We must restore our dignity, a pride of our liberation movements from 1955-2005

We must restore our dignity, a pride of our liberation movements from 1955-2005

The Government of the SPLM and the opposition led by SPLM IO, are convinced beyond reasonable doubt, that “the leadership’s war is unwinnable by either side.” A fact which brought them to peace table and committed themselves to the R-ARCSS 2018. With outgoing declarations of commitment, the Government and opposition agreed to work together and realise the people’s peace expectations. The IGAD, AU and UN expressed the same. But the Troika (the US, UK and Norway) differed and expressed skepticism, doubting the commitment of the warring parties and possible mismanagement of the peace deal. Troika’s ambivalence, regime change and peace-making contradicted “good-faith” and mediation principles.

For this peace to succeed, the SPLM and SPLM IO must join hands and uphold the fundamental sovereign interests of the Republic of South Sudan. This means that South Sudan should identify true friends if it lacks ones at the moment. There is no shame in international diplomacy where friend “in needs is a friend indeed.”

By this summary, President Salva Kiir was genuine, and not desperate as some care-nothing South Sudanese commented, when he declared and emphasised before the parliament that “I have completely forgiven Dr. Riek Machar and ready to welcome him home.” Kiir wanted Riek and all South Sudanese to take charge of their country’s interests and co-operate with friendly countries and distant the enemies at this stage.

Kiir and Riek went to war against one another and we want them to restore back our lost peace before they retire peacefully enjoying their joined legacy of having liberated the lands they fought for for three quarters of their ages.

I appeal to them and the political leaders who signed the R-ARCSS to work for successful peace. No return to war because South Sudan is nothing now in the eyes of the world, but “a laughing stock.” We must restore our dignity, a pride of our liberation movements from 1955-2005.

Let’s unite over the Revitalised Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS)

Let’s unite over the Revitalised Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS)

By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

Problems facing the Republic of South Sudan today are grossly huge. They range from total insecurity, poor livelihood, absence of essential services, social, political and economic breakdown. Human freedoms and obligations are in complete disharmony. And above all, the amount of destruction inflicted on this fragile country from 2013-2018 is an worldly unprecedented in contrast to Syria, Yemen, Libya, central Africa Republic etc. Alone we are reported to have killed 400,000 citizens, let alone distraction of the fragile infrastructure. Over 4 million left the country. Two million citizens are internally displaced from their homes. And 7 million are dying from lack of food and tropical diseases. These are the problems we have inherited from Khartoum and our own made.

This is the mess our country is in. It is time to acknowledge that this country cannot with stand or sustain more disasters. The sole option is peace, as agreed on 12 September 2018, by the warring parties.

nile explorer south sudan

A man waves South Sudan’s national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese danced and cheered as their new country formally declared its independence on Saturday, REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Let’s unite over the Revitalised Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) 2018. Let’s relate our problems to the Churches because Christianity is our shared national value. Let’s form the truth and reconciliation commission, supplement it to the National Dialogue and enforce the R-ARCSS’s implementation “letter and spirit” to save our country. Otherwise, let’s celebrate the doomsday before “we are all done by it.”

South Sudan government denies committing crimes against civilians

South Sudan government denies committing crimes against civilians

Source: Xinhua|Editor: xuxin

JUBA, June 6 (Xinhua) — South Sudan on Thursday denied accusations by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that government troops committed atrocities against civilians in the country’s southern region of Yei River state.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei said the HRW report was meant to tarnish the name of the government at a time when the country is implementing the September 2018 peace deal.

“This report was written in order to tarnish the image of the government of South Sudan and the army in particular,” Makuei said. “This is not true and there is nothing as such.”

The HRW report, released on Tuesday, accuses South Sudanese soldiers of carrying out extensive abuses against civilians during counter-insurgency operations between December 2018 and last March.

The report alleged that government soldiers raped civilians, looted property, burned houses, and evicted thousands of residents from their homes in Otogo and Mukaya areas during an operation against a rebel group, the National Salvation Front.

Military spokesman Lul Ruai Koang also dismissed the report, saying the government ceased fighting rebels since signing of the peace deal last year.

“We have never gone on offensive or counter-operation during the time they indicated in their report,” Koang said. “If there were crimes that were committed, they should have been committed by the rebels who are roaming in the forests of Yei River state.”

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The United Nations estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese were displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016.

Under the September 2018 peace agreement, opposition leader Riek Machar, together with four others, will be reinstated as vice president of South Sudan.

On May 3, signatories to the latest peace deal agreed to extend the formation of a transitional government by six months, following delays in the implementation of the pact over unresolved security issues.

Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately

Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately

From EIN Presswire

Following the suspension of Sudan from the African Union after the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led the horrific slaughter of more than 100 peaceful protestors over the past three days, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

“The Transitional Military Council of Sudan must immediately withdraw all members of the Rapid Support Forces from policing and law enforcement anywhere in Sudan and especially in Khartoum. They must be ordered off the streets and confined to their barracks in the interests of public safety.

“What we have witnessed in the past three days is horrific and barbaric. The senseless killing of protestors must be stopped immediately, and those responsible for the bloodbath, including at command level, must be held fully accountable for their dreadful actions,” said Kumi Naidoo.

Amnesty International is also calling for the immediate unblocking of the internet and social media to allow the people of Sudan access to information and the opportunity to exercise their freedom of expression.

Background

Since 3 June, media outlets have widely reported attacks on protestors with live ammunition, teargas, whips and sticks by the RSF paramilitary officers across Sudan.

According to the Central Committee of Medical Doctors, more than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. The security forces tried to conceal their acts by dumping dead bodies weighted with bricks in the River Nile, 40 of which are reported to have floated back to the surface, according to the doctors’ committee.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and detained in the past three days, including recently returned opposition leader Yassir Saeed Arman, whose whereabouts are unknown. Yassir, who is the deputy chairperson of Sudan’s People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and was one of the SPLM lead negotiators during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the war between the north and south of Sudan in 2005, has an unwarranted death sentence hanging over his head. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International. 

Machar directs his ‘forces’ to assemble in cantonment sites

Machar directs his ‘forces’ to assemble in cantonment sites

South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar has directed SPLA-IO forces to assemble in cantonment areas as soon as possible, as part of the peace deal.

“I want you to take the issue of cantonment very seriously. If you don’t report yourselves, they will count you out,” Machar told his supporters who gathered at a rally in Khartoum on Friday.

“Please report yourselves to any nearest cantonment sites.”

Under the peace deal, the parties are required to assemble their forces in cantonment sites to enable registration of personnel, weapons, screening, reorganization and demobilisation. The deal says all forces in cantonment sites shall receive non-military logistical supplies including food, shelter and access to medical care.

Machar, who will be reinstated as first vice president, emphasized the need for dissemination of the peace agreement to grassroots for citizens to understand the contents of the signed document.

“It is not good if normal citizens do not know what is written in the peace agreement,” he said.

The opposition leader pointed out that the peace agreement is lagging behind schedule, saying several technical committees have not yet been formed. “But we don’t want this to affect the agreement,” he said.

“This delay could affect the implementation of the agreement but we want to catch up,” he added.

The revitalized peace agreement signed in September will see the creation of a new transitional government in May 2019.

SOUTH SUDAN’s REVITALIZED AGREEMENT IS ON HEALTHY START AND HOLDING IT’S GROUNDS

SOUTH SUDAN’s REVITALIZED AGREEMENT IS ON HEALTHY START AND HOLDING IT’S GROUNDS

Fresh civil war erupted in Juba on 15 December 2013, causing heavy civilian casualties. The war spread to other parts of the country as the power struggle within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and took a nose dive into the military and the general public. As the war progressed, it took ethnic dimensions pitting the Dinka and Nuer residing largely in Juba. The war was predictable but the magnitude of the violence was unforeseen as it quickly spread from Juba, Bor, Malakal, Akobo, and Bentiu. There were revenge and counter-revenge from both sides of the conflict. Immediately, in January 2014, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) intervened to stop the violence and broker a negotiated peaceful settlement within the context of the conflict. Eventually, and on 12 September 2018, the South Sudanese political parties: the SPLM, SPLM IO and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), signed the Revitalized Agreement on Resolutions of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). These parties to the R-ARCSS have so far shown their commitment to it as compared to the previous peace agreements (ARCSS 2015 in point) which ended up in a brutal violence and total failure.
The focus has now shifted to the implementation of the R-ARCSS. The R-ARCSS has provisions for eight months pre-transition leading to the formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). The TGoNU shall run for a period of three years under which a new constitution will be made and government structures put in place. There shall be institutional and security sector reforms that will make government small, effective and efficient. Reforms will be directed at the public sector but most importantly putting governance institutions in place. The implementation phase requires all parties to collectively pull in the same direction and ensure the process is carried out to a successful conclusion.

The immediate challenge is hence security. The security challenge is complex to deal with in a period of three years given the history of the liberation struggle within SPLM/A and lack of documentation on liberation cadres within the formal and informal military ranks. The process of creating a new South Sudan Defense Forces and the criteria of inclusion and exclusion is a negotiated agenda. It also carries with it political risks of more violence from those who might not be accommodated within the new People’s Defense Forces (PDF). Thus, security sector reforms must encompass vocational training and recruitment of cadres in other security agencies such as police, wildlife, prisons, and national security among others. Security sectors reforms also have both lateral and horizontal implications since the number of generals shall be drastically reduced and redeployment and training of others in military academies to take new roles within the restructured South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF). The success of security sector reforms shall equally guarantee success in other sectors and state institutions.

Security sector reforms remain the most controversial and basic source of ensuring peace in South Sudan. The six national security services (SPLA, South Sudan National Police, National security intelligence, South Sudan National Prison, National Wildlife, and Fire Brigade) have to be restructured, reformed and professionalized. Above all, they have to be put under government administration for accountability and strict monitoring and supervision. In the past, the central focus has been the reconstruction and undertaking of security reforms solely focusing on SPLA instead of whole security sector reforms. Whereas there have been policy documents of security sector reforms such as the transformation program (2012-2017), very little has been achieved. Security agencies are largely a reflection and damping ground of SPLA and its affiliated militias. The starting point would be a comprehensive undertaking or review of the security sector to determine force strength, capacity, skills and competencies and then right size through alignment with resources and in a manner that takes into consideration emerging security threats in South Sudan and globally. The specific objective of undertaking sector reforms is to professionalize the six security agencies while making them independent of the executive and SPLA. Most importantly is to place them under civilian control. Finally, the general objective would be to strengthen civilian oversight role internally and externally. The security sector should be undertaken also as part of greater institutional reforms.

South Sudan faces serious humanitarian crises in diverse forms- Internally displaced persons, refugees, and over seven million facing starvation across the country. There are those physically challenged, injured, traumatized, and civilian deaths with attendants effects socially manifested in IDP camps where direct and indirect effects of the war are widespread and notable. The humanitarian tasks involve high social movement and mass resettlement of people. More often than not, diseases such as measles, cholera, and meningitis take the heavy toll on women and children in a distressful environment and conditions. What is more, it requires huge international support from humanitarian agencies to resettle refugees and internally displaced persons even as the state seeks a lasting solution to the problem largely associated with war and legacy of war.
The revamping of the economy is equally important if not the most important variable in realizing and implementing the peace process. Besides the oil economy that contributes to 98% of national revenue, other sectors of the economy have been neglected. Agriculture, animal husbandry, minerals, and tourism have the potential to transform the economy and create jobs for the youth. It is worth noting high youth unemployment and security implications, especially when coupled with high inflation and low productivity. Indeed, the revitalized peace agreement placed more emphasis on sharing oil resources and revamping the oil infrastructure at the expense of diversification of the economy and food security. Prudent management of oil resources and diversification of the economy would generate revenue that might transform sectors such as health, education, delivery of social services and infrastructure to link the country both horizontally and vertically.

The success of the peace agreement would depend also on the caliber of the constitution negotiated within the transitional period of three years. The constitution requires taking into consideration a federal system of government and control of resources by devolved units to allow the central government to concentrate on foreign policy, defense national security. The aim would be to introduce many centers of power and control of resources placed at the hands of the local populace. What is important however is not to weaken the state but allow the state to play its traditional role.

Finally, peace is expensive and require support beyond national borders. The peace agreement would need the support of the whole world and especially countries with significant investments and other interests in South Sudan. The primary focus should remain the interests of South Sudanese to realize and reap peace dividends.

By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey