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The Unconstitutionality of South Sudan's 32 States

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 02/01/2020 - 10:11

A Response to Dr Santino Ayuel Longar

By Dr Lam Akol

On the 31st of December 2019, Dr Santino Ayuel Longar published an article on the issue of the number and boundaries of the States in South Sudan. From his academic titles displayed in the article, there can be no doubt that the author is a lawyer by training. The article dealt with two aspects of the matter. It claimed that the issue was not political but legal and constitutional concluding that the “process that led to the formation of the 32 states, was indisputably constitutional”. From this premise, he proceeded to suggest that any attempt to resolve the matter by doing away with the 32 states was not only contrary to the popular demand but a violation of the Peace Agreement itself. He then contemptuously dismissed the former districts at independence as “decisions made more than 60 years ago by colonial authorities who'd nothing but vested colonial interests at heart”. It is these claims and others in the Article that this piece intends to address.

1- The legality and constitutionality of the Order establishing the 28/32 states.
One begs to disagree with the learned lawyer in his conclusion that the “process that led to the formation of the 32 states, was indisputably constitutional”. In fact, the contrary is the case. A cursory look at the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 reveals that the Establishment Order Number 36/2015 AD that created the 28 states was a violation of the Constitution, legally invalid, usurped the legislative powers of the Parliament and inconsistent with the provisions of the Peace Agreement 2015.

A. Inconsistence of the Order with the Constitution

1. The number of states constituting the Republic of South Sudan is determined by the Constitution. Article 162 (1) of the Constitution provides that “The territory of South Sudan is composed of ten states governed on the basis of decentralization.” Therefore, there can be no valid modification to the number of states in the Republic of South Sudan that is not through a constitutional amendment.

2. Article 199 of the Constitution governs the amendment procedures. It provides that “This Constitution shall not be amended unless the proposed amendment is approved by two-thirds of all members of each House of the National Legislature sitting separately and only after the introduction of the draft amendment at least a month prior to deliberations.” The constitutional amendment is, therefore, a function and power that is squarely within the domain of the National Legislature. The textual, contextual and linguistic formulation of this provision clearly excludes other arms of government from amending the Constitution.

3- Order number 4 of the ‘Establishment Order No 36/2015' purportedly establishes 28 states. The implication of this Order number 4 is that contrary to the provision of Article 162 (1), the Republic of South Sudan is purportedly composed of 28 states. Order number 4, therefore, amounts to an amendment of Article 162 (1) of the Constitution without complying with the constitutional procedure of amendment. To be valid, the Order must be issued in accordance with the Law and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. This is not the case here and, as a result, the issuance of the ‘Establishment Order' is an abuse of the powers of the President.

4- Order number 1(2) read together with Order number 10(2) confer the ‘Establishment Order' with what amounts to ‘self-standing and self-executing' legislative powers and, thus, supreme to the Constitution. Order number 1(2) provides that “The Establishment Order shall come into force in thirty (30) working days from the date of signature by the President of the Republic.” According to Order number 10(2) “This Order shall not be amended save by another Order issued to that effect by the President of the Republic.” Consequently, by purporting to operate validly outside the Constitution, this Order offends the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution and, thus, inconsistent with Articles 3 of the Constitution.

B. The legal validity of the Establishment Order

5- To be valid, an act or omission must be undertaken in accordance with the Constitution or law. It is acknowledged that under clearly defined restriction the Constitution grants the President powers to make subsidiary legislation. Article 86 (1) provides that “In the case, the National Legislature is not in session, the President may, on an urgent matter, issue a provisional order having the force of law.” Article 86 (3) excludes the President from issuing an order that affects the decentralized system of government or boundary of states. In addition, Article 92 provides that “The National Legislature or either of the two houses has the power to make any subsidiary instrument having the force of law… provided be subject to adoption or amendment by a resolution of that House in accordance with the provisions of its regulations.”

6- The valid exercise of the power provided for under Article 86 demands that the President must comply with three conditions, relevant to this issue: 1. The subject matter of a provisional order must have been urgent and the National Legislature must have not been in session. 2. The Order must be submitted to the appropriate House for consideration. 3. The President shall not make any provisional order on matters affecting the decentralized system of government or alteration of administrative boundaries of the states. At the time the President issued the Order, the National Legislature was in session. Further, the ‘Establishment Order' does not provide for subsequent tabling before the National Legislature nor does it anticipate any modification to the terms of the Order by the National Legislature. Finally, the ‘Establishment Order' affects the decentralized system of government and alters the administrative boundaries of the states.

7- The language of Article 86 (3) makes it clear that the Constitution did not intend to confer on the President unilateral powers to establish new states or alter boundaries of existing states without parliamentary oversight. In this case, the public was not consulted and there were no clear and prior agreed criteria for establishing the new states. By acting inconsistent with the constitutional power granted to him, the President disconnected the rational link between the exercise of power and the purpose for which the power was given – a concept central to the rule of law. 8- To validly exercise the power under Article 92, the President must have been delegated such a power by-law passed by the National Legislature. In addition, the subsequent order, regulation or subsidiary instrument issued by the President must be subject to adoption or amendment by the National Legislature. There was no such legislation authorizing the President to issue an order altering the decentralized system of government and administrative boundaries of the states. In addition, the Order excludes the National Legislature either from adopting it or amending its provisions. One of the reasons for which the Constitution retains the review power of the National Legislature is because, unlike the executive, the process of the parliament allows for participation, checks and balances.

C. Usurpation of the legislative powers of the National Legislature

9- Lawmaking is the pre-eminent domain of the National Legislature in South Sudan. The Constitution confers the powers to make laws on the National Legislature, the powers to adjudicate on the basis of existing laws on the Judiciary, and the powers of enforcing existing laws made by the National Legislature or under its authority, on the Executive arm of the government. This is the general doctrine of the separation of powers. The wording and the structure of the Constitution provide for the principle of separation of powers. Although not a separately articulated provision, non-compliance with the Constitution's scheme for the separation of powers is justiciable on its own right but also amount, in its case, to violations of other provisions of the Constitution. This principle of separation of powers ensures that every arm of government may exercise no power and perform no function beyond that which is conferred upon it by law. Under no circumstance does the Constitution delegate its plenary.

10- The Constitution provides that it shall be the competence of the National Legislature to make plenary laws. According to Article 55(3)(a), the National Legislature shall “Consider and pass amendments to this Constitution.” Article 55(3)(b) further states that the National Legislature shall “enact legislation on all matters assigned to it by this Constitution.” The decentralization and alteration of administrative boundaries of states and changes in the names of such states or the names of capital towns of the states are matters assigned only to the National Legislature by the Constitution. Article 59 (a) provides that the Council of States shall be competent to “initiate legislation on the decentralized system of government and other issues of interest to states and pass such legislation with a two-thirds majority of all representatives.” Article 59 (g) further provides that it is the Council of States that has the competence to “approve changes in state names, capital towns and boundaries.”

11- By purporting to issue an Order having the force of law that amends the provisions of the Constitution by its implication and alters the boundaries, names and capitals of the states, the President usurped the legislative powers of the National Legislature and is, consequently, in gross violation of Articles 53 and 59 of the Constitution. For the President to exercise a power that, in terms of Articles 55 and 59, should be reserved for the National Legislature, he was in violation of the principle of separation of powers and infringement on the rule of law. Further, by issuing an Order that purports to create new states and, at the same time, excludes the oversight function of the National Legislature; the President invalidated the functional and institutional integrity of the Legislature.

D- The Establishment Order is inconsistent with the provisions of the Peace Agreement

12- On the 26 August 2015, the President, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, signed the “Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan” (the Agreement). The National Legislature subsequently ratified the Agreement on 10 September 2015. The United Nations Security Council, within its Chapter 7 mandate, further endorsed this Agreement in its entirety.

13- The Agreement entered into force upon signature and subsequent ratification by the National Legislature. This fact makes the provisions of the Agreement binding on all arms and levels of government. In addition, the endorsement by the United Nations Security Council endows the Agreement with the binding force of international law, which precludes South Sudan from violating the provisions of the Agreement on the basis of its domestic laws. 14- According to Article 1.6 of the Agreement “Whereas power-sharing ratios in the conflict-affected states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile as well as in the remaining seven (7) states shall be as reflected in Chapter I, Articles 15.2 1nd 15.3 of this Agreement.” Thus, the Agreement used the 10 states as provided for in Article 162 (1) of the Constitution, as the basis for power-sharing. However, order number 4 of the ‘Establishment Order' purports to unilaterally alter the number of the states from 10 to 28. Such a move is manifestly inconsistent with this provision of the Agreement.

For the author to claim that “the Order in and of itself did not eventuate in the establishment of 28 States in 2015” is contrary to the above-established fact. It is difficult to comprehend how the learned Lawyer could sanction a constitutional amendment meant to ‘legalize' a violation and calls that “the effecting instrument”. It is common sense that laws cannot be applied retroactively.

2- Is the cancellation of the 32 States a violation of the Peace Agreement?

We have shown that the provisions of the Establishment Order Number 36/2015 AD gave it the power of a self-standing and self-executing legal instrument (point 1-A-4 above). It stipulated that it cannot be amended except by another Order issued by the President. This is clear enough.

However, when agreement on the matter proved difficult during the Peace Talks, the Parties agreed to institute the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC) and the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) to deal with the matter. The Parties to the agreement committed themselves under Article 1.15.11 to abide by the recommendation of the IBC. If that recommendation was to adopt a number of states other than the 32, how could that have been a violation of the Agreement as the author categorically states?

The Peace Agreement was signed by five Parties and was not subjected to any referendum to seek the approval of the South Sudanese. It allows for amendment of its provisions. In fact, the two extensions of the Pre-Transitional Period were surely amendments. Such amendment was not anticipated when the Agreement was concluded and yet in the spirit of the Agreement, it was done. Therefore, the claim that doing away with the 32 States would be a violation of the Peace Agreement has no basis in fact.

3- The Districts at Independence

In a futile attempt to appeal to the nationalistic sentiments of the South Sudanese, the author proffered that the colonial districts only served “the vested colonial interest”. One may ask the author: what is “dehumanizing” in the colonial districts? As much as colonialism was detestable not all its legacy was unacceptable. One vested interest of the colonial power was to create stable administration in Sudan and by extension in Southern Sudan. The districts were established on a clear set of criteria that included among others population size, economic viability, geographical size, geographic continuity, tribal homogeneity, etc. The local government in Sudan had undergone major changes in 1960, 1971 and 1976 (for Southern Sudan) that changed the number and names of administrative units but all this was nothing more than sub-divisions within the original colonial districts. That these districts had clear boundaries far from being a fallacy is well-grounded. It is a contradiction for the author to claim that the British Colonial Government didn't determine the borders of the 23 districts but “only determine the boundaries of the various ethnic and sub-ethnic communities”. A district comprised one or a number of ethnic groups, therefore, if the boundaries of the latter are known, it follows that the district comprising those ethnic groups will have clear boundaries.

In fact, why the government and its apologists always lost the argument for the 32 States (including in the IBC) is the fact that they fail to produce coherent criteria for the establishment of those mini-states. The bogus claim that it was a popular demand is belied by the fact that no citizens were consulted prior to the announcement of the Establishment Order Number 36/2015 AD on National Television and Radio. It didn't help the government and its apologists that the announcement was preceded by playing martial music on these media that ran for hours, reminiscent of coups d'etat in Sudan. In this case, it was a coup against the Constitution and the Peace Agreement 2015.

Conclusion

The illegality and unconstitutionality of creating 28 and later 32 states are unquestionable. The Peace Agreement sought to resolve the issue of the number and boundaries of States in a particular manner through the IBC. The Parties committed themselves to abide by the recommendation of the IBC. Hence, the government and its apologists should desist from insisting that the option of 32 States is a sacred cow. Such a state of mind is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Peace Agreement.

Categories: Africa

Sudanese government delegations visit Darfur states after tribal clashes

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 02/01/2020 - 08:02


January 1, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Senior Sudanese officials travelled to West and North Darfur states to inspect the security situation and vowed to bring culprits to justice after the tribal clashes in El Geneina.

Over 41 people were killed as a result of tribal fighting between the Arab tribes and Massalit after the murder of a member of the Arab groups in El-Geneina after a scuffle near Crendingue camp for displaced Massalit tribe.

Also, the tribal violence comes as Darfur Arab groups, which were used by the former regime to quell the insurgency in the region, say they are targeted after the revolution by the tribes that had backed the rebellion from the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa.

The leading member of the Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Daglo and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok Wednesday were in El-Geneina to meet the tribal leaders and security officials.

After their arrival in El Geneina, Hamdok met a delegation from the Massalit tribe who handed him a complaint letter about the attacks carried out by the Arab tribes.

Following what, the delegation moved to the city as the Massalit held a sit-in on the road demanding to meet the prime minister.

The official Sudan News Agency did not refer to the protest but reported that the IDPs and Resistance Committees met the prime minister and urged the government to collect weapons and to restore the state authority and the rule of law.

The memorandum, according to SUNA, stressed that the attacks were not tribal.

"A group of criminals and outlaws took advantage of the situation and assaulted innocent people in their residences," said the memo, stressing they are the only beneficiary from these events without elaborating.

For his part, Hemetti during a meeting at the 15th military base in El-Geneina with the Massalit tribal leaders pledged to investigate the violence and bring the culprits to justice.

In a related development, the government dispatched a delegation including two members of the Sovereign Council Aicha Musa and Siddiq Tawer and the minister of Labour and Social Development Lina al-Sheikh to El-Fasher to meet tribal leaders North Darfur.

In press statements following the meeting, al-Tijani Mohamed Salih, the reporter of the Executive Office of the Native Administration in North Darfur State, told reporters that the government delegation had briefed them about El-Geneina events.

He added that they would visit the capital of West Darfur state "to put off the fire of sedition".

He noted that the situation is stable in North Darfur State but they need to visit also areas bordering the El-Geneina, such as Kabkabiya, a stronghold of Arab militias, "to calm the situation down," as he said.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

Avoid tribalism and hatred, cleric tells S. Sudanese

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 02/01/2020 - 07:32

January 1, 2020 (JUBA) - The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Rev. Justin Badi Arama has urged South Sudanese to shun tribalism and hatred for peace and reconciliation to prevail in the new year.

Rev. Justin Badi Arama (Anglicannews.org)

“The old has passed and the new has come. This means our decision, actions must reflect the kingdom values of love, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation,” he said in a new year message.

The cleric urged citizens to hopeful that the current political instability and the economic challenges in the country will soon come to pass.

“Our prayer is for every South Sudanese to look at things in new ways and have renewed effort for hope, peace and stability,” he stressed.

Arama appealed to South Sudanese to pray for the country's leaders and mediators involved in all efforts to achieve peace through the formation of a unity government.

South Sudan, which broke away from Sudan through a referendum in 2011, has been suffering from a civil war since December 2013, which took a tribal dimension.

In September last year, the country's rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

S. Sudan's Kiir urges citizens on peace and reconciliation

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 02/01/2020 - 06:53

January 1, 2020 (JUBA) – South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has urged citizens to embrace peace and reconciliation as they welcome the new year to strive for a strong foundation for Africa's newest nation.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir shares a light moment with Archbishop Daniel Deng Bol, December 31, 2019 (PPU)

Kiir was speaking during an annual held in Juba on the eve of new year.

The event, graced by senior government officials, representatives of opposition parties that signed the 2018 peace deal, members of the diplomatic corps, among other dignitaries provided an opportunity for the South Sudanese leader to interact with invited guests.

Speaking during the occasion, President Kiir urges all stakeholders involved in Sudan's peace initiative to dialogue in good faith and work hard to bring peace to the North African country.

He further applauded the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for working to restore peace in the region.

The occasion, held in State House, also coincided with the burial of Justice Majok Mading, a former legal administrator in the office of the South Sudanese president.

In November last year, Kiir and the country's main opposition leader Riek Machar agreed to delay key benchmarks in the revitalized peace agreement by 100 days.

The delay in forming a transitional national unity government on November 12, 2019 came after Machar's group raised concerns that the country's security arrangements were yet to be completed.

South Sudan, which separated from Sudan through a referendum in 2011, has been suffering from a civil war since late 2013, which has since taken a tribal dimension.

In September last year, the country's rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

Al-Hilu extends ceasefire in Sudan's Two Area for three months: statement

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 02/01/2020 - 05:07

January 1, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) has extended for three months a unilateral cessation of hostilities, as the peace talks are stalled in Juba.

The unilateral extension is "A gesture of goodwill towards a peaceful resolution of the Sudanese conflict, and in order to give the ongoing peace talks an opportunity for success," said al-Hilu in a statement issued on Wednesday.

On 26 December, the mediation announced the suspension of talks for two weeks on the request of the SPLM-N al-Hilu.

The group pointed out to the need for consultation with the movement organs as the talks on a declaration of principles are stalled over the secular state.

The truce began on the 1st of January and will end on 31 March 2020.

"All SPLM/A-N units are hereby, instructed to observe and respect this declaration and refrain from any hostile acts, except in cases of self-defence and for protection of civilians," added the statement.

The three-year-old unilateral ceasefire was facilitated by the United States within the efforts of the African Union mediation to end the conflict in the Two Areas.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

Hold referendum on the number of states in South Sudan

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 01/01/2020 - 17:11

By Ukongo Benson Athia

Every South Sudanese should be concerned about achieving peace in the Country after the destructive war of 2013. I am sending in my contribution to the negotiating parties and the parties to the conflict that, the priority now should be how peace could be regained back into the Country. Lives and property have been lost when the internal party wrangles within the current ruling SPLM party hatched into 2013 break out of the war. The today party emerged into different headings, SPLM-IG (Kiir main faction), SPLM-IO (Taban Deng Gai faction), SPLM-IO (Dr Riek Machar faction), and Former Political Detainees ( FDs –Pagan Amum's faction), and please name the entire break-ups of the once glorified SPLM party, that mobilized Sudanese people, and South Sudanese, in particular, to fight for freedom.

As a citizen of South Sudan, I have extensively been engaging various people to justify why the 28 States become a problem for them? What were these 32 States for? These States, until the contrary; were created to devolve power to the masses on the ground. In some opinions, however, there were substantially valid concerns raised, that block transfers to States under 32 states; do not take into account the population of States but on arbitrary transfers. These leave overpopulated states to receive similar funding with allegedly States, whose populations are equivalent to the population of one of the Counties of the 28 States, making densely populated states extremely vulnerable to financial burdens. The second observation was the worries over allocation of constituencies come elections.

My bold response to my discussants on the two questions of block transfers to the States and constituencies allocation were as follows: The transfers, if truly have been randomly executed merely on the number of States, were wrong decisions. I didn't sustain such claims until I prove it at a given time but took note as worthy of debate. The reference to the 5th 2008 Sudan Population census should help in determining how the budgets and block transfers should be implemented. States have their previous budget records to assist in budget or block transfers as grants to fund states. And the same time, the means by which the former 10 States have been making subsequent transfers to the counties be strictly followed and made the best use of. Your budget remains as per the last population census until a new census takes place.

The cuts in budgets could be made, from counties whose population had been broken into different counties due to 32 States creation. The State taxation systems are rather consolidated so that, the states should generate 50% of their annual budgets from their taxations and other activities. A revision of present centralized taxation could address this discrepancy of over-reliance on national government fish out from block transfers. Receive and payout. I do not see this as a serious threat to peace when the politicians are serious for peace!

As to whether how constituencies should be allocated, during the future elections after the end of the transitional period, it should not be a surprise that holding free and fair election requires population census and voter registration. After the census, constituency allocations could be decided; based on population results obtained during the census. It will be possible that a vast but less densely populated State deserves fewer seats compared to a small densely populated State, which would earn more constituencies. The electoral Rules and Regulations when promulgated could dictate how constituency seats should be allotted. The dictate of the law should be an alternative to twist or fix any deficiency in governance, no need to worry about this.

Upon having answered those questions raised by discussants, the demand by the oppositions that 32 States should be frozen stand highly unrealistic and treasonous against the Sovereignty of the people of South Sudan. The opposition is misdirecting themselves and misleading the people; that they are for peace, yet their ill-plans may tend to send more people to the bushes over the freezing of 32 States. The people of South Sudan want 32 States. Unfortunately, the oppositions and those who lost power monopoly, huge budgets associated with former 10 States and positions, are the ones complaining and signing against the 32 States. Otherwise, jubilations were thereafter the creation of 32 States and more areas may be demanding for States soon. What will be the result of the joy that followed the creation of 32 States, when opposition demands of abolishing 32 States are heeded to by the Government?

Was the problem the 10 States or the 32 States? This is everyone's quest for the right answer. The 10 states we have been operating under since 2005 to 2015 were not the problems of underdevelopment and lack of service delivery in my opinion. The people assigned to do work in the then 10 States' who are there now out as oppositions or serving the current TGONU to the very system they miserably failed to set up disguising, deserve the benefit of doubts. Now, with the same people who failed to deliver in the then 10 States, calling for the dissolution of 28 States, in favour of the 10 States, how sure could one be that these same people will not fail again the 10 States or 28 States as before? Could be that these opposition politicians had learnt new tricks of development in the four-year bush life? It cast doubts into one's mind and perhaps 10 states demand may be an opportunity to reserve more resources for loots due to losses for years in the bushes.

To claim honesty, there are voices within opposition cycles, especially those who are making unjustified claims; that those who had served in the transitional Government of National Unity, should not be allowed to contest for elections after three years transitional period and also to refrain from holding any political office for the next 10 years. Why only the members TGONU? To me, anyone who had been in Government since 2005 whether or not he was a member of TGONU the if justice favours everyone, and to make sense, all be barred from political life forever, not just 10 years for TGONU alone but for anyone who had been in the system throughout CPA. Their previous office records should be audited and where warrants so allow; they should be prosecuted for any possible offence of abuse of authority committed in the process. Is that what opposition groups want people of South Sudan to invest in?

If people like Lt.General David Yau Yau, took to the bush, due to marginalization and creation of Boma State out of Pibor, previously Administrative Area brought peace; what would be the result of freezing that State; that was created out of conflict? This is just an example of underlying layers of problems the opposition are driving the people of South Sudan into. South Sudan is neither a property of the Government nor the opposition. Thus, any decision affecting the national interest should be thrown to the people through a referendum. Those who could not wait for the referendum, in my opinion, should apply for a Republican degree to dissolve and merge their current smaller States into one of the 10 former States. We may thereafter have a reduced number of States from 28, 25 or less, depending on the number of the applicants. The rest, who are comfortable to operate under one of the current 28 States; should be free to wait for the result of the referendum, which would specify how many states South Sudan should be having.

The claims that budgets and vehicles for the 28 States, would not be there or leave little funds for development are immaterial. The opposition should be made to know that whether or not we go for 32 or 10 States, vehicles are routinely budgeted for by any government in the world. These are facilities for the work to get it done. I strongly aver that the problem, that made development impossible in South Sudan from 2005-2013, was not budget constraints or lack of vehicles. Instead, the vehicles we purchase are of the most luxurious class. Who authorized Government to purchase the costly V8? It was suspected that even their maintenances were to blame for the loss of funds meant for other services. To worsen the matter, an individual could scandalously own several V8s and other vehicles at his disposal; while some or all of his or her colleagues even lack motorcycle or bicycles to report to work. We may have vehicles but abuse the purpose of their uses.
Corruption has been another headache. Have all the opposition left their offices for the bushes, with their former official work records audited for possible abuse of public funds and any property? The opposition should show patriotism this time and expect no V8s or Hardtop but corolla or other cheapest vehicles. Four-wheel drives like land cruisers should only be available for hard to reach areas. This applies to those in the Government to expect that maintenance of high-class V8 is a liability to the national interest of development. Few V8 could be sustained for the President, Vice President, Speaker and the Chief Justice. This will help the government to save some money to be earmarked for development projects.

Do not wrongly presume that, mysteriously or by heavenly intervention; someone would emerge from nowhere to build good roads, hospitals and schools for our country, we must do it ourselves. Assistances are not ever enough. Judge me rightly or wrongly, compare the number of V8s you have seen in foreign countries where most of you reside or have visited. Tell the frequency of the number of V8s passing by the roadside where you live and compare with what we have a home. I hope denial of V8s should not drive people crazy and run to the bush again, in the name of dictatorship. We must start to work for our Country, lavish behaviours must stop. We better auction out the V8s to private companies or other interested Countries.

Having answered that way, this means even the claims for the reduction of the number of seats from the current ones to 200 seats as demanded by some quarters of the oppositions; are irrelevant. Rarely, nowadays, it couldn't be seen when more states merge to form one country. We have seen the creation of more States. The sole reason was more representations. Somalia is a small country with over 400 MPs or more. What's wrong with more MPs provided that they rise above their party or personal interests and stand with the Country and the voters that elected them. We need an increased number of MPs for various reasons. Windows and Orphans, organized forces, disabled, elderly people, women from ordinary walks of life, farmers, traders, medical Doctors, the youth trade unions, name them; all need to be represented this time around in the next parliament. No one in his or her senses could claim that the above categories of important people are or were represented in the parliament, the current or previous one.

A party is not a country, but very small political interest group that should sell itself through its manifesto to the people to get permission to assume State power. Short of this, it will never win any seat. Therefore, as political parties nominate and sponsor the candidates, the mandate lies with the citizens to elect these candidates into the Parliament and State power to deliver services. When these elected individuals fail to execute their duties; they are named and regarded as a shame to the party and the people, narrowing their chances of winning other seats come elections, unless they intimidate or rig the elections. An innocent suspect does not fear the court. Come and face the majority. More members of parliament are needed to see the change in the Country.

The blame game should stop: Blaming General Salva Kiir Mayardit blab...blab for the 2013 crisis does not help at all. The squabble was an SPLM internal power struggle. There's nothing more dangerous than working with the devil at your back. Most of you in opposition today, especially those who rebelled or were accused of rebellion in 2013; were eating from the same plate, enjoying all State and party privileges and benefits; but at the same time attacking your very SPLM party. This is like discrediting both its Chair, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and the SPLM party as a whole. When did people complain of dictatorship by the 2008 SPLM Constitution, who drafted that Constitution?

Were you not the very people that created a mess in your party by tightening laws, thinking that it will not turn against you someday? Look at the Political Party Act 2012, which passed through your hands, in which a political party should have representatives from than the 10 States, yet the same permission to mobilize the party members across the country, maybe thwarted and deemed an act of incitement of civil population?. When you see a wrong bill likely to become a law and you fail to protest by writing a note of objection, you will be liable for the consequences of this law.
The other issue raised by one of the opposition faction of having a hybrid government was a misplaced choice. No one country in this world could claim perfection in governance. All countries in the world have their successes and shortcomings. Hitherto, inviting foreigners into your country does not mean these foreigners are angels. Foreign countries alone have their problems; sometimes more than what we have which I do need to explain, since as each Country knows its weaknesses. The difference between ours and theirs that they handle their problems in silence. Bring in those hybrid governments, and see the risky probability of importing their weaknesses into our countries, let alone leaving behind the same bad legacy after the end of the transitional period. This should not be taken lightly. Let South Sudanese create their system of governance without eternal interference.

When you accept peace today without conditions, it should be your national pride and nobility. This message is to you, our brothers in opposition, that your submission for peace will, neither be seen as a defeat nor surrender but a nationalism, and love for your people and nation. Equally, the Government should assure the people that it needs peace and thus should never under whatever circumstance; treat the acceptance of peace by the opposition a victory over them other than a quest for lasting peace. This will not help at all when we are to keep finger-pointing each other. All have sinned and badly need forgiveness. The people dying daily are the South Sudanese, due to war started in 2013. Our people want peace, dialogue and reconciliation and subsequently development.

Last but not least, the position paper by the SPLM-IO of Dr Riek Machar calling for handing over the Security of Juba to Regional Protection Force was the wrong button. The Country has its army. Why do our politicians demand protection from foreign forces or demanding separate protection? I doubt if one who submits to peace and apply for State protection, even if he or she was the one to make a selection of his or her protection from among organized forces; there could be any problem. What the government could do, should be to specifically make a selection of VIP protection, send them for vigorous training and deploy them to do their work. The opposition does not need to worry about their safeties. Anyone not going to the battlefield or intending to fight does not need an army contingent. He who seeks justice must come to the court with clean hands. The opposition should stop their mind-sets of seeking to assume State power, while at the same time remaining hostile to lasting peace.

You cannot hold elections while in the bush, return home, forget about armies or two armies, and organize the elections. Keeping fighting would make you not to have time for elections. Until the result of the elections, General Salva Kiir remains the legitimate President of South Sudan. Without his patience after the death of Dr John Garang in 2005, we would be still fighting the NIF regime in Khartoum by now. He would have ordered attacks on SAF positions if he did not breathe in and took courage. The last word I heard from him, with consolation from Mama Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior; on BBC Monday, 1st August 2005, was that the people of South Sudan should be calm, he (Kiir) needs facilities to push on with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA 2005). This was followed by the brilliant decision of SPLM/A field commanders, nominating him to succeed late Dr John Garang de Mabior. Accepting the nomination, in a mourning mood after the untimely loss of a long-time brother was not an easy task.

It was such bravery and constant nobility that CDR Salva Kiir Mayardit accepted the nomination. He would have opted for a fight but his good intentions did not allow him to take that direction, for it would have squandered the hope of South Sudanese from their common destiny. Let alone that. How about his wisdom which did not let him succumb to the provocative acts of Khartoum Government calculated to derail the referendum process? Despite the provocative behaviours of Khartoum that did not want South Sudan breaking away, Kiir humbly told South Sudanese, not to be taken away by attacks but to wait and decide their destiny through ballots. His call for patience has been said by him in severally his public addresses after every attack.

The credit goes to SPLM as s party including those now in opposition under various categories, the other South Sudan political parties and above all, the people of South Sudan, present or passed. Why can't we retreat to our historical links, when we swam in the full of blood together, drunk from the same cup of liberation (Koryom), unanimously vote for independence in 2011 and got our country at last? Mull over your personal direct or indirect contribution and you will shade tears. A leader's success is measured by the level of teamwork from his colleagues. When you are surrounded by those thinking 24 hours of disposing you from power, it would not be easy to succeed since sabotaging the central system of government could be part of that 24/7 plan. Join the peace process with open arms and hearts, put the suffering of South Sudanese on the top agenda and let us move on to the next step. It is not too late to make a miracle.
Oh God bless South Sudan!

The authors holds Bachelor of Laws degree and pursuing Master of Laws majoring in international law. Reachable at: ukongo2004@gmail.com

Categories: Africa

South Darfur forms investigation committee into looting of UNAMID site

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 01/01/2020 - 10:03


December 31, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Deputy Governor of South Darfur state, on Tuesday, decided to form a committee to investigate into the looting and vandalism of the former headquarters of the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

UNAMID former main premises the State had been handed over to the Sudanese authorities last November.

The site was supposed to allocated to the University of Nyala but due to the lack of protection, all the devices and equipment were stolen and the buildings were vandalized even the barbed wire were taken over.

The looting and vandalism lasted for three days without the intervention of the Sudanese authorities.

The ruling coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) in Nyala on Sunday blamed the military governor for the incidents, While UNAMID condemned the looting emphasizing men in uniform took part in the looting alongside the civilians.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

SPLM-N's al-Hilu, UAE officials discuss Sudan stalled peace process

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 01/01/2020 - 08:17

December 31, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, the head of the SPLM-N, discussed with Emirati officials the lack of progress in the ongoing peace talks to end the war in Sudan's Two Areas, his group said on Tuesday.

Abel Aziz al-Hilu (Reuters file photo)

Abdel Aziz al-Hilu was in an unannounced two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates upon an invitation from the Emirati government to discuss ways to break the deadlock in the Juba process for peace in Sudan.

"The SPLM leader briefed the representatives of the Emirati government on the progress of the peace talks in Juba," said Jack Mahmud, SPLM-N al-Hilu spokesman in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

"He indicated the causes of the stalemate and elaborated on the SPLM's negotiating positions," Jack further said.

The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a declaration of principles upon which the parties can engage in direct talks over the conflict in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states.

The two parties disagree on when to discuss the relationship between the state and religion.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu demand to include it in the agenda of the peace talks while the government this national issue should be discussed in the constitutional conference.

According to the statement, the Emirati government has shown its understanding of the Movement's position and affirmed its support to the Juba process.

The UAE "stands with efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace that preserves the rights and dignity of all Sudanese," he further said.

The Emirati authorities did not issue a statement on al-Hilu's visit to Abu Dhabi.

On 26 December 2019, the South Sudanese mediation announced the suspension of talks for two weeks on a request by the SPLM-N al-Hilu.

The group fo its part said they need to hold extensive consultations with the grassroots institutions over lack of progress on the secular state and right of self-determination.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

Finding common ground in East Africa: a UN Resident Coordinator blog

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 01/01/2020 - 07:20
Together, Kenya and Uganda kick-start a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by partnering with the UN to address challenges that transcend country borders.  By Siddharth Chatterjee (Kenya RC) and Rosa Malango (Uganda RC)  
Categories: Africa

Over 41 killed in West Darfur tribal clashes

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 01/01/2020 - 06:25


December 31, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - At least 41 people were killed and 29 others injured as a result of inter-communal fighting, in the east of El-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.

Despite the relative stability in the region, the tribal violence -which was one of the causes of the conflict in 2003 - continues to take different forms.

The West Darfur clashes were caused by the death of a member of the Arab groups in El-Geneiena after a scuffle near Crendingue camp for displaced people from the Masslit tribe.

Asaad Bahr al-Din, a Massalit tribal leader said that the number of people killed in his tribe was at least 30 dead and about 14 were wounded.

He added that the death toll is not final, as they continue to receive reports about the causalities.

He told Darfur 24 on Tuesday that some bodies in the camp some of the camp's dead - whose number is unknown - are still in the open and no one can approach the place.

"Some bodies are still in the open and have not been counted as no one can approach the places where they are," he told Darfur 24, a local news media.

He further said hundreds of IDPs the areas adjacent to El Geneina fled into neighbouring Chad, fearing for their lives, while thousands run away to remote villages.

Reports from the areas say the gunmen have prevented the families of the victims from collecting the bodies and continued to open fire in the air.

For his part, the head of the Arab tribes, Massar Abdel-Rahman Assil, said that the dead among the death toll reached 11 people as of Tuesday morning from their side, in addition to 15 wounded.

Assil further said that Massalit youth, after the revolution, formed Resistance Committees (pro-democracy groups) and established security patrols around the camp and neighbouring markets.

Also, they classified the Arabs as supporters of the former regime, all these developments in addition to the previous disputes fuelled the current conflict, he stressed.

The Sudanese government decided on Monday to dispatch additional troops to prevent the deterioration of the security situation.

Also, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the Rapid Support Forces General Commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo who is a member of the Sovereign Council will visit the area to inspect the security situation and to call for reconciliation.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

Sudan: UN mission envoy commends signing of Darfur framework agreement

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 30/12/2019 - 22:03
The joint chief mediator for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, UNAMID, welcomed on Monday a framework agreement between the Transitional Government of Sudan and the Darfur armed movements that was signed during peace talks in Juba, South Sudan, on Saturday.
Categories: Africa

WFP calls for increased support as eight million in Zimbabwe face hunger

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 30/12/2019 - 18:53
The World Food Programme (WFP) is calling on countries to step up support to Zimbabwe, where millions of people are facing hunger brought on by prolonged drought and economic meltdown. 
Categories: Africa

Defending kleptocrat is like defending devils before God

Sudan Tribune - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 12:34

By Zechariah Makuach Maror

On Friday 6. Dec. 2019 the Dawn newspaper published an article in it Vol.4 Issue 1111 written by a clumsy writer called Peter Wek Ayom Wek titled "response to Zechariah Makuach Maror Article published on 29 August 2019 on pachodo.org". On his vague overdue article, he was trying to defend the bloodstained governor of Gogrial state who obligated the butchering of the citizens in broad sunlight without fearing of humanity, here I don't want to question writer's unprofessional writing but the reputation of media outlet that publishes such filthy opinion, at least ethic should have been a matter in selecting publication, “anyway that is none of my business”.

Wek said the governor of Gogrial State Mr Victor Atem Atem was appointed by the President of the Republic through the recommendations of four community of Gogrial State and therefore by that virtue, he has rights and powers to arrest and kill everyone as he wishes. This short sentence caught me with a worried of how could the future of this Stone Age man holds in 21st century of democracy and rules of Law, even I can say the Stone-age Smart mind who generate opinion is far better than Mr Wek who thinks that someone recommended and appointed by the President is God of hosts and he should not be criticized for he will sent apocalypse to end the world age. Without knowing that he was appointed by the President to take care of the citizens not to use the powers for killing the youths who oppose his medieval styles of leadership.

For your information, the current governor was recommended by none other than some individuals who don't even constitute any single clan rather than your mere claim that he was proposed by four communities of Gogrial State. If you insist than portray the evidence to support your argument because the evidence of my favourite is that Apuk community have explicitly protested the appointment of your governor by publicly boycotting all associations that fall under the umbrella of Gogrial State while other communities had grudgingly swallowed their dissatisfaction as respect to president's decree. I think Atem came by chance and not through recommendations as you concocted, otherwise you are behind the news that is why you have responded my article after 129 days, wake up from your deep sleeping to cash up with a world my brother. I don't know what compelled you to backdate yourself to such extent of responding the forgotten article thought I assumed to know what influence you.

Do you know the Leadership of your political godfather has become "intoxicated" by power — engagement in the wrongful behaviour simply because he can and he could get away with it (and his cronies such as liken of you and others are willing to collude and make such exceptions "It's OK because he is the leader"). Handful human rights organizations have reported that your powerful absolute immoral governor had engaged in a sexual dalliance with intern teens girls simply "because he could." And yet you implying that it is his divine right because he's a good leader who brought consensus among the communities of Gogrial State, do you know Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The form of power Your governor had invented in Gogrial State is what I can call personalized power, and he is using it for personal gain. Importantly, a leader can use his or her power to benefit others, but can also gain personally. The obvious problem is when personalized power, dominate and the leader gains frequently at the followers' expense like you who follow blindly.

Wek has similarly situated his governor action to arbitrarily arrest and jail youths as a means of ending indiscipline, according to the theory of State and power you can't arbitrarily be arrested and kills people as a means of making them some good citizens. what you do to gain ground of support as a government is enactment of the laws that govern public affairs and then implement those laws with letter and spirit so that they effectively yield a public good and finally avail the needed services to inculcate the spirit of patriotism, loyalty, devotion, dedication and morality between the state and citizens. Wek think that state is like classroom were a teacher barely entered into class and cane indiscipline pupils/students for not honoured him/her to stand up, if that is how you view politics than you are wrong.

Your governor has always been accusing youths of indiscipline which is fundamentally fake in nature, is talking about lack of services means lack of discipline? is talking about pregnant women tortured by governor militias till she got miscarriage mean lack of respect? is talking about unlawful taxes imposed on civilians means false accusations? is talking about the civilian's cattle which illegally taken by the governor's security adviser means reclaiming conflict? Is talking about the people who are shot dead by governor order mean calls for instability? This is a few questions that the governor supported mouthpiece should retort to ascertain the public about how good is his governor.

Finally, the good reason we the civil society criticized state government is that according to "constitutional theory it is stipulated that we the people are the sovereigns, the local and state officials are only our agents. it is we who have the final word to speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet.”— Justice William O. Douglas. With this quotation, your governor is Unjust, Brutal, Criminal, Corrupt, Inept, Greedy, Power-hungry, Immoral. Murderous, Evil, Dishonest, Crooked, Excessive, Deceitful, Untrustworthy, Unreliable, Tyrannical. These are all type of words that your governor has at some time or other been used to describe Atem government in Gogrial. That I may feel morally compelled to call out the government for its wrongdoing does not make me any less disciplined citizen.

If I didn't love co-existence in this State I would be easy to remain silent. However, it is because I love my country and State, because I believe fervently that if we lose freedom here, there will be no place to escape to, I will not remain silent Neither should you nor should any other man, woman or child—no matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like, or what they believe. The final solution to problems of Gogrial state is for President to remove Victor Atem Atem in the throne of Gogrial State.

The writer is a civil society activist based in Juba and he could be reached via zechariahmakuach25@gmail.com

Categories: Africa

SPLM-N al-Hilu says ready for peace negotiations

Sudan Tribune - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 11:30


December 9, 2019 (JUBA) - The SPLM-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu said ready to resume peace talks with the Sudanese government in Juba on Tuesday.

Unlike the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) the group failed last November to strike a declaration of principle with the Sudanese government as the latter declined to include the right for self-determination in the peace talks.

Aljak Mahmoud, SPLM-N Hilu spokesman said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune that their negotiating delegation headed by the Movement's Secretary General Amar Amon is ready to engage in a new round of talks on 10 December.

We have come with a sincere and strong will to engage in the second round of direct negotiations, and we hope that the other side will be armed with the same spirit and determination so that the two parties can make a real breakthrough by agreeing on a declaration of principles that constitutes a road map governing the negotiating process.

We must bear in mind the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people to achieve a just, comprehensive and sustainable peace that addresses the root causes of the Sudanese crisis and puts a logical end to the ongoing war in Sudan.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu asked the transitional government to declare that its adherence to a secular Sudan, but the negotiating delegation said the matter would be determined in the constitutional conference that will take place during the transitional period.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

South African crowned Miss Universe 2019

ModernGhana News - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 11:10
South African beauty queen Zozibini Tunzi was crowned the 2019 Miss Universe on Sunday night. Ms Tunzi emerged top in the contest after impressing the judges and fans through the different rounds with different outfits. Miss Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson and Miss Mexico, Sof iacute;a Arag oacute;n emerged as runner-ups. During question tim ...
Categories: Africa

Ebo Whyte and his 'God, You're Fired' play

ModernGhana News - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 11:10
My first experience with Ebo Whyte rsquo;s production was two years ago. Since then, I resolved to always be at his stage plays; a decision I have never regretted. From lsquo;Dear God Comma rsquo;, to lsquo;Women on Fire rsquo;, to lsquo;Dora, Why rsquo; to lsquo;The Woman in the Bathroom rsquo;: I have watched them all. One thing that has r ...
Categories: Africa

Arman meets al-Burhan in Khartoum as Minnawi arrives in Juba ahead of peace talks

Sudan Tribune - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 11:01


December 9, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - SPLM-N Agar delegation held a meeting held in Khartoum with the head of the Sovereign Council to discuss preparation for peace negotiations, while Minawi arrived in Juba ahead of a new round of talks in Juba that will begin next Tuesday.

Yasir Arman, SPLM-N Agar deputy leader who is in Khartoum nowadays held a series of meetings with the transitional authority Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) as the group consults on the peace process with the allied groups.

"A meeting was held with the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on the preparations for the success of the Juba negotiations, the release of the remaining prisoners and holding negotiations on the basis of partnership and joint action between all components of the transitional authority," said the group spokesman.

"A meeting was also held with the head of the government negotiating delegation, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti," further said the statement.

Arman and his delegation including Ismail Jalab the Movement's secretary-general discussed with Hemetti the preparations for the upcoming round of talks in Juba.

The meeting discussed "the need to reach a peace agreement that supports the issues of transition in Sudan including freedom, peace and democracy, and that peace remains a major condition for getting out of the various crises that our country suffers from".

The SPLM-N Agar is part of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) which includes armed groups from Darfur and other groups from eastern Sudan have delegations in Khartoum to advocate for peace and meet their supporters.

Also, the government officials said they plan to include the stakeholders from the conflict-affected regions in the process, pointing that their support for the talks is key for its success.

Minnawi in Juba

For its part, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) said its leader had arrived in Juba for the third round of peace negotiations.

"In response to the invitation made by the government of the Republic of South Sudan to resume the negotiations for peace in Sudan, the leader of the movement, Commander Minni Arko Minnawi, arrived in Juba on Sunday evening. He will hold consultation meetings before the launch of the upcoming round of talks".

"The Movement hopes that this round will be the final of a just and comprehensive peace process that addresses the root causes of the Sudanese crisis and achieves lasting stability for the sake of the rebirth and building of the country," further said the group.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

UCL: Kwadwo Asamoah To Start In Midfield Against Barcelona On Tuesday

ModernGhana News - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 10:10
Ghana international, Kwadwo Asamoah is set to be deployed in midfield by Antonio Conte against Barcelona on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League. According to Rome based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, the former Chelsea and Juventus gaffer is forced to consider viable options in the Nerazzurri rsquo;s upcoming game against the La Liga gi ...
Categories: Africa

Valladolid Hails Mohammed Salisu For Impressive Display Against Real Sociedad

ModernGhana News - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 09:52
Real Valladolid coach, Sergio Gonz aacute;lez has heaped praises on Ghana defender, Mohammed Salisu after a stalemate against Real Sociedad over the weekend. The enterprising centre back who has been linked to Manchester United put up another solid display which caught the attention of the fans. Speaking to the press after the game, th ...
Categories: Africa

AC Milan Fan Stabbed In Fight Over Players' Shorts

ModernGhana News - Mon, 09/12/2019 - 09:25
An AC Milan supporter was stabbed outside Bologna stadium on Sunday in a fight over who had caught a players 39; shorts, according to media reports in Italy. The dispute broke out between the two visiting fans after Milan players threw shirts and shorts into the stands after the final whistle following their 3-2 away win. It continued ...
Categories: Africa

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