By Dr. Aldo Ajou Deng-Akuey
Let’s hope for the best, while we thank God for giving us the R-ARCSS, signed on 12 September 2018, by the then warring parties (the -SPLM, SPLM IO and SSOA).
As the public of South Sudan is affected and devastated by traumatic insecurity, lack of food, death and poverty, our expectations are always put on government leaders to bail us out of the sufferings on which hopeful wishes hang on smooth implementation of the peace deal “in letter and spirit” and in good faith.
Our expectations need inclusive and concerted efforts for the R-ARCSS to succeed. But, without Join commitment, honesty, trust and confidence among the leaders and the affected citizens of South Sudan, the “expectations for peaceful stable country shall never be achieved.” There is a believe, right now, that the political parties: the SPLM, SPLM IO and SSOA in the Presidency and R-TGoNU, are not collectively united in a sole agenda of “peace and security” per se, but differ on their agendas. The SPLM honestly leads the agenda of “peace and security.” But, the former adversaries of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who should be seen to firmly commit to peace and security agenda, are half-heartedly uncommitted. To be exact in my reading, SPLM IO and SSOA are gambling on which is which agenda?: Peace and security or the “regime change.” They have already succeeded by dissolving the 32 states and sanctioning official supporters of President Salva Kiir through the Sentry “Enough project.” These parties are not in peace with the SPLM, but they have a devised strategic change of approach towards the “Kiir must go!”
Yes, the evidence shows that some criticisms are constructive in terms of power sharing, but, seriously, domestic and international critics pose a targeting and destructive campaign against our country and its founding leadership. For example, “Kiir and Riek should be excluded from unity Government!” That means the R-ARCSS could collapse. We are very much aware that South Sudan is a fragile, weak socially, politically and economically, thus facing compounded problems of livelihood in all fields.
In my assessment, the only option available to South Sudanese, in order to save the unity of the country and humanity is the R-ARCSS if the national security institutions are reorganised, united and integrated. These challenges are so huge and so much that the main political parties’ leaders, can not solve them alone without public commitment and necessary support.
To be exact and honest, the problems facing the Presidency and R-TGoNU, are getting worse under the pandemic COVID-19 regime. First, the pandemic has done away with the only National source of revenues: (a) oil markets prices internationally are down, (b) no exports or imports duties, (c) food production failed last year, thus causing severe hunger, (d) repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement of 6 million returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), (e) rendering the country to an acute poverty. In a nutshell, our country is financially handicapped to fund the implementation of R-ARCSS, let alone the humanitarian disaster, in terms of hunger, internal homelessness and coming back of refugees from the neighbouring countries. But, the good thing is that, the politicians are not going back to war. But the violence ranges among the communities (call them tribes if you like).
But, Nevertheless, new violence has moved out of Juba to states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, unity versus Warrap, Lakes and Central Equatoria. The fighting in Jonglei is a politico-community war. It involves Morlei, Nuer Low and Dinka. The war expected to erupt in Upper Nile, would be among the Nuer, Dinka and shilluk. The war going on in central Equatoria is said to be a liberation war, against who? It is not yet clear, but gossips figure point against politicians and warlords. These fightings are not small, they can seriously divide the communities, states and regions or could derail the ongoing Revitalised national peace.
Let’s accept the fact that our country is at the climax of national paralysis and dispersal in all fields of livelihoods. All of us must unite, avoid social and political anarchy for national dialogue, reconciliation and forgiveness.
In my opinion, the problems facing the country now are comprehensively identified by many South Sudanese intellectuals’ forums, such as the National Dialogue forum, Ebony centre-Think Tank, Sudd Research institution, professionals of schools of know how, universities and other centres in Africa and elsewhere in the world. Available are South Sudanese writers like Francis Mading Deng, Jacob Jiel Akol, Bona Malual, Dr. Lual A Deng, so many more-and check on historical records for political philosopher, Dr. John Garang’s on unity of Sudanese Africans, Arabs, Muslims and Christians. History of decolonized and post independence developments infrastructures are available.
These groups and individuals are not being consulted on related issues to their professionalisms and expierences to success or failure and why? There is no country anywhere in the world, that does not consult or refer it problems for experts opinion or advice, specially when the country is under establishment and eventual nation building.
The politicians need to involve South Sudanese civil society, women, youth, intellectuals and the church, in order to succeed in their endeavor to implement the R.ARCSS successfully. Otherwise implementation process shall fail. Aldo Ajou
The pandemic disease, coronavirus-covid-19 (C19) is a new killer in South Sudan. Two and half millions died in the war of liberation from 1955-2005. Forty thousand died in our “senseless war of 2013-2018.” That death was inclusive of diseases and lack of food. All in all, the R-ARCSS and its implementation machine, the R-TGoNU, is seriously interrupted by the Pandemic C19 and with collapsed of our insecurity, economy, hunger, diseases and poverty. The country is seriously halted. We have to move collectively in order to rescue humanity in South Sudan and the Country itself. Let’s standup now and to gather for the purpose of “save ourselves and the country.” All the war mongers must be told to stop now and join our war for survival.
Agency chief Qu Dongyu stressed that more action is still needed to avert a food security crisis as the ongoing rainy season, which benefits farmers and pastoralists, also provides favourable conditions for locusts to breed.
“Our gains have been significant; but the battle is long and is not yet over”, he said. “More people are at risk of losing their livelihoods and worsening food security in the coming months.”
Protecting crops and livelihoods
FAO has released its first progress report on the locust control campaign which began in January and now covers 10 countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen.
It was launched to protect crops and livelihoods from what are considered the most destructive migratory pests in the world. A single Desert Locust swarm, which can contain up to 150 million insects per square kilometre, is capable of eating as much food in a day, as 35,000 people.
Through FAO’s support, more than 365,000 hectares have been controlled, and an additional 350,000 pastoral households have been spared from distress.
While swathes of treated land are now relatively locust-free, the agency warned that a second wave of locusts will transition to the young adult phase in June, at a critical time when many farmers prepare to harvest their crops.
Second locust wave and food insecurity looming
FAO said the upsurge is “particularly alarming” in the broader context.
Forecasts made prior to the COVID-19 crisis indicate that more than 25 million people in the East Africa region will face acute food insecurity in the latter half of the year. An additional 17 million people in Yemen are already affected.
“We can and must protect vulnerable people from the impact of multiple crises: conflicts, climate extremes, desert locusts and COVID-19, which threaten to cause a further dramatic deterioration in their food security,” said Mr. Qu, the FAO Director General.
“To do this, we need to intensify our efforts further and focus not just on controls but on supporting the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists so they can get through this.”
An FAO appeal launched in January has netted $130 million. While funding has been largely concentrated on locust control activities, more support for livelihoods is needed.
Governments have been working with the UN agency to design, monitor and implement control operations. FAO has also been providing pesticides, bio-pesticides, equipment, aircraft and training.
Given the favourable conditions for locust reproduction, the agency has called for sustained efforts, and a revised appeal will be launched in the coming weeks.
The appeal will request additional resources for Iran and Pakistan, which are also facing locust infestations, and for scaling up efforts in the Sahel region, which risks being affected.
NEARLY 70 per cent of people across Africa said food and water would be a problem if they were required to remain at home for 14 days – and more than half would exhaust their money, according to an Ipsos survey released recently.
The survey included nearly 21000 people from 28 cities in 20 African countries on potential Covid-19 stay-at-home measures. The results were released in global virtual conference hosted online by the World Economic Forum.
Among the countries surveyed were South Africa, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the UK and US.
Two weeks ago, income decreased significantly for 13% of the respondents in South Africa.
The survey was done in two waves, the first on March 25-26 before stringent restrictions were imposed on movement and business and the second on April 11-12.
The waves showed that South Africa’s respondents stocked up on food and other household goods as a result of the pandemic.
In the first wave, 54.59 per cent stocked up, while 64.68 per cent did so during the second.
Chief executive of public affairs at Ipsos Darrell Bricker explained that it was a substantial research project that had to be conducted speedily to assist them in their battle with the coronavirus.
World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, said people who were food insecure were not able to earn their daily bread at a household level.
Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention John Nkengasong said unique attention needs to be devoted to the issues of food security.
“The committee that is governed by the AU Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, are taking this seriously,” he added.
Tatjana von Bormann from World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa said there were three components to food security in the country—there are less than 30000 commercial farmers versus more than 2 million small-scale farmers, social issues were clear signs that the system is under strain and in the environment, food production resulted in transformation of natural environments. The Food Flow initiative supports small-scale farmers and food producers by buying their harvest that would have gone to restaurants, hotels and airlines, among other places.
They have been redirecting food into areas experiencing food insecurity, since founded in March by Iming Lin and Ashley Newell.
They work in the Cape Metro and Winelands, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
Spokesperson for the Western Cape department of social development Joshua Chigome said: “The department made additional funding available for food relief programmes.”
England has tentatively begun easing its coronavirus lockdown, urging thousands to return to work if they can to begin rebuilding a struggling economy.
Brazil has recorded its highest daily death toll, with more than 800 deaths in 24 hours, while South Korea is sticking to its plan to ease restrictions despite a cluster of cases linked to a nightclub district in the capital city.
In Australia, the coronavirus death toll has risen to 98 after another Ruby Princess fatality, while the Chief Medical Officer is seeking advice on a coronavirus-linked condition that has killed three children in the US.
Another death linked to Ruby Princess
NSW health authorities have confirmed an 81-year-old woman who had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess died from COVID-19 yesterday.
The death raises Australia’s coronavirus death toll to 98 and the number of fatalities linked to the cruise ship to 22.
New South Wales confirmed six new coronavirus infections this morning, from more than 8,100 tests. That came after the state announced yesterday that it had gone 24 hours without confirming a new case for the first time since the pandemic began.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW Health knew the source of three of the new cases.
Victoria recorded seven new cases overnight, with none of them linked to the Cedar Meats outbreak in Melbourne. However, the state’s total only went up by by five as two previous cases were reclassified and removed.
Queensland’s tally went up by one this morning, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was an “old case”.
Western Australia recorded no new cases this morning, with Premier Mark McGowan saying only one COVID-19 patient remained in hospital in the state.
In the daily coronavirus briefing, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the total number of cases recorded nationwide was at 6,975, estimating about 700 people were still sick with COVID-19.