Framing Possible Resolutions for Political Settlement of South Sudan’s Conflict



1. Introduction

The two Sudans signed the landmark accord in 2005 which ended the longest war in the Africa. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement granted people of South Sudan the rights to vote for a United Sudan or secession in a Referendum. In 2011, people living in South Sudan and those in diaspora voted overwhelmingly, casting almost 100% votes in favor of independence. That vote fulfilled the very essence, and ideals of the long decades of the liberation struggles. All citizens were delighted to celebrate that euphoric moment of political autonomy with an awe-inspiring manner that superseded the meaning of happiness. The dreams and hopes were entrusted into leaders of South Sudan, the first president and vice of South Sudan, which to some extent remain unrealized.

Celebration of South Sudan independent was not simply meant for gained sovereignty, territorial integrity, and recognitions of our country by the international community; it means that the ideals of liberation shall be realized. Citizens were celebrating those envisioned ideas of perfect country. A country where better hospitals or clinics will be built to offer contemporary health care for the sick, a country where well equipped schools will be constructed to enhance child learning, a country where main cities would be connected by roads, and tarmac high ways. We, citizens envisioned a state where basic democratic ideals and the Bills of Rights will be realized, and observed.

However, citizens did not enjoy or realize this vision of a perfect country because of wide spread deficiencies in structures of government institutions and lack of necessary tools to arm citizens to seize rapid economic and social development that could have set nation in path of self-reliant and sustainable development across the nation. Citizens in dire situation need government’s aided self-reliant developments to build the endogenous mechanisms of society that will enable this nascent nation ultimately achieve economic growth without aid from foreign countries. Besides, South Sudan had abundant resources can be used for innovative purposes to pave way for sustainable development and ensure stable growth pattern in such a way that economic development is in harmony with the environment and political culture. The founding father of our nation one said that rich citizens mean wealthy government, and poor citizens mean poorer government. Efforts could have been made at the initial to engrave in South Sudan’s constitution policies that could ensure opportunities that could improve participations in processes of social economic and political development.

In order to settle any problem, policymakers first identify problems, define problems, and identify policy options that are potentially feasible with state limited resources. Since the developing nation of South Sudan limited sources of revenue is already engulfed in war, and it is certainly important to identify in the subsequent paragraphs.

2. The Factors which Caused War in South Sudan:

  1. Not integrating tribal militias, and dangerously tribalizing presidential guards to protect their ethic leaders in the capitol.
  2. Deep-rooted autocratic government that tiredly works to prevents peaceful demonstrations, political rallies and legitimate criticism of the government.
  3. Failing to dissolve Politburo and National Liberation on the eve of South Sudan inceptions. This allows the disgruntled group founded their voices in these SPLM two elitist bourgeoisies’ organs, and it sparks chaos in Juba.
  4. Malfunction and deficiency institutions of government.
  5. Corruption, and nepotism
  6. Presidential amnesty given to rebels and flawed integration policy were disaster for our Country. Thousands of men and women lost their life because of this policy; the government can learn from it and rectify missteps.
  7. Sponsored deep seated tribal hatred and violence among tribes (for instance, calling citizens Nyagat, or rebels’ escalated hatred and violence).
  8. Failing to adherence to basic human rights, law and order.
  9. The government fails to meet the deadline of completing new constitution and not annexing election laws.
  10. Wide range usage of the presidential and executive powers.
  11. Repressive government behaviors.
  12. Security apparatus cracking down on legitimate critics of government.
  13. Growing regionalism.

3. Problems Definition and Articulation

The SPLA-Tiger Division stationed in Juba, the capitol of South Sudan, is composed of Presidential guards of Salva Kiir, vice presidential guards of Riek Machar, and Former deputy commander in Chief Guards of Matip Nhial. These guards were never integrated. Each unit within the presidential guards was deployed to protect its own tribal leader. Nuers were protecting their son, and Dinka were protecting their son. And not integrating, and failing to build more patriotic army cost South Sudan immensely. This is one colossal error among many of what is wrong with the SPLA which places South Sudan in more complex, and treacherous war.

Besides, when founding father of our nation Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in 2005, he left the country with two highest organs, Politburo, and National Liberation Council (NLC). These elitist organs become venue for planting political tribal hatreds. NLC and Politburo robbed citizens of their rights to hold constitutional referendum, participate in organizing, and reforming SPLM party into democratic state political party. Arguably, December 15th war could have been prevented if these two organs had been dissolved immediately after independent of South Sudan. NLC and politburo served the Liberation Struggles better but had no place in an independent democratic state. Inside every member of the Politburo and NLC is a man struggling to be president of South Sudan. These hungry folks for power tend to exacerbate conflict….what makes matters worse is because senior members of Politburo and NLC are serving as pseudo tribal leaders. The SPLM two elitist are becoming bourgeoisies’ organs that hinder citizens’ political participations, and engagement in governmental affairs. Issues matter to the nation that warrants citizens’ involvement most of the times are suggested to resolve by Politburo, and NLC. This is clear indicative of what is wrong with South Sudan.

Concurrently, South Sudan has seen more rebels since 2005 because soldiers and generals have not been trained to adhere to codes of conduct and ethics that guide all military personnel to love and protect their country. Tribal militias were intentionally kept separate for reasons only known to government officials and military leaders. Severe lack of clear policies of integration makes the SPLA more of tribal army than national army. It is fundamentally important for all soldiers to be trained as national army to protect sovereignty of South Sudan state, and stand firmly ready to help people of South Sudan in an event of manmade and natural disasters.

This brings me to bad governances. Some leaders that served in the government of South Sudan for the last 9 years have poorly governed the country and they do not want to accept the responsibility that they have failed. The leaders presides over wide range of malfunction and deficiency institutions of government, and corruption, and nepotism, and if they do want to accept failure than who failed people of South Sudan? Things could get worse if there is no clarity in term of government own humanitarian interventions, framing peaceful resolutions to conflict, constitution and whether or not election laws are made clear to public before end of President Salva Kiir terms in 2015.

South Sudan is facing bigger problems of entrenched divisions and tribal war. What seemed to be isolated coup d’état has taken tribal dimension. Divisiveness and engrained tribalism are growing among South Sudanese communities in unprecedented rates. Leaders and citizens alike should all be concerned. It is sad that tribes are divided, sub-tribes are divided, and even clans are divided, where are we taking this country? And the government owns television in Juba has not adjusted its tone to pave way for healthy dialogue between government and rebels.

The system of governance has become more corrupt and dangerous tyranny is taking its routs. Even when the constitution of South was derived democratic constitutionalism, system by which power is shared between state and federal governments. Federalism clarifies that some powers reside in central government while some are left to state or local governments. The local and state governments act as vehicles to implement national laws. The basic principles of federalism echo checks and balances, and a division of power between the states and the national government.

4. Federalism as Political Alternative and Feasible Solutions to Current Conflict.

The team writing new constitution can attribute the power arrangements among the several levels of government. For instance, enumerated powers of federal constitution are specifically granted to the national government, reserved powers are specifically granted to the states, concurrent powers shared jointly by federal and state governments; and prohibited powers which are denied to either or both levels of government (Ajang’s Lecture Note, 2014. Powers can be enunciated and articulated in the constitution to help maintain stability, and peace in the country. States and localities retain sovereign powers, while yielding only outlined authority to the central government. Legitimate constitutionalism ensures fair distribution of powers among governments.

This country can rise up from its ruin only if it chooses to create meaningful sequential political settlement of conflict. This can be done by making incremental improvement of peaceful conflict resolution and policy implementation that would work to sustain peace. This begins with the president Salva Kiir honoring his terms limit, and if he cares about his own legacy, people, and the future of South Sudan, he can unilaterally appoints an interim government using presidential enumerated powers. This seems the best options that could save South Sudan’s soul.

The interim government and teams writing new constitution must firmly engrain the following four major feature of federalism into South Sudan’s constitutions to ensure powers arrangement, calm growing discontents and avert regionalism:

  1. Enumerated powers: are specifically granted to the federal government (for example raising army, federal tax collection, signing treaties, trade agreements etc)
  2. Reserved powers: are specifically granted to the states, (for instance, governorship elections, collection of state taxes, agricultural developments, encouragement of entrepreneurship, building schools )
  3. Concurrent powers: are shared jointly by federal and state governments (for instance Tax Collections, police, subsidiary funds for business)
  4. Prohibited powers: are denied to either or both levels of government. These powers belong to citizens (For instance civil liberties or Bill of Rights, freedom of press, speech, religions, legitimate criticism) Note that the Bill of Rights under the constitution ensures protection of citizens from their government.

The federal system requires coordination and cooperation among state governments. This is done to ensure full faith and credit provision, privileges and immunities provision of the constitution, as well as interstate compacts that shapes the relationship among the states. And, because states in a federal system may experiment with different social and economic policies, policy innovations pioneered at the state level have often sparked widespread political changes, (Ajang Lectures Note, 2014). National-state relations are influenced by fiscal and political relations as well as constitutional and legal controls. Nevertheless, these relations need to be enunciated in constitution of South Sudan, and sell to ten states or citizens.

Government Can Enhance Peace using the Following Tools and Methods

The government of South Sudan should play significant in bringing peace and stability to South Sudan. Juba can craft inclusive policies that would ensure incremental peaceful political settlement of the conflict. The public good and welfare of the citizens are disregarded when leaders struggle for power. Hence the following could bring peace to South Sudan, if they are concurrently implemented in political sequential paces.

  1.         i.            President Salva Kiir could use his enumerated presidential powers to appoint an interim government without Riek Machar. Kiir, and Riek need to give peace a chance and rather prepare for election in 2018. The appointment of interim government and withdrawal of Ugandan troop can pave way for cessation of hostilities, and guarantees way forward.
  1.       ii.            Allocation of resources or funds to trusted leaders or organizations that would implement peace, and reconciliations.
  1.     iii.            Writing new constitution that is premised on constitutionalism of federalism and Annexing election laws and term limits. This new constitution should be derived from South Sudan political cultures, values, norms and traditions, and feature separation of powers within the government, its creation of checks and balances among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
  1.     iv.            SPLM political party must change its manifesto, code of conducts and rule of laws. This party chairperson can be elected by member of the SPLM council from ten states, and chairperson cannot contest for primary or presidential elections. If the chairperson wants to contest, he/she must resign from chairpersonship. SPLM must be transformed from its liberation Struggles organs to democratic political party organs. This could mean eliminations of Politburo, and National Liberation Council because political cultures and values of the liberation struggle may hinder democratic ideals. However, some leaders that had unique qualities of leadership could work around these political cultures and values to propagate the most needed ideals in a country. A leader that holds tribe and ethnicity dearly impedes progress and failed. Executing visions and programs, and lifting laws to the highest ethical standards is a leader that succeeds.
  1.       v.            South Sudan must establish institutions that could transform army, an SPLA that will be loyal and patriotic to the nation of South Sudan not to tribes or leaders or generals in the army. This mean initiating training programs in which all the soldiers can go through in order to graduate in the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF). Rules and laws that govern Military must be pound into their heads to honor and defense the sovereignty of country.
  1.     vi.            Creation of democratic institutions of government that would ensure accountability and transparency. For instance, and Independence Agency that can audit the government and holds senior officials accountable for their wrong doing in an event of missing funds.
  1.   vii.            Since 2006, the instability, cattle rustling, and tribal violence have claimed innocent lives. The massive unemployment of youth in South Sudan escalates violence. It is time for government to give this youth incentive. White army is neither loyal to rebels nor government, they are loyal to their traditional leaders. The government could use some resources as an incentive to initiate cease fire and persuades them to accept peace. Finally initiate long term programs for deviant youth. The government can initiate three tier levels of peace process, an inclusive one that had elders, youth, and women and people from diaspora or diaspora communities of Greater Upper Niles.
  1. Repair threatens fabric and ethnic relations among Shiluk, Dinka, Nuer and Murle. This means government needs to organize grassroots movement that would champion peace in the hotspots parts of South Sudan. Tribal leaders, youth, elders and diaspora must join hands to repair damaged ethic cohesion.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the South Sudan government could work effectively and efficiently toward the achievement lasting peace and stability. And this could be achieved if the government starts working toward maintaining a unified state, defending and developing its economy. State needed to develop a self-reliant to ensure sustainable development and social justice, and this can only happened when security of all citizens guaranteed. The government needs to take pride in diversity of its citizens because it is one way of promoting peace.

Moreover, it is paramount that government officials get ideal orientation as a mean of achieving peace and reconciliations. South Sudan government's legitimacy in citizens’ view lies in its accountability, securing of human rights and ensuring local autonomy, and protection of civil populations. The essence and ideal functioning of government entirely depends on whether the government has the competence and/or the political and administrative structures and mechanisms to function effectively and efficiently. The government must embrace legislations and institutions that are administrative functioning with clear transparency, decentralization, and the creation of an environment in which South Sudan’s market economy could work properly. The government works as a vehicle to provide support for people's participation in the political, economic, and social realms. In other words, the basic needs of the people and indirectly support the people's freedom of activity and the functioning of market mechanisms and thereby promote the process of participation: they are ideal functioning of government as the foundation of participatory development.

New election laws must be annexed, and incorporated into constitution to ensure democratic and defuse tribal violence that had consumed states significantly. Hence, South Sudan’s good governance must be an ideal orientation of the state does not have a direct cause-and-effect relationship with participatory development, but the government can assume the role of a provider of a proper environment for market economy, extensive promoter of people's capabilities, builder of efficient administrative structures, and reflector of the popular will. The ideal of good governance is an ideal orientation of citizens understanding of conceptual component of a state striving toward greater democracy that is embodied by the effective and efficient functioning of government assumes the aforementioned responsibilities.


Gabrial Pager Ajang is a Political Science and History Instructor at Wright Career College, Former State of Nebraska Legislative Assistance. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Alternative Proposal





The paper is meant to contribute to the ongoing talks between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement /Army In Opposition (SPLM/IO). I have been greatly encouraged by the recent move taken by the leaders of the two warring factions to end the violence and return the country to peace. My contribution will center on the proposed “transitional government,” which in all likelihood, will be a government of national unity composed of various factions within the SPLM/A. If this is the case, it will have no difference to the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), which despite some key accomplishments, remains a reminder of over eight (2005-2013) years of unmet expectations and disillusionments for most of the country’s citizenry. The high expectations held by the citizenry were impossible to be met under the circumstances. It is in this light that I urge the two leaders, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to consider trying something unexpected, bold and magnanimous – that is, to consider the great advantage of taking no part in the upcoming transitional government.  Not only would this create the most optimal environment for national reconciliation and institutional development in the country, but would go forth in the history of our country, the region and the world, as among the most noble manifestation of leadership. This is not simply because they bear a direct responsibility for the ongoing ordeals in the country, but because they have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and restore confidence to a young nation overtaken by a self-doubt.


And while I am at it, I should also express my disappointment for the dishonoring of the agreement, less than 24 hours after it was signed. I hope the two leaders will continue the courage they have shown and march on the path of peace. In a sense, this paper is a direct appeal to them to put aside their ambitions or grievances – many of which are genuine – and consider our larger interests as a people. I also ask of the reader to free himself/herself of partisan emotions and rely on reason alone. I ask that he/she minimizes biases, including any towards the author, and consider solely the merits of the argument put forth. This is the only way we can have an honest dialogue in efforts to end this ugly spasm of violence for which our country has become famous. This is all I ask.


I had no interest to make public such an argument at first because there were many South Sudanese of knowledge, experience and imagination that were engaged in the peace process. I did not see a need to directly engage, as I felt secured in the belief that my views would be adequately represented (and this “alternative proposal” is not a withdrawal of that confidence). Simply, on 10 May, I received an invitation from the Fredrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Addis Ababa to a conference on “national security interests and the regional response to security crises in the Greater Horn of Africa” that would look at the interaction of national and regional interests in cases of crises and regional interventions.


This is quite an exciting conference for a contradictory policy exists in the horn of Africa – the pursuit of national interests defined narrowly, on the one hand, and on the other, the use of increasingly influential cooperative multilateral mechanisms in responding to regional security threats and challenges1. This makes it critical for each country to adequately define its national interests since “the national security interests of individual states are usually not articulated in regional security discussions”2. Such a task seemed urgent for South Sudan – a country embroiled in a conflict shaped by mass murder, rape, death and crimes against humanity and on whose sake a regional intervention is being hatched. This is because a stable South Sudan is a shared regional interest!


Being of the view that South Sudan’s national interests ought to be purposefully articulated and contextualized in the larger regional interests (if done, it has largely been at the back channels, but not in a transparent and analytical fashion), I seized on this invitation as an opportunity to reflect aloud on what I believe to be such national interests. I then used them to offer a few thoughts on securing a long-term peace and prosperity, and for evaluating the most optimal role President Kiir and Dr. Riek can play in their pursuit. Being mindful of Dante’s assertion that “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality,3” I break my silence in the exercise of the “right not to go to the hottest place in hell” and offer my humble opinion as a citizen in our ongoing process of finding a permanent peace. It is through this engaging evaluation of realities that I arrived at this most solemn and definitive conclusion: that for the enduring glory of their names, the sake of South Sudan’s national interests and the promotion of regional security interests, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny should consider waiving their rights to any public office in the upcoming transitional government. They should instead draw up the agenda for the interim government, define its work plan, its budget, its security forces, its civil service – essentially restructure the state – and supervise this work plan during the transition period. I propose that they sit in the group of six guarantors to be created following the signing agreement that could include the Ethiopian Prime Minister, the three mediators and the duo – Gen. Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar. The interim government of South Sudan can then engage with this core group in issues relating to its progress as a mechanism for engaging with the region and the world.


I must confess, comrade, that at first, I doubted the potential success of my efforts. I was so convinced that Gen. Salva and Dr. Riek would not heed my advice. This is because of the unceasing negative campaigns that their two sides have waged on each other. Through their spokesmen, Facebook warriors and propagandists, each has nearly convinced us that the other is the “devil,” “a dictator”, or “a prophet of doom”. Such repeated narrations of negative campaigns have the potential to evoke cynicism in people. As such, I doubted the fruit of this labor, thinking that the two leaders may not seriously consider my proposal. But knowing who they are, recalling their gallant toils in the implementation of the CPA – particularly in bringing about the exercise of the right to self-determination – and their prudent exercise of restraint amidst landmines along the way until independence, I thought I took a chance. Through their cooperation, they were able to successfully implement the CPA. Despite the mistakes committed along this journey, they still have the chance to fix most of the issues. They can sign a mega deal that not only would lay a solid constitutional foundation for the country, but also clears its payroll, its army, police, and all its institutions.


The rest of the paper is organized as follows: chapter 2 provides the background and the context; chapter 3 takes a step back and consider “ideas of state”; chapter 4 explores the national interest; and the last chapter concludes. Inherent throughout the paper, is a theme that Salva and Riek have the opportunity to make a deal that would allow our country to hit “two birds with one stone”.




The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement / Army (SPLM/A) signaled the birth of “second republic of the new Sudan.” The SPLM envisioned a complete transformation of the Sudan’s politics, economy and society, and committed itself to bring forth “a great nation that is voluntarily united in diversity.4” The SPLM/A was to ensure that the new political order was inclusive, that the voices of the marginalized were heard, and that a true economic revolution takes shape – “growth through rural development and transformation of traditional agriculture” – made possible by construction of infrastructure, empowerment of citizens, and delivery of service; these efforts were to culminate in the “taking of towns to the villages”.  In short, the desired democratic, pluralistic and economically viable Sudan that has eluded various regimes in Khartoum since independence was to be brought about through the SPLM/A’s exercise of political authority.


To be sure, the CPA did not grant monopoly power to the SPLM/A in the Sudan.  Its partner in peace, the National Congress Party (NCP), was to retain 52 percent of seats in CPA-created Government of National Unity (GoNU), and with only 28 percent of seats in GoNU, there would be little that the SPLM could do without the approval of the NCP to realize its ambitious transformational agenda for the country5.  However, the CPA guaranteed to the SPLM/A 50 percent of oil revenues from wells located inside southern Sudan and a near total monopoly of power in the South – thus, providing the SPLM/A with resources and a territory where it could demonstrate its vision of the “new Sudan” with little hindrance.


Following six years of interim period, not only was unity of Sudan not possible, but neither was there any meaningful transformation of economy, politics, and society to speak of, even in the South. The economic transformation envisioned in the SPLM Strategic Framework for War to Peace Transition, 2004, was, by and large, unattained, and South Sudan gained statehood as an oil-dependent nation6. The poor state of development in South Sudan to which Dr. John Garang de Mabior devoted a great deal of his CPA speech – “prevalence of child malnutrition, primary education, mortality rates among children, rate of maternal mortality, rate of births attended by skilled health staff, access to improved water sources,” kilometers of paved roads, etc., – still remains the state of affairs. Aside, the level of internal insecurity in the country before the current crisis came to resemble the war era statistics; the tribal identities7 became more pronounced; poor capacity persists in the institutions of governance8 with the world’s youngest nation garnering fame for corruption and its unprecedented notoriety for violence than for anything else. These crises are not simply threats to the attainment of South Sudan’s national interests, but threats to the wider achievement of regional security interests.


Moreover, the institutions established through the transformation of the SPLM/A’s, i.e. the civil government (GOSS), the army (SPLA), and the political party (SPLM), have been unable to deliver on their obligations9. Instead, institutional growth and development has become utterly paralyzed by the unceasing factional infighting between within the movement since the CPA. Such is the context from which I contend that the current crisis presents an opportune moment rectify some of our staggering shortcomings. It is an opportunity to return our country to peace and structure its institutions of governance, incorporating the lessons of the last eight years. Having presided over the Presidency over the interim period and the first two years of independent South Sudan, it is appropriate that both Salva and Riek relinquish the implementation of the reform agenda they will agree to a third person. This way, they will actively engage in the national reconciliation process, and later seek public office in the elections if they want to return to power. It is not possible for a significantly reformed state to emerge in South Sudan if Kiir and Machar return to the helm. Past mistakes are likely to be recommitted. However, if they agree a reform agenda during the negotiations, a leader from within the SPLM/A can be mandated to implement the agreement. This would restore the image of the country and underscore the sincerity of its leaders. Both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar could receive global and regional acclaims, while at the same time, monitor the implementation of the agenda within the context of regional and international mechanisms.




Cardinal Richelieu once defended the concept of national interest, or raison d'État (reason of the state) as “a mean between what conscience permits and affairs require.10” This makes national interests a form of reason that makes a state a knowing machine operating in the pursuit of rationally calculated objectives. But this would require defining what we mean by a state and the pursuit of its interest. Let’s consider Max Weber’s definition of state as a corporate body whose “administrative staff successfully upholds a claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order”11. As Weber clarifies, physical force is not the only means of political action or for ensuring order in a state, but it is a peculiar characteristic of a state that serves as the last resort when other means have proved futile, and allows a state to exercise a “binding authority, not only over the members of the state… but also to a large extent, over all action taking place in the area of its jurisdiction.” But the state should have legitimacy when it exercises that violence, otherwise it risks becoming an instrumentalized pursuit of political office through the means of violence.. As there is variety in the types of states in the world, it best to consider this issue from the perspective of “ideas of state” in the literature on power and authority, which offers three broad ideas.


The first is the “idea of state” that equates a state to a government, “which exercise claims to sovereign jurisdiction over particular territory and population”12. Institutions are tasked (and filled by those who speak on behalf of the state and represent the population within its borders) with array of functions, including the provision of services to the people, but most important of which is the control of national territory13. Here the state becomes both the provider of welfare and serves as a source of exploitation through taxation and distribution.14 The second attribute is the construction of “idea of state,” that seeks to provide justification over the legitimacy of state’s territory and government15. Such justification is important to a state in securing the legitimacy from its own population as well as engaging with other states. Securing such legitimacy from the people is achieved through a “sense of nationhood which binds members of the population together, and to the state to which they all belong”16. Critical to this notion is the right of the population to choose their leaders and the existence of social contract between the government and the people17.


The third is Northedge’s notion of state as “a territorial association of people recognized for purposes of law and diplomacy as a legally equal member of the system of state”18. The recognition of other states and their interactions matter greatly to a state even if it secures its territories and command the loyalty of its citizen population19. The modern states are supposed to satisfy all these three concepts, but in reality many do not, yet the concepts have become part of the mythology advanced by those representing states to legitimize their participation in the “ideology of the international order.”


Our state, during the rule Salva and Riek, attained sovereignty and initiated the process of healing. We should be mindful of the difficult conditions that South Sudan inherited and appreciate what has been accomplished. At the same time, we must acknowledge and learn from what went wrong. Our nation faces challenges, including the mobilization of clientele networks based on tribes and clans, which further divides our politics. The struggle for ascension to the state power and use of resources to sustain and build clientele networks is an unstable equilibrium. Given our political fragility, any instability not only compromises our national interests, but also threatens the wider regional interests and withers away the standing of our country among a community of equals.


Political thinkers such as Hobbes, Niebuhr, Augustine, Spinoza and Machiavelli argue that individuals are encouraged by self-preservation to establish a polity in order to escape the state of nature where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”20. There is a general agreement that the primary objective of the state is to provide security for those under its jurisdiction21. Salva and Riek tried their best to provide security in South Sudan, but many challenges impeded their efforts. And with the current crisis, our country is at the brink of anarchy. Averting this anarchy requires each of us to serve where he/she could be most effective in ensuring the prevalence of security in the country and the region.


In more elaborated sense, security is an element of justice, an idea that dates back to the Ancient Greeks. For Aristotle, justice is a life of active virtue, and since man is a social and a political animal, justice can only be exercised in interaction with other human beings in a state – a political and ethical community with shared values, guided by a constitution and the rule of law22. This Aristotelian view is shared by Augustine who sees inability of man to express himself as a source of “hunger, desire, and frustration” that makes him incapable of reason free from emotions, and whose yearnings can only be fulfilled through performance of civic duty, which serves as a remedy for sin, just as coercion regulates wickedness23.


Many political scholars agree that the interaction of man with his kind is shaped by conflict. It is from such conflict that a need arises for a centralized authority that can ensure prevalence of justice and allow man to live a more fulfilling life. Such a polity is established through a contract or consent of its members24. The consent of citizens is the foundation of law and government25. No one has a right to exercise executive authority on anyone else in the absence of a tacit consent in form of allegiance26. This allegiance comes from the ability of the state authority to ensure that the natural rights of man such as security, justice, property, etc. are protected. All people, irrespective of the availability of a government, enjoy these natural rights in the state of nature, and in agreeing a mutually binding contract among themselves to form a political society, they make it the role of the government to protect these natural rights27. To Locke, the formation of a government is therefore a second derivative of the existence of a political and civil society, and in the event that the government is unable to perform this function, the members of a political and civil society have the right to revolution and to reestablish a new government. Aquinas contends that the purpose of law and a government is to provide order and secure common good, which adheres to the promotion of natural rights of man; a human law that goes contrary to the natural law may be considered unjust28.


Many challenges faced South Sudan under the leadership of Gen. Salva and Dr. Riek and impeded the state to fulfill its full purpose. As the country is at the brink of anarchy, it is important that the peace we make is not a gimmick to only temporarily postpone the inevitable disaster. South Sudanese cannot afford to relive the experiences of the last several months or the practice of governance witnessed since CPA. The government has argued that Salva is a “legitimately elected” president, and has the legitimacy to govern. Although this statement has validity, Salva Kiir must also consider the implications of such a course of action and weigh potential risks. Legitimacy is a continuous process that is self-reinforcing in the delivery of the government on its contract with the citizens, and when the government becomes unable to deliver on its part of the contract, the citizens have the right to replace it with another.


I do not think that I need to convince either Gen. Salva or Dr. Riek of the validity of this argument. Salva Kiir, together with Dr. Riek and many of us, rebelled against a constitutional government of the Sudan to form the SPLM/A and wage a war to replace what we saw as an illegitimate government. I ask them to consider the opportunity they have to correct the budgetary and the institutional constraints and restructure the entire state. They have the chance to allow for the establishment of a government that would have the best chance in delivering on the natural rights of South Sudan’s citizens in a meaningful way and avoid risks to the entire horn of Africa.




Two vital national interests should serve as the foundation of our future policy: security, understood in the context of human security, and economic growth that is people-centered and aimed at improving the standard of living for the citizenry. These are the bedrock of state’s function that justifies the logic of state and authority from which other interests stem. The conditions of the past forced Gen. Salva and Dr. Riek to oversee a system of governance in which no one was held responsible for wrongdoing and in which elites maximized on a state of confusion. The necessities of the time period resulted in the  “politics of the belly29” and the instrumentalization of30 the state. Such a past should be avoided. We cannot afford to resign governance to the realm of personal and factional struggle for power that depends on ethnic and tribal clientele networks, and where entrepreneurship in violence serves as the means to secure a seat at the table. We have the chance to burry the kleptocracy31 of the past, where South Sudan became the nation with the second highest number of generals (after Russia and more than the United States), which drained state’s coffers32 of the resources to deliver on the core functions of the state.


All over the country, armed groups (tribal and political) roam, attack and kill citizens. They raid cattle, goats and sheep, abduct women and children and lay to waste villages and settlements. On the economic side, youth remain idle in the countryside and urban areas, as the public resources are channeled to sustaining patronage networks essential to our politicians in the factional feuds for power. The social indicators for South Sudan signifies disaster: half of the population lives in dire poverty of less than about $1 dollar per day33; unemployment remains widespread; the Global Acute Malnutrition estimates of World Food Programme are 11.6% for non-pregnant women of child bearing age and 12.6% for children34, and, the prevalence of child malnutrition (using weight for age statistics) is 47 percent; health conditions are near-primitive, manifested in high infant mortality rates that are among the highest in Africa – 131 of every 1000 children born die before their first birthday35.


These are social statistics of a country that has consistently received large oil rents since the signing of the CPA (at least $ 18 billion). Therefore, lack of resources is not an issue. In fact, GOSS per capita expenditure stood at $451 in the 2010-2011 budgets compared to the neighboring countries such as Kenya ($106) and Uganda ($60). The interim period was marked by pro-cyclicality in the expenditures of the government, as GOSS spent revenues received regardless of budgetary expectations. The problem was the clientele networks, whose political demands held sway over long-term macro-economic prudence. The shortsighted management of macroeconomic policy was constantly brought into the attention of our government, but the repeated calls to act responsibly were outweighed by the political considerations. Yet, with the return of peace, South Sudan has the chance to earn enormous oil revenues that if used properly could help in the reconstruction. However, if the size of the military remained at 300,000 or more, the size of civil service in the hundreds of thousands, the police, the prisons, and all others, we will not have enough resources to invest in actual development. This is why a grand deal is the only way to truly initiate a new era for South Sudan. Kiir and Riek can sign this agreement and monitor it for transitional period (3 years). This innovatively could offer a new path, distinctive and our own.





With the prudent management of the resources, we can ensure security in the country. This can complement the interest of the region – a region that has steadily improved its economic prospects despite challenges presented by risks associated with terrorism and fundamentalist Islam in the horn of Africa, war-lordism and entrepreneurship of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic, where simmering ethnic hostilities risk exploding to genocides. What the region needs the most is an environment of peace that would facilitate the construction of shared infrastructure to promote increasing trade between the countries and usher in an epoch of economic growth and renewal. In this context, the interests of South Sudan are consistent with the interest of region, since the primary needs (security and economic growth) are the key pillars on which such interests could be pursued. Salva Kiir and Riek Machar can directly contribute to the promotion of these interests if they approve a grand deal that would restructure the state, tasked another leader in the SPLM/A with implementation and monitor the progress of the agreement itself.




I hope it is now clear that President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek have a great opportunity to establish a great foundation for the country, despite our current tragedy. They have provided sound leadership in critical periods in the past, and they must exercise that same judgment today in the light of South Sudan’s political fragility. If the current hostilities end, not only would they be critical in the daunting task of national reconciliation that awaits us, but their supervision of the agreement would allow South Sudan to embark on building competent and credible institutions that can return the country to the path of development and democracy36. Their role in this process would be essential and would allow South Sudan to restore legitimacy and its focus of development.


South Sudan needs to avoid a political system “characterized by highly volatile and individualistic forms and personnel structures37” at the uppermost levels. The exit of Gen. Kiir and Dr. Riek to a monitoring role would allow the SPLM/A to critically look among the mid-level cadres of potential for a leader with intellect, sound judgment, vision and charismatic ability who would implement the agreement with rigor and determination. We do have such leaders in abundance and a time has come to give one of them the chance to deliver for our country. This would allow South Sudan to build institutional checks instead of a system managed through the principle of fear that removes the sense of security from the citizen. Our country needs the separation of political powers and imposition of institutional limitation on authority to underscore the importance of institutions instead of individuals in sustaining the existence of our state and the fulfillment of its functions38. I hope my two comrades will give this a consideration, as their leadership at this critical hour is critical to the future of our nascent country39.


Karl Marx once said, “Men make history, but not in the circumstances of their choosing.” I hope Comrades Salva and Riek see their unique privilege in that they have the chance to make history while circumstances are still within their control. I hope we reach for the glory that awaits us. I am hopeful that Gen. Kiir and Dr. Riek will enjoy the old age of freedom fighter comforted by the memories of honorable acts, with legacies secured and undergirded in the very content of our institutions.


I appeal to a willing citizen to join in persuading the two leaders to rise and glorify our beloved “land of greater abundance” and the “martyrs, whose blood cemented our national foundation.”



Peter Biar Ajak is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Strategic Analyses and Research (C-SAR).



1. See for example the IGAD-led peace process in South Sudan and between South Sudan and the Sudan.

2. Fredrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Concept Note of the Conference, “National Security Interests and the Regional Response to Security Crises in the Greater Horn of Africa.” Held May 14-16 in Addis Ethiopia.

3. See Alighieri, Dante, The Divine Comedy

4. See Dr. John Garang Speech delivered on the signing of the CPA

5. See the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005

6. Prior to the oil-shutdown in January 2012, South Sudan was dependent on oil for 98% of its revenues and

100% of foreign exchanges; oil also accounted for nearly 70%of the GDP. See:

Ajak, P. B. (2012). “Macroeconomic Impact of the Oil Shutdown.” Centre for Strategic    Analyses and Research. Juba, South Sudan.

Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning (2011),Government of South Sudan Budget 2011. Juba, South Sudan.

7. South Sudan has 64 tribes (ethnic groups).

8. The internal Comprehensive Evaluation of GOSS found over 60 percent of civil servants holding positions who which they were unqualified.

9. See Ajak, Peter Biar, “South Sudan Unfinished Business,” The New York Times

10. Byrd, Peter (1996). “The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics”. Oxford University Press

11. Weber 1964: 154

12. See Clapham 1996: 9.

13. See Clapham 1996; Lasswell 1965; Gellner 1988; Bobbitt 2002

14. See Levi 1988, Mann 1986, 1988, Brewer 1989.

15. Clapham 1996; Halliday 1994; Cerny 2005; Chang 2003

16. See Clapham 1996: 10

17. Spruyt 1994; Van Crevel 1999; Dal BÛ and Dal BÛ 2011; Cairnero 1978; Gellner 1983

18. See Halliday 1994

19. Clapham 1996: Jackson 1990; Herbst 2000

20. Clapham 1996: Jackson 1990; Herbst 2000

21. Hobbes 1651; Montesquieu 1734, 1748; Weber 1964

22. Barker 1995

23. Augustine/Bettensen 1972

24. Hobbes 1651; Locke 1689

25. Marsiglio 1956

26. Locke 1689

27. Locke 1689

28. Locke 1689

29. Bayart 1993

30. See Chabal and Daloz, Africa Works: Politics of Disorder

31. Andreski 1969

32. See De Waal, Alex, “When Kleptocracy Goes Insolvent: Origins of the Civil War in South Sudan

33. World Bank, A Poverty Profile for the Southern States of Sudan, March 2011

34. (June, 2011)

35. IMF, “South Sudan Faces Hurdles as World's Newest Country” IMF Survey Magazine, July 18, 2011.

36. See Ajak, Peter Biar, “Reconciliation in South Sudan: Three Likely Scenarios,” The Brookings Institutions

37. Nissen, A. and K. Schlichte (2006):  From Guerilla War to Party Politics: The Transformation of Non-State Armed Groups in El Salvador and Nicaragua, Geneva: Oslo Forum06, accessible at

38. Montesquieu 1748; Wong 1997; Tilly 1975

39. Deng, Lual, “It’s The Leadership Stupid: The Challenges of Post-conflict Economic Governance”



Selected Bibliography


Ajak, P. B. (2011). “Macroeconomic Impact of Oil Shutdown.” Centre for Strategic Analyses and Research. Juba.

Ajak, P. B., Z. M. Biar and G. Larson (2012). “Building The Returnee State: Returnee Integration In South Sudan.” Centre for Strategic Analyses and Research. Juba.

Andreski, S. (1968). The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Modernisation. Atherton Press, New York.

Arendt, H. (1970). On Violence.  Harcourt Brace Javanovich

Aristotle (1995). The Politics. Trans by Sir Ernest Barker. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Augustine, St (1972). The City of God. Translation by Henry Bettenson. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books.

Bayart, J-F. (1993). The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly. London/New York: Longman.

Bobbitt, P. (2002). The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History. Penguin Classics

Burns, J.M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper and Row.

Byrd, Peter (1996). “The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics”. Oxford University Press

Buzan, B. (1983). People States and Fear: The National Security Problem in International Relations. Brighton: Wheatsheaf.

Cerny, P. G. (2005). “Political Globalization and the Competition State.” In Political Economy and the Changing Global Order, 3rd ed., edited by Richard Stubbs and Geoffrey R.D. Underhill. 300-309. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Chabal, P. Daloz (1999). African works. Cambridge University Press: pp 126-157.

Chang, H-J. (2003). Globalization, Economic Development and the Role of the State. Zed Books

$1-       (2002) Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective. Anthem.

Chazan, N. (1999). “The Diversity of African Politics: Trends and Approaches”. In Naomi Chazan (ed.), Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999, pp. 5-34.

Chong, J. I. (2012). External Interventional and the Politics of State Formation. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Clapham, C. (1996). Africa and the International System: The Politics of State Survival. Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp 28-43.

Claessen, H. J.M (1978). “The Early State: A Structural Approach.”  In: The Early State, edited by Henri J.M. Claessen and Peter Skalník, 533-596.  The Hague: Mouton.

Dal BÛ, E. and P. Dal BÛ (2011). “Workers, Warriors, and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium.” Journal of the European Economic Association. Volume 9, Issue 4, pages 646–677.

De Waal, A and Y. Ajawin (eds) (2014). “When Kleptocracy Goes Insolvent: Origins of the Civil War in South Sudan

Eboussi, B. F. (1997). “Democracy and Tribalism.” In: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, ed., Democracy in the Throes of Tribalism: pp. 7-12.

Eisenstadt, S. N (1973). Traditional Patrimonialism and Modern Neopatrimonialism. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1973.

Fanon, Frantz (1963). The Wretched of the Earth. London: MacGibbon & Kee.

Halliday, F. (1994). Rethinking International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan.

Haas, J. (1982). The Evolution of the Prehistoric State.  New York: Columbia University Press.

Herbst, J. (2000). States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hobbes, T. (1651). The Leviathan (1651). Oxford World’s Classics (2009): Oxford University Press.

Jacskon, P (2010). The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations. New York Rouledge.

Jackson, R. (1990). Quasi States, Sovereignty, International Relations and the Third World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jackson, R. and C. G. Rosberg (1982). “Why Africa’s Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood.” World Politics, Vol 35, (1), pp 1-24.

- (1982a). Personal Rule in Black Africa: Prince, Autocrat, Prophet, Tyrant. Berkley: University of California Press.

Krasner, S. (1999). Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

- (2009). Power, The State, And Sovereignty : Essays On International Relations. New York: Routledge.

Le Vine, V.T. (1986). “Cameroon, Togo, and the states of formerly French West Africa,” in: Peter Duignan and Robert Jackson (eds), Politics and Governments in African states 1960-1985, Standford/Carlifonia: Hoover Institution Press, pp. 78-119.

- (1980) “African Patrimonial Regimes in Comparative Perspective.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 18 (4): 657-73.

Locke, J. (1689). Two Treatises of Government. Everyman Paperbacks (1993).

Machiavelli, N. (1532). The Prince. Translated by W. J. Connell. Bedford: St. Martin's (2005).

Marsiglio. (1956). Marsilius of Padua: The Defender of Peace, Vol. II . Edited by A. Gewirth. Harper Touchbooks.

Mann, M. (2012). The Sources of Social Power: A History of Power from the Beginning to AD 1760, Volume 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.

- (1988). States, War and Capitalism. New York: Blackwell

Maisels, C. K. (1987). Models of Social Evolution: Trajectories from the Neolithic to the State. Man (NS) 22: 331-359.

Montesquieu, C.L.S. (1989): The Spirit of the Laws, edited by Anne Cohler et al. Cambridge University press.

Niebuhr, R. and Sherwood Eddy (1936). Doom and Dawn. New York: Eddy and Page.

Ottaway, M. (1999). “Ethnic politics in Africa: Change and Continuity.” In: Joseph, Richard (ed.), State, Conflicts and Democracy in Africa. Lynne Rienners Publishers. Boulder/London: pp. 299-318.

Plato (1991). The Republic of Plato. Tranlated by Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books.

Risse, T. (2011). Governance without a state?: Policies and politics in areas of limited statehood. New York: Columbia University Press.

Rousseau, J. J. (1915). The Political Writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau. C. E. Vaughan (ed.). 2 Vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sardan, J-P O. (1999). “A Moral Economy of Corruption in Africa?” Journal of

Modern African Studies, 37:1, 25-52.

Service, E. R. (1962). Primitive Social Organization: An Evolutionary Perspective.  New York: Random House.

- (1975). Origins of the State and Civilization.  New York: W.W. Norton.

Strang, D. (1996). “Contested Sovereignty: the social construction of colonial imperialism.” In: Biersteker, T. J., and Weber, C. (eds). State sovereignty as social construct. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Spinoza, B. (1951). The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza. Translated by R. H. M. Elwes. 2 Vols. New York: Dover Publications.

Spruyt, H. (1994). The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Tilly, C. (1985): “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime,” in Bringing the State Back In, ed. by T. S. Peter Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

- (1990). Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990-1990, Oxford: Blackwell.

- (1975). The Formation of The National State in Western Europe. Princeton.

Weber, M. (1964). The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Talcott Parsons (ed.) New York: Free Press.

Woodward, P. (1990). Sudan 1889-1989: The Unstable State. London: Lynne Rienner.

- (1985). “Sudan: The Retreat To Military Clientelism.” In: The Political Dilemma of Military regimes, Croom Helm

- (2006). From CPA to DPA: Ripe For Resolution Or Ripe For Dissolution? University of Reading.

Yates, D. (2005). “Neo-‘Petro-monialism’ and the Rentier State in Gabon.” In: Basedau, Matthias and Mehler, Andreas (eds.), Resource Politics in sub-Saharan Africa. Hamburg African Studies: Vol. 14, Hamburg: Institute of African Affairs, pp. 173-190.



Why the Government of South Sudan is Right to Boycott the Addis Talks



On Thursday Government of South Sudan informed IGAD and observers that it will be boycotting the second round of talks in Addis Ababa. Earlier in February, the Government Spokesman, Michael Makuei warned against the habitual behaviour of IGAD and its tendency in current negotiations to dictate rather than mediate. Makuei was quite explicit then, compared to the careful statement the delegation made in Addis on Thursday.


The move to boycott the talks was well anticipate by the so-called Troika (US, UK, Norway) and the EU before it was even announced and they went on an undiplomatic tirade and threatened to give anyone who impedes the talks with a bloody nose i.e. “there will be consequences” should the Government of South Sudan or rebels for that matter boycott the talks. The schoolyard bullying behaviour of the Western Countries is not surprising because they still have the “Berlin Conference Syndrome” 126 years later and insist on every whim they have being fulfilled regardless of interests of South Sudan or its government. The undiplomatic behaviour and language the of neo-colonialists is hypocritical because if any diplomatic mission behaves in the way they behave in South Sudan, on their soil, they certainly would not be able to get away with it.


Nevertheless, the Government of South Sudan has proceeded to boycott the talks and J1 has been unequivocal that:


(1) It will talk with anybody bearing arms against the government of South Sudan without preconditions i.e. in this case Riek’s Group.


(2) It will not negotiate with the seven (7) ex-detainees because:


They declared themselves not to be part of Riek’s group and have formed their own group.


      • They are not and are not interested in waging an armed insurgency against the government of South Sudan.


      • They have reaffirmed their loyalty to the SPLM and are still members of the SPLM because the Party has not expelled them.


      • They have made it clear that they are seeking reformation of the Party and not the overthrow of the legitimately elected Government of South Sudan.


      • Reformation and internal political machination of the SPLM as a political party cannot and will not be resolved and discussed outside of Juba and do not need external mediators especially in Addis Ababa.


      • There are internal mechanisms through which those seeking party reformations can participate and the SPLM has offered that avenue to the Group of Seven.


      • The delegation and the Government of South Sudan is not composed solely of SPLM members, on the contrary the Government of South Sudan is a coalition government composed of other parties such as USAP but not SPLM-DC who are the official opposition in the NLA. SPLM-DC albeit not part of the government, are a part of the Official Government Delegation and they are represented by Lam Akol in Addis. Therefore, USAP and SPLM-DC cannot negotiate internal party problems on behalf of one side of the SPLM against another side of the SPLM. The problem between the Group of Seven and the SPLM (not the entire government) is an internal party problem.


(3) The two principal participants in the armed conflict are Riek’s Group and the Government of South Sudan.


(4) The Government and Riek’s Group are capable of resolving their differences without the added complication of the supposed Civil Society Activists, most of who are financed by the West.


Therefore, it is clear that there are two distinct issues, namely:


(a) An armed conflict that needs an urgent solution from the two sides only (the Government and Riek’s Group) since those of Yau Yau, Oliny and Baping have laid down their arms.


(b) A divided party opposition, which has two distinct groups i.e. Group of Seven and Riek’s Group who have different positions, aims and motives.


It therefore defies logic that the two issues should be mixed and confused in Addis during the talks. It is paramount to decouple the two issues. It is important to staunch the blood flow first and as soon as possible and focus on other matters later. It is in this light were the Government of South Sudan thus appears to be saner than IGAD. The mediators should recognise this and let the Government negotiate with those holding arms first. The Government’s position that it should negotiate a meaningful end to bloodshed with those who are bearing arms first is justified due to the scale of suffering among the civilians and so it should be encouraged, facilitated and not impeded.


On the issue of the Seven (7) ex-detainees negotiating with the Government, it is important to acknowledge that they are not actively involved in shedding blood and are interested in reforming the party and not overthrow of the Government whose legitimacy they acknowledged. It is important then to open a different forum for them. This forum could be done through friendly parties not countries such as the ANC who has already offered to mediate among SPLM members and has an existing partnership with the SPLM. The SPLM Leadership has also already offered other mechanisms in form of a Political Bureau Meeting and a meeting of the SPLM NLC to discuss the current crisis and any other underlying issues. In addition, the Government should offer the Group of Seven safe passage to Juba.


Therefore the Government of South Sudan is right to boycott the Addis Talks because the negotiations are stalled due to numerous and irreconcilable differences among the three parties and should do so until the issues have been decoupled and each addressed in a systematic manner. The current agendas and the manner of negotiations will neither stem the blood flow nor bring peace. Amalgamating the issues of Group of Seven, who are aiming for party reforms, and issues of Riek’s Group, who are aiming for removal of Salva and toppling the government, are irreconcilable and should be decoupled. Thus the government should stay away until the mediators realise that these issues are separate and warrant to be treated separately.


IGAD mediators should not complicate the talks by confusing, and mixing agendas and issues that can easily be broken down and solved one by one in stages in a similar manner in which Riek rejoined SPLM in 2002. The IGAD must also resist the divergent agendas of so-called Troika and the EU who are financing the negotiations on behalf of the regional group. Failure to apprehend the will of the Government and people of South Sudan to bring the conflict to end will confirm the allegations that the mediators are dictating talks and not mediating.



The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the position of the New Sudan Vision.

Economic Cold War: South Sudan Crisis and the Influence of "Invisible Hand." - Part II



Sino-U.S Economic strife and South-Sudan crisis



Throughout the Cold War, Sudan government had its support coming from the West whilst the former rebels, the SPLA/M secured their logistics from former member-states of the Soviet Camp. However, the rebel movement encountered some turbulence in the brief period of 1990-1996, following the collapse of Soviet Union. Fortunately for the SPLA/M, Omar Bashir’s regime accommodated America’s adversary Osama Bin Laden.


Angered by such insubordination, America sanctioned Sudan economically and started issuing financial support to SPLA/M, empowering the rebels to inflict heavy losses on SAF, therefore, making the Khartoum’s government vulnerable and feeble to host Bin Laden. The rebels and America’s alliance grew even profoundly, allowing America to study the geo-politics of southern parts of the Sudan comprehensively. Despite Garang’s quest for the unity of entire Sudan, America discovered two things that it later utilised to its greatest advantage. 

$1     (1)The popularity of the quest for South Sudan independence among Southerners.

$1     (2)The prolific oil reserves mostly situated in south.


Now, because the economic sanctions prohibits trade between U.S and Sudan, America’s access to oil in south is only possible if sanctions are removed, but this would have been a contested topic in the US congress. Thus, the viable option was to grant South Sudan its independence, this explains the birth of CPA. During the process of CPA’s negotiation, SPLA/M served as America’s cordon in Sudan, while America hoped that after granting independence to South-Sudan, the new sovereignty would be retentive and resign the oil contracts with U.S. as supposed to China.


Meanwhile in Sudan, after the sanctions, Bashir turned to China and Iran and, to lesser extent, Russia, for economic support; after failing to secure financial backing from the rich Arabian Gulf States, because it felt out with Saudi Arabia due to Sunni-Shiite conflict which placed the duo at odds. Since Sudan and Iran were in the same side of religious dichotomy, Sudan had logistical support coming from Iran but could not secure financial backing because Iran was also under economic pressure. China was in need of oil to fuel its growth, so Sudan took full advantage and sold 78% of the national oil to China, who constructed the oil pipeline in 1998. In an attempt to get that 78% back, US had to carve South Sudan out of Sudan because more than half of the oil reserves are situated in the South. However, in 2011, after the independence, the contracts remained as signed by the NCP with China, that is to say, the oil continued to flow to China. Hence some people speculated the death of Garang, three weeks after the independence, to be surrounded by this conspiracy. Nevertheless, Salva Kiir succeeded Garang but the contracts remain fixed, almost three years after the independence, the oil is still flowing east (to China).  


What had actually gone unnoticed during the fight for South Sudan’s independence is the pressure that U.S oil companies asserted on U.S government to grant South Sudan its independence, as to plunder South Sudan’s oil wells. However, after the independence things did not go accordingly. The oil contracts remained binding with China, so the pressure by U.S oil companies became even more vehement. Hence there became a need for America to intervene in South Sudan’s affairs by grooming someone that is not as communist oriented as Garang and Salva to administer the country and to see America’s corporate interest represented. Their choice had to be no other than Dr Riek who was once their ally during the aftermath of the Cold War. Dr. Riek Machar is also known to use democracy as the basis of his campaign for leadership, especially after his fall out with president Kiir.


Although it is highly doubted that the U.S might have supported Dr Riek before the alleged December 15th coup d’état, it is nonetheless, an unjustifiable fact that the U.S did not condemn Riek’s rebellion. Albeit, the U.S President Barack Obama said that the U.S would not condone forceful removal of democratically elected government, in practice America did the contrary. The rhetoric and America’s position on South Sudan conflict both serves as core evidences. For instance, Dr. Riek claimed the allege coup was in-fact not a coup, America’s position was that it found no evidence that supports claims that the event was a coup. Had America admit that the event was in fact a coup, or condemn the rebellion, their constitution would rule that America cuts its support to the coup plotters or rebels, an activity that would undermine a grand strategy of putting into power their preferred president. Furthermore, Riek called for the withdrawal of Ugandan forces, a call that America later echoed. Riek also demanded the release of the detainees, and so did America. The impending arms embargoes to be imposed by the U.S and the EU upon South Sudan is another underlying factor worth taking into consideration. So one can easily see the general trend depicting the party that America and its allies have solidarity with.


The U.S displeasure with Kiir’s administration became ostensible almost two months after President Kiir impeached the Vice President Dr Riek Machar. Riek’s portfolio as a Vice President was vacant until unanimous appointment of Hon. James Wani Igga. The U.S exhibited disinterest in the new Vice President, in the event that took place in New York. While leading a delegation of South Sudanese diplomats including the Minister of Foreign Dr Marial Benjamin to the United Nation General Assembly, the Vice President received an inhospitable welcome, in a farce that Sudan Tribune quoted the following statement “The country’s vice-president and the influential foreign affairs minister were made to remove their shoes and told to stand in an isolated place within the entrance gate of the airport lounge before they were subjected to an aggressive check from head to toe and from arm to arm after which they were impolitely allowed to go without letting him know that the check was completed”.  Despite having shown diplomatic passports, the security operation contrived was a diplomatic embarrassment. The incident shows how irritated the U.S is with the cabinet reshuffle that witnessed the removal of Dr. Riek Machar.      


It is not such a surprise to people that are conscious of the history of international system and have read books such as the Confessions of Economic Hitman, The Wonga Coup, Dead Aid, All the Shah’s Men, Bush vs. Chavez, Uhuru Na Ujamaa, Hegemony or Survival and so on, to see South Sudan's problem as a direct confrontation of super powers competing both for economic interests and political spheres of influence. To sustain its hegemony, America has to calibrate its strategies of countering China’s growth precisely. Oil is the second-largest source of energy in China, accounting for 18% of the country’s total energy consumption, which an estimated 260,000 bbl/d comes from Sudan and South Sudan.


Although Heglig’s oil crisis in 2012 caused significant decline on these trade statistics, causing minor turmoil to China’s energy sector, the initial trade started to pick up, after the resettlement of the crisis. It is therefore superficial, that the complete termination of South Sudan’s oil contracts with China and resigning them with U.S will hamper China’s growth. An efficacy that America is desperate to attain, and can only achieve if their ally (alleged to have been harbored in the U.S embassy during the bereavement period of December 14th and 15th 2013) usurps the top position of presidency. Check mate!


In concluding summary, Salva is desperately trying to be impervious in his attempt to resist a force that casted a dark cloud over South Sudan politics, America’s dirty hands, to put it succinctly. America’s covert influence on South Sudan’s crisis can be traced in the activities that were at first far-fetched but recently became substantial facts. At first was an incident involving a UN helicopter shot down, by the government forces back in 2012; in an area where David Yau-Yau waged rebellion. The helicopter was allegedly providing logistics to Yau Yau’s rebels, but the UNMISS hastily dismissed the allegations. However, UN failed to answer what the helicopter (that did not notify the government of its operation) was doing in the rebel area. Then there were rumors surrounding Dr. Riek and Hilde Johnson’s secrete relationship, the rumors later suggested that UNMISS sympathized with Dr. Riek and his rebellion. Evidences depict the discovery of uniforms outside UNMISS compound (allegedly owned by Dr. Riek’s rebels that had sought refuge in the compound), the refusal of UNMISS officials to allow the Minister of Information to access the UNMISS compound, to recover weapons belonging to the former government combatants that defected with Dr. Riek and were being harbored inside the compound UNMISS compound in Bor and constraining the government to investigate the course of rebels. Moreover, following the re-capturing of Bor Town by the government forces, the government discovered UN tanks under the possession of rebels, when asked, the UN claimed those tanks were looted, although UN has not made an official report about the incident. This proves that America is using UNMISS to execute its interest of supporting Dr. Riek. The UNMISS, however, denied these allegations and claimed “neutrality” and humanitarian mandate. However, evidence proving otherwise did not cease coming to light, if anything they became even more luminous.


The UNMISS is widely believed to be arming the rebels after thirteen trucks, out of a fleet consisting of 18 trucks, were loaded with sophisticated weapons, attempted to be delivered to the rebels’ arsenal situated in Bentiu (a rebels’ stronghold in Unity State) were intercepted by the government forces in Lakes State. A truth that the UNMISS once again claimed to be fallacious but the citizens remain cognizant as their postulations became justified. The weapons included anti-personnel land mines that were banned in the 1997 Ottawa treaty, also known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, a mistake that the U.S government has not yet officially rebut. The incident raises a lot of questions, why is UNMISS consigning (prohibited) landmines to its contingent, who is it going to use the mines against? 


Why consign the landmines to people of South Sudan, when the UNMISS is the organisation responsible for conducting demining projects across South Sudan? Why load eighteen big trucks full of weapons to a contingent that only consist of less than 150 personals? The “WHY” questions never cease nor ever get answered.

The logic is very simple, like all of the Bretton Woods institutions, the UN is also a neo-liberal organisation that must uphold American ideology, norms and values. In fact, it is manipulated to do so. America’s dominance is reflected in the process of electing the UN chief. There have been numerous occasions in the past where the U.S appointed their preferred candidate to lead the UN, upon their disapproval of the elected chief. It is due to such systematic manipulations that there has never been a country where the U.N has been involved in and maintained neutrality, except in Congo back in 1961, under the leadership of a Swedish National Sec-Gen Dag Hammarskjold. While widely considered U.N’s most effective chief, Hammarskjold mysteriously died (in a plane crash incident) as he maintained neutrality in Congo’s affairs and attempted to bring peace to the then newly independent Congo.


In Addis Ababa the trend remained relatively the same. In an interview broadcast in SBS Dinka Radio, the Minister of Information, also a member of the government delegation deliberated that, time has passed and the government’s delegation has not even met, let alone discuss anything, with rebels’ representatives yet. The discussions have instead been between the government delegation and IGAD; the latter attempts to set the agenda for the talks! Why is it IGAD that is setting the agenda instead of the two parties? IGAD’s role is to facilitate environment that is conducive for talks between the warring parties and to mediate consensus, it should not compromise with discussions, otherwise IGAD is as guile as the UNMISS. This war will not have victors; China and U.S who are engaged in an economic competition are using both Dr Riek and president Kiir as proxies. The regional governments have intervened to represent their interests. It is unfortunate to emphasise that, for as long such prevailing state of affairs remains binding, South Sudan will mostly likely continue to be a very much self-destructed state, where exogenous politics impede the country’s quest for a long lasting peace and prosperity.




Much gratitude expressed to Agutto N. B Dengaguek and Deng Dekuek for their editorial and publication contributions.

Economic Cold War: South Sudan Crisis and the Influence of "Invisible Hand." - Part I


“You can always track global conflicts to oil and gas pipelines”. ~Unknown~


Contemporary politics since 1945 has been characterised by distinct national identities, which explicitly manifest to humans’ understanding in forms of ideologies. In turn, these ideologies shape politics, from micro-level domestic policies to the epitome of foreign policies, ‘economic pursuit and security interest’. History has compiled a chain of events since the Second the World War to present day, events such as the competition over spheres of influence between Russia and America, the Cuban Missile Crisis, signing of series of the Détente treaties, the establishment of the Bretton Woods institutions, the collapse of Soviet Union and etcetera, which can all be understood in the contexts of identity, ideology, security and economics. Nevertheless, following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, the international political circumference remained contested between the communist East and the neo-liberal West, setting China and U.S at different ends of spectrum. Albeit, the impending threat to U.S hegemony posted by China is largely low-key, thus rarely spoken of, it is so, because the threat is more of an economic challenge as supposed to military. Unlike the Cold War, which was centred on exhibiting military might, this challenge is less imminent when the time, technology and economic interdependence, between the two rivals, are all taken into consideration.


Despite the supposed insignificance of China’s economic threat to U.S hegemony, it is still a threat nonetheless. It has ‘domino-effect’ potentials that could possibly influence factors including military confrontation. For example, China’s unprecedented economic growth warrants it an inclination to surpass America economically approximately 25-30 years from now and technologically in just over five decades. America’s exposure to such statistics is claustrophobic. The formidable rise of China is inevitable, unless of course America slows down China’s economic growth, by “containment” tactics, which will counter the threat, though only indefinitely. Such situation does not require rocket science for the U.S to make note of. The situation sets America up in a delicate dilemma, because America owes China billions of dollars in debt. In addition, American citizens are the biggest consumers of Chinese goods; and most high value firms in China seeking economic rent are American firms. Therefore, a confrontation between the powerful duo will not only devastate both of their economies and bring destruction to the rest of the world, but would also see a new power emerge from elsewhere, to usurp the hegemony, just like America did when Great Britain lost tenacity on global leadership during the First World War. So it is only imperative that America exercise prudence in its approach to countering China.


By now, dear reader, you are probably wondering what identity (enshrined in a given ideology) and the altercation between China and the U.S got to do with South Sudan’s politics. As inexplicitly ushered in the title of the article, this dissertation attempts to explain how the "invisible hands" (understood in the context of this paper as foreign powers) could have possible influence in South Sudan, in light of the unfolding circumstances. I would like to start off by issuing a caveat. The preceding parts of the article transcend to look at the problems of South Sudan outside the context of South Sudan’s internal affairs. At first, it scrutinises Africa at large, before narrowing the scope to South Sudan. The paper pays particular emphasis on Africa’s economic and political relationship with the U.S and China respectively; and touches on the relationship between Africa and the U.S briefly.


Afro-U.S Relationship


First and foremost, it is crucial to point out a few things about polity of the hegemony. ‘Hegemonic power’ is arguably America’s raison d’être. It has positioned America as the most powerful state on the globe. It also empowers America’s foreign policy and enables America to make and break international laws, as it deemed appropriate to its interest, hence, shaping global politics to its greatest advantage. Therefore, it is important to comprehend what is America's biggest threat to its stability. This threat is undisputedly responsible in driving America out of its sovereign borders, in an attempt to consolidate security, pursue its economic interest and facilitate global leadership. So what threatens America’s hegemony?


The author views that it is necessary for caution to be applied here, as to avoid making the readers fall into the deceits of war on terror. That "war", as understood by many scholars that have excelled in International Security and Counter-terrorism discipline (including myself, who took a few of its modules, as part of my political frame-work) is a mere propaganda. As fellow lecturer in counter terrorism unit once underscored, the war on terror was an excuse that western governments sold to the media, perhaps to justify the intervention of the western coalition on sovereign territories, which would otherwise fall not within the parameters of the international law. Had that been the case, the repercussions could see the senior members of the Pentagon’s echelon subdued by the Rome Statute. Now having said that, what then really constitutes the "nature" of the threat that America faces?


We know that the purported war on terror was fought almost exclusively in the Middle East. However, the war has gradually but swiftly pivoted to Africa overtime. Africa now hosts US military bases in all four points of the compass, from Djibouti in East Africa, to Burkina Faso in the far West and from Botswana down South to Algeria up North. Need I not be oblivion to bring to your attention the operation hub in Uganda and the addable facility in Rwanda, which are both responsible of serving an American covert mandate in Great Lakes Region (Central Africa). America’s military bases have very much littered the continent. However, the fundamental questions remain the same. What explains U.S military manoeuvre in Africa? Is Africa a significant threat to U.S hegemony? If it is, then there is need to elaborate how?


Africa is less inferior relative to U.S, technologically, militarily and economically. Given this incontestable fact, what then is America doing on the pre-develop continent that is not a threat to its sovereignty? Sure, the resources can be extracted and shifted to the foreign markets but that only require firms and their intermediaries, hence installation of military bases is highly unessential.


Various media houses have held countless interviews with the senior members of the US military, questioning the presence of American forces all over Africa under the direct command of AfriCom, but the answers provided have always been unsatisfactory if not fallacious. Purportedly, it is claimed that American forces in Africa are there to pursue the Al-Qaida militants and to suppress insurgencies that operate in affiliation with the Al-Qaida, a terrorist organisation that received international condemnation for having orchestrated the perilous September 11th bombing. If this indeed explains the presence of American forces in Africa, then one should make an exception to America’s presence in Somali, Mali and few other countries within the continent that host insurgent groups that fits into American definition of terrorism.


Nonetheless, one can still be inquisitive about the presence of American forces on other parts of the continent that do not harbour terrorists. Africa is not a country per se but a continent, what have other countries within Africa (currently accommodating American forces) got to do with war on terror? America claims that the Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somali have links with Al-Qaida, yet America is not even present in Somali, instead it is a coalition forces comprised of East African countries that are battling these so called Al-Qaida affiliates in Somali, why is that? Why is Africa fighting America’s war? In Mali where similar circumstances are taking place, it is the France that is mostly oppressing the Tuareg insurgency. Again, since when did Bin Laden bomb Paris? I thought it was New York as supposed to Paris that was bombed by the Islamic extremists! This “War on Terror” must be an ulterior motive covering something more diabolic but beneficial to America and its Allies. But what could it possibly be? Okay, inquisition aside, let the reality speak for itself. AfriCom is in Africa just to ensure capitalism flourishes.


Mali is a France’s former colony, it continuous to pay France a postcolonial debt for the benefits it received from colonization, such as infrastructures build by France.Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN emphasised that “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century. He further wrote that,“14 African countries (including Mali) are obliged by France... to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control... African leaders who do not compromise are killed or (become) victim(s) of coup. Those who obey are supported and rewarded by France with lavish lifestyle(s) while their people endure extreme poverty and desperation”. As an inference, a change of regime in Mali suggests a change of the entire administration. This would not rule out the possibility of Tuareg stopping reparation payments received by France once in power, or when they successfully petitioned for an independent state.


Furthermore, this will trigger a domino effect across all other former colonies to follow suit, therefore, setting precedence that France administration cannot condone. Is this not a reasonable excuse for a sane being to observe, as to why France intervened in Mali to suppress the Tuareg insurgency? France claimed the same lie of pursuing terrorists in Mali and America turned a blind eye to it, for the sake of their NATO alliance. In the meanwhile, America is too busy expanding its military might in countries within Africa that Al-Qaida insurgents have not even bear arms in, like Angola and Cape Verde Islands and so on. Again, one can question how is Africa a direct threat to U.S hegemony in-spite of its feeble economic and technological capacity? To assist us in connecting the dots, let's stop here for a second consider the underlying factor behind China’s foreign policy.


Afro-China Relationship


China is caught up in what political economists have termed ‘growth-equilibrium’. China has been a bastion of communism since its establishment 1949. Despite its great leap towards global leadership, for instance, its admission to UNSC in 1971, Chinese people are exposed to western history and western culture. They are aware of events such as the French Revolution and the birth of democracy, they have witnessed events such as Cold War; hence have thoroughly studied distinct ideologies. After more than five decades of communism, Chinese people are under temptation to try western administration, of free elections, multi-party system, even freedom of speech and other pecks democracy has to offer. This inclination sets enormous pressure to the mono-party’s ruling aristocracy to continuously expand the economy (create employment) to increase Chinese people’s utility, as to avoid biting the tempting apple (Democracy). This perhaps helps explain China’s hunger for resources, particularly China’s thirst for the African oil, which fuels its development. As a result, China’s annual growth rate has persistently registered beyond 6% and even tripling the growth of United States at some periods. This rate of development prove China’s tendency to emulate the west and its epitome of superiority, technology. One would therefore, be evinced that, the rise of China is America’s biggest threat after scoping China's unprecedented growth. So how does America attempt to quell China’s growth that threatens its hegemony? America’s strategy is to contain China’s economic growth. To successfully do that, America has to maintain its presence at the very place that China’s economic lifeline lies, Africa that is. How does it go about this? Well America plays something close to a game of chest. The paper will exemplify this by looking at the case of the two Sudans. be continued....