Friday, December 14, 2012

Wau Casualties of Taking Towns to People

  By Martin Garang Aher

Just like the time of Jervas Yak ubango, acting governor of Bahr el Ghazal during the premiership of Mohamed Ahmed Mahjoub (1965-1966, 1967-1969), and on a completely differential paradox, the city of Wau on Sunday 9th December 2012, witnessed death in yet another horrible setting.

It had all began with Western Bahr El Ghazal State governor, Mr. Rizik Zakaria Hassan’s cabinet decision to transfer Wau County headquarters to Bagari, about 12 miles Southwest of Wau town, in an apparent reckoning of taking services closer to people. The decision had made the local town dwellers uneasy, prompting them to take to the streets in protest. The ensued drama was a horrendous nightmare. A video coming out from Aljazeera English Channel clearly shows people with guns firing into the crowds of unarmed civilians, many on foot, some on bicycles and others on motorbikes.  The dead are seen on the ground in pools of blood in the aftermath of the shooting. South Sudan government and the police are yet to agree on who did the killing. Whichever side will take the responsibility; the action was unacceptable and unpatriotic. The defensive governor, Rizik Zachariah Hassan is on record in denial that demonstrators were killed in the clash with the police - or the army. Earlier the minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Derik Alfred Uya, said that about eight people were killed.  Numerical flaws sway between 25 deaths and the number that Mr. Derek had put forward. In fairness he had outperformed the governor who denied in totality that any of the protesters were killed. Why did a simple street protest that teargas with batons might solve attract the full gallantry of the police? The anger shown by protesters, as alleged, in setting ablaze what was in the way could have risen to such height due to slackness in conveying to the people the decision of the cabinet to move the headquarters out of town.

One was stunned to see the repeat in South Sudan of South African police heavy-handedness, which characterized the apartheid regime and more recently, during the Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in which the police gunned down thirty-four miners in cold blood. South Sudan government and Western Bahr el Ghazal government in particular ought to do better than allowing civilians to die for the decision that should have been communicated smoothly to the people. Had the transfer of the headquarters been thoroughly put to the people, this incident could have been averted. The wanton use of force by the police will serve as a signal that life of the citizens is of little value. Wau and its authorities must chart a different trend in order not to bring to memories massacres that nearly made it the city of death in the past.

Similar incidences had occurred in Wau before, in which authorities had acted out of malice on people. But the circumstances were different. One of these incidences is easy to recall from history. On the night of July 11, 1965, two cousins, Cypriano Cier and Ottavio Deng Maroro Rian wedded two sisters and daughters of a prominent chief, Benjamin Lang Juk. The wedding took place in Wau cathedral whereupon a double wedding party was announced. Many southern intellectuals were invited to the party. The government of premier Mohamed Ahmed Mahjoub saw it fit to exterminate southern intellectuals at one sweep since southern Sudan was then a war zone and activities of the Anya Nya needed to be curbed. The difference between a southerner in town and those of the outlaws Anya Nya in the bush was proving difficult. To end the southern quest for a free country, the best way to do it was to cut off the head of southern region through her knowledgeable cadres. It follows that the wedding party was surrounded at night by the army and everyone, including the brides and bridegrooms was massacred. Wau woke up on the 12th July 1965 to a sobering count of seventy-six dead people, forty-nine of whom were southern government officials.

Jervas Yak Ubango, the acting governor who was revered as a high quality public administrator, was forced by the government to deny the occurrence of the incidence. He, in his own right, luckily escaped death earlier that night by leaving the venue just minutes before the killing occurred. In facts twisting, typical of Sudanese politicians, Sayed Ahmed al- Mahdi, minister of interior said the army had to shoot because some of the outlaws were planning to attack the armed forces and were using the wedding as a launching pad, and that they searched the party venue and have found weapons and ammunitions. Al-Ayam newspaper on the ground disapproved minister’s allegation of the plan to attack the town as well as the presence of the outlaws in the wedding party. The paper was shut down for its defiance.

Unlike Wau of 1960s, home to wolves and sheep, Wau of the modern era is expected to play a critical role in spreading development, not to serve as a city of terror anymore. If Dr. John Garang were to be alive, his astonishment in witnessing the first casualties of his aphorism of taking towns to people vis-à-vis the popular expectation of the reverse would be eminent. Garang suggested the idea in president Kibaki’s State House, Nairobi in 2005 and in presence of many African and world’s dignitaries and heads of states and governments during the signing of Six Machakos Protocols. For South Sudanese present at the time, it was sweet on the ears. The harbinger of towns coming to the villages was what was needed, or expected so as to realize the fullest of freedom.

When Garang made the statement, however, the pressing issue was the reality of peace coming to old towns. General Lazarous Sumbeiywo, IGAD envoy in charge of the Sudanese peace process had just completed his tactical knowledge of bush dashing and had managed to bring the parties to peace together to sign the penultimate documents, which were to pave the way towards the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It was at the State House in Nairobi that the merry-go-round came to full circle. Because of fear that the Sudanese were infiltrating the negotiating delegations every time an agreement was about to be stroke and causing delays and possible stall, Sumbeiywo had moved negotiations venue from Naivasha, Machakos, Nyanuki and finally to Nairobi thereby confining the fly in fly out parallel negotiators from Khartoum to hotels. This, for records, saw the success of peace, and as a consequence made CPA The Nairobi Agreement. It would have been Washington Agreement had the IGAD committee accepted president Bush’s request to have it signed in the White House.

In truth, peace was coming. To many who had never been to towns in the old Sudan, the idea of towns coming home in the villages was just right. At least the overweening behaviour of town folks would come to an end when the country achieves independence. No one would again ask anyone about having been to Juba, Wau, etc. In fact, it would be the village folks that would be asking themselves if towns have come to their villages. But a few must have given it an indebt reflection if it would involve administrative reordering and shifting. Indeed, following this lack of knowledge, what happened in Wau has dole out that there must have been a belief in a cheeky hypothesis that towns would be built from scratch and people asked to inhabit them in full functioning. It is a terrible misunderstanding! However, Wau is a city of controversies where death en masse had horrific historical precedence.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And The Question is ‘What killed Isaiah Abraham?’

By  Martin Garang Aher

On December 5th, 2012, a day that has become one of the drabbest days in South Sudan, and particularly bloodcurdling within the circles of the intellectual community and the media, Isaiah Abraham was killed in the coldest of night by thus far, unknown assailants. The brutal killing of Isaiah Abraham - a real person whose real name had been wrongly understood to be a cognomen for Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awol - a political commentator and a government critic from within, shook the nation that Wednesday morning. Many thought Isaiah Abraham, a name familiar to many readers of South Sudanese sociopolitical and economic commentaries, was that of a coward guy hiding behind a pseudonym. But he wasn’t. As an ordained Christian pastor and born of a Christian family that follows baptismal renaming cult, Isaiah had nothing hidden in whom he was. In actual fact, he was just he, Isaiah Abraham.

It is believed that Isaiah was confronted in his house in the wee hours of the morning and was physically assaulted and eventually silenced by the barrel of a gun. Family, friends and his readers were crumbled by the news of his death. Dark clouds hang over freedom of expression as well, for Isaiah could only die through what he writes. Those who were greatly affected were members of South Sudanese blogosphere who intuitively felt the urge by the country’s sheer lack of development in its wholesomeness (physical infrastructure, change in attitudes, psychological development, ideological development, social development, etc.), and who wished to save the country by offering advice from a politically non-allied perspective. They had initially thought that the gunmen might now need the intellectuals to push the nation to its credible viability. But on this day they were wrong. The brutal death of Isaiah Abraham left many querying where in the world would an enduring stability and development of a nation not require the two polarities to cooperate and coexist? Following the news of death of Isaiah Abraham, there appeared to be no room for intellectual comments in South Sudan. Never had it crossed anyone's mind that the penman, usually located within the capitals: Juba, Torit, Malakal, Aweil, Bor, Yambio, Bentiu, Abyei, Rumbek, Kuacjok and in the diaspora would inadvertently enter into war with the gunmen. Such seems to be the unfolding state of affairs.  It is hinted that Isaiah Abraham had received threatening phone calls before he was eventually hunted down and killed. The queerness of it all is that threats have continued to be issued to others after him.

There are people who say they have received anonymous phone calls ordering them to cease making critical comments on the Internet about the death of Isaiah Abraham. Those receiving these death calls from hell are told to shut up or face the consequences. But Isaiah Abraham was a major in the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) and bore the brunt of war so that those who do not speak for themselves would have the prospect of living the dream of freedom.  He is not a man whose name should be whispered with fear, not when he is dead. There are courageous statements in the media from many South Sudanese citizens who do not want to comply. Some of his readers say that if Isaiah Abraham wasn’t quiet, then why remain quiet about his death when what killed him may still be out there.

What really killed Isaiah Abraham? My assumption is that many South Sudanese writers, bloggers, columnists, commentators and their readers are in full knowledge that what they write or read about is often not about themselves but what they ought the society to be for everyone. A commentator like Isaiah, who wrote till death, did so because he wanted to see an equitable, just and fair society flourishing in South Sudan. It would conversely be of no much an interest to focus on the human face of who took the life of Isaiah Abraham. At this point, speculations are that his death, if methodically investigated, may not criminalize one individual but a system of some category. Believing this may be the case, then, logically, there is no prison structurally capable of hosting culprits of a crime of such enormity. South Sudanese too, are aware that investigations have been ordered in the past and unto present, no culprits have been incarcerated. The kidnapping and near-death torture of Deng Athuai, the Chairperson of South Sudan's Civil Society Alliance, is a case in point. Deng’s attempts to let the government disclose the names of seventy five officials meekly implored in the letters sent to each one of them to return the money to the national treasury landed him in a sack, thoroughly beaten and left for dead just a few kilometers from the outskirts of Juba. Other tortures and disappearances have been reported.

These tortures and now the death of Isaiah Abraham makes one believes that whoever kills and tortures cannot be found. Only what makes the killer so ferocious could be unwrapped.

The events leading to Isaiah’s demise are clear. Many think the country’s leadership is perching on shame for failing to restart oil flow and correspondingly, reeling in fear of an unforeseen seat-swapping civil unrest if things stand the way they are. It is important to note here that South Sudan government remains the major employing sector in the country, and with ninety-eight percent of its budget coming from oil, stakes of discord can never be any higher. Private sector is yet to emerge. The quintessential truth rests on what citizens see; impending suffering might be looming. There is no economy that anyone would say is free falling, rather, there is no real economic move from ground zero. On the political economic front, neighboring Sudan holds the nation by the throat. No future date is set for oil flow in sight, borderlands are being invaded, and prices of anything but everything are skyrocketing in the local markets. Frustration is comprehensible on the faces of the people. These and others are what Isaiah Abraham was commenting on.

The second last article he wrote mentioned his participation in the demonstrations. He was among the demonstrating crowd of the people of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and other areas who dissent Mile 14 and other borderlands in the security arrangement between Sudan and South Sudan. He also wrote strongly about South Sudan’s intransigence in dealing with Sudanese rebels. The facts that Isaiah wrote about are strong enough. In fact someone who is ill-trained in matters of national security would think he had trespassed too close. But he was miles away. Sometimes his controversial commentaries leave some with doubts as to what he was unto.  In the writers’ blogosphere, some thought Isaiah was the government, or at least, its agent. Until now, some people are yet to be convinced of who Isaiah Abraham really was. Even some of us who might have seen Isaiah physically would not be able to clear this mystique. However, in the face of this anonymity in the person of Isaiah, just as much as the anonymity of his killers would keep clouding our vision of the reality, one thing would be clear, with or without investigation into his death – the question of what killed him. Could Isaiah Abraham be a victim of ordinary crime - of which Juba is said to be notorious due to lack of effective crime stopping mechanisms, or comments on Mile 14 Sudanese rebellions, leadership stagnation, fear of uprising, lack of basic services in the country or siphoning corruption? What is it?

Ordinary citizens who love South Sudan as a country and the shrewd Isaiah Abraham would be gratified in the ultimate justice if what killed him is systemically addressed. What killed Isaiah, when found, might probably be what is killing the nation. If Isaiah Abraham, a man without an opposition briefcase and following could die for his views, then South Sudanese opposition leaders in the like of Dr. Lam Akol are justified to oppose via a remote control.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mile 14 in the Security Arrangement: Failure, Arrogance or Lack of Popular Understanding

By Martin Garang Aher 

South Sudan politics is beginning to move along the customary of realpolitik. Just recently, the populace living on the new country’s borders voiced their misgivings over land issues in the government’s agreement with Khartoum. Their grievances appear to have been ignored without proper explanations and the political latitude tilted towards religion. South Sudan is now sending her first independent black Muslims to Mecca on a presidential sanction to cast their pebbles at kaaba al musharraffa (the black stone) in a ritual move that will define one of the SPLM’s premises of the New Sudan built on equality of all races and favouring freedom of religion. As many South Sudanese do not hold any bad feelings towards those who have fought to have their freedom of worship recognised in the theology of colour-blindness, expectations are that the same support the president extended to potential black sheikhs, where they must travel to Saudi Arabia without having to go through any religious medium, be also extended to those who fought for so long to gain the land and oil resources within it.  

Two days after South Sudan legislative assembly ratified nine bilateral agreements including mile 14 in a near unanimous vote, the Minister of Petroleum and Mining, Stephen Dhieu, ordered oil companies to commence operation with immediate effect through Sudan’s oil infrastructures. The timing could not be any perfect for the petrified and internationally cornered government of South Sudan that saw the first ever peaceful demonstrations by the citizens against it. The people of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and other citizens who disapproved of the oil agreement did not see the security arrangement relating to Mile 14 as just a pen and paper temporary arrangement as mediators would want all to believe, but in terms of land and the legal backdrops attached to it.  

Unlike the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the two Sudans – A model of accomplishment that should have been adopted for peaceful deliberations by South Sudan’s ruling party (The SPLM) with Sudan – which was first communicated to the citizens from grassroots to diaspora by late Dr. John Garang - the already missed savviest negotiator and architect of peace in the Sudans - oil agreement becomes visible to have been a shove down the throat to the citizens. If there is anything that South Sudan government must be credited for, it is the sincerity and easy lending of its sensitive documentations, classified or otherwise. The nine bilateral agreements instantaneously hit the web the moment they were signed in Addis Ababa on the 27 September, 2012 and by the time president Kir and his mediators arrived in Juba, South Sudan capital, the populace had already gurgled the contents of the agreement and were waiting to hear from their face-down heroes. When this awareness took a little longer, mile 14 people, Abyei people and the people of Panthou, Karsana and other contested areas made no concealed articulation of their fears. They demonstrated on the streets of juba and around South Sudan parliament amidst gunfire in the air. Inside the parliament the president was not substantively convincing the lawmakers to make the right decision but coerced them to ratify the agreement through his hard language and denigration of the protesters outside the building. 

But what exactly is in the security arrangement involving Mile 14 between Sudan and South Sudan that warranted mediators and president’s arrogance in communicating with the South Sudanese affected by the agreement?

The agreement was actually simple. A high school student and a sophomore dropout without difficulty could understand it. It is this simplicity that the people quickly understood it. And in simple summary, it can be stated that the security arrangement over mile 14 deviated from the CPA path and the essence of fighting for the land and the negotiators, under pressure, created by admission of a problem from out of the blue thereby subjecting the land of Dinka Malual to future legal contest. It had further exposed and compromised the security of the people in area who had for ages battled for their survival singlehandedly in the hope that a future nation in which they would be part of would not kowtow under any stress but to stand with them.

This summary has no nonsensical legal jargons that need consultancy. It is therefore surprising that South Sudanese mediators and the president would dare question intellectual capability of millions who read the document in totality and who felt it was a game of oil flow but in a wrong calculations that will eventually haunt them.

 I remember sitting a few meters from the SPLM’s negotiating panel at Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya in 2004 where Dr. Garang gave a lengthy deconstruction of the Machakos protocols and the intricate arithmetic of oil sharing. When asked about the reason behind equal oil quota allocation in wealth sharing agreement, his argument was fairly simple. He urged his people to accept fifty percent and use their referendum vote to get the other fifty percent.  It is therefore the leader that must have the propensity to make complex agreements clear before adopting them in a binding agreement rather than gloating in a manner suggestive of a reverse of an argument.

South Sudan negotiators, including president Kir might have a completely different interpretation of the security arrangement about mile 14. This is not a new obsession in the Sudanese politics where the truth is often absurdly entrapped in the opposite plane in order to cause confusion, delay, suffering and domestic and international frustration. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, negotiated by Dr. Garang, the then sage negotiator for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA, and a soft spoken but powerful vice president of the Sudan, Ali Osman Taha, whose portfolio went to John Garang immediately after the implementation modality went into effect, referred to Abyei referendum participants in two words: Ngok Dinka and others. Legal experts during the Sudanese peace talks should have known that the word ‘other’ was the only ambiguous word that any enemies would find any peace with. Abyei referendum is today held hostage by the simple, yet politically loaded term, other. And the word is dragging the Sudans into each other every minute of every day and putting the Ngok Dinka of Abyei and ‘other’ proper in the abyss of the politics of survival.
It is this assigning of absurdity, double dealing, and what Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor with special interest in Darfur and now the Sudans calls a ‘moral equivalence’ that differentiates, complicates and sets the parallels in the citizens’ understanding of the bilateral agreement and president Kir’s and mediators’ uncommunicated intention of the oil flow first.

The Sudanese and South Sudanese politicians seem to have been misled by past colonial agreements. However, colonial and condominium agreements in the Sudan were not right. Had they been fair, there would have been no wars? The 1924 Munroe-Wheatley agreement described by Douglas H. Johnson in his book; When boundaries become borders: The impact of boundary-making in Southern Sudan’s frontier zone seems to have induced a campaign of the border between Sudan and South Sudan and with Rizeigat copying the notoriety that Messeriya Arabs play in Abyei’s referendum exercise. We must remember that Munroe-Wheatley agreement initially built on other grazing and hunting rights arrangements of the citizens between Sudan, where Dinka Malual were subjects and Rizeigat, who were citizens of Darfur Sultanate, later annexed to Sudan in 1916. In fact, and much to the chagrin of South Sudanese who were not at ease with the current security arrangement involving Mile14, the book, published in 2010, has hinted on page 45 that GoSS had earlier considered demilitarisation of mile 14. The predetermined demilitarisation will therefore leave many to question whether recent Addis Ababa oil agreement was a pre-emptive ratification of government policy regarding Mile 14 by the negotiators, and if so, what then were the security guarantees for the people living in the area?

Dissimilar to the Sudanese mediators who sometimes admit guilt and shed tears, their South Sudanese counterparts have no nonsense in the politics of apologies. Once confronted, as was the case of Mile 14, they beat their chests in a gorilla-style show of force and swing any blame back to the people in a new bag stamped on as lack of understanding and failure to read the agreement. President Kir had been on records where he is seen to have taken side in the row but took matters to a higher level. He boasted to the demonstrators outside the national assembly for the length of time he spent fighting for the land, which he was accused of surrendering to Sudan through admittance of contention over it. Little was he aware that in the crowd were SPLA veterans who, in 1982 had already joined the Anya Nya Two and fought for the land while he was still speculating whether to take to bush or not. Logically, if arrogance and wealth were to be awarded in South Sudan based on the length of time in the service, then the lion’s share still has not found the right consumers.

Actions of South Sudan government following disagreement with the Sudan over oil transit fees are indeed a conjecture that should allow people to question the par excellence of SPLM political negotiations skills and gun-wielding bluffs. The recent agreement that fits a relationship of commensalism with Sudan have raised doubts among the majority of the people, with some introspecting if late Dr. Garang were to be alive, whether he would have been threatened by a leak on oil pipeline, his nation’s vital artery to the point of summarily shutting it down without arrangements in place, or whether he would, as a consequence of oil theft during export, encourage South Sudanese, through adding more lands to the contest, to enter a post CPA relationship of commensalism with Sudan? Even nobody knows what other leaders would do in a similar situation, proper imagination is that the nation’s house of law would implement the codes of democracy bequeathed upon it.  

As for the legislative assembly of South Sudan, we are yet to witness its democratic independence where the power to ratify an agreement for oil flows has equal measure with the power to order a shut down.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dinka Malual: Going North or Going it Alone

The devil is in the details of South Sudan and Sudan oil agreement for Dinka Malual

Martin Garang Aher

September 27, 2012 will be remembered by Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal as the month which brought back to life the dark history over the control of the frontiers with Rizeigat Baggara of Southern Darfur. On that day in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Bashir and Kir swapped the rhetoric with brotherhood; a new cowboy-hat-on-the-bald amity; and together they signed oil agreement which is courteously wrapped in throngs of other subsidiary agreements to form an angel in the framework. 

The entire deal, which comprised of nine bilateral agreements, included the diabolic insertion of mile 14 pasture-land between Dinka Malual and the Rizeigat into the national frames of both countries, thereby making it a bitter contested border zone. Panthou is already a thing of the past and Abyei referendum, always used as a winning bargain or peace mantle by South Sudan, remains as elusive as ever. To Dinka Malual, nonetheless, mile 14 situation is almost akin to the time between 1860 and 1880 when Zubeir Pasha formed forces with the Rizeigat and drove Dinka Malual beyond River Kir/Bahr el Arab. Though Rizeigat had had the backing of the authorities most of the times that they ventured southwards, their numerous attempts in the early twentieth century had been prohibited forcefully by Dinka Malual. The result had been continuous traditionally acknowledged seasonal agreements between the two communities on how to access pastures on either side of River Kir. It is important to note that Dinka Malual never goes to Dar Rizeigat for pastures. Always, it is Dinka Malual that is forced to open up and be accommodative. And judging by the recent Kir-Bashir agreement, they have once again been forced - perhaps sooner or later - to relent for the sake of peace that ought to kill them. Of course the anger is enormous in Aweil community worldwide. Some think they have been abandoned by their government through allowing another opportunity for the marauding Murahaleen to resume their rustling; while others view it as a trading off of their land for Abyei, a region that initially legally and administratively chose not to be part of South Sudan. Common men are asking whether Aweil should shoulder Abyei problem. But the reality is that both Aweil and Abyei will always shoulder their own problems with Rizeigat and Misseriya. And all have burdens to share with South Sudan and the Sudan.

Where is mile 14 conundrum; or what Magdi Gigouli, a notable Rift Valley Institute scholar, referred to as ‘Abyei in the making’ heading to?  Might we be seeing old wounds being pricked once again? Paul Malong Awan Anei, the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, a former general in the SPLA army, a native of Dinka Malual whose part of his native area lies within mile 14 and a veteran who sustained more than eight bullet wounds from the Baggara as the then zonal commander in the Second Sudanese Civil war in Aweil area Command Post, made no less show prior to the conclusion of Kir-Bashir talks in Addis Ababa. Upon sensing that his state’s national security would be offered as a sacrificial lamb, he hastily went to Ethiopian capital where he had talks with his boss, president Kir and the mediating team. One is unsure if in the tense and pressurised atmosphere of the negotiations Kir was able to listen to him. His message to South Sudanese upon return to Juba and to Aweil citizens in particular were no less categorical, ‘I want to assure you that we are in Mile 14 and we will be there to stay. This is our area and we know how to manage relations,’ he said. He had indeed fumed earlier on that implementation of such an agreement would be done when he is not there. Whether this indicates a resignation or an old adage, ‘over my dead body,’ is a matter open to interpretation.

The whole scenario of withdrawing SPLA forces ten kilometres south of Kir River thereby paving way for creating a safer border demilitarised zone (SBDZ) carries an emotional charge among Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. To the Rizeigat, it may mean an implementation of the boundary which the British governor of Bahr el Ghazal, Mervyn Wheatley and the then governor of Darfur, Patrick Munro agreed on and imposed in 1924; Dinka Malual never accepted the agreement that went any mile beyond Kir River. And to Dinka Malual, it is another imposition in which they are never consulted that had just occurred. The Sudanese had a delegation of Rizeigat presenting their case to the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) while South Sudan never spoke with Dinka Malual, the custodians of the border clues.  This already justifies trouble. Both Dinka Malual and Rizeigat are a surprise to one another when it comes to what goes on along Kir River. In all the historical wars on Kir River, it begins with pastures, picks up in the water, culminates in the rustling and fully accelerates in the blood.

 Many South Sudanese would not agree with mile 14 being a contested area. However, given the economical implications that oil shut-down had created, sceptics perceive this latest agreement as a sell-out to Khartoum for the oil to flow. Khartoum might praise its negotiation skills and views Kir-Bashir agreement as booty of war of attrition.The economic implication of oil stoppage gives an impression that South Sudan is dying for cash. The national treasury is running dry. In any sense, South Sudan is now frantically paying heavily for halting its oil torrent which constitutes the mildly spoken ‘lifeblood’ of the two nations by many analysts. The craving for economic freedom that accompanied government decision to stop the oil flow in the first place is now being ran down by an avalanche of desperation. People are angry and hungry. When South Sudan shut down its oil earlier in 2012, hunger was a minute thing that could be sustained. What was at stake was the national pride and economic freedom. The South Sudan chief negotiator, Pagan Amum - just like his country men and women who demonstrated on the streets of Juba in support of the decision that halted oil transit through theft-perforated pipeline of the Sudan - asserted his contentment saying it was a matter of national economic freedom. So it was, no doubt.

But to Dinka Malual, the adored economic freedom is now forfeiting their land for cash. The freedom in demand for Malual Giernyang or Malual Buoth Anyaar, as they fondly call themselves, is not only economic or political, it is freedom from dispossession that they must counter from any Sudan, be it South Sudan or Sudan. And as the governor asserted, so are the people of Aweil who will have to join the land when it goes north, or hang on to it to the detriment of peace between the two Sudans.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sudan's Street Protests are not Entirely Good Omens

By Martin Garang Aher

Sudanese are on the streets! And they are poised to carry on with their intentions irrespective of government rebukes. Perhaps the Arab Spring déjà vu has ultimately come to town. It will remain to be seen if the Sudanese will really muster the strength and courage seen on Tahrir Square in Cairo and on the streets of Tunis and Tripoli. One is not really convinced that the Sudanese masses have reached maturity to persistently sustain longer demonstrations against a full throttle government's immediate response and crack downs that may ensue.  However, one may be wrong. It is almost two weeks now since the streets became live with demonstrators. Who knows the pain had penetrated the marrow of the Sudanese commoners.

What we do not see clearly is the system the Sudanese people would want to replace the NCP (Nation Congress Party) with. New opposition parties in the Sudan have little acquaintance with the public and the already existing prominent ones are led by Islamic and political ideologues that have had a fair share in the mess and misrule that have today 'properly' angered the citizens. It is reasonable to suggest that the main opposition parties in the Sudan would do no better than the NCP. What may boost the confidence of the people on the streets would be the emergence of a strong Islamic Political party that will promise to steer away from military preoccupations and economic mismanagements that have characterised the Sudanese political arena since independence in 1956. It will have to chart a path too different from that of the NCP -which still views itself as an islamic movement of the people - that many see as the reason behind the break up of the country. For this to happen, they have to imitate Egypt, a model country which some Sudanese politicians wish to see theocratically recolonises Sudan and merges the borders to form a larger Arab entity in Africa. This tangential shift will too push farther away the rebels in Darfur, Eastern Sudan, Southern Kordufan and the Blue Nile regions.

Regionally, if the Sudanese manage to bring down the government with stones and burning tyres, they would have dealt a big blow to the ICC and economic blockades. Nevertheless, Sudan will have no better relations with South Sudan; a country which its seccession is the key abstract behind the demonstrations and which the government - now so despised - have categorised as number one enemy state after Israel. Critically, the parties lining up for power in Khartoum had in the past dealt with the main ruling party in South Sudan (Sudan People's Liberation Movement) and will not succeed in any deal to settle the post referendum issues with less tricks and fairness as expected. For many South Sudanese, it is the frantic and erratic nature of the NCP; a party in which two thirds of its pivotal members have been indicted by the International Criminal Court, that they wish diminished. At least, a free thinking Sudanese government would be better for the two Sudans. Other countries that have had the feel of the Sudanese bad omen such as Malawi, which had recently relinguished the duty of hosting African Union Summit following pressures to invite President Bashir, will breath freely heavily in the African affairs.

To the 'bubbles' demonstrators, as Bashir would want them to be known, what began on the campus of the University of Khartoum, be it theocratic or secular,  must have a seasoned torch-head for it to be meaningful.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Panya, Mende Na Wadudu: Lugha Ya Kumalizana

Ilitungwa na Martin Garang Aher

Ni kama watu hupata mdadi wa aina isiyoaminika wakisikia viongozi wao huwaita wenginge kwa majina yajaayo na udharaulifu na uonefu. Kwa viongozi wachache barani Afrika, katika miaka mingi iliyopita kuanzia 1994, hali ya matamshi haya ya ukorofi ilizidi mno. Ukifikiria ni kwa sababu gani viongozi wanaamua kutumia lugha ya kuchochea baadhi ya watumwa wao dhidi ya wengine, unashindwa kupata maana mwafaka. Mara kadhaa, lugha ya chochezi ilileta maafa wa halaiki kwa njia ya kuwadhalilisha wengine.

Juzi, tulisikia kiongozi wa Sudan, Omar Bashir, akiwaita viongozi wa chama kinachotawala nchini Sudan Kusini (SPLM) wadudu. Bashir alitamka neno hilo akiwa anasherekea hadharani hali ya vikosi vyake kuingia eneo la Panthou/Heglig ambalo lilichukuliwa awali, Aprili 10, 2012 na vikosi vya Sudan Kusini. Maafisa wa Sudan Kusini walisema walisukuma wanajeshi wa Sudan ambao waliwashambulia mbeleni, hadi wakateka kwa nguvu eneo la Panthou. Panthou, ambalo liko chini ya udhibiti wa Sudan, ni eneo lenye mtaji wa mafuta na kisima kikubwa cha mafuta ya kutosha kwa uchumi wa Sudan.

Katika harakati ya kushindwa vitani, mzozo wa maneno ulizidi baina ya pande zote mbili, Sudan na Sudan Kusini. Marekani, Umoja wa Afrika, Umoja wa Mataifa na serikali ya nchi nyingi nyinginzo duniani kote, walilaumu Sudan Kusini kwa kuvuka mpaka hadi Sudan na kupeleka mzozo ugaibuni. Lawama hili lilikuwa zito kibisa kwa serikali ya Sudan Kusini hata wakaondoa vikosi vyao katika eneo la Panthou. Hali hilo iliwaghadhibu wananchi ambao mbeleni walikuwa wanasherekea  ushindi wa wanajeshi wao.

Bashir alichukuwa fursa huo wa umoja wa kimataifa kulilaumu Sudan Kusini, na kuwachochea wenyeji wa nchi yake waone majerani yao kama wadudu. Hali iliyowabidi wananchi wa Sudan kuchoma kwa moto kanisa la wakristu jijini Khartoum. Waafrika wa kiasili wa Sudan Kusini walioko Khartoum waliteseka mikononi mwa raia katika upuzi lililofuata. 

Mnamo mwaka 1994, tuliona vile mauaji wa halaiki yalisababishwa kwa kuwachochea watu. Nchini Rwnada 1994, mwaka Afrika Kusini ilipata uhuru wake na wananchi walikuwa na furaha tele, na Nelson Mandela akiwa mwangaza mpia wa bara, mambo yalikuwa yanageuka vibaya.  Kabila la Hutu lilianza kutekeleza uamuzi wa kuwatimu Watutsi. Wahutu waliwaita wenzao wa Tutsi, mende. Fujo na maiti yaliyotokea katika uhasama huo zilishangaza dunia nzima. Takriban milioni moja ya watu waliuawa.

Katika Majira ya Arab, ambapo tulitahamakisha tafiri kubwa ya kisiasa katika Afrika ya Kaskazini, rais wa Libya, Gadafi aliwaita watu wake, ambao walihitaji mabadiliko wa mamlaka wake, kuwa panya. Aliwaonya kwamba atawafukuza katika kila pembe la jiji la Tripoli mpaka awacharaze vyema na vikali. Mwishowe, Gadafi mwenyewe ndiye alikamatwa akijificha ndani ya bomba. Idadi ya watu waliokufa katika harakati za kumwondoa katika mamlaka yake haihisabiki.

Kama ilivyonenwa, haba na haba hujaza kibaba, ni vizuri kufanya lawezakanalo kuzuia hali itakayowaua watu kwa wengi. Maneno yake Bashir ni maneno ya muuaji. Afrika na vilevile dunia nzima inayojali haki za binadamu zikae macho.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ten-Day War: South Sudan Withdrawal From Heglig Was Important

Martin Garang Aher

But, never ignore propaganda, it is another frontline.

It was strategically important for South Sudan to withdraw from Panthou. The new country has made its point amidst international fear that it might be crashed if Khartoum unleash its military wrath on it. No one knew South Sudan would hold Khartoum by the throat, given Khartoum's bellicose rhetorics of war and continuous aggression on the new republic. International community and Khartoum sympathisers failed to realise that it was South Sudan that kept Khartoum in check for half a century and eventually liberating themselves from their hegemony. A few were surprised by the developments in Heglig and how SPLA forces handled the situation. No one knew they would be so remarkable.  A disbelieving UK official said it beat logic to see South Sudanese army performing the way it did.The comment came when South Sudan armed forces (SSAF) drove out Sudaneses forces from Panthou and maintained its control by repeatedly repelling Sudan armed forces.The question now is, who will win the day if war becomes the only solution to the outstanding issues of disagreement?

The decision made by president Kir to withdraw South Sudanese forces from Panthou, though painful to South Sudanese community at home and in the diaspora, was significant and nationally strategical.  In the event of the skirmishes in Panthou, South Sudan nearly lost the confidence of  good allies and friends, a state that has been corrected  and restored by the decision of the president to pull the troops out of Panthou. South Sudan cannot ignore international community in which it had become a member. The crux of the world's social economic and even military power rests in having good relations with allies and friends and more importantly, winning their trust. 

The world now knows South Sudanese ability. Regardless of being a young nation, it can be aggressive if her national security is threatened. Khartoum too, had learnt something from its aggressive cross-boarder incursions and ariel bombardment of South Sudanese civilians. The few of enemy combatants who escaped from Panthou/Heglig after they have experienced the raining fire power and the complex nature of South Sudanese military machines, will live to tell the tale. In the words of Gaduel, South Sudanese top commander, that steered operations in Panthou, 'those enemy soldiers who escaped from Heglig will never think of joining the military again. They will be good civilians thereafter. They have learnt a hard lesson.'

The most critical aspect of this Ten-Day War was its ensnaring implications on the continent and in particular, the East African region. The Sudanese war had always involved the region in various ways: small arms proliferation and refugee influx into neighbouring countries. This new war was on the verge of starting the much dreaded Armageddon in Africa. The decision by South Sudan to ease tensions by pulling out its troops from the contested area was crucial in averting the regional aspect of it. Regionally, the sound of war was not played down. As the rhetoric and bellicosity become the advent to actual engagements,  Uganda said it would join in if South Sudan was attacked. The southernmost South Sudan neighbour hinted on the sanctuary provided and the link that Sudan maintains with Lord Resistant Army (LRA). South Sudan is also economically important to Uganda. It imports relatively highly from Uganda than it reciprocally exports. This gives Uganda a fair trade and economic advantage.

 No one knows what Kenya was mulling since it has multimillion/billion project involving South Sudanese pipeline, railway and roads posing to prosper her citizens.  One Kenyan newspaper commentator wrote that 'the war between the Sudans will burn us all this time.' This summarised the feeling of other Kenyan business magnets operating in South Sudan. Kenya would want to be praised for successfully steering to completion the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Sudans, not manufacturing conflict, or allowing another to come up. If anything, its relative status of development will always be overwhelmed by refugees in the events of war in the region.

The region is tired of the continuous Sudanese wars. Just as the escalations were heightening up, the top military brass of the Great Lakes Region met and decided to take side in this third war, citing incidences where Sudanese Arabs always draw in support from the Arab world to kill Africans in South Sudan. Rwanda was among them. The Arab league had also called emergency meeting to discuss the situation in the Sudans. The meeting was to be convened on the request of the Sudan. And if the Arab world takes side, beware they will never oppose Sudan, expect someone else to match it up. See how complicated the situation nearly became and how South Sudan nearly dragged Africa and the world onto the verge of an all-out war? Even if it means that not everyone would join in to fight, those who would shoulder the responsibly of the displaced, the refugees and political asylum seekers resulting from the war would have been tormented further. The two nations themselves can become proxies in the war of natural resources.

President Obama of the USA was concerned. His direct video address to the two nations underscores the severity of the situation. He urged the two nations to consider the path of peace adding that those who follow the path of peace will always find a strong friend in the United State. With the history of past US assistance to the Sudan during Nimeiri's presidency, and South Sudan having tasted the bitter sweets of American military assistance - there were nasty experiences with Reagan Tanks at the onset of liberation war - the best ploy was to listen and act wisely. It should also be noted that Khartoum's Islamic regime is America's worst human rights partner but good friend in the war on terror. Nothing will be more pleasant than cooperating with the super nation on matters threatening its national security. America (USA) could be anyone's friend. 

The truth is that the international community had the confidence in South Sudan listening to them than Khartoum with its jihadist mentality in this war. At the moment they are wild and wierd and would not contemplate logical arguments. One Sudanese student from Khartoum university once said, 'the world, and the West in particular think that we (Arabs) are mad because we make too much noise in things that should be discussed quietly.' The problem is that when political issues become a bit tough, the Sudanese state manipulators switch from the temporal world to the sacred and subsequently become hysterical and garner supporters in the process. The behaviour has entombed the public psyche for decades.

In this war, the vagueness of South Sudanese on the Abyei boundary commission and the ruling of International Court of Arbitration doesn't register well internationally. Many in South Sudan believe it is the failure of diplomacy and that of the foreign affairs ministry. But it is not. It is time to note that the reason why the international community blames South Sudan for occupation lies in the acceptance, by South Sudan, of the ABC ruling knowing fully well that borders were not demarcated in the areas of Abyei and Panthou. If anyone is to blame, South Sudan and the negotiating delegation that went to The Hague, including the ABC itself, must have a piece. The international community too has made a mess by relying on imaginary borders rather than drawing the borders between the two nations. How do you know which one is Sudan and South Sudan when the issue of borders is under discussion? This would only mean there is a premeditated solution to the borders which the AU and the UN are not communicating to South Sudan! The South Sudanese popular believes there is an international conspiracy surrounding its borders with the Sudan.

As for the Ten-Day war over Panthou, South Sudan has the right to lay it on the cross-border aggression by SAF military and its supporting rebels against the republic of South Sudan. Khartoum all along wanted South Sudan to say a goodbye of fire. This, they got it and they got it quite well. It is now back to the drawing board where reason might replace the rhetoric, fanaticism and dogmatic theocracy.

The element of propaganda had also emerged. One would argue that propaganda is a subtle way of obscuring the victories of your opponent while fully aware of them, but doing so to raise the morale of your people for a course. When applied to South Sudan by Sudan, it will always be followed by reason and and extreme care to avoid lies. In Khartoum and with Bashir, at least economic pressures will not push down the government any time sooner because propaganda had done its job so well to unite the nation. South Sudanese have also soildified their unity in this war. Nationalism will be in the air for sometimes.  

Both South Sudan and Sudan governments have used propaganda maximally in the war on Panthou. As the US representative confirmed in Juba the SPLA withdrawal from Heglig and relayed the same message to Bashir, the ICC indictee in Khartoum went out on Thursday, April 19 2012 and announced to the public and his beleaguered and weakened army that they would then get good news from the frontline in a few hours. South Sudan never made the announcement on Thursday and so went the lie from Bashir. And on Friday 20, the Sudanese claimed version of victory in the oilfields came just after South Sudan announced the withdrawal! A very smart way to entice the frightened population and courting North Kordufan, the only innocent state fighting on the NCP front.

Propaganda has its merits in situations like the one currently existing between the Sudans. In the old walls of Nazi rule in Berlin, Germany and the corridors of Kremlin in Moscow, USSR, propaganda was a portfolio held by officials on the government pay roll. USA was and is now not immune from this. Khartoum is just playing an old game properly.

As with Khartoum's rhetorics and Panthou recapture propaganda, South Sudanese should not be broken. Just like during the CPA era and Torit incident, there will be some sense in the negotiations this time. But, never ignore propaganda, it is another frontline.

One thing will catch attention if it did happen again.  In the Torit battle during CPA negotiations, some South Sudanese soldiers appeared to have been poisoned in the battle. The traces of dirty weapons used against soldiers would be my concern if I were in the South Sudanese military investigative team. The world must know all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sudans' 'Logic of War': Border Bandits or Regime Change?

The African union and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have described the Sudan and S. Sudan as being locked in the ‘logic of war.’ This hypothetic framing is the result of ineffectiveness and failure of the African Unions and United Nation Security Council respectively, to bring the two neighbouring nations to an agreement on the modalities of the cessation of hostilities, border demarcation and effective concession on oil transit fees. Not adhering to the implementation process of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the three areas has also added to the blunder.

In the two years of the mediations between Sudan and S. Sudan by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP), there appeared to have been serious lapses and easy-goingness that have thus far, aided the mouth frothing and hysteria at the post secession talks between the two nations. Thus, we see the mustering of troops. The UNSC passed a resolution demanding Sudan to withdraw from Abyei but never acted on the Sudanese defiance when it reneged on that resolution. The African Union seemed to have accepted Khartoum’s demand of $36 per barrel for South Sudanese crude transit and refining, and not factoring in the fact that the pipeline was built from the oil money and should remain a shared facility.

As the much awaited and widely predicted return to war unfolds before the foretellers are still watching, Obama’s Sudans may replace Clinton’s Rwanda and Srebrenica. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese are stranded in Khartoum and the flights between the two nations are halting fast and conditionally. They are already foreigners, a status that had similarly and automatically been accorded northern Sudanese in South Sudan. They are already pronounced haters of South Sudanese when in Sudan but when they are in South Sudan, ironically, they are brothers of the hosting one. One may fear that engineers at the political helms in either country may exploit the public panic of the population over the unwelcome war of power solidification. This is particularly applicable to the hardliners in Sudan who always encroach on opposition amidst chaos.

What about regime change? One of the objectives, which the SPLA/M aimed to achieve in 1983 when it started the liberation war, was a regime change in Khartoum and the wish to usher in a new Sudan built on equality. Of course the regime in Khartoum changed soon after that, when president Nimeiri’s rule was ended in 1985. The kind of regime change that the SPLA/M wanted rather than itself remained illusive throughout the years.

Now the Sudanese state had adopted regime change in South Sudan as its cardinal objective and had already managed to pull away South Sudanese rebellious people like David Yau Yau from the ranks of the SPLA. This behaviour of winning your enemy's foes usually complicates the Sudanese war politics. An issue of change, if looked closely, will lead us to a radical bearing that goes to the crux of national existence whether in Sudan or South Sudan. It is here that the unity of the Sudanese people across the dividing borders is tested to the maximum and further, exploited at best by politicians.

Had it not been the take over of Heglig by the South Sudanese Army, this agendum of regime change would not have been made openly by Khartoum.  As the battle to woo each other’s enemies to one’s side continues, oppositions on either side will have to endure labels of any column they will be fitted into and certainly, brace for sudden arrests.

Oil will remain the factor of changes in all cases in the war of regime change. The AU and UNSC hypothesis of the two nations locked in the ‘logic of war’ is a truth that can be understood in the fight over Panthou/Heglig which now had an ideology of regime change. But ending SPLA capture of the oil rich town is not foreseeable in the short while. If provocation led to permanent refusal of Sudanese armed forces to withdraw from Abyei, so was the provocation that led Juba to take over Panthou.
 Indeed, the rebels will always matter. Khartoum blames its rebels for aiding Juba in the fight over the oil-producing town while Juba casts the same blame on Khartoum-backed rebels in South Sudan  and further reduces its takeover of Panthou simply to a response in kind to cross border attacks and aerial bombardment of its territories. As bombardment is spreading along the borders and cross border attacks following in the wake, the Sudans are technically in an all-out war.

The only thing that no one wants to predict, but leaves to the UNSC sanctions and the willingness of those who rule the roost in Sudan and S. Sudan, is the time when the traditional buy-time negotiations will begin again. One thing is certain though; the rebels’ futures may not escape to dominate the talks if they ever occur. The sudans have to choose one: either they continue to rebel against each other and be enemies contrary to their mutual progress –which they are now doing - or secure their friendly sovereignties by disowning rebels. In any way, rebels will continue to be border bandits. And as we have already witnessed in the South Sudanese take over of Heglig/Panthou, their tricks can cause quite a stare.

Since the sources of finance have been throttled at both ends for the in-betweens, and Juba is becoming agitated for shutting down its oil only to see Sudan pumping up to lure her enemies to fight her, chances are that withdrawal from Panthou/Heglig may require AU and UNSC to reframe the language of peace to exclude the words 'withdraw immediately' and 'unconditionally' when courting South Sudan.

Monday, April 16, 2012

South Sudan Must Pursue Israeli’s Model to Survive Khartoum’s Aggression

Israel’s path of survivability is the safest model that South Sudan must pursue for its very survival is subject to annihilation by Sudan
 By Martin Garang Aher

War of annihilation

To begin correctly, I would like to urge South Sudanese people that they are and will constantly be in the war of annihilation with the Republic of the Sudan. This must be taken in cognizance with an actuality of the current war at the borders and with all the seriousness for what our history of wars with the Sudan indicates. There are indications as to why this is not just a whimsical fantasia but also a reality to be given a considerable weight in order to guarantee survival.

The Juba government machinations must not allow Khartoum to go for annihilation of its people. We are at the mercy of Khartoum’s Islamists’ theocratic and dogmatic Christians and animists slayers. Their goal is probably to drag South Sudan down in wars of attrition as Sudan’s president recently expressed; or real wars of annihilation as we have always seen in the Sudan government’s strategy of targeting civilians rather than the military or armed rebels in events of armed conflicts.  History must teach us what to do when you have an enemy that wants to do away with your existence. We can see this in Israel and how the Jewish nation had defied all odds to forge their existence.

During the Second World War, the Jews were the victims of hate for the reasons that were not ordinary but illusory. Their survival was either in their hands and that of their God, or in the hands of anti-Semitic. As history proved, the Nazis were literally annihilating the Jewish nation. Nazi ideology was based on illusionary Nazi imagination, which purported an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world as opposed to the quest of the Aryan race. Even before the Devine could intervene, the Jewish race has, for all times to be remembered, suffered the most horrific tragedy in history in the hands of those who thought they were the right race to rule and inhabit the world.

When God, so be it, finally abetted their sudden extinction, and helped them achieved their independence and reclamation of their homeland, the loss of life among the Jewish people was in millions. In fact, evidence shows that about 6million Jews of the nine million that lived in Europe prior to holocaust perished by means of brutality.

Today, the world lives in sentient of the holocaust that befell the Israeli people. Israel as a nation went on to battle all the neighbouring countries, including Egypt and Sudan for her survival in the Holly Land. It is a common fact that all countries surrounding Israel are her enemies. They have proven this in the 1948, 1967 and 1974 Arab Israeli wars. In all cases, Israel, with the determination from the learned experience, has emerged victorious.

Presently, the tiniest Holy Land is one of the strongest among the nations of the world. However, its survival is still in their hands. And they have never failed to be vigilant on this potential and imposed end time on them. As a matter of survival, Israel remains the world’s number one vigilant nation. It has developed her capability and aligned it with the possibility of being targeted by their enemies anytime. They have even acquired nuclear weapons for this reason. Can South Sudan learn from this?

Destruction of human life

South Sudan has a lot to learn from the Israeli incidence, less they also face extermination scenario. To begin with, the Sudanese civil war had taken almost half a century ending in the time of South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Unlike Jews who have spent hundreds of years in exile, South Sudanese have realistic misfortunes to share with Jewish nation. Many South Sudanese have been forced away from home just like the Jewish people. The difference is in the lengths of time, but equally, the exile and suffering are our shared identity.

In Sudan, our suffering had spanned out to half a century, something few African nations had ever experienced. The convoluted wars in the Sudan were in the frequency of two periods, much to the detriment of South Sudan and in which many southerners lost millions of souls. Livelihood was destroyed beyond any comparison in human history in South Sudan than in the North. The Any Anya I war, known as the First Sudanese Civil War, took seventeen torturous years and claimed 500 000 lives. Of these deaths, 400 000 were civilians and 100 000 were men and women comrades in arms. In the War of New Sudan, mostly referred to as the Second Sudanese Civil War, twenty millions South Sudanese were killed. Analysts believe many of these were innocent women and children. Effectively, South Sudan had lost 2.5million people of its population of approximately ten million people. This could be more.

In the Nuba Mountain in 1990s, the government sealed off the area to the outside world and began an indiscriminate bombing of the area in order to annihilate the Nuba people. Death toll was immeasurably high, and so were the displaced people. The government ensured there was no rest for the people to embark on farm drudgery, and farms remained fallow all year round. The government of the people, so it seemed, intentionally imposed food shortages, death and malnutrition on its own people. Had it not been for the international humanitarian intervention, there would be no people called the Nuba in Sudan today.

Just recently in 2012, the governor of Southern Kordufan State was very well captured on the video left behind by a fleeing Sudanese army commander in which he was advising his soldiers to kill, eat clean and take no prisoners because they did not have room for them. The people he was referring to were both rebel soldiers and the civilians alike. Such was the command, cold-bloodedly aimed at annihilating the people leaving behind only the land. Sudan government is not interested in the people but the land. As seen in the events over the years, Sudan government would rather resettle foreigners of Arab origin in Sudan than improving the situation of the African owners of the land.

Recurringly, in 1990s, the government of Sudan was fortunate to have its national budget boosted by oil revenue. The sudden financial geyser enabled it to purchase very sophisticated weapons and embarked on the mission of annihilation of the people opposed to its values. First the SPLA soldiers were the first to be bombed with chemical bombs. There are people in South Sudan today who have been maimed and their health affected on a long-term basis by these weapons. Unlucky ones have died as a result of such unmerciful use of such lethal weapons. As usual, with government imposition of no fly zones, such atrocities have not been witnessed internationally.

Equally appalling in the 1980s, ‘90s and early in the first quarter of this decade, the same principle of annihilation was applied in South Sudan when government used the Arabs of South Darfur and the Baggara of South Kordufan to carry out scotched earth policy that left the entire regions of what are today the states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Abyei in complete devastation and with high cost in human lives. The main aim had always been to kill all people and if some escape death from the bullet, then they are denied all means of survivability through destruction of property.

So, the wars that the government of Sudan fight with the areas that are marginalised are to the marginalised: wars to change the injustices and demanding the change of government in Khartoum and ushering in a responsible government that would take care and treat all people of the Sudan equally and humanely; and to the government of the Sudan, the are wars to terminate and annihilate the dissenting and unwanted peoples.

Such is the paradox that international peace makers often found it hard to bring the government of Sudan to the negotiations with the disenfranchised and disgruntled groups. The visions for peace are often parallel – the people that want to live and the government that wants to summarily annihilate them.  Circumstances of this nature could only mean - to Sudan government - that peace with anyone is a serious delay in accomplishing its mission.

With the agendum of Sudan annihilation of the African people in mind, it would be unjustifiable to think that the war had ended between the two Sudans in 2005. Failure to recognize this anomaly calls attention to failure to see and find out the motives responsible for the sporadic continuation of violence in Darfur, Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan, and along the borders with the republic of South Sudan. The Sudans will never be peaceful in the short term. Sudanese government war adventure is a known element. Even where the justifications for war are not clear, Sudan government will, in the eleventh-hour, find a reason to fight with the country’s periphery. It is through violence that Sudan’s governments had been able to maintain power since independence; without which the populace would overthrow them out over gross misdirection of services through corruption.

In the ongoing skirmishes in Panthou, questioned why the army has not been able to dislodge the South Sudanese armed forces in the area, the Sudanese army spokesman said they were simply annihilating the S. Sudan army after which they will enter the town. It is all about finishing the people off.
In the wake of the capture of Panthou by South Sudan armed forces, several voices in Khartoum, including that of the president, lamented and pre-empted the destruction of South Sudan. Top army generals and even president Bashir himself echoed and reiterated the voice of their annihilation that there would be destruction in the South. The aim here is not to solve the reason for which the South Sudanese army attacked the area, or the willingness to retake it; the annihilation strategy kicked in and the matter is thus, sealed in the destruction scorn. It beats logic why Sudan underrated South Sudan as a country capable of causing equal destruction to her enemies.

If we look at the Sudan governments’ fundamental reason for all the arrogance, reckless destruction of lives, continuous defiance to international peacemakers, it would be easy to understand that there is a surreptitious agendum that cannot be simply ascribed to resources, religion, or any kind of national layback on the political dispensation involving the periphery in the Sudan. It is much more. It is an annihilation scheme. Sudan’s Arab descendants want to rid Sudan of the black Africans in totality.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the subsequent independence of South Sudan in 2011 helped thwarted the tempo of the agendum of annihilation for Khartoum’s jihadist zealots. They have however got what they wanted today. International community and the UN, EU, AU have given Khartoum the ticket of annihilation by blaming South Sudan for taking measures of self defence and reclaimed its territory.

There has been a wrong attribution to the Sudanese state all along the way. Conflicts in the Sudan have been perceived rather incorrectly hence giving dictatorial regimes in Khartoum leverage to having a heavy hand on the people of the peripheries. Such perceptions had failed to correctly construe the theme of the Sudanese conflicts often orchestrated by North Sudan. The North Sudan simply sees the vast swath of land south of its borders as the potential resources hub; and the people there have to be annihilated and the resources put to good use. Therefore, South Sudanese should not ignore this potential scheme of disaster. Scholastically and internationally, this Arab scheme to extinguish African habitation of the Sudan and South Sudan had been given many misnomers even though the perpetrators of the descending Armageddon themselves, have voiced it out in a minatory tone for all to discern. Many scholars such as Francis Mading Deng, Amir H. Idris, Ali Mazrui and others have written about war syndrome in the Sudan in a more subtle academic leniency. They denote it as the conflict of identity, religion, resources and other attestations.

This misnomer stands in the way of providing the public and international community with the correct casus belli for the unending wars between the north and South Sudan. The status of the Sudanese state and the long-term ambition it has set itself to achieve is clearly wrapped in the attitude to annihilate the people with Africans ancestry from the country.  The Sudan government in continuing to be irksome and ruthless with the population is an indication of clandestine operation aimed at denying others an existence.

Future remedy for South Sudan and the peripheries

Just like Israel, the people and the government of South Sudan should invest very well in the defence materiel in order to safeguard their survivability as a nation, even if it means acquiring a nuclear capability. Sudan and South Sudan will only be safe from each other when they are sure of being in an equal MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) category. It is irrational in the eyes of many to think like this, but the Sudanese solution is closer to it.