South Sudan’s rebel leader arrives in Ethiopia

Machar (center-right), his wife Angelina Tenya (right). Photo: Provided

Addis Ababa, July 21, 2019 (SSNA) — The chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) Dr. Riek Machar has arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa today, a senior armed opposition official who has full of the trip and asked his name not be published because he was not authorized to talk to the media told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) on Sunday.

Machar’s visit marks the first of its kind after reports surfaced that the East African regional bloc, IGAD, has deliberately placed him under house arrest in Khartoum.

According to the official, Dr. Machar will attend an upcoming IGAD meeting in Ethiopia and is expected to meet with the United Nations officials to discuss a number of issues including the implementation of 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

The official also said the the SPLM/A-IO) could meet with the Ethiopian government officials without giving specifics.

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  • I don’t really like this south Sudan rebel. I don’t know what’s fighting for instead working together to build something good into there country his only started fighting. I don’t get it because without south Sudan president fighting very hard to build south Sudan to be independent there all there was going to end up in the hands of Arabia, this rebel is eating very good but for many poor people they have nothing, there many south Sudan in Uganda always in the refugees, can this rebel stop this kind of stupid bullshit of fighting.

    • Sorry to hear that , MANY people like him
      The senseless war was created by Dinka Sultan

    • Gatbeel Geng
      July 21, 2019 11:45 pm

      My dear, it very shame on you to express such a unwanted comment to the media so that you don,t like Dr. Riak Machar Here are some of failures of your useless present
      Salva Kiir’s first failure

      Salva Kiir’s first failure was the absence of services delivery to South Sudanese people. His administration did not have a clear agenda to jumpstart much-needed development, especially on road pavements. Though attempts to jump-starting the development were made, funds which were allocated for road pavements were diverted by his administration staffs. As a result, lack of communication network and passable roads in the South made it difficult for the development to reach many areas around the country. The development construction efforts in the south require thoroughly and candidly sequel from the concern authorities, departments and system practicability on the ground or in the development action sites, but enforcement to actually implement construction projects was unavailable.

      As we speak, most of the essential government institutions are not carrying out their duties. The government of South Sudan is still in a stage of its evolution and has not matured enough in its daily operations. There are still numerous gaps within public institutions to coordinate projects with their branches. The lack of coordination among the government institutions is caused by the absent of modern technology and Salva Kiir does not bother to supply much needed technological equipment. In this regard, there is no efficient way to handle the job professionally or in a professional manner. Due to this inefficiency, South Sudan’s development has a long way to go in order to reach its desired destination. Development is a long-term process that requires an appropriate approach and genuine business with joint and synchronized efforts from various angles. It is true that the divergent growth cannot be achieved within one decade; however, main public institutions such as hospitals that are urgently needed would have been built and should be in place by now started in 2005 and present.

      What matter the most right now is to find the solution for the war and start development by constructing healthcare facilities in all corners of the country so that people are served within the country other than neighbouring countries. It is equally true that even the central government seat or capital Juba is still remaining without adequate healthcare centres and hospitals.

      Despite absent of proper healthcare; all government officials are receiving their medication from neighboring countries at the expense of the Government of South Sudan. South Sudan is the most distant and poorest area on the face of the earth in terms of transportation and telecommunication networking system. As mentioned, there are no proper roads, which are the most retarding factor to cripple the development. The ten South Sudan states are detached from each other. Even with in the State alone, some of the distant rural areas where people are desperately in need of healthcare centers and clean drinking water are not reachable. The so-called South Sudan ten states’ Capital cities, Counties, Payams and Bomas have no hospitals, healthcare centres and public facilities even for minor operations. People are daily dying for diseases that are curable in other parts of the world.

      The entire ordinary citizens of South Sudan are living under the mercy of God. Even though independent has been achieved, yet, some people still have not tasted the fruit of the struggle; due to the fact that services had not been fully delivered to all people. Majority of people still fetch dirty water from the Nile River and small lakes or lagoons in the South. Those who got their drinking water from underground wells tend to be luckier. Many South Sudanese even still eat undressed tree leaves like it was the trend during the revolutionary struggle; not to mention the fact that they are still giving birth under the trees without anybody recording the date and time of birth. Which means children yet do not know their birthdays. These are the very people who will labour in the development of South Sudan and be the future leaders of the country.

      If there are no healthy workers’ personnel in the country, there is no much-needed development at all. Because in every country, the least privileges, such as uneducated individuals are the ones who build very beautiful cities we are witnessing and admiring in developed countries. All these factors are the major challenges facing our newest nation today; it is the looming daring situation that needs immediate attention. Masses of South Sudan will keep suffering unless physical infrastructure is put in place, there will not be any tangible transformation in the lives of the South Sudanese ordinary populace. The intensive work to detail the foundations for an acceleration infrastructure programs is to pave roads as I talked about earlier to achieve inter-linkage between key population major towns that are assuming roles to be identified as either national or State capitals including rehabilitation of river, railways and air transport to establish an adequate transport connection with neighbouring countries in order to access the regional market in Africa. This would improve living conditions in term of bringing goods from sisterly countries, providing clean water, sanitation, roads etc. in order to change the living conditions of our people.

      Besides the suffering group in our country, two upper groups own the wealth of the country. These are those who run the government in all organs and those they have employed to carry out the duties. The fund concentrated on the hand of these two groups. Some of them could not get hungry again because, during the interim period, they accumulate millions of dollars that would keep them survive for the rest of their lives. Many of these individuals have bought houses in foreign countries and open personal accounts with money that would have been used for country development. During the revolutionary struggle, one of the claims we were making was that South Sudanese were neglected by the consecutive regimes in Khartoum. Now such negligent seem to be practising by us toward our own beloved ordinary citizens. It is in one’s hope that a necessary way of serving our citizens equally must be redefined.

      When the peace was signed in 2005, South Sudanese have developed high hope and expectations that the south will change dramatically after the peace in term of delivering basic services. However, that wish had never happened as people were expected, due to the lack of proper planning from the Government of South Sudan. To avoid blaming, Salva Kiir and his South Sudan officials justify their weaknesses and failure to delivered services by using phrases such as “a baby would not walk in one year”, which is an obvious excuse, but six years’ in the interim period and eight years in independent South Sudan are long-time enough that determine government can complete some major developmental projects in every corner of the country.

      Salva Kiir’s Second Failure:

      Salva Kiir’s second failure was the lack of control of the skyrocketing level of rampant corruption. Corruption in South Sudan is among the worst in the world. Salva Kiir and his cohorts have developed a kleptocratic system that controls every part of the South Sudanese economy. This system has taken shape quickly in a relatively short period of time when the country had just won self-rule in 2005 while still remaining part of Sudan, waiting to attain full sovereignty in 2011. Statistically, South Sudan was ranked the fifth on transparency in international statistic list of most corrupt countries around the world, preceded only by Somalia, North Korea, Sudan and Afghanistan. The nation lack regulations to combat frauds and malfeasance among senior government officials. The degree of corruption and mismanagement revealed in the Auditor General’s report for 2005 and 2006 fiscal year, brought a tear to many South Sudanese ordinary citizens who have no power of correcting government officials who are looting public funds in broad daylight without remorse. In 2009, President Kiir promised to give South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission (SSACC) power to prosecute officials the government believe to have taken public money, but nothing is being done.

      While the country resources are looted, Salva Kiir as the leader has done nothing to quell the corruption. He repeatedly declared that his government is actively fighting corruption, but on April 12, 2013, Salva Kiir fired Elias Wako Nyamellel, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, for acknowledging that “South Sudan is indeed corrupted and rotten to the core.” The problem is compounded by the serious lack of transparency in South Sudanese government records and business information. Requests for official data can be arbitrarily turned down with impunity. The country has no rule of tracking funds. For example, since 2005, military commanders have stolen the salaries of soldiers. There are tens of thousands of “Ghost soldiers” who exist only on payroll documents. This “Ghost soldiers’ money is diverted by most senior military officers and deposit them to their private accounts. If not all, nearly every public institution in the government of South Sudan is crippled by corruption and mismanagement.

      The first scandal was about $60 million Sudanese government gave Garang as a gesture of CPA implementation. That money was said to remain with Nhial Deng Nhial after the death of Garang, nobody knew where they went. In September 2011, SSACC stated that it was investigating about 60 corruption cases and south to recover over 120 million South Sudanese Pounds, which equivalent to $20 million. In the same month, South Sudan government said, it would strive to reform its tax collection system, having lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the chicanery of phoney tax collectors. A committee was formed to investigate the problem. This committee had found that unauthorized several import taxes on essential goods and services had caused prices to rise astronomically. They reported that various unauthorized agencies and individuals had demanded tax from importers of goods and then pocketed the sums of money and do not report anything to the government. In November 2011, President Salve Kiir fired the head of the anti-corruption commission, Pauline Riak, and replaced her with a judge from the Supreme Court, Judge John Gatwech Lul, in a move that appeared to be an attempt to improve South Sudan’s poor track record at fighting corruption.

      In February 2012, Gatwech Lul asked James Hoth Mai, the chief of General Staff, and his five deputies to ensure that army officers aid anti-corruption efforts by declaring their income and assets. General Hoth said the army would fully cooperate. In May 2012, the Anti-Corruption Corruption Commission announced, $60 million of stolen assets had been returned by the government officials. In a report made on June 2, 2012, stated that President Salva Kiir had requested that over 75 former and current government officials demanding they account for missing funds in an effort to create more transparency. In the letter, he wrote, Kiir said, “I am writing to encourage you to return these stolen funds, partial or full; if funds are returned, the government of the Republic of South Sudan will grant amnesty and will keep your name confidential. I and only one other official will have access to this information.” Kiir said, “the letter was part of a new effort to combat corruption and create a more transparent and accountable government.” Kiir had also written to eight heads of State asking them to help recover about $4 billion believed to be in foreign banks. Also, in June 2012, Kiir said, “he had taken several additional measures to combat corruption.” For example, he has issued several presidential decrees on the subject of corruption and also opened a bank account in Kenya so that stolen funds could be returned and deposit into that account.

      In January 2013, an audit of the government had been conducted. An audit of the government accounts showed that over $1 billion had disappeared without a trace from 2005 to 20016. The parliament subsequently summoned Arthur Akwen Chol, former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and Elijah Malok Aleng, former Governor of what was then called the “Central Bank of Southern Sudan (CBSS), and accused them of aiding corruption. Akwen Chol refused to appear, but Elijah Malok appeared and denied guilt while saying that some of the missing funds had been diverted into akwen’s personal accounts. Akwen was also accused of buying government vehicles from the Cardinal Company at an inflated price, but he said that he had made the purchase at the direction of Vice President Riek Machar, who in turn admitted having asked Akwen to purchase vehicles, but denied being involved in the details of the transaction. Moreover, a list of fake companies that had allegedly been involved in scandals were posted online along with appropriated amounts for each firm ranging from 400,000 to 2, 000,000 South Sudanese pounds. Among those blamed for the scandal were Michael Makuei Lueth, parliamentary Affairs Minister, whose then-ministry had registered the companies, and Benjamin Bol Mel, chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of the construction company.

      Between 2006 and 2012, South Sudan spent $1.7 billion on road construction, but only 75% kilometres of roads have been built or paved. Another scandal involved Stephen Madut Baak, a Presidential advisor, was caught at Heathrow Airport in Longford England, in 2008 with allegedly $3 million in cash which was later confirmed by Salva Kiir government that he was carrying that amount of money to open the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) liaison office in London. Due to the United Kingdom’s restrictions of a large amount of money coming outside of the European Union, the money was seized by Revenue and Customs. However, Salva Kiir ordered the money to be cleared of any suspicions and let them released back to Baak within 24 hours. Also, in 2008, Arthur Akwen Chol, former finance minister, reportedly stole $600 million. Then, in 2009, a sum of $323, 000 that was intended for South Sudan students’ study in East Africa, was deposited into a private bank account in Uganda.

      On September 5, 2011, President Salva Kiir demanded that 488 million South Sudanese pounds ($244 million) be awarded to ABMC Thai- South Sudan Construction ltd, a private construction company owned by a close associate of Salva Kiir’s Benjamin Bol Mel, without the Council of Ministers’ approval. The money was supposedly going to be used for road construction, but the company has never constructed any road. In 2012, Salva Kiir reported that $4 billion was missing. In 2013, $6 million was reported stolen from President Office. Then in March of 2013, a sum of $14, 000 and 176,000 South Sudanese pounds equivalent to $55, 000 were reportedly stolen from the President’s office. In conjunction with that money, Yel Lual, an executive director in the president’s office, Mayuen Wol, a personal assistant to the president, and Nhomout Agoth Cithiik, the accounts controller in the president’s office, were fired because of the disappearance of above-mentioned cash money. In May 2013, Rex Abdalla Nicholas, the managing Director of Payii roads and bridges company, was arrested for misappropriating funds intended for the construction of a road from Juba to Kajokeji. The arrest took place after Nicholas had repeatedly ignored a summons by the South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission (SSACC). On June 1, 2013, the committee who were investigating the disappearance of the money from the President’s office, had submitted its findings to Salva Kiir and Kiir did nothing to finish them.

      On June 18, 2013, Salva Kiir lifted the immunity of Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol and Finance Minister Kosti Manibe for the reason that they involved in the transfer of nearly eight million US dollars to a business associate. Soon after, both minsters were suspended and accused of transferring a sum of $8 million from the national treasury into their private accounts. Then, on July 7, 2013, Pagan Amum a suspended former secretary-general of the SPLM Party under Kiir, stated, Alor and Manibe had been suspended for political motivation, not for the reason that they actually had used the money. Pagan believed Salva Kiir left behind true culprits untouched. Manibe himself claimed his suspension by Salva Kiir was politically motivated, he did not misuse any money in his knowledge. Both Ministers had allegedly been involved in a transfer scheme of the above-mentioned sum of money to a firm known as Daffy Investment Ltd. The transfer took place without the president’s knowledge or authorization for the alleged purchase of anti-fire safes for the government. Salva ordered that the two men had to be investigated and if they are found guilty, they will be criminally prosecuted. Alor and Manibe case became one of the biggest scandals in South Sudan’s post secession era, after Salva Kiir’letter to 75 senior officials in his government whom he has suspected of stealing a disputed 4 billion United States dollars over six years interim period.

      In August 2013 million of dollars had been allocated for the expansion of Juba airport, but only a few results were visibly seen as successful. In September 2013 Salva Kiir accused South Sudan armed forces of corruption, saying they are using ghost names. Then, the country army admitted in May of 2015 that tow senior military officers at the ministry of defence and veterans Affairs, Major General John Lat, Director for procurement, and ministry undersecretary Bior Ajang Duot, had been suspended after being accused of corruption. The latter’s office had apparently requested 37 million pounds to purchases stationery and other office supplies. In May 2015, Clement Aturjong Kuot, deputy director for the South Sudanese government’s official website, resigned, accusing Minister Michael Makuei Lueth of nepotism. Kuot said Mr Makuei had turned the ministry into a “family entity” promoting family members with no relevant media experience. Kuot said that, as a result, his own skills were wasted in the ministry of information and broadcasting, and he wanted to find some position in which he could serve the country’s public not a family-like institution. In the same year, Stephen Baak Wuol has allegedly accused again as stolen $20 million in the government funds, and Salva Mathok Gengdit, the Deputy Minister of Interior, was also accused to have stolen $293 million. Following all these cases, Salva Kiir made a promise to have given South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission (SSACC) power to prosecute all officials the government had investigated for looting the public funds, but the toothless SSACC lacked the power to issued any punishment, all cases died down after attempts to investigate individuals had concluded.

      Salva Kiir’s third failure

      Salva Kiir’s third failure was shifting from nationalism to tribalism. In early days of Southern Sudan self-autonomous government formation, tribalism was not surfaced as a stumbling block. The rivalling was between those who are seen as “Garang boys and Salva boys” in addition to sidelining those who were deemed as non-SPLM/A members. As interim period years were vanishing, Salva back down from carrying SPLM/A liberator’s rule to promote one ethnic group rule. He twisted the game when South Sudan was declared an independent State in 2011 and promote one ethnic domination. More ministries were filled with one tribe the Dinka and the rest that was located to other ethnic groups were directed to more confident loyalist individuals who can always remain with Salva Kiir no matter what change availed itself. From that point, kitchen cabinet members who had always been loyalists turned to Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). The nature of nepotism generates tribal mistrust among politicians and the rivalry increased when some SPLM-party members wished to unseated Salva Kiir from chairpersonship of the SPLM party. Those rivalries resulted in violence when Kiir instructed Major General Marial Chuong, the commander of his presidential guards to disarm the guards who are Nuer within his residency. Such action resulted in the fighting the torn the nation apart up to these days.

      Salva Kiir fourth failure

      Since the war broke out in 2013, Salva Kiir diverted South Sudan’s oil money from the hand of South Sudanese people and use the money for bribery and lobbyist. For example, on December 23, 2013, Salva Kir invited Uganda Peoples Defense Forces, and later followed by Sudanese rebel forces, which include the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army—North (SPLM/A-N) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to help him fight South Sudan rebels who were advancing at the time. These foreign mercenaries were either bought with money or ammunition. These mercenaries and Salva Kiir government forces have raped and murdered civilians, recruited child soldiers and looted civilians’ property, causing many South Sudanese to fled the country and settled in neighbouring countries. Many others are internally displaced. While the South Sudanese government always claims it doesn’t have money to pay its civil servants and the army, the government pay foreign fighters. Moreover, the struggling government was able to spend $2.1 million on Washington, D.C., lobbying firms from 2014 through the end of 2015 to buff up its image, keep U.S. aid flowing and stave off harsher U.S. backed sanctions in response to its atrocities. In April 2019, Salva Kiir government pay US Lobby firm $3.7 million to improve its relationship with the Trump administration in order to block the justice for victims of the country’s six-year civil war. The contract raises questions about whether the government of South Sudan is really committed to implementing the peace it signed with oppositions in September 2018. Last but not least, this article has critiqued Salva Kiir leadership from start to present. Readers will equally digest Salva Kiir’s successes and failures.

      In summing, the study of human behaviour indicates that people have both positivity and negativity in their characters. We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. History always judges societies, governments and their institutions, not by how big the societies or the governments are or well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless. Salva Kiir Mayardit will go down in history as the first President of the independent Republic of South Sudan, a leader who unite different groups and form the government from scratch. However, Salva Kiir will also go down in the history as a leader who promoted tribalism, who failed to combat rampant corruption and more importantly, a leader who plunged the country to war and kill innocent people aimlessly because they are from different groups.

    • Machot Leab joak
      July 22, 2019 6:46 am

      We need country rules by laws not one person as main actor in South Sudan as country, if you say rebel, they rebel with reason lol.

  • I for one want peace to come to South Sudan. Let IDAD lift house arrest from Dr. Machar to avail opportunity for the implementation of peace deal on South Sudan. South Sudan wants peace desperately.

  • This rebel leader wants to be president of South Sudan at any cost and that is all!! In Africa if you kill one person you go to jail or prison !! But if you kill in thousands then you are the king and the world will respect you !! That is the real picture in the world today !!

  • It’s very sad I am expecting devt news in south sudan by now other than this same news everything it’s of no need to the pple of ssd

  • In South Sudan, peace is spoilt from inside; the current government officials are on a looting spree of state resource in anticipation for losing power and resources to the people and also reversely work hard to derail the peace agreement and recruiting more militias to fight for the – Kiir and JCE

  • lets have lasting peace Mr. Aro, stop stupidity.. what we want is peace.

  • We are striving for durable solution to end conflict in south Sudan not war again


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