“Acholi-Madi incident exaggerated”, EES governor

JUBA, 18 October 2011 – The governor of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Hon Luis Lobong Lojore today explained that the incident between the Madi and Acholi ethnic groups was exaggerated by the media.

The governor made this assertion when he met President Kiir today to brief him on the recent accidents that took place in Mole of Magui County leading to the death of two people.


President Kiir meeting the EES Governor.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Hon Lojore said the accident resulted from a misunderstanding between some individuals from the two ethnic groups and reported that the situation has now contained by the government authorities. He accused media for reporting the incident with exaggerations.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

H.E Kiir briefed on the developments in parliament

JUBA, 18 October 2011 – The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was today briefed on the developments taking place in the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly and particularly about the debates which took place yesterday on Monday October 17th, 2011, on whether the Assembly committees should remain 18 or should be increased to 25 to accommodate new members.


President Kiir meets the Speaker and Government Chief Whip.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

This came during a meeting H.E Kiir held today on Tuesday October 18th 2011 with Hon Speaker James Wani Igga who was accompanied by the Government Chief Whip Hon. Atem Garang.

The speaker announced to the press after their meeting with the President that the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly democratically debated yesterday on the issue and resolved that the committees should remain 18. Hon. Speaker said the decision forced the Assembly to dissolve all the specialized committees and relieved the chairpersons to give chance for consultations and nominations for electing the new team composed of all the groups after that the chairpersons of the 18 will be named with their deputies.


Hon Igga addressing the press after the meeting.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

The speaker also told the press that during the meeting he briefed the President on his recent trip with some members of the Assembly to Uganda to represent the Republic of South Sudan in the 49th Ugandan National Day.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Consumer Price Inflation

JUBA, 18 October 2011 – Please, click here to download the September 2011 Consumer Price Inflation released by the National Bureau of Statistics, formerly the Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation (SSCCSE).

South Sudan ready to cooperate with East Timor

JUBA, 17 October 2011 – The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit today said the new Republic of South Sudan is ready to cooperate and collaborate with the Democratic Republic of East Timor in various economic fields to attract investors to support the development of the two newly independent states.

President Kiir made these remarks in a meeting he held today on Monday October 17th 2011 with the visiting Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of East Timor H.E Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao.


President Kiir shakes hands with the East Timorese Prime Minister.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

In a press statement shortly after the meeting, H.E Gusmao congratulated the people of South Sudan for attaining freedom in an independent state after a long and bitter struggle. H.E Gusmao said his meeting with President Kiir mainly focused on the challenges and similarities of the struggles of East Timor and the Republic of South Sudan.

“I came to Juba to establish good communication channels for economic, political and moral support between the two states”, he said. The Timorese prime minister called on the government of the new state to join hands with his country and join efforts in tackling the challenges of how to respond to the aspirations of the people of the two states.

In another event today, the President of the Republic also a delegation of Eastern Equatoria State (EES) leaders led by Hon Jerome Gama Surur. Shortly after the meeting Hon Surur told the press that they came to congratulate the President for leading South Sudanese peacefully to independence and to brief him on developmental achievements in the state.


President Kiir meeting the EES delegation.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Hon Surur said that in the framework of taking towns to the villages the state government has so far constructed eight historic headquarter buildings for the eight counties and twenty four headquarters for the payams. He further said EES government decided to make a strategic plan for the capital. He also reported that the government has set up a committee for peace and reconciliation. He announced that cattle wrestling practices has declined in the state as a result of the work of the committee.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

National parliament dissolves all committees

JUBA, 17 October 2011 – The South Sudan National Legislative Assembly (SSNLA) today dissolved all its specialized committees to facilitate their reconstitution.

This followed the deliberations on the draft of the Conduct of Business Regulations, 2011 in its second reading. Debate on the draft had been adjourned from last week to this week to allow the members of the August House to read the draft and prepare adequately for its debate. The draft was presented to the House by Hon. Kom Kom Geng, the chairperson of the Legislation and Legal Affairs Committee.

In the Sitting Number 21/2011, which was conducted at the SSNLA Main Hall, the members discussed and deliberated the issues related to the Conduct of Business Regulations, 2011 extensively.

Some of the members suggested that the House should increase its specialized committees from 18 to 25 to enhance the participation of the members. However, some opposed the suggestion citing meager resources and explained that more members can be added to the existing committees. The minister for Justice Hon John Luk Jok clarified that the SSNLA has the right to increase or reduce the number of its committees as per the provisions of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011, resources notwithstanding.

Some members had also suggested that the draft conduct of business regulations be translated into Arabic. Hon Jok explained that the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 clearly states that the official language of the Republic of South Sudan is English and the other national languages. He clarified that Arabic is not recognized as an official language in the constitution. He asserted that it would be unconstitutional to translate official documents of the House into an unrecognized language.

After long discussions and deliberations on the number of committees, the members were asked to vote accordingly. 61 members supported the suggestion to increase the number of committees while 123 members voted to maintain the number at 18 as 11 members abstained. Shortly after the voting, the Right Hon. Speaker Gen. James Wani Igga declared that all the specialized committees are dissolved and that the positions of chairpersons and deputy chairpersons are forthwith vacant. He announced that the positions will be filled competitively by the members of August House.

Today’s quorum was 201. The sitting was also attended by the ministers for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; deputy ministers for Housing and Physical Planning, and Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. The sitting was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker Gen. James Wani Igga.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

East Timor prime minister visits Juba

JUBA, 16 October 2011 – The Prime Minister of East Timor H.E Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao today led a delegation to Juba to consolidate formal diplomatic relations between the two nations which are the world’s newest nations in this millennium.

Speaking at the Juba International airport today upon arrival, H.E Gusmao said the purpose of their visit is to share experiences with the people and the government of the Republic of South Sudan. He said his country East Timor that is in found in South East Asia gained independence in 2002 after going through many years of struggle for nationhood. He stressed that both countries shares a lot in common and have resources to be invested to ensure better future for their people. “We share the same past, same difficulties and the same challenges that lie ahead of us”, he said.


H.E Gusmao addressing the media at the Juba International Airport.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

He said his country understands the challenges of this new sister country and would like to share these challenges together. “It’s time to sit together to help each other”, he said. He said what is most important today all around the world is for the respective governments to realize that they have a role to play in finding the best ways to develop their countries; best ways of improving the living conditions of their people.

He announced that in the next few days they will be holding discussions with various government authorities in regard to some of these common challenges. He said the challenges may be many but most pressing relate to peace building, challenges of building state institutions, challenges of the army and the veteran soldiers.


H.E Gusmao being welcomed to South Sudan by top government officers.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

The prime minister said much as his country that is celebrating its first anniversary next year as a young nation in the world, South Sudan is still a baby country that needs all of the care and support. He said these tasks and challenges are immense and calls for sharing of experiences. He said he is confident with the experiences from his country and experiences from other countries of the world that South Sudan can overcome all these challenges.

Reported by Matata Safi

Finance minister meets accounting officers, introduces budget control

JUBA, 16 October 2011 – Hon. Kosti Manibe Ngai, the minister for Finance and Economic Planning and Hon. Mary Jervase Yak, the deputy minister for Finance and Economic Planning together with the senior staff from the ministry last week met all the Undersecretaries and Accounting Officers of the central government spending agencies to discuss key reforms including immediate implementation of monthly cash limits for the agencies.

The 1st Undersecretary of Finance, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit explained that the reforms would allow the agencies to plan their expenditure better, as well as giving them more power over the implementation of their budgets. It also allows for increased transparency in the way that payments are made by the government.

Other reforms to be implemented from 1st November designed to improve the efficiency of the government include: payments being made directly to properly registered vendors rather than through the government agencies, more rigorous controls over the signing of government contracts, clearing of arrears, and improved accountability procedures for petty cash expenditure.

The minister opened the workshop by reminding the attendees that there will always be excessive demands on our resources, and that the nation must choose a level of spending that minimizes inflation and that ensures every South Sudan Pound is spent productively, efficiently and effectively for the benefit of South Sudan. He went on to describe how, in order to make the budget more effective, spending more efficient, and to allow savings, the ministry would begin implementing reforms to give the agencies more control and predictability in budget execution.

Reported by Abraham Diing Akoi

South Sudan urged to learn from experiences of other African countries

JUBA, 15 October 2011 – The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK-based research institute has urged the Republic of South Sudan to learn from the experiences of other African countries which have come out from serious conflict to thrive both socially and economically.

The call was made yesterday by Mr. Marcus Manuel, the ODI director in South Sudan while releasing the findings of a global research project conducted at Home and Away in Juba. Mr. Manuel said that South Sudan has the potential of a complete transformation like many other African countries with the same difficult conflict background which have witnessed tremendous progress in development in the past ten to twenty years.

He said the purpose of the presentation of the findings in Juba was to share with South Sudan the lessons gleaned from development progress in over 200 countries all round the world. He added that the presentation was also intended to inspire development players in South Sudan to ask themselves as to what has driven these remarkable development changes in these countries.


Mr. Manuel addressing the participants at the workshop.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

He said among the countries that may share the same challenges with South Sudan is Ethiopia. For instance, he explained that Ethiopia has excelled well in education despite it emerging from a conflict background just a few years down the road. He also mentioned Rwanda that has recorded tremendous progress in health despite the genocide of 1994. Mr. Manuel also mentioned Uganda which he said has managed to provide clean water to its rural population in spite of its challenges emanating from its past conflicts.

Mr. Manuel stressed that to realize progress in development calls for what he described as “drivers of development” which include smart leadership, smart policies, smart institutions and friends that can be able to set road-signs that guide people or countries towards development.

He asserted that realizing development progress is not a case of “cut and paste” from other countries that have seen progress being pasted in South Sudan. He said that there is need to customize the development lessons and apply them selectively in South Sudan. He explained that the workshop provided a platform for the stakeholders to develop a sense of reflection and opportunity to learn from the challenges of other countries and see how they managed to turn them around to development.

Mr. Manuel cautioned that the challenges may at times seem overwhelming but affirmed that this should not make people lose focus. He said that if other countries have managed or are managing then South Sudan can also make it.

Reported by Matata Safi

Council of ministers passes rules and procedures handbook

JUBA, 14 October 2011 - The National Government Council of ministers in its regular meeting held today on Friday October 14th, 2011 under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic of H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, has discussed a memo on the National Cabinet Rules and Procedures Handbook, presented by the minister for Cabinet Affairs Hon. Deng Alor.

According to the minister for Information and Broadcasting who is also the Official Government Spokesman Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the council commended the presentation, adopted and passed the rules and procedures handbook. Dr. Marial further elaborated that the handbook is aimed at directing the ministers on how they can carry out the cabinet issues.


A previous meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Dr. Marial added that the council endorsed the recommendations presented by the minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resources Development Hon. Awut Deng Acuil on the ministerial committee review of consolidated appointments to super scale from various ministries and independent commissions. He explained, the council directed the two ministries of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development and Higher Education, Science and Technology to continue to assess the authenticity of the certificates and degrees which have been presented for appointments.

In another event, the Norwegian Government has commended the efforts of the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit in reaching out to his people to bring them back into the country so that their energy is focused on building the new nation of the Republic of South Sudan.


President Kiir meeting the Norwegian delegation.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

This came in a statement made by the Norwegian Special Envoy to South Sudan Dr. Endre Stanisen, after his meeting today with the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Dr. Stanisen said Norway will always support H.E Kiir in finding solutions to the remaining issues between Juba and Khartoum. He disclosed that his meeting with the President concentrated on internal issues of the new state and how to continue in strengthening mutual relations between Norway and South Sudan.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

BOSS doubles forex allocation

JUBA, 14 October 2011 - The Bank of South Sudan (BOSS) has doubled its foreign exchange allocation to financial institutions in the Republic of South Sudan from the previous allocation of 100 million USD to 200 million USD per month in the wake of ever skyrocketing market prices.

Speaking to the press in his office today, the governor of the bank Mr. Kornelio Koriom Mayiik said the bank has been monitoring the market prices very closely. He reported that the general market trends indicate that the market rates are skyrocketing. He explained that this trend has created a gap between the official rate of the local currency, the South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) of 2.95 against the US dollar and the market value.

Mr. Koriom announced commercial banks will receive a weekly foreign exchange allocation of 4 million USD from the previous allocation of 2 million USD while the Foreign Exchange Bureaus will receive 400,000 USD from the previous allocation of 200,000 USD. He added that allocation for medical treatment, school fees and travels abroad will increase from 500,000 to 1 million USD.

He said by doubling the foreign exchange allocations to financial institutions in consultation with the key players like the ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, and Interior, the bank is confident that the current market trends will change favourably.

Mr. Koriom said a recent report from a survey carried out by the bank indicates that there are several factors that greatly contribute to the upward trend in the exchange market. He reported that the rising demand for the US dollars is one of the leading factors. He said there are a number of monetary and fiscal factors that are now being addressed by the bank and the other stakeholder to maintain normalcy in the market.


Mr Koriom addressing the media today.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

On the monetary side, he said because the new country depends on the outside world for services and goods, the demand for foreign exchange has been soaring hence the previous allocation that banks have been giving have become insufficient. He asserted that cases of speculation on the foreign exchange, structural imbalances in foreign exchange currency leakages across the region are among the factors contributing to this upward pressure on the SSP.

On the fiscal front, the governor cited multiple taxations on goods and services from the various entry points up to the final destinations, lax control on the movement of funds across the borders, and hoarding of goods and commodities by business people as some of the factors affecting the market.

Mr. Koriom said the Bank of South Sudan in the face of these developments is taking a bold move in putting these imbalances in the foreign exchange market to an end. He said various measures are being taken to contain the imbalances. For instance, he said that the Ministry of Interior has already issued warnings to “roadside money changers” and other financial institutions that are operating illegally in South Sudan. At the same time, he said, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is dealing with the fiscal bottlenecks.

The governor called on all commercial banks and Foreign Exchange Bureaus to adhere to all foreign exchange guideline and circulars issued by the bank and warned that the bank will from now onwards vigilantly monitor the forex market and will penalize any financial institution which is not playing by the rules.

Reported by Matata Safi

SPLM planning to reorganize

JUBA, 14 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit today in his office met Mr. Pagan Amum Okec, the SPLM Secretary General. Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Okec revealed that his meeting with President Kiir discussed the negotiation process between the Republic South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan under the auspices of AU/HIP. He added that the meeting also centred on the reorganization of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Party (SPLM) and the relations between the party and the key political parties in the region as well as internationally.


The SPLM Secretary General announced to the press that the SPLM will launch a reorganization agenda by November 2011. He explained that the process will be led by the President of the Republic and the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. He said the reorganization process is aimed at developing the party and making it capable of leading the building of the new nation.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Government launches aid strategy

JUBA, 13 October 2011—The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) yesterday officially launched the Aid Strategy of the Government of South Sudan at a workshop held at the Government Accountancy Training Centre, in the presence of other Government agencies and the international community.


Hon. Kosti Manibe Ngai, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of the Republic of South Sudan provided the opening remarks while Hon. Mary Jervase Yak, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning presented the Aid Strategy Principles and Benchmarks.


The Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Planning noted that the new Aid Strategy represented the collective vision of the government in managing development assistance for the next five years. He stressed the importance of ensuring that the government is in the driving seat.

The purpose of the Aid strategy is to provide a framework for the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and development partners to improve the effectiveness of development assistance and humanitarian aid delivery in South Sudan, by aligning funding to the government’s priorities. Aid Strategy is the principle on which development aid to South Sudan should be based, and it is the benchmark for the aid delivery which will measure the extent to which aid is aligned with the government priorities. The government aims for development partners to increasingly support government systems over the next five years.


Development assistance to South Sudan should be government-owned and led to ensure that aid promotes institutional development and is aligned with the government policies as set out in the South Sudan Development Plan and budget sector plans.


The workshop was attended by the diplomatic community and development partners who commended the government for the Aid Strategy, noting their agreement with the principles set out in the presentation. Most specifically the development partners agreed that ownership of aid programmes by the Government was essential.


Reported by Abraham Akoi

East Coast fever affecting animal production in South Sudan

JUBA, 13 October 2011 (NASS) – East Coast fever is one of the animal diseases currently prevalent and affecting animal production in the Republic of South Sudan, the minister for Animal Resources and Fisheries Hon Dr Martin Elia Lomuro has said.

Dr Lomuro said that the states which are most affected by the disease include Warrap, Jonglei and Lakes. He said that the pastoralists in the states are facing a lot of socio-economic challenges as a consequence of the disease. He announced that an emergency action will be taken to contain the disease in the states and to stem further losses to the people.

The minister also underscored the role played by vet clinics and vet doctors in enhancing animal production in any society. He appealed to all qualified South Sudanese vets to report to the ministry for deployment. He also decried the lack of relevant vet laboratories and research programmes in South Sudan.


Dr Lomuro stresses a point during the interview.

He announced that a plan of action for the animal and fisheries sector is currently being developed by the ministry and the stakeholders. He said that even though the ministry faces a lot of financial and human resource challenges, the government is committed to modernize and harness its fisheries and livestock potential. He also said that the ministry is working with the stakeholders to launch a bank devoted to provide customized services to the animal and fisheries sector.

The minister made these remarks yesterday when he gave an interview on South Sudan TV and Radio to explain the ministry’s priorities, policies and plans for the 100-days action plan programme.

Reported by Abdulrazig Juma, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)

“The government needs the church”, Dr.Marial

JUBA, 13 October 2011 - The minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin who is also the Official Government Spokesperson has asserted that the government needs the church in its efforts to build Africa’s youngest nation of South Sudan. He called on the church to continue the good work it has been doing in supporting development and peace in the country.

Dr Marial said that without the church, South Sudan would have not reached where it is today. “There is no doubt that the people of the Republic South Sudan have come a long way hand in hand with the leadership of the church”, said Dr Marial.

He said the government recognizes the tremendous contributions that the church made to strengthen the spiritual characters of the people of Sudan and South Sudan in the face of severe persecution during the many years of the liberation struggle and beyond. He said the fight by the church to liberate its people dated back to 1850s with the great spiritual leadership of the late Bishop Daniel Comboni whom, he said, sacrificed his life for the cause of liberating Africa in general, and South Sudan in particular. He quoted the late Bishop Comboni as saying “Africa or death” meaning that he would stay in Africa to pursue his mission of evangelism and liberation or accept death from whoever would want to stop him from doing so.


Dr Marial opening the symposium.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Dr Marial said the independence of South Sudan is part and parcel of this strong foundation with the Christian church playing a very important role. He lauded the role of the church in bringing together the diverse tribes of South Sudan in forging a way forward to realize a unified nation. He said the church needs to continue preaching the words of reconciliation, love and forgiveness to the nation. He said words of the Cardinals like Zubeir kept people strong in faith during the most difficult times of the struggle. He quoted the Cardinal as having said to his flock after preaching to them: “Keep strong in the faith” rather than saying “God bless you”.

The minister, who was speaking at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba today while opening a three-day symposium under the theme “One church from every tribe, tongue and people” organized by the Catholic Church, said it was faith that has brought South Sudan to independence. He commended the Catholic Church for organizing such an important symposium. He called on all religious leaders to stand with the government to propel this country through unity in faith and nationhood.

He said realizing the dreams of this country calls for all stakeholders, including religious leaders, to underscore the importance of South Sudan’s independences to the people such that every citizen gets to know his or her own role in building this nation we call “our own country”.

Reported by Matata Safi

Ministry of Gender launches socio-economic assessment

JUBA, 13 October 2011 (NASS) – The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare has launched a project to assess the socio-economic status of men and women in the Republic of South Sudan. The assessment will be conducted by the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET).

The assessment will be comprehensive and will cover five states with the highest poverty incidence. The states have been carefully selected in consultation with the Project Leader Ms Rita Aciro Lakor. The participating states include Central Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Jonglei.


The minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare Hon Agnes Lasuba (right) exchanges the contract documents with UWONET leader.

The assessment will focus on the key areas which are critical to gender mainstreaming such as health, education, agriculture, finance and economic empowerment, peace building and reconciliation as well as rehabilitation.

The project is funded jointly by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank under the Rapid Emergency Project.

Reported by Simon Matiop Akol, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)

President Kiir briefed of the situation in WBG

JUBA, 12 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit was today briefed on the political, security and economic situation in Western Bahr El-Ghazal state. This came in a meeting he held today on Wednesday October 12th, 2011 with the Governor of Western Bahr El-Ghazal State Brig. Gen. Rizig Zachariah.

Gen Zachariah through a press statement after the meeting said that the security situation in the state is so far calm in the wake of the recently destructive demonstrations orchestrated by destructive elements among the students. He also disclosed that the groups which were apprehended were investigated thoroughly and revealed numerous secrets.

On the economic conditions of the state Gen Zachariah said he is very pleased with the normalization of prices and the improving market conditions in the state.


President Kiir (right) meeting Gen Zachariah.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

In another new development, the minister in the Office of the President Hon. Emmanuel Lowilla today in his office met a delegation from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), South Sudan office in Juba led by Mr. George Conway.

The delegation briefed Hon Lowilla on the activities being carried out by the UNDP all over the country and its new programmes for supporting the Office of the President.

Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Conway told the press that the UNDP has two programmes of support to the Office of the President. He explained that the first programme is to help the Office of the President to get core systems and procedures in place while the second is to help in supporting the policy of dialogue on decentralization through the Governors’ Forum. Mr. Conway revealed that the delegation also updated the minister on the new package of the UNDP programs for the President’s office for the next two to three years.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Catholic Church’s independence celebrations planned

JUBA, 12 October 2011 - A three-day symposium under the theme “One church from every tribe, tongue and people” organized by the Catholic Church will start tomorrow in Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba.

This was announced today by Bishop Erkolano Tombe of Yei Diocese in Juba. Bishop Tombe said the symposium is organized as part of the Catholic Church’s celebrations of the independence of South Sudan.

Bishop Tombe said the objective of this symposium is to remind the participants of the role of the Catholic Church in South Sudan and in the Sudan. He further said it intends to remind participants of the prophetic role played by the Catholic Church before and after the independence of Sudan and until the recent independence of South Sudan. He added that it is also intended to identify the challenges the church has faced and continues to face. More still, he said, the symposium expects to outline the role of the church in evangelization, service delivery, reconciliation, justice, peace building and further to draw a roadmap for a better South Sudan and the Sudan.


Bishop Tombe announcing the symposium to the press.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Bishop Tombe explained that the church is a universal church and that the political divisions cannot divide the church particularly with the Christian brothers in the North Sudan.

He explained that this symposium will be the first of its kind in the history of the Republic of South Sudan to be organized by the Catholic Church and that it will draw participants from different Catholic Dioceses in South Sudan and the Sudan, sister churches, the government of South Sudan, NGOs, university lecturers and students, and the public in general.

He said key organizers behind the symposium are the Bishop Erkolano Tombe of Yei and Auxiliary Bishop Santo Loku Poi of Juba, the local clergy, Comboni missionaries, Solidarity with South Sudan, Catholic Radio Service (CRS), and lay people.

The Yei Bishop asserted that the three-day symposium will be concluded by a thanksgiving mass at the St. Therasa’s Catholic Cathedral in Kator on 16th October 2011.

Reported by Matata Safi

Parliamentary committee tables Public Financial Management Bill

JUBA, 12 October 2011 - The South Sudan National Legislative Assembly (SSNLA) in it sitting number 20/2011 which was held at its main hall today listened to the presentation of a report of the Committee of Economy, Development and Finance on the Public Financial Management and Accountability Bill, 2011 in its second reading.

The report of the 17 member committee was presented by Hon. Henry Omai Akolawin who is its deputy chairperson. The committee came up with 36 recommendations to ensure that the necessary corrections and amendments are made by the August House.

After long deliberation and discussions the members agreed that the concerned Ministries of Commerce, Industry and Investment; the undersecretaries of concerned ministries such as Finance and Economic Planning; Commerce, Industry and Investment; as well as the Auditor General should attend the sitting reviewing the bill.

The members also suggested that the SSNLA should take the role of approving donor funds and overseeing all funds given to the Republic of South Sudan because they are results of the contributions of the taxpayers. They also agreed that the members of August House should be given more time to read the bill or report so that they can contribute effectively in the sitting.

They also stressed that the projects should have strict timeframes and how the payment is done. They pointed out that the bill cannot be adopted unless the Conduct of Business Regulations, 2011 is passed by the SSNLA. The regulations will be tabled for the third reading next week.

The sitting was chaired by the Acting Speaker of SSNLA Hon. Denial Awet Akot. The quorum was 154. The sitting was adjourned for next week to allow the honorable members more time to read the document and allow the concerned ministries as well as other institutions to attend the sitting.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

H.E Kiir commends Japanese support

JUBA, 11 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has commended the appreciable role being played by the Japanese government in supporting developmental activities in the new state of South Sudan. Japan is one of the countries worldwide supporting the people of South Sudan since the struggle.


President Kiir shakes hands with the Japanese deputy minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Yamane.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

President Kiir made the remarks today during a meeting he held with a Japanese delegation comprising of government representatives and a group of investors visiting Juba led by the Japanese deputy minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Ryuji Yamane.

President Kiir once again consoled the Japanese people over the earthquake and tsunami disasters which hit Japan early this year and caused the loss of many lives. He welcomed the Japanese investors to help the new state in building its systems in the infrastructure, health, education and food security sectors. H.E Kiir assured the Japanese delegation that the security of all the foreigners in South Sudan is safe on the shoulders of the government.


President Kiir in a general photo with the Japanese delegation.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

On his part, Hon. Ryuji Yamane said the purpose of his visit to Juba was to strengthen the economic and bilateral relationship between Japan and South Sudan.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Education deputy minister urges students to desist from violence

RUMBEK, 11 October 2011 - The students of Rumbek Senior Secondary School have been urged to desist from violence but instead embrace dialogue in addressing issues of contention.

This call was made the Deputy Minister for General Education and Instruction Hon Rebecca Joshua Okwaci in Rumbek, Lakes State capital on Friday the 7th of October while addressing the students of the school who had striked last week while demanding action on some issues they said were affecting their studies.

Hon Okwaci who headed the investigation committee from Juba urged the students to look back at the many years of war and its consequences before resorting to violence. “We have had enough wars, whatever challenges we see now call for everybody’s active engagement to transform South Sudan to be the country we would happily call our country. Violence does not solve disputes but dialogue does”, she said.


Hon Okwaci assessing the damage.

The strike, according the Hon Okwaci, has destroyed items worth 900,000 South Sudanese Pounds. She said the items include electronic gadgets like computers, books and buildings. She said there was no death cases registered though some people were reported to have got minor injuries.

Hon Okwaci said based on what they saw there are a number of issues touching on feeding and administration that need to be addressed. She asserted that the government is working hard to address the issues raised.

She reported that the students apologized for their actions and agreed to work together to maintain security at the school. She called on the students and the general public to maintain security in the State and indeed that of the whole Republic of South Sudan.


Hon Okwaci (left) in consultation with Eng. Tong (right), the governor of Lakes State.

She said the committee has received the full report on this incident and promised that when they get back to Juba, appropriate consultations will be made with the key stakeholders to arrive at a lasting solution to the crosscutting issues that resulted to the students’ strike.

Hon Okwaci said once in Juba the committee will have a meeting with the President of the Republic H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit to brief him of their findings as they did inform his office on the day of the strikes. She added that they are keen to see that the school reopens so that the finalists may continue studying and sit for the exams and even if the other classes remain closed for the time being. She added that once the consultations are done then a date of opening the school will be announced.

Hon Okwaci commended the quick and swift action taken by the state authorities in putting the situation under control when it arose. She added that without the prompt action, more damage would have been witnessed.


The members of the investigation committee.

The Lakes State Governor Eng. Chol Tong Mayay called for calm and promised a solution will be arrived at to address the issues of contention. He also promised the students and the parents that the school will be opened in due course. He said his government and the national government are working to address educational constraints. He called on all students countrywide to understand the fact that the government of the Republic of South Sudan is only three months old and is working to address the challenges facing the education sector and appealed for patience.

The investigation committee was formed in Juba soon after the news spread that the students of Rumbek Senior Secondary School were on strike. The committee was mandated to ensure that the situation was brought under control, investigate the cause of the strike and assess the degree of damage caused and to work out the way forward.

Reported by Gisma Shaban

Taxation Act sails through third reading

JUBA, 11 October 2011 – The South Sudan National Legislative Assembly (SSNLA) in its sitting number 19/2011 at held the main hall today Tuesday 11 October 2011, received the presentation of joint report of the two committees of Development, Economy and Finance; and Legislation and Legal Affairs on the Taxation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2011 for deliberation and discussion in its Third Reading.

The report was presented by Hon. Dengtiel A. Kuur, the chairperson of Legislation and Legal Affairs Committee. After deliberations and discussions the members of the August House, most of the members agreed that the bill should be passed with some observations and amendments to the fourth and final reading.

The sitting was chaired by Acting Speaker of South Sudan National Assembly Hon. Daniel Awet Akot. The quorum was 202. The bill was summarized into a two-page document. It was agreed that small size businesses are those whose revenue ranges from 0-1,000,000 SSP per year; medium size are those whose revenue ranges from 1,000,000 to 75,000,000 SSP per year; while large businesses are those whose turnover is over 75,000,000 SSP per year.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

President Kiir briefed on peace efforts in Jonglei

JUBA, 10 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was briefed on the results of the meetings held so far for the peace process between the Lou Nuer and the Murle, which took place on 7th and 8th October 2011in Jonglei state.

The briefing was delivered during a meeting he held today with Bishop Daniel Deng Bol, the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, who is also the chairman of the peace negotiations between the Lou Nuer and Murle in Jonglei state.


H.E Kiir meeting with Archbishop Bol.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Bishop Bol assured the press after the meeting that the two ethnic groups have agreed to have peace and stability among themselves. He also said that peace conference came out with good resolutions and recommendations for peace in the areas of the two ethnic groups.

Bishop Bol said the church, National Legislative Assembly and the entire government have joined hands in bringing peace and stability in Jonglei state and in all other areas with tribal conflicts in the country. Bishol Bol also said preparations for a final peace conference between the Lou Nuer and Murle is going on and that the conference will be held in due course.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Presidents Kiir and El-Bashir hold joint press conference

KHARTOUM, 10 October 2011 - The two Presidents H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit and H.E Omer El-Bashir after their closed-door meeting at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum on Saturday held a joint press conference at the Khartoum International Airport yesterday on Sunday October 9th, 2011.

President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit in the press conference announced that the Republic of South Sudan is committed to a friendly relationship and will work to build mutual understanding and dialogue with the Republic of Sudan. President Kiir explained that his government is ready to discuss and reach a final solution with Khartoum on all outstanding issues on the economy, security, boarders and Abyei status.


Presidents Kiir and Bashir addressing the joint press conference.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

President Kiir said his seriousness in these issues is demonstrated through the high-level delegation he led to Khartoum to discuss the issues between Juba and Khartoum in a brotherly manner. President Kiir explained that some elements in both sides would like to take the two states backwards (war) but he asserted that none of the outstanding issues will take the two states back to war since he and President El-Bashir are committed to peace and stability for the two neighboring states.

On his part, President El-Bashir expressed his sincere gratitude to President Kiir for visiting Khartoum for the first time with such a high-level delegation to cooperate with him in resolving all the remaining issues. President Bashir said a fruitful meeting at the ministerial level was held and they discussed all the issues in the spirit of the agreement and determination of overcoming them to begin a new economic, political and social relationship between the two states.



President Kiir and his counterpart El- Bashir sitting at the airport.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

President El-Bashir declared that some committees were setup and a limited time is given to them to reach a final solution to the outstanding issues, and he said the two sides will soon celebrate the signing of a final agreement on security, military, political, economic and social issues.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

President Kiir leads high-level delegation to Khartoum

KHARTOUM, 10 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the accompanying delegation arrived safely in Khartoum on Saturday at 12:05 noon in a first visit of its kind after the independence of the Republic of South Sudan.

Upon his arrival at the Khartoum International Airport, President Kiir was warmly received by his counterpart, the President of the Republic of Sudan H.E Field Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir in the presence of Government of Sudan ministers and diplomatic corps in Khartoum. President Kiir was for the first time saluted by the Sudan Armed Forces National Band as a head of state by singing the national anthem of the Republic of South Sudan.


H.E El-Bashir welcoming H.E Kiir at the Kahrtoum International Airport.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

President Kiir is heading a high-level delegation of ministers to Khartoum to resolve the remaining issues of the CPA and post-referendum arrangements to create a suitable atmosphere for achieving peaceful relationship between the two states based on mutual interests.

The national ministers accompanying H.E Kiir engaged their counterparts in discussing the issues mentioned above at the El-Sadaka Friendship Hall in Khartoum. The results of their discussions were presented to the two heads of state the same evening.


H.E Kiir is being welcomed by the SS National Anthem.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

The heads of state H.E Kiir and H.E El-Bashir after the discussions of the ministerial committees of the two sides held a closed door bilateral meeting on Saturday evening at Friendship Hall in Khartoum to provide direction on how to resolve the remaining issues between Khartoum and Juba. The meeting came out with a strong determination of revisiting all the outstanding issues.

“Let us join hands to protect our borders for the exchange of the benefits between the two states; and we are ready to put pillars for realizing this in the same spirit of CPA which was negotiated in Naivasha”, President El-Bashir said.


H.E Kiir inspecting military parade after the arrival.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]


On his part President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit said his visit to Khartoum symbolized goodwill of coming together for resolving the remaining issues to as to generate mutual benefits for the people of the two states. He reiterated that South Sudan has been committed to peace since 2005 and urged the two states to continue being together peacefully in the spirit of the CPA.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth from Khartoum

Vast investment opportunities beckon in South Sudan

JUBA, 10 October 2011 - Vast investment opportunities beckon potential investors in the world’s newest Republic of South Sudan, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Ms Elizabeth Majak Manoah has announced.

Speaking during the opening of a three-day trade fair at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba on Friday, Ms Manoah who represented her minister Hon. Garang Diing Akuang who is on official duty to Khartoum said South Sudan provides great potential investment opportunities in all areas of the economy. She mentioned areas like education, health, infrastructure, electricity, ICT, and agro business like fishing, poultry and cash crop farming as some of the areas.

“There are lots of investment opportunities in South Sudan. Whatever you do as a business person in South Sudan being small or big, it will get market and you will reap profits”, she said.


Ms Manoah addressing the participants at the trade fair.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

The undersecretary said that South Sudan as a new nation depends on imports. She said depending on imports is costly, denies the local people job opportunities and also takes away resources. She said the government is committed to attracting private investment in South Sudan. She said the country has all the resources and the potential to produce essential commodities and services rather than going across the borders for the same.

Ms Manoah said another potential area for investment in South Sudan is mining. She explained that apart from oil which constitutes 98 percent of the total revenue for the new nation, the government wants to diversify the economy. She said the country is blessed with lots of minerals that include gold, which is proven to be in Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria, copper, iron, limestone and cement are available in the country.

She added that there are about seven government factories in the country that are currently non functional due to the consequences of the long civil war and. She explained that the government would like to privatize them. She said these factories include sugar factories, oil seed factories, and fruit factories that were run by the then government of the Sudan.

She said another potential area of investment is the building of the new capital of the country at Ramciel. She said it is now public information that the government is moving the capital to Ramciel from the current capital in Juba. She said building a new city presents a lot of investment opportunities ranging from housing, health, transport, and power generation to mention but a few. She said that the master plan is already drawn and will be out soon.


Ms Manoah cutting the tape to officially open the trade fair.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Ms Manoah explained that the central location of the Republic of South Sudan in the continent of Africa enables it to provide ready market for investors who would wish to invest in the country. She said South Sudan is bordered by six countries that include Ethiopia, Kenya in the East, Uganda in the South, DRC and the Central African Republic in the West and Northern Sudan in the North.

She also said South Sudan has vast land compared to the official population of eight million people. She said the population may be around ten million people but even then the country’s area of about 619,745 square kilometers is still big enough. She said of this area 70 percent is conducive for agriculture.

The undersecretary explained that as the government moves to attract investors, it is planning to carry out big investment conferences in Washington, Europe, Middle East, Far East, and in Africa. She called on investors not to be scared by land issues and other prerequisites for investment. She said that the issue of land that has been making headlines in Juba has been reviewed.

She also said there are institutions such as the South Sudan Investment Authority, South Sudan Business Forum as well as legal frameworks such as the Land Act, the Taxation Act which facilitate the investment operations. She also said there are other bills such as the Import and Export licenses, Consumer Protection, and South Sudan Bureau of Standards which are already in Parliament and will soon be passed in to law.

Reported by Matata Safi

H.E Kiir meets Dr Lam Akol for the second time

JUBA, 7 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit today Friday October 7, 2011 met Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, the leader of SPLM/DC, for the second time. Today’s meeting followed the agreements and commitments made last week in their first meeting held in Nairobi Serena Hotel in Kenya. It also explored the way forward as Dr. Akol and his party is committed to cooperate with the President of the Republic in starting the journey of building the new nation of South Sudan.

In his statement to the press after the meeting, Dr. Akol said he was very pleased for being welcomed for the second time by the President. He disclosed that the President of the Republic informed him that he has instructed various organs of the government to open the way forward for the cooperation with him and based on that, he said, he is ready to spend all the efforts in delivering services expected by the people. Dr. Akol also sent a message to all the South Sudanese political parties to come together and rally behind the President and join hands in building the Republic of South Sudan.


President Kiir meeting Dr Akol (left).
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

In another event today, the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit received the audit report for the years 2005 and 2006. The reports were handed to the President during a meeting he held today in his office with the Republic of South Sudan Auditor General Amb. Stephen Wondu. President Kiir commended the work done by the Auditor General and advised him to be brave, firm and go ahead in discharging his duties with the full support from the government.


President Kiir receiving the reports from Amb. Wondu (left).
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Shortly after the meeting the Auditor General told the press that he will soon present the audit reports for the years 2005 and 2006 to the National Legislative Assembly and after that it will be disseminated extensively countrywide through diverse media channels including the press and the international community. Amb. Wondu reported that he also briefed the President on the progress he has made so far in building a strong institution for the South Sudan Audit Chamber.


Reported by Thomas Kenneth

India committed to support South Sudan

JUBA, 7 October 2011 (NASS) – The people of the Republic of India have re-affirmed their commitment to support the new Republic of South Sudan in human capacity building. This assurance was made in a meeting yesterday between Hon. Awut Deng Acuil the minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development and the Indian Ambassador Mr. Deepak Vihra.


Ambassador Vihra asserted that the Indian government including the private sector are fully committed to support the new nation in terms of development in various fields.


On her part, Hon Awut lauded the support of the Indian government to assist the new Republic of South Sudan. She added that building human capacity remains paramount objective of the ministry.


Reported by Alnour Ango, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)

PSI South Sudan donates six cars and computers

JUBA, 7 October 2011 – The Population Service International (PSI) this week donated six brand new landcruiser vehicles, office furniture and desktop coputers for South Sudan’s state ministries of health.

The donation was delivered to the national minister for Health, Hon Dr Michael Milli Hussein on Wednesday. Soon after the handing over of the vehicles Dr Hussein appreciated the effort of the PSI in supporting South Sudan in combating malaria which, he said, claims so many lives in the country.

Dr Hussein said that these donations will be distributed to the ten states of South Sudan to be used by malaria control units. He ordered the immediate delivery of the cars to the states.

Meanwhile, Ms Cherie Carter, the Global Fund Program Manager for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria representing the PSI in South Sudan reiterated her organization’s support to South Sudan in the combat of malaria. She expressed hope that the vehicles will help states ministries of health to respond effectively to emergency cases of malaria.

Reported by Lindri Godfrey Alex

Relocation of returnees from Khartoum to end in December

JUBA, 7 October 2011 - The ongoing relocation exercise to bring back South Sudanese living in the northern part of the then Republic of the Sudan will end by December this year, the minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Hon Joseph Lual Acuil has announced.

Addressing the weekly media forum on Wednesday at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting headquarters in Juba, the minister said that between 400,000 to 700,000 Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) who need to repatriated are still in Khartoum. He said of this number 11,000 are in Kosti and another 32,500 are in Renk on transit.


Hon Lual addressing the media.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Hon Lual said the majority of these people come from the Greater Equatoria and parst of Warrap states. “My goal as the minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management is to see that by December all the returnees still living in North Sudan are brought back home so that we can celebrate 1st of January 2012 with them”, he said. The minister said the repatriation is voluntary and whoever will remain behind will do so on his or her volition. He warned those who choose to stay behind that the government will thereafter not be responsible for their transportation back home.

The minister asserted that due to the uncertain political climate that surrounded the referendum, some South Sudanese were brought down by bus from Khartoum to Renk under the arrangement of the then Government of Southern Sudan to be accommodated temporarily and later to take them to their respective villages. He said the returnees will be brought by road, water barges or by trains to Northern Bahr el Ghazal and down to Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazel states.

He said there had been a number of challenges including insecurity in some routes but these have been managed. He further called on all Southerners, including the returnees, to bear with the situation here in the South. “You may not get what you expect to get once back home, but know your government is working hard in addressing these issues”, said the minister.

Reported by Matata Safi

Information minister meets Kenyan delegation

JUBA, 7 October 2011 (NASS) – The minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin yesterday met a Kenyan delegation led by the country’s ambassador to South Mr. Elijah Mativo.

The delegation included the Kenyan minister for Public Service Hon Dalmas Otieno who expressed the readiness of the country to support the Republic of South Sudan in the areas of labour and human resources development.

Mr Mativo asked the Republic of South Sudan to concretize its priorities in the areas of health, education, agriculture and any other fields facilitate the relevant support from the Government of Kenya.

On his part, Dr Marial stressed that his ministry will need training of staff and technicians of the South Sudan Television and South Sudan Radio. The Kenyan delegation reaffirmed that the Government of Kenyan will support the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and its people in any field of their choice.

The meeting was also attended by the minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resources Development Hon Awut Deng Acuil.

Reported by Tughrid George (NASS) and translated by Clement Aturjong Kuot

President Kiir meets Chief Whip, CE Governor

JUBA, 6 October 2011 - The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit today reiterated that the new Government of the Republic of South Sudan is working to stabilize the security situation in the country so as to create a conducive environment for the delivery of good services to the people.


President meeting the Chief Whip.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

H.E Kiir said this during his meeting with the Government Chief Whip in the National Legislative Assembly Hon Atem Garang at the Presidential Guest House in Juba. Hon Garang disclosed to the media after his meeting with the President that, H.E Kiir said he is visiting Khartoum to strengthen peaceful relations with the Republic of Sudan so that the two states can benefit from each other.

He said his meeting with the President focused on issues connected to the functions of the chief whip and how to promote activities of the parliamentarians in the parliament and in their respective constituencies.


President Kiir meeting Maj. Gen. Kongaa.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

The President of the Republic also met the Governor of Central Equatoria State Maj. Gen. Clement Wani Kongaa today to discuss the issues of the borders between Kajokeji and Moyo district of Northern Uganda.

In a press statement after the meeting Maj. Gen. Kongaa called on the government to again discuss the issues of border between Moyo and Kajokeji with the President of Uganda H.E Yoweri Museveni. He also suggested a committee to demarcate the border between Moyo and Kajokeji be set up.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Newly appointed supreme judges sworn-in

JUBA, 6 October 2011 – The four Judges of the South Sudan Supreme Court appointed recently by the Presidential Decree No. 38/2011 were sworn-in today before the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. The judges are Justices Mohammed Ismael Saed, Benjamin Baak Deng, John Gatwec Lul and Bullen Panchol Awan.

After the swearing-in ceremony, the President of the Republic congratulated the newly appointed judges for the new assignment given to them and urged them to join hands with the Republic of South Sudan’s Chief Justice in doubling efforts for resolving the many pending criminal cases. President Kiir also directed the South Sudan Judiciary to work hard and proliferate the law in every corner of the country, and prove to the world that South Sudan is able to govern itself by the law.


The newly appointed judges swearing in before the President.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

On his part the South Sudan Chief Justice Chan Reec said the appointment of the four judges is a good addition to the Supreme Court and assured the public that the pending cases will soon be resolved.

Justice Benjamin Baak Deng, on behalf of his colleagues, said that they are going to be a real support to the Executive and Legislature in executing the law on the ground.The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Presidential Guest House Conference Hal in Juba.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Global climatic changes threatening South Sudan’s food security

JUBA, 6 October 2011 - The minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Hon Joseph Lual Acuil has said that a food security crisis caused by the global climatic changes is looming in South Sudan and warned that a positive intervention is urgently needed to stop it from deteriorating into a famine situation similar to that in the Horn of Africa.

The minister sounded this warning yesterday during the weekly media briefing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting chaired by the minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin who is also the Official Spokesperson of the government of the Republic of South Sudan.

Hon Lual was quick to clarify that this situation does not mean that there is a crisis of famine in the country. He said the climatic changes have affected South Sudan in both floods and droughts. He said rainfall that was supposed to have started early this year was delayed. He also said this change in rainfall patterns has led to repeated planting for instance in Central Equatorial which he said was tedious for farmers and costly in labor and seeds. The minister said in other parts of the country planting was started in April and with the dry spell in June the production could not be relied on. He said this scenario has caused food shortage.

The minister said the current heavy rainfall that started in September is most likely to continue up to December this year as per the report of the IGAD Centre for Climate Information. He said this will most likely affect crops and subsequently result into floods as has been witnessed in Torit in Eastern Equatoria State where recent floods washed away crops and homes.

Hon Lual explained that a survey carried out in September by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry indicates that there is a food gap of 300,000 to 400,000 metric tons to keep the country up to February 2012 when the next rainy season is expected. He said currently about 1.3 million people are vulnerable. The minister said this group includes the IDPs, returnees as well as the farmers who lost their crops to the dry spell or floods. He said this may increase or decrease. He also reported that another assessment is on that is expected to publish its results mid this month. He explained that it is this second study which will show the exact food deficit in the country.


Hon Lual (left) addressing the media as Hon Marial (centre) and the deputy minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Atem Yaak Atem (right) look on.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

The minister further said the states most affected are Jonglei, which he said is completely under water; Unity state; Upper Nile; Warrap; Northern Bahr el Ghazal; parts of Western Equatoria; and parts of Eastern Equatoria. The minister said that in Upper Nile the situation is critical due to the high presence of the IDPs and returnees.

Hon Lual said that his ministry, and indeed the government, is working on a roadmap to address to this looming crisis. He said the President of the Republic H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit has already donated some money through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to mitigate the situation in Warrap State and that some food has already been distributed there. He said humanitarian organizations like World Food Program (WFP), ICRC, and SSRRC and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs have already been to Kwajok and reported that the situation is now being managed.

He further said there is food in store and that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program are looking for a plane to airlift it to Uron in Jonglei State which has witnessed inter-clan clashes early last month in which food and animals were raided.

The minister said he will lead a delegation together with the head of UNDP, Liz Grande, to New York in the first week of December to appeal to donors for support. He said once the report is out, they will present it to the donors. He asserted that if the international community is able to donate just a part of what is required then the government and the local community will have to meet the balance.

He said there are also plans to preposition food stores in 110 locations across the country in areas expected to experience food shortages. This would, he said, would ensure that if a crisis occurs, then food is available within reach as opposed to the current situation where food supply is limited due to limitations of transportation systems.

He further called on all South Sudanese to exercise patience towards this situation and said the government is working hard to address it. He called on leaders to take up the lead in agriculture to show the rest of the population how to be self-reliant.

Reported by Matata Safi

South Sudan becomes ITU’s 193rd Member State

GENEVA, 5 October 2011 – The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is proud to announce that the world’s newest country, South Sudan, has joined ITU to become the Union's 193rd Member State, effective from 3 October 2011.

The country, which gained its independence on 9 July, 2011 has already been allocated the international dialling code +211 by ITU, following the country’s recognition by the UN General Assembly. The dialling code became active on 28 September.

"We are delighted to be able to welcome South Sudan as an ITU member state so soon after attaining full nationhood. The government of South Sudan clearly recognizes the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) as an engine of social and economic development. We will work alongside the national authorities to leverage the power of technology, to help lift the country to new levels and fulfil the national motto of ‘Justice, Liberty, Prosperity’,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré.

The accession of South Sudan as an ITU Member State implies its adhesion to the Radio Regulations, the international treaty which governs the use of radio communications among the world’s nations, giving it full access rights to the frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources managed by the ITU.

A high-level ITU delegation led by Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, recently met with government ministers in South Sudan with the aim of acquiring first-hand information on the country’s needs and challenges in the area of ICT development. The first such visit by the ITU, the mission paves the way for the delivery of focused assistance to the country as it embarks on its development path.

140 South Sudanese female inmates in Khartoum handed to RSS

JUBA, 6 October 2011 - A total of one hundred and forty Southern Sudanese women who have been charged under the Islamic sharia laws on different counts including brewing of local alcohol, stealing, and murder, among others in north Sudan have been handed over to the government of the Republic of South Sudan.

This was revealed to the media yesterday by the minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Honorable Joseph Lual Achuil in the weekly media briefing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting headquarters.

Hon Lual said that on a recent visit to Khartoum, he was commissioned by the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit to take a letter to the President of the Republic of Sudan H.E Hassan Omar El Bashir regarding the fate of South Sudanese in northern jails.


Hon Lual (left) addressing the media as Hon Marial (right) watches on.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

He said the response was very positive leading to the release of the 140 women whose crimes mostly were brewing local alcohol and other minor crimes.

The minister, who did not mention the exact number of Southerners in northern jails, said some of the inmates with serious crime like murder, stealing will be transferred to the prisons in South Sudan to complete their sentences.

He said that of the 140 women, 47 will come to Juba next week and the rest at a later date as they had asked to rejoin their family members who are still in Khartoum before coming to South Sudan. The minister said that among those released is a lady who was sentenced to jail after she had killed a man who had attempted to rape her while holding a knife. He said she had served six years in jail and he was grateful to the authorities in the North for her release saying the lady had no intention to kill but did so in self defense.

Reported by Matata Safi

“Use the media wisely”, advises information minister

JUBA, 6 October 2011 (NASS) – The minister for Information and Broadcasting, who is also the Official Government Spokesman, Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin yesterday advised political parties to use the media wisely for the benefit of the nation.

Dr Marial made this appeal yesterday in his office when he met leaders of the opposition party, the SPLM-DC, led by the Official Opposition Leader in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly Hon Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec.

The minister reiterated the non-partisan position of the government in as far as the media is concerned. He asserted that the government has no problem with the opposition parties since they play a pivotal role in the democratization process in the country. He also underscored the government’s commitment to work effectively with the opposition for the benefit of the country.


Hon Marial (right) and Hon Atem (left) poses for a photo with the SPLM-DC delegation led by Hon Onyoti (centre).

On his part, the deputy minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Atem Yaak Atem, himself a renowned journalist, said that as opposed to most African countries where the opposition is viewed with suspicion, the government of the Republic of South Sudan is committed to work with the opposition to serve and meet the aspirations of the South Sudanese.

Hon Onyoti underscored the role of information in this age and suggested that it should be given first priority, even ahead of security. He pledged that his party will support the creation and dissemination of credible information through the mass media and other channels to ensure that all the publics of South Sudan are adequately informed.

“I know we are a minority party but we are part and parcel of this government; if anything goes wrong, we will all share the blame”, he said.

Reported by Martin Jada Gabriel and Taghrid George, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)