Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Articles 2003-2007 (2)

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.


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.


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.

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