Saturday, May 16, 2009

Is GOSS/SPLM/A detaining Lt-Gen. Matib in US?

It has come to the knowledge of this author that Lt-Gen. Paulino Matib Nhial, the Commander of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA), is missing. Lt-Gen. Matib has been missing since his travel to the United States for treatment. Lt-Gen. Matib joined the SPLA in 2006 in a dramatic move that was known only to Lt-Gen. Matib and SPLA leadership.
Lt-Gen. Matib has been battling a number of diseases. He had been taken to South Africa and while in that trip, rumours engulfed South Sudan that Lt-Gen. Matib had died. These rumours were not only received with mixed reactions but Juba other parts of South Sudan like his Unity State experienced an immediate insecurity dangers. These rumours were quickly neutralized by the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, which is led by an SPLM diplomat as its ambassador.
"The media advisor at the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, Ms Sumaya Abdelsadiq told the official SUNA that General Paulino was currently in Nairobi at the Grand Regency Hotel. He had arrived on Friday May 4 coming from South Africa from a regular medical treatment trip. Sumayah said she met Paulino this evening at the hotel he is residing in", (
According to Al-Wifaq daily newspaper of May 17th, 2009, page (1), Lt-Gen. Matib is missing. The paper said: "…and (Riek) Machar will enter the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM) conference hall in Rumbek – where 1st-Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) and First Vice-President of the Republic, opened SPLM conference held on May 17th, 2009) – and would look at the empty seat of Lt-Gen. Matib……America had detained the Passport of (Lt-Gen.) Paulino so as not to reach the South."
"The GOSS Mission to the United States of America was privileged to receive H.E Lt. General Paulino Matip Nhial Deputy Commander of the SPLA and his wife upon their arrival to Washington D.C Sunday August 3rd, 2008, on a private visit for medical treatment", (
Mr. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Head of GOSS Mission, accompanied General Paulino Matip Nhial to Rochester, Minnesota, to commence his medical treatment. Upon completion of his treatment, Lt. General Paulino Matip Nhial will be meeting with the US Government officials to review the efforts and support to transform and strengthen the SPLA by the US Government. H.E. Lt. General Paulino Matip Nhial will also meet the Sudanese communities in USA", (
Who is detaining Lt-Gen. Matib against his will in America since his trip to the US was partly official as seen from the statement above? This question does not judge the book from the cover. Unless the Al-Wifaq daily newspaper's report was baseless; otherwise "detention of Matib's Passport by America" means that the US Administration is detaining Lt-Gen. Matib's Passport. How could anybody refer to such an act? Isn't the "detention" against Lt-Gen. Matib's will? There are two actors from where the answers to the questions above could come: US Administration and GOSS/SPLM/A.
This author would try to find out why is the US Administration detaining Lt-Gen. Matib? It will also look at the fact that the "detention" cannot take place without the agreement of both the US Administration and GOSS/SPLM/A. If the US Administration did the "detention" of Lt-Gen. Matib without the knowledge of the GOSS/SPLM/A, then what has GOSS/SPLM/A done to address the situation. Lt-Gen. Matib is the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) recognises this fact, which includes SPLA officers and men.
"As part of a peace agreement and in order to end the war, the Parties agree that the two forces, the SAF and the SPLA shall remain separate during the Interim Period, and further agree that both forces shall be considered and treated equally as Sudan's National Armed Forces during the Interim Period" (
Having learned that the US Administration cannot detain Lt-Gen. Matib against his will, it would be important to note that GOSS/SPLM/A could be behind Lt-Gen. Matib's "detention." It is known to the entire world that the US Administration normally announces their suspicion of world leaders they consider as violators of human rights in their countries. The US Administration does not grant entry to the US of anybody they consider as war criminal or otherwise. Lt-Gen. Matib has never been mentioned by the US Administration as one of those war criminals. Thus it would be difficult to accept that the US Administration acted alone to detain Lt-Gen. Matib.
Let us assume that the GOSS/SPLM/A called the shot to detain Lt-Gen. Matib. Another question would impose itself: why has the GOSS/SPLM/A detained Lt-Gen. Matib? Well, it is common knowledge that Lt-Gen. Matib had fought the SPLM/A through his defunct Anyanya Two Militia organisation which became part and parcel of the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). SPLM/A views all those who collaborated with the government of Sudan (GOS) during the war in the South as sellouts and should not be welcomed in the South, GOSS, SPLM/A; unless they rejoin the SPLM/A.
But it seems to appear that rejoining SPLM/A does not mean forgiveness either. What does it mean then? By accepting him and many others in its rank and file, however, SPLM/A was not only trying to deprive them of alliance with Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) but had other plans such as detaining some of them within the South and banishing others like Lt-Gen. Matib to the US.
Let us again assume that the GOSS/SPLM/A are not aware of Lt-Gen. Matib's detention in the US. What have they then done to address the situation, now that it has become a public knowledge? It is morally correct of any government to officially address – through diplomatic channels – the detention of any of its members. GOSS/SPLM/A has not made any such statements concerning the reasons for Lt-Gen. Matib's failure to return home from the US.
The GOSS/SPLM/A had sent Lt-Gen। Matib to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) for medical treatment. Even though the rumours of his death in RSA were so strong, Lt-Gen. Matib came back alive. The question the people of South Sudan, especially the relatives and the entire Nuer of Unity State would be asking is that: is Lt-Gen. Matib alive in the US or dead. This column does not intend to reactivate the rumours of Lt-Gen. Matib's death in RSA but warns that GOSS/SPLM/A's failure to inform the people of the South of the whereabouts of Lt-Gen. Matib could lead to similar rumours as those created when he was in RSA.
The US has no interest at all in detaining Lt-Gen. Matib. Therefore, if the "detention" of Lt-Gen. Matib in the US is a decision of the GOSS/SPLM/A and executed by the US Administration, then the US Administration would be wrong. It is illegal for the US Administration to detain Lt-Gen. Matib; let alone the fact that no US citizen can be arrested without formal charges. Even if there are formal charges, such a citizen will have to be brought before a court of law to answer for those charges. Since Lt-Gen. Matib does not have any formal charge brought against him by the US Administration, his continued "detention" would be illegal and that would mean that the US is violating Lt-Gen. Matib's basic human rights.
South Sudan is going through one of the most difficult periods in its history. There are conflicts everywhere in the South, including some signs pointing towards an early rebellion. It seems that this kind of situation would be increasing in worsening by the day. If there is anybody within the GOSS/SPLM/A who thinks that his group, tribe or community would be better placed to resolve the current crisis in the South, s/he would be lying.
The crisis in the South is caused by mismanagement of GOSS and SPLA. The origin of this mismanagement is tribalism. Thus the resolution of these kinds of problems caused by tribalism need the leaders of all tribes in the South, including Lt-Gen. Matib, to end the crisis. In other words, Lt-Gen. Matib and other prominent leaders from other tribes need to seat down to search for a solution to this crisis threatening to turn the South into yet another Somalia within the Horn of Africa region.

Who is ruling the South; is it NCP or SPLM/A?

Some prominent South Sudanese have of recent been responding to the exploding situation in South Sudan. This exploding situation ranges from tribal conflicts between tribes all over the South and an appearance of banditry along Juba-Torit road, which other people say it is the beginning of another rebellion.
The prominent people – some of who are very respectable – have unfortunately misplaced their arguments. The misplacement of their arguments is represented in blaming of the National Congress Party (NCP) for what is happening in the South. "Events" does not subscribe to any political party and today it looks at the logic behind blaming the crisis in the South on the NCP.
First of all it is important to note that the prominent South Sudanese mentioned above have clearly accused the NCP of being behind the current crisis in South Sudan. The logic behind their thinking is that the NCP is using some South Sudanese to create insecurity in the South so that they could prove to the world that the South cannot govern the South.
Well, it is known to the same world that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) gave the SPLM/A the right to govern the South, control its security and certainly manage the entire finances. Nationalists whose government is empowered with political power, security control and money could fuse the three powers to gain support from their citizens. Nationalists with a tripartite power like the one we have just mentioned would create the necessary infrastructure The South today is suffering from the problems of insecurity, governance and financial mismanagement.
Where does the NCP come in here? Did the NCP encourage the top Government of South Sudan (GOSS) officials to misgovern the South; mismanaged its finances; and support the insecurity campaign in the South? If the three questions above could be answered in the affirmative; then there is no need to blame the NCP. But if the answer to the questions above is in the negative, then these prominent South Sudanese should at least accept that the SPLM/A and GOSS have encouraged mis-governance, mismanagement of finances and mismanagement of security in South Sudan. How?
The current crisis in the South – at least the most pressing crisis of the three crises: misgovernance, mismanagement of finances and security – should be blamed on the GOSS and not the NCP. The GOSS with its security forces have guarded the South from the NCP and anybody associated with the NCP. How could anybody from the NCP, be s/he from the South get the opportunity to create insecurity in the South?
To the best of everybody's knowledge, the GOSS with its security forces have arrested people they allege support the NCP. They have never given the NCP the freedom to freely exercise its political rights in the South. In fact most of the SPLM/A members openly say that the NCP has no place in the South. That has been witnessed by the way they show their hatred towards the South Sudanese within the NCP. Which NCP member is there to carry out activities such as causing serious insecurity in the South? Who is ruling the South; is it NCP or SPLM/A?
It is now four years after the CPA and the South has received more than 6.0 Billion Dollars. With such a huge amount received by the GOSS; how much has it put in order to create an able security, which should have been given the mandate to crack down on anybody trying to bring about insecurity in South Sudan? How much of this huge amount has been given to the SPLA soldiers in order to overcome their suffering for 23 so as to raise their morale to do work? How much of this huge amount has been put to create the much needed services such as health and others?
SPLM/A and GOSS are in full charge in South Sudan. If they have failed to manage the South, NCP should not be blamed for their failures. It is true that some people in the North of Sudan had said in the past that the South cannot manage itself. This statement was not said because the South has no educated people who can run the South. They are there – many of them – but lack the direction of a leadership that is responsible. Responsibility does not entertain tribalism, corruption and insecurity in an entity governed by a civilized government. Now that the GOSS, SPLM and SPLA have actually proved beyond any reasonable doubt to the people of the North that they cannot manage themselves, they should accept the blame. NCP should be left aside and the leadership of the South now running the government of the day in South Sudan should address the crisis in the South without taking refuge in the NCP.
One South Sudanese writer once said: "Southern Sudanese need to understand that not every misfortune happening in the South is caused by the NCP. Salaries are being paid only after two months while others are running away with millions of dollars. In the market, a cowboy is exchanging dollars, and insecurity is everywhere in the South", (Loku, Tongun, S, Sudan Vision, May 12th, 2009, p. 5).

GOSS needs to resolve the SPLA salary crises

This author has learned that there is a serious problem of banditry along Torit-Juba road. Confirmed reports say that some members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) are behind this banditry attacks. Other reports seem to indicate that there is a rebellion in the making. The reasons behind this banditry or rebellion – whichever way one wants to see it – are said to be failure to pay salaries to SPLA, lack of food for the soldiers posted along the road; and the problems of tribalism and sectionalism within the Government of South Sudan (GOSS).
On May 9th, 2009, Al-quwat Al-musallaha (Armed Forces) Newspaper (page 1) reported the killing of two SPLA soldiers and the capture of two others in a clash between the so-called bandits and the GOSS security forces. It has also been reported that one member of the GOSS security forces was killed in yet another clash with the same bandits on May 11th, 2009, along Juba-Torit road.
This is not a new development. The Juba-Torit road had in the past faced a similar catastrophic banditry attacks. The GOSS used to refer to those attacks as committed by the Equatoria Defence Force in collaboration with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). GOSS did not mince its words then when it directed accusations for such operations on the SAF.
In response to the tribal fighting between the Bari and Mundari tribes, GOSS said: "From LRA attacks in Eastern Equatoria State (EES) to the recurrence of cattle raids that resulted in killing of innocent lives in Jonglei Lakes, Warrap, Unity and Upper Nile States, preventing these incidents is GOSS' priority", (The Citizen Newspaper, May 12th, 2009, p.1).
Reading from the GOSS statement above, the reader would realise that LRA is still being mentioned by GOSS as responsible for the attacks along Juba-Torit road. Is this true? May be and May be not. Because the whole world knows that the LRA had shifted their bases into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and are very active in Western Equatoria and not in EES.
According to the news reported by the SAF Newspaper, the two killed and two captured were said to be SPLA soldiers. Is the SPLA also called LRA? Obviously not. The SPLA remains SPLA and the LRA remain LRA. Why then does the GOSS refer to the attacks along Juba-Torit road as those carried out by the LRA?
To answer the question above, one would say that the GOSS is probably trying to divert the attention of the people of South Sudan from blaming the SPLA for the attacks. This would be deceit at a time when the people of the South have come to know that it is the SPLA soldiers who are carrying out these attacks and not the LRA.
The SPLA soldiers are going for more than three months without salaries. The SPLA forces that are deployed along Juba-Torit road are not supplied with food. If soldiers are not paid salaries; at the same time food is not supplied; they are bound to use force in order to earn cash and at the same time some food to eat. Should they be blamed? No, it would be unfair to blame them because they had volunteered for more than 23 years and this is the time to get rewarded for the 23 years voluntary services to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
The GOSS needs to resolve the current crisis of failing to pay the SPLA salaries. This has to be a priority if the GOSS wishes to conduct elections in South Sudan peacefully. Otherwise, any attempt that would aim at undermining the issue of salary payment to the SPLA would lead to something bigger than just banditry. When such happens, the GOSS should forget anything called elections and should have itself to blame and not the poor SPLA soldiers. The GOSS had made SPLA soldiers to understand that the time for voluntary services is over. Thus, the GOSS should live up to its promise and pay the salaries of the SPLA and supply food to those deployed to protect the innocent civilians from this and other banditries in future.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The illusive fight against corruption in South Sudan: "No prosecutions since the establishment of GOSS"

The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) under the leadership of H.E. First Vice-President, Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, had emphasized and reemphasized its commitment to fighting corruption in South Sudan. This noble task was backed up by an Anti-Corruption Commission. This commission was specifically created to fight corruption in all its forms in South Sudan.

Like it was mentioned in one of this author's articles entitled "Legislators Ought to Probe GoSS for the Whereabouts of $702m", ( early in March, 2009, the South Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) refused to approve a debate on a case involving cash amounting to 6.26 Billion Sudanese Pounds for food strategic reserve (food security) for South Sudan. It is reported that out of this cash only one state implemented what was required of it. The rest of the cash could not be traced and this seems to be supported by the SSLA leadership, which recently passed an anti-corruption bill. "The south Sudan legislative assembly has endorsed the anti-corruption bill for the year 2009",(

On March 31st, 2009, Al-Wifaq Newspaper reported the disappearance of 14 Billion Sudanese Pounds in Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal State. This cash disappeared from the State Ministry of Education in Aweil. The cash was distributed amongst the officials at the Ministry. The State Education Minister in Aweil discovered the racket and quickly reported the theft to the police who are said to be holding the culprits. 

This theft is occurring irrespective of the GOSS President's insistence to fight corruption in his government. "GOSS president has reiterated before the donors' conference in Juba his determination to eradicate corruption in the South", ( The President of GOSS declared his war against corruption in 2007. The menace called corruption continues to this date in South Sudan. Why? It's an infectious disease that seems to have been easily transmitted to the other people in GOSS administration. However, the fact that it's a disease, the SPLM Secretary-General, Pagan Amum, confirmed it. He said "corruption is a true disease in the South", ( There are some factors that contribute to the continuation of corruption in South Sudan:

*Tribalism strengthened by poverty and protection of corrupt officials by the decision-makers in GOSS on sectional and tribal lines;

*Inability of the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and arrest those corrupt officials in GOSS; and 

*Parliament's inability to play its important role of enacting laws against corruption and its practices in South Sudan.

Tribalism, poverty and protection of corrupt officials via tribal bias

Tribe is positive thing; but tribalism is negative and on the line of tribalism, a senior government official would squander public funds but a senior relative from his/her tribe within that particular ministry any other higher institution in GOSS would bail the thief out. What happened here is that the corrupted cash is divided between the two or more as is the case in Aweil. These two or more relatives are both suffering from poverty and certainly want to live like the others who have been helped by their tribesmen in GOSS. This could be seen from those who were accused of corruption, arrested but later on released in Juba. There is hope, at least with the new anti-corruption bill, that those officials who divided between themselves Four (4) Billion Sudanese Pounds in Aweil, should be brought to books. If this happens, tribalism and poverty may differ in their close relationship in GOSS.


Anti-Corruption Commission

The Anti-Corruption Commission seemed to have been created to impress the donors. Otherwise, how could the commission fail to arrest and charge a single corrupt person? The answer to this question is simple: the commission is powerless – it has no powers to arrest and investigate unless such is done as a public relations exercise – smoke-screening – if you like. The Anti-Corruption Commission should not be blamed for failing to arrest anyone in the South. But now that a bill has been passed to help enact laws for the commission to carry out its duties, we hope that the commission would do its best to function and report any hindrance to its work. "In an effort to combat corruption, the SSLA passed the long awaited anti-corruption bill today in its third and final reading", (  

Parliament's failure to play its role

The parliament of South Sudan has some of the best legislatures this country has. The problems of corruption and insecurity in South Sudan are directly attributed to the poor or corrupt leadership within the SSLA. It should be noted, however, that SSLA leadership had ignored to discuss matters such as the 6.26 Billion Sudanese Pounds meant for strategic food reserve or food security. This amount was seriously mishandled by various states and some GOSS top officials and by refusing to debate it, SSLA is encouraging corruption.

Reactions from Anti-Corruption Commission and SSLA

The Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Dr Pauline Cuir Riak, was happy and had the following to say: “I am confident that with the provision of the bill, we shall be able to carry out our work effectively without any threats." "In an effort to combat corruption, the SSLA passed the long awaited anti-corruption bill today in its third and final reading", ( 

Dr Jimmy Wongo, a legislator in SSLA, conquers with Dr Pauline Riak and says that, "the bill must be accompanied with strong measures to bring all corrupt agencies to law. Nobody has been prosecuted in the three years since the establishment of GOSS", (

Responding to the same bill, SSLA Speaker, James Wani Igga, said: "a nation cannot work effectively with the absence of an anti-corruption bill." He hailed the adoption of the legislation as a milestone for the Southern Parliament. 


The best way to deal with this issue of corruption is not just the passing of anti-corruption bill. It's the seriousness to follow the implementation of such bills and taking those who undermine such implementation to task, including dismissal from public offices. This measure, coupled up with a commitment from the Anti-Corruption Commission to do its work unhindered, corruption may be eradicated for ever in South Sudan. 

The disappearance of the Four (4) Billion Sudanese Pounds from the ministry of education in Aweil may be a blessing in disguise. Those who are involved in the theft of this huge sum of cash must really be dealt with; now that the SSLA had passed the anti-corruption bill. 

Just like the SSLA Speaker said, "a nation cannot work effectively with the absence of an anti-corruption bill." Now that the anti-corruption bill has been passed, may GOSS, SSLA together with the Anti-Corruption Commission review the previous cases, like 702 Million Dollars which disappeared sometimes back, the disappearance of the 14 billion Sudanese Pounds in Aweil and of course, the Al-Cardinal scandal. Failure to address the cases that were known to be serious corruption matters in the past would encourage future corruption in South Sudan. It will amount to injustice to prosecute others while protecting other corrupt officials within GOSS. Best wishes for a success against corruption in South Sudan.