Southern Sudan minister restores immunity for suspended SPLM DC MPs

Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, John Luk Jok (Photo by GoSS)
(The Net NSV) - The new southern Sudan minister of legal affairs and constitutional development, Mr. John Luk Jok, restored on Friday the immunity of the three suspended SPLM-DC members of the southern Sudan parliament.

Andrew Okony Ayom, Onyoti Adik Nyikec and Martha Angor Kur, the three SPLM DC parliamentarians, all hailing from Upper Nile, had their immunity lifted in May by the southern parliament after they were accused in connection with the killing of the paramount chief of Fangak County in Upper Nile. 

A lawmaker from the regional assembly points out that the reversal was a unilateral act on the part of minister Luk, saying he did not do it in consultation with President Kiir, who is currently receiving treatment in Kenya, after suffering “exhaustion.”

The minister said there’s no conclusive evidence against the MPs. 

“It proves the arbitrary way the SPLM is behaving, and the lack of respect to the laws, even its own laws and the constitution, and the lack of sensitivity to respecting the choice of the people,” SPLM DC chairman, Lam Akol, told New Sudan Vision on Monday, in an upcoming interview where he breaks his long silence on the elections.     

Do you think the minister was justified in restoring the immunity for the MPs?

New book: Sudan’s Torit Uprising ‘not an accident’


Arop Madut gestures in an address to Sudanese at the Dinka Cultural Centre of Edmonton, Alberta, 2008 (Photo by Mading Ngor/NSV)

(The Net NSV) - Arop Madut, author of Sudan’s Painful Road to Peace, has a new book coming up. 

The upcoming book is titled “The Genesis and Development of Political History of Southern Sudan (1943-1983). It’s written like a “textbook for our children,” Arop said.  

 “It’s going to be very good because there are certain things we are revealing,” he said. 

The book will feature an interview with Nyang Dhieu, one of the architects of the Torit Uprising, he said.

Arop said he “stumbled on [Nyang]” in 1976 when he went there to report for Al-Ahyam newspaper in Wau, where the two sat down for a tell-all interview.   

“He revealed that what was happening in Torit was not an accident, it was a planned uprising,” he said. 

Arop is currently looking for a copyeditor, before the book goes to publication.  

Is Sudan Tribune out to destroy the South?

logo_sudantribune_impressionSudan Tribune is a France-based news site that has gained in prominence since it was set up in 2003. It describes its main objectives as promoting plural information, democracy and a free debate on Sudan.

Those of us who have been monitoring the website from its early days would recall that it only opened up to southern writers after the CPA was signed in 2005.

Since 2005, the majority of the website’s coverage has been devoted to the south, where majority of its citizens are not only spread around the world, but also read and write English.

Here’s the issue though: the website features a comments box after every article, which serves as its pride as well as fodder for controversy.

To its credit, ST has been able to attract wide-ranging audiences from across southern Sudan to write unfiltered comments on its website.

The outcome of which, as this blogger has surveyed, is a proliferation of incendiary and divisive ethnic rhetoric.

In an ethnically polarized region like the south, it is a fair question to ask whether news websites purporting to be mainstream outlets should be accountable for what its readers post on those websites?

Is it not their responsibility to block vile comments about various ethnic groups of the region from their websites?

The Sudan Tribune didn’t respond to a request of an interview for this post.

In November, during the recording of the third edition of the Seventh Front panel, I asked Mr. Peter Wankomo, the editor of southsudannation.com—a popular commentary website on southern Sudan—which has published similar outrageous views in the past as the ST--where he drew the line between free speech and divisive rhetoric.

Mr. Wankomo responded that “I don’t censor anything.” He reasoned that he encourages “divergent views” since those who would read them on his SSN website are “intellectuals.”

Parek Maduot, a Seventh Front panelist and regular commentator on the New Sudan Vision website, disagreed with the approach.

“I think the idea of a free for all where anyone can come with any opinion, that is biased or is not based on any fact, and give it the same legitimacy as someone who is giving a coherent argument, is not conducive to building a nation,” he said.

Like Parek, I think there should be a limit on what is published on any serious news outlet. To do so is to adhere to journalistic ethics.

To the contrary, on Sudan Tribune’s comments box, the recurring theme among its shadowy writers goes something like this: the Dinka are “slaves” of the Nuer. The Nuer are “food-lovers and traitors.” The Equatorians are “cowards” etc.

It is time for Sudan Tribune to exorcise such kind of dangerous views on its website, unless its agenda is to destroy the south.

**Mading Ngor is a Sudanese Canadian freelance journalist. He's also the editor of the New Sudan Vision. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Why is Kiir running for southern Sudan presidency?


Salva Kiir Mayardit cuts the ribbon to open the newly renovated Cultural Centre in Juba, Southern Sudan, with the governor of Central Equatoria, Clement Wani Konga, looking on, May 22, 2008. (Photo: Kait Holt website)

He’s just responded to that question in-depth today, for those of us who don’t attend his rallies–you guessed right—I mean those of us in the diaspora.   

On Tuesday, President Kiir’s elections manifesto miraculously appeared on the official website of the Government of Southern Sudan.

There isn’t much in it that you don’t already know. However, a sneak peek at Kiir’s “to-do-list” reminds everybody of the magnitude of underdevelopment in Southern Sudan.

With that said-- since he’s a politician-- one wonders how he intends to deliver those noble objectives he’s promising southern voters? Most importantly, when?   

Mr. President can’t possibly be asking for a blank cheque --as has been the case in the last five years.

I have read the President’s manifesto (read more like a “wish list”) and I like it—but it lacks a strategy to implement his vision. He also needs to put some meat on some of the following policy priorities he’s identified:   

·         Freedom, Peace and Prosperity

·         Women and Youth empowerment

·         Right of self-determination for Southern Sudan

·         Justice, Equality and Progress

·         Better life for all

·         Political stability

·         Efficient delivery of services

·         Economic transformation

·         Welfare of war heroes, heroines and orphans

·         Better education, health and clean water

Finally, one would have loved to see Mr. Kiir focus on jobs, jobs and jobs in his blueprint!

Maybe that’s asking too much in a short time or it's too premature. Maybe.

For now, however, the elections are down to the wire and one hopes that our young semi-autonomous country will emerge stronger after the elections, and rise beyond ethnic schism.


*In Victoria, Canada

SPLM: Between the NCP and the National Consensus



Salva Kiir, the head of the Southern Sudan government, kicks a ball during the start of the Cecafa Under-17 Youth Cup soccer tournament in Juba. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

(Victoria BC) - The elections are less than two weeks away but the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement finds itself in a tight corner – between a rock and a hard place.

The SPLM has a choice to make: to stick with the National Congress Party, its peace partner, or toside with the parties that make up the National Consensus--the so-called Juba Alliance.

If SPLM stands by the NCP the elections would proceed as planned, and Mr. Omar Bashir will be a happy man. If it chooses to align itself with its National Consensus allies that are calling for a six-month delay in the elections—citing irregularities and unfair playing field—it would forfeit the little cooperation the NCP affords in implementing the remainder of the CPA.

So far the SPLM has been adamant that the elections happen on time, fearing that a further delay might affect the referendum date. Yet the Movement risks giving Bashir an unearned legitimacy as it’s almost certain that he will win the elections given the unfair advantage that his party enjoys.

The SPLM seems to be pursuing a “wait-and-see” approach, which is angering NCP, as the meeting of the Presidency on Tuesday disagreed over whether to go forward with the elections or not.

Mr. Bashir is already threatening that failure to hold the elections on time would be problematic for the referendum.

"If the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) refuses to hold elections then we will refuse to hold the referendum," Basir said at a campaign rally in Khartoum, according to Reuters.

At this point there are no good options –the SPLM would have to pick a side and live with the consequences –they are damned if they side with the NCP and damned if they don’t.