominic dismissed the Governor's claim that there were Muslims stamped on their buttocks. The Governor, speaking last, said the Muslims have taken back the food they offered him. He called on the Muslims to prepare an apology, which was not prepared at all.

According to Maj. Dominic, no official charges were brought against him. Meaning the Governor of EES has taken the law into his own hands. This is very dangerous indeed, because the Governor is setting a precedence that may be emulated by his SPLA soldiers.

Governors in the States are guardians of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the law and State’s citizens. It is unfortunate that what happened to Maj. Dominic was not only a violation of the CPA but it is a clear violation of human rights, masterminded by a Governor of all people in the State.

The Governor of EES is accusing the EDF of terrorism because they have refused to listen to him when he said, "EDF should either join the SPLA, SAF or face the consequences. None of the EDF forces has ever been apprehended for any wrongdoing. A disciplined force does not need any lessons from the EES Governor. Terrorism means the "use of force and intimidation to achieve political ends", (Collins Paperback Dictionary, 2000:618). Who in this instance is a terrorist, is it the Governor or EDF? What is clear is that the Governor has arrested two Ministers: Col. Paul Omoya Thomas and Paul Odiong Dominic, John Kenyi, Director-general of Finance who had just returned from a course in South Africa and Chief Okumu, an administrative officer.

The UN observer force in the South should not allow all kinds of intimidations and the use of unnecessary force on innocent people in the South. What happened to Maj. Dominic and certainly those others who are detained under inhuman conditions in Torit, Nimule and Juba under the Governor's orders is a human rights abuse. The Governor should be held accountable for his crimes so that whoever governs EES after him should know that he is not above the law.

EES Assembly Impeaches Governor and Cabinet

The problems of insecurity, poor administration, unnecessary use of force against and abduction of innocent people in Torit, the temporary capital of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), have been taken up by the EES Interim Legislative Assembly (EESILA).

A group of MPs from Torit are in Juba headed by their Speaker, Hon. Adelino Opi, and they have delivered their parliamentary details for impeachment of their Governor and his entire cabinet to the concerned authorities in South Sudan. On September 29th, 2006, Juba television and Radio announced the decision of the EESILA to impeach the Governor and his cabinet. According to the report, Juba television and Radio said copies of the impeachment decision were sent to the office of the President of South Sudan (GoSS) and the South Sudan Interim Legislative Assembly (SSILA).

ESSILA members should really be commended for a job very well done. The action they have taken is what is expected of a parliament that represents its people. The Governor or any senior State government official has no power to take the law into his/her own hands.

The people of EES have suffered the previous war, they are certainly witnessing a large scale of cattle rustling and, God knows, whether or not they will ever benefit from the current talks between the Lord's Resistance Army/Movement (LRA/M) and the Uganda government. The LRA/M has been one of the very many sources of insecurity in EES.

The current Governor or any one to come in future must not think that he/she is above the law. Presidents, let alone Governors, are not above the law. They are guided by a constitution and they try by all means not to violate the very constitution that guides them. Those who think they are above the law are deceiving themselves and as such would always fall victims of their own making.

Thus, GoSS should consider this kind of an exercise, impeachment procedure performed by the legislators in EES against their Governor and cabinet, as an important democratic exercise. It takes guts for appointed legislative assemblies to impeach their leaders - especially now that the State governments are at their infancies and their legislative assemblies are operating without constitutions.

Operating without constitutions should not be a reason for abuse of power anywhere in South Sudan. Absence of a constitution does not mean that there is no constitution and as such Governors or otherwise must take the law into their own hands. In the event that a new constitution is lacking, the old constitution should always be used until such a time that the new constitution is introduced.

It is hoped that this impeachment exercise does not have any strings attached to it. In other words, some group of people within the EESILA should not take advantage of the situation and advance their political interests. If there is any such inclination, then the impeachment would not be regarded as a democratic exercise.

The seat of the Governor in EES belongs to Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and there should be no worries or difficulties for SPLM in EES to identify someone who should replace the current Governor. Even if SPLM feels that the current Governor should be maintained, relationship between the legislature and the executive would not be the same again. To create good relationship between the leaders in EES, the current Governor must go so that whoever comes on board could be respected.

However, there is always a beginning for everything and as such GoSS should take note of this new beginning (the impeachment process) and, if possible, approve it and use the exercise as a practical democratic example that could be encouraged by the GoSS and emulated by the other State governments in South Sudan. If encouraged, exercises such as that of impeachment in EESILA could help reduce the supervisory role of the President of GoSS over the Southern Sudan government and executive institutions.

Inhuman to Leave a Very Large Non-fasting Sudanese Without Food

South Sudanese women living and operating their businesses in Al-Haj Yusuf, about 16 of them, were arrested by the authorities in Al-Haj Yusuf. They were accused of running open-air restaurants without licenses. “A group representing some 16 women engaged in selling ready foods said the authorities raided their shops last Wednesday and forced them to acquire special licenses in order to sell ready food during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan”, (Khartoum Monitor (KM), September 29th, 2006, p.1).

There is obviously no doubt that Khartoum as a national capital has several religious denominations with Islam being the major religion. Although this has been a major practice in the past, the previous agreements and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) should have cultivated a new spirit. The spirit of religious tolerance and cultural coexistence; where people of one nation live in harmony.

It is true that the Governor of Khartoum State is said to have issued directives to all the localities in Khartoum to allow food services for those who are fasting. But it appears that these orders have been misinterpreted by local authorities and as such the 16 women above had to fall victims. “All 16 of us appeared before a judge today, Thursday, September 28th, and we were summarily fined SD 2,000 each without questioning”, complained one of the 16 women arrested, tried and fined – (KM, September 29th, 2006, p.1).

It would be very inhuman to leave a very large non-fasting Sudanese and their foreign friends in a city like Khartoum without a single restaurant opened to serve them. Religious coexistence goes beyond political boundaries, as it could now be seen, it has affected the most essential elements in human existence, the forbidding of food and drinks in Khartoum during the holy month of Ramadan.

In the past Sudanese fasted and most of the restaurants and big hotels served food and drinks to their customers. Today this is different because every eating place in Khartoum is closed, why? Could it be that some people cheat? If they cheat or they don’t, they are answerable to God, not to a person. Faithful Muslims believe to get more (Ajur – Arabic word for heavenly reward) to see those who do not fast eat, and no temptation whatsoever could manipulate their faith to God and the call by the faith to fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Governor of Khartoum should intervene to rescue the women being persecuted for heeding to his gesture of good will to offer food and drinks services to non-Muslims in the capital, Khartoum. This country needs tolerance and a high degree of religious coexistence for it to achieve its cherished goal, unity of the Sudan.

EES Governor Should Heed to GoSS’ Gesture of Goodwill

The Governor of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Aloysius Emor Ojetuk, is reported to have returned to Torit, the capital of EES. The Governor was in Juba to defend his position, which was under a serious check and balance exercise by EES Interim Legislative Assembly (EESILA). Slightly over 75% of ESSILA members, including their Speaker, had moved a vote of no confidence in their Governor and wanted him out with his cabinet.

The document on the vote of no-confidence was presented to the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and its Interim Legislative Assembly for action. ESSILA members accused the Governor of inciting tribal conflicts, orchestrating arrests and rampant killings of people in Torit town, insecurity and anarchy in Ikotos, Chukudum and Kapoeta, violation of the CPA and Interim Constitution of South Sudan by depriving the assembly members of their constitutional rights and entitlements. It is reported that the GoSS presidency has instructed the Governor to return to Torit and reconcile with his ESSILA members.

Meanwhile, the First Vice-President and President of GoSS, Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued a presidential order on October 11th, 2006, directing the formation of an investigation committee to review the reasons for which the EESILA lost confidence in their Governor. "The committee comprises of southern parliamentarians headed by Bashir Bendi, Arop M. Arop, Committee Secretary, as well as other senior GoSS figures" as members, (Sudan Tribune Newspaper, October 12th, 2006, p.1).

According to reports coming from Torit, the Governor arrived there to a very cold welcome. He sent a message around Torit using a public address system (PA), saying that the Governor would like to address the people of Torit the following day. The PA is the only system used to convey information in most parts of South Sudan due to lack of local radio stations and other information disseminating equipment.

However, those who attended the Governor’s rally said that instead of delivering a reconciliatory speech, the Governor delivered an antagonistic speech. He is reported to have said that, “I am the son of this State. I have come back and will deal with those half-hearted ‘Inside SPLM/A’ members. These ‘Inside SPLM/A’ members are being used by the enemies of SPLM/A to unseat me.” The ‘Inside SPLM/A’ is a reference to those co-opted by the SPLM/A from within the former government-controlled areas.

It is hoped that the GoSS’ decision to send the Governor back to Torit in order to reconcile with the ESSILA members is based on its confidence in both the government of Governor Ojetuk and ESSILA. The GoSS would be very unfair to both the Governor and the ESSILA members if it had just sent the Governor and his ESSILA members back to Torit without forming the Bashir Bendi Committee (herein after referred to as ‘the Bendi Committee) to investigate the reasons that led to the disagreement between the Governor and ESSILA members.

It is impossible for two parties which are caught up in a war of words, based on what each of them believes is true, to reconcile. To send the Governor and his ESSILA members back to the State to iron out their differences should be a gesture of goodwill from the GoSS. Otherwise, the case of Ojetuk is not different from that of Col. Patrick Zamoi, the former Governor of Western Equatoria State (WES), who was arrested and detained pending investigations. There is no insinuation here, whatsoever, that Ojetuk should have been arrested and detained like Col. Zamoi, but the approach to his case, which is similar to that of Zamoi of WES, whose rejection did not come from WES parliament, should have shown some coherence, at least in the legal process that was applied on Col. Zamoi.

The First Vice-President and President of GoSS has taken a normal bureaucratic decision by appointing ‘the Bendi Committee’. This committee may not have the powers to reconcile the executive and the legislature in Torit but their investigation would establish facts. Based on those facts, reconciliation would then be possible. Because the past mistakes, yet to be established by ‘the Bendi Committee’, shall provide future mediators with a problem or a Conflict whose root causes are clearly identified to resolve.

Even if ‘the Bendi Committee’ presents its recommendations and such recommendations happen to incriminate either of the parties to the conflict; Governor relieved of his duties or parliament dissolved; whichever is the case, that case should leave the office while maintaining good relationship with his colleagues in the political scene of EES.

Now that his Governorship has been extended until the investigations are over, the Governor, who is very disappointed with those who sought for his removal, should not continue to take the law into his own hands. This time, one would hope it doesn’t happen, that the Governor ends up mistreating those who have worked for his downfall.

As per his remarks in the rally in Torit, the Governor should be sent to the Barracks if he cannot handle politics. The Governor ought not to make threats because it is illegal in law. If he does not know that already, he ought to know it now. Based on the threats he uttered in the rally, it is possible to guess now that those who worked against him in the EESILA might be preparing to leave Torit for fear of retribution that would come from none other than the irate Governor himself.

Politics as it sounds has its skills mostly acquired through practice. It has no school although one would assume that playing fair politics in practice is the key to success. That success would provide a school that would sensitize the people on various laws that govern the conduct of government, the country and, on that matter, a State like that of Ojetuk. Ojetuk did not practice politics, as he was not given any political assignment during the struggle. He may not be the only one – there are others – who in this case may be prone to learning. He was managing Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association and before that, he was an administrator with the Norwegian Church Aid based in Torit. However, if the administrative experiences he acquired from these organisations cannot help, he should be forgiven but on conditions that he must consult before making any future decisions and upholds the laws that govern the conduct of government and the State. He should never take the law again into his own hands as he did in the past. Ojetuk is on record for abducting and severely torturing a JIU Major in Torit. (Read the story and view the pictures on (http://www.southsudan.net/index1.html).

It is a sincere belief that if a Governor works for the interest of his entire State no one would ask him out. However, the fact that the Governor of EES has failed in his performance as Governor because he listens to every rumour; he should have only himself to blame. “Ojetuk is trying to find a scapegoat to cover his failed governance after he operated in a one-man show in a situation which required team work”, (Dr. Theophilous Ochang, Khartoum Monitor, October 11th, 2006, p.1).

The SPLM has always portrayed itself as a ‘democratic' organization that has fought for the rights of the people of Sudan. This is a fact that cannot be ignored by anybody but where does SPLM go wrong? SPLM goes wrong because it is fighting for those rights within the Government of National Unity (GoNU) and north Sudan as a whole but not in South Sudan and within their governments. Some SPLM members usually criticize

articles like this, saying they are directed towards the SPLM and not the National Congress Party (NCP). Articles such as this would always be directed against the SPLM because it claims to be perfect when it is not. NCP is working hard to improve its past records and the CPA is a clear demonstration of that resolve.

It is not possible that a ‘democratic' organization like the SPLM could encourage intimidations, arbitrary arrests, detention without trials of political opponents and operating in a manner that seem to place it above the law. Justice is not one-sided; it has never been one-sided and will never be one-sided.

“The SPLM slogans were and still remain the loudest voice in the north when the issues under debate are freedom, justice and the respect for the laws, in particular the Naivasha laws and the transitional constitution. However, this loud revolutionary voice in the north becomes raucous or more precisely chocked when it heads South. In many cases, the power of the slogans turn into ‘mercilessness detention centres’ as they are today, where political opponents or those with differing ideological and political views succumb to flames and chains”, (Tahir Sati, The Citizen newspaper, October 12th, 2006, p.12).

The First Vice-President and President of GoSS had recently ordered the arrest of SPLM members who orchestrated the arrest of NCP members in Juba. This wise decision, which might be misunderstood by bad-hearted SPLM members, needs to go to all the State governments in the South so that no Governor or any State government official intimidates or abuses the human rights of his/her political opponents.

Thus, the Governor should not misunderstand but heed to the gesture of goodwill from the GoSS, which has trust in him and his members of ESSILA. This gesture of goodwill does not mean – one would like to believe – that the Governor must victimize those who have worked against him. Rather, it is meant that EES has elders in its government and those elders, including traditional leaders of EES, could help the Governor work out a formula for reconciliation. Reconciliation means "to harmonies conflicting beliefs" (Collins, 2000:504) and to forget the past and open a new chapter in which all people of the State, including their ESSILA and cabinet members, work in harmony. That harmony should help EES unite its people irrespective of their political colours. In turn, that unity is a prerequisite to development. However, this perquisite to development cannot be achieved through arrests, tortures and detentions without trials or mere intimidation of innocent people and political opponents not only in EES but anywhere in South Sudan.

Egeland Should Seek ICC Commitment to Drop Indictment of LRA Leaders for Juba Talks to Succeed

The Visit of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Jan Egeland, to the Sudan to address the impasse between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda Government (UG) in the peace talks is a welcome development. It means that the world body, which Egeland represents, has developed interest in putting its weight on the fragile LRA-UG talks in Juba. The current LRA-UG talks in Juba have been going through thick and thin, including very serious violations of the truce signed between the LRA and UG.

Responding to what it sees as violations to the truce and lack of commitment to the peace talks by the UG, the LRA accuses the UG of lacking commitment to the fundamental principles that were laid down by both parties to guide and sustain the fragile peace talks. LRA has specifically accused the UG of not only attacking their forces as they try to gather at assembly points in areas designated to them by the Juba talks, but says Ugandan troops are trying to encircle the assembly points. “LRA has accused Ugandan soldiers of encircling fighters assembled at one of two locations under the agreement, raising doubts over the future of the peace process”, (
http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=286666&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__africa/). The LRA-UG Cessation of Hostilities Agreement states that the assembled LRA will be left to leave peacefully in case the talks fail, but how can you do it when they are already surrounded by the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defense Force)?", LRA legal adviser to the talks in Juba, told IRIN: (http://platform.blogs.com/passionofthepresent/2006/10/rebels_want_res.html).

Meanwhile, the UG accuses the LRA of buying time in order to regroup and resume its onslaught on the people of northern Uganda and South Sudan. President Museveni has more than once commented that the LRA ringleaders must stand trial and thus urging the Juba government to execute his plans to arrest the LRA ringleaders. “Museveni stressed that the UPDF would push for Kony’s prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he does not reach a peace agreement with the Government team in Juba, Sudan”, (
http://www.newvision.co.ug/PA/8/12/512321).

The UG also says that the rebels are not reporting to their assembly points, thus violating the truce. “Ugandan rebels have violated a truce with the government by leaving an agreed assembly point”, (the head of an independent monitoring team, (
http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=286666&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__africa/).

At the same time, the ICC has insisted that the LRA leaders must stand trial for the atrocities they have committed against humanity. “The Governments of Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are obligated to give effect to the arrest warrants and we’re confident they will honor their joint commitment to do so. The ICC warrants name Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen and Raska Lukwiya. Each is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Uganda since July 2002 in the context of a 20 year campaign of brutality against civilians”, (
http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-05/2006-05-18-voa31.cfm?CFID=24787331&CFTOKEN=14486851).
The ICC is simply responding to UG’s request to try the LRA leaders. “The ICC took action against Joseph Kony following Museveni's referral of the situation in Northern Uganda. For the ICC, the invitation was a blessing: a so-called 'state-party referral' was seen as the best means for the ICC to take action, much preferred to the 'trigger' mechanism by which the prosecutor would move on his own (proprio motu). For the newly established ICC, conscious of its critics (including the US administration), acting at the invitation of a government was far preferable to being seen as intervening in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.” (http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/07/catch-22-in-uganda-lra-icc-and-peace.php).

In other words, the UG has to be more than serious in engaging the ICC to drop the charges. One or two visits to The Hague by the UG and popular officials are not an end to the ICC-UG-LRA crisis. They were important initial steps that needed following with a serious effort to advice the ICC to drop the charges against the LRA leaders. “The ICC said it was waiting for the outcome of peace talks before deciding on how to proceed with cases against the rebel leaders”, (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6120646.stm).

The UG-LRA talks were not only initiated in good faith by the Juba Administration’s Vice-President, Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, but money that is supposed to support suffering South Sudanese is being used to ensure the success of these talks. These efforts are seriously aimed at bringing peace to both South Sudan and Northern Uganda. The UG has to acknowledge this and must stop uttering statements that do not advance the serious search for peace in Uganda.

Sustenance of negotiations like the UG-LRA talks requires the UG’s patience and total commitment to peace. But lack of focus from the UG on how to sustain the talks could, in actual fact, work against the peace process. It is not enough for the UG to attend the talks and negotiate with the LRA without commitment and focus towards how to reach a positive conclusion of the talks.

Therefore, the interest that has been developed by the UN to talk to the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, to encourage him and the LRA to reach a final agreement with the UG is indeed a positive development. “Egeland said the message he took to the rebels, would be the same message he takes to President Museveni, an affirmation of the UN's support in efforts to end the war”, (The Monitor, Kampala, November 14, 2006).

Egeland, however, needs to know that the Juba talks may not succeed unless the UN presses on the ICC to drop the charges against the LRA leaders. It would be very difficult for Mr. Egeland to proceed with his new mission that now includes the LRA negotiations unless both the UG and the LRA focus on peace rather than arresting LRA leaders or threatening to resume the fighting respectively. "They (ICC warrants of arrests) are a blockade to the talks, the primary agenda is to request Egeland to use his offices to talk to the UN Security Council and the ICC to drop the warrants in the interests of peace in the region," Mr. Ayoo, LRA spokesman, told AFP news agency, (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6072994.stm).

Egeland needs to seek UG’s serious commitment to ask the ICC to drop the indictment of the LRA leaders to The Hague. This commitment should be delivered by Egeland in person to the ICC Chief Prosecutor with whom Egeland, on behalf of the UN, has to engage in serious talks on the necessity to drop all the ICC charges against the LRA leaders for the Juba talks to succeed.
“The ICC was established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so called because it was adopted in Rome, Italy on July 17th, 1998, by the
United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court”, (http://www.icc-cpi.int/about/ataglance/establishment.html).

How else could the LRA gain the confidence to negotiate peace with the UG if the UG’s head of State insists that the LRA leaders must be arrested and handed over to the ICC? LRA spokesman, Godfrey Ayoo, told the BBC that when he came to visit the Juba talks, Mr. Museveni "only called us uninformed Ugandans who have been out of the country for 20 years. He also said other things which were all abusive - indicating that he is never interested in peace talks.” (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6072994.stm).

It is human nature that a person who brings about peace needs to live to see the fruits of peace but not to die off soon after. But usually nature’s call is so strong that it would just call and end the life of a person with no regard to whether or not the person has a programme that needs to be completed. The LRA leaders, like other former or current rebel leaders do not want to die before seeing the peace agreement they negotiated bore fruits.

Thus, Egeland needs to know that for a serious peace to be achieved in Uganda and South Sudan, it is his duty as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator to talk to UG President and the leaders of the LRA to respect the fundamental principles that were laid down by them to sustain the fragile peace talks in Juba. Once he has received the commitment of the parties to the talks, he needs to pursue the indictment of the LRA leaders by negotiating with the ICC Chief Prosecutor to drop their cases against the LRA leaders.

Unless this is done, neither peace nor the indictment of the LRA leaders would succeed. “Will the ICC's threats of arrest disrupt the prospects for peace? Or has the ICC's intervention pushed Kony towards negotiation? If Kony negotiates, can the international community and an ICC still in its infancy tolerate an amnesty that allows him to escape judgment for his many crimes? The problems and solutions are so intertwined that at this juncture, neither prosecution nor a peace deal appears feasible.” (
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/07/catch-22-in-uganda-lra-icc-and-peace.php).

While it is an acceptable fact that the LRA has committed untold violations of human rights against the people in Northern Uganda and South Sudan, it is also a fact that many rebel organizations before the LRA did commit immeasurable human rights violations against their own people. Yet, they are now not only living happily amongst their people but are ruling them.

If it is a must that the LRA leaders must be tried, then the ICC should not be selective. It should try war criminals now masquerading as genuine leaders in the African continent. But for the sake of peace this is not possible because it would mean the resumption of conflicts all over the continent. Although these former rebel leaders, claiming to have forgiven their opponents, they are in a cold war with their opponents and they are busy arresting and detaining them in secret security cells from where they lynch them through immense tortures.

If the ICC is a legal body recognized by the UN, then the UN through its Humanitarian Coordinator, Jan Egeland, ought to remind it that the opponents in Uganda are engaged in a reconciliation process that is likely to lead to a genuine peace. The ICC in return should listen to the UN and give the LRA a chance so that the talks in Juba are not only resuscitated but given a boost by the world body to succeed. Egeland is likely to succeed in his mission if he protects the LRA indicted leaders from the ICC and the UG, which apparently seem to have two hearts – one wants to negotiate seriously – and the other wants to arrest the LRA leaders and perhaps end the Juba Peace Talks.

LULUSA Marks Its Cultural Day in Style

On Friday, December 8th, 2006, the Lulubo Students Association (LULUSA) – in collaboration with the Lulubo Community – held a cultural day under the theme: “Culture the Symbol of Identity in the Era of Peace.” Although it started very late by almost three hours – the LULUSA gathering was marked in style with colourful traditional dancing. It was very well organized and the use of Arabic and English languages concurrently during the occasion was not only encouraging that the South has cadres for its future, but it is in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which recognizes the two languages as official.

This colourful event was addressed by a number of dignitaries from the South. Words of encouragement were spoken and one very significant speech was that of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Youth Secretary for Northern Sector. The most important aspect of his speech – which the students certainly would like to hear – was when he said that his good offices were not only going to be informed to help the LULUSA but that he personally was going to talk to the SPLM leadership to assist the Lulubo students within LULUSA by paying for those who cannot afford school fees.

This was an excellent gesture of ‘goodwill’ from the SPLM Youth Secretary, Northern Sector. However, it is not just enough to help educate if those who have completed their studies in the North are refused employment in the South because they are regarded as Jallabas (a common word used by South Sudanese to distinguish the Northern Sudanese from South Sudanese).

Reports coming from Juba are frustrating indeed. A number of South Sudanese who have finished their studies in the North and went to Juba with the hope of getting employment have returned back to the North after being refused jobs because some individuals within the establishment of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) refer to them not only as Jallabas but semi-illiterate.

Arabic is certainly the second language in the South as per the CPA and as such those who do not know English should be given the opportunity to work in Arabic and some on-job training in English language should be offered to them. This would not create any vacuum as the knowledge acquired by those who studied in Arabic is not different from that acquired by those who studied in English.

It is, however, unfair to victimize those youths who acquired their knowledge in Arabic language. It is not their mistake but rather the situation in which they found themselves in – the civil war, which forced them out of the South to North Sudan in search of education. They are not inferior in any way to those who acquired their studies in English. Thus, GoSS should be fair to address this problem because it is very damaging psychologically as it instills some kind of guilt consciousness into those who studied in Arabic as less educated.

This hostile attitude towards Arabic language by some GoSS officials – some of whom speak Arabic fluently – should come to an end. Arabic should be allowed to function in the South so that South Sudanese youths – who learnt in Arabic language – could get opportunities to work and serve in the South. The SPLM is appealing to South Sudanese in the North to return to the South and participate in its rebuilding but how is this viable with their unwarranted hostile attitude towards those South Sudanese youths who acquired their skills in Arabic language?

Even if the South chooses independence after the interim period (IP), Arabic language would still be needed in South Sudan so that South Sudanese could run their embassies abroad. Some institutions of higher learning, including universities within the South Shall have language departments. If those who learnt in Arabic are made to feel guilty and their services rejected, who then would teach Arabic in the institutions of higher learning as well as offering services in the South Sudanese embassies abroad? If the option of unity happens to be affirmed, Arabic language would still be needed for communication between the North and the South.

LULUSA and other students from the South who are studying in the North and in Arabic language should not despair. Perhaps what LULUSA and other South Sudanese students’ organizations based in the North should do is that they should initiate some evening classes for English language for the graduate and undergraduate students in their communities so that they could have an opportunity of learning the English language.

LRA-UG Talks: Mediation is Mutual, Part of Conflict Resolution Process

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has made clear its reservations on the mediation of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS). In fact it has decided that the South African government should take over the mediation role of the GoSS. The LRA accuses the GoSS of colluding with the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) to surround the areas of their concentration with the intention of arresting their leaders and to hand them over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Given the statements made by most Ugandan Government (UG) leaders, including President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, it would actually be very unfair to blame the LRA for their decision to relocate the peace talks. Because it is one thing to encourage anti-peace rhetoric and face the consequences that would follow; and another to issue presidential orders to stop all anti-peace rhetoric, especially from UG officials and enjoy the benefits of non-confrontational dialogue.

In conflict resolution and management, it is very important for the negotiating parties to agree on the mediator. If one side loses confidence in the mediator(s) and chooses to relocate or change the mediator, it should not be blamed. It is part of the conflict resolution process.

Otherwise, the interest of GoSS in trying to bring about peace in Northern Uganda is genuine. Genuine in the sense that the people of Northern Uganda and those of South Sudan have been victimized by the LRA more than anybody else in the region. This being the case, the GoSS truly needs to watch the double standards of the Ugandan leadership in trying to address the issues of war and peace in Uganda. The leadership of GoSS needs to engage in dialogue with President Museveni in order to do the following for the reactivation of the stalled, and success of the LRA-UG talks: 1). Initiate the need for his political and military officials to abide by the ceasefire that must have monitors from national, regional or international forces; 2). The need to freeze all antagonistic statements from his political and military officials that are likely to anger the LRA negotiators; and 3). To stress the need for respect from his negotiators to the LRA negotiators – respecting the values of LRA negotiators (an important element in conflict resolution and management process).

The LRA, on the other hand, should be mature enough not to react to every statement and action made against them. LRA should know that there are people in Uganda who are actually benefiting from the war and they would do just about anything not only to stall the talks but actually see the peace process destroyed. These kinds of people are there in many countries that had gone through wars and hence the peace negotiations. What should be important to LRA is the will of the current UG government to negotiate peace with them.

The UG, especially the current leadership, should make a reflection to Uganda’s past, which is not only known to Ugandans alone but event to neighbours like the Sudan. Ugandan people are not ready to go through that experience again; indeed any reasonable person would not, if it is within his/her powers, allow such a thing to happen to the Ugandans again. Thus, the current Ugandan leadership should work hard to see peace in Uganda and preserve the good name it has developed through hard work in very many spheres.

Since it is impossible to address the issues of war and peace concurrently, one would sincerely wish the Ugandan leadership the wisdom to choose peace that has to be pursued to a successful conclusion.

CPA’s Co-existence Mechanism Makes Unity Attractive

The recent Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM’s) recent Northern Sector conference had given hope to the Sudanese who are interested in the unity of the country. The speech of H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Chairman of SPLM and First Vice-President of the Republic and President of South Sudan, was reassuring and obviously puts the SPLM on its original track: that of liberating the people of the Sudan from subjugation, oppression, domination and suppression from the regimes that mismanaged the affairs of the country for decades.

Many had doubted the SPLM’s commitment to the unity of the country when it was under the leadership of the late Dr John Garang de Mabior. The late Dr Garang had always focused on the unity of the country from Halfa to Nimule and from Gallabat to Jineina. He had a strong belief that he, through the ticket of the country’s unionists, would one day become the president of the Sudan. The late Dr Garang usually said in most of his popular speeches with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers in the late 1980s that the ‘furthest a separatist could go in the long march to liberation would be Kosti’ which he sometimes called, “Nukta Balash” (a point in which the separatists would say ‘Balash’ (or to hell with the liberation of the Sudan) and they would remain; while the unionists, led by him, would continue the liberation march.

This philosophy was aimed at encouraging the separatists to first join the struggle and then later convince them to go for an extra mile after Kosti. Lt-Gen Mayardit is part of this philosophy, although he had given a chance to the separatists within the SPLM/A to develop hatred between SPLM and its partner, the National Congress Party (NCP). Lt-Gen. Mayardit has come out very clearly and for the first to reaffirmed SPLM’s commitment to the unity of the country. "Our belief is in the unity of Sudan which is voluntary unity and not compulsory, and we see that the general interest is more in unity than splitting up", (
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article20106).

However, South Sudanese have always called for the separation of the South from the North not because they sincerely want to separate but they usually found themselves forced by the rigidity of the successive regimes in the North that had fought hard to deny them their rightful place and their share in power and the wealth of the South. There has never been a mechanism like the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which spelt out clearly the basis for which the North and the South could co-exist.

With the CPA and its laid down mechanism for co-existence between the North and South in place, unity of the country is not only made attractive but there should really be no reason to shy off this country’s unity. A unity based on a confederal arrangement (current status of the South) would be an accepted unity. Sudan belongs to the Sudanese and no Sudanese has the right to assume that s/he is above the rest of the Sudanese and thus would like to leave alone to selfishly safeguard his religious, racial or cultural values.

Dr Garang dreamt of becoming the president of the Sudan – in the same philosophy – Lt-Gen. Mayardit could as well become the president of the Sudan not in dreams but in reality; because “Nukta Balash” has been skipped.

But to become the president of this country one must be sensitive not to drawn himself or herself in hatred driven by religious, racial and cultural difference. Sudan certainly needs a leader who does not entertain tribalism, racism, religious bigotry, you name it. Tribalism, racism and religious bigotry are not qualities within which nationalism thrives. The Sudan could not develop into a nation whose people enjoy and entertain love and unity due to entertainment of the qualities above. These qualities are diametrically opposed to nationalism, which entertains love, unity and democracy, even political opponents.

Juba Talks Threatened by UPDF, GoSS, DRC and UN Military Agreement

Uganda and the government of South Sudan (GoSS) have signed a military cooperation agreement. This agreement offers the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) an opportunity to train Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Soldiers. The agreement also provides for security information sharing as well as the combination of efforts to fight international terrorism. “The two armies shall engage in military cooperation through joint operations, combating of proliferation of illegal small arms and fighting international terrorism,” (
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article20222).

This is agreement is welcome indeed because the SPLA forces need capacity building in general and specialized training in military, intelligence and general military administration. Joint military exercise helps the soldiers from both sides of the maneuvers to gain experiences. This is very useful because the SPLA are, as stipulated in the security arrangements protocol, considered as a national army. Their training would supplement the efforts of the joint integrated units (JIUs) in monitoring the security situation in South Sudan, including the western, south-west, south, east and north-east borders of the country from any foreign aggressions.

This agreement, however, may be misunderstood by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as an agreement aimed at preparing joint military operations against them. In early February, Sudanese English Press – quoting Ugandan government-owned New Vision Newspaper (Sunday Vision) – reported a military cooperation between the Uganda, Sudan and DRC to fight the LRA. According to the reports, this agreement brings together SPLA, UDPF, DRC Army and the UN Peace-keeping force in Congo. “Uganda, DRC and South Sudan have resolved to jointly fight rebels operating along their common borders. They have agreed to exchange information, have joint military teams to verify the location of rebels and set up joint verification mission in the respective countries. UPDF side was led by second division commander, Brig. Hudson Mukasa; Brig. Bahuma Ambamba for DRC delegation; Col. Ador Deng for the SPLA and Brig. Duma Mdutyana for the UN Peace-keeping force in the DRC”, (Sudan Vision, February 12th, 2007, p. 3).

With all the available information, it’s not difficult to guess that this joint military cooperation is a very serious venture and indeed disturbing if not worrying to the LRA. However, the GoSS and the Ugandan governments have got to convince the LRA that they are not up to something that might hurt them. This is not a support or sympathy to the LRA, but when there are serious efforts aimed at addressing peace, such as those shouldered by the GoSS as it mediates to end the 21-year civil war in Uganda, there should be no threats of any kind to help advance the efforts for peace.

It is obviously not ethical in as far as conflict resolution and management is concerned for the UPDF and SPLA governments to pursue peace with the LRA on one hand and on the other concluding military cooperation agreements aimed at fighting them. This military cooperation agreement may be aimed at exerting pressure on the LRA to resume talks in Juba. But it is known in conflict resolution and management that once a conflict that needs to be resolved is identified; the parties to the talks are supposed to engage in negotiations and confidence-building without making any kinds of threats to each other. If the SPLM/A and the Sudan government did not cease hostilities during the Naivasha talks, IGAD would not have succeeded in resolving the conflict. An example in point is that when the Sudan government forces recaptured Qaysan from the SPLA in 2002, SPLA withdraw from the peace talks. In retaliation, SPLA recaptured Kapoeta and Torit and Machakos talks had to collapse, because the Sudan government had to withdraw from the Machakos talks. But when the two parties agreed to end hostilities, the peace talks naturally had to succeed.

May the UPDF and SPLA carry on with their necessary military cooperation agreements but should respect the terms in which the Juba talks were centred. The GoSS and the Uganda government have to be very clear in both deeds and actions that they are not pursuing war with the LRA. Otherwise, the Juba talks may not be revived at all as the LRA would completely lose faith in the mediator (as it already did) and abandon the talks all together. Crushing the LRA may be possible but its consequences on the innocent civilians in Uganda, Congo and the Sudan would be grave. If all the efforts exerted by these signatories to the military cooperation deal are directed towards relieving the people within their countries who suffered and continue to suffer from the LRA’s immeasurable atrocities, then humility in going for an extra mile is important.

SPLM Transformation May be a Dream That Would Not be Realized

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) concluded its four day leadership council meeting in Yei town on February 12th, 2007. Amongst the issues discussed are the relocation of the SPLM headquarters from Yei to Khartoum and the transformation of SPLM into a national party that would welcome into its rank and file Sudanese irrespective of their race and religion.

It is not possible to doubt SPLM’s commitment to a free, just, democratic, secular and decentralized Sudan. However, given SPLM’s reaction to Northern Sudanese in the South and the calling of South Sudanese who had lived and worked in the government-controlled areas before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), gives it a 50-50 chance to truly transform into a formidable national political party.

National political parties look for people but they do not send people away from their parties. In South Sudan, tribalism and nepotism practiced by some elements within the government of South Sudan (GoSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) are so rampant that the rest of South Sudan has felt it so strongly. What this rest of the South is thinking about is anybody’s guess. In the same manner, what the Northern Sudanese and Muslims who have felt SPLM/A attitude towards them may be thinking about the SPLM is anybody’s guess again.

The other aspect is the occupation of lands in Southern Bari, Central Equatoria, Mogali, Nimule area, and New Cush or Natinga, Budy County, in Eastern Equatroria State, By the Dinka tribe. It appears that the top GoSS leadership, mainly made up of Dinka tribe, entertains this occupation and as such it declines from repatriating these people to their homes for reasons best known to it. Sometimes one wonders if this is not a policy to expand and extend the Dinka to Equatoria! It is known that the Dinka tribe is found in Seven States of the South and they now want to impose their presence in the three States of Equatoria, the only region in which they are not found.

The SPLM/A’s hatred towards “Jallaba” and Muslims, supporting the occupation of people’s lands in Equatoria and reference to South Sudanese who worked in the country before the CPA as “Jallaba” are very serious national issues that the SPLM/A needs to address. Otherwise, its transformation into a national political party may be a dream that would not be realized. For SPLM to transform itself into a national political party that would be accepted by all the people of the Sudan a number of things ought to be done:

1). Come off the complex of hatred towards the Arabs and Muslims (Jallaba);

2). Stop tribalism and nepotism;

3). Stop referring to South Sudanese who have worked with “Jallaba” as Jallaba because they are not;

4). Put an end to the occupation of areas in Equatoria region; and

5). Honesty and sincerity in trying to rally the Sudanese people behind it.

However, the tireless efforts that were exerted to produce the CPA were sincere and genuinely meant for the people of the entire Sudan to forget their differences, reconcile and open a new page. This is not seen from the way SPLM/A is acting. SPLM/A is acting as if it is a political party that is running an independent country called the ‘New Sudan.’ This is a dangerously divisive politics that may not necessarily rally North Sudanese and other alienated South Sudanese behind the SPLM and must be changed if the SPLM sincerely has the interest of the entire country at heart.

“Hoist the National Flag”, Lt-Gen. Kiir Tells EES Governor

The Governor of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Aloysius Emor Ojetuk, said in the Sdan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Leadership Council meetings concluded in Yei on February 12th, 2007 that, “SPLM must seek for the bigger leg in the forthcoming elections of 2008. By bigger leg, I mean an SPLM member to rule the Sudan”, (Sudan Tribune newspaper, February 11th, 2007, p.2).

H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Chairman of SPLM, President of government of South Sudan (GoSS) and C-in-C of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), visited Torit, the temporary capital of EES recently. Reports from Torit say H.E. Lt-Gen. Kiir noticed that the Sudanese flag was missing in the entire State. He told the Governor to hoist the Sudanese flag, saying “look at my vehicle and see a Sudanese flag on the other side of the vehicle.”

The Governor himself had ordered the removal and the replacement of the national flag by that of the SPLM (not South Sudanese, which has no flag). It’s noteworthy to state here that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) affirms the unity of the country and its national flag throughout the Interim Period (IP).

The Governor calls members of the previous governments in the State as Ma’rasin (Arabic word for ‘pimps’, Modern Written Arabic Dictionary, (1974:602). The Governor is so allergic to Muslims, Arabs and indeed those who worked with the government before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The Governor had arrested and severely tortured a Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) Major from the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) command in Torit. JIUs is composed of 12,000 officers and men, and similar number from SPLA, to constitute a sovereign army during the IP.

The Governor and his likes had continuously accused the Equatoria Defense Force (EDF) of being responsible for the attacks along Juba-Torit and Juba-Nimule roads as well as the suburbs of Torit town. The remaining 400 EDF officers and men who could not be absorbed into the SAF had reconciled with the Governor and other top SPLA officers but attacks remain upto this very moment. The only relieving thing from all these, is the Governor’s reference to the recent Juba-Torit and Juba-Nimule roads violent attacks perpetrators as the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).’ One sincerely hopes that it’s the LRA doing this and not some disgruntled elements elsewhere within the South.

It is, thus, interesting to hear the Governor suggesting in the SPLM Leadership Council meetings that an SPLM should stand for the presidency of the Sudan. This is a non-starter situation because in partnerships (as is the case between SPLM and the National Congress Party (NCP)) agreements based on sincere partnerships decide on who should stand for presidency. Even if there is no agreement you cannot hate your main partner and publicly break the bridges that connect you, the partner and your supporters, because both of you have shares, no matter how varied are the percentages.

What seems to be the case is that the Governor forgot that he and his likes within the SPLM/A have broken the bridges linking the SPLM to the rest of the Sudan, particularly the South, by employing the politics of disunity, racism and hate.

It’s difficult to comprehend how the Governor would want SPLM to win the 2008 elections when the electorates both Northern and South Sudanese (referred to above as shares) have been made to understand and see how much they are disliked by the SPLM as a party and SPLA as its army. They heard in the past how the SPLM/A was run. Nowadays they seem to be confirming what they disregarded once as hearsay. Confirmed or not there has never been a smoke without fire.

Perhaps the Governor has to start from home by embarking on a reconciliation programme between his SPLM/A and the members of the National Congress Party (NCP) in his State. The Governor once had an opportunity because sometimes last year he held a meeting with some of the faction leaders in EES and process to follow was laid down. It did not happen, even though the meeting was attended by the Vice-President of GoSS. It’s not too late; the Governor ought to seriously embark on a reconciliation process within his own State as a first step; and then move on to the second step, which is the respect for Sudan’s unity and sovereignty during the IP. The Governor should know that as a Governor, he represents Sudan’s sovereignty and as such must respect the use of the national symbol, the Sudanese flag.

Dr Akol is Accused but Not Charged with Wrongdoing

Dr Lam Akol, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is accused of backing Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Maj-Gen. Gabriel Tanginya and the newly formed party, Modern Southern Party (MSP). Some Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) members and press reports have even proposed for his removal from the office of the Foreign Minister, SPLM’s INC or Interim National Council and as a Member of Parliament in the in the Government of National Unity (GoNU). Others have even argued that the removal of accused public figures from their positions of responsibility is the practice in some countries. In response to Dr Akol's allegations, the SPLM/A has formed a committee headed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Kosti Manibe, to investigate Dr Akol.

Well, it so appears that Dr Akol was not a favourite candidate in his current ministry. Otherwise, it is difficult to gauge the SPLM/A’s furry and that of its supporters towards Dr Akol. However, a question is essential, who nominated Dr Akol; was it SPLM/A or the NCP? It’s obvious that Dr Akol was nominated by the SPLM/A and the President of the Republic, who happens to be the Chairman of the NCP, appointed Dr Akol and the other SPLM/A members to their offices in GoNU.

If the SPLM/A has lost confidence in Dr Akol, it should recommend his removal and replacement by whoever they really want. Although the SPLM/A ought to know that whoever they will file to replace Dr Akol would not do any better than Dr Akol. This is not to say that there are no cadres in the SPLM/A who are as capable as Dr Akol. They are there, but if the fury against Dr Akol is for the what the SPLM/A and its supporters call 'promotion of the GoNU's Arab foreign policies, then he/she who will be appointed to replace Dr Akol will not be able to perform any better, as he/she will face the same fate. It would be very difficult, for whoever the SPLM/A nominates in Dr Akol’s position to pursue any work within his ministry since whatever he would embark on in the ministry would be nothing but the promotion of the GoNU's Arab foreign policies, something most SPLM/A senior officials and members believe SPLM/A should have nothing to do with them.

Dr Akol is accused but definitely not charged with wrongdoing, as such trying to force him to resign; citing how foreigners deal with their problems, would not help the South and the country as a whole. We should deal with our situations as Sudanese and with less foreign pressures. Foreign pressures, mostly based on the values of those countries exerting the pressures, may not necessarily make any sense to the Sudanese people.

However, let the Manibe committee investigate Dr Akol, and based on all the evidences the committee would find incriminating Dr Akol, a decision should then be taken. Nevertheless, if Dr Akol is forced to resign now as some people are insinuating it, then one is tempted to say that such a pressure would be against Dr Akol’s human rights, a value cherished by the cited foreign powers.

Nonetheless, it’s important to investigate any allegations against any South Sudanese, be he in GoSS, GoNU, the States governments or an ordinary South Sudanese, but trying to give alternatives like “X” and “Y” must be removed for investigations to take place fairly is unfair by itself. This truly is so because allegations, accusations and counter accusations are not hard facts and to act without hard facts amounts to promoting lack of respect for the rule of law. Respect for the rule of law, another value cherished by cited foreign powers, has changed societies from very aggressive to humble people. "Research suggests that societies governed by the rule of law are less likely to be international aggressors and more likely to contribute to international peace", (http://www.usip.org/ruleoflaw/index.html).

Current Tribalism, Nepotism, Sectionalism Epidemic in South Needs a Therapy

Tribalism, Nepotism and sectionalism are three very serious elements haunting our people in South Sudan. A lot of information has come from Juba and other States in the South saying that someone has to be a relative, a friend or belong to a particular section of the vast South Sudanese community to get employed by the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and the State governments. This column will not mention any names here but it will discuss in general terms the elements raised above.

There are some senior government officials in both GoSS and State governments who are accusing some of their colleagues in the Government of National Unity (GoNU) of employing relatives in their ministries at the level of GoNU. While such accusations would not go without some truth, it is also important for those who are doing the accusations to remember that they too are doing the same.

Reports from Juba and the States say that South Sudanese in both GoSS and the State governments suffer from either mistreatment or getting sacked from their places of work as a result of not belonging to a particular tribe, section or family of those in charge. Perhaps those accusing others in GoNU from the South should not behave like a Monkey which is believed in an old adage that it ‘laughs at the reddish chair-like hind of its kind in front while forgetting its own.’

It’s usually a sincere conviction inside a person to practice tribalism and it appears that every society of people that emanates from tribes has some elements of tribal leaning. But this is usually fought by a strong ‘will.’ It’s this strong ‘will’ that redirects tribally-motivated leaders to realize that they could not survive within their tribes, if they are to seek support from the other tribes in the community.

Tribalism, nepotism and sectionalism epidemic now afflicting GoSS and State governments could be seriously fought if there is a ‘will’ to do so. This ‘will’ cannot be developed because those intending to dominate others have a series of inter-linked secret plans aimed at harming others.

The GoSS and the State governments could try their level bests to introduce anti-tribal, sectionalism and nepotism task force, whose aim would be to seriously watch against individuals within governments, governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as those in the security force, who would tend to promote such tendencies. This task force could be formed at the level of GoSS but must be composed of specially trained personnel from all the communities and tribes in South Sudan. A special court should also be established to specially deal with cases of tribalism, nepotism and sectionalism in South Sudan.

South Sudan will not succeed in its development and recovery programmes unless the current tribalism, nepotism and sectional epidemic is properly and willingly diagnosed by government authorities and a proper therapy like the one suggested above and others that would emerge are applied. There will always be a tribe, a relationship, friendship and a section and as such the epidemic would continue unabated unless there is a serious ‘will’ to intervene from the government authorities to put an end to this menace.

Proper CPA Implementation Squarely Depends on Understanding of CPA

The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Chief Justice, Ambrose Ring Thiik, has appointed four judges, two first class in Torit and Kapoeta Counties. This report, by Isaac Vuni from Torit (Sudan Tribune, March 1st, 2007, p.1), says two other second class judges were appointed for Nimule-Magwi County. The report said that the Chief Justice urged the government of Eastern Equatoria (GEES) to provide security for his judges.

Torit of all places in EES needs judges. The town has, of recent, been referred to by some friends as “Wild East”, as in the West, some 60 or so years ago. The Governor and some of his Ministers ordered the detention and even chaining of citizens who are supposed to be ‘innocent till proven guilty by a court of law.’

The Governor had ordered the arrest, chaining and detention in maximum prison of his former Finance Minister, while the current Minister of Finance ordered the arrest and detention in a maximum prison of his Ministry’s Director-General. In addition to these, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers, on several occasions, took the law into their own hands. More serious human rights violations such rape, child-molesting and killing had been documented in Torit.

“Speaking in the (Swearing-in) ceremony, Thiik asked State Governor to accord full security protection to the judges, while advising the judges to cooperate with the State government while discharging their duties”, (Sudan Tribune newspaper, March 1st, 2007, p.1). The recently appointed judges may only need protection from the State government only if they are tough in enforcing the law. But if they are going to shy off from criminal elements that may be powerfully placed either in the SPLA or the government, then they have no reasons to fear. This does not in anyway insinuate that the recently appointed judges may not strictly apply the law on all those who have committed crimes in the State. Tough application of the law on everybody by following the laid down procedures, will certainly need protection. Thus security protection for the judges from whom the law requires honesty and sincerity is a must.

GEES ought to head to this – the security protection for its judges. Because in so doing, the State, the Governor, the government, its officials and people of EES, shall thrive like never before in peace, harmony and the rule of law.

Toughness or no toughness, this is to remind the judges that war aftermath situations are not so easy to handle due to the proliferation of small arms in the State and the complexity of dealing with those who believe they would do just about anything, using the barrels of guns, to get what they want.

While the appointment of these judges is a step in the right direction of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation, it is also a step towards enlightening the general public within State on knowing their rights within the law. EES has stayed without proper judiciary for too long and most of its rural and even urban people need to know what the law requires of them and what they require of the law.

Thus, the newly appointed judges need to enlighten the general public on important legal issues. They also need to know that the CPA implementation may be difficult in the State if what it has provided in the Interim Constitution of the Sudan, the South and EES is not interpreted. In other words, the proper implementation of the CPA would squarely depend on the understanding of the CPA and what it has provided in the constitutions all over the country.

Is Martin Malual Arop Alone in the Scandal?

The Anti-Corruption Commission of the South Sudan Government (GoSS) has arrested Maj-Gen. (Rtd) Martin Malual Arop, former State Minister in the Federal Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. The arrest of Arop was reported on Saturday, March 10th, 2007, in the South Sudanese capital, Juba. The report said that Maj-Gen. Arop has been named with a second person (co-accused) but his warrant of arrest was not issued yet.

The Anti-corruption Commission was formed by the GoSS and Dr Pauline Cuir Riak was appointed to head this Commission. Her choice must have been based on the knowledge of her honesty.

Maj-Gen. Arop is accused of misappropriating millions of US dollars from the GoSS. He is believed to have been given a contract to buy vehicles for the GoSS Interim Legislative Assembly, Lakes State and medical equipment that were not delivered. “A source within the Commission has revealed that the Commission is in possession of relevant documents, including checks”, (Sudan Tribune Newspaper, March 11th, 2007, p.1).

Maj-Gen Arop was a member of the former ruling National Salvation Revolutionary Council (NSRC), the NSRC overthrew the civilian government of the former Prime Minister, Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi. He was fired from the government in mid 90s due to financial irregularities?

How did such a contract get into the hands of someone who is not only an original SPLM/A member but an NSRC member? SPLM/A refers to members of the non-Dinka tribes who worked with the NCP party before the CPA as “Jallaba” and/or collaborators with “Jallaba.” A deal like this, involving millions of dollars, must have been a major GoSS deal (involving an individual) ever witnessed in two years. Even if he joined the SPLM/A after the CPA, he is not the only one, many did cross to the SPLM/A from NCP. Is it because he is a Dinka that is why the word “Jallaba” was not labeled on him but rewarded with a huge contract instead?

Such a contract cannot be given to any non-Dinka, however original SPLM/A he may be. This is not an incitement to tribalism but rather stating facts. Had it been someone outside the Dinka community, perhaps and without bias, he could have had the opportunity to deliver the goods with minimal damages or with none at all.

SPLM/A members from Dinka believe and maintain up this very moment that non-Dinka tribes who worked with the NCP government are collaborators with the NCP government, and they are usually referred to as “Jallaba.” This statement is now supported by the contract won by Maj-Gen. Arop, who, as a former member of the NSRC, was awarded the contract. Arop definitely made deliveries but with very serious damages.

There is no opposition whatsoever on Arop’s winning of the contract but chances like these should also be given to other South Sudanese. Thus, the reference to non-Dinka South Sudanese as “Jallaba” must stop because it is taking a tribal rather than a ‘nationalistic’ line and it smells bad.

Maj-Gen. Arop is not alone in this kind of scandal. There must be some top people involved in this, especially those who awarded him the contract. Thus, the Anti-corruption Commission, led by Dr Pauline Cuir Riak, should intensify their search for other culprits, who may be hiding behind their senior positions in GoSS.

US Should Preach Democracy, Organise Courses on Democratic Principles

The US Government’s Envoy to the Sudan, Andrew Natsios, has concluded his visit to the Sudan for the second time since his appointment by President George W. Bush less than a year ago. Natsios came to do a number of things. He was to discuss the progress of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the International Criminal Court (ICC’s) indictment case against former Interior State Minister and currently Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Muhammad Harun, and a militia (Janjaweed) leader, Ali Kushayb. He discussed with Foreign Minister, Dr Lam Akol, bilateral relations between the US and the Sudan.

Envoy Natsios has also discussed the issue of the militia forces in South Sudan. He said these militias must integrate either in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) or the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). He also said these militia forces have become a source of insecurity in South Sudan. “The lack of commitment on the part of the militias and their failure to make a final decision to join either SAF or the SPLM has created an atmosphere of chaos and instability in southern Sudan”, (Natsios, Sudan Tribune Newspaper, March 7th, 2007, p.1).

On the issue of Muhammad Harun, it’s good to notice that the US Government – at least as per Natsios approval of the ICC charges against the indicted Sudan individuals – shows the US Government’s consent to the charges brought against the indicted individuals by the ICC.

Ironically, the US Government is not a signatory to the ICC’s Rome declaration. The US Government maintains its strong position against the basic principles of the ICC: trying everybody from everywhere in its courts in the absence of justice around the world. The US has maintained that it would not allow its citizens to be tried outside the US because such courts may be used for political reasons. This is nothing less than a position, a strong one given the US’ strength. In other words, the US believes it’s its right as a country, a powerful one, to guarantee total freedom to its people and ensure justice for all in its legal system.

However, seen from the US position against the creation and the establishment of the ICC, one would conclude that the US can do without the ICC. This is the feeling with any other country. But when it comes to war criminals for which ICC was formed, the prisoners of war (POWs) in Guantanamo Bay are supposed to be the responsibility of the ICC. ICC is bound to be neutral when trying cases like this. But not the US, not any other country, would provide justice for its POWs for reasons best known to mankind. But why does the US look like it’s between accepting and rejecting the principles of the ICC?

This case is related to the United Kingdom (UK) vs. European Union (EU) and English Pound vs. the Euro (EU monetary unit). This may somehow seem complicated to those who do not follow international politics. Nonetheless, it means that the UK does not see its country’s interest in the European Union in all aspects. The UK is in between accepting and rejecting the principles of the union; and it reassures itself that the English Pound must not integrate into the Euro because it has a strong value and there is absolutely no worry for its collapse so why integrate?

No one could blame the US and the UK for maintaining their strong moral principles. This US-UK stand or principles are indeed basic: no interference in other country’s internal affairs. This is a principle for which the United Nations (UN) was formed. The Sudan as a country believes in the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. It loves its citizens; just like the US love theirs and the UK their English Pound?

The justice system in the Sudan is intact – it might be overcoming some of its shortcomings like any other in the third world but there is law and order in the Sudan except in the Darfur region. The system in the Sudan has not and cannot collapse despite the exceptionally difficult case of resolving the Darfur crisis.

Why is Darfur exceptional? It’s exceptional because it has two major enhancement processes to the conflict in Darfur. The first one is how the US Government looks at it. The US in the first place looks at the Sudan as a country harbouring international terrorists. The US has not lifted the sanctions it imposed against the Sudan despite promises made by the US to do so after the signing of the CPA two years ago. The US wants regime change in the Sudan. This regime change means to remove the president and his cabinet and simply install one as it is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Government calls the crisis in Darfur the “worst” genocide in the world”, (BBC Arabic Service, March 6th, 2005). Could this be a disagreement between the findings of Collin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, who earlier said there was no genocide in Darfur and those that helped President Bush to pronounce the word genocide?

All the above resulted into the US Government’s inability to trust the Sudan Government and thus acquired and continues to acquire and rely on its information from opponents of the Sudan Government, some of which the ICC could be using, calling them investigations to indict two Sudanese citizens. Because most of this information is gathered from areas and individuals basically opposed to the Sudanese government, the Sudanese government has got every right to reject the indictment for three good reasons: one, that the information was biased against the Sudan Government; two, the Sudan, like the US and the UK, does like interference in its internal affairs; and three, it loves its citizens and cannot easily hand them over to The Hague. This is a mutual understanding between the US-UK and the Sudanese government of self-reliance – no need for interference. The worst part of this kind of trend is that it’s sending wrong signals to the Darfur rebels who rejected the DPA.

Logically one would conclude that the crisis in Darfur would continue for a while so long as the rebels who refused to sign the DPA in Darfur morally feel backed by the US-UK as superpowers – by deduction – even though they don’t receive any assistance from the superpowers. This means that even their suppliers will see hope and will continue to supply them.

This is a pure political game aimed at regime change and the Sudan Government officials are no fools not to realize this and if possible play the same game to win some of the superpowers in order to balance the equation. The results of this have been the stalemate in trying to resolve the Darfur crisis. Sometimes one wonders how as international as it’s assumed, ICC could allow itself to get entangled in a pure political issue like this one?

As an international legal body, could the ICC have in its charter/constitution or whatever document that guides its moral conduct a clause that insists on conventional investigation of suspects; and that the ICC has no jurisdiction over any country unless it has ratified the ICC document?. If it does, then one would guess that it cannot use second hand information as facts gathered from people and organizations opposed to the Sudan Government; and certainly it cannot force cooperation with non-member-States. The ICC has failed to convince the US, let alone the Sudan, on the principles of the ICC.

The ICC is still in its infancy but it has done a wonderful job in trying former Yugoslav tyrants and those involved in the Rwanda massacre for which the ICC has established a special court in Arusha, Tanzania. The ICC should use this success story to lobby more countries if not all to accept its basic principles with a view to joining.

On the issue of the militia in the South, again this is double-faced case. The first face is that the US Government backed the Naivasha negotiators to completely ignore a formidable force, mostly former SPLA now called militia. This is called South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF). The SSDF was formed by the Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997. The second face is that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Chairman, the late Dr John Garang de Mabior, and some of the current leaders in SPLM/A did not then and do not now encourage the survival of SSDF (seen as a rival) within the SPLA for a number of reasons.

Whatever the reasons, SPLA has its strategies and it has every right to defend its organization from infiltration by what it regards as enemy. The SAF would, on the other hand, say it has absorbed enough and cannot take any more SDF into its rank and file. What better solution could the US provide as a solution to the militia problem? Is it going to continue encouraging some sections within the SPLM/A to regard SSDF as enemy?

If given a critical look, the issues of DPA and CPA have some similarities and both had the blessing of the US. Non-exclusiveness of the two agreements is the source of the problems between the brothers and sisters in Darfur and South Sudan. Power that is supposed to belong to the people is given to a group of people from within the communities of South Sudan and Darfur. If some of the reasons for the fighting are power and wealth-sharing, then giving power as well as wealth to a group is nothing but a recipe for war. Unless of course the people of the regions mentioned enter into their own agreements for power and wealth-sharing, the problems may not come to an end.

Recommendations

In the case of Darfur, however, the US should try its best to convince the Darfur rebels or non-DPA signatories to come to terms with themselves as well as with their brothers who have already initialed the DPA and submit whatever it is their demand. With this done, no one sees any reason for the Sudan Government not to reach an agreement with them.

On SSDF, the SPLM leadership should really accept the principles of South-South Dialogue (SSD). In SSD, brothers and sisters who once fought and shed blood would speak and release angers but at the end there must be a true reconciliation, reconciliation that is genuine, one anybody can rely on. It’s that reliance that would bind the people of the South together because in the normal African culture, this is the tradition. The results of this dialogue must be a document that would guide future co-existence between the reconciled and from which a law to deal with those who would try to violate the traditional reconciliation could be formulated. Together they would participate in the rebuilding and defense of South Sudan. If SPLM/A has negotiated and agreed with its arch enemy, now partner in government, why can’t it agree with its own brothers with whom he could share power in the South?

On the US-Sudan bilateral relations, the Sudan truly needs sincere diplomatic and popular relationship with the US. This is a very important step that the US government has to take. There is need to develop trust between the leaders of the Sudan and the US because they have common interests represented in the CPA, DPA and oil business. The US cannot afford its current isolationist policy because it would lose in the end.

Being the only superpower now, the US should adopt a policy where it can really play a role of a superpower but with neutrality and a total commitment to resolving conflicts rather than refueling them.

There is obviously a lot of hurry from almost every corner to see into it that the problem in Darfur is resolved. This country has perhaps one-and-a-half years to go to have general elections. Most of these problems are likely to be resolved by the general elections, as the elected leaders would use parliament to address Darfur and other problems in the country. This should be the concern of the US and the UK considered the best democracies in the globe. The US-UK should encourage the Sudanese people through their envoys like Natsios to preach democracy and help in organising some basic courses on democratic principles in the Sudan. Otherwise, misinterpretation of democracy looms and the US-UK need to come before the real exercise of electioneering begins.

Corrupt Individuals in South Sudan: Are they Very-Heavy-To-Lift?

It has been reported that some big shots in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) are so very-heavy-to-lift. In other words they come from constituencies which, if tempered with, would affect the general political performance of SPLM leadership. Meaning some of these big shots or very-heavy-to-lift members of Parliament (MPs) would continue to embezzle government money and they will never be apprehended by the GoSS’ Anti-corruption Commission as they are very-heavy-to-lift.

Could this truly be the way the SPLM leadership looks at some of its politicians? If true, then the SPLM should not allow this kind of attitude from some of its own MPs or politicians. Every representative in an elected parliament is just as important as his or her other colleagues. But if some are identified as special and indeed very-heavy-to-lift, it becomes worrying because these very-heavy-to-lift persons within the SPLM are out to misinterpret democracy and its basic principles.

Misinterpretation of democracy is the most dangerous venture SPLM as a political party would go into. SPLM as a ruling party has on its grip the control of the constituencies in South Sudan. Thus, it has the right to nominate someone supported by the people to replace, in a normal democratic manner, the so-called very-heavy-to-lift individuals.

It’s really a duty of GoSS to deal with those individuals who have assumed chieftaincies within a modern government system like the GoSS. These kinds of people are there to harm the people of the South and by implication, the SPLM as a party. They don’t care whether or not their actions are harmful to the SPLM because they are more or less concerned with improving their families or clans wellbeing.

The South desperately needs development. This development would not succeed however the GoSS puts efforts in that direction. Because the money that is supposed to be used for the development of the South ends up in the pockets of individuals.

It’s the hope of every South Sudanese that the SPLM moves faster than necessary not only to deal with the so-called heavy-to-lift individuals but also to help improve the security situation in the South so that IDPs and refugees return home to prepare for both elections and census.

The GoSS President Has a Duty to Perform

Arthur Akuen, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) former Minister of Finance, is reported to have been fired from his position. The Khartoum Monitor and The Citizens newspapers carried the story of Akuen’s sacking on March 19th, 2007, in their front pages.

The decision to sack the Finance Minister by Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and President of GoSS, is welcome. The President of the GoSS should be more decisive and the more decisive the President of the GoSS becomes, stubborn ministers – those who think they are very-heavy-weights-to-lift – would behave. It would also send very clear signals to those who have the intention to practice corruption in their ministries and other governmental organisations.

There is nothing like very-heavy-to-lift because even the president himself can be impeached by any elected parliament. Thus, what the President of GoSS has done is what is required of a leader of a suffering people like South Sudanese. Because the South needs development and protection of its wealth and public funds would guarantee that development on equal basis all over the South.

Nothing is worrying for firing Akuen, as there are many capable people in Aweil who could replace him as a minister and MP. This applies to the whole South Sudan, by the way. South Sudanese cannot be deceived again by any leader however powerful (money-wise) he has become.

In fact there is a younger blood in Aweil that does not only have energy to perform better than Mr. Akuen, but has nothing to worry about in terms of looting public funds. Because this younger blood still has time and never worried like old people who tend to loot because they know that they are living on borrowed time.

The leadership in the South should really know that what happened to Mr. Akuen could also happen to them. They should not be under any illusion that they are protected by the GoSS president or any other big shot in the GoSS. The president has a duty to perform. He had made it clear in the past that he would fight corruption and the sacking of Akuen is nothing less than a demonstration to this noble duty.

“New Sudan” Misrepresents Dr Garang’s Vision

Angelina Teny-Dhurgon, the State Minister in the Ministry of Energy, has come under fire for stating that the SPLM is pursuing the unity of the country. This statement was supported by the decision made in Yei not only to move the SPLM headquarters to Khartoum but also to affirm that SPLM will be transformed into a formidable national political party.

A body calling itself Bor Group has seriously attacked the SPLM decision to pursue unity of the Sudan and its intention to relocate SPLM headquarters to Khartoum. “As SPLM/A, we have resolved that working for a united Sudan is the only way to stability. The voices thinking of an independent Southern Sudan will have to wait or if some things change drastically”, Angelina Teny-Dhurgon, told investors attending the second annual international investment conference for southern Sudan in Nairobi, (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article20863).

What Madam Angelina said is nothing new. It’s sad to realize that she is being held accountable for what is supposed to be an SPLM policy that she, like any other SPLM member, could articulate in support of party policies and objectives.

SPLM is a unionist movement and those who believe that the SPLM would separate South Sudan and make it independent for them are actually wasting time. SPLM’s interest in unity did not start from the time of Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir but from its founder, Dr John Garang de Mabior.

Whether or not Madam Angelina or any other SPLM senior official reveals the true SPLM sentiments on the issues of unity and separation in this country, those who found themselves uncomfortable must know that they are to decide the fate of the South during the plebiscite in 2011. No SPLM senior or junior official would impose on the people what they do not want.

However, this country is called ‘The Sudan’ an Arabic terminology for “The Black.” Like other parts of Africa, the Sudan had visitors from the Arab Peninsula who settled and intermarried with ‘The Blacks’ and became its citizens. Should the original Sudanese people, “The Black” who were systematically pushed south, abandon the unity of the country?

South Africa and Namibia have whites who, like Arabs, came as visitors but decided to occupy and ruled both Namibia and South Africa for more than 300 years. Today the black South Africans and Namibians have accepted these people and have no intention, whatsoever, to divide the countries for fear of the Whites. South Sudanese have no reason to fear from the Arabs because the CPA has set up a mechanism for co-existence.

It will be more than naïve for anyone in the Sudan to think that he or she is free to divide the country into many parts. This author may not have agreed with the late Dr Garang on a number of issues but he is united with him in the vision of building a new Sudan based on equality, respect for human dignity and its multi-racial diversity.

When Dr Garang coined the term “New Sudan” he did not mean independent South Sudan. He rather meant that Sudan must be transformed into a new Sudan that in which its blacks, Arabs, Muslims and Christians people live together with respect for the country and each other’s beliefs, cultures and norms. Reference to the South as “New Sudan” is indeed a misrepresentation of Dr Garang’s vision.

All Entries into the South Must Be Secured From LRA

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) recently attacked a village nine miles south of Torit town. It is reported to have killed one person and displaced 1,756 people. The report said that the LRA have looted food and personal belongings of the displaced 1,756 people who include children and women.

“Ugandan rebels, LRA have, yesterday evening, killed one man, displaced 1,756 people then looted their food from southwest Torit County, in Eastern Equatoria State (EES), nine miles from Torit town”, (somalinet, March 22nd, 2007).

Sometimes it’s so difficult to believe that whoever is carrying out these attacks in and around EES are LRA. At first it was believed that Equatoria Defence Force (EDF) was disgruntled and thus behind the attacks. EDF was accused several times by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. The Government of EES led by EES Governor also accused the EDF of being behind the attacks on innocent civilians in EES.

Nowadays, however, the SPLM/A, including the EES Governor are directing their accusations towards LRA proper. But is it LRA proper which is carrying out all these attacks? Isn’t it possible that there are some people who could be masquerading as LRA when they could actually be SPLA or some Sudanese who have organized themselves to loot and terrorise the EES? This was hinted by both the EES Governor and Dr Machar that there is “Sudanese LRA” causing insecurity in Equatoria as a whole.

The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) should really try its best to investigate these so-called “Sudanese LRA”, arrest some of them and expose their identities. Once this is done, those who would still be at large would disappear in thin air – because the government forces would be on their tails until they are gotten rid of once and for all.

EES is an important gateway to GoSS. It has three borders with Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. If neglected and “Sudanese LRA” are encouraged to continue with their heinous attacks along the roads to these neighbouring countries, these roads would become impassable.

Since the GoSS believes that it would develop the South, it should look at the disturbances along these roads and consider them as obstacles towards development. All entries into the South must be secured so that investors, who are major partners in development of any country, could have access to the South without fear of being killed, looted or harassed along the entry points.

SLM-Police Incident Shouldn’t Have Reached Shooting Levels

Omdurman Police clashed with Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A (Minni Minawi faction)) in Al-Muhandisin residential area. The former rebel forces are accused of molesting and harassing citizens who pass by their residence in Omdurman, and that they use drugs and encourage prostitution in the area. Three Policemen were shot dead by these former rebels.

“The shooting started when the police arrived at the residence where the SLM/A militants reside in response to complaints from residents of the area that they were molesting them. As the police approached the residence to apprehend those accused, the SLM/A men opened fire, killing the three men in uniform”, (The Citizen newspaper, March 25th, 2007, p.1).

This is the second time the police are clashing with the SLM/A faction forces in Omdurman. Last year, a fight between SLM/A created an unnecessary tension in Khartoum. It’s not possible to know the method used by the ministry of Interior to resolve the crisis then.

One year before that, Khartoum faced one of the worst crisis – perhaps next to that of 1964 when the first South Sudanese Interior Minister, the late Clement Kutiya Mboro, was reportedly killed by North Sudanese. The July 31st incident took the shape of the 1964 incident because there was a belief that Northern Sudanese, especially the National Congress Party (NCP) were behind Dr Garang’s Chopper crush.

The Police reaction to each and every of these incidents has been ugly. This author was three years old when the Clement Mboro incident took place in Khartoum. Even though he was in Khartoum at the time, he was too young to remember what happened. But what he heard is that many South Sudanese were slaughtered by the Police and not the ordinary residents of Khartoum.

He, however, witnessed the July 31st, 2005, incident and he had received several calls from friends and relatives who saw Police taking part in the crisis. Police were seen opening fire on innocent civilians and arresting those they could not have the opportunity to kill.

It’s important to revisit history in order to correct a number of things. The SLM/A are reported to have misbehaved and their misbehaviour should have been reported to their boss, Minawi. The Police should know that direct dealings with former rebels are difficult and thus only possible through their leaders. This is not because they are lawless, no – it’s because they are soldiers – some of whom may be far senior to the Police officer ordered to arrest them. The Police would obviously try to undermine their ranks because they are not recognized by the government and would thus be the first to aggress as he tries to arrest them. This cannot be tolerated by anybody – including the Police officer himself – if put in the shoes of the rebels.

In order to maintain law and order in Khartoum and other major towns in this country, Police have to undergo some very serious training in a number of fields. Training in psychology, Sociology (Psychoanalysis and the Resocialisation Process), conflict resolution, and management, how to contain racial tendencies and any other training that would help the Police maintain law and order but not to break it.

If this country is to be united, there is also a need for a Police force, which should be composed from all the States of Sudan in the capital. This would tend to fight racialist elements, including separatists who are hiding within the uniforms of the Police force. Otherwise, police brutality witnessed in 1964 and 2005 does not unite the country.

The Police are not fair whenever they are to respond to problems caused by different races, races that are not Arab. This should not be misunderstood as a racial incitement. But those who pretend not to see that there is very serious racial crisis looming in this country, should be made to know that Khartoumers, people of all races, know that the racial tension in this country has increased as compared to the period before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

However, those who think that they are above the law whether they are from SLM/A, SPLM/A, Militias and obviously the Policemen who become part of the problem instead of the solution, must be dealt with according to the law. What happened in Omdurman on March 24th, 2007, was absolutely wrong and it should not have reached shooting levels. But the hatred that is developed by mishandling of such cases could always be the reason behind this and future incidents.

Congo Crisis: Conceding Defeat Key to Gaining Support from Citizens

Serious fighting is reported in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. The Thursday, March 21st, 2007, clashes that have claimed more than 150 lives, is between Jean-Pierre Bemba, a Congolese presidential hopeful who lost to President Laurent Kabilo in last year’s elections.

Jean-Pierre Bemba was Kabila’s Vice-President in the Congolese transitional government. But as a political party leader, he decided to stand against Kabila in what experts and monitors say was Congo’s first “free and fair” elections. Jean-Pierre Bemba got 42% in an election run-off last October while Kabila maintained the lead with 58%. “After two days of heavy fighting, Congolese aid workers have told the BBC that more than 150 bodies have been brought to the city's hospitals and mortuaries”, (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6492283.stm).

What is happening in the Congolese capital is a common practice in Africa and most of the third world countries – it is the refusal to concede defeat. Jean-Pierre Bemba believes that the elections in his country were rigged in favour of Kabila at a time when many observers at the time called the elections “free and fair.”

But if the elections were indeed free and fair, why has Jean-Pierre Bemba decided to pursue a battle he cannot win? What has Jean-Pierre Bemba gained from the death of more than 150 Congolese who died either in his defense or Kabila? Was he not in a position to accept the results, tell his followers to do likewise and prepare for the next elections?

Some of these questions can only be answered by Jean-Pierre Bemba and those who advise him to engage in conflict after signing a peace agreement with Kabila and agreeing on elections date. Jean-Pierre Bemba should know that 48% makes him and his party a formidable leader and party respectively in the Congo.

Jean-Pierre Bemba should have conceded defeat and arranged for a meeting with Kabila in which the two could have discussed issues that would help the Congo progress rather than retrogress. Proper utilisation of the 48% elections results could have offered him a comfortable position in Congo; since Congo and indeed any other country in the world can only have one president and never two.

However, these clashes in Congo should be an eye opener to many leaders within the African continent. The stubbornness to reject results of elections, giving reasons of fraud or rigging, is naïve and very often puts a person in a dangerous security situation in his own home. This happened to Col/Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda’s Opposition leader, when he was defeated by President Museveni in the latest Ugandan elections. After challenging the elections results, Dr. Besigye found himself insecure in his own home in Kampala and had to banish himself to exile.

Today, Jean-Pierre Bemba – together with his militiamen – are reported to have surrendered to the UN in Kinshasa. “Government troops have recaptured most of the capital after Jean-Pierre Bemba's guards reportedly fled the business district and surrendered to UN peacekeepers”, (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6492283.stm).

Why all these humiliation? Jean-Pierre Bemba is also reported to have asked for protection, saying he was not secure in the country and called for negotiations with the government. "I feel they want to kill me", said Bemba in a statement to BBC, adding that he has called for negotiations with the government about his security arrangements. African leaders should know that they sometimes put themselves into unnecessarily awkward positions.

Conceding defeat is not only democratic but it is key to liberating one’s mind from political tension and certainly helps in gaining more support from the citizens. Conceding defeat helps in avoiding clashes like the latest Congolese clashes in which over 150 people had to die for absolutely no reasons?

President Kabila should reconsider his position to meet Jean-Pierre Bemba and resolve the crisis between them for the interest of the Congolese people. He and Jean-Pierre Bemba are top leaders in Congo who control 100% of voters. As president, he should not listen to those who might think or plan to extend the humiliation of Jean-Pierre Bemba further or kill him. Because killing a political opponent would help make him/her (the diseased) a hero/heroine and as such would bring about unpopularity. This was the case in the Philippines when Marcos killed Acquino and the late’s wife, Corazon Acquino, had to win the elections. Acquino hardly campaigned for the elections but the killing of her husband secured her sympathy from the citizens, including the army, led by Gen. Fidel Ramos.

Donors See High Level of Institutionalised Corruption in South Sudan

It has come to the attention of many, including this author that Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Ministers could spend as much as eight (8) million Sudanese old Pounds or 8,000 new Sudanese Pounds per day while in Khartoum. This amount is said to be for full board hotel accommodation. Could this be true? If it is true could it be what used to be called Khartoum allowance in the governments before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)? If it is, how much more money does a GoSS Minister need to hire a vehicle and entertaining his/her both official and unofficial guests, including her/him?

There are many more questions that could be asked. Although it is not wise to ask questions that have no answers, because the GoSS, which knows the exact (answers) calculations for allowance, may not be willing to reveal such information. It is not obliged to do so unless such information leaks out as it is now.

There is no insinuation here whatsoever that the Ministers should not enjoy the benefits of being Ministers. No, but the amount in question is so huge that it raises eyebrows. Assuming that the amount goes up to ten million with the Minister’s pocket money that would be 70 million in one week and 140 million in two weeks, a maximum period for an official visit for a minister.

In Juba and this is not something new to anyone, Ministers who stay in tent hotels are spending more than 300 US dollars each per night. This amount is calculated at the end of each month and GoSS pays the bills. Taking 300 US dollars as a flat rate, a GoSS Minister staying in a tent hotel spends 90,000 US dollars per month. This amount could obviously be more.

Prior to the CPA, some States’ Council of Ministers, including the defunct Coordinating Council for South Sudan (CCSS) approved upto five million Sudanese pounds for a State Minister and a little more for a CCSS Minister as Khartoum allowances for two weeks. This usually is non-renewable so that it does not become a source of another income from within the same government. It is upto the Minister to stay in a hotel or with a relative. But the amount includes accommodation, feeding and car hire.

There should be developed by GoSS a mechanism through which allowances calculations should be based. A GoSS Minister is not different from any other Minister in the world. But if at all s/he should be different, it is because s/he should be more worried about the misuse of money. Because that is what a freedom fighter must do in order to develop his/her war-torn country.

The GoSS should not complain about not receiving responses from the donors that pledged to support the CPA implementation. They are living amongst us and they see what we do on daily basis. They don’t need to be told that there is a high level of institutionalised corruption. They see corruption from very many angles taking place in the GoSS. It is not difficult for donors to imagine what 140 million Sudanese Pounds and 90,000 US dollars could do in terms of developing the South.

The South should adopt the system used by the previous governments in the South so as to save money for the development of South Sudan. The money spent in tent hotels in Juba, for example, including the Khartoum allowances could build houses for the Ministers in Juba. The GoSS could give these Ministers loans deductible from their future pensions to build houses for themselves. This would give the Ministers the opportunity to participate fully in the development of South Sudan. Those who would ignore this and put the money to other uses should be fired from their positions. Because it means that they are not serious, and by so doing, they encourage corruption.

No One is Above the Law in the Sudan

The UN Human Rights Council has at last put an end to the allegations of human rights violations in Sudan’s Darfur. The Council passed its resolution on Sudan on Tuesday, March 26th, 2007, without condemning it for what the International Criminal Court (ICC), UN, United States and western countries call “worst humanitarian disaster in the world.”

“By a 22-20 vote, the Council turned down a resolution from the European Union and Canada telling the Sudanese government to prosecute those responsible for killing, raping and injuring civilians in the western region of the country”, (
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/28/news/UN_GEN_UN_Rights.php).

There is no one, including the government circles who would not accept that there is a problem in Darfur. There is a problem, including violations of some individual human rights. These violations are likely to continue unless the armed movements that have refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) agree to join the DPA. The rebels have been told by the government to come with their annexes if it would help in bringing the problem in Darfur to an end.

But continuous condemnation of the government of Sudan while letting loose the rebels who have refused the DPA, to commit atrocities and yet unchallenged, makes the rebels themselves to believe that they are doing the right thing. The government has had the share of its pressures and it is time that the rebels are pressurized in order to accept the DPA and stop buying time for reasons best known to them.

The Human Rights Council’s failure to condemn the Sudan in its resolution is a sign that the so-called “worst humanitarian disaster in the world” is dismissed by the Council. This is more or less a humiliation to those who really think that there is genocide in Darfur. The Council acknowledges the fact that there is a problem, serious problem of violations of individual but not collective rights that would amount to genocide in Darfur. It is asking the government to deal with those problems to end the crisis.

Therefore, the government of the Sudan should take the decision of the Council as a step in the right direction and should not wait for investigators to come from abroad to investigate the alleged violations. The government should use this opportunity to immediately form a panel of non-partisan legal experts tasked with the duty of investigating the allegations, including the cases of Muhammad Harun and Ali Kushayb both of whom were indicted by the ICC in February 2007.

Those that the investigation of the experts would find guilty of committing those violations must be brought to face the long arm of the law. But to entertain anybody in this country who has committed atrocities against the people in any part of the Sudan, would amount to complicity. There is no one in this country that is above the law of this land, not even the president. This is the foundation of every sovereign country in the world.

Now that the government is cleared of “worst humanitarian disaster in the world”, it should be seen as cooperating in almost all fields. This cooperation of course does not mean that the country must be let loose for everybody in the world to visit and investigate. The cooperation must be based on mutual understanding and official approval of visas and or work permits to those who genuinely intend to come to the Sudan in order to see by themselves the situation on the ground and work to alleviate the suffering of the Darfur people. “The African resolution praised the government for cooperating with a UN-appointed expert on the human rights situation in Sudan and calls upon the government to continue and intensify its cooperation with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms", (
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/28/news/UN_GEN_UN_Rights.php). This gesture of goodwill from the Council must be properly utilized by the government to better the situation in Darfur.

Leaders Who React To Public Criticisms Are Weak

Events have revealed that a lot of written material has been posted in internet websites and or published in newspapers on public leaders in South Sudan’s GoSS, States and the Central Government’s GoNU. Some of the information could have been used maliciously, not based on facts, while other information has been based on facts.

Facts or no facts, there is a tendency in the leadership of this country, especially in the South that insists as public leaders nothing should be said about them. This claim has been confirmed by a number of apologies on newspapers. In most of these apologies, the leaders claim that the individual authors have grudges against them.

Well, all the interim constitutions of the country, from GoNU to the GoSS and all the States in the country do encourage the freedom of speech and indeed that of the press. SPLM and NCP are committed to the freedom of speech and that of the press.

This being the case, it becomes difficult to understand those leaders who feel that they should not be challenged in public fora like newspapers and internet websites. By reacting to public criticisms in terms of materials written against them, these leaders should know that it is a weakness. Otherwise, the leaders who strongly feel that the opinion articles written against them touch their integrities; they should take the authors of those malicious opinion articles to court or simply respond to them in the same fora in writing.

When asked whether or not they support democracy? These leaders would quickly respond in the affirmative, forgetting that the freedom to express an opinion by itself is the essence of democracy.

Leaders should, if they do not already, know that public criticisms of their performance are good for them. These criticisms help those public leaders who have the interest of the people at heart by bringing before them facts that they could not have known if not written. However, it is good to reiterate that leaders who view public criticisms as necessary pre-requisites for correcting oneself in order to perform better, are silent and do encourage (not publicly) the critics with a view to benefiting from their criticisms.

Leaders, especially those who have accepted to take public offices, should know that they are there to represent their constituencies. Since they are not given these public offices as ordinary individuals but leaders selected by their constituencies, they should know that they can commit mistakes, just like other human beings. The opinions against individual leaders in any society do help them correct their mistakes and set them to continue on a course that aims at serving their people in the most humble way.

Journalists who know the ethics of journalism cannot be very malicious because malice does not help them but could lead to revoking their certificates of practice instead. Thus, those leaders who threaten editor-in-chiefs of newspapers to publicly apologies for publishing articles, not necessarily written by the newspaper editors, criticizing them are being unfair.

South Sudan Likely to Overcome Its Ugly Malady of Tribalism

Recent events have revealed that Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First Vice-President of the Republic and President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), appealed to the people of the South to “discard divisions” to help GoSS’ efforts in achieving development, stability and CPA implementation in South Sudan. Khartoum Monitor Newspaper carried this story as its lead on April 10th, 2007. His Excellency the GoSS President, known for his patience in dealing with complex political matters, must have observed that the gap of unity between the people of South Sudan is widening rather than narrowing.

The South Sudanese people are not united as a matter of fact. In fact the CPA has brought more divisions within the South Sudanese than ever before. The CPA has given the SPLM/A 70% of government and parliamentary control over the rest of the Southern political parties. Even though this fact is accepted by all South Sudanese, especially non-SPLM/A, there are members of the SPLM/A who are literally waging war against the South Sudanese who lived and worked in the government-controlled areas before the CPA. These SPLM/A people would do anything just to prevent other South Sudanese from participating in the GoSS and SPLA organs. This is done with impunity and many non-SPLM/A South Sudanese who thought they could fit amongst their SPLM/A brothers and went to South Sudan are under lock and key, some for more than a year now.

There is the issue of general indiscipline of the SPLA soldiers, including their security personnel who are terrorizing people, especially those who are not members of SPLM/A. One such resent harassment of the civilians in Juba was reported by Juba Post weekly newspaper, April 13th-30th issue, in Munuliki/Kuweit residential areas. An SPLA soldier was reported to have gone to a donkey (water pump) where both men and women cued for water. The SPLA soldier decided to take the next position in the cue. He was attacked by the patiently-waiting residents. The soldier reported the incident to the SPLA. SPLA came to the area and at randomly started beating and arresting the people of Munuki/Kuweit residential areas.

Unity of purpose made a lot of sense before the CPA because the people of the South thought they had a common enemy. “Today and after the CPA, emerged another enemy who appears to be more organized to cause maximum damage on its own people”, remarked one Munuki resident who chose anonymity for fear of getting arrested and beaten by SPLA soldiers.

But it is not difficult to achieve the unity of the people of South Sudan if a little seriousness is exercised. This unity, however, cannot be achieved on party lines. Joining the SPLM/A is not an answer to the unity of South Sudanese. Lt-Gen. Mayardit knows very well that SPLA needs restructuring, re-composition and possibly re-naming in order for it to have a South Sudan outlook. Currently, SPLA senior positions are dominated by people who do not think unity is essential and it is a source of strength. They believe that strength comes first and then unity could be forced by the barrel of a gun.

Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA) had had its name changed to Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF). This was necessary because NRA was associated with rebels and not a national army. The other aspect was that it had to accommodate all the Ugandans, including those who had disagreed with the NRA for alienating them during the war period.

Thus, SPLA under the leadership of Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir should know that the SPLM/A under the leadership of Lt-Gen. Garang de Mabior had, during the war period, alienated many people in South Sudan. The people alienated by the SPLA before the CPA ( some of whom were senior cadres in SPLM/A) lived in Europe, North America and other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Kenya, Uganda and so on. These very people are now very senior members in the SPLM/A working in GoSS and GoNU.

The reason why they are in the SPLM/A now is because of the death of Lt-Gen. John Garang de Mabior. Meaning, these people had differed with Lt-Gen Garang but not with Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir. In other words, the so-called SPLM/A proper believe that GoSS’ President has imposed on them those who differed with them. This is what has caused the tension within the SPLM/A and hence the categorization of SPLM/A members currently under “Lt-Gen. Kiir as “Garang and Salva boys.”

South Sudan belongs to all South Sudanese without exceptions. This must be the notion in the mind of GoSS’ President. This excellent notion could only be supported by bold decisions aimed at restructuring, re-composition of SPLM/A, including early retirement of the most notorious SPLA senior officers who believe in inflicting harm through revenge on those who did not participate in the liberation struggle. Otherwise, malice and sabotage of GoSS’ President’s genuine efforts for unity would continue to be the order of the day within the SPLM/A.

Through Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir’s wisdom that is calling for South Sudanese to “discard divisions” amongst themselves, South Sudan is likely to overcome its ugly malady of tribalism, hatred and the born-to-rule attitude. There is nobody who is going to neither drop from heavens nor a political entity in Sudan to help the South Sudanese deal with their problems. The current leadership in South Sudan needs redirection with strict observance from the president in order for it to focus at resolving the minor problems that are forming serious hurdles on the road to the unity of the people of South Sudan.

Detention of Citizens without Trial Amounts to Denying Them Justice

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) needs to review the cases of those has been detaining for more than a year now. Somebody like Col. Paul Omoya Thomas, EES former Minister of Agriculture, was arrested on the grounds that he attempted to assassinate Lt-Gen. James Wani Iga, the Speaker of the South Sudan Interim Legislative Assembly (SSILA), when he visited Torit, the capital of EES, last year.

If Col. Paul Omoya Thomas has committed the crime the EES Governor alleges, one would expect two things to have happened: that the SSILA Speaker presses charges against Col. Omoya for attempting to assassinate him; or the EES as a government takes the case up as its own but must insist on bringing the accused before a criminal court so that he is tried.

Continued detention of citizens without trial is a violation of human right. Col. Omoya is not the only person detained. There are many other South Sudanese detained by the SPLM/A in areas like Nimule, Yei and Rumbek.

The majority of the Sudanese people, especially the marginalized, believed that SPLM/A went to the bush to liberate them from marginalization, oppression, suppression, subjugation, human rights violations, underdevelopment and so on. But today, these very people are beginning to wonder as to what could have gone wrong that the SPLM/A has made a u-turn and landed on the very people it is supposed to have fought for!

None of the marginalized believes in anarchy in order to commit a mistake in the eyes of the SPLM/A. Even if they did commit crimes, they know that the law is supposed to take its course.

Although there are people who really believe that law and order is far from being established in South Sudan because SPLM/A lacks facilities and cadres, one keeps wondering constantly as to why do the SPLM/A undermined the system it found intact in South Sudan! If it is true that it will take a while before law and order takes shape in South Sudan, one would then be forced to conclude that SPLM/A encourages lawlessness. How could a running system be destroyed only to be replaced by a no-system? In any normal circumstances, humans build on what is available. They improve on what is available or completely overhaul the entire system but must be ready to establish a better system.

Some of these South Sudanese detained by the SPLM/A are innocent. There are people within the SPLM/A who seem to have scores to settle with some of these people. In the case of Col. Omoya, the EDF which rejoined the SPLM/A months before the CPA are the ones against Col. Omoya and behind his continued detention.

South Sudan cannot be built on the lines of vengeance or retributions. Those who think they must deal with some people in South Sudan for not joining the SPLM/A are being unreasonable. Those who think that only those who fought in the liberation struggle or those they use must enjoy the fruits of peace are unreasonable. Those who think that they must obtain the lion share in the cake because they fought for more than anybody else are unreasonable and do not know the essence of liberation struggle.

If anyone is to enjoy the fruits of his/her struggle, how many of the heroes of South Sudan are enjoying the fruits of their struggle today? The late Oliver Tambo led ANC throughout the 27 years of Mandela’s detention by the Pretoria regime, but yet he did not become president but Mandela did. This too applies to Abel Alier who did not struggle in the liberation struggle then but was honoured and given the leadership of the South after the Addis Ababa Agreement.

Otherwise no one had asked anyone to go and fight on behalf of the people of South Sudan. It was a voluntary decision which must not be confused with a right. But now that the South is free, it is the right of every South Sudanese to benefit from that very freedom. This must be encouraged so that the people of the South could rebuild the confidence they have lost in two years to achieve greater unity.

GoSS has to intervene in the judiciary of South Sudan. There seems to be a problem with the management of justice in South Sudan. This intervention should also create a committee whose task would be a very serious review of the legal system in the South. GoSS cannot assume to have lawyers, judges and a chief justice with a functionless judicial system. It is time that the judicial system in South Sudan is reactivated and all outstanding cases reviewed. Detention of citizens without trial amounts to denying justice to the very citizens who deserve it.

The Mistreatment of Kenyans in South Sudan is Uncalled For

The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in Sudan has officially commented on the harassment of Kenyans in South Sudan. The Kenyan Embassy issued its official response, a press release, on the harassment of its citizens in South Sudan on April 8th, 2007.

The press release, which was published in Khartoum Monitor Newspaper on April 10th, 2007, said that, “the Kenya Embassy in Khartoum has strongly protested against persistent harassment, intimidation, beating and arbitrary detention meted out to Kenyan truck drivers and businessmen and women.” It also revealed that a “Kenyan lady was given 60 lashes of the cane for the crime of reporting a mobile phone theft at Juba police station.”

The official spokesman of the SPLA had reacted on these allegations in March 2007, calling them malicious and aimed at marring the reputation of the SPLA soldiers. The SPLA spokesman went on to say that the good relations existing between the people of Kenya and South Sudan would continue and will not be affected by such accusations.

Now that the allegations have been conformed and in fact revealed by the Kenyan Embassy in Khartoum, which called “for fair application of the law as appropriate”, GoSS has to seriously look into the cases of the Kenyans detained in South Sudan. If they are arrested for committing crimes they must be brought before a civil court for trial. But continued detention of Kenyans and indeed any foreigner in South Sudan would cause a crack in the relationship between the South and the governments of those detained foreigners and hence it would affect GoSS’ efforts to invite investors into the South.

Canning people, especially women as a form of punishment by SPLA soldiers is primitive, a thing of the past and it is a human right abuse. GoSS should cross check the behaviour of its troops deployed along the borders with the neighbouring countries and bring those misbehaving to book. South Sudanese too are complaining of similar very serious violations of their individual rights by SPLA soldiers deployed along the borders with the neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Kenya.

Otherwise, it is not possible to invite foreign investors into South Sudan when they are threatened by the very government that had invited them to invest in South Sudan. It becomes very illogical if not inhuman to invite and then harass a person who has left all the luxuries in his own country to join South Sudanese in the reconstruction process.

The mistreatment of the Kenyans in South Sudan is indeed uncalled for, because the Kenyans had accommodated the South Sudanese in Kenya without causing them any problems. But lawless South Sudanese, now fully integrated into the SPLA security organs, suffered in Kenya for being lawless because they always feel that they are very special and above the law.

If what is happening to Kenyans in South Sudan is in retaliation for what some of these South Sudanese believe Kenyans did to them in the past, they are wrong. Peaceful South Sudanese, especially those who had legal migration statuses, did not face any problems posed by the Kenyan Police. In fact Kenyan security personnel are hardly seen arresting and mistreating South Sudanese.

However, if the GoSS believes that those responsible for the mistreatment of foreigners in South Sudan are wrong, they should investigate the Kenyans and any other foreigner in South Sudan and, depending on the outcome of the investigations, deal with those found guilty of committing human rights violations against the Kenyans. In the same manner, the Kenyans found guilty of breaching South Sudanese laws should be dealt with in accordance with the laws of South Sudan.

Ambitious Electricity Project in Juba: Newly-Purchased Transformers Blown

Events have revealed that the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) has been working round the clock and exerting genuine efforts to improve the electricity supply in Juba town. Dr Riek Machar, the Vice-President of GoSS, had declared in February that the new electricity network in Juba was not only nearing completion but would be ready by March 2007.

Electricity should have indeed been the responsibility of GoSS, which should view its importance as a pre-requisite to development in South Sudan. Without electricity no welding machines could operate. The use of welding machines is known in the development, especially in the field of construction and heavy industries. Without electricity telecommunications network cannot function and the importance of telecommunications in development is known. Without electricity airports cannot operate satisfactorily and the usefulness of airports in development is known. Without electricity insecurity heightens because wrong elements use the darkness to rob peoples’ properties, rape girls and women, and generally destabilize the government of the day.

In early March 2007, the Director of Juba power station was reported to have been interviewed in Juba by one of the radio stations to explain why the project failed. In his interview, he revealed that the generators that were purchased by GoSS to improve the electricity supply in Juba blew up all the transformers that were already fitted during the first testing of the power supply lines. When asked how such new transformers could blow? He said that the transformers were not meant to resist the power supply generated by the new generators. In other words, the long-awaited power supply in Juba is likely to take more time than expected.

The residence of Juba must be disappointed with this latest development. Some of them like Magdi Abbas, the Manager of Sudan’s Air West commercial airline in Juba, were so enthusiastic about the progress in the GoSS electricity project and had this to say in January 2007: "I expect (that) in a few months we will have electricity everywhere", (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?page=imprimable&id_article=20033). Electricity is not everywhere in Juba and peoeple are filling the blanks about what has really befallen the ambitious project?

The story of the Engineer, who was simply narrating it for the public interest, sends very bad signals to those who have interest in assisting the South in its development efforts. It is a clear display of corruption in public media.

How on earth could generators be purchased with transformers unable to sustain their capacities? Even if one assumes that the old transformers were used to test the new power lines without expertise surety that the transformers would sustain the new power output, is a promotion of ignorance. In our contemporary time with the necessary education acquired by South Sudanese over the years, this is a very primitive thing to hear, because a feasibility study is usually done before purchase. In this feasibility study, the type, capacity and output of each of these generators should have been ascertained and so would the transformers. Based on the feasibility study, the step-up and step-down transformers should then have been purchased.

However, it appears that something did go wrong and that should be investigated by the GoSS. Failure to investigate and understand the reasons for the failure of the project would promote corruption in GoSS. The power engineers in Juba have their share in the failure of the project because they were supposed to provide expert advice to the GoSS immediately on realizing that there were problems.

Meanwhile, the GoSS officials who either through agents or in persons purchased the equipment should also be investigated. If the truth about the failure of this project is not revealed, the same mistake is likely to be repeated.

GoSS needs electricity very badly in Juba in order for it to embark on its developmental projects and activities in various fields. Thus, the project should be revived and serious attention should be given to it and those assigned to deal with it supervised for the project to succeed.

Hurting or Killing Dr Tombe Would Not Silence the People of South Sudan

Events have revealed that the family of the author of “Critical Analysis" of the FVP and President of GoSS’ January 9th Speech, Dr Wani Tombe Laku, has been harassed and intimidated by some terrorist elements in Khartoum. Dr Tombe was informed by his family that some lady called them by telephone and asked whether or not she was the wife of Dr Tombe? Her reply was positive since it is not a secret. The caller then said the following as was related by Dr Tombe’s wife: “Your husband is writing a lot against us and you tell him to stop because if he doesn’t, we will deal with you first and then with him later.”

This is quite an absurd thing to hear. From the statement of the caller, it is very easy to deduce that if this is not the SPLM/A doing this then SPLM/A has hired some people to carry this kind of harassment and intimidation. With my respect to the SPLM/A, I would like to say that there is no one in this country who feels more hurt by the writings of Dr Tombe than the SPLM/A.

What would be the motive behind this kind of harassment and intimidation? Is it aimed at trying to silence Dr Tombe from future writings? Whichever the answer would be, SPLM/A is believed to be the champion of freedom and democracy. This is not a speculation because the CPA proves this particular claim. This being the case, why then would the SPLM/A try to silence positive criticism, something sanctioned by the CPA?

Freedom of speech is fundamental in the development of democratic ideals. There is no way anybody could talk of supporting the principles of democracy without reconciliation with freedom of speech, expression and association.

Thus, any political party that thinks it can silence its opponents by intimidation, harassment or killing is neither democratic nor believes in the concept, let alone the principles, of democracy. Democrats are not selective. In other words, they don’t choose which of the very many basic principles of democracy to apply while discarding the others. It is either that a political party is democratic and accepts democracy with its basics or it is simply an autocratic political party and must not mix the two.

The people of this country have pinned their hopes for democratic transformation on SPLM/A, which they believe would, together with its partner, the NCP, introduce true democracy in the Sudan. But if the SPLM/A lets loose some of its members and security organs to intimidate, harass and attack the very basis of democracy, then these hopes would be shuttered forever.

If SPLM/A as a party under the leadership of Lt-Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit believes that it has a mission to develop further the legacy of the late Dr John Garang de Mabior, it must stop the militia-like behaviour of some of its security personnel. These very security personnel must be made to know that days of intimidating and harassing people at ease are long gone; and that it is time to consolidate SPLM/A’s power by accommodating the other views. The other views would always help to improve the SPLM/A as a party. It is never true that every criticism against the SPLM/A or any other political party is aimed at destroying it. This is how those with shallow and naïve minds within the SPLM/A security apparatus think. Criticism is made to make the SPLM/A rediscover itself and see where it has gone wrong in order to correct itself.

Hurting or killing Dr Tombe would not silence the people of South Sudan. Like in his “Critical Analysis” on the speech of H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir on January 9th, 2007, Dr Tombe was attacking the speech makers. Like any president in the world, speeches are normally prepared. Those who prepared the speech for Lt-Gen. Salva did it with the intention of displaying what they have long told the world that Lt-Gen. Kiir is limited and may not properly fit into the shoes of the late Dr Garang de Mabior. Otherwise, why should any speech writer try to make his boss appear stupid in a gathering that includes foreigners? What was new in the speech that the foreigners did not know?

Another SAF Senior Officer Arrested in Torit

The Government of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) has arrested and locked away another Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) officer in Torit. Lt-Col. Sabino Oker, a former EDF Commander, was integrated into the SAF in 2004.

According to the UNMIS reports, Lt-Col. Oker was sent to Torit in order to help the CPA partners in the Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) of the former Equatoria Defence Force (EDF) members who have not been integrated in either the SPLA or the SAF.

“On 3rd May, in Torit town, armed men, allegedly from the SPLA soldiers entered the residence of a senior officer of Other Armed Group Consultative Committee and attacked him and his three wives, the UNMIS bulletin reported”, (Sudan Vision, May 8th, 2007, p.7).

The UNMIS personnel who are directly working with the SPLA and SAF to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) Protocol on Security Arrangements are not doing their jobs as expected. It is just not possible to believe that UNMIS cannot see the difference between a militia and a member of the SAF, especially one sent on a mission such as that of the DDR. It is equally difficult to understand how UNMIS could refer to Lt-Col. Oker as militia unless they investigated and found that the officer was indeed a militia. But if they did carry an investigation, they would know that Lt-Col. Oker is SAF, unless UNMIS is biased and uses second hand information. There is something wrong with UNMIS – it appears that it is part of the problem rather than the solution.

Going back to the arrest of Lt-Col. Oker, honestly it is not possible to comprehend. It was the SPLA which said they do not need any other force in the South except the JIUs and the SPLA as per the CPA. They have even complained bitterly about the presences of EDF in EES, sometimes accusing them of causing insecurity in EES. Although the government in EES was in a hurry to send away all the militia from Torit, it was not yet time. Now it is the time to DDR not only the remnants of EDF in EES but all militia, especially those who have decided to hide their weapons in the villages.

How could someone like Lt-Col. Oker, going to help SPLA by helping to demobilise the militia, who seem to be making SPLA very uncomfortable because SPLA wants to be alone in the South, be arrested? Are the SPLA so allergic to the so-called militia to the extent that they even don’t want to see any of them going to his home town, even when on holidays? Could this attitude be what the SPLA want to employ in order to rally the South Sudanese behind them?

It is time to accommodate every southerner whether or not he is in the SAF or a DDRed militia. It appears that some SPLA personnel do not follow the latest partnership developments. If they do, they should know that NCP Southern Sector is moving South and is possibly going to be based in Juba. But, one must be sincere and honest to say that if it were left in the hands of some individuals within the SPLA to decide on whether or not the NCP moves south, it would actually say no a million times. This is the attitude some of the SPLA officers and men have against their fellow southerners who did not participate in the liberations struggle.

As for UNMIS, this author worked as State Minister for Health in EES. He was responsible for UNMIS file and had made a number of meetings with some UNMIS personnel. UNMIS exercises some bias against people SPLA categorises as wrong elements, militia or allied to “Jalaba.” In fact some of these UNMIS personnel had told this author that they were not supposed to work with the then pre-interim State governments in South Sudan until the SPLA takes over the South.

“The UN Security Council established the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with its unanimous adoption of
Security Council Resolution 1590 on 24 March 2005. UNMIS was initially established for a period of six months. According to its mandate, UNMIS is tasked with supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. UNMIS is also tasked with facilitating the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons; providing de-mining assistance; and contributing towards international efforts to protect and promote human rights in Sudan”, (http://www.unmis.org/english/mandate.htm).

Practically UNMIS has failed to secure the release of SAF Col. Paul Omoya Thomas, former Minister of Agriculture in EES. Now Lt-Col. Oker has been arrested while on a mission which UNMIS is aware of. These two did not commit any crimes but if they did, they should be tried. More so, their human rights are violated in the very nose of UNMIS. How does UNMIS intend to “protect and promote human rights in Sudan” when South Sudanese who did not participate on the SPLA side are witnessing immeasurable retributions?

The arrest of Lt-Col. Oker, like that of Col. Omoya is illegal and they were made in bad taste, which is extreme hatred. Continued detention of these two without trial is a human rights abuse. If the SPLA does not want the former leaders of the so-called militia to go and assist in the DDR programmes, not even allowing them to visit their own homes within the South just because SPLA says so, what is it that SPLA wants?

Why Grab Peoples' Lands When There is Enough Land for All?

The issue of land grabbing in Juba has resurfaced again. According to reports coming from Juba, there are more than 50 cases of land grabbing or disputes in Tong Piny and Juba Nabari residential areas. Most of these cases could not be addressed because plaintiffs are afraid. The fear is based on possible retributions as those behind land grabbing are said to be very senior SPLM/A members.

One of the latest stories of the land grabbing issue in Juba is that between a certain millionaire known as Benjamin and Dr. Ronald Voga. Dr. Voga is diseased and millionaire Benjamin did not only grab his land but developed it by erecting a building known as "Home and Away" in the late Voga's plot number 52 in Buluk residential area.

Why on earth must responsible people grab lands that do not belong to them? Did some of these senior members of SPLM/A take up arms to fight the successive regimes in the Sudan in order to grab peoples' lands at the end of the day? These questions cannot be answered by ordinary citizens of Juba and other parts of the South but could be by the very senior members of the SPLM/A behind the scenes of land grabbing.

The innocent people whose lands have been grabbed do sincerely believe that the reasons for taking up arms against the successive governments in the Sudan were to correct the system. The government systems before the National Salvation Revolution (NSR) came to power were bad and did encourage marginalization of the Sudanese people. Today, we all know that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) came as a result of recognition by the NSR that the country indeed had problems and that only the Sudanese, represented in the SPLM and the NCP parties, had the will to settle the grievances that had lasted for 50 years.

It is known that some SPLM/A senior leaders are truly working for the downfall of H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and the President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) as well as the SPLM as a party. This statement should not be misconstrued as an incitement. Any leadership that has the interest of its party at heart should not do things that are likely to render their party and hence the entire leadership of the party unpopular. SPLM as a party is increasingly becoming unpopular in the South because there are so many things that are done by some senior SPLM/A members – even though at individual levels – they are counted on the SPLM as a party. Any action taken by any senior leadership anywhere in the world could be perceived as an exercise of the party and/or government policy.

However, since the welfare of the citizens in the South rests on the shoulders of the GoSS Presidency, it is advisable that the Presidency orders the Land Commission in South Sudan to look into these problems of land grabbing. The citizens whose lands are grabbed cannot wage a fight against the powerful SPLM/A officials who are behind the scenes of land grabbing. They virtually have no one to turn to except the GoSS Presidency in South Sudan which has the powers to put an end to the menace of land grabbing in Juba and other areas in South Sudan. The interference of the Presidency in the land grabbing cases is not only honourable but would equally give the SPLM party a boost in resuscitating the lost support and a feeling that the land grabbing issue is not sanctioned by the SPLM/A as a policy.

The entire SPLM/A leadership are fully aware of the reception accorded to them when their Advanced Mission visited Khartoum. They are also aware of the reception accorded to their late Chairman and C-in-C, Dr Garang de Mabior, when he came to Khartoum first time in 22 years. But what seem to be puzzling many Sudanese today is SPLM/A's failure to develop further the popularity it received! Why work contrary to party principles to earn it unpopularity? Why mistreat the civil population for whom SPLM/A had taken up arms (knowing that such could bring about loss of confidence)? Why grab peoples' lands when there is enough land for all in the South?

Minister's Threats against The Citizen Could be Serious if True

The Press in the Sudan seems to be facing difficulties as it tries its utmost best to uncover issues, especially those connected to corruption. On July 5th, 2007, The Citizen Newspaper published a news item entitled: "Ministers Summoned Over Corruption Scandal." The article referred to the Government of South Sudan GoSS Interior Minister and the Government of National Unity (GoNU) State Minister for Interior as those summoned for investigation "over the corruption scandal." On July 6th, 2007, The Citizen newspaper carried another news story claiming that the GoNU State Minister for Interior had threatened to kill the author of the news story.

The GoNU State Minister for Interior is a fellow SPLM member. Apart from the fact that SPLM fought for – amongst other things – the freedom of speech and that of the press, the State Minister is the second man in the ministry that protects the laws of this land. The alleged threats (not heard from the State Minister himself) could be serious if they happen to be true, especially for a custodian of the law like H.E. the State Minister for Interior.

However, the State Minister needs to make clear whether or not he did threaten the author of the scandal news story. If he did, then in the interest of freedom of speech and that of the press, the minister ought to apologies. But if the minister strongly believes that he is innocent and that he did not threaten the author of the story in The Citizen newspaper, he has the right to take a legal action against The Citizen newspaper for defamation.

Otherwise, it is not possible to put the blame of the news story's leakage entirely on The Citizen newspaper. The leakage should, however, be blamed on those handling the case in the GoSS or some officials within the GoSS Ministry of Interior. Nonetheless, The Citizen newspaper, like any other newspaper in the country, has the pride to publish the story exclusively. It is in line with the directives given by H.E. the First Vice-President of the Republic and President of GoSS, Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, to the press that they have to join in the fight against corruption in South Sudan.

AU Smells a Rat in the Paris Conference

The Darfur question has again come to international limelight. This time, the newly elected president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, is organising a conference in Paris. The conference is being attended by amongst other countries, the US, Europe represented by the EU, China and the Arab League.

Mr. Sarkozy is drawing the attention of the world to the crisis in Darfur by calling on the world to be "firm" with the Sudan should it refuse to cooperate with what he calls "efforts to end the conflict in Darfur." (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6235798.stm).

How does the French leader expect the Sudan as a country to cooperate in the efforts to end the conflict in Darfur when it has bowed to the pressure to accept a hybrid force? Mr. Sarkozy and those participating in the Darfur conference have declined from inviting the Sudanese government and the rebel fighters who have vowed to continue fighting until GoNU yields to their demands.

Could the solution to the crisis in Darfur mean putting pressure on one side of the conflict while leaving the other? This seems to be the theme of the conference in France. Otherwise, the world powers meeting in France should have taken the conference as an opportunity to invite the parties to the Darfur conflict with a view to bringing pressure to bear on them so that they accept – at least – to sit down and seriously address the crisis in Darfur.

It is the hope of almost all the Sudanese that the crisis in Darfur comes to a speedy conclusion to relieve the thousands of suffering people trapped by the war in various refugees' settlements within Darfur and neighbouring Chad. But since the responsibility of the Darfur file rests in the AU and this is known by all, including the conferees in France, the AU smells a rat in the Paris conference and its boycott of the conference raises eyebrows.

It is easy to understand the reasons for not inviting the parties to the conflict, but how could someone understand the reasons for AU's boycott of the conference? "The Sudanese government was not invited, while the AU is boycotting the conference because it regards the French initiative as a distraction from its own mediation efforts", (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6235798.stm).

Confidence Building between SPLM and NCP is the Thing to Develop

On Wednesday, July 11th, 2007, most of the Sudanese daily newspapers carried the story in which the SPLM Secretary-General, Pagan Amum, said if the NCP cannot handle the issue of Abyei it should hand it over to the American Administration which, he said, should open an account to save the Abyei oil money.

In a press conference held last Tuesday, July 9th, 2007, in SPLM premises in Khartoum, Amum stated that NCP does not want to solve the Abyei issue for reasons which are not related to peace issues, but he did not name these reasons. Amum revealed that SPLM intended to hand over the full control of the Abyei region to the United States of America and to enable it to open an account for the oil revenues under the condition that they will not be used until the arrival at a final solution for the issue. He also attributed the failure to solve all issues presented by the two partners in their joint meeting in May 2006 to the NCP.

SPLM and NCP had told the Sudanese people when they had their first joint meeting in March 2007 that they had laid down a mechanism to resolve most of the outstanding issues, including the conflict that exists between them. The partners said they had two committees, one headed by both Dr Nafie Ali Nafie and Amum himself, and the other by Dr Riek Machar and Ali Osman Muhammad Taha. Truly, this was relieving news to all peace-loving Sudanese. Relieving because the peace-loving Sudanese were at a loss whenever the two partners clash in the press on issues that they could easily handle in confidence, the same confidence that made them to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Today the same peace-loving Sudanese are yet at another loss. The very partners who had reassured them that they had mechanisms to confidently resolve their problems remain at loggerheads. Could it be true that the confidence developed in Naivasha during the negotiations was only between the late Dr Garang de Mabior and Ali Osman Muhammad Taha and not their followers? How could someone digest the continued lack of trust between these two partners – sometimes on issues for which they claimed to have laid down mechanisms for solution in March 2007? The only solution someone could draw from this continued mistrust could be that the late Garang and Taha addressed most of the issues in the CPA through maturity and political wisdom.

Thus, Pagan Amum's comments on Tuesday, July 9th, 2007, in which he said Abyei and its oil revenues should be handed over to the control of the Americans could be considered as political immaturity and lacking the political wisdom which the late Garang and Taha used to resolve the complex North-South problems.

"On the relations between the North and the South after the referendum on self determination of 2011, Pagan said, if Southerners choose unity, still they will rule themselves by themselves but if they choose secession, south and north will remain good neighbours and the tie between them will remain ever stronger", (
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article22793). Isn't this yet another political immaturity displayed by the SPLM Secretary-General? If at all the South Sudanese voted to maintain the unity of the country during the referendum and continue to rule the South by themselves, why then beat up the drums of separation? On the other hand if the South voted for separation during the referendum, could the South and North really remain as good neighbours and that the tie between them "will remain ever stronger", as claimed by Amum? The answer is no because there are no basis for such relationship now and they will not there in future.

For the ties between the North and South to "remain ever stronger", both the NCP and the SPLM have to work on strengthening those ties now so that they "remain ever stronger" should the South separate from the North. Otherwise, politics has no miracles, especially given the current relationship between the NCP and the SPLM. But if SPLM and NCP work hard to overcome the current differences, by borrowing the political maturity and wisdom of the late Garang and Taha, then the Sudanese people will not worry at all. Even if the results of the referendum are in favour of unity or separation, there would be no cause for any alarm between the two political partners.

Finally, the continuous referral of addressing difficult issues such those of Abyei and the border demarcation to the outside powers is politically unhealthy. Assuming that the South secedes and becomes an independent country, would people like Amum and his other immature colleagues continue to refer the problems that would arise in future in the South to outside powers like the United States of America? May be not, but it was once remarked in early 1990s that SPLM/A-controlled areas were virtually run by the local and international NGOs. It was not possible to agree to this kind of claim then but with the current comments made by Mr. Amum on Abyei and its oil revenues, one would indeed be tempted to agree with the notion that SPLM/A cannot manage the South without handing it over to the outside powers. How sad it would become!

Confidence building between the SPLM and NCP should be the thing to develop so that they as partners could in turn develop "ever stronger" relationship. The good relationships that are to be developed through confidence building would actually be the same relationships that would maintain the ties between the SPLM and NCP as political partners come unity o the Sudan or separation of the South from the rest of the Sudan.

Another Style of Begging

Begging in most of the streets in capitals around the world is known to have become an art to those who are either lazy to engage in work or those who truly are handicapped. In Sudanese capital, Khartoum, begging has become almost a nuisance in the sense that very capable young men and women are engaged in this art. Most of these capable and energetic young men and women could do jobs that befit their limitations. Many a times people who are able to help are discouraged to do so because what they see is a young man or woman who is so fit that he or she could do some job to make ends meet.

The author of this column has, several times, met some of these young men and women and did engage with them in dialogue. He has asked questions such as: "why should capable man or woman like you beg when you could actually engage, like so many others of your types, in work to make ends meet?" The answer that is usually given is that "there are no jobs and that is why I am engaged in Begging."

Well, this author has come across another style of begging and he was actually shocked. The shock was extended by proxy to those with him in his car. He stopped at Bashair Gas Station along the Medical Supplies Road near university girls' hostels at the beginning of Sijana residential area – south of Sijana – to be more precise. As he paid the bill for the gas he received from Bashair Gas Station, some man, neatly dressed, approached him. "Good afternoon Sir?" He greeted. "Marhab", surprisingly replied this author. This author realised that the smart man was holding a one litre plastic bottle otherwise known as 'crystal' in Khartoum. "I have run out of fuel and I need SDD 100 or 1.0 SDG", he stated. Knowing that no human being uses fuel in order to move, this author asked: "what are you driving, my friend?" "A motorcycle", he replied. This author reached his pocket and pulled a 1.0 SDG which he offered the man as he requested.

The man was lucky indeed to have stated clearly that he was riding a motorcycle and not driving a taxi. Because if he were to say he was driving a taxi, the story could have been different somehow. Because one litre in some of the 19th century taxi cars in Khartoum could not help the man much, meaning he would just be another beggar.

However, giving a critical analysis on this kind of an approach, one would simply conclude that this is nothing but another beautifully designed way to beg. First, it is difficult for anyone who owns a motorbike to move without gas in his motorcycle or at least a pound in his pocket. Secondly, if the motorbike belongs to a company, an NGO or even a governmental institution, the man would be provided with gas and more so, he would be working and cannot move at least without a pound in his pocket. Thirdly and finally, a very serious person could easily drag his motorbike to the nearest gas station in order to convince those he intends to beg from.

Thus, this kind of begging is not far from any other type of begging – it could be a newly devised way of begging. Should this and any other type of begging be encouraged in this country? The answer should really be no and yes. It is a no for the newly devised begging. If encouraged, the laziness and getting easy money would not offer a challenge in terms of getting the feel of responsibility to such beggars. In the end, more and more of this country's youths would engage in beggary instead of offering this country a service for which they would get rewards. Yes because there are truly those who are handicapped and truly need help through begging to make ends meet.

Civil society organisations need to look into this kind of situation. No one is suggesting here that these organisations must collect all those unemployed persons to give them assistance. But they could liaise with the government authorities concerned to gather these youthful people, provide them with some vocational training, including accommodation and in the end, they could be hired from them to do some specific jobs, depending on their qualifications. Some of these beggars are actually qualified, but they lack counseling that could make them realise that they too, could become responsible people, just like those they used to beg from, if they stop being lazy.

Dinka Domination of BOSS

Nhial Bol's "Straight Talk" column had a guest columnist, invited by Nhial Bol himself, on July 14th, 2007, to give his views on the domination of the Bank of South Sudan (BOSS) by the Dinka tribe. The views or rather the article, entitled: Dinka Domination of BOSS" addressed a number of important issues. Amongst these important issues raised are, "the revision of the BOSS structures; division of South Sudanese on tribal lines is number one enemy by definition; South Sudan is not Dinka nor will it exist because of Dinka alone; everybody (southerner) is important, needed onboard and has a role to play in building the nation; if that is how it is in the BOSS, then there is an immediate need for Elijah Malok to seriously consider Nhial Bol's concern and act on it immediately, and now not even tomorrow; we have to fight tribalism by all means and at all costs."

First, this author would like to extend his sincere thanks to Nhial Bol for acting as a watch dog. Nhial Bol had entered into loggerheads with this author on a number of occasions. But that is not a thing that could spoil a friendship Nhial and this author had.

Secondly, this author also extends his personal appreciations to Dr. Thuou Loi Cingoth for sharing with Nhial Bol and certainly with other South Sudanese concerned with the complexities of tribalism in South Sudan like this author. The points raised above, thought excerpted from a long and very interesting article, are mature and, if adhered to by the champion tribalists in the government of South Sudan (GoSS), would go a long way to resolving the very complex tribal issues afflicting the people of South Sudan.

Indeed, South Sudan does not belong to a tribe, a section or otherwise. It belongs to all the people of South Sudan irrespective of where they come from in terms of geo-political set up of the South. Tribalism is the next enemy which the people of the South, led by GoSS, must fight tooth and nail.

The only hope will be that the message of Brother Nhial Bol and Dr. Thuou Cingoth is heard by Elijah Malok. Otherwise, Elijah Malok is very much known for his tribal leanings, ever since the days of the SPLM/A struggle, if not the regional government of South Sudan in the 1970s. One would wonder how old men like Elijah Malok, who has lived to nurture tribalism throughout his life, could be taught new tricks of detribalization!

South Sudan has so many enemies not just from within the Sudan but even from other foreigners masquerading as good friends of the South. These foreigners claim to advise some of the leaders in South Sudan by pitying them against their own fellow brothers and sisters. That is why today some of the leaders in the South are more determined to fight their fellow South Sudanese termed as other armed groups. But the truth behind such sinister advises is to keep the South fight amongst itself while they "provide expertise" whose real interest would be to loot, in the very eyes of South Sudanese, the resources of South Sudan.

The South cannot be united when tribalism is making the leaders of the South to look at foreigners as better people than their own fellow South Sudanese. The South cannot be united when a certain group, section or even tribe believes that they have fought and as such they must control all the resources of the South, including sensitive institutions like the BOSS, the Ministries, Commissions, Security Agencies, border entries, you name it. How could anyone, including the current leadership in the South, enjoy a sound sleep at night without fearing that another tribe might just go wacko? The fear for some tribes going wacko is the very reason why every leader in the South has many bodyguards. But should the issues of tribalism be addressed as clarified by Nhial Bol and his very good friend, Dr. Cingoth, in that the South becomes a tribe, there will be no worries and indeed everybody, including the leaders, shall enjoy sound sleeps without any fear for any tribe going wacko.

Abd Al Wahid Intends to Dominate Darfur Opposition Forces

The leader of Sudan Liberation Movement and Army opposed to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) Abd Al-Wahid Muhammad Nur, said that the Tripoli conference, which was concluded on Sunday, July 15th, 2007, is a tool of the National Congress Party (NCP).

In a telephone conversation with The Citizen newspaper which was published yesterday, July 16th, 2007, as its lead story, Abd Al-Wahid said "he would not go to Tripoli, despite his respect for the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi, because he does not see the meeting bringing anything new. He said from what he can see, it is a conference involving elements who are partial to the interest of the Sudanese government."

How sad a statement this is from a leader who claims to have the people of Darfur at heart! The presence of the National Unity Government (GoNU) in the conference is as important as that of Abd Al-Wahid himself. Because whether or not Abd Al-Wahid intends to dominate the Darfur opposition forces, as this seems to be the case, in the end he would talk to none other than the GoNU. Otherwise, it is quite easy to draw a conclusion from statements such as this and say that, Abd Al-Wahid has plans bigger than the Tripoli conference that aim at resolving the Darfur crisis without GoNU. This, of course, would be nothing other than playing illusionary politics.

Further analysis of Abd Al-Wahid's statement also indicates clearly that he and his movement have no trust in the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN) and certainly some of the observer countries, including some which Abd Al-Wahid would claim are his allies. What could be wrong for the AU, the UN and other observers to work towards the unification of the splinter groups or rebel factions in Darfur, including that of Abd Al-Wahid?

Perhaps, Abd Al-Wahid needs to bear in mind that the AU, UN and other observers agree with GoNU in the efforts to reunify the factions that broke away from Abd Al-Wahid. The reason behind this move is to make people like Abd Al-Wahid know that however his SLM fought the government; and however other factions fought the government, the end result is one: a just and permanent solution to the problems in Darfur that has witnessed the displacement, maiming and indeed killing of thousands of the innocent people in Darfur.

Leaders who are greedy in that they thing they are the only ones who know what their people want have always failed. This has been the trend in this country since independence. It is the trend that has always been followed by the sectarian parties in this country in past and the result has always been underdevelopment. Thus, underdevelopment has been the main cause for civil wars in this country, including the one currently being waged by Abd Al-Wahid in the region of Darfur.

Darfur is a huge region and has one of the largest populations in this country. This being the case, it is wise to acknowledge that within this region, there are others who could equally contribute to its stability. This must be a challenge that imposes itself to Abd Al-Wahid and many others as future leaders in Darfur and the Sudan as whole.

Unity is strength and Abd Al-Wahid does not need to be told about this. The efforts that are being made by the AU, UN and other observers are aimed at realizing this unity in order to strengthen the people of Darfur in their resolve for peace. Anyone, thus, from amongst the people of Darfur who intends to work against the unity of the people in their resolve for peace may isolate himself forever and may not get another opportunity to unilaterally represent the people of Darfur. This is more so because the people of Darfur shall have to decide, in the end, who should lead them in free and fair elections in future. In other words, a leader who unites his people is a leader who is likely to receive the mandate of the people and is likely to be maintained by his people come elections or no elections.

Advertising Agencies Charge Newspapers for Adverts

Journalists are not businessmen by nature. But as my colleague, Alfred Taban, once said, as he welcomed the birth of The Advocate newspaper, "they too could make good businessmen." This could have been said wholeheartedly, but the truth is that a journalist, especially Editor-In-Chiefs of newspapers and other media outlets have virtually no time to engage in business. Some of them physically edit, proofread, write editorials and columns.

Given this massive task of writing, these Editor-In-Chiefs have their public relations officers who most of the times try their best to round up adverts from the various real business organisations and companies. But these days, there are also public relations institutions, companies or agencies that act as go betweens between the newspapers and other media outlets and the companies and or business institutions. In that they develop relationships with these newspapers and the other media outlets to negotiate the amounts for each and every advert published with varying prices on different pages or airtimes.

These public relations agencies are very shrewd in their work. They actually do deliver the adverts but some of them charge as much as 60 percent of the total amount of one advert from its original source. The reference to these advertisers as shrewd is real in that they hardly negotiate with the media outlets. They always insist on a flat rate of 60 percent.

The questions one would like to ask are that, who is supposed to benefit from the adverts? Is it the advertising agency or the newspaper? These questions are valid and they need very honest answers. If these questions could not find the correct answers in this column, then this column is asking its esteemed readers to contribute and their contributions to this debate would be published in this column.

However, to attempt to answer these questions, this column would say both the advertising agency and the media outlet are supposed to benefit. But one of them must benefit more than the other a little. The media outlet is supposed to benefit a little more than the advertising agency because the advertising agency does not publish the adverts, which is the real intention of the advertiser. The advertiser does not care who amongst the two, that is to say the advertising agency and the media outlet, benefits. What the advertisers care about is that their adverts are published at the end of the day and the published adverts must be clean. If they come out dirty, it is the media outlet that is responsible and must republish at an extra cost.

Some of these advertising agencies do bring ready made work that only needs to be downloaded from their sources and either prepared on plates or transparent A3 papers and taken straight to the printing company. In the end, the media outlet publishes the adverts and fairly distributes them throughout the country. Thus, the media outlets deserve to get a little more benefit than the advertising agency, because they, and not the advertising agencies, spread the adverts allover the country.

The advertising agencies must really know that unless they are the publishers, there is no way they could even have the slightest idea that they must benefit more. As for those who are greedy and think that they must, nonetheless, benefit, they need to be told that this kind of attitude would bring about disagreement between them and the media outlets. Some media outlets nowadays are trying their bests, through their hardworking public relations officers, to solicit for adverts on their own.

Otherwise, the advertising agencies need to be reminded that earning upto 40 percent of the total advert cost is certainly not a loss but not the other way round. It is true that anybody involved in money making business would always like to 'maximize the profit and minimize the loss' as is known in basic economics. Therefore, it would wise to tell the advertising agencies that, maximizing the profit you may but be also prepared to lose customers. Although the author of this column is not a businessman and he certainly may not become one, for reasons best known to him, it is not difficult to understand that it is better to lose 20 percent in one advert than losing a long list of potential customers.

Abductions of Mr. Akuen May Encourage 'Terrorist Elements'

Arthur Akuen, The former Minister of Finance, in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) is reported to have been abducted from Juba's main Prison otherwise known as Kobar. Mr. Akuen was accused sometimes this year of his alleged corruption practices. The former Minister was linked to a case involving Al-Cardinal Company in which a big amount of US Dollars was given to Martin Malwal who was said to have failed to deliver vehicles to GoSS and medical equipment to another state in greater Bahr Al-Ghazal.

What could be the reasons for the abduction of Mr. Akuen? Is the abduction meant to free Mr. Akuen from Prison to evade trial? Or is his abduction a raising of his current status of security level to a higher level and hence relocation by the SPLA Military Intelligence, ('The GIS' or General Intelligence Service) to another place?

Assuming that Mr. Akuen was freed by his loyalists in the SPLA to make him evade the trial that awaits him, one would say this is a dangerous thing to do. Because it means that those who have arranged for his forceful release are condoning corruption in the GoSS and are indeed encouraging terrorism. One can imagine the situation of the Prison Wardens during the operation! This action, nonetheless, suggests that someone very senior within the SPLA has ordered the soldiers to forcefully release Mr. Akuen whether or not it is in the negative or positive sense.

But if the abduction is in the negative sense, in that it is a measure to heighten Mr. Akuen's security to a certain level, this too is wrong and certainly not the way to deal with cases that are already in the hands of police and the law. SPLA is the military wing of the SPLM and as such it is never difficult to coordinate such a move, peacefully, with the Prisons authorities in Juba.

Both approaches, however, that is to say, the forceful release and relocation are wrong as explained above. Thus, the GoSS leadership needs to carry out a thorough investigation in order to get to the bottom of this abduction saga. This act denotes terrorism and any terrorism case has no colour and it certainly has no tribe. If this is allowed, the GoSS must be rest assured that such a thing would repeat itself. Today is Mr. Akuen and tomorrow might be another leader from within the GoSS leadership. Should such a trend be allowed to flourish, then GoSS' image may be tarnished and potential investor scared away. Could this be what the GoSS would want, especially after informing potential investors that the South is safe and that they are welcome to do business?

Abductions such is this of Mr. Akuen may encourage the 'terrorist elements' that H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First Vice-President and President of GoSS, said were in Juba to get involved in the practice. H.E. Lt-Gen. Mayardit had pointed out in his speech when he addressed the Sudanese Women National Conference in Juba. One only hopes that they did not have any influence over those who carried out this operation. Terrorist elements use a lot of money to hire hit-men and as such one would sincerely hope that the terrorists don't capitalize on the non-payment of salaries to the SPLA and recruit some of them with lots of money.

To avoid the development of such a situation, the GoSS needs to address the problem of the SPLA soldier. This problem is represented in the unnecessary delay of salaries and other needs for an SPLA soldier. This problem by itself could create an unnecessary discontent within the army and since everybody is working to make ends meet, SPLA soldier too is working, especially in this era of peace, to make ends meet. Any failure, therefore, in resolving the problem of SPLA's basic needs, including salaries could be detrimental to GoSS, society and more importantly, the investor.

The intention here is not to say that the SPLA soldiers are terrorists. No, but it is meant to draw the attention of GoSS to the fact that discontents within any army, especially lack of salary payments, has made a number of countries in the African continent to physically terrorise and rob citizens of their money and property. This was the case during the era of Mobutu Sese Seko in the then Zaire, now Cong. Mobutu had some paramilitary force known as Kamonyola.

These forces, especially those located at the Sudanese-Congolese borders, terrorised and robbed cash and property from any foreigner entering or exiting from the Congo, including this author in 1980. Even Zairians were not in anyway spared by these so-called Kamanyola paramilitary forces. The Kamanyola forces were very well known in that they could just do about anything so long as they were to be paid for the services. The misbehaviour by these Kamanyola forces earned the Zairian government then bad name and kept away for quite a long time, investors who had interest to invest in the Congo. Could this be what GoSS wants to happen in the South by encouraging insecurity within the GoSS circles in the form of terrorising and abducting citizens, including those who are already under police custody?

Appointment of Moi as Kenya's Envoy on Peace is Welcome But……

President Daniel Toroitich arap-Moi, former President of Kenya and Kenya's envoy to the Sudan, is in Khartoum to begin his mission. He has held talks with President Al Bashir and Foreign Minister, Dr Lam Akol. Moi was recently appointed by his successor who also was his former Vice-President, now President, Mwai Kibaki, to coordinate the follow up of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation with the CPA partners: National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

The appointment of Moi as Kenya's envoy on peace in the Sudan is welcome. It was during Moi's rule and his chairmanship of the Inter-governmental Authority on Drought and Desertification (IGADD) that the question of the Sudanese civil war became internationally recognised. Moi's articulation of the case to the IGADD member States in early 1990s prompted IGADD to organise its first mediation efforts in 1994. It was in 1994 that the National Salvation Revolution (NSR) government and the SPLM/A started serious and systematic peace negotiations. It was also in 1994 that the parties to the Sudan peace talks, through the help of the then Kenyan Foreign Minister, Kalonzo Musioka, signed the first agreement popularly known as the Declaration of Principles (DoPs), the basis of the current CPA. Thus, President Moi is, more than anybody else in the African continent, very well versed with the Sudanese problems.

It is on this background that this author would like to draw the attention of H.E. President Moi to the fact the CPA is facing numerous problems. These problems include the issues of armed groups, the Abyei and the north-south boundary demarcation, violations of the CPA by the partners and the problems of mismanagement of the scarce resources in South Sudan by those responsible in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), which is an obstacle towards the implementation of the CPA.

Other Armed Groups

On the issue of the armed groups, the South-South Dialogue (SSD) which the Moi Foundation had been mediating its resolution, is not resolved in the way the people of the South Sudan would have wanted. Instead of maintaining the path that was already determined by the Moi Foundation to pursue the SSD, the SPLM/A made a short cut to SSD. The SPLM/A claimed to have been organising a SSD conference in Juba while making secret deals with the then Commander-In-Chief of the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF), Lt-Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial. The SSD conference in Juba did not resolve any problem and as such the whole SSD conference was turned into SSDF, led by Lt-Gen. Paulino Matip, declaring its merger with the SPLM/A. The SSD conference in Juba, like most conferences, was not attended by everybody from the SSDF and the SPLM/A.

Therefore, those who had merged with the SPLM/A led by Lt-Gen. Matip did not make up half of the SSDF. Some of the SSDF officers and men had been absorbed by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), while those under Lt-Gen. Matip had been absorbed into the SPLM/A. There are thousands more who have neither been merged with the SPLM/A nor got absorbed into the SAF. The SSDF officers and men who have not been absorbed into either the SPLM/A or the SAF are supposed to be demobilized, disarmed and reintegration (DDR) into the society. This poses one problem that might be a serious obstacle in the implementation of the CPA, a concern to the President Moi as Kenya's envoy to the CPA implementation in the Sudan: these SSDF officers and men feel betrayed by the SPLM/A because it refused to pursue a SSD, which everyone of these SSDF officers and men thought was an important process, sincerely meant to reconciling brothers who once fought each other tooth and nail. How could the SPLM/A forgive and reconcile with these former SSDF officers and men without reconciling with them? How could SPLM/A even think of effecting the DDR at a time when some of these SSDF officers and men feel betrayed by SPLM/A brothers and sisters who pay no real attention to their plight? What will please these SSDF officers and men to hand over their weapons to the SPLM/A when they believe that SPLM/A is only interested in their guns but not their well being? There is more into this case of SSDF in as far as the SPLM/A intrigue is concerned than meets the eye.

Abyei Issue

The Abyei issue has a genuine dispute and this dispute is not complicated as the partners would like the Sudanese people and the entire world to know. Abyei was annexed to the north in 1905 by an agreement reached between its chiefs and the Khartoum authorities. The CPA is generally based on the January 1st, 1956, borders between the north and south. This being the case, Abyei, during the negotiations, was not part of South Sudan – it was given a special status – because trying to base discussions on Abyei on 1905 does not arise, as it would be a violation of the CPA.

However, what was agreed upon in the Naivasha must be implemented to the letter and spirit and the people of Abyei must hold a plebiscite as agreed upon by the partners to decide their fate, just like they did in 1905. They were not under any kind of duress when they signed the 1905 agreement which annexed them to the north. Likewise, they should be under no duress when the time comes for them to hold a plebiscite in order to decide their fate. If they think that their forefathers went wrong, then they must speak and decide but in a process that would be acceptable to all the partners in the CPA.

Even though there is a lot of fuss about the issue Abyei and border demarcation, SPLM/A and NCP had appointed experts who are now working to resolve the issue of the border demarcation based on January 1st, 1956, north-south boundaries. "The Technical ad hoc Border Committee has completed its preliminary review of maps and has begun a series of trips to the States bordering the 1956 line, to notify local officials and communities of its work and collect further data. The Committee will then conduct trips to the UK and Egypt to review maps held there, before producing its final recommendations to the Presidency by October 2007. It has also appealed to the international community for funds to hold further expert workshops on border demarcation", http://www.unmis.org/common/documents/cpa-monitor/cpaMonitor_jun07.pdf).

Violations of the CPA by partners

The CPA partners have been accusing each other of violating the CPA. The SPLM/A accuses the NCP of delaying the CPA implementation. They base these accusations on the delay in border demarcation which is directly linked to the issue of Abyei; the withdrawal of the SAF forces from the South, especially oil-producing states, including Abeyi; Other Armed Groups which the SPLM/A believes are still being backed up by the SAF; and oil revenues, whose calculations SPLM/A believes are based on imaginary figures and not based on transparency.

On the other hand, the NCP, although not publicly, equally accuses the SPLM/A of refusing to withdraw their forces from Southern Blue Nile, the Nuba Mountains; taking over Abyei; undermining the government of national unity; leaving areas designated by the CPA for concentration of forces in South Sudan; encouraging tribalism and nepotism, major recipes for a possible collapse of the CPA in South Sudan; and working with foreign powers to bring about regime change in the Sudan.

Frankly speaking all these are true violations of the CPA and need very serious redress before they set aback the Sudanese to renew fighting. Partners are supposed to be people who sincerely address their serious problems indoors and very secretly so that they do not scare their stakeholders. None of them has the right to violate the CPA. Instead both of them are obliged by the CPA not only to abide by the CPA but respect it as well.

Mismanagement of scarce resources in South Sudan

The GoSS led by the SPLM/A, have from day one, seriously embarked on the general mismanagement of the scarce resources in South Sudan. The GoSS has so far received nearly two (2) billion US Dollars in oil revenue. This money by all standards is too large to disappear without any significant development in South Sudan. As Kenya's former President, Moi is in a position to know what two billion dollars mean when it comes to putting such an amount into development. Most of this money has not been equitably used; it has been used mostly by the SPLM/A Dinka tribe elements within the GoSS. This is a violation of the CPA because it is likely to anger the other tribes and is obviously a serious recipe for a sure renewed South-South conflict if nothing is done to arrest the situation. The First Vice-President and president of GoSS is doing his best to arrest the situation but he certainly cannot arrest everybody otherwise he would be left with virtually no ally to stand by his side.

Conclusion

The CPA implementation may succeed in northern Sudan, including the areas of Abyei, Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile but not in the South. There is a brewing conflict in the South, which is caused by mismanagement of money generated from oil revenue, open practice of tribalism and nepotism in allocating jobs to individuals in South Sudan; a good example being the recent deployment of legal officers in the Ministry of Legal Affairs in South, 90 percent of which come from one tribe, the Dinka tribe. The issue of trying to apply DDR on certain members of other communities while leaving others is yet another threat to the stability in South Sudan.

There is a way out of this sure mess in South Sudan: the GoSS has to accept the principle of SSD. SSD was initiated by the Churches in South Sudan and it should be allowed to continue this noble work of trying to unite the people of South Sudan without any political pressures from the SPLM/A. SSD is the way forward in South Sudan because it will bring about genuine reconciliation, one which would obviously be based on forgetting about the past and opening new pages for the present to enjoy peace and tranquility. More so, it would be the only way to improve the security of the South, a prerequisite to CPA implementation.

Why Grab Peoples' Lands when there is Enough Land for All?

This article was published by The Advocate on July 9th, 2007, in the "Events" Column, p.6. A number of people had referred to the article then as a piece of propaganda work. The Advocate does not blame these people, for they saw no substantial evidence in the article. This then became a challenge to The Advocate and as such it had carried the necessary investigations. However, The Advocate is rerunning this article so that its esteemed readers, especially those who doubted the article then, are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that whatever piece(s) of information it publishes are not aimed at any kind of propaganda. It is not in the interest of The Advocate and certainly not in the interest of the Sudanese people to lie or support any kind of lie or political propaganda that may be detrimental to their very existence. Documents supporting this story are exclusively published in pages 5 and 12, including the picture of the "Home & Away" building built on the late Dr. Ronald Voga's, plot 52, in Juba.

The issue of land grabbing in Juba has resurfaced again. According to reports coming from Juba, there are more than 50 cases of land grabbing or disputes in Tong Piny and Juba Nabari residential areas. Most of these cases could not be addressed because plaintiffs are afraid. The fear is based on possible retributions as those behind land grabbing are said to be very senior SPLM/A members.

One of the latest stories of the land grabbing issue in Juba is that between a certain millionaire known as Benjamin and Dr. Ronald Voga. Dr. Voga is diseased and millionaire Benjamin did not only grab his land but developed it by erecting a building known as "Home and Away" in the late Voga's plot number 52 in Buluk residential area.

Why on earth must responsible people grab lands that do not belong to them? Did some of these senior members of SPLM/A take up arms to fight the successive regimes in the Sudan in order to grab peoples' lands at the end of the day? These questions cannot be answered by ordinary citizens of Juba and other parts of the South but could be by the very senior members of the SPLM/A behind the scenes of land grabbing.

The innocent people whose lands have been grabbed do sincerely believe that the reasons for taking up arms against the successive governments in the Sudan were to correct the system. The government systems before the National Salvation Revolution (NSR) came to power were bad and did encourage marginalization of the Sudanese people. Today, we all know that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) came as a result of recognition by the NSR that the country indeed had problems and that only the Sudanese, represented in the SPLM and the NCP parties, had the will to settle the grievances that had lasted for more than 50 years.

It is known that some SPLM/A senior leaders are truly working for the downfall of H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and the President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) as well as the SPLM as a party. This statement should not be misconstrued as an incitement. Any leadership that has the interest of its party at heart should not do things that are likely to render their party and hence the entire leadership of the party unpopular. SPLM as a party is increasingly becoming unpopular in the South because there are so many things that are done by some senior SPLM/A members – even though at individual levels – they are counted on the SPLM as a party. Any action taken by any senior leadership anywhere in the world could be perceived as an exercise of the party and/or government policy.

However, since the welfare of the citizens in the South rests on the shoulders of the GoSS Presidency, it is advisable that the Presidency orders the Land Commission in South Sudan to look into these cases of land grabbing. The citizens whose lands are grabbed cannot wage a fight against the powerful SPLM/A officials who are behind the scenes of land grabbing. They virtually have no one to turn to except the GoSS Presidency in South Sudan which has the powers to put an end to the menace of land grabbing in Juba and other areas in South Sudan. The interference of the Presidency in the land grabbing cases is not only honourable but would equally give the SPLM party a boost in resuscitating the lost support and a feeling that the land grabbing issue is not sanctioned by the SPLM/A as a policy.

The entire SPLM/A leadership are fully aware of the reception accorded to them when their Advanced Mission visited Khartoum. They are also aware of the reception accorded to their late Chairman and C-in-C, Dr Garang de Mabior, when he came to Khartoum first time in 22 years. But what seem to be puzzling many Sudanese today is SPLM/A's failure to develop further the popularity it received! Why work contrary to party principles to earn it unpopularity? Why mistreat the civil population for whom SPLM/A had taken up arms (knowing that such could bring about loss of confidence)? Why grab peoples' lands when there is enough land for all in the South? Why deprive the dead for a property he had left for his own children to benefit from after his demise?

Kapoeta by All Standards Cannot Make a State's Capital

Reports coming from Torit, the Seat of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) government, say the EES Interim Legislative Assembly (EESILA) has unanimously passed a motion to reinstate Torit, the temporary capital of EES as the new capital for EES. According to the reports, a seriously heated debate under the EESILA newly elected Speaker, Sabina Dario, discussed amongst other items, a motion raised by one of the members to reinstate Torit as the capital for EES.

The reports further said that another ESSILA member who was eager to see the matter settled, called for a point of order and requested the Speaker to allow the ESSILA members to put the issue of the State capital to vote. When the Speaker agreed to that point of order, ESSILA members from Kapoeta, the capital of EES, who were mainly opposed to the motion, registered their disappointment in the Speaker and walked out of ESSILA.

The voting, according to the report, took place and the yes as opposed to nay won the battle of the day. There were absentees but no abstainers, and that the motion to reinstate Torit as the State's capital was unanimously adopted by ESSILA.

It should be recalled that Kapoeta was decreed as the capital of EES by the President of the Republic, Field Marshall Omar Al Bashir, during the creation of EES in 1994. The decision to make Kapoeta as a capital came as a result of lobby exercised by the sons and daughters of Kapoeta within the National Salvation Revolution (NSR) Government. Even though there was opposition to Kapoeta being the capital of EES for genuine reasons represented in the lack of physical infrastructure, those who lobbied for Kapoeta to become the State did not do their homework properly.

After succeeding to make Kapoeta the capital of EES, these lobbyists should have gone an extra mile: request the Head of State to approve funds to construct Kapoeta so that it could accommodate its government, the legislature, the judiciary, other government departments, as well as houses for the State's top officials. This was not done and one sincerely could attribute it to the war conditions at the time. But this did not mean that the lobbyists did not bear in mind that their lobby as one single tribe could receive opposition from the majority of the EES people in future.

It is sad to state here that the members of ESSILA from Kapoeta who walked out of ESSILA protesting against the voting, lacked democratic principles. The NSR government did its best to make Kapoeta the capital of the State but the citizens of Kapoeta themselves betrayed the trust of the NSR in them by failing to lobby - within ESSILA - to win the support of its majority to maintain the status-quo.

However, Kapoeta by all standards cannot make a State's capital for a number of reasons. Kapoeta is less than 75 miles to an international border, Kenya. The British chose Torit as the capital of EES long ago, but did bearing in their minds the fact that Torit would be more central in that any foreign incursion could easily be contained before it gets to it. For example: Torit is over 150 miles to the Kenyan borders; it is over 100 miles to the Ugandan border through Ikwoto; about 90 miles to the Ugandan border through Magwi; and Nimule, another Ugandan border. Each of these border entries has single entries into Torit as the town is surrounded by mountains. Thus, those Sudanese nationals who participated with the British to make Torit the capital of EES were military strategists who were concerned with foreign incursions rather than the love for a District capital at the time.

This issue of the State capital, therefore, should not be allowed to divide the people of the State. The sons and daughters of Kapoeta should be a little more realistic and understand that Kapoeta cannot make a State capital, and that there is no crisis in terms of searching for a capital. They should instead embark on engaging both the government of South Sudan and that of EES to pay more attention to the underdevelopment of Kapoeta before they paint an imaginary picture of Kapoeta as a capital.

A capital of any State needs physical infrastructure to accommodate the three arms of the government, other governmental departments; as well as housing for the State's top government officials. More so, it needs the available of social services. Kapoeta as a District is rich in minerals and oil deposits and it could become EES' commercial capital in future. But even this needs hard work from the sons and daughters of Kapoeta as there are other centres Acholi and Madi lands that would join in the competition for a commercial capital in EES.

Reshuffle in EES Pre-empts Any Future Impeachment of Governor

The government of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) has been reshuffled. This was announced on August 9th, 2007. The reshuffle affected all the ministers in EES except for one: Ben Loki, the Minister for Information and Social Welfare. This latest reshuffle includes three women in the ministries of health, agriculture and advisor on gender issues respectively.

Meanwhile, Dr. Theophilous Ochang, the former Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Minister of Health, is reported to have moved a motion in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) aimed at impeaching the Governor of EES, Aloysius Emor Ojetuk from governorship. Dr. Ochang is reported to have accused the Governor of ignoring the 25 percent of women representation in EES cabinet and legislative assembly, biased ethnic representation and insecurity, a matter which Dr. Ochang emphasized to his SSLA colleagues, had brought about the loss of more than 100 lives in EES.

According to the reports from Juba on the reaction of the citizens of EES and other neighbours such as Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria, the reshuffle was believed to be fair. Others asked about the reshuffle had nothing more to say except saying that, "we are just happy for the reshuffle."

As the esteemed reader would realise, there are two topics here which could be dealt with each separately. That is the issue of the reshuffle and that of the governor's impeachment motion moved by Dr. Ochang in the SSLA. However, this author believes that both could be tackled in this article as there are many other topics awaiting his attention.

About the reshuffle in EES, it is reassuring in that the government of EES was referred to by many people in South Sudan as dormant and incapable of running a government system. Most of the issues raised by Dr. Ochang did happen but one would sincerely not blame the governor entirely. The early cases of torture, detentions and mistreatment of some individuals within EES were – upto a certain extent – backed by most of the people who are now saying the governor is entirely responsible. One such case to cite is that of Col. Paul Omoya Thomas, EES former Minister of Agriculture, whose arrest was insinuated by the former Equatoria Defence Force (EDF) members who joined the SPLM/A less than year before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005.

Most of these EDF-SPLM/A senior members did not want anyone from the majority of EDF who had refused to venture with them into joining the SPLM/A to participate in EES government. But when Col. Omoya came through Lt-Gen. Paulino Matip's ticket, they worked hard to get rid of him. His Excellency Lt-Gen. James Wani Igga, SSLA Speaker, who, after he was briefed by the EES Security Committee led by the governor that Col. Omoya was planning to kill him, was reported to have told the governor while in Torit that, this is a family matter, asking the governor to solve it in a brotherly manner. This was rejected by none other than the EDF-SPLM/A who went ahead and pressured the governor to treat the case as a security threat to the State. Col. Omoya was arrested and is under lock and key in whereabouts that are not known by anybody except the EDF-SPLM/A since 2006.

A reshuffle that would see the entire cabinet go except two clearly entails that either the governor's choices were bad or the governor himself is bad. It cannot be both of course because the governor cannot accept in his cabinet a person he knows is bad; and at the same time, no person in his/her normal mind would accept to be appointed by a governor s/he cannot agree with or simply thinks is bad.

For the governor of EES to maintain his position, assuming that it is his former cabinet and not him that is bad, he must learn to do business within the State's Council of Ministers. In other words, he must learn to work in a team work rather than making some wild decisions which are always based on hatred, tribal or sectional dislikes. A governor that works outside his cabinet is a dictator and as such would always fail, no matter how intelligent he might be. If the system of government could be run by one single individual there will be no need to appoint his/her assistants: members of the cabinet and the bureaucrats that assist the cabinet.

While it has been the tradition of parliamentarians in the South to be appointed in cabinets, one sincerely feels that the representation of EES in SSLA would seriously be affected by the appointment of its MPs to the cabinet of EES. One is happy for their appointment in EES as ministers but none of them would be in a position to attend and contribute in the SSLA sessions systematically. Unless one of them or all are in Juba on official duty, they cannot be in a position to attend the SSLA sessions and EES, in terms of participation and advancement of its interest in SSLA would lose a lot. The other aspect is that, there are many qualified people in the South who are looking for employment but do not have. Instead of making an MP double two jobs, why not separate the two so that another unemployed person could be given an opportunity in order to contribute towards the general development of the South.

On the issue of impeachment of the EES Governor, however, it appears that the governor and those advising him outside the EES governor has preempted any future impeachment. The governor has resolved the issues of ethnic bias and women's 25 percent representation in EES government. The issue of insecurity is the problem of the whole of South Sudan and that needs the GoSS, not the EES government, to address the issue. This means that those who would want to impeach the governor would really have to wait until the governor goes wrong again (God forbid). Every reasonable person who feels that the governor must go would – after knowing that the governor has been given a new cabinet – give the governor time to see whether there will be any substantial changes in his government's performance, before thinking that he must go. This is called fairness and fairness certainly does not entertain sinister motives that are saturated with tribalism and aimed at destruction.

Otherwise, this author extends his sincere congratulations to all those appointed in EES as ministers and advisors. He hopes that those newly appointed ministers and advisors live upto the challenge of working for the interest of the people of EES and should not betray the confidence bestowed upon them by the President of GoSS and the governor of EES. As for those who have been relieved of their duties, they have to sit down and evaluate themselves in order to know where they went wrong. They should accept being removed as this is the continuous exercise of governments. They should know that their coming into the EES power base was the departure of others who were there before them and this is a continuous exercise.

Rubkona Youth Should Not Judge Others on Hearsays

The Secretary-General (SG) of Youth Association in Rubkona County, Unity State, called The Advocate newspaper on August 2nd, 2007, to protest against its lead news story entitled "18 Killed in Tribal Clashes, and Torrents Encircle Bentiu" (in Unity State) published on August 1st, 2007. Speaking to The Advocate reporter who received the information from the government headquarters in Bentiu, the SG of Rubkona Youth expressed his anger, saying that the news story was incorrect; and that The Advocate was advancing the "Jallaba" interests – those of Isalamicisation and encouraging insecurity in Unity and other states in the South.

What a reasonable leader could have done in this case of the Rubkona youth is that s/he should – on reading that the news story reported by The Advocate was incorrect – have prepared a statement to The Advocate newspaper refuting the news story. May be it is not too late after all. The youth leadership in Rubkona could still prepare a press statement which The Advocate newspaper sincerely hopes would have nothing to do with political propaganda but rather facts as they are on the ground in Rubkona and it will be published.

Others, including government officials from Unity State contacted by The Advocate to verify the information, said it was true that there are tribal clashes in Rubkona, Unity State, Bentiu. But, they stressed, that there was no need to report about the tribal clashes. They said that The Advocate should have reported about the torrents but not the tribal clashes.

It appears that there is a total misunderstanding of the media in as far as the youths in Rubkona, Unity State, are concerned. The media cannot wait for the Youth Secretary-General or the Governor for that matter to decide on which information should be given to, and published by, the media when Unity State has mobile phones networks, including Thuraya Satellite phones through which information can find its way through to the media in the national capital or elsewhere in the Sudan. To say the information should have been split, one reported and the other withheld or completely ignored so that the "Jallaba" don't hear it, is an immature statement, especially when it comes from the Secretary-General of the Youth Association, a sector the South relies on now and in future.

Perhaps it is important to inform the youth in Rubkona and the South at large that the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) came into being as a result of the massive media campaign carried out by Radio SPLA and hence its political leadership, especially the late Dr John Garang de Mabior. The media sends clear information to both the enemy (if there is any) and well wishers all over the world that there is a problem. On getting the information, the well wishers in form of foreign governments, governmental and non-governmental organisations study the information and accordingly devise ways and means of trying to resolve it. These well wishers then would express interest in trying to provide mediation to the conflicting parties. Once accepted, a conflict resolution exercise takes place. That is how the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as a regional body that includes Sudan had to receive messages from other equally interested well wishers to mediate the conflict in the Sudan. These other well wishers provided funding for the previous and the latest IGAD talks which succeeded and brought about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), GoNU and its arms, the GoSS and its arms; and the State governments and their arms in the Sudan.

The Advocate, thus, does not work for "Jallaba" and has never received any funding before and after the establishment of The Advocate newspaper. But The Advocate, however, has been established by Sudanese who are truly concerned with the general well being of the Sudan and not only the South as such. The founders of The Advocate use the meagre resources generated by The Advocate to maintain the running costs of the paper on daily basis and The Advocate's working staff. The founders of The Advocate have not been paid to the time of writing this piece of article, irrespective of the difficulties that are facing them on individual basis. They hope that some Sudanese or other well wishers who are equally thinking with them on the same wave length would come to their assistance. Otherwise, the songs being sung by some sections within the South Sudanese community, saying that there are some South Sudanese and daily newspapers like The Advocate and others who/which are working for the so-called "Jallaba" are outdated songs.

The very "Jallaba" we seem to be talking about all the time have given the South what it deserves as per the CPA: 50 percent of oil wealth, 70 percent of power in the South and 20 percent of power sharing in the North; and 100 percent of security control over the South. If these so-called "Jallaba" used to give money before the CPA, it is because they were in full control of the 100 percent of oil revenues from both the South and the North as well as 100 percent control over senior and junior posts in the whole country. Today, these so-called "Jallaba" cannot pay any amount of money to a South Sudanese, however powerful s/he is, in trying to destroy the South because there is no money. What is left of the 100 percent is supposed to be equally distributed to the rest of the country, including the South, in terms of chapters one, which is salaries; two, which is Services; and three, which is development.

It should be about time that the South Sudanese live upto their own responsibilities and stop apportioning blames on others. The so-called "Jallaba" are not running the South currently, are they? The South is run by its own sons and daughters who seriously engage in misappropriating money for the very development of the South, but yet it has never been heard that the "Jallaba" have encouraged those top GoSS officials who are engaged such malpractices as corruption, which is literally the order of the day nowadays in South Sudan.

but rather on facts they must acquire. For example, there is nothing that stops all the youth in Rubkona or the entire generation of youth in South Sudan from carrying out fact-finding missions to see with their own eyes whether or not some South Sudanese are being used by "Jallaba" with the aim of trying to destroy Unity State or the South. It is equally not difficult for the SPLM/A, as a junior partner in the GoNU, to carry out open investigations to know whether or not there are some South Sudanese who are being used by the so-called "Jallaba" in this era of peace. If the youth in Rubkona and indeed the whole South need to know more, they should rest assured that this era is one in which every ugly practice could so easily be exposed. So, who amongst the partners would like to be seen working against the other partner; is it the SPLM/A or the National Congress Party?

We Must Not Allow Foreigners to Bring Their Wars to Our Country

A heavy explosion rocked Salama residential area south of Khartoum the day before yesterday. According to Sudani daily newspaper of August 13th, 2007, the house in which the explosion took place belongs to a number of foreign Muslim extremists. According to the paper, ammunition and weapons were found in the very house of the foreigners. Three of the alleged foreigners were arrested and are being detained by the security authorities.

This is a very interesting occurrence in the sense that the Sudan as a country, even though it has its own Muslim extremists, has never been documented to be a city within which such practices are rampant. This thus means that the Sudanese of all multitudes: religions, cultures and races have been recorded by history as peace-loving people.

It is on this background that The Advocate newspaper is posing a few questions so that the authorities and its esteemed readers in this city contemplate their answers. Since those responsible for the explosion and arrested by the authorities are not only foreigners but Muslim extremists, how did they find their ways into this country? Are they being sponsored by some powerful people elsewhere in this conflict-ridden world of ours? Could it be that some of the world's renowned terrorists have entered into this country with the aim of hitting soft targets that they find hard to hit elsewhere in the Middle East and Afghanistan? Why Khartoum? Could it also be that they have exploited the hospitality of the Sudanese people and as such they have found sanctuary that they cannot find elsewhere?

The people of this country have just come out of one of the world's longest civil wars: the south-north conflict. It is currently doing its best to find a solution to the Darfur problem. Could the coming of these Muslim extremists into the Sudan mean that this country is likely to revert back into yet another different kind of war? Should this contemplation be true, then the Sudanese people are in serious troubles.

However, the Sudanese people have trust in their government and one truly believes that the authorities would try their best to trace back the culprits. By tracing back we mean that the government has to know from where these foreigners came and to investigate a possible link to the world's top terrorists. Once it is established, the government has to deal with the situation appropriately, because actions such as that of Salama explosion do seriously undermine the government credibility and the effectiveness of its security system.

Our government, therefore, should not, under all circumstances, allow these kinds of people to have a sanctuary in the Sudan. It will be the innocent Sudanese people who will pay the price for the plans that they may be trying to execute in this beautiful city of ours. We all know that from the experiences of everybody in this world, terrorism explosions usually take a life or two as real targets but hundreds of innocent civilians would also perish with those targets.

We must not allow foreigners to bring their wars into our country because we have had enough wars of our own. They must fight their wars within their territories since they do not care for the lives that are lost everyday in their own countries as they continue unabated with terror acts.

Without Proper Security Census and General Elections Are Not Important

It has come to the attention of "Events" column that the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) through its Liaison Office in a number of neighbouring African countries is instigating the authorities of these countries not only to allow entry of South Sudanese into their countries but to intimidate and harass those that are already there. According to reports "Events" is getting from these countries, Police as well as Immigration Officials from the said countries are seriously harassing South Sudanese in their countries with a view to frustrate them so that they return home. The report clearly indicates that the GoSS liaison Offices in these neighbouring countries are paying these the Police and Immigration Officers in these neighbouring countries to harass and intimidate South Sudanese to the point of frustration.

Well, this is a very sad information to hear. This author was once a refugee in one of the neighbouring countries and he had witnessed a number of harassments and intimidations. The harassments and intimidations at the time were attributed to both the SPLM/A. The Sudan government hoped to frustrate the Sudanese so that they return back home while the SPLM/A hoped to see many Sudanese join the struggle. The people who suffered the frustrations and intimidations most were South Sudanese because they had no where to go.

The latest reports, however, say that the reasons for the latest harassments and intimidations in these neighbouring countries are that SPLM/A want South Sudanese to go home so that they participate in the forthcoming population census and the general elections in 2008/9. The GoSS wants all South Sudanese in the South before the times for the census and the general elections.

"Events" would like to address this particular issue from the human rights perspectives. While it is a responsibility of every citizen to get home and participate in the population census and general elections, it is also a responsibility for the government concerned to improve the conditions of living for these very citizens. Otherwise, how could any citizen, for example, go home only to be confronted by problems such as those of insecurity and other human rights violations? These citizens left their homes because there was, not only a civil war, but general insecurity created by the many armed forces that existed in towns controlled by both SPLM/A and the Sudan government during the war, which included human rights violations. Now, is it enough to say that the forces that created insecurity are disarmed and removed from these towns and that the people must go in order to settle; regardless of whether or not they would be secure? No, it is not possible, because there are landmines that are not yet removed, harassment by the SPLA soldiers and the displacement of indigenous peoples from their own lands by some SPLM/A senior government officials.

However, the governments of the neighbouring countries need to know that ones they have accepted South Sudanese or indeed any other group of nationalities as refugees in their own countries, their return home becomes voluntary rather than compulsory repatriation. Because there is no way, in human rights terms that anyone would just accept to go "home" when the reasons for which he or she had to flee home in the first place are still there. Most people left their home countries because of insecurity and human rights violations. SPLM/A had told Sudanese refugees in many refugee camps in the neighbouring countries before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that they should not go home because they will be mistreated by the regime in power; and that the country lacked not only infrastructure but services that are to be offered to them when they return home.

"Events" would like to inform the governments of these neighbouring countries that the South is not secure; and that some of the people from the South currently in refuge in their countries have had their plots seized by powerful forces within the GoSS. Both the GoNU and the GoSS have not made any serious arrangements to receive these refugees. This, thus, would require the UNHCR to ensure that the refugees they intend to repatriate home are better accommodated, well taken care of in terms of health, educations and more importantly security services as well as employment to those who are qualified. It is unfortunate for these neighbouring countries to start responding to the GoSS Liaison Offices' instructions to harass and intimidate Sudanese in their countries.

Without proper security census and general elections are not important. Conducive atmospheres in the entire South Sudan and some parts of Northern Sudan are key to voluntary repatriation to all the South Sudanese, including those from the North wherever they are in the whole world.

SPLM/A Members are Indebted to Dr Garang's Legacy

H.E. the Advisor of Diplomacy to the President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), and Secretary-General of the SPLM Party, Pagan Amum, while commemorating the death of the late Dr Garang de Mabior on July 27th, said among other things that the SPLM shall continue to maintain the legacy of the late Dr John Garang de Mabior. He also said that the scheme of the "New Sudan" is to transcend "Jallabaism" in a country of a million square metres. He said Sudan's Arabicism went through stages; and that the latest of these stages is what is called "civilization project" of the National Salvation Revolution (NSR). Amum also said that the "New SPLM Project" is an attempt to solve the crisis of "political instability" in the Country. The NSR had split into two parties: the National Congress Party (NCP) led by H.E. the President of the Republic, Omar Hasan Al Bashir, and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Dr Hasan Abdallah Al Turabi in 1998.

One would sincerely hope that the SPLM Secretary-General truly fights to steer up the SPLM towards the actual legacy of the late Dr Garang de Mabior. What is this legacy? Did the late Garang keep secret this legacy? These will be some of the questions "Events" column will be discussing.

The Legacy of the late Dr Garang is that of a 'united secular and democratic Sudan', within which, Garang believed, all Sudanese irrespective of their colour, race, religion and cultural backgrounds would have a common ground. The late Garang did not keep such a legacy a secret. He almost sung this legacy whenever he made those popular speeches he used to make over radio SPLA and in most of the fora in which he addressed people of the world. This legacy did not, in any way, divide the Sudanese people into colours, races, religions and cultural backgrounds.

How could this legacy, which Pagan Amum referred to as a "New Sudan Project" aimed at solving the "crisis of political instability" in the country "transcend Jallabaism in a million square miles country?" Jallabaism and New Sudanism are concepts that the late Dr Garang tried to harmonise in order to arrive at a 'united, secular and democratic Sudan' but not aimed at dividing the people of the Sudan. In his address to the members of NCP at the headquarters on his arrival from Nairobi, Dr Garang said, "the (NSR's) 'Civilization Scheme' and the 'New Sudan Project' could be fused for the betterment of the Sudanese people.

SPLM under the leadership of H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit should not be selective in cherry-picking the legacy of the late Dr Garang. Dr Garang aimed at uniting the people of this country on new bases. The new bases according to the understanding of this author are the maintenance of Sudan, its people, cultures, religions, races, colours; you name it, within a united, secular and democratic Sudan.

Thus, SPLM has an opportunity to challenge most of the national parties but not by basing their "project" on divisive politics. South Africa did face one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. The South African Pretoria regime then, however, did everything to mistreat, kill and humiliate the indigenous South African people. Despite what the Boers or the White South Africans did to the blacks, its leadership under the able leadership of President Nelson Mandela worked out a formula in which it managed to accommodate the Boers or the White South Africans within a united, secular and democratic South Africa.

What is being referred to as Dr Garang's legacy is a legacy Dr Garang developed through the help of his gallant forces, the SPLA and the political wing he created, the SPLM now administered by Pagan Amum. It means then that all SPLM/A members are indebted to the very legacy that is being talked about and as such are obliged to defend it with the aim of achieving this country's unity on the new bases of united, secular and democratic Sudan.

Arrest of Nhial Bol: is it Scare or Threat?

The Editor-In-Chief of The Citizen newspaper, Nhial Bol, was arrested Juba and immediately released by the authorities in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS). He was accused of reporting corruption practices in the GoSS, according to the Reuters report on August 8th, 2007.

How could any journalist refer to the arrest of Nhial Bol by the GoSS? Could it be referred to as an act aimed curbing press freedom in the South? Or is it meant to scare off journalists like Nhial Bol and many others from attempting to report about corruption in the GoSS? The Advocate newspaper has tried to make contacts with Nhial Bol in order to get more information from him on his arrest but all was in vain due to poor Mobile network connection with Juba.

However, to threaten journalists from reporting important matters like those of corruption in the South amounts to an indirect curbing of press freedom in the South. This is more so because when a journalist feels threatened, s/he would not have the morale, let alone the courage, to pursue any coverage of work related to his field, especially within the area where the threat was issued directly or indirectly.

We sincerely hope that what happened to our colleague, Nhial Bol, was a mistake carried out by individuals within GoSS and not meant to threaten or scare him. This is in line with the call made by H. E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of GoSS and First Vice-President of the Republic, to the press to help his government fight corruption in the South.

Journalists have no individual or collective interests in reporting issues related to corruption and other human rights abuses such as tribalism and others. It is an obligation of their profession to report these issues and thus must not be taken personally by some powerful individuals in GoSS as an act of aggression against them. Instead, government officials in GoSS and indeed the whole country should encourage responsible reporting of the issues mentioned above because such reports would help them correct themselves.

It is true that top senior government officials in most third world governments could fall victims of acts they did not commit but may be committed by their junior staff in their various ministries or governmental institutions. Thus, anyone of them would be informed by the report prepared by the journalist and hence s/he would move in to correct the situation.

The South has become a model of press freedom in the Sudan and that is a beautiful thing to note. But if there are some people who think that the press freedom enjoyed by the South is a mistake, then s/he must be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This kind of people should be discouraged from acting like small dictators by the GoSS in order for it to improve its bad records of corruption.

To Appoint 250 Advisors Becomes Legalised Corruption

The Speaker of the Unity State's Legislative Assembly (USLA), John Tab, held a press conference at the SPLM Headquarters in Mugran, Khartoum, on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007. He disclosed in the conference that his State was planning to increase the number of the advisors to the Governor from 118 to 250. He also disclosed that his State was planning to request an increase in its share of oil revenue from 2% to 10%. The USLA Speaker went further to say that his State will reject any foreign company intending to operate in the State's oil fields if it does not provide services like road construction, education and health.

The last item in the list of demands of the Unity State government normally comes as a package within the framework of accepting companies that show interest in operating in any particular area in South Sudan and indeed in anywhere else in the developing world. Otherwise, companies that do not package such services within the framework of their work plans usually do not attract acceptances to their proposals.

Asking for the increase in the oil revenue from 2% to 10% may be a genuine request from Unity State. However, what Unity State needs the people of Unity State, South Sudan and the Sudan as a whole to know is how has it spent the 2% of two billion dollars, which is roughly about 40 million dollars? It will be very difficult for the Unity State government to demand for more oil revenue when – before the eyes of its own citizens – it has not accounted for the use of the 40 million dollars that it receives every year from the GoNU's treasury since it came to power two years ago.

The intention to increase the governor's advisors from 118 to 250 sounds a real joke. It is still a big joke to have 118 advisors let alone increasing such a number to 250. Whoever came up with the idea of appointing 118 advisors for the governor does not know the basis for which a State like Unity could be developed. How else could someone within the Unity State justify the spending of money on 250 advisors instead of development in the State?

The Unity State government seems to be usurping some powers from the government of South Sudan (GoSS). There is no doubt whatsoever that the State has the right to prepare its budgets that must include developmental programmes and/or plans. But it is in no uncertain terms that Unity State determines programmes and/or plans and acts on issues like increasing the oil revenues when its leaders like the Speaker know that such needs to be looked into by the CPA partners and not just GoSS.

The leaders in Unity State should really try to think along the lines of minimizing rather than increasing the number of their constitutional post holders. It appears that such a move seems to be aimed at politically bribing political followers and possibly improving the welfare of individuals rather than the general welfare of the State's citizens.

The governor of Unity State as a person does not need to be reminded that he is a revolutionarist who must have the interest of the poor people in his State at heart before thinking of improving the welfare of his politicians. He should think of developing Unity State and not increase the number of his constitutional post holders. He should not use his SPLM majority in the State legislative assembly to approve the appointment of 250 advisors, a matter that would sincerely make anybody in the country see the legalization of corruption in progress, God forbids.

Release of Allan Johnston and 250 Palestinians: Which is a Bribe?

Israel has released more 250 Palestinian prisoners from its jails. "More than 250 Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel on Friday, (July 20th, 2007) were embraced by joyous relatives and hoisted on shoulders at Mahmoud Abbas' headquarters — a heroes' welcome that translated into pure political capital for the Palestinian president in his power struggle with Hamas, (
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/20/africa/ME-GEN-Israel-Palestinians.php). The release of the Palestinians was received with mix reactions, especially from the Palestinian leaders. Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, called them "heroes of freedom", (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6907716.stm). But Abbas' arch rival, Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said it was a "political bribery"; and that his Hamas organisation will not cooperate with Israeli "gestures of goodwill", (BBC Arabic Service, July 20th, 2007).

While the release of every Palestinian, whether from Hamas, Fatah or indeed any other organisation is welcome, the statement of Hamas leader is not welcoming. How could Hamas leader say his organisation cannot cooperate with Israeli "gestures of goodwill", and that the move made by Israel is a "political bribery"?

In March 2007, Hamas leader had pledged to release the then abducted BBC's Gaza Strip reporter, Allan Johnston. Johnston was abducted by masked men on Monday, March 12th, 2007, in Gaza Strip. "Masked Palestinian gunmen kidnapped a BBC reporter from his car in Gaza City on Monday, March 12th, 2007. The man threw a business card on the street that identified him as Alan Johnston of the BBC, officials said. Palestinian security officials said no group claimed responsibility, (
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/836350.html).

Keeping up to his promise, Hamas leader secured the release of Allan Johnson on July 4th, 2007. "BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released (Wednesday, July 4th, 2007) after 114 days in captivity in the Gaza Strip. He describes the "appalling experience" at the hands of his captors, called the Army of Islam, (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6268102.stm).

In a joint press conference Hamas leader held with Mr. Johnston, Haniyeh said: "If the Israelis think reasonably and rationally, and take into account the humanitarian issue and the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners, we will be able to reach a deal," the Hamas leader, Haniyeh", (
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3420884,00.html).

Well, what could be more reasonable than releasing as many as 250 prisoners from the Israeli jails? This gesture of goodwill to the Palestinian people from the Israelis needs to be capitalised on by the entire leadership of the Palestinian people, including Hamas. But for Hamas to say his organisation cannot cooperate with the Israeli "gesture of goodwill"; and that the release of the 250 prisoners, mostly from Fatah, is a "political bribery" defeats the logic in Haniyeh's call for Israelis to "think reasonably and rationally."

Hamas secured the release of Mr. Johnston who himself is a Briton from a country allied to the Israeli government. Did Mahmoud Abbas call the move as a "political bribery" like Haniyeh said after the release of the 250 Palestinian prisoners?" If Haniyeh was working to release Mr. Johnston in order to get something in return, then he may not be reelected in the forthcoming Palestinian elections. Because the people of Palestine elected him unconditionally and they certainly do not need any conditions from Haniyeh as he addresses their concerns.

The Palestinian people have seriously suffered and at times have suffered more in the hands of their ever disagreeing leaders than in the hands of their sworn enemies. Thus, in the interest of the Palestinian people, Haniyeh and Abbas, including the other Palestinian leaders need to look at the interest of their people and not those of their own. They should dialogue to end their differences and focus on how to bring about the ever publicized would-be Palestinian State.

However, the release of the 250 Palestinians is "reasonable and rational" and it does not sound like it is a "political bribe." It appears to be a very good step towards creating an atmosphere for dialogue between the people of Israel and the Palestinian people. It is true that the members of Hamas are not released; but to whom should that be blamed: on Mahmoud Abbas or Haniyeh? It is clear that the blame goes to Haniyeh because he has vowed not to recognise Israel and Israel has equally responded by releasing members of Fatah but not those of Haniyeh's Hamas. Nonetheless, one sees a light at the end of the tunnel in that gestures of goodwill are always reciprocated to. May be the time has come for Haniyeh to extend a gesture of goodwill to Israel in order to see the kind of reaction he could get.

Let Us Value the Lives of Animals As We Do Ours

Generally there is a maltreatment of animals in this country. Goats and sheep are given salty water to inflate their stomachs so that those trying to buy them for slaughter purposes see them fat. It is common knowledge, though that not all sheep and goats with inflated stomach will be bought on the same day. Meaning the sheep and goats that are not bought would suffer from hunger as salt would cause them diarrhea.

At times people who own sheep and goats within the residential areas do not care for them. They do not feed them properly, to be more precise. As hunger strikes them, these animals would go around the residential areas picking plastic bags, papers, even torn pieces of cloths. Some of these items they pick are indigestible and as such could simply cause stomach complications.

Some of these goats and sheep, especially in Khartoum north or Bahri's Industrial Area, are made to drink from chemically-polluted water as well as grazing from grass grown on the very polluted area. This chemically-polluted water affects the animals' livers and kidneys. That means that those people who buy and slaughter the animals before they die off in order to eat, especially those who enjoy to eat the light meal known as "Marara" run the risk of feeding on toxicity concentrated on the animals' livers and kidneys. This is a serious health hazard to the innocent citizens who do not know how the slaughtered animals survived. "Marara" is a light meal prepared raw from sheep and goats' livers, kidneys, sacks, bile, onion and hot chilies.

Dogs on the other hand, are many in Khartoum. Some of these dogs are very happy as they are properly looked after and their owners keep them indoors. Some of these dogs, however, are left uncared for by their owners and hence become a security risk to the public. Some of them acquire rabies and could bite and infect many people. In fact it is now commonly known that astray dogs have ganged up in the desert between Wed-Amara and Mandela residential areas; and that they are so wild that they attack and tare people who try to cross the desert into pieces that they eat, including their bones.

As a child, this author has looked after sheep, goats and cattle. He reared dogs as well and loves animals in general. In fact he finds that dogs are very intelligent animals and friendly if cared for. He, according to his understanding of dogs, believes that despite the intelligence dogs develop naturally, they are also in a position to acquire more skills from those who care for them, let alone hearing their names and listening to what they are being told to do. This applies to other pets or domesticated animals as well, including bigger ones like donkeys and horses. As observed from circuses, other non-domesticated animals also display, in public, the skills they acquired from training.

This article, however, is trying to concentrate this discussion on the plight of donkeys in the northern part of the Sudan. Donkeys are animals considered by very many people in various societies that maximize their exploitation like here in the Sudan as stupid, even though they abide by the commands given to them by their owners.

Here in the Sudan, donkeys are used to transport staff, water and indeed people from one place to another. Despite the fact that these donkeys do their work very honestly, they are being used very cruelly. They are beaten even at a time when they are performing their duties. When they get sick or involved in hit-and-run accidents, attention is not paid to them. When someone moves around the city of Khartoum, especially its suburbs s/he can witness the cruelty applied on them.

This author is not against the use of animals such as the donkeys in facilitating cheap transportation to the poor citizens in the society. But it sincerely feels bad and hurting when these donkeys are being maltreated at a time when they perform their duties honourably. Sometimes one really wonders as to whether those who own animals like donkeys really have some kindness in their hearts! How could people who own donkeys that help them make ends meet beat them while performing their duties? How do people feel when animals with limited strength performing their duties to the best of their abilities get beaten? How do people feel when animals that help them make ends meet are not taken to veterinary clinics for treatment when they falls ill or get wounded during accidents? How could people in their logical minds leave donkeys hungry after performing enormous tasks?

This author would sincerely like to call on the authorities concerned with the welfare of these animals to really try their best to come to the rescue of these animals. They should not wait until the concerned citizens of this country come up with an organisation whose main task would be to protect the rights of these animals when there is a whole government department that is tasked with the responsibilities of maintaining and protecting the rights of these animals. Meanwhile, the wild dogs causing havoc on the citizens of Mandela and Wed-Amara residential areas must be rounded up and killed as they pose serious insecurity problems to the citizens of those areas.

As a God fearing country known for its Muslim and Christian faiths whose history is certainly indisputable, the Sudanese people, including their central and state governments should pay attention to other life forms. Since we all know that God loves His creations, our faiths, based the love of God, should not only be geared towards the protection of the rights of human beings alone but also towards all God's creations. Let us value the lives of animals as we do ours as human beings.

Political Defectors are Very Dangerous Political Elements

Defections from some political parties to others are very common in this contemporary time of ours. They actually date as far back as to the time of the development of pluralism in politics. Some of them are hailed, especially when a powerful individual or individuals defect(s) from his/her party to another party. But when an individual or individuals viewed as dormant by their own party defect to other political parties, very little regard is paid to such individuals, especially from their own parties, but merely welcome and not necessarily hailed by the party they defect to. The latter is one of the reasons why some people who defect from their own parties feel marginalized in the parties they defect to.

Ever since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, many southern, western, eastern, northern and central Sudanese joined the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) en masse. Some of these people have varied interests in joining the SPLM/A. There are those who believed that the wheels of power were exchanging hands with the advent of the CPA, and that if they remained in where they are they would be left in the cold. The best options for these kind of people were to join the SPLM/A so that, through the SPLM/A, which some of them sincerely believed had no cadres, they would be appointed as a top government officials in the Government of National Unity (GoNU), Government of South Sudan (GoSS) or state governments throughout the Sudan on SPLM/A ticket.

Then there is the second category of these politicians – those selected by their own parties to represent them in these various governments and their institutions. These categories of politicians got employed in some of the above-mentioned governments and governmental institutions, by government institutions we mean legislative assemblies, commissions and other government-related organisations. While there, some of them got lured into the ruling party either by getting convinced that they would achieve their objectives through the ruling party or simply hoping that by defecting they would continue to maintain the powerful positions they were offered initially or even get better posts.

Both categories are very dangerous political elements. They have no principles, so to speak, because people who have principles would not yield to money or positions, their consciences would not allow that to happen. More so, political parties start from small and grow into huge political parties through very natural growth that requires a fully developed political mind and tolerance.

The Advocate does not condemn people who have decided to shift their political allegiance because it is their rights that require no infringement. However, The Advocate tries to bring to the attention of this country's citizens the fact that if people cannot tolerate the parties they have worked hard to develop into a fully fledged political party, how could the same intolerant people sustain themselves in the new party, especially when there is no post forthcoming? Or in short, how could this defectors help develop further the principles of democracy? How democratic would it be to have people of one nation in one political party? Democracy is not all about seeking for political posts but rather about capturing power through a democratic exercise and implementing party programmes on various aspects of life putting into consideration the peoples' will.

"Democratic societies are committed to the values of tolerance, cooperation, and compromise. Democracies recognize that reaching consensus requires compromise and that it may not always be attainable. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit)", (
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/principles/what.htm).

Cash Worth 7,000 Sudanese Pounds Taken At Gun Point in Torit

The town of Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) last month witnessed an armed robbery. It was reported that a restaurant belonging to one of the indigenous people of Torit was attacked at night and cash worth 7,000 Sudanese Pounds (SPs) (7,000,000 old SPs) was taken at gun point.

Here, the first hypothetical question that would quickly form in the minds of many, especially those running the state is, "why keep such an amount of money in the restaurant instead of a bank?" This is a good question but it would obviously be misplaced if asked. The town of Torit, like other towns in South Sudan, is supposed to be secure by all means and if it is not, it is the duty of the government to ensure its safety through the maintenance of law and order. Otherwise, trying to blame the citizens of Torit and EES as a whole for not being careful about their own security would be an understatement.

The government of EES has been complaining about what it had usually referred to in the past as "criminal attacks" carried out by "elements" they believed at the time were militia used by the Khartoum government. The Governor of EES has more than once accused the Equatoria Defence Force (EDF), the Toposa and the Didinga militia for being behind such attacks. These so-called militias have been subjected to the DDR process and do no longer exist in EES as per the statements made by the EES Governor and reported by various media outlets.

This author does not intend to undermine the EES government in its efforts to maintain law and order in the state, but tries to bring to the attention of its leadership the need not to jump to conclusions whenever there is a security problem or breach in the state. It should always carry out necessary investigations in order to understand who are behind those problems and/or security breaches. Otherwise, it may become so difficult to arrest the situations of armed robberies in the state and as such may escalate and eventually become unmanageable.

Most of the people who have made up the leadership of EES have lived abroad, especially in most of the neighbouring countries. They have seen the situations of terror mostly lived by the citizens in the neighbouring countries like Uganda and Kenya. Both people and governments in these neighbouring countries do not like situations such as those of armed robberies in their cities and are trying their level best to arrest such situations. Whenever they try, however, they do engage in serious gun battles with the armed robbers as witnessed by Kenya from time to time, and especially recently when a top suspected robber engaged in gun battle with the Kenyan police. Most of these cases could have ceased had they been confronted from an early stage. It is on this basis that the EES government is being reminded in this column to address this menace at this early stage to avoid the development of the armed robbery menace into an unmanageable crisis.

It is the hope of this author as a citizen of EES that the government of EES, with the help of its citizens, work together to arrest this situation of armed robbery in the towns of EES and end the menace once and for all. Otherwise, engagement in political rhetoric which clearly ignores this fact of trying to end the menace of armed robberies in EES and the other South Sudanese states, including the GoSS' capital, Juba, would amount to lack of commitment to deal with the situation.

Organised crimes are an obstacle to development because they deter people of goodwill and investors from trying to invest in areas that are rampant with such armed robbery practices. EES is one of the richest states in the Sudan. It has oil, gold, diamonds and mountains of precious stones, let alone the fertility of its land.

There is obviously no doubt that Sudanese who had lived abroad have learnt some bad habits such as those of trying to take what is not yours and are possibly trying them at home. But this should make the state governments even more determined to end such foreign and uncalled for habits of armed robberies.

Why is Formation of a Political Party in South Sudan a Back Up for NCP?

The former South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF), an umbrella organisation for the armed groups that signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA), which was signed by Dr Riek Machar and the National Salvation government (NSG), has transformed into a political party. SSDF, which later become known as South Sudan Democratic Forum and South Sudan United Democratic Alliance (SSUDA), another splinter group of the former SSDF, have merged to form a party - South Sudan Democratic Front - launched on September 15th, 2007 - by its Chairman, David de Chand.

The former South Sudan Defense Force was an umbrella for armed groups that signed the KPA with the NSG, namely, South Sudan Independence Movement/Army, which was led by Dr Riek Machar; SPLM/A Bahr Al Ghazal Group, which was led by the late Dr Kerubino Kwanyin Bol; SPLM/A Bor Group, which was led by the late Dr Arok Thon Arok; South Sudan Independent Group, which was led by Uncle Kawach Makuei, Equatoria Defense Force, which was led by Dr Theophilus Ochang; and a faction of United Sudan African Parties, which was led by the late Uncle Samuel Aru. These politico-military groups also did fall under one single political umbrella known then as United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF). UDSF had since long broken into parts some of which regrouped to form the new party (SSDF) but its mainstream is currently led by Joseph Malual.

Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) did not encourage the existence of these armed groups, calling them allies of the Khartoum government, NIF government, NCP government and NSG, a provision was made in the CPA security Arrangements Protocol (CPASAP) that stipulates that these groups should either join the SPLM/A, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) or disarm. This provision seems to have been met now that these groups have chosen to disarm, dissolve and get absorbed into the new political party.

The transformation of these armed groups into a political party might have been miscalculated by the Naivasha negotiators, especially those who negotiated the CPASAP. Because these armed groups have actually given the CPA what is due to it. Some of them have joined the SPLA, others joined the SAF and both the SAF and the SPLA have said they cannot take any more of these groups. SPLM/A said some of these armed groups are being used to infiltrate the SPLM/A, while the SAF says they have taken enough. So it seems that disarmament, joining SPLA, the SAF or dissolving these groups are not the only options there are. So, those who remained unabsorbed have decided to organise themselves into a political party that has already paid its allegiance to the CPA. Is there anything wrong with that?

According to the Juba Post Weekly newspaper, however, "many observers in the national capital, Khartoum, say the transformation of this militia organisation into a political party is a new strategy for confronting the SPLM as the party itself is a back up for the NCP", (Juba Post Weekly, September 27th – October 4th, p.1).

Who could these observers be? If they are SPLM/A members, they truly have a reason to worry: fear of political competition, may be. But if they are genuine South Sudanese, then it would be tempting to say that they are trying to distort facts. These people who are bent on distorting facts are actually the enemies of the CPA and the unity of the people of the South. What do they want these so-called militias to do since they have neither been absorbed into the SPLA nor into the SAF at a time they strongly feel that they should contribute to the politics in the South?

Do they expect these so-called militias to join the SPLM/A? It will be naïve, of course, to assume that everybody must join the SPLM/A, as it would amount to war-mongering to frustrate these so-called militias in order to drive them into the bush to fight for their individual and/or collective rights. Why must the formation of any political party be a back up for the NCP? Why can't it be a back up for a democratic transformation in South Sudan on one hand and the Sudan on the other? Is democratic transformation of the Sudan a monopoly of one or two parties in the whole country?

"According to analysis" Juba Post went on, "there is no guarantee that this militia in the South will put down their guns to join the newly-born political party since most of these militias are not educated to qualify for political activities", (Juba Post Weekly, September 27th – October 4th, p.1).

Is there a qualification for political activities in this world? Unless the sentence above is rephrased to make sense, it is meaningless. Those who gave this analysis are not politicians because politics has no school. Even those who graduated from political sciences colleges in universities are taught the art of government but not the act of it which is politics, let alone those who graduated from other disciplines. The act of government is politics and most of the political actors, especially in the third world, are not educated but with proper direction, they do bring the educated to the epicenter of politics, which could be regarded as parliament in this case.

South Sudanese should really come off this habit of using the NCP as a scapegoat for horrible attitudes they have developed towards their own brothers who have decided to participate in the politics of the South by forming political parties. NCP may have its own policies aimed at advancing their own course. But the people of the South must accept the fact that the South is in total grip of the SPLM/A. SPLM/A is in full control of political power, wealth and security in the South. This alone should really settle the minds of those South Sudanese who still dream of NCP's domination. It is the people of the South who will determine the future of the South and not the NCP. In fact the NCP cares less of what is taking place in the South and it might even be laughing at the leadership in the South because it is stuck on apportioning blames on the NCP instead of doing something worthy of praise by the people of the South.

The newly formed SSDF has declared that there is no more military group called SSDF; and that no one would be allowed to call himself a member of SSDF from Unity State to Equatoria and from Maban to Bahr Al Ghazal. "From now on there is no South Sudan Defense Force and no one will call himself a member of the SSDF from Maban to Bahr Al Ghazal and from Unity State to Equatoria States", (Maj-Gen. Gabriel Tanginya, Juba Post Weekly, September 27th – October 4th, 2007, p.1).

Having heard from the horse's mouth, nothing should be more relieving to those who are uncomfortable with the existence of the so-called militia. Thus, the skeptics should hold their horses and avoid rushing into making conclusions in form of analyses that could, at the end of the day, prove futile. This should be regarded by people of goodwill as an excellent development. It is excellent because it will now be easier to talk to the leadership of this newly formed political party than to the very many armed groups scattered all over the South.

The newly formed political party, however, has to take full responsibility of any negative actions that would be attributed to the militia. They should seek dialogue rather than war because the South and the Sudan as a whole have suffered from many wars. Any attempt to reignite another war in the South will not be accepted by the people of the South. Having formed a political party, politics should be the future weapon and not guns. Democracy does not entertain war-mongering attitudes but respect for the rule of law. South Sudanese are watching, and since they have passed through various stages during the two years of relevant peace in the South, some of them are scrutinising the existing parties and are weighing their opportunities to enable them join a party or parties that would promote peaceful approach to the problems in the South and disown those who would want to use force on a mistaken belief that they are practicing democracy.

As for the SPLM/A, it should have nothing to worry about because it has been calling for the transformation of the country into a democracy. Formation of political parties is the beginning of democratic transformation, which should be embraced rather than rejected. Political competition is the next step in the process to democratic transformation. America, a model of democracy, so it is believed, has many parties but two are strong enough to overshadow the rest: democrats and the republicans. Britain regarded as the mother of all democracies, has many parties but again two have been dominating the political scene in Britain: The labour and the Tories. In these two examples, one thing is very common though: the dominating parties in America and Britain do not ally with each other. They are very bitter rivals and the only consensus they could come to is when their nations are threatened by foreign aggressions or legislations that are favoured by majority of their voters. Thus, for SPLM to be a formidable party in the South, it must allow the natural development of political parties while protecting its party interest, of course. May the best parties emerge in the South!

Unity of Sudan and U.S. Insistence to Impose Sanctions

Assistant Secretary of State, Jendai Frazer, is reported to have revealed the agenda of the meeting which was held between Dr Lam Akol Ajawin, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the US Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte.

According to a statement attributed to Jendai Frazer by Al Sudani Arabic daily, she stated that the agenda included several issues that are related to Sudan such as the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Sudan because of the Darfur crises. She renewed US position towards Sudan's Unity. "We support unity and support John Garang's vision on a united democratic Sudan. We shall continue to work with them (the partners) to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the North and South to achieve that Unity", she said.

There are two issues at stake here: Unity of the Sudan and the US insistence to impose sanctions on what SPLM Secretary-General, Pagan Amum, called "The NCP" – the National Congress Party. The insistence by the US administration to impose sanctions on the NCP is by itself negative and may not advance the cause of unity in the Sudan.

This is more so because the NCP, which surely enjoys support in the northern part of the Sudan, will be upset. The partnership between them and the SPLM would even be upset much more than it is already. The NCP as a partner in the Government of National Unity is an instrumental player in ensuring the unity of the Sudan. Unless the US administration changes its attitude towards the NCP, it would be difficult for the Bush Administration to "support John Garang's vision on a united, democratic (and secular) Sudan."

On other hand, the SPLM appears to be happy because it is reassured by the US administration that South Sudan will be exempted from the US sanctions. This happiness may be genuine because the South cannot afford any sanctions at this moment of reconstruction, but the US administration should know that it will lead to the separation of the South from the North.

SPLM will obviously find itself favoured by the US administration and the NCP is likely to view it as a collaborator with the US administration and thus refuse to cooperate. The NCP's non-cooperative attitude is obviously what SPLM needs to convince the people of the South that unity is not viable and separation is the only option.

If the US administration is sincerely interested in maintaining the unity of the Sudan, it should not segregate its people. The policy of segregation has to be changed and so should the policy towards the NCP. If the US administration strongly believes in the respect for people's freedoms and their rights to exercise democracy, the issue of South Sudan is not in the hands of the SPLM and the NCP. It is the people of South Sudan who have said unless the NCP makes peace attractive, they will not settle for anything less than separation. If that happens, it would be their inalienable right. How then does the US administration intends to "work with the CPA partners to ensure the unity of the Sudan" if it favours one partner and totally detests the other?

Who to Blame Now That CPA Partners Entered into Incommunicado?

The United States special envoy to the Sudan, Andrew Natsios, has said that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the SPLM and the NCP is likely to collapse. He supported this statement by what he called 'continued accusations made by both parties against each other in the media.' He warned that the Sudan is likely to slide back to war. Natsios visited the Sudan recently and paid visits to Juba and Darfur respectively.

Late in September, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Jendayi Frazer, said that the US supports the unity of Sudan; and that it would work with the CPA partners to ensure the unity of the Sudan. In an editorial published by The Advocate on September 30th, 2007, Frazer was quoted as saying: "We support unity and support John Garang's vision on a united, (secular and) democratic Sudan. We shall continue to work with them (the partners) to implement the CPA signed between the North and South to achieve that Unity."

In this most recent visit to the Sudan, however, Natsios made his observations on the CPA and "he cited the failure to set the border between the South and North Sudan, share the oil wealth and pass key laws. The most serious danger is the militarization of areas around the oil fields, where he said neither the government nor southerners followed their pledges to pull out troops." He referred to the atmosphere surrounding the CPA partnership as "poisonous and that the war of words between the partners has to stop – we (United States) are concerned about the health of the CPA", (Juba Post, October 12th-19th, 2007, p.10).

It is almost impossible to believe that the US administration is concerned about peace and hence the CPA implementation. It is also hard not to connect the recent constitutional crisis in the country to the visit of Natsios to the Sudan and that of Pagan Amum, SPLM Secretary-General, to the US, which appeared to have included the SPLA military delegation. While in the US, Pagan Amum had affirmed the US administration's decision to exempt the South from US sanctions. Amum also said that the sanctions imposed on the north are actually imposed on the NCP.

What seems to appear when given in depth analysis is that the Amum's delegation to the US discussed many issues and it is difficult to rule out plots hatched against the NCP. Frazer had talked about supporting the vision of the late Dr Garang on the unity of the Sudan but confirmed that new US sanctions were underway against the government of national unity (GoNU) or NCP to be more specific. NCP is not synonymous with the North as it is just one of the many political parties in the North. Imposing sanctions on NCP is certainly imposing sanctions on the innocent people in the North of the country who are not necessarily NCP. In the same manner, unity of the Sudan or the late Dr Garang's vision of 'united, secular and democratic Sudan' cannot be achieved when there is a clear attempt to divide the people of the Sudan into being eligible and non-eligible for the US sanctions. Could the withdrawal of the SPLM from the GoNU be an attestation to the plot so that while in the GoNU they should not be affected by the sanctions?

Natsios, on the other hand, believes that both parties were not serious in implementing the CPA clauses but he remarked that "Sudan could fall back into war if it does not live up to the CPA. Before Natsios' words dried in his press briefing paper, the SPLM Leadership Council decided to freeze the activities of its members in GoNU.

Who should be blamed now that the CPA partners have decided to enter into incommunicado with each other? The CPA according to the late Dr Garang and Ali Osman Muhammad Taha had become a property of the Sudanese people. This is a true statement because the Interim Constitution of this country has been modeled on the CPA. Since the constitutions are indeed supposed to be properties of the citizens wherever they may be, the CPA is truly a property of the Sudanese people. How then should the Sudanese people react towards the current constitutional crisis? Could the CPA survive under the guidance of one partner in the absence of the other?

Starting from the top leaders of this country, President Al Bashir addressed the Sudanese people on October 12th, 2007, wishing the Sudanese Muslims a happy and prosperous Idd Al Fitr Al Mubarak but made no reference to peace. First Vice-President and President of government of South Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir Mayardit, also addressed the Sudanese people on the same occasion. He extended his personal Idd Al Fitr Al Mubarak's greetings to President Al Bashir and to the Sudanese Muslims countrywide. He also made no reference on what has developed from mere political differences to a constitutional crisis. Why? Does it mean that these top leaders of our country are less serious about what has truly happened in this country? Is the crisis a gift of Idd Al Fitr Al Mubarak to the Sudanese people? There will be more questions asked in this article than answers given, because the author is arguing as an ordinary Sudanese who has no influence on the decision-making process in this country.

The CPA, according to the partners - NCP and SPLM - has upto 85-90% of its articles implemented. The issue of Abyei has been made complicated by none other than the CPA partners themselves. It was agreed in Naivasha that Abyei should be given a special status. That was done and Abyei had a protocol of its own. In this protocol the people of Abyei were recognised to have had a serious problem, a problem that no one other than the people of Abyei themselves can fix. The CPA partners, recognising this as a fact, decided to give the people of Abyei the right to determine their fate in a plebiscite. This was done so because the CPA partners then recognised the fact that Abyei was annexed to the North in 1905 through the decision made by its traditional rulers at the time. It is on this very basis that the CPA partners, knowing that the administrative tribal leaders in Abyei then did not represent the true aspirations of the Abyei people, decided that the people of Abyei in this contemporary era must be given the right to self-determination.

There are three main problems to the protocol of Abyei namely, Abyei Transitional Authority (ATA); borders with the North and the deployment of the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) in Abyei oil fields.

ATA

The ATA should have been formed as stipulated in the CPA। If the NCP has worked against this principle, then they have to accept the blame for being intransigent. The fact that ATA has not been formed upto this moment (2007) confirms the fact that the NCP is dragging its feet on the issue of the ATA. This could bring many questions to linger in the minds of ordinary Sudanese. For example, if the SPLM and not the NCP is dragging its feet on the issue of ATA, why didn't NCP insist on establishing ATA? Does the NCP's feet-dragging on establishing ATA paint a picture that depicts a fact that Abyei is still a contested area due to its oil wealth? If not, why not. Abyei is not a contested area by all means because as per the CPA it belongs to Southern Kordofan and not South Sudan. That is the reason why Southern Kordofan State had to be abolished for Abyei to be accommodated. Giving Abyei a special status does not detach Abyei from being part of the North until the people of Abyei otherwise decide its fate in the scheduled plebiscite.

Borders

Discussing the borders of Abyei now does not arise. If Abyei's special status maintains its borders of 1905 with the South, then it belongs to the North until the people of Abyei decide on whether they remain as part of the North or South. Meanwhile, Abyei – with its current status – needs to belong somewhere and that somewhere is the North, part of which it was before the CPA. In other words, Abyei's case is not that complicated given the fact that the CPA guides its implementation. Unless Abyei's Protocol has been amended, which is impossible under the CPA, trying to discuss it while considering it as part of South Sudan is a violation of the CPA by itself? The discussion on Abyei has to be based only on the formation of ATA.

ATA leaders, who will closely be supervised by the Presidency of the Republic while running Abyei as an entity, shall be in a position to prepare the people of Abyei on the new reality: the border between Abyei and Southern Kordofan as of 1905, clearly identify the disputed oil fields in Abyei and prepare the people of Abyei for the exercise of self-determination.

SAF in Abyei

Since it is clear that Abyei is definitely an entity that still belongs to the North until otherwise decided in a plebiscite, the deployment of Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) in Abyei is essential. The Naivasha partners had agreed to form the JIUs not to replace the SAF or the SPLA but to protect peace, represent united Sudan, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The presidency consists of three people: President Al Bashir, First Vice-President Kirr and Vice-President Taha and the JIUs directly fall under the direct command of this presidency. Therefore, the deployment of either the SPLA or the SAF in Abyei is illegal as it is a serious violation of the CPA.

Unless there are other concealed facts kept away from the Abyei Protocol, the problems above cannot cause a CPA partner to pull out or freeze its activities in a partnership. Neither the SPLM nor the NCP were defeated before the war and one truly wonders as to how politics – something that requires talking and lobbying and not fighting and killing – could be so defeating!

How could the Sudanese people who happen to 'own the CPA' feel about SPLM's withdrawal from the partnership? Would they be mistaken if they say SPLM has let them down? That is unlikely, because the SPLM has just committed one of the worse political blunders and failed to consider the Sudanese people for whom they signed the CPA but selfishly looked after its own interest.

It appears that wise people in the SPLM have been corrupted or cowed down by the SPLM and as such they could not offer any good political advice. Freezing the activities of the SPLM members in the GoNU or withdrawing them from GoNU is nothing other than either political immaturity or SPLM leaders are operated by remote control by some invisible powers. To freeze the activities or withdraw from the GoNU is a violation of the CPA as a contract signed between the two of them which is also binding on the two of them. Freezing the activities or withdrawing from GoNU or even boycotting the North of Sudan cannot bring pressure to bear on the NCP. Even though SPLM is showing the signs of an early breakaway from the rest of the Sudan, but even that is nothing that to the NCP because they have been preparing themselves for any eventualities, including the breaking away of the South from the rest of the Sudan.

The only problem here is that the SPLM forgot that by so misbehaving, it is letting down the Sudanese people in the North, East, West and Central Sudan who support the SPLM and pin their political hopes on it. Some of these people, including the people of the South have waited for 21 years hoping that the SPLM at the end of the day would deliver the goods to them – the late Dr Garang's best legacy and vision: a democratic, secular and united Sudan.

Hopes to achieve Dr Garang's cherished vision seems unlikely because the SPLM is behaving more or less like a secessionist political organisation that is disinterested in the unity of the Sudan and hence the rest of the Sudanese, especially the northerners. Instead, it is busy everyday and night calculating how much of the oil revenues they could get once they take the over all control of the entire South Sudan; with 100% of its oil and other natural resources' revenues. It appears that they cannot focus until they separate the South from the rest of the Sudan and, may be, just may be then, these leaders would think positively. Before that it is not possible since everyone one of them is busy calculating his/her gains, meanwhile the constitutional crisis continue and the very supporters of SPLM from all over the Sudan continue to live not as perplexed people but people under constant pressure of fear for a renewed fighting between the partners.

Meanwhile, NCP and SPLM need to select leaders who must be both humble and patient to manage their conflicts as they emerge. Humility and patience were the qualities displayed by the late Dr Garang and Ali Osman Muhamman Taha when they realised that the people of the Sudan needed peace more than them since they were representing SPLM and NCP respectively as parties. The humility and patience employed by both Garang and Taha were and/or are qualities translated into wisdom by their resolve to put an end to one of the world's longest civil wars. How best could the Sudanese people, irrespective of their political affiliations, colours and creed, honour these heroes of peace? Is it by introducing another war or by ending all the existing wars and creating an island of peace called 'the Sudan' within which all Sudanese must live in harmony and without fear of each other reverting to war or breaking away?

Natsios, the US special representative to the Sudan, mentioned at the beginning of this article, believes that both SPLM and NCP are to blame for failing to repair serious cracks within the partnership. This is true because the partners have failed to make use of the political and military mechanisms they laid down to resolve conflicts between them. The CPA as a document is not peace by itself. Peace emanates from the hearts of those who negotiated it and have the strong will to see through its implementation that must be accompanied by but solvable differences.

However, now that one partner is completely out of the partnership; what would the US envoy say? That the two partners are to blame in the current constitutional crisis? The answers to these two questions are one: US administration is to blame. The administration has been favouring one partner and totally disregarding, despising and wanting to remove from power the other partner in order to effect 'regime change.'

The US administration from the period of Bill Clinton became closer to the problem of the civil war in the Sudan. It financed the peace processes on Sudan, especially the IGAD peace initiatives which culminated into the CPA in 2005. The US administration is the biggest superpower behind the success of the Sudanese peace processes. As such, the US administration, under President Bush, needs to look at the current constitutional crisis with sympathy and no bias in order to influence the peaceful resolution of the crisis, avert war and help to realise the late Dr Garang's vision of 'united, democratic and secular Sudan.'

Even though some analysts squarely put the blame for the current constitutional crisis in the country on SPLM for withdrawing from GoNU, SPLM may not be blamable. But those powers that directly or indirectly, within or without the continent, which favour and encourage the SPLM to always focus on its partner as an enemy rather than a partner, with whom it should do business come what may, are to blame. The US administration has singled out itself as one of these superpowers interested in the unity of the Sudan but with a leadership they would want to impose on the Sudanese people as part of the policy of their 'regime change' in the Sudan.

History has taught the entire world that it is easy to manage peace even though it takes more resources than war. It is thus the hope of every peace-loving Sudanese to see into it that the US administration played a fair role as it tries to address the current constitutional crisis in the Sudan. But failure to give this crisis a fair shot is likely to reignite fighting between the people of the South and those of North Sudan. By extension, however, the war would obviously engulf the areas that are being run by the CPA like the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile and Abyei.

One seriously hopes that Natsios, as the US administration's envoy to the Sudan would, after this constitutional crisis is resolved, advice the US administration to work towards assisting the people of the Sudan without bias in their seriousness to transform the country into a democracy. Otherwise, any unfairness from the side of the US administration towards the resolution of the current constitutional crisis in the Sudan is likely to put the US administration in an awkward position as a leading world power. Those in the US administration who think that they may scavenge through a chaotic Sudan to implement 'regime change' need to know that a chaotic Sudan is likely to increase the worries and spending of the US administration to police the world than to alleviate the US from the burden it is already shouldering.

Efforts of Dr Machar and the Readiness of Al Bashir to Respond Commendable

The Vice-President of the government of South Sudan (GoSS), Dr Riek Machar, who came from Juba leading an SPLM delegation to meet the President of the Republic, Omar Hasan Ahmad Al Bashir, to deliver SPLM's demands on how to resolve the constitutional crisis, seemed to have made a breakthrough in settling one of the outstanding issues.

Dr Machar's team met the President of the Republic on Tuesday, October 17th, 2007. In the evening of the very Tuesday, however, the President of the Republic issued Republican Decrees making a reshuffle in which he appointed and fired ministers, presidential advisors and state ministers in the government of national unity (GoNU).

This has been a very interesting and welcome political development in the sense that the meeting Dr Machar held with the President of the Republic did bore fruits. This truly means that Dr Machar's team did play an excellent role of a mediator, a role that no one could have played better given the bitterness that had developed between the Naivasha partners lately.

This, therefore, means that the GoSS has people with excellent negotiating qualities. The fact that Dr Machar and his accompanying delegation could negotiate with the President of the Republic and within hours resolve one of the outstanding issues that brought about the constitutional crisis, means that dialogue and not withdrawal or threats to go back to war are what are needed in this country to address serious issues. This also means that GoSS has identified a team of its own which should be maintained to continue dealing with the outstanding issues.

Tuesday's GoNU cabinet reshuffle is nothing but an attestation that the outstanding issues that seem to be causing serious cracks in the partnership are resolvable. Even though the coming of Dr Machar into the forefront of the GoSS' negotiating team with the NCP is late, it is an extremely beautiful development. It is thus the hope of every peace-loving Sudanese that SPLM and NCP maintain this line of dialogue so that this country averts the possibility of a return to war.

The peace-loving Sudanese must commend the efforts of Dr Machar and certainly the readiness of the President of the Republic to use his powers to address the crisis. The Sudanese people must be hoping that the other members of SPLM and NCP who wanted to capitalise on the crisis in order to cause chaos adopt the approach of insisting on negotiation and dialogue rather than making threats which could play into the hands of wrong elements within the country and another war could be reignited unnecessarily.

The peace-loving Sudanese would therefore hope that the President of GoSS appoints or sanctions the Machar team to enter into serious dialogue with the NCP to address the remaining issues that are hampering the implementation of the CPA. This is important because this country needs wise and patient leaders from both NCP and the SPLM to continue with dialogue and negotiations. The CPA requires continued dialogue and negotiations for its implementation to progress in order to address those pending issues that are threatening the security of this country.

The International Community Should Reassess its Strategy on Dealing with CPA Partners

Events have revealed that the recent SPLM pullout from the government of national unity (GoNU) is related to the issues of ministerial reshuffle requested by the SPLM's leadership, Abyei Protocol and the status of the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) in the South.

This author, in an article entitled: "Who to blame now that CPA partners entered into incommunicado", discussed the complexities of the Abyei Protocol and the status of the SAF in Abyei but did not have enough space to discuss about the reshuffle and the role the international community could play in either uniting the Naivasha partners or continue to widen the rift between them. This article, thus, will try to address the latter since the formers have been exhaustively dealt with.

Reshuffle

According to SPLM sources, President Al Bashir received the nominations made by the First Vice-President to reshuffle his members within the government of national unity (GoNU) but that President Al Bashir refused to effect the changes SPLM wanted. What should be made very clear here is that the issues of delaying reshuffles in this country are not new. This is attributed to very many factors. One of them is that the Head of State, who is normally the final authority in the reshuffling of GoNU, waits for detailed reports on individuals nominated to such posts as ministers and advisors. This is an important exercise so that criminals or simply people with bad human rights or criminal records do not find their ways into the cabinet of a sovereign national government as this would send distressing signals all over the country and indeed the world over.

For example, there are some people currently working in the GoNU and GoSS as senior officials and/or legislators whose nominations cannot be accepted in any respectable government, especially in countries that do scrutinize the nominations of their candidates before they are appointed to become senior civil servants let alone ministers. One of such individuals was appointed in GoSS and the other in the GoNU legislature, previously accused of committing murder, rape and shooting at a car driven by a foreign aid worker for raising dust on the road on which he was traveling respectively.

Therefore, it normally takes months for the president of the republic to get the detailed reports on those nominated for constitutional posts. But should this really be one of the reasons for SPLM to withdraw from the GoNU? If it is, one would say that either political immaturity or a problem in understanding the difference between running a real government and the pseudo-government run by the SPLM in the bush prior to the CPA is the matter.

This truly is so because the SPLM leadership Council should have withdrawn its members from the Interim National Assembly and the Council of States but not from the government. What they did is not a suspension as they would like the Sudanese people and the world over to believe. It is a withdrawal from the partnership and/or coalition between them and the NCP. Ministers and Advisors at the national level are appointed by the Head of State and cannot be suspended by anybody other than the president of the republic who appointed them.

Role of the international community

The international community has played a big role in the current constitutional crisis in the Sudan. How did they do that? Given its dislike of the NCP, the international community found a friend in the SPLM. They have developed better relations with the SPLM, even making SPLM to behave like a party running a sovereign State. They have made their intentions very clear that they are opposed to the NCP and this could be realised in the very many resolutions issued by the Security Council on the Sudan, and US insistence to effect regime change.

The danger in this kind of behaviour displayed by the international community in their dealings with the CPA partners is that it works towards dividing rather than uniting the people of the Sudan. It sends resonating signals to the SPLM that they are the favoured politicians in the country. It makes the SPLM forget that they do have shortcomings since they will be about the only player accepted in the field to perform.

There is no doubt that the performance of the SPLM has been checked by the international community, which is fully aware of what is taking place in the South under the SPLM. For example, from the time the SPLM took over 100 percent of the South, hundreds of innocent people have been detained, harassed, tortured, displaced from their own homes or even killed. These enumerated facts form the basis for serious violations of human rights against the people of the South by the SPLM.

Corruption

The GoSS has been mismanaging the oil revenue cash and upto this very moment a lot of money since the tenure of Arthur Akuen, SPLM's former Minister of Finance, has not been accounted for. This is known by the international community which apparently turns blind eyes on it because SPLM is a better devil than the NCP.

The international community has worked so hard to see in to it that the Naivasha talks succeeded and that the people of the Sudan needed peace and reconstruction. But how could the international community help the people of the Sudan in general and the South in particular to have peace and reconstruct the South? Could the international community help the people of the Sudan and the South by keeping silent or turning blind eyes on what is specifically happening in the South in terms of human rights violations and institutionalized corruption?

The President of GoSS, H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayadit, is trying his best to fight corruption in the SPLM and the GoSS. But two years on, this fight has been elusive because he lacked serious cooperation from his folks. This being the case, good governance and the rule of law are missing in the South and these two are the main ingredients of democracy. How could the international community seek to change the regime in Khartoum for committing human rights violations while encouraging the SPLM in the South to commit worst human rights violations against the people of the South at the very nose of the international community? Where is the logic in this kind of rationale?

Conclusion

The international community has to reassess its strategy as it tries to deal with the situation in the Sudan as a whole. It has to forget the so-called regime change and should instead concentrate on how to help the people of the Sudan to unite. The unity of the Sudanese people is a prerequisite to any useful future transformation of the Sudan into a full and complete democracy. Thus, trying to divide the people of the Sudan on the basis of friendly and unfriendly entities is likely to keep them divided forever, or in short, divided entities or independent states, for that matter.

Maj-Gen. Edward Lino's Attack in Juba: What a State of Lawlessness?

On November 3rd, 2007, this author was given disturbing information that seemed to have occurred in Juba. The Chief of SPLA External Intelligence Services, Maj-Gen. Edward Lino Abyei, was attacked in Juba on that fateful day. This report was given to The Advocate by a reliable source.

It It said that Maj-Gen. Abyei was driving along a certain road in Juba's Nimra Tallata residential area at night. While driving along the way, in which Maj-Gen. Peter Gadet lives, he was stopped by the bodyguards of Maj-Gen. Gadet. They complained that Maj-Gen. Abyei flashed them by his moving vehicle's lights. Maj-Gen. Abyei was reported to have introduced himself first and then told them that he didn't intend to flash them as he was normally passing by the road. The report further indicated that Maj-Gen. Gadet's bodyguards opened Maj-Gen. Abyei's vehicle driver's door, pulled him out of the vehicle and thoroughly beat him up.

This action raises a lot of questions that need serious answers from the SPLM/A top echelons. Why on earth should the SPLA soldiers, under the control of Maj-Gen. Gadet, beat Maj-Gen. Abyei, especially after establishing who he was? Where was Maj-Gen. Gadet when his own colleague was being battered up by his bodyguards? Is this some tribal vendetta or how could it be best described? Could this kind of uncouth behaviour be described as having been necessitated by tribalism which seems to be thriving in the South nowadays?

Some people reading this article might conclude by saying that the author is wrong; because Maj-Gen. Gadet is not an SPLM /A proper. Well, this is not what this author would like to encourage as a debate because South Sudan is not homogeneous as such, even though it is quite a divisive statement that should not be entertained.

However, what the authorities in Juba need to look at in this case is that SPLM/A is one single body. Therefore, everyone who either by chance or otherwise finds him/herself in the SPLM/A is an SPLM/A and must abide by the laws and regulations set up by the SPLM/A. She/he must accept responsibilities of his/her actions when caught behaving unbecomingly. This, however, is a sign of trying to develop homogeneous society but must be supported by actions of goodwill, not tribal will, to make the development of homogeneous society a reality. Taking the law into one's own hands is a crime and it certainly scares off the peace-loving South Sudanese.

If such a thing could happen to one of a top SPLA intelligence officers what could be the general feeling of the ordinary citizens in Juba and other towns of the South in as far as the behaviour of the SPLA officers and men under Maj-Gen. Gadet is concerned? Where is the rule of law that some SPLM/A top officials are talking about? Is it the withdrawal of weapons from soldiers and other citizens who possessed them in Juba? No, that seemed to have been a mere military order given by the commander-in-chief for execution. In the case of South Sudan, law and order could only be established through the existing structures like an effective and unbiased judiciary, the ministry of legal affairs and constitutional reforms, police and prisons administrations in GoSS.

The South or 'New Sudan' as assumed by SPLM/A senior officials and diehards has been liberated. Keeping that assumption alive, one would say there is indeed no need for the South to be run like a rebel-held town. The South has 'sovereign state' institutions: GoSS and its other related arms – Parliament and the Judiciary – as well as the states. But again, one never forgets to remind himself/herself that tribocracy (the desire to rule by tribal affiliation) continues to be the ruling system in the GoSS, and then ask: how could law and order be reinforced under GoSS?

What is important, however, is that the people of the South must be made to know in no uncertain terms that they are living within an entity that respects law and order. This is important because what happened to Maj-Gen. Abyei is shocking and must be sending distressing signals all over the South. Because the simple logic here would be that if this is what happened to a top SPLM/A officer, what could happen to any ordinary person in Juba and South Sudan as a whole?

The GoSS, under H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, has to be seen addressing cases like this and many others in order to make the citizens of the South regain confidence in the SPLM/A and GoSS. Those who did this to Maj-Gen. Abyei must be made to answer for the crimes they committed against their own senior officer. After taking such disciplinary measures against those who wronged Maj-Gen. Abyei, the rest must be warned against committing any crimes related to the latter or about to be committed against any other ordinary citizen in South Sudan. This, however, cannot be achieved without the activation of structures that are mean to manage law and order in the South.

Behaviours such as those presented by the case of Maj-Gen. Abyei are counted on the general performance of the SPLM/A. This being the case, the GoSS, and SPLM/A have to sincerely review the relationship between its top officials. Because the case of Maj-Gen. Abyei is sending signals out there that clearly reveal that there is division within the SPLM/A and individuals who joined or rejoined it. This is definitely not what the SPLM/A would like to hear, least from its own supporters and diehards. An organised army, government and party would produce an organised society. This doesn't seem to be the case with the events that are occurring in the South nowadays. This should not be allowed to continue, because the people in Juba in particular and the South in general will also continue to experience and live under immense intimidation, what a state of lawlessness that could become?

Equatorians Must Unite Unconditionally for Yambio and Other Incidents Not to Resurface

The Equatorian Community in Khartoum, South Sudan and other parts of the world were enraged when 12 police officers and men were gunned down in Yambio. The 12 police officers and men include three senior officers: a Brigadier; a Lt-Col. and Major. They were killed on November 4th, 2007, by the SPLA elements in the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs). Equatorians in the Sudan and the world over have described these cold-blooded killings as barbaric, inhuman and very hard to digest.

This is not the first time such a killing that takes a tragic dimension has taken place. Tragic deaths like that of the late Benjamin Bol Akol, Former Minister of Agriculture in the Regional Executive Council in early 70s, Nyachigak Nyachuluk, one of the very first few Murle intellectuals killed in mysterious circumstances in SPLA in the 1980s, the 28 SPLA Lowulak officers and men (from greater Imotong tribe) gunned down in Kapoeta in 1990; were not but some of the serious crimes committed by the SPLM/A. These deaths were not investigated even though there are genuine South Sudanese within the SPLM/A who are asking themselves questions like, why are these cases not investigated?

Lack of investigations and serious adherence to recommendations made on any such cases is the problem behind these tragic killings. There are people within the SPLM/A who, once they realise that the results of any investigated case would incriminate anyone from their section of the tribe, they destroy the entire report. This is one of the very reasons why many investigations in the SPLM/A have never bore fruits. This, too, makes the SPLM/A as a politico-military organisation to ignore making public investigations since it is so easy to destroy and withhold any investigation report.

Let us look at the latest investigations conducted by the SPLM/A on two of their own officials. Col. Patrick Zamoi, former governor for Western Equatoria State (WES), was accused of inciting tribal hatred in WES. In other words, he was accused of pitting the WES people against the settler tribes in WES. Col. Zamoi was arrested, locked up with his children within a home and later on released to go and study in Kenya. Who from amongst those concerned South Sudanese within or without the SPLM/A has asked what happened to Col. Zamoi's case?

Maj-Gen. Isaac Obuto Mamur Mete, another SPLM/A officer whose fighting records are second to none within the SPLM/A during the liberation struggle, was accused of undermining the SPLM/A and GoSS. He was locked up and an investigation committee was formed to investigate him. What happened to him now? Is his investigation complete? If yes, in whose favour is it? Maj-Gen Mamur's Committee was given 14 days to present its findings to the SPLM/A authorities. Has anyone heard about the committee's findings? No one did, and it is nearly six months since he was locked. Even though this author was informed by a reliable source that Maj-Gen. Mamur was found innocent and should have been released by now, tribocracy may want him dead than alive.

Why? If any reasonable person asks, that most if not all SPLM/A investigations do not produce results. How could any public profiled case not be made public since it was made public initially? The failure to make public results of any public investigation brings anxiety to the public. This, thus, would mean that the public itself, which is following such public cases, would be forced to carry out its own investigations. It is, however, better for any investigation's results to be made public rather than leaving it entirely on the public to do the investigation. Otherwise, the reasons for SPLM/A's inability to make public its own public investigations could be deduced as tribocratic exercise practiced by individuals within the government. These tribocratic individuals, thus, believe in concealing facts based on tribal affiliations within the SPLM/A and GoSS, for reasons best known to their tribe and not the South.

This author hopes that The Advocate esteemed readers do not get him wrong. Tribe is as important as being. A tribe gives a person the pride of being cultured. It is through tribes that people discover who they are. But tribe could easily be steered the wrong or the right way. A tribe can be used to advance the cause of human freedom and this has been seen in Africa. A tribe could be used to suppress others, especially when it is combined with state and/or political power; and this too has been seen happening in Africa and Rwanda is a case in place. The Hutu tribe ruled Rwanda from the late 1950s but the other tribe, the Tutsi, was suppressed until when it had to constitute a force to liberate its people in Rwanda in early 1990s.

Advancing the cause of freedom through a tribe could also mean responding to cries of those around that particular tribe with a view to extending a helping hand. A tribe that extends a helping hand to other tribes understands what justice means. By understanding what justice means, such a tribe would also be ready to establish law and order through which justice could be managed to take care of those that desire help. This would be nothing less that an extension of a helping hand to the general public.

But how could someone explain the Yambio incident at this era of peace? Why do we have to kill each other when guns had been silenced years ago? If there is truly an investigation to the Yambio incident, the only hope one could bank on is that the Yambio incident investigation should not follow the trend of the SPLM/A previous investigations that bore no fruits at all.

Equatorians, a multitude of tribes that is currently moaning its sons killed in the Yambio incident, need to look at what is happening around them. Those leaders who claim to represent them must be made to know that they have let Equatorians down. This is because some of them have immersed themselves deep into money-making exercises while forgetting that they are supposed to protect their constituents.

Some of these leaders have very bad track records. Some of these leaders, until very late, tried to stand for the truths and the Rumbek minutes are a testimony to this. But what seems to have appeared is that these very leaders who, in the past, were known for being yes-men are back in the profession of true yes-men. Why? If someone may ask. It is because in the past they were struggling on how to secure positions in the SPLM/A. Now that the positions are secured, how to become rich very fast is the next step. The latter step, however, revives the profession of yes-manhood.

Yambio incident should trigger an automatic unity of the people of Equatoria. The unity of the people of Equatoria is very essential in order to unify the voice of its people so that they use such a voice to address the problems facing Equatoria. The people of Equatoria need to unite their voice against any illegal settlements in Equatoria by tribes that got to Equatoria during the war. The war is over and they must pack and go, if they want peace in Equatoria and South Sudan as a whole. The failure of GoSS to address the problem of returning the settlers in Equatoria back to their original homes raises suspicion and Equatoria cannot be compromised for the illusive unity of the South. In fact the unity of the South as well as its liberation cannot be complete when some tribes continue to occupy a greater part of Equatoria. Equatoria as an entity is not against any South Sudanese who chooses to settle in Equatoria legally. It is the illegal settlement in Equatoria which has bred hatred between the people of Equatoria and the tribes that have chosen to settle in Equatoria. The illegal settlers in Equatoria are to blame for the Yambio and other incidents in Equatoria. Equatorians must unite unconditionally for the Yambio and other incidents not to repeat themselves.

Al Bashir and Kiir May be Playing into the Hands of Enemies of Peace

Early this week, H.E. the President of the Republic, FM Omar Hasan Ahmad Al Bashir, called on the Popular Defence Force (PDF) to return back to their training camps. He said his government has withdrawn 80% of the Sudan Armed Force (SAF) personnel from the South, and that the remaining 20% will follow suit. But, he said, any threats from SPLM/A in trying to move North would be challenged. The President was quoted by the BBC Arabic Service, November 18th, 2007.

This speech has received two official criticisms from SPLM/A senior members: The SPLM/A's representative in America, Mr. Ezekiel Gatluak; and H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President and President of GoSS, on return to Juba from his latest US visit. Gatluak said that, "President Al Bashir's statement amounts to beating the drums of war." While Lt-Gen Kiir said: "SPLM/A will not restart war but will have the right to defend itself."

To give in depth analysis of these two SPLM/A officials' reactions, one would realise that by saying "It will not start war but has a right to defend itself", (Salva Kiir Mayardit, BBC Arabic Service, November 20th, 2007, 0500 hours GMT), SPLM/A does not intend to return to war; but could if forced to do so. Meanwhile, by saying that they have and are completing their withdrawal from the South and against any infringement of the SPLM/A towards the North, President Al Bashir is saying: I've left for you the South but please do not infringe on my rights in the North as a territory. Who should the blame then go to; SPLM/A or NCP?

However, readings from the past show as common knowledge that SPLM/A is on record for having made threatening statements over and over that, 'it would revert to war if the CPA is not implemented.' "Walid Hamid, the SPLM/A Northern Sector Official Spokesman, had stated this in 2006: “The CPA is a sound mechanism for conflict resolution, but difficulties have been encountered in the course of implementation - if these mechanisms fail, there are various options, including going back to war”, (The Citizen Newspaper, January 31st, 2006, lead story).

These threats became apparent when Lt-Gen. Kiir campaigned against the NCP in Washington. Lt-Gen. Kiir said in Washington that, "NCP has no political will to implement the CPA" What else does the SPLM/A expect from a partner that is continuously made to feel threatened; and the threat comes from none other than SPLM/A itself?

Humans do not accept threats, this very common in the tradition of human persons. They are born free and logic is supposed to guide their central thinking, humans don't like being bullied in any form. In fact the relationship between mankind today is based on mutual understanding and respect for all the values of fellow humans. In the case of the current crisis, it should be borne in mind that politicians, true politicians, that is to say, do not entertain exertion of any pressures on them. None in the SPLM/A would certainly accept any kind of pressures aimed at say, 'regime change' within the SPLM/A. Children around teen ages do not accept bullies let alone receiving threats, at a time when every Sudanese and the world over knows that the war had no clear victor.

The question is: were the SPLM/A making the threats to cow down, change the thinking of the NCP? Or were they seriously aimed at reigniting another war with its partner? The choice for 'trying to go to war' seems to be that of the SPLM/A which continuously keeps threatening its partner of 'going back to war.' SPLM/A knows that they made the Naivasha agreement with the NCP on the basis of having the consequences of war and hence agreeing to settle it; but not on the basis of a victor versus a loser.

The NCP, from the CPA onset, did not intimidate or threaten the SPLM/A in public, something SPLM/A enjoys doing to NCP. The non-implementation of the CPA is not a threat to return to war; but rather something that requires patience with the continued process of dialogue; and flexibility to approach the issues related to the CPA.

The President of the Republic is on record in the NCP as having advised members of the NCP to tolerate the behaviours of some SPLM/A members to safeguard the interest of peace. The President believed that it will take SPLM/A sometime to come off its war hangovers. This was a mature approach because he has been proven right now that the SPLM/A have failed to come off the war hangovers. Should he be blamed? Obviously not; and those fair Sudanese nationals would realise that the President of the Republic is simply saying enough is enough, no more bullying, no more threats; and must prepare his forces for any possible showdown, should it be imposed on him and his ruling party.

There is one identifiable concern though, which seems to be a common denominator to both parties to the conflict – NCP and SPLM/A: the desire "not to start war but defend oneself should war be imposed." This means that the NCP and SPLM/A cannot fight each other, because none of them is going to pull the trigger, since each one of them is on defensive position. However, this common denominator could be utilised by the governmental and non-governmental organisations (GOs/NGOs) as a reason to interfere in order to mediate. There are still chances for this country to avert war. Reconciliation between the partners is possible since there is a ray of hope – the desire "not to restart war."

This being the case, it should be noted that the process of conflict resolution and management denounces preconditions, let alone threats of any kind. It is a-give-and-take exercise and Naivasha should have taught lessons to anyone from within or without the partnership who keenly lived or followed the process.

It is inconceivable to assume that those who negotiated Naivasha were not patient enough to accept the give-and-take formula to gain the CPA. It may be conceivable, however, to assume that those from within or without the partnership have indeed learned some lessons and are prepared to use them in order to help this country avert war. Any military strategist would not miss understand that, even though the SPLM/A and NCP are both not willing to pull the trigger, some lunatics within both parties may actually pull the trigger. What would be the result of pulling the trigger? It will be very devastating; and the Sudanese public should not undermine this.

So far, no trigger has been pulled, so the urge to both the SPLM/A and the NCP to denounce their threats of "going back to war"; and "getting ready for war respectively", should be discouraged and dialogue as a means of resolving conflicts adopted. It was through dialogue that the two parties ended the war; and dialogue would obviously remain to be the best option to end the current constitutional crisis in the country. The country, its people and governments know the importance of peace and ending the current constitutional crisis so that there are no unnecessary tensions and mental intimidations imposed on the Sudanese people to live with.

President Al Bashir's remarks were serious, just like were those of his First Vice-President, Kiir. However, the President and his Deputy should heed to calls made by the Sudanese people represented in their various political parties and other syndicated organisations to end the current constitutional crisis in the country. The President should maintain his positions of not being the first to restart war with SPLM/A and revise the approach of dealing with the SPLM/A.

Meanwhile, the First Vice-President should also continue with his attitude of no-return to war attitude. The President and First Vice-President are the fathers of this nation and like in other nations, differences would always occur; but there must always be strong will to handle any emerging crisis of this nature. But given the complexities that characterize the partnership in the Sudan, The frustration of the President and his Deputy are understandable. Frustration, however, could be what the enemies of peace in the Sudan are upto. Should it be the case, then the President and his Deputy may be playing into the hands of those enemies of peace in the country and war may truly be invertible.

It is the hope of every peace-loving Sudanese indeed that the frustration in trying to handle the delicate issues of the CPA should be the least of all problems to Al Bashir and Kiir. They hold in their hands the buttons that could trigger war in this country. It is they who will settle the current crisis and not anyone from outside the borders of this country.

This country needs development and not war. War had destroyed the country's economy; infrastructure in South Sudan, Eastern as well as Western Sudan. We hope that those who want war may not find acceptance from the symbols of peace and love in the Sudan: Al Bashir and Salva Kiir. These two understand the war that each of them is threatening to return to. They know that Sudanese and not anybody from outside this country's borders had fought the war which was ended in 2005 but after experiencing immense suffering resulting from war consequences.

'Baba Ja Dingde-kling'

The Events column has been closely following developments taking place in the country. It will not address them all but would be selective as it addresses most of them. One such development is that of the killing of 12 Police soldiers in Western Equatoria State by none other than the SPLA contingent of the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs). These 12 soldiers included three senior officers. The incident, also known as "The black Sunday" took place on Sunday, November 4th, 2007.

Equatorians have used strong terms to denounce and condemn the act. Some are now saying that they are not liberated. Others say that the oppression has been extended by the "Jallaba" to the SPLM/A. While others exaggerated by saying that what is happening in the South is nothing less than an occupation by alien forces. There are those who say that it is better to be oppressed by an enemy but not by a brother or sister. The list of these proverbs is long and one would understand the frustration of the people towards the SPLM/A.

The people who have said all the proverbs above, however, are those very brothers and sisters who had misunderstood the Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA) and its architects. The architects of the KPA were insulted and made to hear phrases like: 'You are sell-outs'; 'You've sold the South to "Jallaba"'; 'Wait for the men, they are coming.' Very few from those who badly waited for the coming of "men home" knew that the KPA architects came ahead to warn them of impending dangers.

Like any other people that felt the oppression and needed liberation very badly, those who misunderstood the KPA and its architects were thrilled to receive and welcome the "men home." Some had even sung songs for the compared-to-none-victorious SPLM/A. But now that two or so years have passed, the same people who composed the beautiful reception songs to welcome the "men home" have been made to sing toddlers songs like: 'Baba Ja Dingde-kling' shamelessly sung by some senior Equatorian SPLM/A members – what a travesty of liberation?

Today there is no one to blame for whatever is happening at home except those who were waiting for the "men" to come home. But as a people that share the same destiny, it is time to re-examine ourselves and bear in our minds that all men are equal before God. Those who had insulted the architects of the KPA have been forgiven long since. Now it is time to stand up for the truth and fight for equal rights of the people of the South.

No party or parties should be allowed to oppress, divide or manipulate the people of the South on tribal or any other basis. But who is supposed to make this happen when the lion sleeping and waits for his next victim? Please, don't take this for the 'Cat and Mouse' story because men are men wherever they are. The people of the South should, in one single voice, tell the SPLM/A in no uncertain terms that the people in the South, and not one single tribe, need to benefit from the CPA in its entirety: security, jobs, loans for development, services and political representation. Unless SPLM/A works for the interest of the people of South Sudan unconditionally, no one sees any reason why it must exist as a political party, claiming to represent the Sudan let alone the South. The people of the South should prepare for SPLM/A's exit so that the South could be saved by some genuine political parties that are managed by true sons and daughters of the South.

Must the Entire South Really be Compromised for Abyei?

Abyei as many readers of this column and Sudanese at large have come to know has two major problems. These problems are the implementation of its protocol and the complications surrounding this implementation which seem to be bogging the entire CPA implementation down.

The implementation of Abyei protocol has a serious problem. It appears that the Abyei members who happened to have participated in the Naivasha negotiations on both sides did not exert influence over what is now the Abyei protocol. It would really be difficult for the rest of South Sudan to understand the reasons why Abyei protocol has taken this long when implementation on the other four protocols started within the first year of CPA?

The Abyei members in the SPLM/A should tell the people of the South the truths so that if any future conflict is to erupt from the non-implementation of the Abyei protocol, they must know the reasons why they will have to die again.

What the people of the South need to know, however, is that the Abyei protocol did not come as a protocol so easily. It was the most difficult protocol to negotiate in Naivasha. It was difficult because, regardless of SPLM/A interest to include Abyei in its map, it was a non-starter strategy – Abyei truly was annexed to the North by the Abyei Chieftains led by their paramount Chief, Deng Majok, in 1905. It doesn't matter how this agreement was reached between the Chiefs in Abyei and the Khartoum authorities at the time. The Chiefs then and now are representatives of the people and it is not possible to say that they were deceived. The Naivasha agreement as a whole was and will remain to be based on the status of Abyei of 1905.

For those who understand the conflict resolution process, they would understand here that the Khartoum authorities at the talks in Naivasha did make concessions on Abyei. It was the right of Khartoum to claim Abyei from the SPLM/A but, as a give-and-take process, it did agree on a middle solution. The middle solution here was the desire of both sides to grant Abyei a special status. Abyei, according to its protocol, belongs to the presidency, not the SPLM/A or the government of the Sudan.

The reasons why Abyei's protocol is not implemented is that the SPLM/A has ignored the Abyei protocol which accepted the special status of Abeyi based on 1905 borders. SPLM/A wants the borders of Abyei redrawn, basing the redrawing on 1965 and not 1905. The element of 1965 is alien to the protocol of South Sudan in that the protocol of South Sudan is based on January 1st, 1956. Isn't this a contradiction, if not a violation of the Abyei protocol?

SPLM/A has been mobilizing the South Sudanese to prepare for a fight for Abyei should the authorities in Khartoum refuse to agree with the new arrangements. Is this really fair to the people of the South, let alone the North, which feels that its rights over Abyei are being infringed upon?

South Sudanese know that Abyei is rich in oil and may be other minerals but would they really benefit from Abyei after its liberation? The majority of South Sudanese fought the war that brought about the CPA but how much have they benefited from the protocol of the South? Must the entire South really be compromised for Abyei?

SPLM/A and the NCP need to go back to the real protocol of Abyei and implement it as agreed upon by both sides. At the same time, the people of Abyei must know that it was they and not the rest of the South who annexed Abyei to the North in 1905. It is the people of Abyei who, according to the protocol of Abyei, should determine the fate of Abyei in a plebiscite. But trying to mobilize the people of the South to correct a mistake committed by none other than the people of Abyei is unfair to the people of the South and those of the North to whom Abyei legally belongs.

How Does NCP Expect to Win Elections in the South?

The leadership of the National Congress Party, (NCP) held a meeting with the NCP Southern Sector (NCPSS) members on November 26th, 2007, at the Party's Headquarters' premises. The NCP leadership called on the NCPSS to return to the South and reactivate the work of the Party there. The leadership of the Party said that it will win the elections in the South come the general elections. These statements were reported in most of the Arabic papers, including Al Ray Al Aam of November 27th, 2007, p.1).

The reactivation of the NCP as a Party in the South on one hand, and campaigning to win the elections, on the other is possible. But this is not an easy exercise – it requires a lot of money for such work to succeed. Even though the leadership of the SPLM has been making a lot of fuss about some imaginary money poured into the South to buy people to vote for the unity of the country, it is time that the NCP knows that NCPSS has been going through thick and thin in the South.

The NCP Party in the South has suffered from lack of finances to manage a number of its requirements. These requirements are: Rent for the various NCPSS Secretariats; allowances for those running the NCPSS Secretariats in the South at all levels and transportation for most of these secretariats; and last but not least, the Party's failure to amend its constitution in order to accommodate non-Muslims.

How does the NCP General Secretariat expect their Party in the South to win when they have deliberately ignored most of these Secretariats that are supposed to ensure the sustenance as well as the success of the Party in the South? The Party's constitution was made for Muslims alone and the Logo of the Party is a testimony to this. NCP knows how sensitive the religious aspects of life in this country have been. Thus, questions like, how much ready or prepared is the NCP to promote our socio-cultural needs, the needs that obviously include the religious aspects of life? Questions like this would emerge and it will be very difficult for any NCP candidate, be s/he Christian or Muslim.

Non-Muslims within the NCP know that NCP's constitution is Islamic-based. They have not complained because they believed and continue to believe that things will change in future. This is the future and now it is three years into the interim period and nothing has been done to make them part and parcel of the NCP. Should they really be blamed if some of them decide to leave the NCP because of its religious slogans?

It is the hope of this author that the NCP does now view this as a wild attack. It is not an attack but rather a reality, in that the CPA, which the NCP and SPLM have agreed on, has brought about a new reality in this country. The CPA does not discourage religion but has certainly drawn a few lines on the socio-cultural aspects in this country. For example, the CPA accepts Islam and Christianity as official religions in the Sudan. This means that political parties, including the NCP need to adopt this in order to accommodate the Non-Muslims in their parties. This being the case, the NCP Secretariat has to move in order to make the NCP constitution acceptable to all Sudanese: Muslims, Christians and certainly those who have no beliefs because their votes shall count.

This author would agree with the leadership of the NCP General Secretariat that NCP may, and not will, win the elections in the South. But in order for this serious approach to succeed, the Party has to reassess itself, especially in the South and make the Party part and parcel of the South Sudanese members of the NCP. More importantly, the Party's General Secretariat need to know that the current attitudes developed by some Northerners within the NCP General Secretariat towards the South Sudanese has to stop, and that the Party has to be supported financially so that it is able to sustain itself now and in the near future. This is important because the contest between NCPSS and the SPLM in the South is not going to be an easy one.

There is No Money Pouring into the South

Events has noted that there is a lot of concern within the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) over money poured into the South by the National Congress Party (NCP) to buy votes for the unity of the Sudan. This concern was echoed by the First Vice-President and President of the government of South Sudan (GoSS), H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit.

In an address he gave to the Youth and other worshipers in Juba's St. Theresa Cathedral, Kator, on Sunday, November 25th, 2007, H.E. Lt-Gen. Mayardit said: "My advice is that if you are given money take it but vote for what Southern Sudanese stood and fought for – besides nobody will take you to court for taking bribery money", (Isaac Vuni, Sudan Tribune Newspaper, November 28th, 2007, p.1)

This author hopes that this concern over the "money pouring into the South" is not a strategy properly devised by SPLM/A in order to divide the people of the South into pro and anti-separation elements. It should be noted that SPLM/A in the past isolated people on the basis of "Nyegat" (Anti-SPLM/A working from within) and SPLM/A proper. This was extended to those who did not want to join the struggle but supported the movement. Would it be in the SPLM/A's interest to re-devise the same strategy that is likely to keep people, including its own supporters and sympathizers, away from it?

Such divisive sentiments would not help the SPLM/A and any other South Sudanese thinking on the same line. These sentiments should have gone with the first era of the SPLM/A in the interest of accommodating more Sudanese into the SPLM/A. South Sudanese are politically mature and they know what they have to do when they chose to do it. But any kind of blackmail to draw them into the SPLM/A because it is fighting for separation of the country cannot work. This is a bitter pill of truth that has to be swallowed by the SPLM/A.

Democratically, however, there is nothing wrong with SPLM/A if it chooses to campaign for separation. To campaign for separation, however, is a process which SPLM/A must know needs South Sudanese regardless of their political standings to make it happen. In the same thinking and as a democratic right, there is also nothing wrong with those who would choose to campaign for the unity of the country. This thus means that conviction rather than money is what would make the people decide but not political blackmails.

The people know and they have seen three years into the interim period pass by and noticed that they have not gained anything from the CPA? Since when has the SPLM/A thought of what is good for the people of the South? Did the SPLM/A think of the people of the South when they – on behalf of the very people – negotiated the CPA? If they had thought of them why then take 70% of power when SPLM/A knows that they form a minority because not every South Sudanese is SPLM?

To encourage the people to get money which is not there would also change the mentality of the people towards the forthcoming plebiscite. Some if not all – since poverty is that ruthless – may not concentrate on anything called plebiscite because they would be gearing up their efforts to search with the aim of hitting the jackpot of unity of the Sudan. More so, it encouraging corruption, which H.E. Lt-Gen. Mayadit is trying to fight against?

There is no money pouring into the South as emphasized by the SPLM/A. This appears to be a direct fear from a formidable opponent like the NCP. But it should be reiterated that such fears are unfounded, but as allegations they exist. There should be no reasons for SPLM/A to worry if they treat the people of the South well. The people of the South do not like to be segregated upon. They detest tribalism, nepotism and political domination. They need services, development, peace, proper security, freedom from all kinds of oppressions, including abuses – they need all those good things a liberated human person could desire. The people of the South do not like concoction of stories that are deliberately directed towards hatred of individuals in other parties. How best could the parties in the South, including the SPLM/A work towards uniting the entire South?

Those Who Detest Criticisms Desire to Conceal Facts

Events has noticed that a number of South Sudanese – especially those who think that they shouldn't be criticised when they go wrong and their sycophants – refer to The Advocate Newspaper as a government newspaper. This people cannot comprehend how the partners in The Advocate could manage to put up a newspaper and somehow sustain it.

Those who insist that The Advocate is a government newspaper perhaps want The Advocate to praise the SPLM and criticise the NCP. This line of thinking is naïve, in that there is no way – in this era of freedom of expression and speech – that SPLM, NCP or indeed any other party could control a newspaper it has no hand in its establishing. Otherwise, it would also be in line to naively think that those newspapers which support the SPLM and actually conceal facts about what is happening in the South from the public for fear of washing dirty linens in public are SPLM newspapers. In fact the SPLM and GoSS send their adverts to some of these newspapers with the aim of promoting them but not to The Advocate, which they view as anti-SPLM, but those in The Advocate do not think that they are SPLM or GoSS.

The reasons that the SPLM and GoSS are against people who criticise them is because they want facts about them concealed. How could the SPLM as a movement and GoSS as a government expect to rule the people of the South without being criticised? What does NCP got to do with the affairs in the South when it had handed over the South to the SPLM? NCP is known for its past records, so is the SPLM, but why should SPLM's GoSS detain people without trials, oppress and subjugate the majority of South Sudanese and yet expect people not criticise it?

The Advocate newspaper had stopped circulation several times. Those who read The Advocate newspaper would realise that its issue number is 99 today. These 99 issues represent less than four months; where as The Advocate has been in existence for about six months. Meaning that, The Advocate issue numbers should have been 144 and not 99. However, The Advocate newspaper has stopped for more than one-and-a-half months or 45 days to be more precise.

How could the government, with all the abundant resources at its disposal, fail to print its own newspaper? Those who work in the newspaper business know very well that to publish a quality newspaper in Khartoum nowadays, someone must have not less than 20,000 Sudanese Gineih to print a respectable newspaper per month. That figure does not include the salaries for staff. What is 20,000 Sudanese Gineih to the government? In fact 100,000 Sudanese Gineih is what could simply be injected into any government department for services. Thus, it would not be that difficult for the government to support The Advocate with any amount required by The Advocate administration.

However, to assume that; since The Advocate Chief Executive and the Editor-in-Chief are government officials, therefore the newspaper is government, adds to the naivety of those who think that The Advocate belongs to the government. There are some Sudanese working in senior positions with the government and own newspapers in Khartoum but their papers are not labeled government-owned like The Advocate, why? Do those who think that The Advocate is government worry about something which many do not know? Or is it because The Advocate is owned by wrong people, people who are neither members nor sycophants of the SPLM?

Those behind The Advocate have taken upon themselves to address – without fear or favour – serious problems that are plaguing the Sudan, especially the South and may bring about war if not resolved. The Advocate fights tribalism, Nepotism, oppression, domination, grabbing of peoples' lands, occupation of peoples' villages in the South; and certainly the notion that others were born to rule. If this is not seen as a noble fight, then The Advocate can do very little to open the minds that are already saturated with corruption. Those in The Advocate, like those of you out there, know that oppression and subjugation don't have colours. We cannot complain that the "Jallaba" oppressed and subjugated the South Sudanese while we entertain a deadly form of oppression and subjugation exercised by South Sudanese.

We in The Advocate shall continue to be on and off in our operations. We would prefer it to be that way because we don't want anybody to control us in our thinking or tell us what to do when we do not want to do it. Otherwise there can be no freedom in the press when that happens. So, government or no government The Advocate shall overcome its hurdles and continue with its noble fight against the carefully devised neo-colonialism.



































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