The Root Causes of Conflicts in South Sudan

Dear Comrades and friends,

May 14, 2011 (SSNA) — I wish to inform all of you that the root causes of internal conflicts among Southern Sudanese from the past governments to this present government of Southern Sudan are based on an unfair allocation of positions (question of power) and resources on geographical and ethnical basis. One single tribe has always maintained a dominant role over other tribes. South Sudan; as it’s known locally and internationally, is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society with more than sixty (68) ethnic groups. If the majority do not consider the importance (or role) of minority groups, then problems or tribal conflicts shall always be on the rise until this question of power and or resources is addressed accordingly, and in a pragmatic manner.

The infamous word “Kokora” is derived from Bari local language, which literally means ‘separation’. First, it was pronounced loudly by most of the Equatoria intellectuals who felt Dinka domination in the Regional Government which was established in 1973 following the Addis Ababa Accord, which granted the people of Southern Sudan an autonomous status within the framework of a united Sudan. A war that started on 18th August 1955, some four months before, Sudan obtained its independence from Great Britain on 1st January 1956.

The root causes of Kokora could be traced back from the time of the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement, when Mr. Abel Alier Kuai out-maneuvered his erstwhile enemy, General Joseph Lagu Yanga – the founder of Anya-Nya Movement and the principal signatory to the Addis Ababa Accord. Instead of General Lagu to take charge of the affairs of Southern Sudan as it was stipulated in the agreement, President Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri hastily handed over the Regional Government to his longtime puppet Mr. Abel Alier who negotiated and signed the agreement on behalf of Sudan Government. Unfortunately, President Nimeiri abruptly appointed and commissioned General Joseph Lagu to head the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) sprinkled all over Southern Region with his Headquarters in Juba, while Mr. Abel Alier to head the High Executive Council in Juba. The two gentlemen were under specific roles, supervisions and directives of President Nimeiri in Khartoum – playing the game of Tom & Jerry against each other. This kind of appointment remained a bone of contention between the two Southern leaders to date.

During Abel Alier’s reign as from 1973 – 1978, and again from 1980 – 1982, he entrenched himself by placing his own tribesmen (Dinka) in all the strategic and powerful positions. They controlled finance, public service, judiciary, education, administration, prison service, wildlife service, police service, legal affairs, regional assembly etc.  The non-Dinkas found themselves deprived from the regional government and eventually advocated for division of Southern Region in Juba to be divided up into three sub-regions of Equatoria, Bahr El Gazal and Upper Nile. In June 1983, President Nimeiri issued a Presidential Decree dividing the Southern Region into three fragile regions of Equatoria under Governor James Joseph Tombura, Bahr El Gazal under Lawrence Wol Wol and Upper Nile under Daniel Koat Mattews.

At the same time, the war broke-out once again in the South which resulted to the birth of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/A) under leadership of Dr. John Garang de Mabior. The same political domination was also applied again in the movement where out of five so-called Permanent Members of Politico-Military High Command (PMHC), four were from Dinka; including Col. John Garang as a Chairman & C-in-C, Lt. Col. Kerubino Kuanyin Bol as Deputy, Capt. Salva Kiir Mayardit Deputy Chief of Staff for Security & Operations and Major Arok Thon Arok as Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics & Administration. Lt. Col. William Nyuon Bany, who hailed from Nuer, was the only non-Dinka in the SPLM/A leadership’s hierarchy to get the position of Chief of Staff.

The minority tribes who joined the SPLA in their thousands found themselves left out in the movement’s leadership and participated only as canon porters and nothing else. That was why many Equatorians in the initial stage had hesitated, or perhaps were reluctant to join the SPLA/M. They perceived it as a Dinka movement and the bulk of Nuer sided with Anya-Nya II respectively voicing the same concerns. However, it took Col. John Garang and his henchmen nearly three years to create fictitious titles like the one known as “Alternate Members” of Politico Military High Command to accommodate few non-Dinka like Galario Ornyang, James Wani Igga, Dr. Lam Akol, Yusuf Kowa and Dr. Riek Machar in the SPLA leadership’s hierarchy.  The same kind of political dominion is currently replicating itself in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), which is repeating the same mistakes of the past without any shame.

The rampant corruption and nepotism, which is the making of the so-called “land grabbing”, money laundering, denial of job opportunities and the selective promotion of SPLA officers and other security organs are based on this kind of setup where checks and balances are not relevant at all levels of GOSS. One may wonder why Southern Sudanese are still fighting themselves while they have already got what they have been fighting for. Alas! The truth is that we are lacking a visionary leader who can accommodate our diverse community’s interests fairly.

The political Bureau (PB), which is the highest political organ of the ruling SPLM is actually a rubber stamp used by one ethnic group (Dinka) to dominate others by using their numbers to impose decisions on others. There is no fairness in it. Serious decisions are made behind the back door. Even the so-called ‘deputies’ used to wonder when decisions are passed and announced publicly. This is also applied to the Council of Ministers which is being chaired by H.E President Salva Kiir himself.

Some GOSS Institutions like Ministries of Finance, Internal Security, Public Service, Education, SPLA Affairs (Defence), Bank of South Sudan, Regional Cooperation (Foreign Affairs) and all the security organs are dominated by one ethnic group – the Dinka. This makes it difficult for other ethnic groups to voice their concerns publicly. 90% of minority groups do not reflex themselves in the political mirror of Salva Kiir’s government. During the Regional Government which ruled the South for 10 years as from 1973 – 1983, most of the minority tribes used to be represented by their community leaders. For example: Oliver Batali Albino came from the smallest tribe in the South – the Makaraka. But he was made a minister by Abel Alier. The same with Mr. Mr. Simon Mori Dedimo and Dr. Pasisco Ladu Lolik who headed the ministries of Information & Culture and that of health respectively under General Joseph Lagu in 1978.  Now, such tribes like Taposa, Anyuak, Lokoi, Didinga, Lokoro, Acholi, Murle, Balanda, Mondu, Nyangwara, Baka, Abakaya, Makaraka, Jurbel, Maban, Boya etc.. are not represented at any level of government from GOSS ministers, Independent commissions or GOSS under-secretaries and yet they possessed most qualified personalities capable to manage such institutions. While during the war each community mentioned above participated actively in defending the Southern’s cause against the successive regimes in Khartoum.

President Salva Kiir must learn how to share the nation’s cake equally with all Southern Sudanese communities. Not everything to be Dinka! That is why there is a need for change within South Sudan leadership where minority tribes should be represented.

The author’s name is withheld for security reasons.

Attached bellow is the lists of SPLM Political Bureau members, GOSS Presidential Advisors, GOSS Ministers, Independent Commission Chairpersons, Under-secretaries and other security organs. The list of South Sudanese in the Government of National Unity is not included, where Dinka are still dominating all key strategic positions there.

SPLM Political Bureau Members


Name Position State Tribe
1. Cde. Salva Kiir Mayardit Chairman Warrap Dinka
2. Dr. Riek Machar Teny 1st Vice Chairman Unity Nuer
3. Cde. James Wani Igga 2nd Vice Chairman Central Equatoria Bari
4. Cde. Malik Agar 3rd Vice Chairman Blue Nile Funj
5. Cde. Pagan Amum Ukec Secretary General Upper Nile Shilluk
6. Dr. Ann Itto Deputy Secretary General for Southern Sector Eastern Equatoria Madi
7. Cde. Yasir Saed Arman Deputy Secretary General for Northern Sector Northerner Khartoum
8. Cde. Daniel Awet Akot Member Lakes Dinka
9. Cde. Kuol Manyang Juuk Member Jonglei Dinka
10. Cde. Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior Member Jonglei Dinka
11. Cde. John Luk Jok Member Jonglei Nuer
12. Cde. Jamie Nunu Komba Member W. Equatoria Zande
13. Cde. Mark Nyipuoc Obong Member W. Bahr El Gazal Jurchol
14. Cde. Clement Wani Konga Member C. Equatoria Mundari
15. Cde. Alisio Emore Ojatuk Member E. Equatoria Lotuka
16. Cde. Taban Deng Gai Member Unity Nuer
17. Cde, Paul Mayom Akec Member Lakes Dinka
18. Cde. Awut Deng Acuil Member Warrap Dinka
19. Cde. Akol Paul Member Warrap Dinka
20. Cde. Deng Alor Kuol Member Abyei Dinka
21. Cde. Nhial Deng Nhial Member Warrap Dinka
22. Cde. (Late) Samson Kwaji Member C. Equatoria Pajulu
23. Cde. Paul Malong Awan Member N. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
24. Cde. Lual Diing Wol Member N. Bahr El- Gazal Dinka
25. Cde. Abdul Aziz Adam El Allawe Member Nuba Mountains Nuba

  GOSS Presidential Advisors:  

S/No. Name Position State Region Tribe
1. Fr. Pio Kuac Religious Affairs Upper Nile G. Equatoria Shilluk
2. Mr. John Kong Nyuon  Security Affairs Jonglei G. Upper Nile Nuer
3. Dr. Joseph Nguen M. Social Service Unity G. Upper Nile Nuer
4. Mr. Kennedy Kayin  Peace and Reconciliation Jonglei G. Upper Nile Murle
5. Mr. Kong Kong Bol Border Conflicts Resolution Unity   G. Upper Nile Nuer
6. Mr. Alfred Lado Gore Diplomacy  C. Equatoria G. Equatoria Bari
7. Mr. Tor Deng Mawien Decentralization & Inter-Governmental Linkage Warrap G. Bahr El- Gazal Dinka
8.  Madam Rebecca  Nyandeng de-Mabior Gender& Human Rights Jonglei G. Upper Nile Dinka
9. Mr. Lual Diing Wol Political Affairs N. Bhar El-Ghazal G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
10. Mr. Joseph Lagu Yanga  Special Advisor E. Quatoria  G. Equatoria Madi
11. Mr. Telar Ring Deng Legal Advisor Lakes G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
12. Lt. Gen. Salva Mathok Geng Advisor on SPLA Affairs Warrap G. Bhar El-Gazal Dinka
13. Steven Madut Bak Regional Cooperation Affairs Warrap G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
14. Cornillo Befo Monitoring and Integrity in Governance C. Equatoria G. Equatoria Bari

     GOSS Ministers:  

S/No. Name Ministry   State Region Tribe
1.  Mr. Kosti Manibi    Cabinet Affairs   Western Equatoria G. Equatoria Moru
2. Dr. Cirino Hiteng Presidential  Affairs Eastern Equatoria G. Equatoria Lotuka
3. Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial     SPLA & Veteran Affairs Warrap G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
4. Mr. Gier Chuang Aluong Internal  Affairs Jonglei G. Upper Nile Dinka
5. Mr. David Deng Athorbei Finance & Economic Planning  Lakes G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
6. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin Information Jonglei G. Upper Nile Nuer
7. Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth   Parliamentary Affairs Jonglei G. Upper Nile Dinka
8. Mr. Madut Biar Yiel Telecommunication and Postal Services N. Bahr El-Gazal G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
9. Mrs. Nyanlok Tiong Garluak    Animal Recourses and Fishers Unity G. Equatoria Nuer
10. Mrs. Awut Deng Achuil  Labour, and Public Service. Warrap G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
11. Mr. Lino Makana Transports and Road W. Equatoria G. Equatoria Zande
12. Mrs Jamie Nunu Komba Housing & Physical Planning W. Equatoria G. Equatoria Zande
13. Dr. Ann Ito Agriculture & Forestry E. Equatoria G. Equatoria Madi
14. Mr. John Luk Jok Legal Affairs & Constitutional Development Jonglei G. Upper Nile Nuer
15. Dr. Luka Manoja Health C. Equatoria G. Equatoria Bari
16. Ms. Agnes Losuba Gender, Social Welfare& Religious Affairs Central E. State G. Equatoria Kakwa
17. Mr. Stephen Dhieu Commerce & Industry Upper Nile G. Upper Nile Dinka
18. Mr. Deng Alor Kuol Regional Cooperation Abyei Abyei Dinka
19. Mr. Garang Diing Akuong Energy & Mining N. Bhar El Gazal G. Bhar El Gazal Dinka
20. Jemmy Lemi Milla (late)   Cooperatives & Rural Develop. C. Equatoria G. Equatoria Pajulu
21. Dr. Michael Mille Hussien Education W. Bahr El-Gazal G. Bahr El-Gazal Fertit
22. Mr. Gabriel Changson Chang Culture & Heritage Upper Nile G. Upper Nile Nuer
23. Lt. Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak Investment Upper Nile G. Upper Nile Shilluk
24. Mr. Abdallah Albert Wildelife Conservation & Tourism E. Equatoria G; Equatoria Abakaya
25.   Environment      
26. Mr. Joseph Ukel Higher Education, Science & Technology W. Bahr El-Gazel G. Bahr El-Gazal Jurchol
27. Mr. Makuach Teny Yok Youth, Sports & Recreation Unity G. Upper Nile Nuer
28. Mr. James Kok Ruai Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management Jonglei G. Upper Nile Nuer
29. Mr. Paul Mayom Akec Water Resources & Irrigation Lakes G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
30. Mr. Pagan Amum Ukac Peace & CPA Affairs Upper Nile G. Upper Nile Shilluk
31. Mary Jervas Yak Human Resource Development Warrap G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka

  Plus two ministers without portfolios!   That totaled to 33 ministries all in all.   GOSS Independent Commissions and Chambers:  

S/No. Name Commission State Region Tribe
1.  Dr. Pauline Riak Anti-corruption  Lakes G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
2. Dr. Deng Dongring  Public Grievances Chamber Warrap G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
3. Mr. Steven Wondu Auditor Chamber  C. Equatoria G. Equatoria Kuku
4. Rev. William Chan Relief & Rehabilitation  Warrap G. Bahr El Gazal Dinka
5. Mr. Jarkuc Barac   De-mining Authority Jonglei G. Upper Nile Dinka
6. Mr. Peter Guang Akiech Peace & Reconciliation  Upper Nile G. Upper Nile Shilluk
7. Mr. William Deng Deng Demobilization, Disarmament Reintegration   Warrap G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
8. Dr. Bellario Ahoy Ngong HIV/AIDS  N. Bhar El-Ghazal G. Bhar El-Ghazal Dinka
10. Mr. Isaiah Chol Aruai  Census, Statistic and Evaluation  Jonglei G. Upper Nile Dinka
11. Mr Lawrence Korbandy Human Rights  W. Equatoria G. Equatoria Moru
12. Alakaya Aligo Samson Reconstruction and Development Fund C. Equatoria G. Equatoria Kakwa
13. Mrs Philister Baya Lawiri Civil service E. Equatoria G. Equatoria Lokoro
14. Mr. Robert Lado Loki Land Commission Central Equatoria G. Equatoria Kakwa
15. Mr. Dhiou Mathok Employees Justice Chamber N. Bahr El-Gazal G. Bhar El -Gazal Dinka
16. Mr. Ben Robin Oduho War disable, Widow & Orphans E. Equatoria G. Equatoria Lotuka
17. Prof. Ajuoi Magot Chol Southern Electricity Corporation  Jonglei G. Upper Nile Dinka
18. Mr. Gabriel Mathiang Rok Southern Sudan Fiscal, Financial Allocation & Monitoring Lakes G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
19. Mr. Kawach Makuei War Veterans N. Bahr El-Gazal G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
20. Mr. Daniel Deng Lual Bureau for Community on Small Arms Control Warrap G. Bahr El-Gazal Dinka
21. Mr. Koak Guok Local Government Board Upper Nile G. Upper Nile Nuer

  GOSS Under-secretaries:   

S/No. Name Ministry State Tribe
1. Selvatoria Garang Mabior Finance and Economic Planning ( Finance) Warrap Dinka
2. Aggri Tesi Saboni Finance and Economic Planning ( Planning) C. Equatoria Kuku
3. Elisabeth Manou Majok Commerce & Industry Jonglei Dinka
4. William Ater Machiek Energy and Mining Lakes Dinka
5. Juma Stephen Luga Telecommunications & Postal  Services Central Equatoria Bari
6. Martin Mou Mou Education , Science& Technology  Warrap Dinka
7. Dr.Olivia G. Lomoru Health C. Equatoria Bari
8. Eng. Reymond Pitya Roads & Transport Central Equatoria Bari
9. Ochan John Bongomin  Electricity Corporation E. Equatoria Acholi
10. Dr. Daniel Wani Wildlife Conservation & Tourism Central Equatria Bari
11. Crispin Abugo Paul Urban Water Corporation W. Bhar El-Ghazal  
12. Eng. Isaac Liabwel C. Yol Water Resource & Irrigation Lakes Dinka
13. Jaden Emilio Agriculture and Forestry( Forestry ) Central Equatoria Pajulu
14.   Agriculture and Forestry ( Agriculture) Warrap Dinka
15. Dr. Mokuei Malual Animal Resources and Fisheries Warrap Dinka
16. Bortel Mori Nyomble Co-operatives &Rural Development W.Equatoria Bari
17. Mrs Salwa Jebril President’s Office Warrap Dinka
18. Abdon Agaw Cabinet Affairs Jonglei Dinka
19. Mark Nyikang Yomon Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly Upper Nile Shilluk
20. Mrs Rebecca Jashua Labour, Public service &HRD Upper Nile Shilluk
21. Dr. Julia Aker Duany  Parliamentary Affairs Jonglei Nuer
22. Mr. Majok Guandong Regional Co-operation Jonglei Nuer
23. Gordon Soro Yisaya Local Government Board Central Equatoria Bari
28. Justice. Reuben Madol Judiciary of Southern Sudan Warrap Dinka
29. Jeremiah Sawaka Legal Affairs& Constitutional Development C. Equatoria Bari
30. Mrs. Margret Matthew Mathiang   Gender, Social Welfare& Religious Affairs Unity Nuer
31. Peter Baptist Abaker Culture & Heritage W. Bhar El-Ghazal Balanda
32. Justice John Wuol Makec President, Judiciary S. Sudan Warrap Dinka
33. Justice Chan Rech Madut Vice President, Judiciary SS Warrap Dinka
34. Mr. Elijah Malok Deng President, Bank of S. Sudan Jonglei Dinka
35 Mr. Cornelio Koryom Vice President, BOSS Warrap Dinka
36. Mr. Jok Madut Jok Youth & Sport   Dinka
37. Mr. Michael George Garang Information Jonglei Dinka
38. Mr. Ambassador Moh Ajang Humanitarian Affairs Upper Nile Dinka
39. Mrs Beatrice Peace & CPA Implementation C. Equatoria Kakwa
40. Mr. Akuei Investment Jonglei Dinka

  SPLA, Internal security and other security organs:  

No. Name Position State Tribe
1. 1st Lt. Gen. James Hoth Mai Chief of General Staff SPLA Upper Nile Nuer
2. Lt. Gen. Ping Deng Majok Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration & Finance Abyei Dinka
3. Lt. General Deng Wek Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Jonglei Dinka
4. Lt. General Biar Atem Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics Jonglei Dinka
5. Lt. General Mabuto Mamur Deputy Chief of Staff for Moral & Political Orientations Eastern Equatoria Lotuka
6. Lt. General Majak Agot South Sudan National Security Service (Special Branch) Jonglei Dinka
7. 1st Lt. Gen. Achuil Tito  Inspector General Police Warrap Dinka
8. 1st Lt. Gen. Agasio A. Tong Inspector Gen. Prison Service  Warrap  Dinka
9. 1st Lt. Gen. Aru Maan Chot Inspector Gen. Fire Brigade Jonglei Dinka
10. Major General John Lat Military Intelligence Lakes Dinka
11. Major General Marial Nuor Public Security Lakes Dinka
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