Presidential Decrees - Restructuring the Government

  1. President Kiir Decreed Relief of Care Taker Ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan – By Presidential Decree No. 60/2010
  2. Also President Kiir Decreed Relief of All Presidential Advisors in Presidential Decree No. 59/2010
  3. President Kiir Decrees Restructuring of the New Government of Southern Sudan in Presidential Decree No. 62/2010:
     

The President of the Government of southern Sudan Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has today decreed the restructuring of the New Government of southern Sudan, with effect fro 21st June 2010 as follows:

 

1 Office of the President:

  1. President of the Government of southern Sudan
  2. Vice President of the Government of southern Sudan
  3. Minister in the Office of the President.

 

2 Ministries:

  1. Ministry of Cabinet Affairs
  2. Ministry of SPLA and Veteran Affairs
  3. Ministry of Peace Building and CPA Implementation Affairs
  4. Ministry of Regional Cooperation
  5. Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development
  6. Ministry of Internal Affairs
  7. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
  8. Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
  9. Ministry of Investment
  10. Ministry of Labour and public service
  11. Ministry of information
  12. Ministry of Inergy and Mining
  13. Ministry of Education
  14. Ministry of Health
  15. Ministry of High Education Science and Technology
  16. Ministry of Roads and Transport
  17. Ministry of Agriculture and forestry
  18. Ministry of Commerce and Industry
  19. Ministry of Environment
  20. Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries
  21. Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
  22. Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning
  23. Ministry of Communication and Postal Services
  24. Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare
  25. Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation
  26. Ministry of Cooperatives and Rural Development
  27. Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management
  28. Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism
  29. Ministry of Culture and Heritage
  30. Ministry of Human Resource Development

 

Save for the Ministries of:

  1. Peace and CPA implementation Affairs;
  2. SPLA and Veterans Affairs
  3. Investment
  4. Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management
  5. Environment
  6. Education
  7. High Education Science and Technology
  8. Culture and Heritage
  9. Human Resources Development


The Functions and Responsibilities of all other GoSS ministries shall remain as specified in the annex document to the Presidential Decree Number 101/ 2008 date 28th Julu 2008.


The Functions and Responsibilities of the ministries listed in three 2 above shall be in the annex to this Decree.

 

Annex to the Presidential Decree Number 62/2010:
Functions of the GoSS ministries and Minster in the Office of the President:


Save for the functions of minister in the office of the President and bellow ministries, the mandate and the functions of all other ministries in the Government of southern Sudan not affected by this restructuring shall remain as specifies in the Presidential Decree Number 101/2008.

 

  1. Minster in the Office of the President:
    The minister in the office of the President shall be the Chief aid to the President and the Chief of the staff for the Executive office of the President. The minister shall directly assist the President and shall direct and coordinate the functions in the office of the President. Besides the Chief of staff, the Executive Office of the President will be staffed by a deputy to the Chief of staff, Department Heads, and Technical and Administrative staff.
     
  2. Ministry of SPLA and Veterans Affairs:
    All functions, assets and personnel of the Veterans Commissions shall accrue to the ministry of SPLA and Veterans.
     
  3. Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management:
    All functions, assets and personnel of the southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation commission (SSRRC) shall accrue to the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management.
     
  4. Ministry of Environment:
    The ministry shall be responsible for the protection of the Environment in accordance with the provisions of Article 44 of the Interim Constitution of southern Sudan, 2005 particularly to prevent pollution and ecological degradation. All functions, personnel and assets of the Directorate of Environment in the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment shall\az accrue to the new ministry.
     
  5. Ministry of Investment:
    All functions, assets and Personnel of the southern Sudan investement Authority shall accrue to the ministry of Investment.
     
  6. Ministry of High Education, Science and Technology:
    All functions, assets and personnel of the Directorate of High Education, Science and Technology of the ministry of Education, Science and Technology shall accrue to the new ministry of High Education, Research, Science and Technology.
     
  7. Ministry of Culture and Heritage:
    All functions, assets and Personnel of the Directorate of Culture of the ministry of Culture, youth and sports shall accrue to the new ministry of culture and Heritage.
     
  8. Ministry of Human Resources Development:
    All functions, assets and personnel of the Directorate of Human Resources Development of the ministry of Labour, public Services and Human Resources Development shall accrue to the new ministry of Human Resources Development.

 

The Ministries responsible for each of the above new ministries shall within a month from the date of this decree develop a detailed policy framework regarding the mandate and functions of their ministries, and subject to the approval of the GoSS Council of ministers.
 

Sources:
Presidential Decrees/ Annex to Presidential Decree No. 62/2010/
Thomas Kenneth/ 21-6-2010

This article was updated on Jul 26, 2010

New GOSS Cabinet

GoSS President Decrees Appointment of Ministers of the Government of southern Sudan in Presidential Decree No. 63/2010, as follows:

  1. Mr. Kosti Manibe Ngai – Minister of Cabinet Affairs
  2. Mr. Pagan Amum – Minister of Peace and CPA Implementation
  3. Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial – Minister of SPLA and Veteran Affairs
  4. Mr. Deng Alor - Minister of Regional Cooperation
  5. Dr. Cirino Hitend Ofuho - Minister in the Office of the President
  6. Mr. John Luyk Jok – Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development
  7. Mr. Gier Chuon Aluong – Minister of Internal Affairs
  8. Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth - Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
  9. Mr. David Deng Athorbei - Minister of Finance and Economic Planning
  10. Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak - Minister for Investment
  11. Mrs. Awut Deng Acuil – Minister of Labour and Public Service
  12. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin - Minister of Information
  13. Dr. Luka Tombekana Manoja – Minister of Health
  14. Dr. Samson Lukare Kwaje - Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
  15. Mr. Anthony Lino Makana – Minister of Roads and Transport
  16. Dr. Michael Milli – Minister of Education
  17. Mr. Stephen Dhieu – Minister of Commerce and Industry
  18. Minister of Environment (NCP to nominate their person)
  19. Mrs. Jema Nunu Kumba – Minister of Housing and Physical Planning
  20. Mr. Madut Biar Yel - Minister  of Communications and Postal Services
  21. Mr. Garang Diing Akuong – Minister of Energy and Mining
  22. Mrs. Agnes Kwaje Lauba - Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare
  23. Dr. Anne Itto Leonardo - Minister of Cooperatives and Rural Development
  24. Mr. James Kok Ruea - Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management
  25. Mr. Paul Mayom Akec- Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources
  26. Mr. Joseph Ukel – Minister of High Education, Research, Science and Technology
  27. Minister of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism (NCP to nominate their person)
  28. Mrs. Nyalok Tiong Gatluak - Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries
  29. Ms. Mary Jervas Yak - Minister of Human Resources Development
  30. Mr. Makuac Teny Yoh - Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation
  31. Mr. Gabriel Changson Chang - Minister of Culture and Heritage
  32. Dr. Priscilla Nyanyang – Minister  without portfolio
 

 

This article was updated on Jul 26, 2010

President Kiir tips the new cabinet as they take oath

JUBA, 23 June 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit today urged his new cabinet to work diligently to ensure that all the Southern Sudanese receive their equitable share of the peace dividends.


Talking during the swearing in of the new cabinet, the President emphasized that Southern Sudan is entering a critical period in its history. He urged the new ministers to count it a privilege to serve the people in this period. The President laid out the important agenda for the cabinet as preparation for the referendum, improvement of security, revamp of public service delivery, development of good work ethics, and eradication of corruption.


On the referendum, the President reiterated the commitment of the Government of Southern Sudan to ensure that the landmark event is held on time as provided for by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). He also said that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) will continue to negotiate with the National Congress Party (NCP) on post-referendum arrangements.

 


President Kiir meets the new cabinet [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The President also emphasized that the Government of Southern Sudan will work tirelessly to defend the territorial integrity of the country and ensure that every citizen lives peacefully and gets the opportunity to contribute to the development of the country. The President also urged the ministers, especially the minister for Internal Affairs, to pay greater attention to security explaining that without security not much can be achieved. The President also said that the cases of lawlessness that have been witnessed in some parts of the country cannot be tolerated any longer because they can be used by the detractors of Southern Sudan to derail the self-determination process and the referendum. “There is no compromise on this one”, he emphasized.


Once more, the President reminded the ministers to work diligently to ensure that all the people of Southern Sudan receive the services due to them. “We cannot forget the conditions under which our people live”, he said adding that all government resources should be used wisely in order to maximize the benefits for the people. He reiterated the government’s development strategy of taking the “towns to the rural areas” in an effort to stimulate rural development. He urged the Southern Sudan Fiscal, Financial Allocation and Monitoring Commission (SSFFAMC) to monitor allocation of resources to the states. He admitted that some states need more resources and advised that allocation should be based on the prevailing needs of each state.


H.E. Kiir also urged the ministers to cultivate good work ethics in their respective ministries. He cautioned them against misuse of authority, public assets and funds. He urged them to use public resources and taxes on priority high impact projects that will accrue most benefits for the people. The President also cautioned the ministers against unnecessary trips abroad, and misuse of government vehicles. He directed the Office of the President in collaboration with the ministries of Cabinet Affairs, and Finance and Economic Planning, to develop requite guidelines on proper allocation and use of government property and travels abroad.

 


A section of the new cabinet during the swearing in ceremony [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The President also cautioned the new ministers against promoting tribalism and nepotism in their ministries. He urged them to shun surrounding themselves with tribal cronies and idlers but to establish professional offices in which the diversity of Southern Sudan is evident. He directed the ministries of Labour and Public Service, Cabinet Affairs, and Human Resources Development to ensure that people are employed to the civil service based on merit and not tribe.


On corruption, the President reminded the cabinet of the zero tolerance to corruption policy of the government. “Let us cooperate with the Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission to eradicate corruption in the country before it overtakes us”, he directed. He warned against corrupt practices in procurement processes, funds allocation, and taxation and customs management. He emphasized that all government resources – whether for reconstruction or Constituency Development Fund (CDF) – must be used fully for the assigned purposes and not diverted elsewhere.


The President also announced that he has received nominees for the two ministerial posts set aside for NCP in the spirit of national unity. He said that he is still consulting before announcing the names.

 


President Kiir and Dr Machar pose for a group photo with the new cabinet [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


On his part, H.E. Dr Riek Machar, the Vice-President of the Government of Southern Sudan urged the ministers to work together for the sake of the country. He said that the government agenda can only be achieved if the ministers work diligently and honestly.


Talking on behalf of the new cabinet, Dr Luka Tombekana Monoja, the incoming minister for Health thanked the President for entrusting the incoming ministers with the ministerial responsibilities. He urged his colleagues to work together and develop a collective strategy to accomplish corporate government agenda.


The swearing in ceremony which was held at the Cabinet Room, in the Office of the President, was presided over by the President of the Supreme Court of Southern Sudan H.E. Justice John Wol Makec. Seven incoming ministers, who are currently on assignments outside Juba, did not attend the ceremony. They will be sworn in as soon as they are back. The ceremony followed the approval of the appointments by the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) yesterday.
 

 

This article was updated on Jul 26, 2010

Six more ministers sworn in

JUBA, 29 June 2010 – Six ministers in the Government of Southern Sudan who had not taken oath of office were yesterday sworn in. They were:

 

  1. Mr. Kosti Manibe Ngai – Minister for Cabinet Affairs
  2. Mr. Pagan Amum – Minister for Peace and CPA Implementation
  3. Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial – Minister for SPLA and Veteran Affairs
  4. Mr. Deng Alor - Minister for Regional Cooperation
  5. Mr. Stephen Dhieu – Minister for Commerce and Industry
  6. Mr. Abdalla Albert – Minister for Wildlife Conservation and Tourism



The ministers (from left to right) Kosti Ngai, Pagan Amum, Nhial Deng, Deng Alor, Stephen Dhieu, and Abdalla Albert, during the ceremony [Photo: Alex Pitia].

 

The brief ceremony in the Cabinet Room in the Office of the President in Juba was witnessed by H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit and GOSS Vice President, Dr Riek Machar Teny, among other GOSS officials.
 

 

This article was updated on Jul 26, 2010

President Kiir appoints advisors

JUBA, 21 July 2010 - President Salva Kiir Mayardit has appointed the following Presidential Advisors with effect from 19th July 2010 through Presidential Decree Number 67/2010:

 

Name
Portfolio
Mr Lual Diing Wol
Political Affairs
Mr John Kong Nyuon
Security Affairs
Madam Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior
Gender and Human Rights
Mr Telar Ring Deng
Legal Affairs
Lt Gen. Alfred Lado Gore
Diplomatic Relations
Mr Tor Deng Mawin
Decentralization and Inter-Governmental Linkage
Lt Gen. Salva Mathok Gengdit
Military Affairs
Mr Kornelious Befo
Monitoring and Integrity in Governance
Maj. Gen. Daniel Kodi Angelo
Advisor on Southern Kordofan
Col. Sadiq Elmansi Basil
Advisor on Southern Blue Nile
Sultan Kongkong Bol Riam
Inter-Communal Peace

 

Thomas Kenneth, GOSS Presidential Press Unit

 

This article was updated on Aug 26, 2010

Freedom beckons as Southern Sudan commemorates “Martyrs’ Day”

JUBA, 31 July 2010 – Southern Sudanese yesterday commemorated “Martyrs' Day” to remember the contribution of the freedom fighters who lost their lives during the struggle. During the ceremony held at the Dr John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, all the speakers reminded the people of the great sacrifices the heroes and heroines made to bring Southern Sudan to where it is today. They also urged the people to honour the martyrs by voting for separation in the forthcoming referendum so as to complete the walk to freedom.


During the celebrations, an archive holding the original weapons and personal effects of the fallen leader of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Party and Army (SPLM/A), the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior was opened. The archive also holds a collection of original cultural artefacts, weapons of Anyanya fighters as well as photos of the fallen heroes and heroines. Though started small, it is envisioned that the archives will grow both in collection and service portfolio to remind the Southern Sudanese, especially the youth, of their history.

 


President Kiir addressing the citizens during the celebrations. [Photo: Matata Safi]


Leading the people in lighting candles to show that the spirit of the deceased heroes and heroines still live on, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit said that the martyrs did not die in vain. “They died for our freedom, justice, democracy and dignity of the marginalized people”, he explained. President Kiir also reminded all citizens to pay due tribute to the gallant martyrs who paid the ultimate price for freedom with their own blood. He said that it is the collective duty of all Southern Sudanese to offer support they can accord to the war wounded, widows and orphans adding that this responsibility should not just be left for the government.


The President urged the people to vote favourably during the referendum so as to obtain complete freedom in honour of the martyrs. He urged all the people and political parties to bury their differences and come together for the sake of the referendum and development. He announced that he will facilitate the South-South dialogue between different stakeholders to unite the people ahead of the referendum and into the future. “We guarantee that the process will go on as planned”, he said. The same message was delivered by the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Dr Riek Machar Teny and the SPLM Secretary General and Minister for Peace-building and CPA Implementation Affairs, H.E. Pa’gan Amum.


Hon Deng Dau, who spoke on behalf of the war-disabled said that the Southern Sudanese and the Government of Southern Sudan have proved sceptics wrong. “In 2005, they doubted our ability to govern ourselves but we have proved them wrong; we will prove them even more wrong when we vote for self-determination in the referendum next year”, he said. He also thanked the Government of Southern Sudan for supporting the war disabled, orphans, widows and veterans through specialized institutions and the recently established ministry of SPLA and Veterans Affairs. He appealed to the state governments to emulate GOSS and offer unreserved support to those affected by the liberation war.

 


Armed forces marching during the celebrations. [Photo: Matata Safi]


The Central Equatoria Governor, H.E. Clement Wani Konga explained that the list of martyrs is long and urged the people to cherish and protect the peace that was brought about at such a great price. He announced that the people of Central Equatoria have decided to vote for separation during the referendum because unity has not been made attractive to them. He explained that development projects and sharing of national wealth is still skewed towards the North. He also said that the Southern Sudanese would face an identity crisis nationally and internationally if they do not separate to form a country of their own where they can feel proud and accepted as they are.


H.E. Lt. Gen. Alfred Ladu Gore, the Presidential Advisor on Diplomatic Relations explained that the martyrs and other liberation veterans chose the hard life and forfeited the comfort of their homes and warmth of their families for the higher ideal of liberation for all Southern Sudanese. “We did not go to the bush to come to be in the same bed with our oppressor; the time of our total freedom is now and no force under the heavens will stop the wheel of the people marching to freedom”, he said. He urged the war veterans to mobilize the people to vote for separation adding that Southern Sudan, through GOSS, already has the instruments and institutions of sovereignty. He explained that what now remains is the declaration of independence after the referendum. “We prefer freedom in hardship than prosperity in slavery”, he asserted. He urged the people not to waste this golden opportunity by voting for unity. “Why should we accept unity and accept voluntary slavery”, he wondered.

 


Gordon Kong (centre), a local musician, singing during the celebrations. [Photo: Matata Safi]


The SPLA Chief of the General Staff thanked the SPLA for their role in the liberation struggle but also lauded the contribution of the civilian population during the difficult period. He said that the SPLA will respect the results of the referendum. As the military guardian of the CPA, he said, the SPLA will always stand alert to protect the CPA and the citizens against any form of aggression. He urged the politicians to banish their differences and unite the people. “As your army, we will not let you down”, he assured.


Madam Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of Dr John Garang de Mabior, also urged the people not waste this opportunity and honour the martyrs by taking the decisive step to be free. This, she said, would be a great honour for the martyrs who gave their all for the sake of their people. Another war widow, Hon Nyachigak urged the widows to be educators and peacemakers. She also urged them to build the orphans left with them so that they can also grow up to be like their fathers in the future.

 


H.E. Gier Aluong joins traditional dancers during the celebrations. [Photo: Matata Safi]


Gen. Joseph Lagu reminded the people of the history of the liberation struggle and how the Anyanya war started. He paid glowing tribute to the veterans, most of who have died, and said that the sacrifice for the freedom of any country is normally paid by the best of its sons and daughters.


Peter Sule explained that the martyrs and heroes of liberation set a high standard of nationalism, true leadership and patriotism; not tribalism or any other form of discrimination. “As we celebrate their victories, let us remember that we still have some way to go”, he explained. “We have chosen separation as the only option”, he said and urged all parties, leaders and people to unite together in the interest of the referendum and the future of Southern Sudan. “Whatever quarrels we may have must fade as we face the referendum and the future”, he admonished.

 


An Acholi dance troupe entertain guests during the celebrations. [Photo: Matata Safi]


The celebrations began in the mid-morning with a march around Juba by the organized forces while citizens streamed into the Dr John Garang Mausoleum as early as 9 am. The people braved the heat of the noon sun and chills of the evening to listen to the leaders and be part of this auspicious occasion which ended at dusk (7.15pm). It was attended by several GOSS ministers, presidential advisors, leaders of the SPLA, members of the Judiciary, members of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), state government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, among other dignitaries. The celebrations were also graced by several local artistes and traditional dancers who entertained the people with various items of music. The master of ceremonies was H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information and official spokesperson.
 

 

This article was updated on Aug 31, 2010

Dr Kwaje is dead

JUBA, 2 August 2010 – The minister for Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Dr Samson Lukare Kwaje, is dead. Dr Kwaje, who had been ailing for some weeks, died on Sunday morning at a Nairobi hospital. Coincidentally, Dr Kwaje who was an ardent supporter of the liberation struggle and the SPLM, died just one day after the country celebrated the martyrs’ day. He now joins the long list of martyrs who laid down their lives for freedom of Southern Sudan.


His untimely death has caused deep grief in Southern Sudan with the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, describing it as a great loss for the government and people of Southern Sudan. “We have lost a hero”, President Kiir said when he visited the family to convey his condolences. Tears flowed freely as leaders recalled their last moments with their fallen colleague.

 


Dr Kwaje at a past function


To honour the fallen hero, President Kiir announced three days of mourning beginning Sunday during which all flags will fly half-mast. Plans are underway to bring back the body to Southern Sudan. Funeral arrangements are also ongoing.


A PhD holder in Agriculture, Dr Kwaje served as the spokesperson for the SPLM for many years and became the international face of the movement during the struggle. He goes down as one of the greatest supporters of the movement in Central Equatoria. He hailed from Pojulu in Lainya County.
 

 

This article was updated on Aug 31, 2010

Tears as Dr Kwaje’s remains return to Juba

JUBA, 3 August 2010 – Juba International Airport was engulfed by a sombre mood and tears as citizens of all walks of life gathered there to receive the body of the fallen hero, Dr Samson Lukare Kwaje, the late minister for Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).

 


Plane carrying the remains of Dr Kwaje arrives at the Juba International Airport. [Photo: Matata Safi]


The plane carrying the remains of the minister who passed on at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi touched down at around 12.15pm and was received by the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit; Vice-President, H.E. Dr Riek Machar Teny; several GOSS ministers; several members of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA); church leaders; community leaders and the general public.

 


President Kiir witnesses the arrival of Dr Kwaje's body. [Photo: Matata Safi]


Tears flowed freely when the flag-draped mahogany casket carrying the remains of the late minister was lowered down from the plane. His cabinet colleagues received and loaded the casket to a waiting ambulance as sorrowful sobs filled the air. Several people were overcome by emotions and had to be supported. Earlier, a group of women dressed in black mournfully sang dirges about the inevitability and suddenness of death.

 


The casket carrying Dr Kwaje's remains being received by his former cabinet colleagues. [Photo: Matata Safi]


The body was then driven off to St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Kator for a requiem mass. It will later be taken to the SSLA and eventually for a night stay at his house in Hai Amarat, Juba. It will leave for his rural home in Lainya County where the late minister will finally be laid to rest on Thursday.

 


The casket carrying Dr Kwaje's remains loaded to an ambulance by his former cabinet colleagues. [Photo: Matata Safi]


Dr Samson leaves a remarkable record of commitment to the service of the people of Southern Sudan and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM). His patriotism, devotion and humility is unparalleled by many. He was a gifted organizer as exemplified in his successful coordination of the Presidential campaigns in the April 2010 elections. He traversed all the states of Southern Sudan soliciting votes for President Kiir and the SPLM earning the former a landslide (over 90 percent) victory. He was one of the signatories of several peace documents as well as the CPA. He initially served as the Information minister but was later transferred to the ministry of Agriculture and Forestry where he has been serving with distinction.

 


Hon. Lino Makana, GOSS minister for Transport and Roads addresses the media just before the arrival of Dr Kwaje's remains. [Photo: Matata Safi]


At the airport, tongue after tongue expressed the great loss that the people and Government of Southern Sudan have been dealt by the death of Dr Kwaje. “This is a great loss to the nation as a whole”, said Hon. Antony Lino Makana, the GOSS minister for Roads and Transport. “We have lost a great hero who played a big role in the liberation struggle”, said Mr Deng Mading Majak, the director of Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd (SSBL). Hon. Atem Ater Ayiel, a member of the SSLA (Yirol East County) recalled the late minister’s outstanding contribution to the assembly for the past five years. He also described the late minister as cooperative, hospitable, approachable, dedicated and committed to Southern Sudan. “It is a big shock for us to lose such a compatriot at such a time”, he concluded. Mr Ephraim Wani Peter also said that the country has lost a great son and urged the people to continue waging the fight which Dr Kwaje fought to ensure complete freedom for all Southern Sudanese.

 


The ambulance carrying Dr Kwaje's remains leaves Juba International Airport. [Photo: Matata Safi]
 

Dr Yata Lori Lukur, who is the director of Juba Teaching Hospital, said that Dr Kwaje was a man of the people besides being a prominent member of the SPLA/M throughout the struggle for freedom. He also said that Dr Kwaje died too soon, before he could bring lasting peace between Lainya and Wonduruba communities. Dr Kwaje had initially complained of pain in his leg. However, on examination it was found that there were problems with his kidneys and lungs. Those who visited him in hospital said that he seemed to have improved. But fate seems to have taken a different turn and he passed away on Sunday morning.


Additional reporting by Emmanuel Dumba Dima
 

This article was updated on Aug 31, 2010

Dr Kwaje makes final journey to SSLA

JUBA, 3 August 2010 – The body of Dr Samson Kwaje, the late minister for Agriculture and Forestry, was this afternoon taken to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) for prayers and public viewing. Dr Kwaje who had served in the SSLA since 2005 symbolically made a final trip to the August House for a befitting send-off by his former colleagues.


The body arrived at the SSLA premises from St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Kator at 3.40pm and was received by honourable members of parliament led by the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Vice-President, H.E. Dr Riek Machar Teny, and the SSLA Deputy Speaker, H.E. Daniel Awet Akot.


President Kiir said that Dr Kwaje’s death was a great blow to the people of Southern Sudan. However, he urged the people to pick up from where Dr Kwaje left and journey on. “No one can change the situation”, he explained. Though Dr Kwaje will not come back, the President explained, his spirit lives on. He described Dr Kwaje as a committed individual who shunned tribalism. President Kiir encouraged the family to take heart. He also told them that the loss is not just theirs alone; it is shared by the Government and people of Southern Sudan. He urged the people to resolve to vote favourably during the referendum so as to complete the journey which heroes and heroines like Dr Kwaje had begun. “Dr Kwaje is a hero; we must be strong to continue from where he has left”, he admonished.

 


The casket carrying Dr Kwaje's remains in the SSLA. [Photo: Matata Safi]


The deputy speaker regretted the demise of the late Dr Kwaje at this crucial moment when the country needed him most. “This is tragic but his love and spirit lives on”, he said. He described the late Dr Kwaje as a simple, loving, dedicated and determined person. He also prayed for consolation for Dr Kwaje’s family and the country at large.


Dr Kwaje began his basic education in his rural village in Lainya county from where he was transferred to Kator Elementary School in Juba in 1962. Thereafter he joined Rumbek School but moved to Uganda when the school was closed. He joined St Mary’s Kisubi where he did his “O” and “A” level education. From there he joined Makerere University where he got his Bachelors and Masters degrees. Thereafter, he went to the United States of America where he obtained his PhD in Agriculture from the University of Virginia.


Dr Kwaje served in various capacities in Southern Sudan. He moved to Kenya in 1990 and became the Spokesperson for the SPLM/A, a position he held until the CPA was signed. The late Dr Kwaje is survived by 2 widows and 12 children.


Reported by Emmanuel Dumba Dima and Khamis Matata Safi
 

This article was updated on Aug 31, 2010

Initiative to boost public service ongoing

JUBA, 11 August 2010 – The minister for Labour and Public Service (MoLPS) in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Awut Deng Acuil yesterday announced that an initiative to review and improve the performance of the public service is ongoing.


H.E. Awut also explained that the review will also encompass the enumeration of all the civil servants employed both by GOSS and the Government of National Unity in Southern Sudan. She also explained that a team from Khartoum is expected in Juba in due course to sort out pending pension issues. She appealed to international community and donors to lend a hand in the pension programme.

 


H.E. Awut meeting the USAID delegation in her office in Juba


The minister also reported that the ministry is aggressively embarking on promoting vocational training to improve the skills of the people to enable them to create employment opportunities and support national development.


H.E. Awut made these remarks yesterday when she met a USAID delegation led by the mission director, Mr William Hammink. During the meeting, the USAID delegation expressed willingness to support the ministry so as to empower it to facilitate the delivery of quality services to the people of Southern Sudan.


Madam Awut also emphasized that the referendum will go on as planned. She also promised that this time round the voting process will be managed well.


Reported by Jogo Joyce Duku 
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

SSLA rejects motion to lift suspension of SPLM-DC members

JUBA, 11 August 2010 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today rejected a motion seeking to lift the waiver of the immunity of four SPLM-DC members in the August House.

 

The motion had been moved by Hon. Dengtiel Ayuen Kur, on behalf of the GOSS Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, during the SSLA sitting No.18/2010 chaired by the Acting Speaker, H.E. Daniel Awet Akot. Hon. Kur made a case for the lifting of the waiver saying that the affected members were investigated and cleared of any wrongdoing by the relevant authorities. However, the members of the August House in attendance rejected the motion and asked the concerned minister to present the motion in person.

 


Hon. Kur moving the motion. [Photo: Clement Aturjong]

 

The SSLA had waived the immunities of four SPLM-DC members on 8th June 2010 following acts of violence in the Shilluk Kingdom in which a paramount chief was killed. The affected honourable members are:

 

1. Hon. Samuel Aban Achin
2. Hon. Andrew Okony Ayom
3. Hon. Onyoti Adigo Nyikwac
4. Hon. Martha Angar Kur

 

The sitting was attended by 95 members. The house then adjourned.

 

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

Ministry of Information to prioritize English training for journalists

JUBA, 12 August 2010 – H.E. Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) today announced that the ministry will prioritize English training for journalists to empower and wean them from the Arabic patterns in tandem with the emerging contexts and needs of Southern Sudan.


Dr Marial made the remarks when he hosted a delegation of the Government of Uganda led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. James Mugume, and the Ugandan Consul General in Juba, Amb. Busho Ndinyenka. The parties underscored the role of information in facilitating democracy, national development and regional cooperation. Dr Marial said this role is even more critical now as the country moves forward to the self-determination referendum next year.

 


Dr Marial (right) and Amb. Mugume during the meeting [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Dr Marial thanked the delegation for considering issues of mutual interest between the two countries. He also explained that as a young government, GOSS still needs the support of its neighbours to mature. One of the areas where the government needs greater support, he said, is capacity building. For the Ministry of Information, this support can be rendered in news coverage, media institutions management and programming. The minister also asked for support in rural communication in this era of new technologies.


The top officers at the Ministry of Information led by the Acting Undersecretary, Mr Mustafa Biong Majak, also reiterated that the biggest challenge the journalists in Southern Sudan face is inability to communicate effectively in English and asked the Ugandan delegation to explore possibilities of collaborating on conducting English language crash training programmes. This, they said, would enable the journalists to collect, collate and report news and perform other journalistic functions with ease.


The Director General of Southern Sudan Radio and TV, Mr Arop Bagat also said that the parties should explore issues pertaining to expansion of coverage of state radio and TV broadcasts in the respective countries. This, he said, would be important in cementing the cordial relations between the two countries given the high number of Southern Sudanese in Uganda and vice versa.

 


The parties in discussion [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Other areas of possible support identified during the meeting include exposure of Southern Sudanese journalists to new technologies and techniques through attachments with the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation; exchange of video editors and telecommunications engineers; on the job professional training in various areas of journalism such as editing and news writing; exchange of correspondents; collaboration between the journalists’ unions; and integration of local languages in TV and Radio programming.


Amb. Mugume thanked the ministry for the hospitality and assured the minister that the two teams would work together to develop appropriate strategies for collaboration in the identified areas. He also said that Uganda will support the interests of Southern Sudan through regional and international platforms such as the United Nations, IGAD and the African Union.


Touching on the referendum, Dr Marial said that dialogue is ongoing on post-referendum issues such as nationality, identity, citizenship, property rights, sharing of national wealth, international debt repayments (currently estimated at USD 36 billion), national security, pension schemes for civil servants, and border demarcations. However, he asserted that the referendum will proceed as planned in spite of the fact that some of the issues may not be concluded by the time of the referendum.


Additional reporting by Emmanuel Dumba Dima
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

“Bring your files”, National Pension Fund tells pensioners

JUBA, 12 August 2010 – The Acting Director of the National Pension Fund, Mr Kenneth Loboka Wani today urged all pensioners who may not have returned their files to hurry and do so immediately because the fund will begin sorting the files from 15 August 2010.

 

Mr Wani was speaking when he hosted the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour and Public Service, Madam Rebecca Joshua and other officers from the ministry in his office in Juba today.

 


Madam Rebecca (second left) poses with the officers after the visit [Photo: Michael Abram Philip]

 

During the meeting, Madam Rebecca announced that a technical team is expected in Juba next week to work on the files and sort out the pending issues once and for all. The Undersecretary also explained that these files will be kept with the pension fund for five years after which they will be archived. She encouraged pensioners or their next of kin to visit the pension fund offices and confirm the status of their files.

 

Madam Rebecca said she is happy with the progress made so far and expressed hope that this sensitive matter will finally be concluded. She reiterated the commitment of her ministry to the social wellbeing of the civil servants who, she said, should now reciprocate by rendering exceptional services to the people.
 

 

Reported by Jogo Joice Duku

 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

Public Service minister meets Ethiopian ambassador

JUBA, 13 August 2010 – The minister for Labour and Public Service in the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Awut Deng Acuil, today met the Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan, Mr Negash Legesse in her office in Juba.


During the meeting they discussed issues relating to the scholarships offered to the Government of Southern Sudan by the Ethiopian government last year as well as the preparations for the referendum. The minister emphasized that the referendum is an important milestone in the CPA and said that all systems will be set to ensure that it goes on as planned.


Madam Awut also met her Regional Cooperation counterpart H.E. Deng Alor Koul yesterday and discussed public service appointments in the ministry. She assured H.E. Alor that the two ministries will work hand in hand for better service delivery to the people of Southern Sudan.


Reported Jogo Joyce Duku
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

President Kiir in Kampala for a two-day visit

JUBA, 13 August 2010 - In his two-day visit to Kampala- the capital of Uganda, the first Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the accompanying delegation was warmly received upon his arrival at Entebbe International Airport by the Ugandan state minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem.


H.E. Salva Kiir visited Kampala as a result of an invitation extended to him by the President of Uganda H.E. Yoweri Museveni. The GoSS Minister for Regional Cooperation Mr. Deng Alor described the visit as successful and explained that the presidents Kiir and Museveni in a meeting at the state House in Entebbe discussed bilateral relations and cooperation between the GoSS and Ugandan Government besides issues relating to peace and stability in the region.


Hon. Alor added that H.E. Kiir briefed the President of Uganda on progress on the CPA implementation, referendum and outstanding issues, and that the two presidents appreciated the cordial relations between the two countries.


H.E. Kiir also conveyed his condolences to President Museveni on the untimely death of the former Ugandan former President Mr. Geoffrey Binaisa. H.E. Salva Kiir left Kampala and returned to Juba yesterday afternoon.


Reported by Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

SPLM Political Bureau emergency meeting in Juba

JUBA, 13 August 2010 – The Political Bureau of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) is holding an emergency meeting in Juba today.


According to the SPLM Secretary General, H.E. Pa’gan Amum Okech who is also the current GOSS minister for Peace Building and CPA Implementation, the meeting will discuss many issues among them the referendum date which the National Congress Party (NCP), through its influence, wants to deliberately delay with many excuses such as non-completion of the demarcation of the borders as well as the notion of inadequate time.


H.E. Amum asserted that the SPLM’s position is always clear that the referendum should be held on its due date that is on the 9th January 2011, as is stipulated in the CPA. He explained that the border demarcation should have been done within the first six months of the interim period but it was delayed by the NCP to date, and yet they now want to say that they are concerned about the demarcation. H.E. Amum explained that the real intentions of the NCP seem to deny Southern Sudan and Abyei an opportunity to exercise their political right to choose between unity and separation. He warned that if the referendum failed to be held on the due date, then Southern Sudanese have other options which are also stipulated in the CPA. The Secretary General also explained that the Abyei referendum process is being obstructed by the NCP yet the international court of arbitration ruled that the border of Abyei be demarcated immediately. He said that it seems that the SPLM and NCP are facing a political deadlock. He appealed to the IGAD member countries and the international community to intervene.

 


H.E. Amum (right) address the press at the Juba International Airport accompanied by H.E. Malik Agar [Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


Another issue to be discussed at the meeting, said H.E. Amum, is the post-referendum arrangements. He explained that various committees have been formed to work out the post-referendum arrangements whether Southern Sudan chooses unity or separation. H.E. Amum said that these prior arrangements would facilitate peaceful coexistence between the two countries should the South choose for the separation or confederation incase the people vote for unity. H.E. Amum reported that the first round of discussions has gone on well and expressed hope that the second round will also proceed likewise. “We the SPLM want the transition period to end peacefully without taking people back to war”, H.E. emphasized.


He dismissed media allegations that there are some Southern Sudanese who support the postponement of the referendum.


The Secretary General was accompanied by H.E. Malik Agar, the governor of Blue Nile State; Yasir Arman, SPLM Deputy Secretary General for the Northern sector; H.E. Paul Mayom Akec, the GOSS minister for Water Resources and Irrigation; Dr. Mansur Khalid, the Advisor to the President of the Republic of Sudan; Dr. Adwok Nyaba, the Minister for Higher Education in the Government of National Unity (GONU); and Dr. Tabitha Boutros, among other SPLM Political Bureau members.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng and Emmanuel Dumba
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

SSLA appoints chairpersons of specialized committees and their deputies

JUBA, 16 August 2010 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today appointed the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons for the specialized committees of the Assembly.

 


H.E. Wani Igga during the SSLA sitting


During the SSLA’s sitting No: 19/2010 chaired by the Honourable Speaker, H.E. James Wani Igga and attended by 123 honourable members, the house received and discussed nominees for the various specialized committees. After deliberations, the following chairpersons and deputy chairpersons were appointed:

 

  1. Security and Public Order - Hon. Aleu Ayieny Aleu
  2. Economy, Development and Finance - Hon. Prof. Bari A. Wanji
  3. Public Accounts - Hon. Kom Kom Geng
  4. Constituency Development Fund (CDF) - Hon. James Reth Gony
  5. Legislative and Legal Affairs - Hon. Dengtiel A. Kur
  6. Information and Culture - Hon. Joy Kwaje Eluzai
  7. Members Affairs - Hon. Daniel Deng Monydit
  8. Regional and International Cooperation - Hon. James Lual
  9. Natural Resources and Environment - Hon. Pascal Bandindi
  10. Education Science and Technology - Hon. James Janga Duku
  11. Peace and Reconciliation - Hon. Mathew Mathiang
  12. Health and HIV/AIDS Affairs - Hon. Dr. Martha Martin Dar Both
  13. Services and Physical Infrastructure - Hon. Stephen Ajongo Akwal
  14. Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs - Hon. Anjelina Nyamouka
  15. Gender, Social Welfare, Youth and Sports - Hon. Debora Chol
  16. Public Service and Administration - Hon. Timothy Tot Chol
  17. Industry, Energy and Mining - Hon. Henry Dilang Odwar

 

Deputy Chairperson standing specialized committees:

 

  1. Security and Public Order - Hon. David Akwier Akwany
  2. Economy, Development and Finance - Hon. Henry Omai Okolawin (Declined)
  3. Public Accounts - Hon. Kutin Bayak Gil
  4. Constituency Development Fund (CDF) - Hon. Betty Achan Agawro (Declined)
  5. Legislative and Legal Affairs - Hon. Parmena Awerial Along
  6. Information and Culture - Hon. Lucy Lyaya Linca Loki
  7. Members Affairs - Hon. Umjuma Juma Sabil
  8. Regional and International Cooperation - Hon. Rowi Koul Jal (Delined)
  9. Natural Resources and Environment - Hon. Atotok Yak
  10. Education Science and Technology - Hon. Akod Deng Kuac
  11. Peace and Reconciliation - Hon. Ngong Deng Gum
  12. Health and HIV/AIDS Affairs - Hon. Mary Kiden Enoka
  13. Services and Physical Infrastructure - Hon. Gordon Matot Tut
  14. Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs - Hon. Remijo Lasu Peter
  15. Gender, Social Welfare, Youth and Sports - Hon. Mary Nawai Martin
  16. Public Service and Administration - Hon. Akur Akol Deng
  17. Industry, Energy and Mining - Hon. Jusmine Samuel Adakayi

 

The session was also attended by H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister for Information; H.E. Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs; H.E. Madut Biar Yel, Minister for Communications and Postal Services; H.E. John Luke Jok, Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development; and H.E. Anthony Lino Makana, Minister of Roads and Transport.

 

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot
 

This article was updated on Sep 14, 2010

Detained airplane had "suspicious" cargo

JUBA, 16 August 2010 – The airplane detained by the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) at the Paloch airstrip has suspicious cargo and passengers who have confessed that they are members of the Gen. George Athor militia.
 

The plane which was detained last week had come from Khartoum and landed briefly at Paloch before proceeding to Panjak where it took longer than usual raising the curiosity of members of the public. When it landed back at Paloch three hours later people rushed to it to find out what may have happened only for one of the passengers to take off on foot raising the suspicion further.

 


The detained crew and passengers [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


When members of the public searched the plane, they discovered seven (7) injured people who upon interrogation confessed that they are member of the militia group allied to the renegade Gen. George Athor and were on their way to Khartoum to seek medical attention. Perhaps in an effort to win public sympathy, they claimed that they were in the process of decamping from the group to rejoin the SPLA allegedly because Gen. Athor was not giving them any money.


The plane also had three crew members – two Russians and one Pakistani – who when asked about the cargo they had delivered claimed that they had not inspected the cargo but only relied on the manifest which showed the cargo as humanitarian aid. They also alleged that they had been chartered by a group associated with Dr Lam Akol and Salah el Ghouch.

 


One of the detained passengers speak to the press [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


One of the passengers who had escaped on foot was later apprehended. He also confessed that he was a member of the militia associated with Gen. Athor and that he and his colleagues had been injured in combat and were heading to Khartoum for treatment.


The plane, its cargo and passengers, are still being held at the Paloch airstrip pending further investigations.
 

Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

Hope for pensioners as National Pensions Fund experts commence work in Juba

JUBA, 17 August 2010 – Pensioners in Southern Sudan now have a reason to smile because experts from the National Pensions Fund arrived in the capital, Juba, on Sunday 15 August 2010 to deal with all pending pension issues in the region.


While receiving the experts and delegates from the states, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour and Public Service, Madam Rebecca Joshua, described the visit as an historic milestone in the pensions management that will help sort the pending pensions files to the benefit of the pensioners and their families. The Director General of the National Pensions Fund and Coordinator of Sudan States, Mr Makawi Geilani underscored the significance of the visit and explained that it will facilitate the resolution of the pending pension cases in the country.


The same message was also reiterated yesterday by Mrs Hellen Achiro of the Ministry of Labour and Public Service when she announced that the team of experts have begun reviewing the files. One of the experts, Mr Kenneth Loboka Wani said that the initiative marks a turning point for the pensioners as well as the widows and orphans of the former civil servants. Another expert, Mr Standslous Obac Edward urged the pensioners to remain calm as the process progresses.


Reported by Justin Jada
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

SPLA statement on the detained plane

JUBA, 17 August 2010 - The SPLA General Headquarters on Friday issued a statement on the chopper that had been captured by the SPLA forces in Faluj early last week. The statement read as below:


On 8 August 2010, at 2:00 pm, a helicopter with the registration ST-SFD-O54 landed at Faluj airstrip. Asked about its destination by the airport security, the crew said the plane was flying to Fangak. The people of Fangak according to the statement were informed about the plane destined for their area. The plane took off but after three hours failed to arrive at Fangak. Eventually, the plane returned to Faluj. Shortly after this second landing at Faluj one renegade officer disembarked and took to his heels much to the surprise of onlookers. The security personnel approached the plane and discovered eight other persons on board. The members of the crew were two Russians and a Pakistani. Among the passengers was the third man in command of Athor Deng’s rebellious movement. The plane is grounded and the remaining passengers and the crew taken to custody.

 

Reported by Abraham Garang

 

 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

GOSS finance minister presents supplementary budget to SSLA

JUBA, 17 August 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan’s minister for Finance and Economic Planning, H.E. David Deng Athorbei, today submitted the 2010 Supplementary Budget to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA).


While presenting the 2010 Supplementary Budget during the SSLA’s sitting No. 20/2010, H.E. Athorbei reported that no funds shall be transferred without being presented to the Assembly first in accordance with sections 4&5 of the Appropriation Act for approval.

 


H.E. Athorbei presenting the 2010 Supplementary Budget


The total of the 2010 Supplementary Budget is SDG 5.570 billion instead of SDG 4.483 billion earlier planned. Thus, the budget has increased by 24 percent. The additional items will cater for the new and old GOSS institutions as well as famine relief and grain reserve purchases which were purchased last year. The amount allocated to relief is SDG 80 million and SDG 50 million for reserve grain.


The session was attended by several GOSS ministers among them, H.E. Gier Chuang Aluong, Minister for Internal Affairs; H.E Garang Diing Akuong, Minister for Energy and Mining; H.E. James Kok Ruea, Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management; H.E. Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and the Auditor General. The sitting was chaired by Right Hon. Speaker James Wani Igga who called upon all the GOSS ministers to attend all sittings deliberating the 2010 Supplementary Budget in the forthcoming sessions of the SSLA until it is passed by August House. Today’s quorum was 112 members.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

Modern estates planned for Juba and states – housing minister

JUBA, 17 August 2010 – H.E. Jemma Nunu Kumba, the minister for Housing and Physical Planning in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), today announced that plans are underway to develop modern housing estates 15 km outside Juba and in all the other ten states.


The minister further explained that the project is envisaged to provide mass housing with complete community amenities such as water, power, telecommunication, roads and sewerage systems. She said that these estates will serve as models of modern cities which will remain as examples to be followed by the coming generations.


H.E. Kumba also explained that the plan targets the poor and will use low cost building techniques and materials to make the houses affordable. She said that the $ 10 billion project will be implemented by Abu Malek Companies & Agencies Ltd. with funding from Canada. She also said that the actual cost of the project will depend on how much the government guarantee the company will get.


The minister was speaking to the press during the weekly media forum organized by the GOSS ministry of Information at the ministry’s headquarters in Juba. She also reiterated what she said yesterday to a delegation of senior Central Equatoria state officials led by the governor, H.E. Clement Wani Konga, that the role of issuing land registration certificates lies with the state governments adding that her ministry’s role was just to register the plot numbers only.

 


H.E. Jemma Kumba (centre), H.E. Dr Marial (right) together with Dr Wani (left) during the media forum [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Dr. Daniel Wani, the Undersecretary in the ministry also explained further that the current plan in Juba is not good and that the ministry is working on a model which will be unique to Southern Sudan. “We are not going to copy Khartoum but we are going to establish our own [model] to avoid creating class system but [develop] one where all people live harmoniously”, he said. He also advised the public not to waste time on moving to empty plots which may be demolished later but said that they should instead save money to buy a readymade property which has all requisite facilities. He encouraged citizens to work with local design companies and individuals. “We want to discourage too much reliance on the outside planners. This has caused building houses in Juba to be much more expensive than any other city in the world. We have professionals in the South; what we need is the way forward to empower them to do the job”, he advised.


In response to a question about the saga of Kuwait Housing Project, especially whether the houses are being rented out or being owned by some individuals, Dr. Wani explained that those houses are not under the ministry but under Central Equatoria state. He clarified that his ministry will not interfere with them adding that their role now is to facilitate appropriate policy for building new houses. The Kuwait Housing Project was implemented in the 1970s after the signing of the Addis Ababa as part of developmental assistance to the Southern region by the Kuwaiti government.


The minister for Information, H.E. Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, who chaired the forum, congratulated the minister and her Undersecretary for enlightening the media about their plans in the ministry. He also said that the planned housing estate will provide an opportunity for the civil servants and other citizens, especially the young people, to invest wisely by taking loans and mortgages from the banks and other financial service providers to own houses and support the realization of GOSS’s vision of providing proper housing for the people of Southern Sudan.


Today’s forum was also attended by the Acting Undersecretary of the ministry of Information, Mr. Musafa Biong Majak, senior government officials and the members of different media houses.

 

In other news reported by Mr Alfred Eddy, H.E. Jemma Kumba also met the Indian ambassador to Sudan, Mr Vahinda Kumar who is based in Khartoum. They discussed possible technical support to the ministry on areas of sanitation. Her Excellency assured the diplomat that the government is open to receive investors from India willing to invest in housing.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

“India keen on development of Southern Sudan”, says diplomat

JUBA, 18 August 2010 – The Indian ambassador to Sudan, Mr Avanidra Kumar Pandey yesterday expressed the keen interest of his country in the development of Southern Sudan.


During a meeting with the minister for Regional Cooperation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Deng Alor Koul, the diplomat said that India is keen to support the development sectors in the country especially health, general capacity building and higher education.


H.E. Deng Alor assured the diplomat, who was accompanied by the Indian Consul General in Juba Primal Kar, that Southern Sudanese are ready for partnership with sincere, cooperative and development minded countries.


The meeting was also attended by the Undersecretary in the ministry, Mr George Justin Achor.


Reported by Miriam Maneno
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

President Kiir appoints new minister

JUBA, 19 August 2010 – The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, has appointed Mr Jimmy Lemi Milla as the new minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development. The President also decreed the movement of Dr Anne Itto Leonardo as the new minister for Agriculture and Forestry. Dr Itto was formerly the minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development.


The position of minister for Agriculture and Forestry fell vacant following the demise of the late Dr Samson Kwaje.


According to the Presidential Decree No. 72/2010, the appointments are effective from 17th August 2010. Click here to read the decree.
 

 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

Regional Cooperation minister meets students’ delegation

JUBA, 20 August 2010 – The minister for Regional Cooperation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Deng Alor Koul, today met a delegation of Southern Sudanese students in Egyptian universities and other institutions of higher education, led by Peter Luka Makuaj Majak and Daniel Wur Thon, in his office in Juba.


The students briefed the minister on their activities and commitment to obtain their education and come back home to support the development of their motherland. They also expressed hope that they will be facilitated to cast their votes for the referendum from Egypt. They also asked the government to continue supporting them in all ways to enable them complete their education successfully.


On his part, the minister encouraged the students to keep up the spirit and remain determined. He also assured them that every effort will be made to enable the Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora to vote during the referendum.


H.E. Alor also met the renowned Southern Sudanese scholar and novelist, Prof Taban Lo Liong, who is currently a lecturer at the University of Juba. During the meeting, the minister urged the local artistes, journalists, writers and scholars to use their skills and platforms to disseminate the message of the referendum and mobilize the people to exercise their democratic right effectively during the referendum. Prof Lo Liong assured the minister that all the people in the creative sector will mobilize the people to vote wisely during the referendum.


In a similar event yesterday, the minister also met representatives from the UNDP in Sudan led by the Project Manager, Mr Francis Luwangwa, and the Planning & Budgeting Coordinator, Mr Ferdinand Olang. They underscored the need to prepare adequately for the referendum and mobilize the Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora to participate actively in the process. The UNDP representatives pledged to support the budgeting for the landmark event.


Reported by Miriam Maneno
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

Specialized training for model civil servants planned

JUBA, 20 August 2010 – The Ministry of Labour and Public Service in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) is working on an initiative to train 200 public service staff to equip them with modern skills in an effort to boost the delivery of services to the people.


The initiative was announced yesterday by the Undersecretary of the ministry, Madam Rebecca Joshua, on arrival from Nairobi, Kenya where a GOSS delegation led by the minister for Cabinet Affairs, H.E. Kosti Manibe, had met the Government of Kenya as well as other IGAD country representatives to discuss the initiative.

 


Madam Rebecca addresses the press yesterday


Madam Rebecca explained that her ministry is working on a mechanism of selecting the staff members who will then be trained in various skill-sets. The staff members are also expected to act as models for their colleagues. She explained that they will be trained in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and other IGAD member countries.


Reported by Jogo Joice Duku
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

New Commissioners in Lakes State

RUMBEK, 19 August 2010 - Lakes State Governor, Engineer Chol Tong Mayay, has named the
long-awaited Commissioners for the state’s eight counties. The appointments come barely a week after the Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit relieved the Commissioners of their duties.

 

The decree appointing the new Commissioners was read by the State Information and Communications Minister Marik Nanga Marik.

 

In the new appointments, Isaac Mayom Malek is the new Cuiebet County Commissioner replacing John Madhang Majok while Deng Mathiang Deng becomes the new Rumbek North County Commissioner replacing Isaac Mayak Noah. Wulu County has Gideon Shilur Mbele as the new Commissioner as he replaces Simon Waiwai Ali while David Marial Gumke has been reappointed Rumbek East County Commissioner.

 

Matur Majok Magol replaces Dut Makoi Kuok at Rumbek Central County while Makur Kulang Lai becomes the new Yirol West County Commissioner replacing Dairdit Bol Dak. In neighbouring Yirol East County Bullen Bol Achinbai replaces the immediate former Commissioner Athian Majak Maloi while David Mayom Riak is the new Awerial County Commissioner replacing Simon Aguto Kok.

 

The new appointments have, however, been met with mixed reactions amongst the state residents, with some saying they have been imposed on the populace. Upon the announcement over the local media on Sunday night, students and village chiefs of Awerial County strongly opposed the appointment of David Mayom Riak as the new Commissioner. They have lodged a petition with the State Governor and the SPLM State Secretary seeking to revoke the appointment.

 

However, Information Minister Marik defended the appointment, saying the decree was final and satisfies all the state residents. “There is no way that the Governor is going to revise his decree”, he told the critics.


At the same time the SPLM State Secretary Samuel Mathiang Keer welcomed the appointments and said the appointments were made after wide consultations with the respective communities. “I wonder why Awerial people are rejecting the appointment of one of their own. There is no going back as the appointment has already been announced”, he said.


Reported by Manyang Mayom
 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

Highlights of the Vision 2040 for Southern Sudan

JUBA, 20 August 2010 - The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) through the then ministry of Presidential Affairs, now Office of the President, has developed a “Vision 2040” document to harness the resources and efforts of the government to transform Southern Sudan into a modern nation. Titled “South Sudan Vision 2040: Towards freedom, equality, justice, peace and prosperity for all”, the vision was adopted by the GOSS Council of Ministers on January 15, 2010.


The vision is founded on seven pillars: educated and informed nation; prosperous, productive and innovative nation; free, just and peaceful nation; democratic and accountable nation; safe and secure nation; united and proud nation; and compassionate and tolerant nation.


Educated and informed nation
On education, the government recognizes that the education system literally crumbled during the liberation struggle. The government also understands that historically, Southern Sudanese have never had a favourable education system. Both the colonial and Khartoum-based governments have only focused on providing elementary education in Southern Sudan which was merely aimed at producing junior government officers. Furthermore, the education system was not sensitive to the cultural contexts and needs of Southern Sudanese. The government also recognizes the fact that human capital is critical for the development of any nation. The vision is that by 2040, Southern Sudan will have quality education system that prepares its youth to cope effectively with the emerging challenges of the dynamic global environment. This education system will be characterized by its relevance, quality and accessibility; and will apply the latest information technology in expanding and enriching the learning experience.


Prosperous, productive and innovative nation
The vision is to transform the country to an economic powerhouse in which all members of the society play their honest part in the “baking” and sharing of the national cake. This vision will be achieved through the creation of a diversified economy driven by agriculture, industry, mining, manufacturing, tourism and services. The vision recognizes the role of all segments of the population including women, youth and communities synergized through appropriate partnerships. The vision is to generate sizable GDP and achieve full employment scenario in which the number of jobs available in the formal and informal sectors is equal to the number of the citizens seeking employment. It is also envisaged that by 2040, all Southern Sudanese will have obtained access to good quality basic shelter either in rural or urban setups.


Free, just and peaceful nation
The vision recognizes that the lack of freedom, equality and justice are some of the factors which drove the people of Southern Sudan to war. The people fought with the single determination to liberate the nation from the deliberate deprivation of these rights and midwife a just and tranquil society. These rights and aspirations are now enshrined in the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan which seeks to guarantee the rights of all citizens. This vision will seek to entrench and perpetuate a tranquil environment in which freedom, equality, justice and peace thrives.


Democratic and accountable nation
A cardinal tenet of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the vision of the New Sudan is democratic transformation of the country. This will entail the mainstreaming of democratic practices and processes which enjoin the active participation of the citizens in determining their destiny. The vision identifies some of the hallmarks of democracy as decentralization of institutions; regular, free and fair multiparty elections; as well as widening of the democratic space in which all citizens can enjoy their civic rights. The vision is to nurture a Southern Sudan which will have developed morally, ethically upright and educated society matched by exceptional leadership that provides a role model for the younger generation.


Safe and secure nation
Citizens cannot be free if they don’t feel secure in their own country. The vision asserts that true freedom can only be realized if the country is protected from internal and external aggression. By 2040, it is envisioned that Southern Sudan will have established a crime-free society where all forms of crime and illegal possession of firearms as well as drug addiction will be eliminated. It is also envisaged that the law enforcement forces will be trained, strengthened and professionalized appropriately to win sufficient confidence of the citizens. Due to the increasing incidence of natural and other disasters, the vision recognizes disaster preparedness and management as a critical component of security. It is envisaged that by 2040, relevant institutions and procedures will be in place to anticipate, prevent and manage the consequences of natural and manmade disasters.


United and proud nation
The vision underscores the fact that the people of Southern Sudan have been marginalized for many years. It also recognizes the fact that all people of Southern Sudan played a role in the liberation struggle regardless of their ethnicity and domicile with the conviction that their common freedom and aspirations could not be achieved otherwise. The vision seeks to facilitate further integration so that by 2040 the country will have a united citizenry who though may be from diverse cultural or religious backgrounds are patriotic and proud to share a common heritage, national pride and desire for peaceful coexistence. This will be demonstrated by mutual respect and widespread use of the flag and other symbols that signify national harmony and common destiny. The vision also recognizes the place of the family and will seek to strengthen the family unit and maximize its benefits in transmitting social and moral values from generation to generation.


Compassionate and tolerant nation
The people of Southern Sudan have been gone through economic hardship for a very long time, forcing many of them into extreme poverty. Their expectation now is to have a compassionate and caring nation which offers support and opportunity to those who are poor and vulnerable and guarantees equitable share in the benefits of economic growth. It is envisioned that by 2040 all the people of Southern Sudan will have access to productive resources as a means to eradicate poverty to the extent that no one will live below the poverty line; Southern Sudan will be a tolerant nation that cherishes free expression of ideas, free practice of religion and association with other people in the pursuit of legitimate goals; and that no Southern Sudanese will be disadvantaged by gender, age, religion, creed, colour, ethnicity, language or political ideology. Significantly, the new Southern Sudan will have citizens who are law abiding, have strong moral values and exhibit high ethical standards.
 

 

This article was updated on Sep 19, 2010

“Stop child-labour”, urges Labour DG

JUBA, 23 August 2010 - The Director General for Labour and Industrial Relations in the Ministry of Labour and Pubic Service, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Madam Helen Achiro has called for the end of child-labour in Southern Sudan.

 

Madam Helen said this during a speech to close the workshop on child-labour issues held at the Beijing Hotel in Juba on 20th August 2010. The workshop brought together participants from NGOs, Ministry of Education Science and Technology and from the Ministry of Labour Public Service in the Government of Southern Sudan.

 

Madam Helen thanked the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for sending facilitators from Turin in Italy to train about seventeen participants who will act as “Trainers of Trainers” (TOT) to eliminate child labour throughout Southern Sudan.

 

Madam Helen added that all the participants will go and start advocating for the elimination of child-labour through scram model which remains one of the effective models used all over the world. She explained that Southern Sudan is the second country to be trained on this model, after Uganda. She called on the participants to implement the lessons learned during the workshop. However, the DG asserted that unless all stakeholders take the matter of child-labour seriously, the problem will not be eliminated in Southern Sudan.

 

The scram model emphasize that all the rights of children should be respected. One of the ways in which these fundamental rights of children were violated was by recruiting children as child-soldiers. She explained, however, that in Southern Sudan most of the child-soldiers have been demobilized and reintegrated into the society.

 

Madam Helen called on all the stakeholders to collaborate in this front. She explained that the role should not just be left to the government alone.

 

Reported by Justin Jada Joseph
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Kakwa community conducts referendum civic education

JUBA, 23 August 2010 - The Kakwa Community Association held a meeting in Juba on Saturday to enlighten the community on the forthcoming referendum.


Addressing the occasion, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba, Professor Aggrey Abate urged the leaders of the Kakwa community to lobby sufficiently for the representation of the community in all levels of governments. He said citizens of Yei River County had been very hospitable to the SPLM/A during the liberation struggle.


Professor Abate also called for frequent meetings of the community to plan development projects to make the County home second to none. Central Equatoria State Minister of Social Welfare and Religious Affairs, Helen Mursal Boro urged student members of the community not to feel shy to seek assistance to further their studies and stressed the importance of educating girls for a better society in the future.


The president of the Kakwa Community Association in Juba Hon. Paul Yoane Bonju appealed to the entire Kakwa community to work together with the rest of the Southern Sudanese community to complete the arduous journey to the Promised Land through the referendum. He said the main reason of the occasion was to unite the people before referendum. “Yei River County is not only peaceful but is also a model of peace in the whole Sudan and Southern Sudan”, said Bonju. Kakwa Youth leader Mr. Francis Taban Nathaniel told the gathering that time has come for Southern Sudanese to realize that they are full citizens of the country and must vote wisely in the referendum.


Reported by Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Ministry of Health to build laboratories in all states

JUBA, 24 August 2010 – The ministry of Health in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) is planning to build medical laboratories in all the ten states of Southern Sudan.


The Undersecretary in the ministry, Dr Olivia Lomoro announced this during a workshop for health sector stakeholders yesterday. She said that this initiative will help take medical services closer to the people and also to reduce the costs associated with seeking health services from Juba which is far from the states.

 


Dr Olivia Lomoro [File Photo]


Dr Lomoro called on the international non-governmental organizations and other sector stakeholders to support these efforts and help extend the reach of health services to all parts of the country. The workshop was held at the Juba Grand Hotel.


Reported by Olaw Othon Dak
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

GOSS Information minister meets diplomats

JUBA, 24 August 2010 – The minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin yesterday held meetings with diplomats from Iran and Zimbabwe in his office in Juba. During the meetings, the minister briefed the diplomats on the implementation of the CPA and the preparations for the forthcoming referendum.

 


H.E. Marial in meeting with Zimbabwean ambassador [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The two delegations appreciated the cordial relations between their countries and Southern Sudan and expressed hope that this friendship will continue for the mutual benefit of the countries. The Zimbabwean delegation also promised to support the ministry in its capacity building efforts by providing training for journalists and other media personnel in the country.


The Iranian delegation was led by their ambassador Jawad Tor Kabary who is based in Khartoum while the Zimbabwean one was led by the country’s Ambassador Ms Hilda Suka Mafudze.

 


H.E. Marial meets the Iranian delegation [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Reported by William Jufur Akol
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

“Security situation in Southern Sudan is calm”, assures SPLA Affairs ministry

JUBA, 24 August 2010 – The ministry for SPLA and Veterans Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) today assured the public and other stakeholders that the security situation in Southern Sudan is calm and that all efforts are being made to maintain it.


This was announced by the Undersecretary in the ministry, Lt. Gen. Bior Ajang Duot and SPLA spokesperson Lt. Gen. Kuol Dem Kuol during the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba.


They explained that even though there are some isolated cases of lawlessness in some areas especially in Jonglei and Unity states where some militia groups have been wrecking havoc, the overall security situation is normal all over Southern Sudan.


The two security officers also announced that the helicopter which was detained recently in Paloch airstrip together with the crew and passengers will be flown to Juba today. They also explained that the helicopter saga is an embarrassment to the national government and that investigations are ongoing to unravel the mysteries around it. They emphasized that the rights of all the crew and passengers will be respected according to the existing legal provisions.

 


H.E. Marial chairs the media forum. On his right is Gen Ajang and on his left is Mr Mustafa Biong Majak, the Ag. Undersecretary of Information [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Gen Kuol reiterated SPLA’s commitment to protect the country and the people living within its borders. He said that the army is now pursuing the militia groups, including the LRA, aggressively and expressed hope that the recurrent attacks will soon be a thing of the past. He asserted that the army will not tolerate any persons or groups jeopardizing the security of the country and added that it will not spare any such entities. Gen Kuol announced that a militia leader in Unity state, Col Gatluak Gai was injured in combat and is reportedly in Khartoum for treatment and that Col Kun Char has taken over from him. He said the army will not relent until they are crashed. The general also reported that the former militia that used to attack boats in Upper Nile and led by Guang Robert who is associated with SPLM-DC, has been crashed. The militia leader, he reported, is now under the protection of the Shiluk king and is seeking opportunity to negotiate with the government.


They also called on the international community to work together to resolve the menace of the LRA. They also appealed to the national government and the other relevant authorities to negotiate with the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic to increase patrol on their borders and also to allow the SPLA to pursue the LRA forces in those countries. They said that the SPLA is now prohibited from entering any of these countries to pursue the LRA which continue to ambush and then retreat to their safe havens in the neighbouring countries. “LRA is not a strong army; they only hit and run. They behave like rats which come out of their hideouts at night, steal food crumbs and then rush back to the holes”, Gen Kuol said adding that the SPLA will not spare any efforts to push them out of the country.


The generals refuted claims reported in some media outlets and on the Web that the SPLA forces have used excessive force in the disarmament process in Pigi County in Jonglei state. They explained that there were cases of alleged rape which were investigated and found to be false. They reiterated that the SPLA is not a guerrilla army any longer but a professional army whose members conduct themselves with decorum and respect to human rights. They also announced that disarmament is currently ongoing in Warrap state. They said that these disarmament efforts will continue until all illegally-held arms are mopped out.


The security officers also denied reports that the SPLA is harassing foreigners and international non-governmental organizations. They said that the army has only dealt with isolated cases where individual doctors have given medicine and food supplies to militia groups. They mentioned the case of Tear Fund which is recognized as a credible humanitarian organization but added that some of the individual employees of the organization had been engaged in un-lawful activities and links with some militia leading to their arrest. In such cases, they explained, the target is not the organization but the unscrupulous individuals. They also said that the recent registration of foreigners was a regular security measure to smoke out possible criminals in the country to avoid situations like the terrorist bombing in Kampala in July.

 


Gen Kuol stresses a point during the media forum [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The officers also said that payment of the SPLA soldiers will be reviewed as soon as funds are available. They explained that the government appreciates the army and is committed to its welfare but added that it is not possible to increase the salaries at the moment. The terms of services will be reviewed as soon as ample resources are available.


The two officials addressed the media on behalf of their minister, H.E. Nhial Deng Nhial, who is out of the country on official duty. They were supported by the minister for Information, H.E. Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin who responded to policy and political issues on behalf of his colleague. For instance, Dr Marial explained that the SPLA has been transformed into a modern army with requisite legislation and policy frameworks entrenched within the Interim Constitution and other Acts of Parliament. He also said that he will create another slot in the near future when the line minister is available.


Dr Marial also announced that next week’s media forum will focus on the provision of health services and will be addressed by the minister for health. Today's forum was also attended by top Ministry of Information officials led by the Ag. Undersecretary, Mr Mustafa Biong Majak and Mr Arop Bagat, the DG of Southern Sudan Radio and TV, among others.
 

 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Police concerned over increment of road accidents

JUBA, 25 August 2010 – The traffic police in Juba have decried the rising incidents of traffic accidents and offences in the capital. The Director of Southern Sudan Traffic Police Service, Major General Joseph Lado Lako, said that Juba had experienced a decrease in traffic accidents but there was a sudden increase last week.


Speaking to the Southern Sudan Radio in an interview on Tuesday in his office in Juba, General Lako identified drunkenness, over-speeding and general negligence as the major causes of traffic accidents in Juba. He said the recommended speed within the city is supposed to be 40 kph but lamented that drivers don’t obey this rule leading to fatal accidents taking the lives of pedestrians, drivers or passengers.


General Lako also explained that harassment of public transport vehicles drivers is attributed to disobedience by elements of the traffic police force but not with the intention of targeting foreign drivers. He cautioned the members of the public not to accept to be driven by underage persons because it contravenes the traffic rules and regulations for drivers in Southern Sudan. He said that anyone who does risks the life of his/her child and would always be subject to punishment by law. He also blamed the public and drivers for their rigidity in obeying pedestrian crossing ethics leading to accidents.


“It is our sole responsibility and top [priority] to ensure that traffic accidents are completely reduced and minimized as we enter the referendum period”, General Lako emphasized. He concluded that the top agenda immediately after referendum is to reform the traffic department through further training of the officers to enable them to manage traffic issues and accidents effectively.


Report by Atok D Baguoot
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

New studios for SSRTV planned

JUBA, 26 August 2010 – Plans are underway to design new and modern studios for the Southern Sudan Radio and Television. This was revealed by the minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) yesterday when he met a delegation from Media Consultancy International (MCI), a media firm based in Germany and which is undertaking the project.


The MCI delegation, which was led by Ralf Schimmel, underscored the role of the media in mobilizing the citizens to participate actively in democratic processes such as the forthcoming referendum. The minister, on the hand, urged the team to ensure that the studios being designed meet international standards.

 


H.E. Marial meets the French diplomat


Dr Marial also met the Assistant Director of the Embassy of France in Juba, Mr Claude Ryba, and discussed possible French support in the strengthening of radio and TV journalism in Southern Sudan. One possible areas of support, they agreed, is training of journalists. This will be done in due course.


In another event, the minister met a team of engineers from the Sudan National Radio led by Mahajob Osman al Hassan who is the director of Radio Omdurman. The engineers are in Juba to assess areas in which they can support Southern Sudan Radio. They are considering installing new radio transmitters to facilitate extensive coverage of radio broadcasts in Southern Sudan. They will also visit Malakal and Wau.

 


Dr Marial welcomes Miss Malaika
 


Dr. Marial also met the reigning Miss Malaika Southern Sudan, Ms Atong Ajak Maj, and her predecessor Ms Nok Nora Duany. The minister urged the beauties to mentor young girls and also to provide humanitarian assistance to the community especially on issues affecting children.


Reported by William Jufur
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Labour and Public Service minister meets diplomats

JUBA, 26 August 2010 - The GOSS Minister of Labour and Public Services, H.E Awut Deng Acuil yesterday met the consul general of the Republic of China, Mr. Zhang Hao, in her office. They discussed about the formation of agricultural training institutes, vocational training institutions and co-operative farms in Southern Sudan as China has experiences in these areas.

 


H.E. Awut (left) meeting the Chinese ambassador


Furthermore, they also discussed about possible research to investigate soil fertility to ascertain which type of crop yields best in Southern Sudan and which one will be used as a cash crop to be sold at the International level.


In another development, the minister also met the Ambassador of Zimbabwe Madam Hilda Suka with whom she discussed the CPA implementation, particularly on the upcoming referendum and the political atmosphere in the country.


Reported by Jogo Joice Duku 
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

“We have not received any funds from CBOS”, minister asserts

JUBA, 26 August 2010 – The minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, today asserted that GOSS has not received any money from the Central Bank of Sudan (CBOS) as shares from the oil revenue.


The minister was reacting to allegations from the CBOS officials that GOSS has already received its share of the funds. Dr Marial tabled financial statements from the Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS) and GOSS ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which indicated that the monies have not been remitted as claimed. Dr Marial explained that the funds, in excess of 132 million Euros, have not been received.

 


Dr Marial addressing the media
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Dr Marial appealed to the top leadership of the country to resolve the matter amicably. He, however, castigated the CBOS governor for being dishonest and acting in the interests of only one partner in the government. He reminded the governor that Sudan is still one country and that CBOS ought to serve the entire country. He said that CBOS holds all its funds on behalf of the people of the Sudan and should not be seen to be partial in its operations.


The minister said that GOSS needs these funds urgently to honour its obligations for the people of Southern Sudan. He expressed hope that this issue will be resolved as soon as possible so that the scarcity of hard currency in Southern Sudan may be resolved. He said this matter is affecting the economy negatively and should be given the priority that it deserves.


The minister made these remarks during a press conference at the New Sudan Hotel in Juba today.
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Enemies of Southern Sudan sabotaging security in the country

JUBA, 26 August 2010 – The enemies of the Southern Sudan are sponsoring militia to cause insecurity in the country in an effort to sabotage the forthcoming referendum, the minister for Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Gier Chuang Aluong, has said. Maj. Gen. Gier explained that the intention of the saboteurs is to portray Southern Sudan as ungovernable and not ripe for independence so as to deny it the right to self-determination.


During a media conference held today in Juba, also attended by the diplomatic corps, the minister explained that the recent capture of the helicopter suspected to have delivered weapons and food supplies to the renegade General George Athor is evidence that the militia groups in Southern Sudan are receiving support from some benefactors. The minister further explained that investigations have revealed that the national intelligence and SPLM-DC are some of the sponsors of these militia groups.

 


Maj. Gen. Gier addressing the media accompanied by Dr Marial and top security officers
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


On the helicopter, the minister explained that GOSS leaders have been receiving information, since 2006, from the public about a white helicopter which had been hovering over the region and sometimes dropping unknown cargo, especially in areas such as Pibor and Akobo whose security has been volatile. He said that initially, the leaders suspected the UN agencies because they are the ones which have white helicopters. The capture of the helicopter, he said, now settles the suspicions.


Critically, the minister explained that the crew and the passengers captured with the plane have given leads on the identities and motive of the sponsors of the operations. For instance, he explained that the crew reported that Dr Lam Akol have in the past contributed to the hiring of the helicopter and paid SDG 200,000 for ten hours’ operation to and from Belewic. The allegations about the involvement of the SPLM-DC, the minister said, have been corroborated by the former secretary general of the party, Mr Charles Kisanga, who decamped from the party recently to rejoin the mainstream SPLM.


Gen Gier explained that the SPLA received a tip from peace-loving members of the national intelligence about the helicopter, its trip and cargo on the 7th August 2010. The information intimated that the helicopter would deliver weapons and food supplies to Gen Athor. The SPLA together with the JIU laid ambush and intercepted the plane on its return trip. The minister explained that the security forces did not intercept the plane on the first leg of the trip to let it pick the passengers who would provide more information and evidence of the motive of the sponsors. The plane, its crew and passengers are now in the custody of GOSS. Investigations are ongoing and appropriate legal actions will be taken once they are complete.

 


Some of the diplomats who attended the function
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


It is now evident that the cases of insecurity instigated by the militia have been supported from elsewhere to wreck havoc in Southern Sudan. “We have no factories that manufacture guns and ammunition; these militia get the weapons from somewhere else”, he said adding that the helicopter saga points to the sources of this support. The minister asserted that in spite of these incidents, and many others, GOSS is determined to lead the people of Southern Sudan to a peaceful implementation of the CPA. He said that the Southerners do not fear war but are restrained by their love for sustainable peace.


The minister decried the apparent dishonesty of some CPA partners and the Government of National Unity. “Sudan is eating itself when it is supposed to be making unity attractive”, he said. He emphasized that under the circumstances, unity is not tenable. He called on the international community to impress upon the CPA partners to be honest and pursue civil strategies to either unity or separation. He asserted that one partner cannot instigate disharmony and bloodbath in another’s region and expect no consequences. The minister emphasized, however, that Southern Sudan will not go back to war in spite of the provocation.


“We have tasted the bitterness of war. We are not interested in war now; we want to enjoy peace; to be engineers and doctors just like the citizens of the other countries in the region”, he emphasized. He said that even though the efforts of GOSS were being sabotaged, the government will not relent. “We are disarming the civilians and someone is busy rearming them”, he lamented but added that the resolve of the government to deal with insecurity conclusively will not be derailed.

 


Ag. Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information, Mr Mustafa Biong Majak (left) accompanied by the DG of Southern Sudan Radio and TV, Mr Arop Bagat (second left); Director of News Agency of Southern Sudan (NASS), Mr Moyiga Nduru (second right); and Director of Training and Research, Ministry of Information, Mr Gwado Alor (right) follow the proceedings.
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


H.E. Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information who organized the media conference and was in attendance also said that GOSS is taking security matters seriously. He urged all the stakeholders and partners to collaborate in these efforts. He explained that the government is working round-the-clock to deal with insecurity issues emanating from LRA attacks, cattle rustling and militia groups.


The media briefing, held at the New Sudan Hotel in Juba, was also attended by top security officers, diplomatic corps and journalists from both local and international press. Earlier, journalists had an opportunity to view the helicopter which is at the Juba International Airport.
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

South losing confidence in Central Bank governor, Information minister says

JUBA, 27 August 2010 - The Minister of Information, Hon. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, warned on Thursday that the Governor of Sudan’s Central Bank, Mr. Sabir Mohamed al-Hassan, is losing the confidence of the people of the south by insisting that the bank had paid the south’s July and August shares of the oil revenue in hard currency.


‘’This is not correct. We have not received our share of the oil revenue in hard currency’’, said Dr. Marial, who is also the official spokesperson of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).


Mr. Sabir on Tuesday (24 August 2010) insisted that the bank had paid up the south’s July and August shares in hard currency. His remarks followed a complaint by South Sudan’s minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. David Deng Athorbei, that the bank had ‘’unilaterally stopped payment of the GoSS 50 percent share of the revenues in hard currency, and instead made the payment in local currency’’.


Mr. Sabir alleged that the Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS) has a reserve of US$726 million, twice the amount the Central Bank possesses. Responding to Mr. Sabir’s allegations, a source at BOSS said: “We don’t have US$726 million. We only have a reserve of about US$300 million. Whenever the south has reserve, Sabir thinks it doesn’t need hard currency. This is why they transferred our share in local currency in July and August. What they don’t know is that this money is not transferred here (Juba) to be kept. It is to be used for providing services to our people.’’


Hon. Athorbei told a news briefing in Juba on 24 Aug 2010 that the Central Bank’s action was starving the economy of southern Sudan of the hard currency it desperately needs to operate. “The foreign exchange needed by the business community to pay for imports and to meet their foreign currency obligations and commitments cannot be provided. Investor confidence in southern Sudan is eroded as we cannot meet their foreign exchange requirements. The public is unable to send money to their families abroad for school fees or any other purpose’’, said Hon. Athorbei.


The 2005 north-south peace deal, called the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), calls for a 50/50 share of oil revenue between the north and the south. “Sabir is becoming a problem, although the Central Bank of Sudan has no role in the CPA. The CPA is very clear that the federal ministry of finance in Khartoum deals with the ministry of finance in Juba. It didn’t say that the south should deal through Sabir and the Central Bank,’’ the source BOSS said.


Mr. Sabir, a diehard Islamic fundamentalist, is coming under intense criticism in the south. His unilateral decision to stop the payment of the south’s share of the oil revenue in hard currency is widely seen in Juba as a desperate attempt to undermine the CPA at the time when the south is preparing for a referendum in January 2011 to decide on whether to remain part of a united Sudan or opt for an independent state.


“This (decision to stop the payment of the oil revenue in hard currency) has shaken our confidence in the governor of the Central Bank of Sudan. The governor is forgetting that he is serving both the north and south. We hope that this problem will be resolved amicably’’, Dr. Marial said.


There is a perception in the north that the south is using its hard currency reserves for buying weapons. Oil is crucial for the Government of Southern Sudan which depends on the revenue for 97 percent of its annual budget.


By Moyiga Nduru

 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Government of Southern Sudan Exposes Plot to Disrupt Referendum

JUBA, 27 August 2010 - The Minister for Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Maj. Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong has exposed a plot by what he called “elements within and outside Sudan” to disrupt or postpone “free, fair and timely conduct of the referendum in Southern Sudan”. 

 

Speaking during a media briefing in Juba on Thursday, Maj. Gen. Gier said some elements in Khartoum are supporting militia activities in Southern Sudan to create instability in Southern Sudan in order to call off referendum on self-determination. “We are aware that some elements in Khartoum are arming, training, providing financial and logistical support to armed groups and militias to cause instability that threatens peace and security in Southern Sudan. In so doing, some of these elements hope to use that as a basis for postponing referendum or stopping the exercise from taking place all together”, he said. 

 

The minister cited the recent capture of an aircraft transporting soldiers loyal to renegade Gen. George Athor Deng as a clear evidence of the involvement of elements in Khartoum in the recent wave of tribal conflicts and rebellion particularly in Greater Upper Nile region. “Our security forces captured a helicopter owned and operated by Sudan Airways that had been chartered to deliver supplies to Athor’s forces as well as [to] transport wounded soldiers to Khartoum for treatment”, he added. 

 

He also added that the helicopter which has been spotted several times in the area had been hired by Dr. Lam Akol who is working closely with Gen. Athor to form a political movement headed by Dr. Lam the former leading the military wing. The minister added that Dr. Lam Akol has been receiving support from Khartoum to disrupt preparations for referendum in Southern Sudan. 

 

Maj. Gen. Gier added that Sudanese security have been inciting tribal conflicts through re-arming communities and encouraging them to fight against each other. He reiterated that Gen. Tanginya incident in Malakal in 2006, Abyei clashes, tribal conflicts in Jonglei State of 2009 and LRA menace are all part of a master-plan designed by elements in Khartoum to portray Southern Sudan as unstable, insecure and that the Government of Southern Sudan has failed to govern the South and use this to postpone referendum. 

 

He appealed to the international community to support the Government of Southern Sudan to ensure “a timely, free, fair and transparent conduct of referendum that reflects wishes and aspirations of Southern Sudanese people”. 

 

Maj. Gen. Gier was accompanied by GOSS minister for Information, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, SPLA spokesman Lt. Gen. Kuol Deim Deng and other top security officials of the Government of Southern Sudan. Representatives of the diplomatic missions and consulates also attended. 

 

By John Agou Wuoi 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

“Come, get treated of obstetric fistula”, urges ministry of health

JUBA, 27 August 2010 – Women suffering from the obstetric fistula condition should report to the nearest hospital to get treatment because this condition can now be managed here in Southern Sudan, H.E Dr. Luka Tombekana Manoja, the minister for Health in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) said yesterday.


The GOSS Ministry of Health in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched obstetric fistula surgical operation in Rumbek from the 16th August to 16th of September 2010. Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical intervention. A woman suffering from this illness usually has leaking urine or faeces or both, and in most cases, a still birth.

 


Dr Manoja (right) addresses the press accompanied by Dr Lomoro (left)
[Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


This condition leaves the patient traumatized and with a tendency to hide from the public. This problem is being addressed by GOSS in collaboration with UNFPA which have hired specialist doctors from the neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia in order to redeem the situation in the Southern Sudan. Normally, patients have to come to Juba Teaching Hospital for treatment for this condition but many people seem not to be aware of it.


Dr Manoja explained that under this initiative, the patients will be transported to Rumbek free of charge and given accommodated till they are treated. Successful operations take about one month.


On his part Mr. Kondwani Mwangulube of the UNFPA South Sudan explained that since the beginning of the campaign 20 patients have been successfully been operated in Rumbek. He expressed hope that the number will increase with time as the information continues to reach the people in the rural areas.


The two were addressing a press conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Juba yesterday afternoon. The conference was also attended by the Acting Undersecretary in the ministry, Dr. Olivia Lomoro; UNFPA representatives and journalists from different media houses in Southern Sudan.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

“White chopper would never make unity attractive”, asserts GOSS minister

JUBA, 28 August 2010 - The Minister for Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Major General Gier Chuang Aluong, has categorically criticized the Sudan ruling National Congress Party (NCP) as an entity which has no political will of making unity achievable and attractive to the people of Southern Sudan as provided for in the Naivasha peace accord which brought the longest civil war in Africa’s largest country to an end.


Addressing a joint press conference attended by ambassadors, heads of different consulates and other dignitaries, besides the media, an eloquent Gen. Aluong attributed all sources of instability, rampant innocent killings and insecurity as artistic design by NCP in Khartoum to ensure that Southerners don’t enjoy the dividends of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). He said making unity attractive through the use of Sudan Airways white Chopper which ferries ammunitions, firearms and other logistical supplies to militias so that they compromise peace in the South would never help lure any Southerner in changing his/her mind towards unity of death.


He said the CPA which was signed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in 2005 between the NCP and the SPLM has obliged the two principal parties to desist from supporting militias loyal to each other, giving only two armies besides the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) composed of aggregates of equal numbers from the two sides of SAF and SPLA. However, he said some elements in the north are still supporting militias working against the Government of Southern Sudan and this is evidenced by the capture of the chopper M.I 8 ST-SFD-054 at Paloch recently in Upper Nile State.


The chopper in question codenamed as Special Flight Services was brought to Juba on 23rd August after it was captured ferrying military equipments and logistics to dissident General George Athor Deng who rebelled after he lost the seat of Jonglei state governor in the April elections to the SPLM candidate, Kuol Manyang Juuk. According to the minister, it is in the interest of all Southerners to see that the CPA is implemented fully.


In addition to the capture of the chopper, Gen. Aluong said the government is puzzled by the reckless utterances meant to incite chaos in the South by elements in the North like what was reported in a Chinese daily newspaper on August 25th quoting State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamal Hassan, as saying that if the result of the referendum in Southern Sudan does not bring peace and stability to the region, it will not be recognized. “Peace and stability is a top priority for the Sudanese government, and if the result of [the] referendum is war rather than peace, we will not recognize it”, the minister is reported to have said.


Also in attendance was the GOSS Information minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, who said the CPA which was witnessed and supported by countries of IGAD, US, UK and Norway plus Arab League and many others is the only viable provision that would lead Sudan to sustainable peace, hence, there is need of internal support and goodwill to maintain it.


Dr. Benjamin said that the maintenance of peace in Southern Sudan is marred by several conflicts ranging from inter-tribal fights and cattle rusting which are instigated by elements in the NCP. However, he dismissed reports of inter-tribal conflicts in Southern Sudan saying that what existed in Southern Sudan is cattle rustling which has been there since the Anglo-Egyptian era. He said GOSS had been receiving reports from chiefs and civilians about the infamous white chopper which used to hover over Southern Sudan but NCP had been denying it.


The SPLA spokesperson, Lieutenant General Kuol Diem Kuol, said the chopper was captured after peace-loving Sudanese in the national intelligence gave them a tipoff about the plane supplying ammunitions to the renegade General Athor. He said certain elements in the Sudan government which support such mischievous activities do so to create the impression that Southern Sudan is not capable to manage its affairs and therefore should not be allowed to govern itself after the referendum.


By Atok Dan
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Madam Nyandeng Garang launches “Keep Juba Clean” initiative

JUBA, 28 August 2010 - The Advisor to the President of the Government of Southern Sudan on Gender and Human Rights, Madam Nyandeng Garang today launched “Keep Juba Initiative” to rid Juba town of dirt and plastic bags.

 

Speaking during the launch of the initiative in Juba, Madam Nyandeng said the initiative is an important step in preventing diseases such as cholera caused by unhygienic and unhealthy conditions. “Diseases such as cholera brought about by unhealthy living conditions can be avoided by practising basic hygiene”, she said. She added that the initiative is also aimed at uplifting the status of Juba city to the level of the other developed cities in Africa and around the world.

 

Madam Nyandeng further challenged all the government institutions particularly the ministries of the Government of Southern Sudan to promote cleanliness and hygienic conditions at their places of work by mobilising their staff to take up the initiative. “Almost all the ministries are not clean. You will find that dirt is lying all over the area. These ministries have the resources and more importantly human resources that they can mobilize to keep their areas of work clean”, she stressed.

 

The Presidential Advisor urged the Government of Southern Sudan to come up with laws that will restrict dumping of waste and other materials in Southern Sudan. Madam Nyandeng described Southern Sudan as a “dumping ground” for used materials from other countries in the region. “Southern Sudan has become a dumping ground for waste from other countries. For example, cars that are no longer driven in other countries have found their way into Southern Sudan. The Government of Southern Sudan has to put an end to this”, she added. She further urged the government to ban use of plastic bags all over Southern Sudan.

 

Madam Nyandeng said the much-anticipated independence of Southern Sudan after the referendum will only be realized if Southern Sudanese can pay attention to simple tasks such as maintaining cleanliness and hygienic conditions around their homes and places of work.

 

The “Keep Juba Clean” initiative organised by the family of the late Dr. John Garang De Mabiro, was also attended by representatives of the Kenya Commercial Bank, Jit Supermarket, SPLA and women church groups.

 

By John Agou Wuoi
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Standoff on hard currency resolved

JUBA, 28 August 2010 – The standoff between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and its counterpart in the Government of National Unity (GONU) as well as the Central Bank of Sudan (CBOS) over the remission of Southern Sudan’s share of oil revenues in local currency, and not hard currency, has been resolved.


The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was briefed on the matter yesterday by the President of the Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS) and Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Sudan, Mr. Elijah Malok.


Shortly after the briefing, Mr. Malok told the press that the decision to transfer Southern Sudan’s oil share in the local currency was taken by individuals, among them being the minister for Finance in the GONU and implemented by officials in the Central Bank of Sudan.


Mr. Malok revealed that the issue was resolved after the GOSS sent a high-level delegation to Khartoum to look into the issue. The BOSS president said the political system of the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Governor of Central Bank of Sudan has now agreed to send Southern Sudan’s oil share in hard currency as usual.


By Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

MOH to train medical personnel

JUBA, 30 August 2010 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) prioritizes the training of medical professionals and other health practitioners. Consequently, the ministry is looking for scholarship opportunities for the healthcare service providers to improve their capacity in delivering the services.


This was reiterated by the GOSS minister for Health, H.E Dr. Luka Tombekana Manoja and his undersecretary, Dr Olivia Lomoro during a meeting with the Director General and all the directors in the ministry held late last week at the Juba Teaching Hospital.


During the meeting, Dr Manoja also unveiled his vision for the ministry. The minister and the undersecretary promised to look into the challenges facing the medical and health workers in a bid to enhance their capacity to deliver quality healthcare services to the people.


Dr Lomoro also cautioned the healthcare workers against taking money illegally from the patients. She said that a committee will be set up to investigate allegations that some doctors are taking money from patients without following the procedures established by MOH and the Public Service.
 

Reported by Olaw Othon Dak
 

This article was updated on Sep 21, 2010

Southern Sudanese benefit from Regional Capacity Building Project

JUBA, 30 August 2010 - Eighteen Southern Sudanese civil servants have benefited from a five days workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation Programme under the Regional Capacity Building Project supported by Palama in South Africa. The project targets countries like Southern Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi that emerged from conflict situations.

 

The Director General for Capacity Building Mr. James Tipo of the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the Government of Southern Sudan during the awarding ceremony on 27th August 2010, urged the participants to implement the lessons learnt to improve respect for departments in the government.

 

According to Sunjay Panday, Support Manager for Palama, the Regional Capacity Building Project is aimed to improve the management and leadership capacity of the public service in the three countries emerging from conflict through training and development.

 


Some of the graduands

 

Palama is a South African government department mandated to provide quality and customized training and development to public service institutions at the national and provincial level.

 

Mr Panday added that earlier on 9th December 2009 in Kigali a meeting was held on Capacity Building which revealed that a strong organisational development intervention will be required to develop a Public Service Training Strategy for the Government of Southern Sudan and to establish a management development institution able to implement the learning programme on the project.

 

He concluded that “the Regional Capacity Building Projects also aimed at strengthening institutional capacity building and improved curriculum development and training.”

 

Reported by Justin Jada Joseph
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

SPLM USA donates 11 FM radio stations to GOSS

JUBA, 30 August 2010 – The members of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) living in the United States of America (USA) on Friday, 27 August 2010, donated eleven (11) FM radio stations to the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).


Receiving the donation on behalf of the government from the SPLM USA delegation, the Acting Undersecretary in the GOSS Ministry of Information, Mr Mustafa Biong Majak thanked the SPLM USA for their donation to the government. He also emphasized that the mass media and especially radio will be very critical in mobilizing the people of Southern Sudan for the referendum. He said that this donation has come at the opportune time.


Mr. Ladu Gobel, the head of the delegation, commended the Ministry of Information for its role in opening the way for them. He also appreciated the ministry for its commitment to the media work and continuing to inform Southern Sudanese and the general public with accurate information on the current affairs in the south. He also thanked the ministry for easing the facilitation of the licenses and provision of the frequencies for the eleven (11) FM radio stations that they have now donated to the GOSS.


Reported by William Jufur
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

SSLA restores immunity of SPLM-DC members

JUBA, 30 August 2010 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today voted to restore the parliamentary immunity of the SPLM-DC members.


During SSLA’s sitting No: 20/2010 which was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker James Wani Igga, the GOSS Minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, H.E John Luk Jok presented the request to restore the immunity of the members who had been stripped of the immunity following an incident in Malakal on 22 May 2010 in which a paramount chief and seven other were murdered by unknown gunmen.


The members were stripped of their immunity to enable the relevant authorities to investigate the crime. The minister explained that the investigations are now complete and that the evidence does not directly link any of the members with the criminal incident.


The minister asserted that any accused person can be treated as not guilty until the evidence pointing otherwise is produced. He argued that since the four members of the August House are found not guilty, they should therefore be set at liberty as required by the law. He also said that the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development authority is given by the law and especially Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly. He urged the members of the August House not to mix criminal issues with politics.


After the minister’s presentation, the honourable members deliberated the request of the minister. After discussions and deliberations a motion was raised to restore the immunity of the SPLM-DC honourable members. A counter motion was also raised against the restoration of immunity. When the two motions were put to the vote, 86 honourable members supported the immunity restoration while 4 rejected it. 6 honourable members abstained. The members of the Specialized Committee who were busy with 2010 Supplementary Budget did not participate in the voting.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Sudan’s Presidency agree to hold referendum on schedule

JUBA, 30 August 2010 - The Sudan Presidency met yesterday 29th August 2010 evening under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic of the Sudan, H.E. Field Marshal Omar Hassan al Bashir and agreed to hold the referendum of the self-determination for the Southern Sudan on 9th January 2011.


In a press conference held yesterday Lt.Gen. Sahlah Abdulla el Gosh, the Security Advisor for the President of the Republic and Mr. Pagan Amum Okech, the Government of Southern Sudan Minister for Peace-building and CPA Implementation called on the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) to carry out the points agreed on to complete the implementation as scheduled in a conducive atmosphere and to be free and fair.


The leaders pointed out that the Presidency meeting resolved that the demarcation of South – North boundary should be implemented before the referendum takes place. To support this, the Presidency formed a joint political committee headed by H.E. Pagan Amum Okech and Lt. Gen. Sahlah el Gosh to supervise the implementation of the boundary demarcation process and to provide political support for it.


H.E. Amum underscored the resolve of the Presidency to solve all the constraints confronting the Referendum Commission for Southern Sudan. He announced that the Presidency will meet today 30th August 2010 with the commission to provide them with the resolutions and the decisions taken. H.E. Amum also told the press that the Presidency will provide the necessary budget for the referendum to finalize the CPA implementation. He assured the people that the days coming ahead shall witness joint efforts between the two partners to move the constraints and to create new political arena to achieve peace.


By Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

SSLA forms Referendum Committee

JUBA, 31 August 2010 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today formed the Parliamentary Committee for Southern Sudan 2011 Referendum.


During SSLA’s sitting No: 21/2010 a motion was presented by Tulio Odongi Anahus to establish a Parliamentary Committee for Southern Sudan 2011 Referendum to oversee the Referendum. The motion was a result of sitting No: 14 held on 19th July 2010 which recommended establishing the committee.


Today’s session was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker James Wani Igga in the presence of H.E. Makuei Lueth, the minister for Parliamentary Affairs; and H.E. John Luk Jok, the minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development.


After the presentation, the motion was deliberated and discussed then the SSLA established the committee and nominated seven (7) members to it. The members are:

 

  1. Hon. Dengtiel A. Kur - Chairperson
  2. Hon. Tulio Odongi - Secretary
  3. Hon. Philip Thon Leek - Member
  4. Hon. Beatrice Aber - Member
  5. Hon. Dr. Richard K. Mulla - Member
  6. Hon. Andrew Ukuac - Member
  7. Hon. Charles Majok Alier - Member


The August House agreed that the committee work on a draft and present the final draft to SSLA within seven (7) days shortly after passing 2010 Supplementary Budget. Today’s attendance was 100 honourable members.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot 
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

“We are soldiering on despite myriad challenges”, declares Health minister

JUBA, 31 August 2010 – The minister for Health in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Luka Tombekana Manoja, today declared that the ministry is determined to offer quality medical and healthcare services to all Southern Sudanese in spite of the myriad challenges it faces.


Addressing this week’s media forum accompanied by the Undersecretary in the ministry, Dr Olivia Lomoro, the minister asserted that the ministry has achieved much despite the fact that it began from scratch only five years ago. He said that the ministry is determined to promote healthy living as a means of preventing illnesses which, he emphasized, is better than curing ailments. Dr Manoja also said that the ministry has established health facilities around the country and encouraged the citizens to make use of them.


The minister listed kalazar, malaria, cholera and typhoid as some of the diseases that are rampant in the country. Other health conditions of concern, he said, include maternal health, guinea worms and sleeping sickness. Lack of doctors, dilapidated infrastructure and insufficient drugs, are the other challenges. However, he said the ministry is doing its level best and with the available resources to expand the reach of healthcare services in all states of Southern Sudan. For instance, he reported that the ministry is currently conducting immunization campaigns against kalazar in Jonglei and Upper Nile states.


To address these challenges, the minister reported that the ministry is currently prioritizing development of health infrastructure and human resource development. He said that the ministry is working with development partners such as the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) and NGOs in these efforts.


Dr Manoja also explained that the lack of medical personnel was exacerbated by the relocation of the medical faculties from Juba to Khartoum during the war. He also explained that there are only three referral hospitals in the whole of Southern Sudan. He said that this scenario explains why many medical students seek education in Khartoum, Egypt and other countries. He also said that lack of adequate medical facilities has made access to medical care expensive with many people seeking specialized treatment outside the country, a situation which is neither desirable nor affordable.


The minister commended the Egyptian government for establishing the Egyptian Clinic in Juba. He said that this facility will help in making healthcare services more readily and affordably accessible to many Southern Sudanese.


Dr Lomoro urged the people to be more conscious about health issues and use the available facilities. She admitted that there are challenges but explained that there are occasions when even the resources available are not used optimally. He also encouraged the citizens to collaborate with the government to improve medical services. She explained that there are times when the government wishes to train people as health workers yet no persons respond to its call. She also appealed to various cadres of leadership in Southern Sudan to promote healthy living, especially sensitizing the people about the HIV/AIDS scourge.


The GOSS Information minister, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, commended the minister and undersecretary for the brief. He said that provision of healthcare services is critical for the wellbeing of the citizens. He expressed hope that the various strategies that the ministry has espoused will yield fruit and enable Southern Sudanese to become healthy and capable to participate actively in national development.
 

Reported by Emmanuel Dumba Dima

 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

GOSS signs MOU with China

JUBA, 5 September 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) through the minister for Information, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, last Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Republic of China to widen the spectrum of cooperation between the two countries.


Dr Marial commended the support being provided by Government of China in terms of capacity building and provision of medical facilities in Rumbek Hospital. “I wish this cooperation will continue to open more opportunities for the benefit of the two countries”, said Dr. Marial.

 


Dr Marial (second right) signs the MOU accompanied the Chinese and GOSS officials


On his part, the Chinese Consul General, who signed the MOU on behalf of his government, said there are more investment opportunities in Southern Sudan that needs to be harnessed. He identified some of these areas as agriculture, Southern cultural values, building of schools, as well as commerce and trade relationship especially in fishery industry.


Both leaders asserted that the signing of the MOU marks a major milestone towards the strengthening of good relationship and cooperation between the two countries. The signing was witnessed by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang Deng, and the senior government officials.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Internal Affairs minister meets Gen. Joseph Lagu

JUBA, 5 September 2010 - The Minister for Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan, Maj. Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong last week met with Gen. Joseph Lagu, the Special Advisor to GOSS President to discuss issues related to referendum and the general security in Southern Sudan.

 

In a statement after the meeting with the Minister on Tuesday, Gen. Lagu praised the Minister for Internal Affairs for improving general security situation in Southern Sudan since his appointment as the minister. “You are doing very well. You have done a tremendous job to improve general security situation in Southern Sudan”, Gen. Lagu commended the Minister.

 

Gen. Lagu also encouraged the Minister to exert more efforts to improve security ahead of referendum on self-determination scheduled for January next year.

 


Maj. Gen. Gier Chuang (right) during the meeting with Gen. Joseph Lagu (left), Presidential Advisor to GOSS President

 

He called on the entire leadership of the Government of Southern Sudan to ensure that referendum takes place as scheduled and that people of Southern Sudan exercise their democratic right to determine their future through the referendum. He also called on the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly to be on the standby “to decide on behalf of the people of Southern Sudan should a timely, fair, free and transparent conduct of the referendum be compromised”.

 

Gen. Lagu added that he will continue to advise GOSS ministers to serve Southern Sudanese with dedication and integrity. Gen. Lagu is the current Special Advisor to the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit.
 

 

By John Agou Wuoi
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Government appeals for humanitarian assistance for flood victims in Northern Bahr el Ghazal

JUBA, 6 September 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has appealed for humanitarian support for victims of flooding in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBG) state.


Addressing the media and humanitarian agencies last week, the GOSS minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, H.E. James Kok described the situation in NBG as horrible and requiring immediate intervention to save the lives of the affected people. The minister explained that NBG is prone to floods but clarified that the situation this year is worse than it has been in the past. He explained further that this can be attributed to poor planning in Aweil town. He cited the case of Hayad road which he said was built without proper drainage. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Aweil town lies in the lowlands.


The minister reported that about 390,000 people spread around Aweil North, Aweil East, Aweil South, Aweil town and Aweil West, have been affected. Though state authorities are still assessing the situation, it is estimated that 90 percent of property has been damaged. It is also reported that about three people have lost their lives. The minister cautioned that should the situation continue, other waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, malaria and typhoid will affect the people and may result in more lives being lost.


The minister reported that the State government has intervened by forming a crisis management team involving other states, ministries, security agencies, international community and humanitarian agencies represented by UNDP and UNIMIS and state integrated team. The state authorities have also liaised with construction companies to help with excavators and have dug a drainage tunnel of about 7 km to the low land locally known as Toch to help reduce flood in areas of Mathiang, Deng Nhial, Hai Mozifieen, Teedadol, Naivasha and Hai Toch and a bit of Hai Salaam. The companies have also dug a small internal tunnel channel to drain water away from Malou Awer, New Site, Internal Naivasha and Kuom village. They have also blocked the main Kuom channel that brings water into the town along the railway line. Because the situation might deteriorate any time, the government has stationed a water team to monitor the bank of the river with concern that the dike might be broken by water current.


The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs in the Government of National Unity, H.E. Joseph Lual Achwil conveyed the concern of the Presidency about the situation in Aweil. The government is concerned that the flood situation may affect other states such as Jonglei as well. Consequently, teams have been dispatched to the vulnerable areas to monitor the situation and advise accordingly on the appropriate interventions. The teams have carried with them some cooking utensils, blankets and plastics sheets to help situation. The intervention initiatives, however, are being hampered by the poor state of roads.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Maternal mortality rate still high in Southern Sudan – World Bank

JUBA, 6 September 2010 – The maternal mortality rate in Southern Sudan is still high, the World Bank Vice President for African Affairs, Madam Obiageli Ezekwesili, said recently during a tour of Southern Sudan. The World Bank officer said that at least 2000 out of every 100,000 of women that give birth die in the process and asserted that this is unacceptable.

 
Madam Ezekwesili pledged that the World Bank will continue supporting the people of Southern Sudan in capacity building, health care and in the areas of development of the resources through use of technical expertise to identify and address all the challenges facing Southern Sudan. She underscored the fact that the needs of Southern Sudan will not end with the referendum as there will be more issues to deal with regardless of the results of the referendum.


H.E. David Deng Athorbei, the GOSS minister for Finance and Economic Planning, commended the visit of the World Bank leader at this particular time as the people of Southern Sudan approach the referendum. He said that the World Bank has done a great job through Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MTDF). He urged the World Bank to continue helping the government in building the capacity of the human resource and developing the country’s unexploited rich natural resources to enable it manage its non-oil revenue so that it does not depend largely on oil. “I [request] the World Bank to help us fight the poverty. In short we are looking forward [to] the World Bank to [help us] make life [better] for the people of South Sudan”, said Athorbei.


The World Bank leader thanked the people of Southern Sudan for being “such gregarious hosts”. “I had wanted to see South Sudan [through] the eyes of Southern Sudanese. In the various meetings that I had whether with civil society or visiting projects that have been implemented jointly between our centers of administration of Multi-Donor Trust Fund and yourselves as the owners of the project, what I heard from all these meetings is that South Sudanese need development”, she said.


Madam Ezekwesili emphasized that real development will only happen when the government follows the right policy towards service delivery to the people so as to enhance the economic growth. She appreciated the fact that the GOSS President has expressed satisfaction with the World Bank and MDTF projects in the country. She also expressed satisfaction with the World Bank projects in Southern Sudan.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Southern Sudan basketball team to visit USA

JUBA, 6 September 2010 – The Southern Sudan basketball team has been selected to represent the East and Central Africa in an international interschool tournament in the United States of America in June 2011.


This good news was announced over the weekend by Dafallah Deng, the Director of Educational Activities in the Ministry of General Education, the Government of Southern Sudan.


Addressing the occasion at Juba Stadium on Saturday 4 September 2010, to honour the best performance of the team at the East and Central African interschool competitions that took place recently in Kenya, Deng said the selection was a result of the team’s good performance. He called on the government to support student activities in the region.


Southern Sudan will also host the CECAFA inter-school tournaments in 2012.


Reported by Abraham Garang
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Lakes state launches Obstetric Fistula campaign

RUMBEK, 2 September 2010 - Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state woke up on Thursday last week with long processions held by the wildlife unit, prison services, police, school children and women organized groups to mark the launching of the campaign to end Obstetric Fistula across Southern Sudan. The occasion was marked by traditional dances and plays by school children who shared their joy for successful operation on fistula survivors by a team from Hamlin Ethiopia Obstetric Fistula Trust.


Addressing the sea of people gathered at Rumbek State Hospital, Lakes State Governor, Chol Tong Mayay, lauded the efforts made by the Hamlin Ethiopia Obstetric Fistula Trust, and UNFPA for restoring hope and life of those who were one time disowned by their communities because of this medical condition.


He said patients of fistula condition have suffered most than even those of HIV/AIDS because of the social, economic, physical and psychological damage inflicted upon these women by the fistula. “Lakes state as one of the states severely affected by child mortality and other primary health care problems is privileged to witness such a rare occasion meant to put the meaning of liberation to reality”, governor Mayay emphasized.


The governor also pointed out that several young women have lost their lives in obstruct labour during the 21 years of struggle because health facilities in the country side were destroyed. He outlined traditional birth attendance and earlier marriages as things that predispose women to fistula. “It is a collective responsibility as parents, government and individuals to educate our children to resist earlier marriage so that they remain as healthy mothers”, he said. Governor Tong offered land for construction of Fistula Centre in Southern Sudan.


State Advisor on Gender and Human Rights, Mrs. Adak Kosta appealed to the public to report cases of fistula still lying in the rural areas and yet there are facilities to address their malady. She blamed negative cultural attitude as the one that makes women to become vulnerable to preventable medical conditions like fistula. Mrs. Kosta urged the state radio to intensify the campaign on fistula. She also asked husbands to share the pain with their wives in any circumstance like that of fistula instead of running away or disowning them like outcasts.


During the same occasion, Lakes state Minister for Health, Dr. Samuel Mayak Kok said this surgery campaign cannot bring fistula to an end but explained that prevention is the best remedy since the damage caused by the condition won’t go away after the operation. Dr. Kok appealed to men not to disown their beloved wives who suffer from fistula. He appealed to Lakes community to refrain from nomadic lifestyle which takes them away from health facilities to areas where there are no medical services. He explained that this lifestyle, perhaps, explains why Lakes state has the highest number of cases of fistula than other states in Southern Sudan.


On the other hand, Director General of Primary Health Care, GoSS Ministry of Health, who represented the GoSS Ministry of Health, Dr. Angok Gordon Kuol said the campaign to end fistula in Southern Sudan started since 2006 and it is a continuous process that does not only aim at operation of fistula survivors but to strengthen birth attendance as a preventive measure sustainable by local health workers. He said that basic health care is not a privilege but a right stipulated in the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan and the government is obliged to execute it. “Health issues are not individual affairs but a collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that everybody is covered for a functional nation”, Dr. Kuol stressed.


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s Maternal Health Ambassador, Miss Earth Pageant, who represented Southern Sudan in Philippines in 2009, and a Beauty Queen, Mary Aheu Deng Kuduk said that their role would not just be to boast around with beauty but to spearhead maternal health care campaigns in Southern Sudan to ensure that unexposed mothers don’t die from such preventable conditions. “Beauty without help to one’s community is just a thrown-away gift”, Miss Kuduk emphasized.


“As queen of beauty in Southern Sudan, we have to ensure that infant mortality rate and other reproductive deaths have to reduce as we approach referendum so that we enjoy the happiness independent state together”, she said.


Whereas, Mrs. Nyanagon Kon who represented the 26 successfully operated obstetric fistula survivors, said that she had lived a humiliating 11 years with the condition which had made her to be disowned by people who love her. “While living with fistula, I won’t wish to see other women suffering the way I had”, she said.


Reported by Atok Dan 
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Rev. William Chan Achuil appointed the new SSRRC chairperson

JUBA, 7 September 2010 – Rev. William Chan Achuil has been appointed as the new chairperson of the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC).


The appointment of Rev Chan was announced by the minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, H.E. James Kok last week. The minister explained that the decree which carved the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management from SSRRC has been repealed. Consequently, a new decree has been issued reinstating the SSRRC as an independent commission providing humanitarian services in the Government of Southern Sudan.


The minister also explained that during the April elections, the chairman of the SSRRC resigned and was elected as the governor for Upper Nile state. He explained further that Rev. William Chan Achuil has been acting as the chairperson ever since. The minister said that after consultation with his colleague at the federal level, he recommended Rev. Chan to be the chairman of the commission.


“Following our recommendation, the decree has been issued and now Rev. Chan has been appointed as a full chairperson of the commission. He is to continue coordinating humanitarian assistance in areas of need such as Aweil and other states affected by flood”, said the minister.


H.E. Kok also announced the formation of the humanitarian taskforces to coordinate with the main taskforce chaired by the Director General, Mary Abiong that will be based in Juba and will liaise with other taskforces at the state level.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

GOSS minister promises no “if” in the conduct the referendum

JUBA, 7 September 2010 - The minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. John Luk Jok has firmly stated that his ministry has adequate legal counsels who would be in a position to handle violations in the conduct of the referendum and that there is no “if” associated with the conduct of referendum as it will take place in accordance with the CPA schedule.


The minister also said that his ministry would embark on proactive constitutional reviews before the lifetime and term of the current Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan comes to an end as the region enters referendum’s plebiscite next year in January 2010. Addressing journalists who had turned up for weekly press briefing on Tuesday in ministry of Information premise, H.E. Jok pointed out that laws of Southern Sudan shall reflect on positive values and customs of various communities which constituted the population of the region.


He said the legal ministry was established immediately in 2005 in conjunction with interim constitution of Southern Sudan brought about by the CPA to cater for fair and just administration of justice in the region in a manner that reflect human rights like in any other part of the world. “As a legal entity which represents the people and government in any legal contests, our mission is to have a society where the rule of law, justice and fundamental human rights are accorded to all citizens equally regardless of social and political affiliations”, Minister Jok explained.

 


H.E. John Luk Jok (centre) addresses the media forum


The minister also said that the ministry has established legal aid scheme to assist those who cannot afford to hire legal experts to represent them in courts of law as a matter of administering fair judgment to all citizens in equal manner. He also urged the public to be patient and allow the justice system to take its own course on matters relating to corruption. He also emphasized the presumption of innocence of a person accused of a crime until it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was committed and an appropriate verdict given.


He said the ministry cannot concoct evidence to incriminate any accused persons for the sake of executing laws as it will also contravene the basic human rights that protect everybody in a democratic society. The minister admitted that there is a backlog remand and pending cases awaiting trial in different courts in Southern Sudan and pledged that the is working tirelessly to handle them as quickly as possible since “justice delayed is justice denied”.


According to Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, the accused or culprit is supposed to be arraigned in court immediately after 24 hours working day. Likewise the law requires the arrested person to be told the reasons of arrest in order not contravene the natural justice being administered to all.


Reported by Atok Dan
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Legal Affairs minister unveils ministry’s priorities

JUBA, 7 September 2010 – The minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. John Luk Jok today highlighted the following as the priorities of the ministry:

 

  1. Legislative agenda – the ministry is working to pass bills that are still pending before the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) due to slow processes;
  2. Constitutional review process depending on the outcome of the referendum; if the people of the Southern Sudan vote for independence then there will be need to amend the current laws to suit the newborn state;
  3. Establishment of the laws reform commission that will refine the current laws to make them relevant;
  4. Working in collaboration with the Judiciary to address issues of the pending cases in courts;
  5. Establishment of the customary laws research center with its office based in Rumbek town; this is to strengthen the positive cultural values that will be integrated into the existing laws;
  6. Establishing a law institution to train the people and government agencies in an effort to reduce costs of obtaining legal education abroad;
  7. Establishment of law libraries;
  8. Creating more space to build more offices in the ministry; and
  9. Preparation for the referendum, specifically playing the legal role of observing the process to prevent any violation during the process.


The minister who was speaking during the weekly media forum hosted by the ministry of Information explained that the creation of a suitable legal environment would attract more investors into the country and boost the economy.


In answering a question from the journalists on why the media laws are still not passed, the minister said that the journalists themselves had caused the bill to be withdrawn because they were not happy with some provisions therein. He said that the ministry is reviewing the provisions with a view to presenting it before the SSLA to ensure that it is passed before the referendum. He also denied allegations that GOSS is importing repressive media laws used in the North adding that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) has been fighting for the freedom of expression for many years and cannot now perpetuate tyrannical laws. He emphasized that the laws in Southern Sudan meet international standards but are customized to suit the local context and need.


On answering a question on the referendum process, the minister reported that many pending issues regarding the process have been resolved including the appointment of the secretary general. He said that the time for registration is now scheduled and asserted that the referendum is going to be held on its date, the 9th of January 2011. He also said that post-referendum issues such as citizenship are being discussed. He reported that the pace of discussions had been reduced due to Ramadhan but said that it will resume from 20 September 2010.


The minister for Information, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin thanked the minister for the briefing. He also announced that the next Media Forum will be addressed by the minister for Humanitarian Affairs and the Disaster Management and will focus on the flood in Aweil.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Legal Affairs minister addresses media forum

7 September 2010 – The minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. John Luk Jok, today addressed the weekly media forum hosted by the ministry of Information.


The minister explained that the vision of the ministry is to have a stable Southern Sudan which is also free and democratic. He also explained that the ministry works to ensure that the rule of law as well as respect for human rights thrive in the country. He also emphasized that all Southern Sudanese are subject to justice and equal treatment under the law.


“We in the ministry also have powers to prosecute all types of crimes in Southern Sudan. The public prosecution law is in place in this regard and the legal counsels render legal services and opinions. We also do provide legal services and in defending clients who are on the right but have no lawyers”, he said.

 


H.E. John Luk Jok (left) accompanied by Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin (right) at the media forum


He also explained that the ministry also strives to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies so as to facilitate the rule of law. “We sometimes go as far as trainining the police to enable them to enforce the law appropriately”, he said. He also said that the ministry coordinates review of the existing laws in the country to keep them relevant to address the emerging needs.


The minister also explained that the ministry is working on computerization. He said that the use of appropriate Information Technology will enable the ministry to work effectively and efficiently to render quality legal and justice services to all the people. He also reported that the ministry is reviewing all pending cases with a view of accelerating them so that people are not kept in remands or prisons unnecessarily.


The meeting was facilitated by H.E. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information. It was also attended by the Undersecretary of the ministry of Information, Mr George Garang Deng, and the Director General of Information, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak, among other top officers at the ministry.


Reported by Emmanuel Dumba Dima 
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

SSLA passes the 2010 Supplementary Budget

JUBA, 8 September 2010 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) yesterday deliberated and passed the 2010 Supplementary Budget.


During the second Assembly 2010/first session/2010 which was sitting yesterday, Hon. Prof. Barri A Wanji, the chairperson of the Economy, Development and Finance Committee, presented the fiscal year 2010 Supplementary Budget of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in its second reading.


Prof. Wanji said that it is the “Referendum Budget” which will prepare the people of Southern Sudan to participate fully during the forthcoming referendum. After deliberation, discussions and observations, the August House passed the 2010 Supplementary Budget.

 


Prof. Wanji presenting the 2010 Supplementary Budget to the SSLA


The sitting was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker of the SSLA, James Wani Igga. 106 honourable members attended the sitting. Also in attendance were several GOSS ministers, Chairperson of Southern Sudan Anti Corruption Commission, and the Auditor General, among others.


The SSLA delegated the Economy, Development and Finance Committee to work on the amendments and present the final draft of the budget to the August House on Friday, 10 September 2010. It was agreed that the budget will be passed before the SSLA breaks due to the urgent need for it to facilitate the referendum preparations.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot 
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

SSLA Speaker and Parliamentary Affairs minister brief house on referendum

JUBA, 9 September 2010 – The speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), H.E. James Wani Igga and the GOSS minister for Parliamentary Affairs, H.E. Michael Makuei Lueth yesterday briefed the August House on the essence of and preparations for the forthcoming referendum.


H.E. Igga explained the true meaning of the referendum and the role of the honourable members in August House in facilitating it. He stressed that the honourable members should mobilize the youth, women, and all people of Southern Sudan who are eligible to vote in the referendum to actually register and vote. He pointed out that garnering 60 percent of the registered voters is not easy and needs hard work to be achieved.

 


H.E. Wani Igga addressing the SSLA yesterday


The speaker urged the honourable members to use the tangible achievements of the SPLM/GOSS during the past five years to woo votes. He also requested the honourable members to be flexible in working with community leaders as well as the SPLM partners such as the NCP. He called upon the August House to now concentrate on the referendum. At the same time he urged all political leaders and parties to bury their differences through the South –South dialogue and deliver a favourable referendum vote for the people of Southern Sudan.


On his part, H.E. Michael Makuei Lueth made a PowerPoint presentation of the Southern Sudan Act, 2009 which was signed on 31 December 2009. He also explained the Referendum Act in detail. He also responded to several questions raised by the honourable members on the subject.


Yesterday’s briefing was attended by the honourable members; several GOSS ministers; H.E. Tor Deng Mawin, the GOSS Presidential Advisor for Decentralization and Inter-Governmental Linkage; and several other senior officials of the Government of Southern Sudan.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot Deng 
 

This article was updated on Oct 1, 2010

Southern Sudanese artists perform in support of the referendum

JUBA, 13 September 2010 – Several Southern Sudanese artists entertained Southern Sudanese in the Ugandan Diaspora with heart-soothing songs in support of the referendum.

 

The Political Affairs and Special Service officer in the Kampala Liaison Office of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Lt. Col. Major Abdalla Mabior was the chief guest at the jolly ceremony held at the Kasubi Royal Hotel in Kampala, Uganda, over the weekend.



Southern Sudanese artists such as NyaPal Lul, Duop Puor Duop, Panchol Ajang and many others graced the occasion. All the people in attendance danced unreservedly to the reverberating tunes which embodied the aspirations of the Southern Sudanese for total liberation.



Major Mabior told the gathering that “this is time for us to participate fully in the referendum”. He urged the artists to continue playing the all-important role in creating awareness about the referendum and its value in the continuous struggle of the people of Southern Sudan. He also called on church and other leaders to mobilize the people, both at home and abroad, to participate fully in the referendum.



Major Mabior also emphasized that the people’s choice ought to be for independence of Southern Sudan and not unity of the Sudan. He described those who are advocating for unity as “the confused elements in the society” who ought to be ignored. He explained that the right to freedom and self actualization is all Southern Sudanese are seeking and are determined to realize through the referendum.

 

Reported by Peter Gai Manyuon from Kampala
 

This article was updated on Oct 3, 2010

Southern Sudanese keen on independence

JUBA, 13 September 2010 – The Southern Sudanese living in Kampala have reiterated their determination to vote for independence in the forthcoming referendum for self-determination for Southern Sudan which scheduled for January 2011.


This was made during the Southern Sudan Youths Forum for Referendum (SSYFR) meeting held on Saturday, 11 September 2010, at the Emerald Hotel in Kampala Uganda with different leaders from the various Southern Sudanese communities living in Uganda.


The discussion was based on how the youths currently living in Uganda can be mobilized to participate fully in the forthcoming referendum. Different representatives from different regions of Southern Sudan, that is, Greater Upper Nile, Greater Bahr el Ghazal, and Greater Equatoria, as well as different coordinators selected from each state of Southern Sudan attended the meeting.


The Vice-Chairman of the SSYFR, comrade Samuel Okomi told journalists at the meeting that one of the objectives of the SSYFR is to mobilize the people of Southern Sudan to vote for the independence of Southern Sudan during the referendum. The SSYFR leader also announced that offices of the forum will be opened in Kenya and other parts of Uganda to coordinate the activities of the group and ensure a mass turnout of the youth during the referendum to vote for independence. “The independence of Southern Sudan is what all of us need; both in the Diaspora and in Southern Sudan”, said Mr Okomi.


Mr Okomi explained that many lives were lost during the struggle and emphasized that no machination will defeat the cause of full liberation. He also announced that a pro-independence demonstration will be held in Kampala on 9 October 2010.


Reported by Peter Gai Manyuon from Kampala
 

This article was updated on Oct 3, 2010

Madam Rebecca Nyandeng invigorates the “Keep Juba Clean” initiative

JUBA, 13 September 2010 - Her Excellency Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, wife of the late hero Dr John Garang de Maboir and the current advisor to GOSS President on human rights and gender last week invigorated the efforts of the “Keep Juba Clean” initiative by leading a massive cleanup exercise in the Southern capital.

 

Talking to GOSS.ORG correspondent at the cleaning site near the Customs roundabout in Juba, Madam Nyandeng clarified that what she is doing is an individual initiative; a voluntary work to keep Juba clean.

 

Some other volunteers such as the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Episcopal Church women group and Madam Rebecca’s relatives have joined her in this voluntary work. She dismissed allegations that she has been sponsored by the KCB as untrue. “I have my own trucks that are dedicated to carry away the garbage”, she said.

 


Madam Nyandeng (left) during the cleanup

 

“The initiative is to disapprove our enemies that criticize us that we cannot govern ourselves if we cannot keep our environment clean and even do not care of our health while we have our human resource, that is why I took up the initiative to be the role model for others to follow this example and not to clean the whole of Juba alone”, she clarified. “Last time people were crying to get tamarack roads; here [they are but should they] look littered like this”, she posed.

 

Madam Rebecca said she will request the President to allow every Saturday be dedicated for keeping Juba clean. She also explained that the initiative should cover the whole of Southern Sudan, and not only in Juba.

 

The Commissioner of Juba has also called for concerted efforts in keeping Juba clean. He has appealed to all the stakeholders to join hands in these efforts.

 


Reported By Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 3, 2010

2010 Supplementary Budget sails through third reading

JUBA, 14 September 2010 – The 2010 Supplementary Budget of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) yesterday sailed through its third reading at the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA).


During the ordinary Sitting No. 23/2010 on Monday dated September 13, 2010 at the SSLA Main Hall, Hon. Henry Omai Akolawin, the Deputy Chairperson of the Economy, Development and Finance Committee, presented the fiscal year 2010 Supplementary Budget to the August House. Thereafter, over 13 honourable members deliberated, discussed, and made observations on the budget before it passed. The August House requested the committee to work on the draft further and present the final draft to the SSLA in the fourth reading for approval and passing which is expected to be done today.

 


H.E. Henry Omai Akolawin presenting the draft supplementary budget [Photo: Mr. Marchelo Lepoldo]


At the same sitting the Hon. Tulio Odongi Ayahu presented the report of Ad-hoc Committee on Referendum Structures of the SSLA on behalf of Hon. Dengitiel Ayuen Kur, the chairperson of the Legislation and Legal Affairs Committee. The motion to establish the Parliamentary Committee for 2010 Southern Sudan Referendum was a result of SSLA resolution No. 16/2010 sitting No.14/2010 dated 19th July 2010 which has called for the Establishment of Parliamentary Committee on Southern Sudan 2010 Referendum. After long discussions, deliberations and observations a motion was raised by Hon. Peter Bashir, the chairman of SPLM Caucus of SSLA, to terminate the debate and pass the Bill; which was seconded. A counter motion was also raised by Hon. Kur which was seconded by Hon Kon. Since there was more than one motion, the Right Hon. Speaker of the SSLA requested the August House to vote for either of the two options. Pro-termination motion received 106 votes, 6 votes for those who were against termination of the debate while 6 members abstained. Thus, the bill was passed.


The day’s quorum consisted of 118 honourable members. The session was also attended by GOSS ministers John Luk Jok – Minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development; Michael Makuei Lueth - Minister for Parliamentary Affairs; David Deng Athorbei - Minister for Finance and Economic Planning; Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin - Minister of Information; Dr. Luka Tombekana Manoja – Minister of Health; Madut Biar Yel - Minister of Communications and Postal Services; Garang Diing Akuong – Minister of Energy and Mining; Auditor General of GOSS; Opposition leaders of the SSLA; Deputy Speaker of SSLA; and Chairperson of Specialized Committees of SSLA . The sitting was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker of SSLA, H.E. James Wani Igga.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot
 

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

GOSS donates 5,000 bags of cereals to flooding victims in NBG

JUBA, 14 September 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has donated 5,000 bags of cereals to flood stricken households in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBG) State in addition to 500 tents donated by the federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.


This was announced today by the GOSS minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, H.E. James Kok Rue when he addressed the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information. The minister also explained that the NBG state government has estimated 15 million SDG for digging canals to streamline flow of water from three seasonal streams which normally pour their contents on fairly flat land whenever there is a heavy downpour in Central Africa Republic (CAR). He also explained that four states of Jonglei, Unity, Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal in Southern Sudan are hit this year by flood although magnitude and impacts of the disaster varies from state to state.


The minister also unveiled his ministry’s plans in training staff of different units in Southern Sudan on disaster preparedness and earlier warnings, besides intervention and mitigation in both natural and manmade catastrophes as some parts of Southern Sudan are prone to disaster. He also pointed out that his three months old newly-formed ministry is entrusted with the role of overseeing operations of all the humanitarian organizations in Southern Sudan by formulating policies in conformity with humanitarian principles of work. He also explained that the ministry is working to explore means of formulating policies and NGOs Act to guide their operations in Southern Sudan.


“We have envisaged a scenario of natural disaster becoming inevitable as some parts [of] Southern Sudan are prone to disaster[s] and this could be dealt with by training staff in disaster management and coping mechanisms in the future”, the minister explained.


Besides disaster control, the minister also stated that his ministry is working hand in hand with Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) to voluntarily repatriate 1.5 million Southern Sudanese Internal Displaced Persons( IDPs) residing in Northern Sudan as it is a constitutional obligation that requires full execution. He dismissed allegation that the repatriation is being conducted with the referendum in mind and clarified that it is a continuous process that will continue even beyond referendum. However, he said that those who might get a chance to be repatriated before the registration and voting exercise would be privileged to cast their votes while in the South.


Former United Nations Secretary for Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and a special Adviser on Mass Atrocities and Genocide to the UN Secretary General, Dr. Francis M. Deng, and a born Southern Sudanese from Abyei had earlier on estimated that over 4.5 millions Southern Sudanese are displaced to different places of which Northern Sudan has the highest chunk.


Most of these people displaced to Northern Sudan ended up in deplorable settlements where social amenities are insufficient. According to H.E. Kok, the majority of these Southerners end up in jails and cells as most of them were caught by the security operatives “brewing white stuff” in Islamic sharia laws zone. He also revealed that GOSS Council of Ministers had approved SDG 30 million of which 4 million is would go to repatriation while 26 million would be spent in settling this population as a means to make them recover and start a new way of life.


The Chairperson of the SSRRC, Rev Chan Acuil stated that the commission is working hard to ensure the implementation of its five “Rs” (Relief, Rehabilitation, Reintegration, Resettlement and Repatriation). According to Rev Acuil, this repatriation process would not be done hastily like the previous one in which the repatriated IDPs found themselves going back to Northern Sudan because they could not find what was promised to them by those who executed the exercise. “We have to ensure that the process is not short of international standards of offering them social amenities needed to settle”, he promised.


Reported by Atok Dan
 

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

NBG state finance ministry establishes systems to curb corruption

JUBA, 15 September 2010 - The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State has introduced a new system to curb embezzlement of public funds, according to the Minister, Ronald Ruay Deng.


In a statement to the Southern Sudan Radio on Monday in Aweil town, the Minister said that the state workers are to receive their salaries through the bank to clean the payroll of ghost names. A State Revenue Authority has been established to monitor and handle tax and revenue collection throughout the length and breadth of the state to boost the economy. The state government encourages foreign investors to invest in the state.


On the other part the Director-General State Revenue Authority, Maring Chuwar Deng said that the Authority had made an assessment on business persons in order to facilitate tax and revenue collection. “A complete plan has been drawn up to enlighten the citizens on the importance of paying the taxes to boost development process in the state”, Chuwar explained. The State Revenue Authority will be fully operational by October. He called on the citizens to cooperate with tax collectors.


Reported by Abraham Garang
 

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

CE state labour minister meets state workers’ trade union

JUBA, 15 September 2010 - The Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development in Central Equatoria State, Stephen Lemi Lokuron met a delegation of the State Workers’ Trade Union led by its Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Nicholas Kenyi yesterday in Juba and discussed issues pertaining to the long awaited promotion of the state civil servants, the ongoing file assessment of the pensioners, training of staff and scholarships for the education sector.


The Director of Pensions, Kenneth Loboka, said file scrutiny is progressing well and waits for final auditing by the National Pension Fund Committee expected in Juba after the Ramadhan holiday.


The Minister said the State Council of Ministers has agreed on the promotion of the employees and new employment. He called upon the senior staff to include the employees of the Civil Authority of the New Sudan (CANS) in the process of the pensioners’ files assessment. He directed the transfer of the deducted pension from the current workforce to be channelled to the Ministry of Public Service instead of Finance.


Reported by Abraham Garang Deng

 

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

Southern Sudanese who attended the world water week in Sweden back to Juba

JUBA, 15 September 2010 -The Director General of Rural Water and Sanitation in the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in the Government of Southern Sudan, Mr. Peter Mahal, yesterday in his office met with a delegation of Southern Sudanese from both the states and the GOSS levels who went to attend the 20th Anniversary of the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.


In a press statement, Peter Mahal said the conference was attended under the theme “Good Water Quality” and that the conference drew participants from 130 nations of the world.

 


The participants in Juba yesterday


He said that Southern Sudan sent about 13 people from all the states of the Southern Sudan except for Jonglei and Warrap states whose representatives could not make it up due to some challenges. The Director General called on those who attended the conference to practically use the knowledge they have acquired and to create public awareness on the unnecessary treatment of water and environment to reduce the rate of waterborne infections brought about as a result of bad usage of water and environment and issues related to land degradation.


Reported by Alex Amin John

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

GOSS ministry, World Bank and MDTF support businesswomen

JUBA, 15 September 2010 - The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, the World Bank and the Multi-Donor Trust Fund in Juba yesterday signed a cheque for the sum of more than one million seven hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars (USD 1,777,000) to support the second batch of forty-nine businesswomen in Southern Sudan.


The minister for the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, H.E. Agnes Kwaje Lasuba signed on behalf of the ministry, Gender Specialist Munira Mosem signed for the World Bank and head of the Joint Donor Team in Southern Sudan, Michael Elmquist signed for the Multi-Donor Trust Fund.


Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Kwaje Lasuba said the programme is in the framework of empowering women economically and socially to fight hunger and poverty among women in the region. Representatives of the World Bank and the Multi-Donor Trust Fund promised continued support to microfinance projects organized by women in Southern Sudan. The two institutions urged the women leadership to enlighten women at the grassroots on the importance of investment.
 

Reported by Abraham Garang Deng

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

SSLA approves Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2010

JUBA, 15 September 2010 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) yesterday approved the Supplementary Appropriation Bill (2010).


During the Second Assembly /2010 first session /2010 in the Sitting No.24/2010 dated Tuesday 14th September 2010 at the Main Hall, Hon. Henry Omai Akolawin, the Deputy Chairperson of the Economy and Finance Committee presented the Fiscal Year 2010 Supplementary Budget of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in its fourth reading.


The three chapters of the Bill as well as the sections on Salaries, Operating and Capital were passed one at a time. The total approved Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2010 is SDG 1,146,730,261.

 


Hon. Aya Janet Alex [Photo: Mr. Mathew Nenry Majok]


At the same sitting Hon. Aya Janet Alex presented a motion to amend the Regulation 132(2) of the SSLA Conduct of Business Regulations 2010 to create the Committee for Animal Resources Cooperatives and Water. After long deliberations, Hon. Andrew Okang Ayom, the Chief Whip of the official Opposition (SPLM-DC) raised a motion requesting the August House to terminate the debate and pass the Bill which had been seconded. Another counter motion was raised by Hon. Daniel Deng (Rumbek North – SPLM) seeking to refer the motion to the Legal Affairs Committee for more investigation. The Right Hon. Speaker intervened at this point and advised the Hon. Daniel Deng to withdraw his motion, which he did, to allow only one motion to be passed. The Hon. Speaker then directed the Legislation and Legal Affairs Committee as well as the Legal Advisor to the Speaker to work on the motion and present it to him within seven working days. He also asked the women parliamentarians to nominate the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the committee from amongst themselves before the recess.


The day’s quorum was 119. The sitting was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker H.E. James Wani Igga. It was also attended by the minister for Finance and Economic Planning, H.E. David Deng Athorbei; minister for Information, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin; Auditor General; Chairperson of Southern Sudan Anti Corruption Commission; Deputy Speaker; and chairperson of specialized committees.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot
 

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

Humanitarian Affairs minister unveils ministry’s plans

JUBA, 15 September 2010 - The minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Gen. James Kok, yesterday unveiled his ministry’s plans during the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS ministry of Information.


The minister explained that the 3-month old ministry was established by GOSS after this year’s election when it was realized that there was no institution to present humanitarian issues to the GOSS Council of Ministers meetings. He explained that humanitarian issues were being dealt with only at the independent commission level by the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) which lacked executive powers.

 


H.E. Kok (centre) addresses the media forum accompanied by H.E. Dr Marial


Principles of the establishment:
He explained that the ministry was established to:

  • oversee the overall operations of the humanitarian agencies operating in the Southern Sudan;
  • formulate policies that are compliant with the international humanitarian principles, treaties and protocols in recognition of the fact that Southern Sudan is an integral part of the global village;
  • solicit resources for humanitarian work;
  • represent GOSS in humanitarian forums at the national, regional and international levels; and
  • monitor and evaluate performance of the humanitarian agencies operating in the south Sudan.

 

Formulate policies:

The ministry will also formulate the following policies:

  • To establish NGOs Act about the Internal Displaced People (IDP) and refugees and the regulation on the asylums (with the Ministry of Internal Affairs); and
  • Governing policies of the Non-Governmental Organizations based on the humanitarian principles.

 

Programs:

H.E. Kok explained that the ministry has the constitutional obligation to assist and facilitate the return of the Southern Sudanese citizens who express willingness to come back home. “Our partner the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) will be the implementer using internationally approved standard procedures of the repatriation of safe and dignified return, the repatriation will start immediately after the ministry receives the proposed budget (30 million SDG) of which 4 million SDG will be reserved to repatriate Southern Sudanese in Egypt back home”, he explained.

 


The Undersecretary of Ministry of Information, Mr George Garang (left) and other top officers from the ministry follow proceedings of the media forum


H.E. James Kok also announced the formation of the Juba taskforce he had earlier mentioned to coordinate humanitarian activities with UN Agencies in Aweil and in other flood-prone areas. He reiterated that positive response has been received from the Government of National Unity, Humanitarian Agencies, and the Government of Southern Sudan in terms of provision of food and non food items to the flood victims.


In his answer as to what permanent measures the government is putting in place to prevent flooding-related disasters from happening again, he explained that in Aweil, a budget of 15 million SDG has been submitted for digging water channels to drain water to the lowland while in other flat areas that are prone to flooding, water catchment shall be built to be used during the dry seasons for irrigations.


“We have established the department of Disaster Management that would deal with natural and the man-made disaster”, he said adding that the department of Emergency Propellant Response (EPR) has also been added to it and that it will deal with disasters, in coordination with NGOs. “They will have stocks for any eventual situation that will be kept ready for any emergencies to assist, and we are going to train our paramilitary or volunteers to handle and respond to any disaster”, he said.


He also said that the ministry will develop an instrument for earlier disaster warning systems that will detect weather broadcasts. The minister also said that the ministry will train the citizens on coping mechanisms to survive the disasters.

 


Addressing alleged corruption in regard to employment process in ministries, H.E. James Kok assured that this will not happen in his ministry. “We took up arms because of these mal-practices in the country so there is no reason of contradicting ourselves to do what we did not like”, he said. He also clarified that his ministry will take only 50 employees adding that the ministry will utilize structures already established by SSRRC which go to the boma levels.


The minister urged the Southern Sudanese who have just returned from abroad to be patient and assured them that they will get employment opportunity but cautioned them against resorting to criticizing the government unnecessarily and shy away from the hardship and lack of development in the country. “We are not angels to turn everything right within the short period of six years; the development you see in the Western countries was not [achieved] in six years, they were made in thousands of years; you should not compare us with them”, he explained.


On his part, H.E. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information, who hosted and chaired the forum answered the question about why GOSS is preparing to employ expatriates while they have a lot of citizens that came from a broad and are not employed. The minister explained that the friendly countries had offered to train Southern Sudanese in their country to build their capacities through on-the-job training.


The Media Forum was also attended by the Undersecretary, Ministry of Information, senior officials, members of the international agencies and both the government and independent media. Dr Marial announced that the next forum will be addressed by the GOSS minister for Human Resources Development, Her Excellency Mary Jervas Yak.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng and Emmanuel Dumba
 

This article was updated on Oct 5, 2010

Presidential decrees appointing undersecretaries, advisors and chairpersons of commissions

JUBA, 16 September 2010 - H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), yesterday issued decrees relieving various constitutional office holders and appointing others. Please, click here to access the decrees.

 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

President Kiir arrives in Washington

WASHINGTON, 16 September 2010 - The First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, H. E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the accompanying delegation have arrived in Washington DC today Thursday, September 16, 2010 for an official visit to the United States of America on the invitation of the US government to discuss and update them on:


• SPLM Initiative for peace in Darfur;
• Update on the status of CPA Implementation and Referendum;
• Development assistance to Sudan, particularly the war affected areas;
• Scaling-up of the UN Mission in the Sudan; and
• Strengthening of diplomatic relations between Sudan and the USA.


On another development, President Kiir is also coming to express his gratitude and appreciation to the US Administration and the people of the United States for their continued support and concern to see that the full provisions of CPA are implemented before the Referendum which is scheduled to take place on January 9, 2011.


President Kiir is as well coming to express his appreciation for the continuous concern about the ongoing crisis in Darfur in western Sudan. President Kiir will be holding a number of meetings with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and members of the Security Council in New York about the current situations in the Sudan, such as CPA implementation, Darfur and ICC. He will also be speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Conference which will be attended by the US President Barrack Obama, meet with the Sudanese Community in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area; and the Sudanese community in both the States of Tennessee and Iowa and will also address the media.

 


President Kiir warmly welcomed to the United States by
GoSS Mission in the US staff
[Photo: Larco Lomayat]
 


President Kiir’s visit is also intended to demonstrate the need for Southern Sudan and its allies throughout Sudan to establish a solid partnership with the Government of the United States before the Referendum. The political realities inside Sudan are that the crisis in Darfur drags on, the CPA is being undermined by Khartoum and is at serious risk and that Sudan’s President Omar Bashir is the only sitting President to face charges by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.


This is the first official visit by President Salva Kiir Mayardit to the current US Administration and he is expected to meet with the US President Barrack Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Conference which will take place on Friday, September 17.


President’s delegation is comprised of Comrade Pagan Amum, SPLM Secretary General; Comrade Deng Alor, GoSS Minister of Regional Cooperation; Dr. Cirino Hiteng Ofuho; Minister in the Office of GoSS President; Comrade Mayen Wol, Director in the Office of the GoSS President in Khartoum; Brig. Gen. Akok Noon, Comrade Akot Lual, Comrade Akol Kor, Comrade Joseph Dut, Comrade Lazarus Lemi, Comrade Thomas Kenneth, Comrade Thomas Uku, Comrade Choul Laam, Comrade Deng Kur and Comrade Benjamin Bol Mel.


President Kiir and his delegation were received at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC by Dr. Akec Khoc, the Sudanese Ambassador to the United States; Mr. Anthony Louis Kon, the Sudanese Ambassador to DRC; Mr. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Head of GOSS Mission to the United States of America; Mr. Aban Othow, Consul General at the Sudanese Embassy to the United States; Mr. Deng Deng Nhial, Deputy Head of GOSS Mission; Mr. David Buom Choat, Political, United Nations and Congressional Affairs officer at GOSS Mission, USA; and Staff.
 

By Larco Lomayat

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

Standards and Meteorology department disposes expired beverages

JUBA, 19 September 2010 - An Eritrean wholesale supplier, Muse Af Company, which imports beverages from Germany and Dubai via Port Mombasa on Friday incinerated 500 crates and cartons of alcoholic and non-alcoholic expired commodities at Lagun dumping site along the Juba-Yei road.


While witnessing the disposal exercise, the Director General of Standards and Meteorology in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (GoSS), Ms. Mary Gordon Muortat stated that her department is getting a lot of difficulties in dealing with expired consumer goods in the market as traders with such commodities don’t show up voluntarily in order to dispose them.


According to Ms. Muortat, cases of expired food items are very common in Juba and whenever they have discovered it they normally compel the owners of such products to discard them in order not to harm people’s life since majority of people still do not believe that canned food like soda or any other kind of soft drink can expire. Ms. Muortat lauded the initiative taken by these Eritrean traders to have voluntarily reported their expired stocks and appealed to the rest of traders still having these potentially-harmful commodities in their stocks to report them to the Ministry of Commerce so that they can get help in disposing them.


She explained that food items and drugs can get damaged while in stores as most of these commodities were manufactured in different climatic zones and temperatures and when such a product reaches adverse temperature like the one in Southern Sudan coupled with poor storage facilities in Juba, they get damaged or expired before their “use-by” dates. She also explained that drugs are most adversely affected.


Ms. Muortat pointed out that her department still lacks laboratories to conduct independent investigations or laboratory examinations. She said, however, that the department normally works in collaboration with the Uganda Bureau of Standards in checking the quality of consumer goods imported to Southern Sudan. She said Sudan Standard and Meteorology Organization could not do the examinations of most of the commodities brought in from Eastern African countries as it is restricted by Islamic Sharia Law which prohibits them from testing alcoholic goods, though she is hopeful that Southern Sudan will have its own department capable ofo executing such an exercise as it has now identified a site where the laboratory should be built.


She also narrated the problems faced in discarding such commodities as the only nearby place to Juba town is also inhabited by people whose lives are at risk as children go picking what is disposed. According to Ms. Muortat, the department in charge of overseeing the condition of drugs and restaurants in Juba in the Ministry of Health is still not well established to offer such services.


An Eritrean head of Muse AF Company, Mr. Isaiah Tsagay pointed out that he has lost over 70,000 SDG. However, he said he does not regret because he values human life before money. “I care much about the wellbeing of a single Southern Sudanese and it is what compelled me to come voluntarily to the department in charge to help me dispose [the items] in a manner [which is] compatible with the law of the land”, he said. According to Mr. Tsagay, 422 crate of Cheers Efes beverages, a non-alcoholic Malta, besides over one hundred crates of Efes Pilsner and 8.5 Germany-made beer have all expired since January and March this year and could not be sold to people because they would be harmful to their health.


He explained that his company has supplied Germany beer through Dubai and Mombasa to Southern Sudan for three years but it was for the first time to import non-alcoholic drinks which he thought would also have market here. Mr. Tsagay said that risks and losses are just part and parcel of business and it won’t deter him from continuing with his business of supplying beer to Southern Sudan.


Last year, the Director of Sudan Standards of Meteorology Organization, Mr. Majak Deng Kuol told Southern Sudan Radio that people use a dangerous laboratory chemical in baking cake yet it is harmful to people’s health as it normally causes stomach cancer besides retarded mental ability of infants.


Since the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the region has welcomed investors from all corners of the world yet the quality of services offered by all these investors remains unclear. Recently there was a rise in the number of quacks masquerading as doctors specialized in different medical fields. Many Southern Sudanese were left maimed in ill-fated operations of internal and external hemorrhoid known locally as Bua-Asir. There are also a number of Nigerian traditional “medical doctors” believed to cure diseases even before one can talk to them.


As Juba keeps on expanding, the dumping site along the Juba-Yei road is becoming a problem as it also affects the wellbeing of the population around, in addition to the fact that the population around Lagun disposal site do feed on these disposed harmful food items. According to the meaning of a Bari word Lagun, it means to scavenge; that’s exactly what children around there do on those disposed items. From the look of things, Juba would soon experience a disaster if necessary interventions are not executed on time to manage the risks.


Recently H.E. Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior launched the “Keep Juba Clean” initiative but the lingering question is: “where will this waste be taken after they are collected in towns such as Lagun which is choking on waste heaped there on daily basis”?


By Atok Dan
 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

Kajo-Keji Civil Hospital receives ambulance from the Diaspora

JUBA, 20 September 2010 - Kajo-Keji Civil Hospital on Saturday 18 September 2010 organized a formal function to receive an ambulance purchased for the County through the contributions of citizens of the area in the Diaspora in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and the Irish National Committee.

 

Kajo-Keji, meaning the kraal of Keji in Kuku language, is mountainous terrain area with undulating contours drained by a number of small perennial streams in southeastern part of Central Equatoria State.

 

Speaking at the function, the Executive Director of Kajo-Keji County, Apollo Loboka Gordon stressed the importance of judicious utilization of the ambulance to benefit the County. He appealed to all employees and the medical staff in particular, to exercise restraint and focus on serving the people. The employees had gone on strike due to delay in the payment of their monthly salaries.

 

Speaking on the same occasion, the Bishop of Kajo-Keji Diocese of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, Right Reverend Anthony Pogo welcomed the generous donation and asked for the right use of the ambulance, especially in emergency cases. Kajo-Keji Civil Hospital Senior Clinical Officer, Mika Edward Nimaya advocated for more doctors in the hospital. According to him, there is only one doctor at the hospital. He asserted that this is not good because there may be an emergency as is the case now that the one doctor is on leave.


By Abraham Garang
 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

Glimpses of Council of Ministers deliberations

JUBA, 20 September 2010 - In its weekly meeting on Friday, the Council of Ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan chaired by the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, discussed a memo presented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Luka Tombekana Monoja, on tackling medical referrals outside Southern Sudan. According to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Council of Ministers suggested and passed guidelines to regulate the process of referral cases outside the region.

 


GOSS Council of Ministers during a previous meeting chaired by the President.

 

The Council also discussed another memo presented by the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Ms Agnes Kwaje Losuba, on formation of Health Insurance Fund in Southern Sudan. The Council resolved to establish a Southern Sudan Insurance Fund that would cooperate with the National Insurance Fund.

 

The Council was also briefed by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Makuac Teny, on preparations for the upcoming Secondary School Basketball competitions in the United States of America. The Basketball team of Southern Sudan will represent East Africa in the tournament. The Council resolved to establish a Southern Sudan Sports Council and to facilitate preparations for the team that will travel to the USA for the secondary schools competitions next year.


By Abraham Garang
 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

GoSS President meets the Lost Boys (Red Army) in Washington DC

JUBA, 20 September 2010 - The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit, congratulated Southern Sudan sons in the USA who are known locally as Lost Boys (Red Army) for striving to get education and American citizenship in spite of all the challenges they have faced.

 

The President made these remarks during a meeting he held on Friday night with a group of Lost Boys from different states of America led by Mr. Angelo Mangar. President Kiir commended the US state department for supporting the Lost Boys in becoming American citizens and getting employment in different institutions of the American Government.

 

President Kiir delivered a strong message to the Lost Boys and urged them to stand firm and monitor the situation in their motherland. “Unity has not been made attractive within the last five and half years; instead enemies of peace within these years caused insecurity situation in the South, and that makes separation to be attractive”, he said. President Kiir also urged the Lost Boys to discard tribal differences and be united for the coming Referendum which marks the end of the CPA.

 

When answering questions from the Lost Boys on the statement made by Dr. Lual Achuek last time in the USA that he prefers the unity of the Sudan, President Kiir described Lual Acuil’s statement as “irresponsible and unfortunate, reflecting his own policy not the policy of the SPLM party”, but he also said that Cde. Lual Acuil has the freedom of expression and so is entitled to his opinion.

 

On his part the GoSS head of mission in the United States of America, Mr. Ezekiel called on the Lost Boys to carry out a campaign on the forthcoming Referendum according to the policy of the GoSS and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) as it has been stated by the GoSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Mr. Ezekiel said self and constructive criticism will make the people of Southern Sudan to be united and move together towards a common goal.

 

The leader of the Lost Boys in USA, Mr Angelo Mangar assured President Kiir of the support of the Lost Boys. Mr Mangar pointed out that the Lost Boys in the USA stand for one nation not for a particular tribe. Mangar called on the GoSS to have a direct communication with the Lost Boys on events of the CPA and Referendum and on how best they can contribute in helping the people of Southern Sudan to reach the “Promised Land”. The Lost Boys in the USA also expressed their patriotic views on the Sudan by saying that “they are not ready to see any child in any part of the world suffering because of war, particularly in Southern Sudan”.
 

By Thomas Kenneth, Presidential Pressman
Goss - Juba

 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

President Kiir addresses US Congressional Black Caucus in Washington DC

JUBA, 20 September 2010 - The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit on Friday September 17th 2010 addressed the USA Congressional Black Caucus at the Convention Center in Washington D.C.

 

In his keynote remarks, President Kiir commended the people of the USA and President Obama’s Administration for being engaged in seeking a solution to the crucial situations in Sudan. He said he was expecting President Obama’s speech during the UN high level meeting in New York to touch on the Referendum in Sudan to show President Obama’s personal commitment to the issues in the region.

 

President Kiir also commended the USA Congressmen’s efforts in saving many lives in Sudan. He reiterated to the USA Congressional Black Caucus that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) remains the vital foundation for peace in Sudan. He also asserted that January the 9th 2011 will witness the will of the people of Southern Sudan being peacefully executed with the help of international community’s commitment.

 

President Kiir also disclosed that the people of Southern Sudan are not ready to tolerate any delay of the 2011 Referendum. He emphasized that the Referendum will mark a major milestone in a long journey of development in the region. For his reason, President Kiir urged the international community to focus on Sudan and endorse the recognition of Southern Sudan people’s will after the Referendum.

 

By Thomas Kenneth, Presidential Pressman
Goss - Juba

 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

President Kiir’s itinerary in the USA

JUBA, 20 September 2010 - Find below the working time table for meetings and functions of President Kiir during his working visit to the USA:


President Kiir on Friday the 17th September 2010 at 12:50 – 1:50 pm local time delivered a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington D.C. After that in the evening at 6:00pm Washington D.C local time, H.E Kiir met the lost boys. At 7:00pm local time H.E. Kiir met the SPLM Washington D.C and the Sudanese Political Parties. H.E Pagan Amum, the SPLM Secretary General was also to hold a separate meeting after that with the SPLM Secretariat in Washington D.C.


On Saturday September 18th 2010, at 12:00 noon – 6:00pm H.E. Kiir and the delegation were expected to attend public symposium in Washington D.C, that is at University of Maryland. At 7:30pm President Obama/GoSS President Salva Kiir and the accompanying delegation were expected to have a dinner with Congressional Black Caucus, at DC Convention Center in Washington.


On Sunday Sep 19, 2010, at 12:00noon – 3:00pm H.E. Kiir was to attend public symposium in the state of Nashville Tennessee, at the Millennium Maxwell House. At 6:00pm – 10:00pm, President Kiir was also to attend a public symposium in the state of Iowa, that is, Iowa State University, at the Memorial Union Hall.


On Monday, September 20, 2010, at 2:00pm, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan was to address the public at the USIP in Washington D.C.


On Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 11:00am, H.E. Kiir will meet with Sen. Kerry at Capital Building S.16, and at 4.30 pm, he will meet with Brownback, at Russell Building S.303.


By Thomas Kenneth, Presidential Pressman
Goss - Juba

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

Capacity building training for cooperative officers ongoing in Juba

JUBA, 21 September 2010 - The Ministry of Cooperatives and Rural Development, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in conjunction with the Kenya Cooperative College yesterday launched a three-day training workshop for the training of trainers who are drawn from all the ten Southern States.


Addressing the opening session, H.E. Jimmy Lemi Milla, the minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development (GOSS), said that the training came in fulfillment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last year by his ministry with Kenya’s Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing to promote an exchange programme, besides Kenya offering capacity building for the Cooperatives workforce.


“It is a policy of the Government of Southern Sudan to take towns to the people; that can only materialize when rural transformation is effected in villages across the region to offer desired skills to redundant youth so that they can become self reliant”, H.E. Milla explained. He also said that poverty can only be alleviated in Southern Sudan if the potentially rich human resource is harnessed.


The minister also said that senior staff of the ministry will be trained in strategic planning. He also said that the programme would transcend to middle-level management and lower cadres to empower them to implement the policies of the government efficiently. The minister emphasized that “big terms like equity, equality, tranquility and dignity, prosperity and stability normally heard from the mouths of politicians” are only meaningful when rural areas become the fundamental cornerstones of livelihood from which rural men and women in Southern Sudan actively participate in national development and are able to cater for their daily bread independently.


He jokingly explained that if everyone is given artistic colours to paint how one’s village would look like, everybody would come up with all earthly beauties as a design of the expected villages. He urged the trainees to adapt the style of Kenya and Uganda where villages are interlinked with towns so as to ensure that development reaches the local people in Southern Sudan.


He also revealed that the government of Southern Sudan is planning to open a Cooperative Bank for South Sudan. However, he said that getting together all state authorities to work jointly on this initiative is still a stumbling block which ought to be eradicated.


Hon. Bortel Mori Nyombe, an advisor in the ministry, stated that development of the cooperatives movement in Southern Sudan would reduce rampant redundancy amongst the youth in the region. He explained that rural transformation is what the ministry is entrusted to execute in coordination with other line ministries. He urged the trainees to understand the document well so that it is adapted for use as they return to different states to train others.


The newly appointed undersecretary in the ministry, Mr Mathew Udo, lauded the efforts of the Government of Kenya to boost the capacity of workforce in his ministry. He also appealed for this support to continue.


The ministry of Cooperatives and Rural Development is one of the ministries established immediately after the inception of the Government of Southern Sudan to cater for the wellbeing of the war devastated communities in Southern Sudan. This was in recognition of the fact that a vast majority of Southern Sudanese communities are subsistence farmers who practise both animal and crop husbandry.


By Atok Dan
 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

President Al-Bashir meets Mbeki

KHARTOUM, 20 September 2010 (SUNA) - President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, on Monday received the Chairman of the African Union Panel, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, at the Guest House and discussed the arrangements for holding the referendum on the future of south Sudan.

 

In a press statement after the meeting, Mr. Mbeki said that the arrangements for the referendum are progressing satisfactorily and that the referendum will be held as scheduled. He also said that the Republic has given directives to the committee for demarcation of the border between the north and the south to complete their work as quickly as possible.

 

Mr. Mbeki said that he informed President Al-Bashir on the talks he made with the two partners on the issues of Abyei referendum and the post referendum period. He indicated that he acquainted President Al-Bashir with his follow-up on the progress of the Darfur file and the strategy on Darfur issue with the Presidential Advisor and official of Darfur file, Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin.

 

Mr. Mbeki also said that he deliberated with President Al-Bashir on the preparations for the meeting on Sudan due to be held in New York, indicating that he would leave for New York on Tuesday to attend the meeting.
 

This article was updated on Oct 8, 2010

Transport and Roads minister addresses media forum

JUBA, 21 September 2010 – The weekly media forum hosted by the ministry of Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) to keep the media abreast with the activities, policies and projects of the government was today addressed by the minister for Transport and Roads, H.E. Anthony Lino Makana.


The host minister, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, who was chairing the session, had to leave the forum midway for an urgent meeting with the Vice President. Nonetheless, H.E. Makana accompanied by the Undersecretary of the ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang Deng, elucidated his ministry’s projects and plans to the journalists drawn from the government and private media institutions.

 


H.E. Makana (left) and H.E. Marial (right) at the media forum [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Dr. Marial explained that this week’s forum was supposed to be addressed by the minister for Human Resource Development, H.E. Mary Jervas Yak but she could not make it because she is on an official trip abroad. He said that she will be given another slot as soon as she is available. He thanked H.E. Makana for accepting to fill the slot on a short notice. He announced that next week’s forum will be addressed by the minister for Commerce and Industry, H.E. Stephen Dhieu. 
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

29,000km of roads envisioned for Southern Sudan

JUBA, 21 September 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) through its ministry of Transport and Roads is currently implementing a master plan to link all parts of Southern Sudan with nearly 30,000 km of all-weather roads.


This plan was announced today in Juba by the minister for Transport and Roads, H.E. Anthony Lino Makana, when he addressed members of the Fourth Estate (media) during the weekly media forum hosted by the ministry of Information.


The minister also reported that about 7,000km of roads have been built by GOSS in its lifetime but conceded that some of the roads are deteriorating fast. He also reiterated that the Juba – Nimule road, which is poised to become Southern Sudan’s first highway, will be completed as scheduled in November 2011. H.E. Makana explained that this road network will link state capitals, counties and payams, as well as the neighbouring countries.

 


H.E. Anthony Lino Makana (second right) accompanied by H.E. Dr. Marial (right) address the media forum [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


H.E. Makana also reported that his ministry is working on developing an elaborate railway network from Wau through Rumbek and Yambio to Juba and up to Gulu in Northern Uganda to further enhance transportation in Southern Sudan. He also said that a railway link already exists between Alexandria and Wau and clarified that linkage with East Africa is what is still missing. He also reported that there are also plans to build lines to Gambela to ultimately link Southern Sudan to the Djibouti port, which he reckoned is closer than that of Mombasa. There are also plans, the minister said, to link the country to the Atlantic Ocean through Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He explained, however, that the success of this project depends on the collaboration of the governments of the neighbouring countries which should build the connecting lines in their own countries. Similarly, he said that Southern Sudan should work on production of commodities which can be exported through the line to make it viable economically. The minister also emphasized that GOSS will lay high gauge rail lines which meet the modern needs as opposed to the earlier ones which were laid in 1905.


The minister also announced that plans are underway to dredge the River Nile to remove soil deposits from the riverbed. He said that negotiations are ongoing with German and Dutch companies on the project but added that the government is also considering buying the dredging machine. He said that this would reduce the costs of the project and also give the government an opportunity to dredge other tributaries which can then enhance transportation in all areas of Southern Sudan. He also reported that GOSS cancelled a river transport contract signed by the Khartoum government with a Kuwaiti company because it was not favourable. He explained that according to the contract Southern Sudan was to receive a paltry 20 percent of the revenue compared to 30 percent and 50 percent to be gobbled up by Khartoum and the Kuwaitis, respectively.

 


A journalist admiring photos of the bridges built by the Ministry of Transport and Roads, GOSS [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


H.E. Makana also reported that the ministry is planning to build more than 3,600 bridges all over the country. However, he regretted that about eleven of the bridges have been damaged by raging floods following heavy downpours in the recent past. He also reported that there are plans to build or expand the major bridge in Juba as soon as adequate funds are available.


The minister said that his ministry is working tirelessly to achieve this dream. He reported that in some cases, the contractors are now working 24 hours to complete the projects on schedule. Other projects the ministry include development of pedestrian walkways, as well as development of diversions and bypasses to ease congestion in Juba. The minister clarified that infrastructure development is a shared responsibility between GOSS and state governments. He appealed to all concerned authorities to do their honest part to ensure that Southern Sudan gets a robust transport network for the benefit of the citizens. He said that good roads will also help in dealing with security challenges in some states of Southern Sudan. He cited the LRA menace which he said would be eradicated when the regions they operate in get better transport systems.

 


Mr. George Garang, Undersecretary Ministry of Information (left) and other officers at the media forum [Photo: Ajang Monychol]


H.E. Makana enumerated lack of skilled human resource and inadequate budget as some of the major challenges his ministry faces in fulfilling its mandate. He said that the infrastructure development funds – drawn largely from oil revenues – are still not adequate given the fact that the transport infrastructure was devastated by the consequences of the many years of liberation war. He said this is in spite of the fact that his ministry has the second largest budget. He said the situation is exacerbated further because most of the construction materials such as cement and even labour are imported from either Kenya or Uganda.


The minister also appealed to the citizens to cooperate with the ministry in infrastructure development. He cited a case where his officers were molested in Gudele, Juba when they demolished houses built on road reserves to create room for an 8-lane road. He said that the road has now been reduced to six lanes as a consequence of that incident. He appealed to the media to highlight such cases and to present the true picture rather than restricting themselves to the human rights perspectives without delving deeper into criminal activities of building on road reserves.
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Civil society press for Abyei referendum

JUBA, 22 September 2010 – Several civil society activists in Southern Sudan today held a press conference to advocate for the creation of the Abyei Referendum commission and holding of the Abyei Referendum as scheduled in the Abyei Protocol.


They said that the National Congress Party (NCP) is allegedly advancing a proposal to keep Abyei as a stateless region, whose residents have dual citizenship in both the South and North, should Southern Sudan vote for independence in the forthcoming referendum next year. The activists condemned this proposal describing it as “expansionist” and motivated by the allure of resources in Abyei.


The activists asserted that Abyei and the Dinka Ngok who reside there have been part and parcel of Southern Sudan since time immemorial. They wondered why the residents whose roots are clearly in Southern Sudan should be rendered stateless and described the proposal as an affront on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). “Abyei is an integral part of Southern Sudan and cannot stay without a state”, they asserted. They further alleged that the NCP is seemingly using Abyei as a flashpoint for war come 2011.

 


Some of the representatives of the civil society addressing the press in Juba [Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


They called on the SPLM to remain vigilant so as not to be hoodwinked by the antics of the NCP and its delaying tactics. The activists emphasized, however, that they are for lasting peace and no return to war. Nonetheless, they clarified that this position should not be interpreted as cowardice and warned that if provoked beyond limits, the South should and will defend itself.


The activists called on the principal parties to the CPA to engage constructively and implement the spirit and letter of the CPA. They pointed out that the CPA cannot be renegotiated at this stage. They also appealed to the international community to pressurize the NCP to facilitate the formation of the Abyei Referendum Commission urgently emphasizing that Abyei and Southern Sudan referenda are “mandatory and inseparable”.


The activists also condemned the insecurity situation in Abyei and called on security forces to take charge of the situation to forestall its consequences on the referendum. The meeting was addressed by Cde. Chol Deng Alak, the chairperson of the Abyei Referendum Forum, among other civil society organization representatives and activists. They were addressing the press at the Millennium Hotel in Juba today.


By Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

President Kiir addresses public symposia in the USA

WASHINGTON, 21 September 2010 - President Kiir over the weekend, accompanied by H.E. Pagan Amum and Deng Alor, toured a number of states in America among them Nashville, Tennessee State in the southern region of the USA; Iowa state in the mid West region; and in United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington D.C. President Kiir was warmly welcomed by the Sudanese community in these states as he addressed public symposia there on the current political situations in the country, particularly the challenges to the CPA and the forthcoming referendum scheduled for 2011.


In Nashville Tennessee and Iowa states, the people of Southern Sudan shouted in support of President Kiir and raised slogans of “YES FOR SEPERATION and NO FOR UNITY”. The people commended H.E. Kiir for following in the footsteps of the late hero Dr. John Garang. Southern Sudanese community in these states assured the President of their firm support for his government which works tirelessly in protecting the rights and freedom of the marginalized Southern Sudanese. The people of Southern Sudan also urged GoSS to establish registration stations for the coming referendum not only in Washington D.C. but also in different states in the USA.


In the public symposium held at the Millennium Maxwell House Conference Hall in Tennessee state, President Kiir urged the Southern Sudanese Community to discard tribal differences being engineered by the enemies of peace, and be united for the referendum. President Kiir warned the Southern Sudanese community against wrong elements moving all over the world using money to buy the future and freedom of the Southern Sudanese. H.E. Kiir reiterated that he will not return the country back to war, and that SPLM still stands firm for finding amicable solution to the Darfur crisis.


SPLM Secretary General and minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, H.E. Pagan Amum commended the Sudanese community in the USA for their solidarity and support to the Government of Southern Sudan. H.E. Amum said that the current generation of Southern Sudanese will determine the future of their country facilitating the opening of a new chapter based on their will through which oppression will be banished completely.


The same message was carried by President Kiir and H.E. Amum to Iowa State during a public symposium at the Memorial Union Hall of Iowa State University. This is the university where the late hero Dr. Garang obtained his Masters and PhD degrees. The chairperson of the SPLM Chapter in Iowa reiterated that the Southern Sudanese community in Iowa is ready for separation. Professor Jim of the Iowa State University also assured the delegation that the USA supports self determination for the people of Southern Sudan.


The President of Southern Sudan Student’s Association (SSSA) at Iowa State University, Mr. Maurice Aduto, said that the SSSA keeps the legacy of the great hero Dr. Garang and added that they have all the potential to develop Southern Sudan. Mr. Aduto also reiterated that the SSSA stands firm for separation.


By Thomas Kenneth
Washington D.C. 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Opposition leader meets GOSS VP

JUBA, 23 September 2010 - The newly elected leader of the Opposition in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Honourable Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, and other members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) in the Assembly met with the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny on Wednesday to obtain update of the referendum process.


Dr. Machar briefed the delegation on the work of the Southern Sudan Referendum Taskforce and preparations for the plebiscite. The meeting also discussed the importance of the upcoming South-South dialogue between the Southern Sudan political parties and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Dr. Machar also stressed the importance of initiating dialogue between the SPLM chairman, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the SPLM-DC chairman, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, aimed at strengthening good relations between the two parties ahead of the referendum. He also stressed the importance of achieving peace and harmony in the Shilluk Kingdom as well as the kingdom making peace and reconciliation with its neighbours such as the Dinka of Padang. The two tribes have been engaged in bloody dispute over the land along the eastern bank of the Nile in Upper Nile State.


In another development a delegation of chiefs from the Kuma tribe in Maiwut and Maban Counties in Upper Nile State met with the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny on Wednesday to lodge their complaint about absence of development in their areas. The chiefs made it plain they are a minority tribe with most of their people isolated in a mountainous region close to the Ethiopian frontiers, but emphasized strongly that they should not be neglected by the government just because they are a minority group. One of their requests was creation of a new County for the community. Dr. Machar advised the chiefs to consult first with the Governor of Upper Nile State over the issue of a new County. He said the Government of Southern Sudan would look into the complaints and then recommend what appropriate action to take in order to correct the situation.


By Abraham Garang
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

“Amend customs and traditions”, urges Legal Affairs minister

JUBA, 25 September 2010 - The minister of Legal and Constitutional Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. John Luk Jok categorically stated that some of the customs and traditions in Southern Sudan should be amended in order to conform with universal basic fundamental human rights enshrined in the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, international and regional human rights treaties and conventions ratified by the Republic of the Sudan.


Justice Jok spoke on Friday while addressing the open session of seven-day intensive training workshop on human rights monitoring, investigations and report writing, which was attended by over 30 participants from ten states and representatives from other rule of the law sectors. He said that Southern Sudan had suffered greatly of gross violations of human rights and due to this people fought for decades to instill these basic fundamental rights of which the government and every individual is obliged to respect, tolerate and promote as a nation founded on these ideals of justice and equality of all.


“We had learnt human rights through hard ways and that is why SPLM/A normally called itself as human rights movement because it fought for human rights which had been denied”, Justice Luk explained. He also referred to ghost house then famously known as “White House” in which thousands of innocent Southern Sudanese were tortured, maimed and killed with no regard for the law or human rights.


According to the minister the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission was one of the institutions which were established immediately after the inception of the Government of Southern Sudan in 2005 to regularly foresee and report on the human rights situation in Southern Sudan as is enshrined in the international human rights treaties that each and every state is obliged to give its reports on human rights to Geneva in Switzerland.


He urged all the rule of law and law enforcing agents to protect and promote basic fundamental human rights as the region moves towards the referendum on self-determination next year. He said everybody living in Southern Sudan is entitled to human rights as the law has no exception whether one is a foreigner or a native.


On the same occasion, the Deputy Chairperson on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs in Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, Hon Remijo Lasu stated that violations of human rights in Southern Sudan is improving compared to when the peace was signed in 2005. Hon Lasu said rampant of suicide and murder amongst the people then were attributed to lack of knowledge of the law and the rights to life.


“Parliament is the eye and watchdog of the society entrusted to alert the government [of] any act which amounts to gross violations of human rights”, Hon. Lasu explained. He said that people were traumatized during the war to the extent that they could not know their rights and it is a task of the government and every person to ensure that people are given necessary knowledge on their rights.


Acting Chairperson of Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission, Hon Thomas Dut Gatluak appealed to UN agencies responsible for protection of human rights including Presidential Advisor on Human Rights to synergize energies towards protecting and promotion of human rights in the country. He said that human rights involved protections of IDPs and refugees and other necessary protections given to vulnerable members of the society.


Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission is an independent institution duly charged with the responsibility inter alia to monitor the application and the enforcement of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan.


This training will equip human rights field officers, legal experts and the documentation department as well as planning unit with specific skills in human rights investigations, monitoring, advocacy, reporting and documentation.


By Atok Dan 
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Pagan Amum addresses southern Sudanese in New York

NEW YORK, 25 September 2010 - The SPLM Secretary General and Minister for Peace and CPA Implementation H.E. Pagan Amum has called on the people of southern Sudan to unite and stand firm for the coming referendum, because leaders of the world have united behind the people of southern Sudan and affirmed the speech of H.E. Kiir last night in the UN General Assembly.


H.E. Amum made the remarks when addressing a peaceful procession spearheaded by the southern Sudanese in front of UN General Headquarters where they waved slogans supporting independence for the southern Sudan. H.E Pagam said that Sep 24th 2010 remains unforgettable in the history of the people of southern Sudan.

 


Southern Sudanese in New York hold procession in support of separation.


On his part GoSS minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong, described the date as a great day that marks the success of the struggle of the people of southern Sudan, Blue Nile and Nuba mountains.


Thomas Kenneth from New York
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

President Kiir meets world leaders in New York

NEW YORK, 25 September 2010 – H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), met several leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on CPA in New York.


President Kiir met H.E. Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda. The meeting discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and between the SPLM and Rwandan Patriotic Party. The meeting also focused on the need for full implementation of the CPA. H.E. Kiir briefed President Kagame on the situation in the country. In a press statement to the Southern Sudan Radio and TV, the SPLM Secretary General H.E. Pagan Amum disclosed that Rwandan President reiterated the Rwandan people and government position to support the conduct of the 2011 referendum on time as well as the popular consultation for the Blue Nile and southern Kordofan. H.E. Amum highlighted that the meeting also focused on the need of the African countries to support and recognize the choice of the Southern Sudan people in the 2011 referendum.


The President also discussed the same issues with French minister for Foreign Affairs who reiterated the French government’s support for the timely conduct of the referendum. H.E. Pagan revealed to the media that France as a permanent member of the Security Council will provide logistical support to the referendum commission.


Meanwhile, various Southern Sudanese leaders have lauded the UN meeting on the CPA. H.E. Pagan Amum described it as important in this critical time of the CPA. He said the meeting will be attended by heads of the states including the USA President Barack Obama, UN Secretary General, Foreign and Prime ministers representing different countries in the world. H.E Pagan pointed out that SPLM expects the meeting to come out with communiqués indicating broard guidelines of international community for the conduct of the 2011 Referendum on time, as well as the popular consultation for the two areas and the need to have resolution on the conflict in Darfur.


Dr. Cirino Hitend Ofuho, the minister in the Office of the President also described the meeting as important because it gives a chance to the leaders of the world to discuss the future of Sudan whether it is in unity or separation. Dr. Cirino added that the meeting shows commitment of the President of the USA, Mr. Barack Obama and the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon to understand the situation in the country and search for amicable final solutions to the outstanding issues in the country.
 

By Thomas Kenneth from New York

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

President Kiir addresses the UN meeting on Sudan

JUBA, 25 September 2010 – The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday addressed the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Sudan, at the UN General Headquarters, New York.


In his address, President Kiir reiterated that Sudan has reached a critical stage in its history and needs the support of the international community to move forward. He also underlined the role of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in facilitating the realization of lasting peace in the Sudan. He also underscored the commitment of the CPA partners in implementing the accord fully. “I would like to underline our absolute commitment to fully implement every article of the CPA because it is the key to peace and avoid the risk of a return to a devastating war”, he said.


The President also called on the international community to support the holding of the Southern Sudan and Abyei as scheduled under the CPA to give the people of the regions an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to self-determination. “This is the bottom line and a hard won right whose ultimate price is more than 4 million lives lost during the long two civil wars since independence in 1956”, he emphasized.


President Kiir also expressed concern over the delay in the implementation of the binding ruling of the Permanent Court of arbitration on Abyei boundary, as well as the delay in the formation of the Abyei Referendum Commission. He emphasized that the referendum in Abyei is just as crucial to the peace of Sudan as the referendum in the South. “It has always been a worry to us that Abyei may become the potential trigger for a renewed conflict between the South and the North if no solution is found”, he cautioned.


The President also urged the international community to be aware of the benchmarks of the CPA which he outlined as Abyei issues; registration of voters, including of Southerners living in the North; operation of the Referendum Commission, whose establishment, he said, has already been needlessly delayed; and negotiations on post-referendum arrangements, where, he said, the parties need to move on expeditiously. He called on the UN Security Council and the other international institutions monitoring events in the Sudan to take cognizance of and pay attention to these benchmarks.

 


President Kiir addressing the UN meeting on Sudan.


President Kiir also reiterated that the citizens are free to choose either unity or separation. He also asserted that all opinions will be given equal opportunity to be heard. On the preparations for the referenda, he said that efforts are being made to ensure that the process goes on smoothly. “We have also learned lessons from the recent elections, and taken on board observations and recommendations”, he said.


However, the President stated that even though unity is given priority in the CPA, all signs and opinion surveys indicate that the people of Southern Sudan will overwhelmingly vote for their own independent state because unity has not been made attractive during the interim period. He said that negotiations on the post-referendum issues are ongoing. “We are genuinely willing to negotiate with our brothers in the North, and are prepared to work in a spirit of partnership to create peaceful and sustainable good relations between Northern and Southern Sudan for the long-term after the Referendum”, he said. He emphasized that in the event that the Southerners vote for an independent state, they will still live harmoniously with the Northerners as good neighbours. “I have reiterated several times that even if Southern Sudan separates from the North it will not shift to the Indian Ocean or move to the Atlantic Coast”, he emphasized.


President Kiir said that his government has achieved a lot in the past few years since the CPA was signed but admitted that a lot more still needs to be done. “We are committed to establishing transparent and accountable government consistent with the requirements of statehood. We will uphold democratic principles and guarantee all kinds of freedom”, he said.


The President also highlighted the cases of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan which he said form an integral part of the CPA and must conduct popular consultations are provided for in the CPA. He also called for urgent resolution of the Darfur conflict saying that “no new strategy can work for Darfur until all parties are brought to the negotiating table”. He also called on the international community to join hands and deal conclusively with the LRA menace in the region. “There is a hidden hand behind this animal and joint efforts must be exerted to remove it”, he said.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

South Sudanese groups in Canada mobilize for the referendum

WINDSOR, 24 September 2010 – Southern Sudan youth, civil society activists in Canada are steadily mobilizing Southern Sudanese in the Canadian Diaspora to register and vote in the landmark self-determination referendum for Southern Sudan scheduled for January 2010.

 

The groups have emphasized that they are certain that the referendum will be held as scheduled. They pointed out that with the enactment of the Southern Sudan Referendum Act (2009) and the establishment of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, there is no justification for any further delay of the referendum.

 


Some members of the civil society groups popularizing the referendum in Canada posing for a photo in the GOSS Liaison Office, Ottawa.
 

 

The groups have been holding meetings in Windsor, Kitchener and Ottawa to encourage all patriotic Southern Sudanese in Canada to register and vote in this once-in-a-lifetime referendum. They are also reminding the people of their democratic rights and obligations for their motherland.

 

“Our call is very simple and clear; it is just a reminder for the people of South Sudan in Canada to register and vote in the upcoming referendum in January 09, 2011. It is one-time exercise that comes once and never again”, they emphasized. They have cautioned the Southern Sudanese against missing the vote by reminding them that the consequences of not participating in the exercise will haunt them for life. “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences”, they said.

 

 By Gore Kikisik

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

GOSS will preserve the “White House” – Culture minister

JUBA, 28 September 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) will preserve the “White House” in Juba to preserve the history of the liberation struggle, H.E. Changson Chang, the GOSS minister for Culture and Heritage, has announced.


Addressing the media forum hosted by the Ministry of Information in Juba today, the minister described the property as the infamous torture house where people of Southern Sudan used to be tortured, maimed or killed for standing up for their rights by supporting or participating in the liberation movement. The “White House” in Juba, which is perhaps named so because if its colour, was a notorious torture chamber whose victims were never given a chance to stand before any judicial system. Almost everyone who was taken there never walked out alive because the “White House” only had “one door”.


H.E. Chang emphasized that such sites should and will be preserved by his ministry to immortalize the history of the struggle especially for the benefit of the youth and future generations. He also said that the ministry has also requested to manage the Dr John Garang mausoleum in Juba as well as Prophet Ngundeng’s shrine, among other historical sites.

 


H.E. Changson Chang (left) addressing the media forum in the company of H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin (right), the minister for Information.


The minister announced that plans to build a national museum in Southern Sudan is underway and that once completed the facility will hold all categories of historical artefacts including Prophet Ngundeng’s rod and war relics among other items of cultural and historical value. He clarified that Ngundeng’s rod is currently being kept by H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the GOSS Vice President on behalf of the government and people of Southern Sudan. He explained that the Vice President will hand over the prophet’s rod as soon as a museum is built to hold it. He dismissed claims that the Vice President had taken the rod as a personal property. He said the rod is a national relic and explained that even the prophet’s family has no control over it.


H.E. Chang also announced that the ministry is working on erecting statues of heroes such as Dr John Garang de Mabior in various parts of Southern Sudan to keep their memories and contribution to the liberation of Southern Sudanese alive for posterity.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

GOSS has no preferred referendum choice – Information minister

JUBA, 28 September 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan is neutral on the referendum choices, the Information minister, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, has asserted.


Talking on the sidelines of the media forum addressed by the GOSS minister for Culture and Heritage, H.E. Changson Chang today, Dr Marial said that GOSS is only working to create a conducive environment for proponents of various positions to propagate their preferred options. He was reacting to allegations of some ministers in the Government of National Unity affiliated to the National Congress Party (NCP) that GOSS is preventing pro-unity advocates from campaigning in the South. He said that anyone with any position on the referendum is free to do so anywhere in the South.


Dr Marial also said that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has no role in the referendum. He clarified that it is the police who will provide security and law-enforcement during the referendum and explained that members of the SPLA will only vote as individual citizens during the referendum. Thus, he said, the SPLA too has no preferred option in the referendum as a corporate body.

 


H.E. Dr. Marial, GOSS minister for Information


The minister also assured the Southerners living and owning property in the North that they will not lose them should the South choose to establish an independent state of their own. He also assured the Northerners in the South that they too will not lose any property in case of independence of the South. He explained that issues relating to citizenship, international debt, and sharing of national wealth are delicate and are being discussed by the relevant committees working on post-referendum arrangements and will be dealt with appropriately at the opportune time.


Dr Marial also said that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has been collaborating with its partner in the North, NCP, to facilitate the referendum in fulfilment of the requirements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). He said that the SPLM is maintaining objectivity throughout the process and will leave the choice of unity or separation to the people of Southern Sudan who will return their verdict during the referendum. He urged parties not to panic and instead engage in constructive dialogue on issues of genuine concern.


Dr Marial left the forum early to travel to Nairobi with a team of Ministry of Information officials to learn from their counterparts in Kenya.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Culture and Heritage minister addresses media

JUBA, 28 September 2010 – The weekly media forum organized and hosted by the Ministry of Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) was today addressed by the GOSS minister for Culture and Heritage, H.E. Changson Chang.


H.E. Chang said that though his ministry was created just a few months ago, it has already embarked on developing policy frameworks to guide various aspects of its mandate. He said that the ministry currently has four directorates and twenty-four (24) departments. These are the directorate of administration and finance (secretariat, IT and training, and finance); directorate of heritage management (archives, archaeology, museums and antiques); directorate of culture management (performing arts, folklore, theatrical and dramatic arts, conventional and electronic libraries, mapping of cultural heritage of Southern Sudan, child culture, visual arts and cultural centres); and directorate of general activities (intellectual property and copyrights, research, mass media and cultural industries).

 


H.E. Chang (left) and H.E. Marial (right) taking notes during the media forum.


The minister said that culture and heritage represent and project the image of Southern Sudan both locally and internationally and should be taken seriously. His Information counterpart, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin added that Southern Sudanese have original, rich cultures which should be safeguarded. However, they pointed out that there are also some retrogressive cultures such as traditional marks which should now be discarded as they are sources of discrimination and disdain.
H.E. Chang reported that the ministry is already mapping out the cultures of Southern Sudan and establishing departments of cultural industries with support from the UNESCO. He also announced that the ministry is engaged with 300 local artists and 150 traditional dancers to create awareness on the referendum through music and dances in all the ten states and 78 counties in Southern Sudan.


He also explained that the ministry is currently dialoguing with stakeholders on requisite policy frameworks. He reported that the ministry held a workshop recently to develop copyright laws with musicians to deal with piracy. He said that such dialogue will continue with the stakeholders until a suitable draft is prepared and submitted to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) for enactment.


The minister also announced that the ministry has the mandate to manage national archives. He reported that H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit has directed all government agencies to hand over archival materials to the ministry for organization and preservation. He said that Dr Douglas Johnson will be jetting into the country in a couple of weeks to help digitize the archives. H.E. Chang also reported that Dr Johnson will also train ministry officials on digital preservation of archival material.

 


A journalist (standing) asks a question during the media forum.


H.E. Chang also reported that the ministry is already embarking on tracing and repatriating national artefacts held in various museums in Europe and elsewhere. He also said that the ministry is also collecting traditional artefacts, folklore, music, and stories from all Southern Sudanese communities for preservation. He also said that the ministry has supported local beauties to attend beauty pageants in China, Japan, Philippines and South Africa where they performed well and put Southern Sudan on the global beauties’ map. He also reported that five Southern Sudan youth are currently in China for acrobatics training as a culture-exchange strategy. He said that five others will be joining the programme in October this year. He emphasized that these youth are also studying.


The minister also explained that his ministry is involved in the preparation, propagation and preservation of national symbols such as the national anthem and flag. He said that a team from his ministry will visit Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa to exchange ideas on how they manage their cultural activities and institutions. He said that the team will be interested to learn from South Africa how it managed to bring together people from diverse cultural backgrounds and even adopted two national anthems. He said this information will be timely given that Southern Sudan stands at the crossroads of inevitable change. Dr Marial added that even with unity, it is still possible under the CPA to have two anthems just like South Africa has done.

 


Some of the journalists who attended the forum follow the proceedingly keenly.


H.E. Chang also reported that the ministry is working with local musicians to develop their capacity and outreach. He sympathized with the local artistes about the apparent “invasion” by international musicians but admitted that it is not desirable or possible to lock out the latter. He said the ministry is working with the local musicians to vet and regulate the foreign musicians coming to perform in the country and emphasized that these musicians are a source of cultural exchange which is needed by the country. However, he said that the ministry will attend to concerns of exploitation of the locals through exorbitant entrance fees and undesirable cultural influence. He said that culture and music have a way of keeping the youth busy and thus deter deviant behaviour.


The minister was accompanied by Mr Charles Buth, the acting Undersecretary in the ministry. The forum was also attended by the Undersecretary in the ministry of Information, Mr George Garang Deng and other officials from the ministry. It was attended by local and international journalists from private and public media houses.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Ministry of Health receives medical donation from Egypt

JUBA, 30 September 2010 – The ministry of Health in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) yesterday received eight (8) tons of medicine from the Egyptian Consulate General in Juba.


Receiving the donation, the Undersecretary in the ministry, Dr Olivia Lomoro thanked the Egyptians for this donation and lauded their support for the ministry in the provision of quality and readily-available medical services in Southern Sudan. She explained that this donation came at the opportune time when most medical facilities in Southern Sudan are lacking sufficient drugs.


Meanwhile, the Egyptian Consul General in Juba said that the donation was destined for hospitals in Juba. He also said that more medical supplies are expected and will be dispatched to Western Bahr el Ghazal state and a number of other Southern Sudan states. He also explained that this donation was just a kind gesture aimed at cementing the amiable relations between the two countries as well as the counterpart ministries.

 


Dr Lomoro (centre) with the Egyptian delegation in her office.


In another event, Dr. Olivia Lomoro received and officially opened five (5) TB laboratories that were donated by USAID to the ministry yesterday in Kator Payam, Juba. In her statement, the undersecretary commended the USAID as well as the minister for Health in Central Equatoria State (CES) for their support and renovation of the medical centres as well as provision of the financial assistance for healthcare centers to improve their services in an effort to reduce congestion at the Juba Teaching Hospital.


Dr Lomoro also explained that tuberculosis (TB) is a disease like HIV/AIDS and people need to be aware of its management. She said that the same message should be propagated to the rural areas as well. She also explained that her ministry is working with the CES ministry of Health to ensure that health services reach all the people readily and affordably.


Reported by William Jufur
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Sudan Foreign minister sends mixed signals, lashes out at the United States

WASHINGTON, 29 September 2010 - The Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti was interviewed by Mohammad Ali Salih, correspondent for “Asharq Alawsat”, a London-based Arabic daily newspaper. Karti, a controversial figure within Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP), has been labeled by some senior Southern officials as somebody with "extreme conservative views".


In June 2010, day after his appointment as Foreign Minister, Karti, started his first news conference by lashing out at the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), demanding the North-South border demarcation before the referendum vote, and threatening war if the semi-autonomous government refused. Bellow is the full transcript of the interview:


Q: What happened in New York meeting that was attended by President Obama
A:
As we expected it, though with a lot of sensational media coverage and statements from some Americans as if the end of the Word was near. They worried about whether the referendum would take place; for about 20 years we have been supporting self-determination. They worried about whether the government would accept the results of the referendum; we told them that once we accepted self-determination, we should accept its results.


Another point: New York meeting with US officials, again, proved to us that there are hidden players who have been, all these years, directing US policy towards Sudan. We have been hearing positive promises from many US officials, but they have mostly been promises; we have to see actions.


Anyway, we welcome the recent positive steps by US officials. Of course, we know the importance and strength of the US on the World stage; if they want to open a new page with us, we have always wanted to open a new page with them. From the beginning, we didn't know why they put us on their enemy list.


Of course, we are aware that President Obama's hands are tied as far as domestic US policies are concerned. Not only in the case of Sudan, but, also in cases of US relations with the Arab countries and the Muslim World.


Q: Is the US government with Sudan's unity or separations?
A:
The officials didn't officially state a position, and we didn't expect them to, because of their support of the Southerners free will. But, we have always reminded the US officials that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA, of 2005) has an article that prefers unity to separation. This is our strategy with the Americans: "You signed the CPA, the CPA prefers unity, and you should support the CPA."


Q: Is it in the US interest to have a united or divided Sudan?
A:
Of course, they decide that. But, any rational person must prefer unity to break-up, for Sudan, for Africa and for the US.


Q: Do you tell that to the US officials?
A: As I just told you, we tell the Americans: "You signed the CPA (former Secretary of State Collin Powell, during George W. Bush administration). You are part of the CPA which prefers unity." We also tell them: "You are a third party in an agreement between two parties; why do you support a party against the other?"


This is what CPA says: Item 2.4.2: "The Parties shall work with the (AEC) Commission during the Interim Period with a view to improving institutions and arrangements created under the Agreement and making the unity of Sudan attractive."


Q: Tell us about efforts by Obama's Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration?
A: He visited Sudan about 20 times; we appreciate his efforts. He listened to us, made promises, returned to Washington, made no actions, returned to us, made promises, and so on. Recently, he returned to us and said he had good news and that Obama was going to declare a new policy.


So far, we haven't seen written specific points. All what we hear are media sensational news about punishments, ultimatums and slogans: "a carrot and a stick"; "a big carrot and a long stick": and, recently, "pieces of carrots," one piece at a time.


I don't know whether to cry or laugh; this great and important country has found itself in vicious circles, not only in its relation with Sudan, but, also with other Arab and Muslim countries.


Q: You blamed "certain circles" in Washington; what are they?
A:
As a foreign minister, I would rather not name names. But, I can say this: throughout the years, conservative Republicans, extreme Christians and extreme Jews have been greatly influencing US policies towards Sudan and other Arab and Muslim countries. Also the Black Causes (Black members of Congress): I believe those are misguided, don't have enough facts, repeat accusations of past slavery by Arabs, have a grudge against Arabs and Muslims and want to revenge by dividing the Sudan.


Of course, we are aware of the US politics complications and of Washington's lobbies and pressure groups. But, that should prevent us from insisting that the current US policies are not, in the final analysis, in the interest of Sudan, the Africans, the Arabs, the Muslims – and the Americans themselves.


Q: Do you see differences between Bush's and Obama's administration in this regard?
A: Not in matters of promises-without-actions. After 2006 Abuja (Nigeria) agreement on Darfur, and I was a witness, former President Bush called President Al-Bashir, congratulated him on the agreement which was sponsored by the US, and promise to open a new page in the relations between the two countries, to lift the embargo and to provide assistant. Promises, promises. Now, under Obama, there doesn't seem to be many differences. Those who talk about "sports game overtime," should notice that the US itself seems to have realized "during the overtime" that Sudan's break-up is possible.


Q: Sudan's Vice-President and President of GOSS, Salva Kiir Mayardit, was last week in Washington, and said that all indications pointed towards an overwhelming Southerners' vote for independence?
A: We have two major problems in negotiating with Salva Kiir and SPLM's leaders: First, they are not honest negotiators; they say something today and deny it tomorrow and they keep changing their minds. Second, it seems that there are driven by hidden factors. A US official visits Juba, or one of them comes to Washington and we hear from them something different.


Now, when Salva Kiir came to Washington, why didn't he say that the CPA has an article that prefers unity? Also, why did he say "independence," not "secession"? This is what CPA says: Item 2.5: "At the end of the six-year Interim Period there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, organized jointly by GOS and SPLM/A for the people of Southern Sudan to: confirm the unity of Sudan by voting to adopt the system of government established under the peace agreement, or to vote for secession".


Q: Salva Kiir also said that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), during five years since CPA, didn't make unity attractive?
A: Another example of them being disingenuous is our belief that certain circles drive them. The NCP had made unity attractive in three major ways: First, is committed to the CPA which, clearly, prefers unity. Second, is committed to the referendum and its results, unity or secession. Third, the government, since CPA, has spent about three billions dollars in the South, in construction and development projects. Mind you, this is from our share of the oil; not from the South's share. I wonder what has the Southerners done with their share?


Q: Do the Southerners, factually, want secession or unity?
A: There are huge differences between the elite, the SPLM leaders, and the citizens. That is the reason we insist the referendum should be free and fair, because we are sure the average Southerner is not against the North. How could he be and there are about a million and a half in the North? They said they were bombarded by the North, but, still came to the North. Why? Because the Northerners are good, decent and proud people. They could have never found a similar treatment had they moved to Kenya and Uganda.


Q: What if the referendum will not be fair and free?
A: I would rather not give you an answer that would add to the problems; I would just say we hope the referendum will be free and fair.


Q: How about SPLM leaders that you said we different from the average Southerner?
A:
SPLM leaders are using terrorism tactics to prevent the Southerners from voting for unity. They allow secessionists to demonstrate, but not the unionists. They threat, pressure, and fire whoever calls for unity. Look at what happened to Dr. Lual Deng, Minister of Oil, after his statements to "Asharq Alawsat." (In an interview, Deng called for unity and said that John Garang, SPLM/SPLA founder and leader was his friend and boss, and was a unionist. Few days after the interview Dr. Deng issued a statement denying what he said, with news reports that he was criticized, pressured and almost fired).


We don't know what more we can do to the SPLM leaders. We send ministers and top officials to Juba to help the South in construction and development projects, and they are told that the South would coordinate and cooperate with Kenya and Uganda.


Another point about SPLM leaders: they cooperate with certain US groups that we believe don't wish well to the Sudan, North and South. All what these groups want is the break-up Sudan as a part of efforts to weaken the Arab and Muslim countries. These groups keep pressuring us, and sending us a demand after a demand – the only demand we haven't hear from them is to not to be Muslims.


Q: In interviews with "Asharq Alawsat," some Southern leaders who prefer secession demanded the following from the Northerners: (1) Apology for past mistakes. (2) Financial Reparations. (3) Secular constitution. (4) Not called "abid" (slave)?
A: (1) Apology for what? For President Al-Bashir as the first Sudanese president who called for self-determination for the South? For our commitment to the CPA? For withdrawal of all our troops from the South, while Southern troops are still in the North?


(2) Reparations? How about all the money the North spent in the South throughout the years? For, since CPA, spending three billion dollars, form our oil revenue shares, in the South?


(3) If they want secession, why do they worry about secular constitution? In the name of the so-called "secular" constitution, Sudan has been invaded, punished and pressured. Is Sudan the only country with an Islamic constitution? Enemies of Sudan, Arabs and Muslims have helped SPLA to use tanks to invade parts of the North; they almost reached Port Sudan (the main port on the Red Sea), and declared that they were planning to take Khartoum, remove the Islamic government and write a "secular" constitution. Thanks to God Almighty, they failed.


(4) It is irresponsible and a travesty that SPLM leaders talk about being insulted as "abids" (slaves). The Sudan is facing a historical chapter and they talk about being insulted? People insult people in all countries and throughout history. SPLM leaders talk about this proves their short-sightedness and need to be more confident in themselves.


Thanks to God, NCP is very confident of itself.


Q: Does the NCP plan to accept the South secession so as to keep the North under the Sharia Islamic law?
A:
First, how could that be and we signed the CPA that clearly prefers unity? Second, the recent general elections have shown that the majority of the Northerners voted for President Al-Bashir and NCP.


Q: If the Sudan breaks-up, it will be a historical step. Who will be responsible? NCP?
A: Also the SPLM.


Q: Finally, are you optimistic or pessimistic?
A: With these foreign efforts to poison the situation in the Sudan, and with the SPLM terrorist tactics against Southern unionists, I believe unity would lead to more problems and would hurt the Sudan more. Meantime, if the referendum will be free and fair, we believe the majority of the Southerners will vote for unity.


By Mohammad Ali Salih
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Referendum youth group ransoms 32 prisoners

JUBA, 1 October 2010 - The Juba Central Prison yesterday celebrated the release of 32 inmates charged with different crimes after youth civic organization called GEBU (Greater Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile) referendum forum paid a ransom of 14,686 SDG for them enabling them to be released. Out of the 32 inmates released on ransom, 7 others would be released on Monday. All the 32 ransomed inmates were serving sentences below 4 years.


While addressing this rare occasion, deputy governor for Central Equatoria State, Manasseh Lomole Waya said that it is the work of God which touched the hearts of this group of gallant young people to do this rare act of kindness that no elder has ever thought of prior to referendum in the history of Southern Sudan. Mr Waya also said he would consult with his ministry of education in the state to put up a technical centre where inmates would be trained on craft skills such as carpentry to help them fit into normal life and also have a source of livelihood after their release.


He emphasized the commitment of the Central Equatoria State government to improve on the deplorable conditions in which the inmates are living. However, he appealed to all government agencies and humanitarian organizations to at least do something to change the face of prisons in Southern Sudan so that they become more habitable. He also added that Central Equatoria State governor General Clement Wani Konga has agreed with the governor of Khartoum State, Dr Abdel Rahman El Khedir to build a juvenile prison besides school to enable young inmates to attend school while serving their prison terms. He appealed to justice systems to speed up cases to decongest the prisons and not to deny anyone prompt justice.


According to Mr Waya, the choice to vote for separation of Southern Sudan next year in referendum is a unanimous decision which Southerners have all taken while continuing with good neighbourliness with their Northern brethren, respecting each other as the norm is in other parts of the world. He said a northerner with property or living in Southern Sudan won’t be disturbed unlike what NCP politicians are saying in Khartoum.
 

The SPLM Secretary for Political Affairs and Mobilization, Cde Antipas Nyok said that the release of these inmates through the ransom by the youth organization for referendum demonstrates that Southern Sudan is equally ransomed by this act as these prisoners are released to participate in the referendum next year. He urged the released inmates to embrace reformation lessons which they have acquired in the prisons to impact their life outside as they go back to interact with the communities in normal life.


“You were kept here not because you are outcasts but the community wanted you to learn something from here so that you may become useful citizens of tomorrow”, said Cde Nyok. He also appealed to Central Equatoria State government to provide prompt solution to free children which are serving jail terms together with older people. Juba Central Prison has around 38 children in jail the majority of whom were charged of minor offences that do not justify custodial sentences.


On the same occasion, Central Equatoria State minister for Legal Affairs and Law Enforcement, Mrs. Ajonye said that prison is not a place that people can just come to stay but explain that one goes there when something is wrong which needs to be corrected. She lauded the kind gesture of the GEBU likening it to the Biblical beatitudes that whatsoever done to another is done for God.


The representative of the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission, Kongder Dut Jhok stated that conditions of the Southern Sudan cells are far above average compared to the ones in northern Sudan which are totally inhuman as opposed to what is expected by the international human rights standards.


The director of Juba Central Prison, Major General Alfred Manyang Agook appealed to jailbirds to reform rapidly so that they can be released like the youth. He also pointed out that the government is working hard to renovate the current small cells which were built far back in 1948 by the colonial government.


The director of “GEBU for Referendum”, Taban James said that releasing prisoners is a responsibility that every Southern Sudanese is tasked with as the referendum draws nigh. He urged the government to improve the conditions of the jails and to decongest them.


Juba Central Prison is the leading prison with a large number of inmates in Southern Sudan totalling to over 1,406 inmates, a number that exceeds its normal capacity. It also has prisoners of different foreign nationalities of which Uganda has the highest number serving their jail terms.


By Atok Dan 
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

“Peace vehicle has no reverse gear”, asserts President Kiir

JUBA, 1 October 2010 – The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit today declared that the peace process founded on the CPA will move on as planned and cannot be stopped. “I would like to make it clear to all and sundry that no disruption or delay to the [referenda of Southern Sudan and Abyei] can be tolerated”, he said.


President Kiir said that “delay or denial of the right of self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei risks dangerous instability”. He said the timing of the referenda is critical reiterated his full commitment to it. “The weight of our history, the depths of our peoples’ suffering and corresponding expectations, the promises of their leaders both in the North and South, and the guarantees of the international community create no space for wavering on this commitment”, he said.


Addressing a mammoth rally at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba today, the President who had just returned from a two week working trip to the USA and the United Nations explained that the peace vehicle, unlike the ordinary ones, has no reverse gear and cannot go backwards. He asserted that the forward gear has been engaged and the vehicle will not stop or deviate until the ultimate destination – sustainable peace – is reached.


President Kiir said that his mission was very successful. He said that he had been invited to New York by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and the Security Council to attend the High-Level Meeting on Sudan which was organized at the brink of the end of the implementation of the CPA. He said that his message to all the people he met and the audiences he addressed was that the people of Southern Sudan must be given an opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination as scheduled by the CPA.


The President thanked the international community led by the USA, Norway, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy and the European Union for their interest in the full implementation of the CPA and achievement of lasting peace in Sudan. He also thanked the neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea and Djibouti for guaranteeing the CPA. He said that it is the pressure from the international community which facilitated the signing of the CPA and expressed hope that the pressure will be sustained to ensure its full implementation. “The continued interest of the region, the international community, civil society organizations, the churches and all people of goodwill remains critical more than ever in the testing months ahead”, he said.


The President also reiterated that he will not lead the country back to war but cautioned that if provoked the people of Southern Sudan will defend themselves. However, he advised parents not to let their children fight other people’s wars. “I urge you all Sudanese to remain vigilant and guard against war mongers who have not and will not even touch the gun in their life time”, he said. He also appealed to the gallant armies of the Sudan and all able bodied personnel to shun war and value life of their children, women and the old in society. “Ya jama, I am not a coward but it is only those who have not tested the anguish of war who can still drill for it”, he implored.

 


President Kiir addressing the rally in Juba today.


President Kiir urged all eligible voters to get ready to register and vote during the referendum saying that the exercise is a golden opportunity to determine their future which they cannot forfeit. “This is an extraordinary moment in the history of Africa; we must not let the enemies of peace and spoilers to disrupt the forthcoming momentous event”, said he. He said that all pointers indicate that the people of Southern Sudan will vote for separation during the referendum. He explained that this is not strange because unity has not been made attractive in the past five years.


The President also reiterated that negotiations are ongoing on the post-referendum issues. He expressed hope that these issues will be ironed out amicably according to the international law. He also reiterated that it is in the interest of the people of Southern Sudan that the North remains a viable state and vice versa in the event of separation. He stressed that in that case, the two countries will co-exist as good neighbours by building peace between the peoples. “We will develop trade and economic relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit”, he explained. He also clarified that the authorities of the countries will work to preserve and enhance the livelihoods of all Sudanese people, including those depending on traditional migrations across the North/South border.


President Kiir identified the issues of concern to the South as sharing of oil revenues which he said is lopsided in favour of the North; protection of all citizens’ rights of the Southerners and Northerners wherever they may be according to the general rules of law and natural justice; and the Abyei issues and future which he said should not be allowed to trigger a new conflict.


The President concluded by making the following statements about the future of the Sudan:
 

  1. The future of Sudan is hanging in the balance and it could worsen if the referenda in Southern Sudan and Abyei are obstructed and delayed. Therefore, it requires the attention of the region and the international community at large to guard against any dangerous political gamble.
  2. It is important for us to accept that ensuring full CPA implementation (including the timely conduct of the referenda on January 9th, 2011) is also ensuring permanent peace in Sudan and the region if not the world at large.
  3. The international community, particularly the Troika and the UN, IGAD countries and the African Union should prepare to intervene if conflict arises during and after the conduct of the referendum.
  4. The P5 members, the Troika, IGAD countries, the African Union and the international community should explicitly endorse the referendum and recognition of the choice of the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei.
  5. The world should view Southern Sudan as a potential contributor to regional and international peace should it become independent after the referendum.
  6. Be assured that Southern Sudan will be the catalyst for the consolidation of democracy in the Sudan and an exemplary of human rights adherent.
  7. Southern Sudan is a potential market to the region because already the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and DR Congo are benefiting a great deal from it.
  8. Therefore, I urge investors worldwide to come and invest in Southern Sudan. In terms of agriculture, it will be the bread basket of the region and the world.
  9. Finally, I call upon our donor partners and the international community to contribute generously in the building of the capacity of Southern Sudan so as to develop in order to catch up with the rest of the region and the international community in terms of modernization.


Earlier, the President was received at the Juba International Airport by his deputy, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, several GOSS ministers and dignitaries as well as thousands of Southern Sudanese who lined the roads of Juba to cheer and greet the President. He drove to the venue of the rally atop a pickup in the company of Dr. Machar and other leaders. On arrival at the airport, the President released a white dove as a sign of peace. A white bull was also slaughtered at the airport as a good omen for the President and future of Southern Sudan.
 

 By Tom Kwanya and Emmanuel Dumba

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

GOSS to release the Russian pilots

JUBA, 4 October 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has announced that it has decided to release the pilots of the suspicious helicopter which was captured months ago in Upper Nile state, H.E. Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong, the GOSS minister for Internal Affairs said today.


The minister made this announcement when he addressed the press on the insecurity incident at Customs in Juba in which five people were killed on Saturday. The minister explained that the five, three Sudanese and two Ugandans, were killed and six others seriously injured when an armed individual shot indiscriminately into the crowd.


Gen. Gier who was accompanied at the press conference by the acting minister for Information, H.E. Madut Biar Yal, explained that the Russian embassy in Khartoum has been talking with GOSS to facilitate the release of the pilots. He said that he would meet the Russian ambassador soon after the press conference to discuss the issue further.

 


Gen. Gier addressing the media today.


He explained that the investigations into the helicopter incident are already complete and pointed out that the pilots may still be brought back if need be. He reiterated his earlier assertions that the helicopter has been used for suspicious missions for long by enemies of peace in Southern Sudan who, at this point in time, are keen to derail the referendum. He vowed that the government will work tirelessly to ensure that lasting peace prevails in the country.


He said that these enemies of Southern Sudan peace will not succeed to derail the transformation in the region. He asserted that GOSS will remain committed to ensuring safety of all the citizens of Southern Sudan and the foreigners living in the country.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

We are tracking the Customs killer - GOSS

JUBA, 4 October 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan today announced that it is tracking down the lone gunman who shot indiscriminately and killed five people – three Sudanese and two Ugandans – at Customs market in Juba on Friday.


Reading the official GOSS statement on the incident, H.E. Madut Biar Yal, the GOSS Minister for Communication and Postal services and the current Ag/Minister for Information, said that the incident coincided with the arrival of the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir from the USA. H.E. Madut explained that apart from the five lives lost, six other people were also injured in the incident.


H.E. Madut said that the government condemns the barbaric act by brutal individual and the hidden hands behind him. He said the people involved in this are the enemies of peace in Southern Sudan who would like to derail the referendum by claiming that the region is insecure. He vowed that the criminal is being tracked down by security forces and will be brought to justice to answer to this heinous deed in the courts of law.

 


H.E. Madut (centre), and H.E. Gier (on his right) address the media accompanied by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr George Garang (right)


H.E. Madut reported that President Kiir has sent condolences to the Government of Uganda and the families of the Ugandan nationals who lost lives in the attack. He said that the incident seems to have been planned to create enmity between Southern Sudan and Uganda.


“This is a time where people should enjoy the peace dividend brought about by the CPA but enemies of peace are working day and night to discredit the GOSS by all means”, the minister said. He warned that these schemes will not work because GOSS is committed to protecting the lives of natives and foreigners in Southern Sudan.

 

By Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

“Work will be done to restore unity if the South chooses separation”, Taha

KHARTOUM, 4 October 2010 (SUNA) – The Vice-President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, said that the southerners' choice for separation will not prevent work for restoration of the unity and strengthening the ties between the north and the south, stressing that aspects of unity between the north and the south are bigger that the aspects of separation.



At a press conference he held on Monday at the Council of Ministers, Taha assured the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the other Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) partners that the remaining issues in the implementation of the CPA have great political weight which necessitates giving them the due concern so as to avoid the risk of returning to confrontations, a situation which none of the two parties want.

 

Taha affirmed the keenness to achieve durable peace and holding of the referendum in the scheduled time, stressing the importance of Abyei referendum after the consensus between Dinka Ngok and Messeriya tribes. He said that the referendum of Abyei will not be held unless the outstanding issues are resolved.

 

He expressed hope that the referendum will lead to permanent peace and bolster the peace in Sudan, whatever the result of the referendum, provided the referendum shall be free, open and honest and be held through correct and undisputed procedure.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Southern Sudan Referendum - Voter Registration Time-Table

Date
Activity
17th October 2010
Commencement of accreditation of observers, advocates and the media
1st November 2010
Publication of the list of Referendum Centres within which registration shall be held

 
14th November 2010
Voter registration shall commence

 
4th December 2010
Voter registration shall cease

 
5th December 2010 (7 days)
The Provisional Referendum Register will be accessible for inspection at the Referendum Centres whereupon registrants may object to names or request corrections of personal details

 
7th December 2010
The Advocacy Campaign shall commence

 
12th December 2010 (5 days)
A Consideration Committee formed at each Referendum Centre shall consider the objections or considerations made to the roll

 
17th December 2010 (7 days)
The decisions made by the Consideration Committee shall be posted at each Referendum Centre for display

 
24th December 2010 (5 days)
Individuals unsatisfied with the decisions by the Consideration Committee may appeal to the Courts who will make final decisions

 
31st December 2010
The Final Referendum Register shall be completed

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Sudan Presidency resolves to hold Referendum on time

JUBA, 5 October 2010 – The Presidency of the Sudan has agreed to hold the Southern Sudan referendum for self-determination on time as scheduled by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).


Justice Chan Reech Madut, the Deputy Chairman of the South Sudan Referendum Commission and Chairman of the South Sudan Referendum Bureau, revealed this agreement today when he addressed the media forum hosted by the Ministry of Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).


Justice Chan admitted that there may be some hitches along the way but emphasized that President Omar Al-Bashir, First Vice President and GOSS President H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, and Vice President H.E. Ali Osman Taha have agreed to ensure that the referendum is held on January 9th 2011 as scheduled.


“I am optimistic that if we are all registered as voters then the exercise will go on; I see no reason why we should be pessimistic”, he said. However, he expressed concern that referendum structures have not been established in the North. Justice Chan could not, however, confirm whether the Abyei referendum would be held or not. He said that the Abyei issue is political and is beyond his commission but expressed hope that the political leaders will meet amongst themselves and agree on a suitable way forward.

 


Justice Chan stresses a point during the media forum


Justice Chan urged all Southern Sudanese to not only register but actually turn up and vote. He warned the people against skipping the exercise after registering because their absenteeism will have grave effect on the referendum tallies and the decision thereof. He said that everyone who registers must be ready to vote so that their voice can be heard clearly.


He called for tolerance during the campaigns which he said are yet to begin officially. He asked all the people to allow every person with an opinion to sell it. He advised some people who are opposed to President Bashir’s support for unity by saying that the President has a right to propagate his views. He, however, emphasized that the verdict will be with the people of Southern Sudan and no one else.


Justice Chan said that his team has learned a lot from the recent elections and will not make the same mistakes. He said that the commission’s hierarchies goes up to the grassroots and pledged that they will work to ensure that the referendum is transparent, free and fair. He, however, admitted that the commission lacks the capacity to monitor the exercise in all parts of the world. He said that the Diaspora is more organized but expressed doubts about what would happen in Northern Sudan. He reported that majority of the members of commission in the North will be Southern Sudanese IDPs because they know each other. He also warned that active members of political parties will not be allowed to serve in any capacity in the referendum management.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Preparations for the referendum in top gear

JUBA, 5 October 2010 – The deputy chairman of the South Referendum Commission and the Chairman of the South Sudan Referendum Bureau, Justice Chan Reech Madut, today announced that all preparations for the referendum are in top gear in readiness for the landmark event scheduled for January 9th 2010.


While addressing the media forum today he explained that the referendum bureau has formed high committees comprising five persons, including the chairman, at the state and county levels in Southern Sudan. He also announced that members of the bureau will go to all the ten (10) states of Southern Sudan to ask the committees at those levels to identify the referendum (polling) centers, referendum center committees, and the registration staff.

 


Justice Chan (left) accompanied by Mr George Garang Deng, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information (right)


Justice Chan explained that the members of the high committees, who are yet to be sworn into office, will be responsible for the referendum in all of the ten states while sub-committees, which have also been formed, will be responsible for the exercise in the counties.


“It is our hope that by next week we will be through with these basic requirements; once the structures are in place the training for the staff about the referendum registration process will start”, he said. He also reported that in Northern Sudan, the committees are not yet formed but added that it is already agreed by the commission that they will be formed soon. “We have suggested that a considerable number of southerners in the displaced camps should be included [in the committees in the North] to identify their people during the registration process”, he said.


Justice Chan also reported that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been entrusted to register Southern Sudanese in eight countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, Egypt, Australia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. He also said that this will be done in coordination with the civil society and reported that it is in progress.

 


Some of the journalists who attended today's media forum


He also announced that a USD 372 million budget has been approved for the exercise. He said that part of these funds will be used in Southern Sudan as well to complement the resources set aside by the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).


Justice Chan also reported that the commission has agreed to produce the referendum materials outside the country. He said that materials to be used for registration are expected in the country on 23rd October 2010. “You cannot register without the material; production of the referendum material has already begun in South Africa”, he explained and added that this is being done with the help of the United Nation Development Program (UNDP), and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) based in New York. He explained that these materials have inbuilt security features which are tamper-proof and cannot be reproduced.

 


A journalist asks a question in today's media forum


He also explained that the production of the ballot papers will begin as soon as the commission has agreed on the symbols to be used. He explained that currently there are many suggestions but said that the commission is yet to make a decision. He emphasized, however, that the symbols will be simple so as to facilitate ease of voting and minimize spoilt votes. Justice Chan also explained that voting centres will be located strategically to enable ease of access by all the eligible voters all over the country. On the issue of eligible voters, he explained that this referendum is only for Southern Sudanese. He said that the Southern Sudanese are well known but added that in case of doubts, the concerned persons will have to go back to their ancestral locales from which they will be identified and registered.


He also released the referendum time-table which will culminate to the January 9th 2011 polls. He admitted that the timeframe is tight but emphasized that it is doable. All the requisite processes for the referendum, documents and materials, he said, must be in place by 31st December 2010.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Southern Sudan has the potential to feed Africa

JUBA, 6 October 2010 – Southern Sudan has the potential to become the breadbasket for the whole of Africa if mechanized and technological agriculture is adopted by the region. This was stated by H.E. Awut Deng Acuil, the minister for Labour and Public Service in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) when she addressed the press on arrival at the Juba International Airport from China.


Madam Awut said that Southern Sudan should copy the approaches and experience of the People’s Republic of China which has embraced technology to produce enough food for its citizens and remain with a surplus which is being exported. She also explained that GOSS and Chinese government are currently collaborating in the area of Agriculture.


The minister explained that the Chinese government has agreed to support the agricultural sector in the country through capacity building and introduction of appropriate technology.


These views were corroborated by H.E. Nyandeng Malek, the governor of Warrap state who was part of the delegation to China. She said that her state will benefit tremendously from the lessons and experiences of the Chinese government. She asserted that Southern Sudan is bestowed with vast and fertile arable land which cannot compare with that of China. She also said that for the efforts to nurture agriculture to succeed, challenges relating to infrastructure and security have to be addressed as well.


Madam Awut reported that her delegation had visited the USA (New York), Belgium (Brussels) and China during the trip. Apart from exchanging ideas on agriculture, the minister explained that the delegation also discussed issues relating to the forthcoming referendum. She said that the international community and donors have expressed goodwill and willingness to support the process so that it is conducted in a free and fair manner.
 

By Justin Jada Joseph

 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Juba Teaching Hospital to form a management board

JUBA, 6 October 2010 – In efforts to improve the management of Juba Teaching Hospital, the Ministry of Health, Government of Southern Sudan, led by the minister, H.E. Dr. Luka Monoja and the Undersecretary, Dr. Olivia Lomoro together with the senior management of the hospital have resolved to form a Hospital Management Board and Hospital Administrative Team.


The Hospital Management Board will comprise of heads of department in the hospital, Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Pharmacist, representative of the Southern Sudan Doctors Association, Juba University Faculty of Medicine, Chief of Laboratory Services, Chief of Radiology Services, Director of Clinical Training Programme, representative of Chamber of Commerce in Central Equatoria state, representative of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) and Legislative Assembly of Central Equatoria, Chief Hospital Administrator that will be the secretary of the board, representative of Public Security and a representative of Juba County administration.


The Hospital Management Board will be led by a chairperson while the Hospital Management Team will be led by a Chief Administrative Officer who is to be recruited.


The key function of the board will include provision of overall guidance in management and coordination of medical services in Juba Teaching Hospital; formulation of policy, norms and procedures governing administrative and technical tasks in the Teaching Hospital; ensure the hospital is fulfilling the teaching and research requirements; identify needs and formulate hospital development plans; design an affordable and accountable structure of cost-sharing/recovery of services; develop and operationalize hospital work plan; authorize hospital approved budget expenditure; supervise and monitor the performance of the Hospital Management Team and enforce disciplinary measures among hospital staff, among others.


The Hospital Administrative Team, on the other hand, will be responsible to ensure effective presence of a 24-hour (round the clock) service in all departments and units; ensure effective functioning of all utilities (water. Light, sewage and other waste evacuation); implement decisions and directives of the Hospital Management Board; administer cost-sharing for services delivered according to rates adopted by the Hospital Management Board; ensure that duty roster is followed by all categories of hospital staff; ensure timely procurement and needs-based distribution of all sundries; ensure availability of required correct data management tools (forms, registers, receipt books) in all relevant areas at all times; ensure timely and efficient collection, compilation and reporting of all hospital data; prepare monthly income and expenditure statements for presentation to the board; ensure maintenance of hospital vehicles and equipment and ensure working times are respected by staff and that there is discipline among staff.


The board is expected to be functional as of Monday 12th October 2010.Once functional, the same will be replicated in other hospitals.


By Olaw Othownh Dak
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Latest Presidential Decrees

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

5,450 police officers being trained for the referendum

JUBA, 7 October 2010 – 5,450 police officers are currently undergoing professional training at the Dr. John Garang De Mabior Memorial Police Training Centre in Rejaf, Juba in preparation for the referendum early next year.


H.E. Gen Gier Chuang Aluong, the minister for Internal Affairs stated that this police force under training will provide security to the civil population in Southern Sudan during the conduct of referendum and far beyond referendum as police is the face and shape of good governance in any country. H.E. Gier said that Southern Sudan had no well trained police force before because the one that was in place were aggregates of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and had no skills to police the region.


H.E. Gier also blamed rampant insecurity in Southern Sudan on enemies of peace who are laboring hard day and night supplying ammunitions to civilians and militias to fail the government and deny people of Southern Sudan the opportunity to enjoy the dividends of peace brought about by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).


H.E. Gier was speaking when he led the visiting delegation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to the Dr. John Garang De Mabior Memorial Police Training Centre where the police are undergoing training.


Before visiting the training centre, the delegation held a two-hour discussion yesterday, shortly after their arrival, with the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) General Salva Kiir Mayardit and his cabinet. In a press statement after the deliberations, the minister in the Office of the President, Dr. Cirino Hiteng said that the discussion was centered on how to ensure timely conduct of the two referenda for Southern Sudan and Abyei and to avoid risks of the country sliding back to war. Dr. Hiteng also said the visit is also a follow up on the recent high level meeting attended by President Salva Kiir and Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha in Washington.


Dr. Hiteng stated that it is in the interest of everybody that peace remains the top priority by ensuring full implementation of the CPA through timely conduct of the referenda as scheduled in the CPA while also committing to respect its outcome. He said that the international community and Security Council are also interested in the timely conduct of Popular Consultation for the two areas of Southern Kordofan and South Blue Nile


Head of the UNSC delegation, Susan Rice stated that the international community and the Security Council are determined to support the full implementation of the CPA especially regarding the timely conduct of the two referenda for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei. Ms Rice stressed that the international community would continue to support, encourage and pressurize the parties to hold the referendum and respect the outcome of the exercise so as to ensure that peace prevails and that the country does not slide back to war.


On the other hand, General Acuil Tito, the Inspector General of Police, said that the police force in Southern Sudan is facing enormous transition challenges due to lack of equipment to facilitate their operations. General Acuil added that the Southern Sudan police force needs over US$50 million to equip the police fully for seamless operations. General Acuil appealed to the international community to aid the police in Southern Sudan to enable it to deliver its mandate of providing security and protection to the civil population now and beyond the referendum.


“We recruited over 6,000 recruits but due to some difficulties, the forces went down to 4,000 personnel yet the initial plan of the government was to train 15,000 police personnel in Southern Sudan to cover the vast region”, General Acuil said.


The Deputy Inspector of Police, Lieutenant General Gordon Micah Kur revealed that the initial plan of the Government of Southern Sudan was to train at least 15,000 strong men and women drawn from across Southern Sudan to the police force. He said that the same would be dispatched later to various states and counties to facilitate easy security surveillance. He said, however, that due to lack of equipment and other necessities, the plan did not work.


General Kur also said that the current force has over 400 ladies. The officers are trained in high risk security and protection of diplomats besides legal and police law of evidence and investigations to equip them to deal with criminal issues later in their daily police duties. The groups are divided based on languages of proficiency. For instance, the Arabic group is trained separately in legal language from their English colleagues to ease understanding. He also said that a unit known as special border police is being trained by UNMIS police experts.


During the visit of the UNSC, the forces demonstrated their different experiences and skills acquired during the training. One of the trainees who is a former lost boy and an American citizen undertaking training in Rejaf said that he came back from the USA to participate in nation building of Southern Sudan which was devastated by protracted war between the Arab north and the South. He said that his contribution as an individual in Southern Sudan in the South is more valuable than what he could do from the USA.


The delegation will proceed to Nyala today after which they will spend a night before going to Khartoum to meet the Vice President Ali Mohammed Taha.


By Atok Dan 
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

President Kiir meets UN Security Council delegation

JUBA, 8 October 2010 - The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit on Wednesday evening met the visiting delegation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at the meeting hall in the Presidential Palace in Juba.


President Kiir said that the coming of the UNSC’s visit to Juba enables the delegation to acquaint itself with the facts on the ground and gives a good signal that the international community is taking referendum issues seriously. The President said that the gesture also paints a bright hope for the future of the people of Southern Sudan.


The President told the delegation that post-referendum arrangements, pending Abyei issues and popular consultations for Blue Nile and South Kordofan remain critical agenda for negotiation with the National Congress Party (NCP). He further explained that Southern Sudan is being destabilized by the enemies of peace in the North whose aim is to taint the image of GOSS and derail the forthcoming referendum. President Kiir also called on the Security Council to remain close to Sudan and to deploy the UN Peace keeping forces at the border between the South and the North. He also told the delegation that genuine and full implementation of the CPA could have contributed to making unity attractive. He asserted, however, that the situation on the ground has been different and urged all the stakeholders to accept that reality.


During the meeting, Ms. Suzan Rise, the head of UN Security Council delegation to Juba said the international community is committed to facilitating the full implementation of the CPA. She also said the referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan must take place on time and the result must be respected and recognized by the Security Council. Ms Rise also elucidated the purpose of the delegation’s visit to Juba and other parts of the country. She explained that the delegation is interested in knowing the position of the two partners to the CPA on post-referendum arrangements, UNMIS activities and its free movement in the country, outstanding issues of the CPA and the obligations of GOSS/ SPLM to the international community.


The speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Rt. Hon. James Wani Igga on his part expressed satisfaction with the historic visit of the delegation and said that it shows the support of the UN Security Council to peace in the country. Rt. Hon. Igga urged the international community to push for the full implementation of the outstanding issues of the CPA.


In another event, H.E. Kiir met the Russian ambassador to Sudan, Mr. Envarbik Fazeliyanov. The meeting discussed referendum issues, participation of Russian observers in the process and how to strengthen the relations between Russia and Southern Sudan. Mr. Fazeliyanov reported that they also discussed the two Russian helicopter pilots who were detained recently. The Russian ambassador thanked the GOSS President for releasing the two pilots.


By Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2010

Chairman of Referendum Bureau addresses students in Kampala

KAMPALA, 11 October 2010 - The Chairman of the Referendum Bureau, Mr. Achir Deng Akol yesterday evening addressed the Southern Sudanese students who are studying in different universities and colleges in Uganda at the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) Liaison Office in Kampala.


Mr. Achir explained to the students that ballot papers for the referendum are being printed in South Africa and not Khartoum. He also explained that the Southern Sudanese living in Uganda, Kenya and other countries will receive ballot papers from the relevant referendum authorities to enable them participate effectively in the exercise. He also said that elaborate security measures are in place to ensure that the exercise is conducted peacefully and transparently.


Mr. Achir told the students that he will be meeting with different heads of Southern Sudanese students from different universities and colleges to address them on the voting registration which will commence on the 14th November 2010. “You are the eyes of Southern Sudan; so you have to be informed of the developments in your country”, he said.


In a related event earlier in the week, the members of Bahr el Ghazal Students Union (BUSU) comprising students studying in different universities and colleges in Uganda on Wednesday swore in their new President, Mr. Joseph Mannok Atheer, at the Kampala International University.


The Guest of Honour at the ceremony, Mr. Lual Akol Nhial, the Education Attaché at the GOSS Liaison Office in Kampala, told the gathering that GOSS is keen to support the students studying in the Diaspora by paying their tuition fees. He also reported that the lives of Southern Sudanese students in East Africa have improved greatly courtesy to the support accorded to them by GOSS. Mr. Lual described GOSS as the only government with the interest and capacity to support all Sudanese all over the world.


He urged all the students to unite and support their motherland. He encouraged them to register and participate actively in the coming referendum to determine the future of their country. He also asserted that everyone who registers must vote so as not to tilt the results of the referendum negatively.


The new BUSU President urged the youth to take a keen interest in the happenings in their country and play their honest part in building it. He also called on all students to unite for the sake of their country.


BUSU is a non-profit making organization which was formed in 2008 by a group of students from the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region. The organization was legally registered by the Government of Southern Sudan in 2009. It seeks to unite the students from the region and to advocate for their rights and welfare.


By Peter Gai Manyuon from Kampala
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

Southern Sudanese youth in the Diaspora pledge referendum support

JUBA, 11 October 2010 - The chairman of Southern Sudan Youth Forum for Referendum, Mr. Benjamin Bol Mel arrived in Juba today from United States of America where he had been on a trip to promote the referendum. Upon his arrival at Juba International Airport, Mr. Mel told the press that his awareness campaign for the Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora concerning the referenda to take place earlier next year in January for people of southern Sudan and Abyei Area was successful.


He said Southerners residing in the USA and other Americas are already prepared to register for the referendum from 14th November 2010 as scheduled. According to Mr. Mel, youth in the Diaspora have pledged to offer all support possible to the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) to hold the referendum successfully. He explained that Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora are neutral politically and are only interested in taking forward the fight for liberation of the marginalized people in Southern Sudan to its natural conclusion.


Mr. Mel registered his disappointment with the arrest of students and other innocent civilians who were expressing their will on secession during the referendum last week in Khartoum of which more than 75 Southerners were arrested. He reported that though ten people were released yesterday, the other 65 are still languishing in unknown prisons in Khartoum State.


He appealed to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in the North for the immediate release of the arrested persons. Mr. Mel blamed the incident on lack of good governance and poor leadership in Khartoum leading to intimidation and threatening of innocent people advocating for their inalienable rights.


Mr. Mel also appealed to the International Community and the United Nations Security Council to pressurize the ruling NCP to release these students and the civilians arrested in Khartoum before the situation could get worse. Amongst student leaders arrested in Khartoum are: Tong Majok Tong, James Thon Malith, Jok Nyuol from University of Juba, and Manyuat Alen, Phak Gai Bol, Andrew Bukic of Nilean University. Also arrested are Augutino Kur, Kuer Mayik, Daniel Dhieu Ngong and Samuel Anei Agoth whose universities were not yet identified.


Arbitrary arrests and detentions of Southern Sudanese and other marginalised Sudanese in the Sudanese capital Khartoum is common even after the signing of the CPA. Matters deteriorated after Justice and Equality Movement (JIEM) headed by Islamist Ibrahim Khalil attacked Khartoum on the 10th May 2008. Following this attack other Sudanese from Western region became prey to the NCP security operatives as they were subjected to numerous arrests, detention and torture. Similarly, thousands of demonstrators expressing sorrow after the demise of the founding father of the SPLM, Dr. John Garang, were arrested and jailed. Some of them are yet to be tried in a court of law.


By Atok Dan 
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

GOSS Council of Ministers Resolutions

JUBA, 11 October 2010 - The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit on Friday briefed the GOSS Council of Ministers on Kajiko-2 Government and Church Forum which was concluded on Thursday and urged the Council to take note of its resolutions and recommendations.


H.E. Kiir announced to the Council that the Southern Sudan Political Parties’ Conference on the Referendum and the future of the south, scheduled to take place in Juba from Oct 13th – 15th 2010, will be addressed by the President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Mwai Kibaki. H.E. Kiir also disclosed that Southern Sudan leaders of other political parties in the North are invited to attend the conference.


In a press statement to S.S. Radio and T.V. the minister for Cabinet Affairs and acting spokesman of GOSS, H.E. Kosti Manibe said the Council of Ministers under the Chairmanship of H.E. Kiir had passed the Policy Framework, Organizational Structure and work plan of the newly established GOSS Ministry of Investment, after being presented to the Council by H.E. Oyay Deng Ajak, the minister for Investment.


According to H.E. Manibe, the Council also directed the minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research to relocate Southern Universities to their place of origin. H.E. Manibe said the Council also directed the ministry to assess and evaluate standards of the private universities in Southern Sudan and update the Council if they meet university standards or not.


H.E. Manibe told the press that the Council also resolved that employment in different government and private sector institutions must be done after public advertisements of the vacant posts so that everybody competes fairly for the positions through the Ministry of Labour and Public Service.


By Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

President Kiir meets Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin

JUBA, 11 October 2010 - The first Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and the Chairperson of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has reiterated his will of working together and in a good faith will all the Southern Sudan political parties as well as Dr. Lam Akol to determine the future of Southern Sudan.


This came in a historic reconciliation meeting President Kiir held on Saturday evening at the State House in Juba with the leader of SPLM-DC, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin. President Kiir welcomed Dr. Ajawin in his office for the first time since Dr. Ajawin broke away from the SPLM party, and held a cordial and friendly meeting with him.


Shortly after the meeting, the minister in the office of the President, Dr. Cirino Hiteng told the press that the meeting came ahead of all southern political parties’ conference to be held on Oct. 13th – 15th 2010. He also reported that the two leaders during the meeting underscored the importance of working together in the coming period, and outlined that Dr. Ajawin during the meeting said that he has no individual differences with President Kiir; they only have political differences which can be resolved.


On his part the leader of the opposition party in Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) Hon. Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec who accompanied Dr. Lam Akol during the meeting said in a press statement that the two leaders have expressed political will of working together to address challenges ahead of Southern Sudan so as to build a strong expected nation. Hon. Nyikwec described the meeting as historic because it resolved differences between SPLM and SPLM-DC.


By Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

South Sudan drivers and mechanics appeal for recognition

JUBA, 12 October 2010 - The South Sudan Drivers and Mechanics Association (SSDMA) yesterday issued a statement saying that the majority of those redundant today in Southern Sudan are career members in the driving industry who have been rendered jobless because most NGOs and some government officials ignore indigenous drivers and mechanics and in favour of foreign drivers.


Addressing a press conference at the SPLM Southern Sector office in Juba, the Acting Chairperson of the association, Jenario Puorach Magom said that the aim of the association is to unite drivers and establish a centre where drivers and mechanics should address issues affecting them.


Though the association was established formally in 2009, the association dates back to 2006 when the union mobilized 173 drivers in Yei River County to bring over 200 oil trucks which were brought from the port of Mombasa in Kenya to Southern Sudan. Mr. Magom said that these drivers were prevented from driving in Kenya unless they are recognized by a regional drivers’ body called Kenya Key Transport (KKT). Today the association has trained 327 drivers in Yei River County and they are looking for ways of getting this group on the market which they alleged has been dominated by foreign drivers and mechanics.


According to Mr. Magom, the government is employing foreign drivers and mechanics leaving the qualified indigenous ones redundant. He also announced that the association would register all drivers and mechanics in Southern Sudan and issue them with membership certificates. He also said they will assist the drivers and mechanics to get jobs. He clarified that the association is neither against foreign drivers nor does it plan to chase them away but asserted that all they wanted is to share the “bread” in the market with them.


Mr. Suliman Fardi, the head of the SPLM drivers, said that drivers and mechanics are the pillars of a dynamic nation, hence deserve protection. Mr. Faridi mentioned that most of drivers are now engaged in drunkenness yet they possess knowledge that can be utilized for development. He appealed to the government to assist the association to build unified driving and mechanics school in Southern Sudan where drivers can be trained. Mr. Fardi urged the drivers and mechanics to come for general elections of the association which, he said, will take place on 23rd October 2010 at Nyakuron Cultural Centre. According to Mr. Fardi, driving profession encompasses pilots, ship and streamer drivers, bicycles and motorcycle riders, and all sorts of vehicles fall.


“It is we who know which driver can drive a president or a minister including ambassadors. Therefore, we should be consulted when recruiting drivers”, Mr. Fardi emphasized. He also said that it is the local drivers who understand the terrain well and can drive with less risk compared to foreign drivers who just “come in and end up killing people and dessert later without being found”, he added. He also cited an incident where a foreign driver allegedly poisoned water in a tank and distributed it to innocent people. Mr. Fardi suggested that the Public Service Vehicles (PSV) should be driven by local drivers so that “they are able to protect their own people”.

 


Mr. Magom addresses the press flanked by members of the association
[Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


On the other hand, an association member, Mr. James Manyok said that the association had drafted its rules and regulations which shall be tabled to parliament for enactment into law to guide and protect drivers who are being overworked without extra allowances or part-time payment. He said drivers are the most vulnerable in Southern Sudan yet they are pivotal in development.


“There are some officials who overwork their drivers they don’t give them respect as indecent description like a mere driver are in use as if we are not human beings”, Mr. Manyok explained. He also said that the association will register with East Africa drivers’ regional body after referendum should the South vote for separation.


A female mechanics and a driver, Ms. Mariam Keji Benjamin appealed to all women to leave the work of brewing local alcoholic drinks and instead become drivers or mechanics so that they can earn a decent living. She blamed women for sluggishness and later blaming men for not being well represented. She said that men have stopped drinking local brews and shifted to bottled drinks so the women should also shift careers.


The head of drivers in Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Mr. Yoanes Wali said that driving is a disciplined career requiring respect and hard work. He explained that this is the reason why drivers never by pass each other even when in hardship like the case of a breakdown of a vehicle on the way. Mr. Wali said the indiscipline displayed by some career drivers and mechanics as attributable to lack of respect for their job. He said nowadays drivers don’t respect each other while on the road because it is hard to find a driver giving passage to a colleague as it used to be.


The members of the association said that driving is one of the careers given less respect yet no one has ever done anything without the help of drivers. “They drive the whole of our government but the recognition given to them remains a question unanswered in the mind of everybody”, they said. They also said that in Southern Sudan, drivers are being abused and overworked yet the overtime payment given to them is not commensurate to them as people who also need special attention. Critics say that some officials go for weekend leisure with their drivers, leaving them lying in vehicle up to almost midnight without rest.


By Atok Dan 
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

“There’ll be no war if Southern Sudan votes for independence”, Dr. Marial

JUBA, 12 October 2010 – The minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin today asserted that there will be no war if Southern Sudan chooses independence during the referendum.


Addressing the media at the Juba International Airport when he arrived from Dubai via Nairobi, the minister refuted the allegation of the Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi that there will be war in Africa if Southern Sudan secedes. Conversely, Dr. Marial said, there will be lasting peace, good governance and stability.


Dr. Marial also said that unity has not been made attractive for the Southerners for the past five years. He said that the Southerners have a right to decide which way to go, either for unity or independence. He said that they will choose appropriately guided on their experience and hopes.

 


Dr. Marial addresses the media at the airport accompanied by top officers


The minister reported that during the trip, he attended a three-day meeting in Nairobi on good governance in Africa and the importance of cordial relations between developing countries, especially emerging regions such as Southern Sudan. He also reported that he attended a meeting at the Institute of Security Studies in Africa where referendum issues were discussed.


While in Dubai, Dr. Marial briefed journalists from various media houses on the status of the implementation of the CPA and the need for cooperation between the Arab world and Southern Sudan for development. He also explored training opportunities for Southern Sudanese journalists as well as investment in the media sector, especially TV and radio in Southern Sudan. He also said that Southern Sudan is open for potential investors interested in diverse sectors of the economy.


Dr. Marial was received at the airport by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang Deng and his counterpart at the Ministry of Communication and Postal Services, Eng. Stephen Lugga; Director General of Southern Sudan Radio and TV, Mr. Arop Bagat; and various departmental heads in the ministry. He was accompanied on the trip by the Director General of Information, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak; Director of News Agency of Southern Sudan (NASS), Mr. Moyiga Nduru; Director of Training and Research, Mr. Gwado Ador; and Director of Southern Sudan Radio, Ms Susan Alphonce; among other officers.


By Emmanuel Dumba and William Jufur
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

H.E. Taha arrives in Juba

JUBA, 12 October 2010 – The Vice President of the Republic of Sudan, H.E. Ali Osman Taha arrived in Juba today. H.E. Taha went straight into a meeting with the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit.


H.E. Taha was received at the Juba International Airport by the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny. Also at the airport to receive H.E. Taha was the GOSS minister for Cabinet Affairs, H.E. Kosti Manibe and the Governor of Blue Nile, H.E. Malik Agar Ayer.

 


H.E. Dr. Machar chats with H.E. Taha on the latter's arrival at the Juba International Airport today


The SPLM Secretary General and GOSS minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, H.E. Pa’gan Amum also arrived today from Ethiopia where he had attended a meeting on the formation of Abyei referendum commission. H.E. Amum was accompanied by the GOSS minister for Regional Cooperation, H.E. Deng Alor.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

Sudan Presidency to meet over pending CPA issues

JUBA, 13 October 2010 - The Sudan Presidency, chaired by the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, will hold a meeting next week to discuss a number of the pending issues in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).


In a press conference after the meeting, the First Vice-President and President of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, confirmed that they reviewed the CPA implementation and other unresolved issues during the meeting he held on Tuesday in Juba with the Vice-President of the Republic, H.E. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.


He said that the talks between the two partners will continue next week in Khartoum. H.E. Kiir said that the meeting also discussed what was reported by the mass media with regard to military build-up by the two sides in the border areas, affirming that they agreed to cool down the situation and halt escalation of the media campaign by the two sides. The two sides agreed to direct the joint Defence Council to monitor the implementation of cease-fire agreement.


Meanwhile, H.E. Taha said that the meeting agreed on controlling the military movements to pave the way for maintaining social peace. He also called on the civilian population to help preserve peace in the society emphasizing that it is the responsibility of all citizens. He also called on the Joint Defence Board as well the committee monitoring the ceasefire to double their efforts to prevent any return to war. He expressed confidence that all the pending issues will be resolved amicably. H.E. Taha also announced that the NCP has accepted an invitation extended by the SPLM to attend the Conference of the Southern Political Parties, which begins today at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba.
 

 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

President Kiir meets former Tanzanian president

JUBA, 13 October 2010 - The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday evening met the chairperson of United Nations Panel on the Referendum and former President of Tanzania H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa.


H.E. Mkapa told the press after the meeting that President Kiir has given them an assignment of make the referendum a success. He assured sceptics that the panel will exert more efforts to ensure that the referendum process is timely, fair, free and credible.


The former Tanzanian leader also added that the referendum could be done through cooperation between the two parties and through support of the international community, both financially and technically. He also said that the referendum will mark the beginning of a new history for the people of Southern Sudan. He also urged the people of Southern Sudan to follow the referendum process keenly and vote carefully.


By Thomas Kenneth
 

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

GOSS ministers brief Mkapa team on referendum

JUBA, 14 October 2010 – The GOSS ministers of Information, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin and his Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development counterpart, H.E. John Luk Jok, yesterday met the UN team monitoring the referendum in Southern Sudan chaired by the former Tanzanian president, Mr. Benjamin Mkapa.


The two ministers briefed the UN team on the ongoing preparations for the referendum and more particularly, the registration process. They also elucidated the form of governance Southern Sudan would adopt if it chooses independence during the referendum.


The ministers also assured the team that adequate security systems and personnel are being put in place to ensure that the referendum proceeds as scheduled - peacefully, freely and fairly. They reported that about 50,000 security agents have been earmarked for the exercise. They also said that the government is working with the media to educate the people about the two referendum options to enable them to make informed decision when voting at the referendum.


Dr Marial also added that GOSS had learnt a number of lessons from the past election and is preparing adequately to ensure that the referendum is a success. He expressed fears that the NCP does not seem to be transparent in the process, especially in Northern Sudan. Nonetheless, he reiterated that the SPLM has done and will continue to do its honest part to facilitate the full implementation of the CPA.


The meeting was held at the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development offices in Juba.


By William Jufur

This article was updated on Oct 26, 2010

South-South dialogue kicks off in Juba

JUBA, 14 October 2010 – The South-South dialogue on the political future of Southern Sudan kicked off yesterday in Juba during the all-political parties conference organized by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre.


The three-day conference is being attended by political heavy weights in Southern Sudan and has drawn the participation of 23 political parties in the region. It was chaired by the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit. The opening session was also attended and addressed by the Vice President of the Republic, H.E. Ali Osman Taha and former President of Kenya, H.E. Daniel arap Moi. Also in attendance were Dr Lam Akol and Bona Malwal, among other party leaders. The dialogue is aimed at uniting all the Southern Sudanese political parties ahead of the referendum and into the future to facilitate political maturation, development and prosperity. The theme of the conference, “Uniting to fulfill the aspirations of our people‘’, ably espouses this objective.


In his address, President Kiir said that the CPA is coming to an end with the forthcoming referendum. He said that the SPLM will not return to the war reiterating that the peace vehicle has no reverse gear. He highlighted the challenges facing the implementation of the CPA such as building South consensus; and mobilizing the people of Southern Sudan effectively for referendum. He explained that the conference is aimed to reconcile politicians with divergent views such as Dr. Lam Akol with the SPLM as well as eliminate armed groups. He said that even though the armed groups were not at the conference they will be involved in the dialogue process at the opportune stage.

 


President Kiir and other leaders at the conference.


Significantly, President Kiir said the core objective of the conference and the ensuing dialogue is to build consensus on the referendum emphasizing that Southern Sudan does belong to the SPLM or individuals but to all the citizens. He said that the conference will develop common principles to that the referendum may be conducted in a peaceful, free and fair atmosphere. The President also called on all Southern Sudanese to unite for the referendum which will have a lasting impact on region going beyond individuals and parties.


H.E. Moi on his part conveyed the goodwill of the people and government of Kenya. He expressed hope that the referendum will be conducted in a timely, free and fair manner. He said that though Southern Sudan is facing many challenges, he is confident that they will be surmounted. He emphasized that the people of Southern Sudan need the North as well as the neighbouring countries. He urged all political parties in Southern Sudan to unite for the referendum, avoid tribalism and create a better Southern Sudan for posterity.


H.E. Taha said that the South-South dialogue should be extended to the North so that it facilitates a national consensus. He reaffirmed that the NCP is committed to the full implementation of the CPA and especially the referendum. He stated that his meeting with President Kiir on Tuesday in Juba on issues related to insecurity was blessed by the President of the Republic, H.E. Omar Al-Bashir. He announced that they will meet again next week in the Presidency in Juba to consult further on these and other issues.


Some of the parties attending the conference include the SPLM, NDF, Umma Party (RR), Umma Party (RD), Southern Sudan Democratic Forum, USSP, NDF, SPLM -DC, SSDF, UDF, UDP, SSDA, SANU, NJMP, NUDF, NCP, PCP, CPS, SLP, ANC, UDSF-M, Umma, and UDSF.


By Clement Aturjong Kuot

This article was updated on Oct 30, 2010

Norwegian government supports capacity development in Southern Sudan

JUBA, 14 October 2010 – The Norwegian government and the Ministry of Labour and Public Service, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in which the former committed USD 6 million to support the IGAD regional initiative for capacity enhancement in Southern Sudan.


Through the initiative, two hundred civil servants from three IGAD countries – Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia – will be seconded to GOSS ministries, commissions and state-level governments. These men and women will be deployed in strategic functions and be twinned with Southern Sudanese officials to ensure on-the-job training and transfer of skills.


The MOU was signed, on behalf of GOSS, by the minister for Labour and Public Service, H.E. Awut Deng Acuil and the Norwegian minister for International Development, Mr. Erik Solheim. “This initiative opens a new era for capacity building in Africa”, said Mr. Solheim after the ceremony.

 
This initiative will provide critical support during this historic period for Southern Sudan irrespective of the outcome of the referendum scheduled for January 9th, 2010. “Improving government capacity in Southern Sudan is both urgent and important”, said H.E. Awut. The initiative will be administered by the UNDP, Southern Sudan.

 


Madam Awut (centre) exchange the MOU with the Norwegian government officials


The government of Norway has also given USD 6 million to be used for capacity building in the oil sector through the GOSS Ministry of Energy and Mining; USD 1 million to support the Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Surveys and Evaluation; half a million US dollars to support training of the Southern Sudan Police Service, especially for issues relating to the referendum; and USD 6 million to support the relocation of the Faculty of Law of the University of Juba from Khartoum to Juba.


The Norwegian delegation had earlier been received at the Juba International Airport by Dr. Cirino Hiteng, the minister in the Office of the GOSS President. Mr. Solheim told the press at the airport that his delegation will meet the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, to discuss how the Norwegian government can support the referendum process. He also said that they will explore areas of cooperation in health and education sectors in Southern Sudan.


The Protocol in the GOSS Ministry of Regional Cooperation, Mr. Hanafi James, also received Hon. Antonio Carlos Do Nascimento Pedro, the Ambassador of Brazil and Javad Torkabadi, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Khartoum at the Juba International Airport today. The diplomats are in the country to meet the GOSS President and other leaders and consult on the referendum.


By Jogo Joice Duku and Miriam Maneno

This article was updated on Oct 30, 2010

General Tangginya defects to SPLM

JUBA, 14 October 2010 - General Gabriel Tangginya, a former militant who was loyal to the National Congress Party (NCP) today announced in Juba that he has defected to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). This follows an amnesty issued by the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit last week.


General Tangginya arrived in Juba today in order to attend the South-South dialogue conference which is taking place at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre. He met President Kiir in his office accompanied by five of his members. The President welcomed him and his group.

 


Gen Tangginya (centre) addressing the media in Juba


General Tangginya said that he is happy to come back home. He admitted that GOSS has facilitated a lot of development for last five years. He said that he also met the GOSS Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar, senior SPLA officers, and political leaders who are attending the conference. He stated that they came to Southern Sudan to join the other Southerners in preparing for the forthcoming referendum. He confirmed that his troops will join the SPLA forces but they are still in dialogue with GOSS/SPLA on how they can work together. He also confirmed that he will not return to Khartoum.


Clement Aturjong Kuot

This article was updated on Oct 30, 2010

Dr. Marial meets delegation from Omdurman National TV

JUBA, 15 October 2010 – H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) held a meeting with a delegation from the Omdurman National TV, led by the Director General, Mr. Hatim Mohammed Suleiman, yesterday in his office in Juba.


The visit of the delegation was a follow up on the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed recently by Dr. Marial and his counterpart in the Government of National Unity (GONU), Dr Kamal Obeid. The MOU lays out areas and modalities of cooperation between the national TV and Southern Sudan TV (SSTV) on issues of common interest such as the forthcoming referendum. Omdurman National TV also undertakes to support the SSTV to improve its programming to increase local content.


Mr. Hatim reported to the minister that the national TV will open correspondence centres in Wau, Malakal and Juba in due course. He also said that the station’s operations in Wau will be important especially because of the National High School Tournament hosted by three Southern states of Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Western Bahr el Ghazal which will be held there.


Dr. Marial directed that an implementation committee be formed at the ministry’s headquarters to coordinate the common activities as per the MOU. The meeting was attended by top officers at the GOSS Ministry of Information. Later in the evening, the minister hosted a banquet for the delegation at the Da Vinci Hotel in Juba.


By William Jufur

This article was updated on Oct 30, 2010

GOSS ministries initiate plans to “take cities to the people”

JUBA, 18 October 2010 – The ministries of Roads and Transport, and Cooperatives and Rural Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) have begun working on practical steps to develop the rural areas.


This was announced by the respective ministers, H.E. Anthony Lino Makana for Roads and Transport and H.E. Jimmy Lemi Milla when they met at the latter’s office in Juba today. They reiterated the commitment of the government to “take cities to the people” through sustainable development of the rural areas in an effort to stem rural-urban migration. They underscored the role of a good roads network in facilitating rural development.

 


H.E. Lemi (left) and H.E. Makana (right) during the meeting.


The ministers also discussed areas of common interest between their ministries. They emphasized that the ministries are interlinked and that if either of them fails to deliver then the entire system fails. They announced that they will visit all the rural areas beginning January next year to open cooperative farms and banks.


By Jogo Joice Duku

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

Southern students seek speedy relocation of universities from Khartoum

JUBA, 19 October 2010 - Southern Sudanese students learning in the three Southern universities in Khartoum have asked the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) to hasten the relocation of the institutions from the Northern capital to their original locations in Southern Sudan.


The students from the University of Juba, University of Bahr el Ghazal and University of Upper Nile which were moved to the Northern capital during the war said that they are no longer comfortable in the city and would wish to return to their homeland immediately.


According to Mr. Majer Agany Aguto, a second year medical student at the University of Upper Nile’s Faculty of Medicine, the students met in Khartoum and dispatched a delegation consisting of seven of their members to petition GOSS to prioritize the relocation of the institutions. They decried lack of freedom, intimidation by security agents, and discrimination by Southern Sudanese students whom they alleged are commonly victimized purely because of their “skin colour”.


Apart from Mr. Agany, the delegation consists of Mr. Aguer Bol Kuir also from University of Upper Nile’s Faculty of Medicine; Mr. Paul Malual Ajak, Mr. Michael Ngor, Mr. Andrew Ariik Arok and Mr. Ohisa Charles from the University of Juba; and Mr. Joong Anthony from the University of Bahr el Ghazal. They hope to meet top GOSS officials and present a memorandum.

 


Mr Agany in Juba yesterday.


Specifically, they are asking the government to hasten the relocation of the three universities from Khartoum to their original locations in the South. They are also suggesting that if the universities cannot be relocated immediately, then they should be shut down until they are relocated. In the event that the universities are closed, then the Southern Sudanese students currently pursuing studies in those universities should be enrolled elsewhere to continue their studies either locally or abroad. The students are also requesting the government to facilitate their relocation from Khartoum to the South by taking care of their transportation. They are also asking the government to help their colleagues who were arrested last week to be released.


The students would also like to participate fully in the referendum by mobilizing their communities and peers, supporting the voter registration process, and actually voting during the referendum. They also pointed out that the academic programmes in some universities, for instance, University of Upper Nile, will run from November 2010 to March 2011 and thus will deny the students and faculty the opportunity to participate in the referendum fully.


Mr. Agany reported that there is already a lot of tension in Khartoum and that the Southern students are feeling desperate to come back home as they would not like to be caught in a situation where they become stranded in the Northern capital should the scenario deteriorate.


The memorandum has been copied to Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the GOSS Vice President; Hon. James Wani Igga, the speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA); Hon. Pa’gan Amum, the SPLM Secretary General and GOSS minister for Peace and CPA Implementation; Hon. Gier Chuang Aluong, the GOSS minister for Internal Affairs; Hon. Peter Adwok Nyaba, the minister for Higher Education in the Government of National Unity (GONU); Hon. Joseph Ukel, the GOSS minister for Higher Education; and Hon. James Duku, the Chairperson of the Education Committee at the SSLA.
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

High hopes as South-South conference closes

JUBA, 19 October 2010 – The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday met all leaders of political parties in Southern Sudan at the Presidential Palace in Juba. The meeting followed the conclusion of the unification conference held at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre late last week.


After the meeting, the GOSS Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, told the media that the meeting discussed the participation of all the political parties in Southern Sudan in the referendum. He said that one area of participation is mobilization of the people in Southern and Northern Sudan as well as in the eight countries from which Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora will vote.


Dr. Machar added that the meeting agreed that the parties should create a secretariat to coordinate the meetings on the referendum as well as to provide administrative support for the mobilization exercise. Dr. Machar also said that the political parties agreed to meet again at least twice before the referendum; preferably once before the registration exercise sets off and once after it.


The GOSS Vice President also said that although Gen. George Athor did not attend the meeting in person, he emphasized that he had sent his representatives who presented his views at the meeting. Furthermore, Dr Machar explained, he (Gen. Athor) communicated with the participants on phone. Thus his participation was adequate even in his physical absence.


By Thomas Kenneth (Translated by William Jufur)

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

Communique of the South-South dialogue

Please, click here to download the communique of the just concluded South-South dialogue conference held at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba.

 

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

Gen Athor declares ceasefire

JUBA, 19 October 2010 – General George Athor Deng Dut has declared a permanent ceasefire in the areas he controls following the executive pardon extended to him personally and his group by the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit recently.


This was announced by a special delegation from his movement which is in Juba to deliver a formal letter of acceptance of the amnesty to the GOSS President. Mr James Dok, the spokesperson of the group said that they are currently consulting with the Legal Advisor to the GOSS President to prepare a memorandum which they hope to deliver to the President when they meet in due course.


Asked why General Athor did not come in person, Mr Dok explained that there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed before the General can come to Juba. He also said that the just concluded South-South dialogue was for the politicians and explained that the General and his group are engaged on a military platform. He said that his group has been free in Juba and that they will report back to the General that all is well.

 


Some of the members of the delegation addressing the media


Pressed to reveal the pending issues that still need to be addressed, Mr Dok said that he could not reveal them at the moment since negotiations are still ongoing. However, he reiterated that the negotiations cannot backfire. Thus, he guaranteed that his group will not fight any more. “This is our guarantee; that is why we are here in Juba”, he declared.


On the future of the General and other members of his group, Mr Dok said that he cannot predict the outcome of the negotiation process. He also said that he does not know whether the General will seek election again in Jonglei emphasizing that the state does not belong to any individual. “Who knows, another person may just emerge to lead the state”, he quipped.


The delegation addressed the media at the South Sudan Hotel 2 in Juba today afternoon.
 

By Tom Kwanya and Emmanuel Dumba Dima

 

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

“The white helicopter was ours”, admits Gen Athor

JUBA, 19 October 2010 – The white helicopter captured by the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) a few months ago was actually being used by General George Athor, a delegation from his movement admitted today in Juba.


Addressing the media in a Juba hotel, the spokesperson of the delegation, Mr James Dok, however denied that the helicopter was ferrying arms. Conversely, he said that the helicopter was being used to deliver humanitarian supplies and medicine to the movement. He also denied that the group has been receiving support from the Khartoum government as popularly believed.


Pressed by the journalists to confirm or deny the group’s association with the elements of the National Congress Party (NCP), Mr Dok admitted that it is true that the group had received overtures from elements in the North interested in destabilizing the South. However, he asserted that his group rejected the proposals.

 


Mr James Dok (right) reads the group's statement to the media


“Things would have been worse if we were working together with Khartoum”, he explained. He also said that if General Athor had played ball with the Northerners then he would be in Khartoum by now. He also explained that the fact that the helicopter had come from the North does not mean that they had the support of the Northerners. He said that his group had hired the helicopter using its own resources without any external support.


Mr Dok, however, admitted that his group has been cooperating with other Southern dissidents. He said that the cooperation was motivated by the understanding that the enemy of one’s enemy is one’s friend. He announced that now they are all united to work for the realization of lasting peace in Southern Sudan. “We have now joined hands to talk peace”, he said.


The delegation is in Juba following the amnesty granted to them by the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit. They said that they hope to meet the GOSS President and deliver an acceptance letter of the amnesty to him.
 

By Tom Kwanya and Emmanuel Dumba Dima

 

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

SSACC meets Norwegian Anti Corruption project

JUBA, 20 October 2010 - Representatives of the Norwegian government held talks on Monday in Juba with members of the Southern Sudan Anti Corruption Commission (SSACC) to evaluate the progress made by the commission in the fight against corruption in the region and to see how to assist South Sudan during the referendum and the years ahead.

 

In a press statement to Southern Sudan Radio and TV, the Chairperson of Southern Sudan Anti Corruption Commission, Dr. Pauline Riak explained that the meeting was mainly on the previous progress made and usher new ways of helping the Government of Southern Sudan Anti Corruption unit on new strategies to combat the vice in the region.

 

The Norwegian government Director of Anti Corruption Project (NORAD) and a former ambassador to Sudan, Mr. Fridtjov Thoruindsen lauded the initiative embarked upon by the Government of Southern Sudan and the Anti Corruption department for the war it has launched to secure public assets.

 

“The Norwegian government has prioritized the anti corruption project in Southern Sudan and would continue to support the government in the fight against corruption”, Mr. Fridtjov explained.

 

He said that the meeting they had showed that there is an enormous progress made as far as the war against corruption is concerned besides the economic will of the region to prosper. “Anybody who misuses public property would not be tolerated”, said Norwegian Anti Corruption boss.

 

Southern Sudan Anti Corruption is one of the institutions established after the inception of the Government of Southern Sudan in 2005 by a presidential decree in accordance with the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan to guide the use of public property.

 

The Interim Constitution has prohibited constitutional postholders and other public office holders together with their immediate family members from running businesses while in public office. Declaration of assets by constitutional postholders and other senior civil servants is one the initiatives promulgated in the commission’s Act as a strategy to ensure corruption free state as it is in their logo.

 

By Atok Dan

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

“We are committed to peace”, Gen Athor and group

JUBA, 20 October 2010 – The head of the delegation of General George Athor Deng Dut who came for the Southern Sudan all political parties’ reconciliation conference organised by the Government of Southern Sudan stated that they have accepted the presidential pardon and the resolutions of the recent conference.

 

Speaking yesterday at a press conference held at the South Sudan Hotel in Juba, the Secretary for External Affairs, Mr. Dok James Puok said that they came to convey the message from General George Athor, Gatluak Gai, David Yau Yau and the rest of his colleagues, that they have accepted the recent presidential pardon issued by the President of the government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit.

 

“We came to guarantee that whoever goes to our site should be in safe hands in relation to this presidential pardon and that we are welcoming the delegation from the Government of Southern Sudan to come together with us to reach where General George Athor is which is around Khorfolus County in Jonglei State for final signature of the arrangement before we could come to Juba”, Mr. Dok said.

 

He also said that they are partially different from General Gabriel Tanginya who had his forces already organised in the Sudan Armed Force (SAF), JIUs and in Malakal town, the capital of Upper Nile State. Mr. Dok also appealed for the release of prisoners of war from both sides and announced that General George Athor would be in Juba after confidence building because it is not easy for people who fought to just turn up like that.

 

“We think the recent Southern Sudan all political conference was at a political level but there are issues which need technical teams to discuss since they are not political”, Mr. Dok explained.

 

Mr. Dok also dismissed the allegations affiliating them with the Khartoum government as a propaganda concocted by those who had the intention of chasing them away from the SPLM/A. He also explained that the white helicopter which was captured bringing supplies to them was rented by their movement from Khartoum to bring them food and medicines and asserted that the incident doesn’t affiliate them to Khartoum.

 

He also said that their movement is still SPLM/A but explained that it is composed of those members who were denied free and fair elections.

 

“We are quite aware that Khartoum is working hard to ensure that South Sudan is destabilised and doesn’t go to the referendum”, he said but added that the agenda is not in the interest of their movement which is advocating for peace and referendum.

 

According to Commander Abraham Thon Chol, General George Athor had no intention to rebel although he underwent serious intimidations during the campaign after which he was finally chased away even after he conceded defeat in the elections. Commander Chol said that they are committed to peace and successful conduct of the referendum of the people of Southern Sudan.

 

On the other hand, Commander Mr. Abiel Ring Majok said that peace is their top priority for which they would be working to ensure success. He appreciated the commitment of GOSS to peaceful settlement of all the differences amongst the Southerners.

 

“No going backward but forward”, Mr. Majok emphasized. He dismissed what happened in Pibor County in Jonglei State between Mr. David Yau Yau’s group which is reported to have negotiated with the local government. He also repeated that their movement is free to contract any business persons to supply them even business people with planes even in Juba depending on the kind of relationship they go into.

 

By Atok Dan

This article was updated on Nov 2, 2010

NCP rejects referendum symbols

JUBA, 22 October 2010 - The Chairperson of the Southern Sudan Civil Society Referendum Taskforce (SSCSRT), Mr. Isaac Kunguru Kenyi announced yesterday that the National Congress Party (NCP) have so far rejected all the referendum symbols that have been suggested by the Southerners. Mr. Kenyi also announced that the taskforce is currently investigating the possible reasons for the rejection.


Mr. Kenyi made these pronouncements during a press briefing at GOSS Ministry of Information premises in Juba. He also told the media that the taskforce held a meeting in Juba on 12-13 October 2010 and resolved that the NCP and its Southern CPA partner, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) should work together to ensure that the referendum is held in January 2011 as provided for by the CPA, the Interim National Constitution (2005) and the Southern Sudan Referendum Act (2009).


In regard to time constraints and concerns about the integrity of the referendum process, the SSCSRT urges the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission to review the voting locations outside Southern Sudan. The taskforce said that this concern is because in some locations weather conditions and accessibility may hinder the process of voting. For instance, in Europe it will be winter time; it will not be favourable for the voters to move from place to place.


The SSCSRT also urged the CPA partners to urgently implement all the outstanding provisions, including the North-South border delineation and demarcation. They also urged the two parties to create an atmosphere which is conducive during the referendum process by refraining from inflammatory statements that may provoke and trigger war.


The taskforce also urged the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) to continue circulating the Southern Sudan Referendum Act (2009) to the entire citizenry of the Southern Sudan to give them the legal basis for the referendum and provide them with regular updates regarding the deadlines of the plebiscite. It also called on GOSS, Government of National Unity (GONU) and the international community to provide adequate funding for civic education. SSCSRT also urged the international community to recognize and accept the outcome of the referendum.


The Southern Sudan Civil Society Referendum Taskforce, as the name suggests, is an association of different civil society network representing a wide range of constituents, including areas of peace, justice and human rights, a free and open press, economic development, democratic reform, armed violence-prevention, among many other sub-sectors. According to its statistics, more than 160 civil society organizations are presented by the SSCSRT, as well as 35 media institutions.


The chairman was accompanied by his deputy Miss Merekaje Lorna and other heads of different civil society organizations. The press briefing was attended by the government and private media houses.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Demobilisation launches in Western Bahr El Ghazal

WAU, 25 October 2010 - Demobilisation activities launched today in Wau, Western Bahr El Ghazal State of South Sudan. In the coming weeks, more than 3,500 ex-combatants and women associated with the armed forces are expected to arrive in the assembly area which is approximately 5 km from the demobilisation site. With the assistance of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the eligible participants of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme will begin a demobilisation process, consisting of counselling, briefings and some material support, at the DDR State Office in eastern side of Wau town.

 

The DDR process in Southern Sudan is coordinated by the Southern Sudan Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (SSDDRC). UNMIS is the lead organisation providing support to the SSDDRC with Demobilisation while UNDP provides lead support with Reintegration. Since DDR demobilisation began in June 2009, there have been 8,526 people demobilised across South Sudan, including Central Equatoria, Lakes, Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria states.

 

“The DDR process will provide these ex-combatants with intensive professional support to help them reintegrate into their communities. The DDR participants richly deserve this unique opportunity to return to their communities with the skills and abilities necessary to build an honourable and productive new Sudan. We at the SSDDRC are proud to lead and participate in this process”, said William Deng Deng, Chairperson of SSDDRC.



“UNMIS is committed to support the National DDR institutions and particularly SSDDRC to implement the national DDR programme. Throughout the demobilisation phase, ex-combatants, members of special needs groups and women associated with armed forces receive a Transitional Support Allowances that help them to sustain their livelihood for a short period of time until they receive their economic reintegration package”, said Sidi Zahabi, Chief Integrated DDR Unit, United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

 

In Western Bahr El Ghazal, the reintegration activities will be carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which has already rolled out reintegration in Western Bahr El Ghazal, Northern Bahr El Ghazal and WARRAP States. If need be, the candidates are also trained in literacy and numeracy skills after which they can start different training programmes, such as agriculture or animal husbandry, skills to run a restaurant or other small businesses, brick making, hairdressing or mechanics, among others. Disabled and war wounded ex-combatants are entitled to the same training and packages as the able bodied DDR candidates. Mothers can bring their children along and every effort is made to facilitate for them.

 

The Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process was agreed upon in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. Successful DDR is vital for peace and for sustainable development of South Sudan’s economy. Communities must be involved to support returning ex-combatants so that together South Sudan can grow.


By Elia Dimo

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

AU delegation arrive in Juba

JUBA, 25 October 2010 - A high level delegation of the African Union (AU) composed of senior officials from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Algeria and Egypt arrived today in Juba to consult with the authorities on the preparations for the referendum and the post-referendum issues.


A leading member of the delegation, Ms Maite Nkanai Mashubane, the South African minister for Foreign Affairs explained to the press shortly after their arrival at the Juba Airport that the delegation derives its mandate from the AU Peace and Security Council. She explained that this mandate focuses on the post-referendum issues in Sudan with emphasis on Southern Sudan.


“We have been here before and have come back in order to interact with leadership here not to let preparation of the referendum put the development need second”, Ms Mashubane explained. She also stated that their mandate goes beyond the date of the referendum.

 


The AU delegation arrives in Juba today


Ms Mashubane also congratulated the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) for the recent peaceful elections and for having won overwhelmingly.


“Our mandate is peace and security mission and also sees into it how best we can work with GOSS to coordinate foreign aid that comes here so that the international aid organizations will not pick projects and leaving the most critical epicenter”, she said.


In conclusion of her address, Ms Mashubane advised “her brothers and sisters in the South Sudan” that the real journey has just begun and the intensity of it will come after the referendum; to meet the need of the citizens.


The delegation was received by H.E. Dr Ann Itto, the GOSS minister for Agriculture and Forestry who is also the SPLM Deputy Secretary General for the Southern Sector; H.E. Antony Lino Makana, the GOSS Minster for Roads and Transport; among other senior government officials.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

“NCP has taken Abyei hostage”, H.E. Amum

JUBA, 26 October 2010 – The minister for Peace and CPA Implementation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Pa’gan Amum, today explained that the National Congress Party (NCP) “has taken Abyei hostage” but emphasized that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is negotiating its release and is ready to “pay the ransom”.


H.E. Amum asserted Abyei belongs to the Dinka Ngok who are indigenous Southern Sudanese transferred to Kordofan in 1905. He explained that the role of the Abyei referendum is to provide a platform for the Dinka Ngok to decide whether to come back to their roots or remain where they had been transferred.


He explained that the migratory Misseriya have no right to participate in the Abyei referendum. He, however, clarified that other “guests” such as the Northern communities, who relocated to the area in 1956 and have been residing there permanently since, will be invited to participate. The same right will also be extended to other Southern Sudanese who are residing in the area permanently.

 


H.E. Amum (left) accompanied by H.E. Marial (right) address the media
[Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


H.E. Amum explained that the NCP is unreasonably clinging onto Abyei because all reports commissioned by both CPA parties as well as the ruling of the International Court of Arbitration back the position of the SPLM. He said that all these processes had been agreed to beforehand by both parties which also committed themselves to accept the results thereof as final as binding. However, the NCP has been consistently reneging on these commitments. He said that the SPLM has agreed to participate in the negotiation process on the issue for the sake of peace and tranquil coexistence.


Significantly, H.E. Amum also announced that if the negotiations succeed and there be no time for conducting a referendum, then the Presidency may transfer Abyei to Southern Sudan through an appropriate Presidential Decree. Thus, he said, the borders and map of Southern Sudan would change to reflect the new development.
 

H.E. Amum made these remarks when he addressed the weekly Media Forum organized by the GOSS Ministry of Information. He was hosted by his colleague, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information.

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Referendum is the springboard for the North-South peace – H.E. Amum

JUBA, 26 October 2010 – The referendum and its successful execution will provide the requisite springboard for the realization of sustainable peace between the North and the South which has been elusive for decades. This was announced by the GOSS minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, H.E. Pa’gan Amum today in Juba.


H.E. Amum also explained that the referendum, its provisions as well as the possible independence of the South do not constitute an act of hostility against the government and people of the Northern Sudan. Conversely, he explained, it will be used to build good relations and heal the differences between the two regions and facilitate the opening of a new chapter of tranquility.


“We want the North to be a stable and prosperous”, H.E. Amum asserted adding that the same fortune is desired for the South. Consequently, he explained that it is in the interest of both regions that the referendum be held as per the CPA. He also said that once the two regions reconcile then they can contribute immensely to the regional and even international peace and development.


Addressing the Ministry of Information’s Media Forum today, H.E. Amum also explained the roles, priorities and strategic goals of his ministry. He outlined the following as some of the ministry strategies to realize its goals:

 

  1. Lead south Sudan to the referendum and beyond by ensuring the full implementation of the CPA and making sure that the choice of people of Sudan is accepted and respected;
  2. Ensuring security by training and increasing the number of police to protect life and properties of the citizens;
  3. Engaging in peace building in south Sudan by developing capacity to reconcile by managing small arms and adoption of new ways of conflict management;
  4. Continuing building capacity of the government so that should the south vote for independence then it will need proper and good governance system; and
  5. Diversifying the economy and move away from depending on oil resources only by encouraging investment in agriculture and other sectors.


He also said that GOSS is working to provide basic social services such as health and education. He said that when GOSS was established, there were only 200,000 children enrolled in schools. He reported that this number has increased to over 2 million which is six times. He said that this momentum should be maintained.
 

By Joseph Garang Deng

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

GOSS prioritizes peace and reconciliation

JUBA, 26 October 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has prioritized peace building and reconciliation of all the communities in Southern Sudan to heal the wounds and remedy the consequences of several decades of strife dating as far back as the pre-colonialism age.


This was announced by the GOSS minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, H.E. Pa’gan Amum today during the weekly media forum at the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba. He explained that Southern Sudan is just emerging from the devastating effects of several wars in which its societal fabrics were broken; wealth plundered; and human resource decimated through slavery. He said that GOSS is working on rehabilitating the traumatized people to redirect their energies towards nation building and not just survival.


H.E. Amum also said that the government is working on replacing the culture of violence, developing trust and confidence the people and their abilities in an effort to regenerate social capital in the country. He also said that the government is committed to creating a healthy and safe environment for the people in which “our children can play freely without any fear”. Critically, he said that the government’s strategy in this regard encompasses preventing and managing conflicts.


To achieve this lasting peace, H.E. said that GOSS is committed to ensuring the full implementation of the CPA and particularly the referendum for Southern Sudan. “We need to engage the NCP in this but it has not been easy”, he explained. He said that the NCP is acting in a way as to suggest that it would like the CPA renegotiated a situation which, he said, is not possible. Nonetheless, he said that the government is currently engaging a number of players and stakeholders such as the African Union (AU), IGAD, the United Nations (UN) and the international community to ensure that all the provisions of the CPA and respected.


H.E. Amum also explained that GOSS is currently negotiating with NCP on the critical post-referendum issues on matters such as citizenship, security arrangements, international treaties and agreements which Sudan is party to as well as financial, economic and natural resources management like the water of the Nile and oil.


He explained that his ministry was created to deal with the above issues after in-depth consultations within the SPLM party structures which set the agenda of the new government following the April 2010 elections in which the party emerged triumphant. Once more, he elucidated the strategic goals of the current government as leading the people of Southern Sudan peacefully through the Interim period; ensuring security and peace in Southern Sudan; building the capacity of GOSS to provide services to the people; diversify the economy to reduce its dependence on oil revenues; delivery of social services and amenities to the people.


Reported by Emmanuel Dumba Dima

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

CTO to extend its rural ICT developmental agenda to semi-autonomous Southern Sudan

LONDON, 26 October 2010 – As part of its mandate to ensure that no community is left out in the international campaign to provide universal access to information and communication technologies and services, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), in conjunction with the government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), will be organising a two-day international forum on rural ICT connectivity from 23rd to 24th November 2010 in the city of Juba. The conference, under the theme “Connectivity for Communications, Commerce and Governance”, is expected to set the tone for thought-provoking discussions on the development of friendly policy and regulatory frameworks, mechanisms for funding ICT infrastructure, development of sound and profitable business models, and enhancement of partnerships between public and private sector entities to achieve connectivity for all.


With high-level delegates expected from some twenty countries in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia, the forum, among other things, will deliberate on topics relating to the establishment of rural telecentres, the effective use of ICTs for public services, the deployment of affordable technologies, and the alternative uses of Universal Services Funds to connect the unconnected.


Speaking on the upcoming conference, the CEO of CTO, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah said, “For more than two years the Government of Southern Sudan, through its Ministry of Telecoms and Postal Services, has been an active Sector Member of the CTO, and has contributed in diverse ways to support the organisation’s mandate of promoting ICTs through research, studies, consultancy and advisory services, capacity-building programmes, training and knowledge-sharing events. We realise that Southern Sudan is an area with very unique geographic, demographic and developmental challenges. They need special help and focused attention. It is our hope that this conference will serve as a platform for ICT stakeholders across Africa and beyond to share experiences, strategies and expertise in guiding Southern Sudan on its quest to extend connectivity to all unconnected areas.”


On his part the Minster of Telecommunications and Postal Services for GoSS, Hon Madut Biar Yel commended the CTO for accepting to partner with his ministry to undertake such a timely initiative, and assured that GoSS will do all it can to make delegates feel welcome in Juba. He said he is confident of the value to be derived from the two-days of deliberations, leading to better preparedness for the Ministry to realise its objectives in the field of ICTs in the years ahead. Hon Biar Yel also hoped that through the conference GoSS will learn from the experiences, challenges and achievements of other African and non-African countries in the area of ICT delivery, given that they share similar topographical landscapes. On the other hand the Hon Biar Yel expressed the hope that the international ICT sector would take this opportunity to learn more about Southern Sudan and the opportunities it presents.


Leading global entities and operators, including Seacom, EASSy Cable, MTN, Ernst & Young, Nokia Siemens Networks, Sofrecom, Ericsson, Netwise, ECI Telecom, RCS Communications, representatives of a number of Commonwealth Governments, and ICT policy-makers and executives from across the world will be attending the conference to network, collaborate and discuss innovative business models and niche services aimed at improving the reach, quality and capacity of connectivity in Southern Sudan.


The CTO is an inter-governmental organisation which provides technical assistance services to its member countries through research and studies, consultancies and advisory services, capacity building and training workshops, and through knowledge-sharing events. With a history dating back to 1901, the CTO is a partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, regulators, businesses, civil society organizations and other ICT stakeholders. The CTO’s mission is to reduce global poverty through the more efficient utilization of ICTs, and its development agenda reflects the priorities set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Religious organizations call for tolerance

JUBA, 27 October 2010 – Religious leaders in Southern Sudan have asked their counterparts in the North to preach tolerance and reconciliation as the country gears towards the Southern Sudan referendum which is due next year.

 

Rev John Chol Daau of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan said that Northern Sudan agenda on the church leadership in Southern Sudan had been critical despite the fact that the church had played a vital role in uniting the Sudanese people. Rev Daau pointed out that the referendum which is the only remaining phase of the struggle in Southern Sudan should be utilized well in order to end the strife.

 

The Catholic Church clergyman, Father Rev John Oryem echoed similar sentiments and decried the negative systematic acts of servitude and forced labour the Northern Sudanese had been applying on the Christian Sudanese. According to Rev Oryem, the use of derogative terms like “pagans” and other indecent words describing Southern Sudanese were the norm since independence.

 

They said that in spite of the fact that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which brought the two-decade civil unrest between the Muslim North and Christian South to an end has defined the status of non Muslims in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the majority of Christians and other non Muslims residing in the city are always subjected to the repressive Islamic Sharia law.

 

They also said that Sudan is known as an Islamic Republic of the Arabs in total disregard of the composition of the populace. They also alleged that the statistics have been manipulated to indicate that Islam is the faith professed by more than half of the population and thus qualifying the country as an Islamic Republic.

 

The leaders said that religious intolerance is one of the issues that led to the liberation war and explained that it should be dealt with conclusively to avoid the occurrence of another war.

 

By Atok Dan

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

New work ethics being nurtured

JUBA, 27 October 2010 – The minister for Peace and CPA Implementation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Pa’gan Amum has said that the government is working to nurture the development of new work ethics in its institutions. However, he clarified that the process is gradual but asserted that it is inevitable.


H.E. Amum was responding to questions from journalists yesterday when he addressed the media forum at the GOSS Ministry of Information. The journalists had alleged that some government officers spend a lot of time with visitors on private business and thus neglect the execution of their official duties.


The minister admitted that there may be some officers who entertain many guests at the expense of their work but he explained that the issue is being streamlined and that it will soon be a matter of the past. He also explained that the phenomenon emanates from the cultural practices of Southern Sudanese and asked the journalists not to misinterpret it as idleness. “Traditionally, we had a lot of time since most of our people are agriculturalists that work on the fields seasonally and then create time to relate to one another in between the seasons”, he said.


H.E. Amum also explained that even pastoralists had time to interact with each other and play games as the animals grazed. He said that it is this culture that some officers have brought to their offices. However, he clarified that these officers are learning fast and that the issue will be eliminated as work intensifies.


The minister also explained that apart from work ethics, there are other culture shocks in the South which still need to be managed. For instance, he explained that the management of refuse like plastics in Juba has become a big problem because the Southern Sudanese were not used to such byproducts since they only dealt with organic items which are biodegradable. “We did not have money to purchase such commodities during the war time so we have to develop a system of managing used products in the South to improve our environment”, he quipped.


H.E. Amum also expressed with the unity and reconciliation of the Southerners manifested during the recent South-South dialogue. He said that the Southerners have shown maturity to the world by this unity ahead of the referendum. He said the unity has also dispelled fear of any internal conflict during or after the referendum. “They said that they have unanimously united for the referendum to be held on its due date”, he explained adding that it is not just the SPLM’s but the corporate position of all the Southern Sudanese political parties. “So all the enemies of the South who had bad wishes that the South will be a failed state are now troubled”, he said.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Information minister urges journalists to modernize

JUBA, 27 October 2010 – The minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, has urged journalists in Southern Sudan to embrace new journalism techniques and tools to excel.

 

Speaking yesterday at the closing ceremony of a two-day workshop on press and religious freedom ahead of the upcoming referendum in Southern Sudan, the minister said that the SPLM-led government is committed and working tirelessly to guarantee freedoms of press and religion as is appropriate for a secular democratic state with all kinds of freedoms enshrined in its constitution.

 

Dr. Marial urged all the media houses operating in Southern Sudan to register with the Ministry of Information while waiting for the Media Bill to be enacted by the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) in order to enjoy the protection of the government now and later during the voting exercise.

 

According to Dr. Marial, the history of the media in Southern Sudan had been characterized by torture, bombing of civil population and suffering. He added that the media in the north articulate Islamic ideologies of the government widely. He cautioned, however, that this situation is not suitable for a country at the crossroads as the Sudan. “Warmongers are not generals carrying guns [only] but [also] the irresponsible media which normally create warlike situation[s]”, said Dr. Benjamin. He also asked the local journalists to embrace emerging trends to be at par with the rest of the world.

 

The workshop was organized by the Media Project and was attended by 19 participants from state owned and independent media in Southern Sudan. The training was meant to prepare local media practitioners on how to educate and inform the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei on the referendum process. Participants were urged to adhere to journalistic code of ethics to enable them to report with fairness, accuracy, honesty and without bias, but in a manner consistent with the values which promote democracy.

 

The training came up with resolutions that would guide both local and international journalists that would be involved in the referendum exercise, including the proposal of shifting Southern Sudan state owned TV and Radio on both FM and DSTV in order to give local and international viewers access to local developments pertinent to next year’s referendum.

 

By Atok Dan

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Induction for new Ministry of Information recruits ongoing

JUBA, 27 October 2010 – The new civil servants recruited for positions in the three departments in the GOSS Ministry of Information’s Directorate of Information, kicked off in Juba this morning.


Opening the two-day induction, the Undersecretary of the ministry, Mr. George Garang Deng Chol, urged the recruits to be patriotic and perform their responsibilities with dignity and commitment. He emphasized that Southern Sudan is going through a critical phase of its history and that the need for timely and accurate information is now more vital than ever.

 


Mr Garang (right) and Mr. Majak (left) share a light moment with the new recruits during the induction


Mr. Garang also urged the recruits to ensure that vital information is disseminated to all the people of Southern Sudan, including Abyei. He said that with the referendum being less than one hundred days away, this will be a very busy period for the information staff. He urged them to do their part in facilitating the people of Southern Sudan to realize their dream of total freedom and unity. “This is what we fought for”, the Undersecretary who is a Brigadier General in the SPLA, emphasized.


The Undersecretary also urged the recruits to ensure that the pieces of information they churn out reflect the views and interests of Southern Sudanese as a matter of principle. He also challenged them to assert themselves in the value chain of the government so as to justify their existence to the people of Southern Sudan.

 


Some of the recruits and ministry officials follow the proceedings of the induction


Speaking at the same function, the Director General of Information in the ministry, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak explained that the new members of staff have been recruited through a transparent and fair process taking cognizance of all aspects of representativeness including gender and regional balance.


Mr. Majak, who is also the Acting Chairperson of the Southern Sudan Civil Service Recruitment Board (SSCSRB), explained that there were several hundred applicants but only a few were picked based on merit and the vacant positions available. He congratulated the successful candidates and urged them to prove their worth for the ministry and the Government of Southern Sudan. He also announced that consultations are ongoing to complete the full process of appointment so that the recruits may get their salaries by the end of this month.


The new recruits will work in News Agency of Southern Sudan (NASS), Government Printing Press (GPP) and the Public Information Centre (PIC). They consist of directors and deputy directors; reporters; technical staff and support staff in diverse grades of the civil service. Some of the topics of discussion during the function include GOSS legal framework; employee rights and obligations; ethical standards and code of conduct; personnel establishment; administrative procedures and salary structures. The induction is being held at the Government Accounting Training Centre in Juba.
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Civil service experts sponsored by IGAD expected soon

JUBA, 28 October 2010 – The process of identifying and seconding 200 highly qualified civil servants from IGAD-member countries to mentor and coach their Southern Sudanese counterparts is expected to be concluded by the end of this month.


This was disclosed to the press today by H.E. Jimmy Lemi Mila, the minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), when he arrived from a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia to pursue this IGAD/GOSS initiative.


H.E. Lemi reported that the discussions are progressing well and expressed hope that the initiative will be successful. He explained that a committee at the GOSS Ministry of Labour and Public Service will prioritize the areas of urgent need in the civil service which will then be addressed by the initiative.


The minister emphasized that this initiative has come at the opportune time when Southern Sudan needs skilled human resources especially if it becomes independent after the referendum. He said that this initiative will enable the Southern Sudanese civil service to build the capacity of its workforce affordably and effectively and learn from the experiences of its neighbours.


Reported by Justin Jada

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Governors’ Reports: Northern Bahr el Ghazal State

JUBA, 28 October 2010 - The following report is extracted from the report presented by H.E. General Paul Malong Awan Anei, the Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal during the 8th Governors’ Forum which is ongoing in Juba.


Vision:
Creating economically sound, financially transparent, sustainable democratic institutions, self-reliant, peaceful and prosperous state


Mission:
Building the capacity of the state to foster timely, adequate and quality services provision in order to promote peace and security and creating equal opportunities for all to participate in development

 

Policy Focus:

  1. Fighting poverty by harnessing available natural resources;
  2. Making basic education accessible to all citizens of Northern Bahr el Ghazal;
  3. Develop the state health infrastructure and make basic health facilities accessible to all citizens of the state at an affordable cost;
  4. Institute proper financial measures, accountability and probity in all spheres of the economy and direct state economy to a sustainable growth;
  5. Construct roads, bridges, international airports, connecting airfields, electricity power stations and water and sanitation facilities;
  6. Developing strategies to tackle flooding and turning it to an economic opportunity i.e. expansion of the rich scheme;
  7. Establish a free press for mass education, developing awareness, provide effective postal services and telecommunications infrastructure by 2020;
  8. Protect the rights of children, promote gender equality, social justice, youth and sports development;
  9. Provision of law and order services in the state capital and the counties.

 

Achievements:

  1. Conducted first Commissioners’ Forum to deliberate the implementation of the Local Government Act as well as current political, development and budget issues, among others;
  2. Training of three persons per county on budgeting and planning;
  3. Designed and distributed wealth declaration forms to state officials;
  4. Improved gender balance by appointing seven (7) women to legislative and executive positions in the state;
  5. Passed resolutions to enhance security in the state e.g. observance of check-points, licensing of small arms, security patrolling at night and banning families moving to the North, holding of two peace conferences for Dinka-Reziget and Dinka-Misseriya communities;
  6. Establishment of temporary land administration committees in all counties to oversee the survey and distribution of land;
  7. Commendable progress in preparing annual plans and budgets using bottom-up approaches;
  8. Establishment of State Revenue Authority and modernization of the tax system;
  9. Reactivation of the Aweil Rice Scheme with support from GTZ;
  10. Signed agreement with the federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as Crown Company to develop cash crops such as groundnuts and sesame;
  11. Planting of trees and managing their harvesting;
  12. Renovation of the Pongo Aweil and the Mathiang sawmills;
  13. Distribution of seeds and tools to returnees as well as farm machines such as tractors to selected farmers to increase acreage under cultivation;
  14. Initiated grassroots cooperative societies some of which are women-only groups;
  15. Decentralization of education services;
  16. Distribution of learning materials to 315 primary schools in the state;
  17. Completion of Salva Kiir Mayardit Primary School in Aweil town, one teachers’ training institute is at the roofing stage, 24 boreholes constructed in various schools as well as20 gender segregated latrines constructed in schools;
  18. Increment of school enrolment levels at various levels of study;
  19. Construction of several Primary Health Centres;
  20. Creation of awareness of several health conditions such as HIV/AIDS and others;
  21. Construction of murram and asphalt roads and nine bridges;
  22. Connection of Aweil town to the national electricity grid, street lighting as well as provision of electricity to all government offices; and
  23. Establishment of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in the counties

 

Challenges:

  1. Widespread poverty;
  2. Natural disasters such as floods;
  3. Shortage of funds; and
  4. Shortage of human resources.

 

Way Forward:

  1. Enhanced capacity building;
  2. Improved food security;
  3. Development of disaster management strategies; and
  4. Public service reforms.
     

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Southern Sudan signs business pact with Uganda

JUBA, 29 October 2010 - The delegation from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) returned to Juba yesterday after a four-day official visit to Uganda during which they met Ugandan officials and deliberated on issues pertinent to bilateral relations and trade links between the two sisterly neighbours.


The leader of the delegation who is also the GOSS minister for Commerce and Industry, Hon Stephen Dhieu Dau told journalists shortly after his arrival at Juba International Airport that the meeting concretized the difficulties facing the business communities of the two neighbours. “We held several talks with Ugandan Tourism, Trade and Industry counterpart, Major General Kahinda Otafiire on how to upgrade a previous Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two regions for effective trade links”, he said.


Hon Dhieu also said that a technical committee comprised of three persons from each side has been instituted to deal with the challenges and problems encountered by each side while executing business at the border. “Uganda is a closer neighbour to Southern Sudan hence [we] ought to work together in areas of business and other social aspects for the prosperity of the two regions”, he asserted.


There have been several complaints from Uganda business persons of mistreatment in Southern Sudan, likewise Southern Sudanese business communities who go to Uganda to buy goods have also complained of disappearance of goods in Uganda even if one has paid for them.


The East African business community in Juba and other major towns in Southern Sudan have played a pivotal role in building the post-conflict war-ravaged Southern Sudan more than the northern Sudan counterpart despite the fact that the two live in one country.


Immediately after the signing of the CPA between the Christian South and Muslims North, business started booming in Southern Sudan with Uganda and Kenya dominating 80% of daily supply of consumer goods and other commodities to Southern Sudan making Juba to become a regional hub for modern business as the region is deemed as virgin in terms of business.


Reported by Atok Dan

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Updates of the Governors’ Forum

JUBA, 29 October 2010 – The 8th Governors’ Forum continued in its third day yesterday and was chaired by H.E Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the Vice-President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).


Yesterday’s session was also addressed by different GOSS ministers. In his address, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information, stressed that information is crucial for seamless interaction between the government and the public. He urged the governors to inform the ministry of events in their states to facilitate coverage by the media under the ministry. He explained that even though Southern Sudan is a huge territory, information can be disseminated widely, and effectively, through radio, television and the print media. Dr. Marial reported that Southern Sudan has 21 FM radio stations but regretted that only about 8 are operational. He also lauded the role played by the SSTV in informing the people especially the Diaspora. The minister also reported that some radio equipment donated to GOSS by the United States of America was taken by the Government of National Unity without the former’s knowledge. He appealed to GONU to surrender the equipment to GOSS. Dr. Marial also announced that the ministry will utilize cinema for public information. He said the same will be broadcast in 17 local languages.


On his part, H.E. John Luk Jok, the minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development informed the forum that the ministry has developed systems to ensure justice for all since creation of GOSS. He said that the Southern Sudan Constitution is based on democratization and decentralization principles. He also informed the governors that the ministry will hold a conference for all Legal Affairs ministers from the states before the referendum. The minister also announced that his ministry will be part of the team monitoring the referendum. He urged GOSS to be ready to support the referendum financially because the National Congress Party (NCP) is apparently not keen to facilitate the plebiscite.


H.E. Jema Nunu Kumba, the minister for Housing and Physical Planning said that the ministry is working to develop affordable housing. She also clarified that the ministry is in charge of surveys, physical development programme, building standards and housing policies. She also said the people of Southern Sudan and GOSS have high expectations of the ministry. She clarified that land registration has been given to the ministry by the Southern Sudan Constitution especially the issuance of search certificates.


H.E. David Deng Athorbei, the minister for Finance and Economic Planning briefed the conference on 2011 budget and the strategies of collecting non-oil revenues.


The chairperson the Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption also briefed the conference on its duties and activities. The forum closes today.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

“There is no division in GOSS”, Dr. Marial

JUBA, 29 October 2010 – There is no division in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). The government and people of Southern Sudan are united and are moving together towards the referendum with one purpose: self-determination.


This position was reiterated by H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information during a press conference to respond to Khartoum-based media reports which quoted the GOSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, out of context on a number of issues following an interview with journalists in Khartoum recently.


First and foremost, Dr. Marial confirmed that the interview did take place. However, he sought to set the record straight on a number of issues on which the President was misquoted.


Al Sudani newspaper journalist had alleged that there is disunity within GOSS ranks and that the GOSS Vice-President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny has a shadow government. The journalist reportedly said that she had heard about the issue from “the streets”. Dr. Marial asserted that GOSS is united and that the Vice-President is unequivocal in his support of the government and the President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit. He also explained that Dr. Machar has been working together with the other leaders to cement this unity as exemplified by his leadership role during the recent South-South dialogue. “We are united and are moving together as one body”, asserted Dr. Marial.

 


Dr. Marial stresses a point during the press conference


The same Al Sudani journalist also alleged that President Kiir declared that Southern Sudan would establish diplomatic relations with Israel if it becomes an independent state after the referendum. Dr. Marial clarified that the President only said that Southern Sudan has no enemies and will be free to form mutually-beneficial relations with any nation in the interest of its people. Dr. Marial stated that the President did not utter the name “Israel” in his response to the interview questions.


Dr. Marial also denied reports by Al Rai Al Aam that Israeli intelligence is training the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). He wondered how a foreign intelligence agency can train a national army like the SPLA. He said that these reports seem to be aimed at portraying Southern Sudan as a possible hostile state which will give Israel a pedestal from which to infiltrate the Arab world. Dr. Marial explained that should the people of Southern Sudan choose independence then the new state will be free to establish diplomatic relations as it deems fit. He wondered why some people seem concerned with the possibility of a new Southern Sudan state having diplomatic relations with Israel yet several other countries in the region and even in the Arab world such as Jordan, Egypt and Morocco already have such relations. He stated that Southern Sudan, if it becomes a sovereign state after the referendum, reserves the right to form any diplomatic relations that it deems beneficial for its people.


Dr. Marial explained that he called the press conference to set the record straight because the concerned newspapers do not publish complaints from GOSS emanating from inaccurate reporting. He urged the journalists to uphold the tenets of professional journalism but added that GOSS will not take any punitive actions against the concerned journalists because it guarantees freedom of expression. He also urged journalists, both local and international, to follow the right procedures and respect protocols when seeking audience with leaders. He explained that the said interview should have been conducted by the Editor-in-Chief himself and not a junior reporter. He also encouraged the media to dialogue with the GOSS, through the Ministry of Information, to ensure credibility of information that goes to the public.


Additional reporting by Joseph Garang and Emmanuel Dumba

 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

President Kiir directs governors to ensure peace during the referendum

JUBA, 30 October 2010 - H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), today directed the governors of all the Southern states to ensure that peace and security prevails in the region during the referendum period.


President Kiir, who was addressing the state administrators during the closing ceremony of the 8th Governors’ Forum which has been ongoing since Monday, also urged the governors and the public in general to allow campaigners for either independence or unity to propagate their views freely. He underscored the need for free and cordial campaigns for either of the options to enable the people to make informed decisions and vote wisely during the referendum.


The President also explained that he did not manage to attend the forum fully due to pressing engagements at the Presidency in Khartoum. He clarified, however, that he had been kept abreast with the deliberations on a daily basis through the GOSS Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny who has been chairing the sessions.


President Kiir also explained that all forms government the world over – whether decentralized or centralized – come with all manner of challenges. For instance, he identified the issue of equitable resource sharing as one of the delicate issues governments have to deal with carefully. He explained that the Governors’ Forum is one platform which GOSS has espoused to coordinate services and resources delivery to all the states of Southern Sudan.


President Kiir also reiterated that GOSS has made huge progress in delivering services to the citizens. He cited roads, health, security, employment/human resource development, improvement of government institutions, and provision of education for all as some of the areas in which the government has made remarkable strides. He pointed out, however, that more still needs to be done in the agricultural sector to enhance food security. He urged the GOSS Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to up its efforts in this regard.


The President also instructed the ministries of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management at both GOSS and Government of National Unity (GONU) levels to fast-track the repatriation of IDPs from the North and other places back to the South to facilitate them to vote in the forthcoming referenda for Southern Sudan and Abyei. He reiterated that GOSS guarantees the security of the Northerners living in the South especially if the region becomes an independent state after the referendum. He also called upon the national government to do likewise for the Southerners in the North.


President Kiir decried the propaganda campaign by media in the North which he said is projecting the notion that GOSS and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) are hostile to Islam and the Arab community in Sudan. He reaffirmed that these are untruths peddled by parties disinterested in peaceful conduct of the referendum and the tranquil coexistence of communities in the Sudan now and after the referendum.


President Kiir also announced that the recent meetings at the Presidency agreed on demarcation of the North-South borders so as to avoid any confrontation during and after the referendum. He also reiterated that the two partners are working on post-referendum arrangements. He stressed that GOSS is ready to conduct referendum on time and is willing to sacrifice resources to ensure that the plebiscite is not compromised. He announced that SDG 50 million will be released next week by GOSS Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for the referenda. He urged the governors and all other leaders to mobilize the people to participate effectively during the landmark event. He encouraged all the Southern Sudanese and especially the leaders to stand together and not allow wrong elements from any quarters to divide them.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot
 

This article was updated on Nov 9, 2010

Dinka cultural wrestling held in Juba

JUBA, 1 November 2010 – Residents of Juba were on Saturday treated to a rare wrestling match between youth from Bor South County and Twic East. The occasion was unique because it is the first event of its kind to be held in the cosmopolitan city since 1975 when a similar event allegedly ended in disarray when the competitors and their supporters disagreed on the winners.


Thousands of Juba residents rose with the sun and streamed to the Juba Football Stadium where the competing teams comprising 15 youth each selected by their respective payams to take part in the event did not disappoint. Former wrestlers Bol Manyang-turngar led Twic East while Tingkuei Aliar Jongroor led the Bor South team. This event was historic because it seeks to revive the Dinka cultures which have been eroded by the consequences of the decades-long liberation war. Thus most of Dinka youth exiled or born in refugee/displacement camps did not get an opportunity to experience this rich culture fully.

 


Some of the wrestlers size each other up during the tournament
[Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


Dressed in traditional regalia, the young men sang their hearts out as they danced blissfully under the gentle Juba morning sun. The mood at the stadium reached the fever pitch when the flag bearer of Bor South, Mr. Majok Jok-rir threw down his Twic East counterpart, Mr. Deng-adol in less than the three minutes allotted to each match. Eleven young men from Twic East were thrown while three drew. One match was not conclusive but the officials declared the competitor from the Twic East as the winner. With this Twic East was utterly defeated and they left the stadium crestfallen as Bor South wallowed in the miasma of their triumph.


In spite of the high stakes, the competition ended peacefully unlike the 1975 one which ended prematurely when the flag bearer of Bor North who was from Nyuak Payam Mr. Dut-Pajut Atem Lueth folded and threw the flag bearer from Bor South. Saturday’s event was peaceful as competitors and the supporters from both sides exercised restraint in the face of the humbling defeat of Twic East.


The spokesperson of the triumphant Bor South, Mr. Akuei Deng Akuei who is also the Undersecretary of the GOSS Ministry of Investment, encouraged the youth to promote the positive elements of their cultures and maintain peace. On his part, Hon. Deng Dau Deng of Twic East pointed out that cultural events such as wrestling can be used to mobilize the people for common issues of interest such as the forthcoming referendum. He also asked the youth to maintain peace.

 


Hon. Deng Dau Deng addresses the function
[Photo: Joseph Garang Deng]


According to one of the organizers, Mr. Deng Ajak Deng Biar, the event was conceived by a small group of local wrestling associations in consultation with the GOSS Ministry of Youth, Sports and Recreation. The main objective of the match is to create employment for the wrestlers. In the future the coordinators hope to involve more communities such as the Mundari, Lotuko, Nuba and other communities (Aliap, Atuot and Chich) from Lakes state. It was attended by Mr. Maker Lual, the Commissioner of Bor South; Lt. Gen. Chagai Atem Biar, the Acting Chairperson of War Veterans; Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang Deng; among other leaders and government officers.


The master of ceremonies at the event was Mr. Antipas Nyok Kucha while the referee was Brig. Gen. Mou Malak of Lakes State, Yirol County who was accepted by both sides not only as neutral but also as competent given that he hails from a wrestling community.


The winners of the match will be given tokens which are yet to be decided. In spite of the competitive spirit, the people embraced and chatted animatedly as they filed out of the stadium regardless of which side they had supported. Significantly, the real winner at the event is Southern Sudan. The event demonstrated that winners can be magnanimous in victory as losers concede gracefully.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

“Help kick polio out of Southern Sudan”, President Kiir appeals

JUBA, 1 November 2010 – The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit has appealed to all parents to make sure that all their children under five years receive the two oral drops of the polio vaccine to keep the disease from the country.


“It is a collective responsibility that we all owe our children the right to a healthy and polio free future”, the President asserted.


The President made this appeal through a statement to the media on the launch of a campaign by GOSS to kick polio, the crippling disease, out of Southern Sudan. The campaign will encompass all states of Southern Sudan and will be conducted for four days during which all the children under five years must receive the polio vaccine.


President Kiir called upon all state governors, chiefs, religious and community leaders as well as the humanitarian and/or development organizations working in the states to support the campaign through all means possible. At the same he also appealed to the health workers to do their job diligently and visit every corner of the country to ensure that no child misses out.


Polio is a disease that permanently cripples its victims, but it is also a disease that can be prevented if all children under the age of five are vaccinated accordingly. The President said that he was encouraged by the progress already made in the efforts to eradicate the disease from Southern Sudan. He said that between 2008 and June 2009 there was a polio outbreak in which 64 children contracted the disease. However, the President was delighted to note that no polio case has been reported within the borders of Southern Sudan for the past 16 months now. He cautioned, however, that the health teams and the government are consistently on the alert to prevent a reversal of the progress.


“We have come a long way and cannot allow any reversal of our modest gains in the last one year; the fight must continue until the polio virus is totally eradicated from Southern Sudan. Together, we can kick polio out of Southern Sudan”, the President appealed.


 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

GOSS strengthening trade links with Egypt

JUBA, 2 November 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan through its Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working to strengthen trade links with the Arab Republic of Egypt.


This was announced by the minister, H.E. Stephen Dhieu Dau, today during the weekly media forum held at the GOSS Ministry of Information headquarters. H.E. Dhieu said that he led a delegation to meet his Egyptian counterpart H.E. Eng. Rashid Mohamed Rashid in September 2010 and deliberated areas and modalities of trade linkages between Egypt and Southern Sudan.


H.E. Dhieu reported that they sought to establish mutual understanding on bilateral trade issues such as Egyptian exports to Southern Sudan; banking arrangements; as well as the immediate investment areas which Egypt can consider for investment in Southern Sudan. He also reported that they identified agriculture, food grains, fruits and vegetables; livestock and dairy; tourism and hotels; as well as free zones as some of the priority areas in which Egypt can invest immediately.


The delegations also discussed the possibility of increasing Southern Sudan exports such as livestock, fishery products, and agricultural products like gum Arabic, palm oil, timber, hides and skins to Egypt. The minister also reported that they deliberated on how Egypt can provide technical assistance in the various trade and industry areas as well as provision of meteorology and standards testing machines.
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

GOSS head of mission in Canada briefs House of Commons

JUBA, 2 November 2010 – The GOSS Principal Liaison Officer in Canada, Mr Joseph Moum Malok, last week briefed the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Canadian House of Commons on the status of the CPA implementation and the role which Canada and the rest of the international community can play to ensure its full and smooth implementation.


In his statement, Mr Malok began by providing the background of the CPA and its major provisions. Critically, Mr Malok said that the CPA gave the Government of Sudan the responsibility of making unity of the Sudan attractive to the people of Southern Sudan during the interim period. He also explained that the CPA also stipulates that after the interim period (six years), the people of Southern Sudan be given an opportunity to confirm either the current unity of the Sudan if it is made attractive or choose to form their own country through a referendum.


Mr Malok said that the dream of Southern Sudanese is to have a secular and democratic country in which religion has no place in government; citizenship is not determined by the colour of one’s skin, religious beliefs or region of origin; justice, equality and peaceful coexistence is voluntary; national wealth is shared equally; and development projects are carried out equally in all parts of the country. He pointed out that all these tenets of democracy do not currently exist in Sudan.

 


Mr Malok
 

The diplomat also highlighted the efforts of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and its President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, to facilitate the timely conduct of the referendum. He also cited the President’s initiative to concretize peace in Southern Sudan through the South-South dialogue. He also mentioned the President’s interest in supporting the resolution of the Darfur crisis, but which he said, has been frustrated by the NCP.


Mr Malok asserted that the referendum should be held on time and warned that if it is delayed or its results disputed then the consequences will be grave not only for the people of Southern Sudan but also for the whole region. He appealed to the international community to send election monitors, provide technical and financial support for the plebiscite, and pressurize the parties involved to facilitate the process and fulfil the liberation dream of the people of Southern Sudan.


“There are many cynics who say Sudan is a married couple in angry divorce, so they are frightened of the violent fights, but we see Sudan as a mother giving birth to twins – once the labour pains are over, the two children can grow up as friends”, he concluded.
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

GOSS trade and industry policy

JUBA, 2 November 2010 – The minister for Commerce and Industry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Stephen Dhieu Dau, today announced that the mission of his ministry is to create conducive trade environment for private sector development.


H.E. Dhieu said that the ministry is currently employing a three-tier policy encompassing trade, industry and agricultural marketing.


On trade, the minister said that the policy of the government is to maintain a free market economy; encourage the emergence of industries; encourage the involvement of Southern Sudanese in commerce and industry; develop private sector with focus on SMEs; formulate trade and mercantile laws; mainstream trade into national development strategies; liberalize the commercial sector; diversify export; and attract foreign and domestic investment.

 


H.E. Dhieu stresses a point during the media forum


The minister also said that on industry, the government seeks to encourage foreign investors in the industrial sectors to partner with Southern Sudanese in business; promote development of business skills in the industrial sectors; promote liberalization for the establishment of fair and effective industrial rules and improved export opportunities; coordinate all trade negotiations to ensure trade agreements and initiatives complement each other; ensure that government’s involvement in marketing structures and state trading enterprises remain transparent; accelerate growth of manufacturing and other industrial sectors.


Given that agriculture is a leading economic sector in Southern Sudan, it is the policy of the government to facilitate the growth of agriculture in an effort to reduce poverty in rural areas; respect the domestic interests of local farmers and business community; ensure that the farmers’ marketing structures are not subject to restrictive rules; facilitate the farmers and business community to operate orderly marketing system; preserve measures necessary for the stability and profitability of Southern Sudanese crops; and promote the marketing of agricultural products.


The minister also said that the government has embarked on creating an enabling investment climate in Southern Sudan. He cited enactment of requisite laws such as Investment Act, Contract Act, Limited Liability Act, Agency Act, among others as some of the laws the government has put in place to support investment in Southern Sudan. He also said that GOSS has improved infrastructure, initiated public-private dialogue, and improved general security.


The minister made these pronouncements when he addressed the weekly media forum organized by the GOSS Ministry of Information. He was hosted by his colleague, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information. The forum was also attended by top officers in both ministries as well as journalists from both private and public media institutions.
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

The keys to economic growth in Southern Sudan

JUBA, 2 November 2010 – H.E. Stephen Dhieu Dau, the minister for Commerce and Industry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) today revealed the keys to sustainable economic growth in Southern Sudan.


The minister announced that the economy will grow faster when Southern Sudan exports more goods and services; the levels of productivity is raised and more low skilled jobs created; performance of the public sector is improved to become an effective tool for reconstruction and development; and infrastructure capacity is enhanced especially in relation to telecommunications, rail, roads, electricity and water.


H.E. Dhieu explained that GOSS is already working on strategies to stimulate sustainable economic growth through diversification, stabilization of public finances, job creation as well as creation of an environment which is conducive for investment.


The minister also announced that GOSS is currently working on establishing strong trade and investment linkages both locally and internationally. He said that he has led delegations to countries such as Egypt and Greece to explore trade opportunities and attract investors to Southern Sudan.


H.E. Dhieu asserted that the government is collaborating with the private sector through suitable Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to stimulate development. He also said that the ministry is playing a stimulating, facilitating and regulatory role in building, strengthening and promoting Southern Sudan’s trade and industrial development for the benefit of its people.

 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

North-to-South exodus intensifies

JUBA, 4 November 2010 – Thousands of the Southerners who have been living in Khartoum and other cities in Northern Sudan are moving back to the Southern territory to register and participate in the forthcoming self-determination referendum for Southern Sudan which is scheduled for January 2011.


According to Cde. Bol Makueng, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) secretary for information, culture and communication, the Southern Sudanese are returning in droves using all possible means of transport bound for different towns and states in the region.


Cde. Makueng said that eye witnesses are saying that in one single hour, 90 buses and 38 trucks took off from Khartoum headed towards Southern Sudan. “This means that within ten days, the population of the Southern Sudanese in Northern Sudan will be less than 10,000 people and which will not warrant them for registration to vote during referendum on 9th January 2011 because the Referendum Act says that a centre should be created for a population of 20,000 people”, he explained.


Apart from the motivation to participate freely in the referendum in their motherland, most of the returnees also said that they no longer feel comfortable staying in the North because of persistent intimidation by security agents. “People are intimidated and asked whether they would vote for separation or unity during the referendum”, Cde. Makueng explained. Some of the returnees also alleged that patients from Southern Sudan seeking treatment in the North are now being asked how they plan to vote in the referendum before being attended to.


Cde. Makueng also explained that most of the returnees fear that the NCP will rig votes in favour of unity when all Southern Sudanese in Khartoum are talking and preparing to vote for separation. “They prefer to come and vote in Southern Sudan where their choice will be respected”, he said.


With their number soaring by the day, the returnees need humanitarian assistance to settle and begin their lives afresh in Southern Sudan. A source at the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) said that the commission is ready to assist the returnees if they register with it and provide the requisite evidence of their status. According to the source, the commission will take care of the transport of the returnees as well as provide them with the necessary assistance to enable them settle in Southern Sudan.

 


"See you soon", a smiling child seems to tell a friend as she bids her farewell when she and other people set out for Southern Sudan from Khartoum.
[Photo: SPLM]


Some of the returnees had expressed desperation that their lives would be difficult because they have no jobs or facilities here in Juba. With this assurance from the SSRRC, there is hope that all will be well. In spite of the challenges, since some of them have been outside Southern Sudan for many years, the returnees expressed confidence that they are now part of the citizens working to mitigate the challenges. They are also encouraged by the beckoning hope of freedom after the referendum.
 

 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

GOSS Ministry of Information to strengthen linkages with the states

JUBA, 8 November 2010 – The Ministry of Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) will establish a state coordination office to strengthen its linkage with state ministries of information and communication so as to facilitate multi-directional seamless information flow between the states at Juba.


Addressing the directors general of information and communication from the Southern Sudan states, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin underscored the role of GOSS Ministry of Information and state ministries of information in propagating government policies, activities and plans. He emphasized that as the mouthpiece of the government, the ministry has the mandate to keep the people of Southern Sudan informed about what their government is doing for them. Similarly, he emphasized that the ministry has the mandate to coordinate interactions between the state ministries of information and other government agencies at the GOSS and GONU levels. He called on the directors general to observe this protocol.


The minister also emphasized that the state ministries should adopt communication media and techniques which are appropriate for the Southern Sudan context. He explained that given that most of Southern Sudanese live in the rural areas, radio and mobile cinemas are likely to be more effective in communicating with them. He challenged the directors general to be proactive and work closely with the ministry’s officers to facilitate the creation of a robust communication network in Southern Sudan especially at this critical time as the region approaches its self-determination referendum.


Dr. Marial also reiterated that the Government of Southern Sudan is committed to freedom of expression and urged the directors general to replicate the same commitment in their respective states. He explained that it is this policy that has endeared its media channels like the Southern Sudan TV (SSTV) to the regional viewers in the North and elsewhere. He explained that the government will continue to mainstream these freedoms.


The minister was speaking today when the directors general, who are currently attending a communication and media skills workshop which is funded by the GTZ and executed by the Deutsche Welle, paid a courtesy call on him at the ministry’s headquarters in Juba.

 


Dr. Marial addresses the directors general
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The Undersecretary in the ministry, Mr. George Garang Deng also emphasized that the ministry  plays a policy formulation role and does not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the media institutions in the region. The Director General of Information at the ministry, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak added that the ministry also plays a regulatory role to ensure that all players in the sector conduct themselves professionally in the interest of the people of Southern Sudan.


The Director of the News Agency of Southern Sudan (NASS), Mr. Moyiga Nduru reported that the news agency will soon establish offices in the states to facilitate the collection and dissemination of information which is unique to the Southern Sudan states. He explained that currently the media coverage in Southern Sudan is focused only on Juba but added that this situation will change as soon as the agency is fully operational.


The directors general from the states congratulated the minister for his appointment to the ministry and expressed appreciation for the good work he has done so far. They requested him to support them through capacity building, provision of media equipment and means of transport. In response, the minister assured them of his personal and ministry’s support. He also informed them that the ministry is working with international and regional partners to provide requisite equipment for the media outlets in the states. He reported that generators have been acquired for the ministries of information in Upper Nile and Western Bahr el Ghazal. He also said that the ministry will include provisions to purchase vehicles for the states in the next financial year.


On capacity building, the Director of Training and Research at the ministry, Mr. Joseph Gwado Ador informed the directors general that the ministry is implementing an elaborate training programme for all its employees both at the GOSS and state levels. He reported that a group of staff members drawn from all the states will be going to Cairo for a course soon. He said that similar initiatives are in the pipeline and will be executed in due course. He pledged to work with the state authorities when identifying the areas of need as well as staff to attend the courses both locally and abroad.


Speaking on behalf of GTZ and Deutsche Welle, Ms Maria Frauenrath thanked the minister for granting them audience. She also thanked the minister for keeping a keen eye on the workshop which is being attended by representatives from eight states of Southern Sudan. She also reported that another training targeting journalists is also ongoing in Juba.
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

Natural resources to be exploited for the good of the people

JUBA, 9 November 2010 – The minister for Energy and Mining in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Garang Diing Akuong has asserted that the natural resources in Southern Sudan will be utilized with the corporate good of all the people of Southern Sudan in mind.


The minister emphasized that Southern Sudan is keen to avoid the trap that most countries endowed with huge mineral and oil deposits have been caught in. He explained that in these cases, a few “war-lords” have hoarded all the resources for themselves leaving the majority of the people in poverty and deprivation.


“If oil is not used for the benefit of the people, it turns into a curse”, the minister cautioned. He also explained that the ministry is also working to ensure that the resources are exploited in an environmentally friendly manner. He said that Southern Sudan will not allow the exploitation of its resources to degrade the environment to the extent that communities no longer have arable land, among other resources as the case has been in some countries.

 


H.E. Garang (centre), H.E. Dr. Marial (right) and Mr. David Loro, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Energy and Mining during the media forum
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


He also explained that the ministry ensures that all the companies involved in the mining industry are engaged in effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that benefit the communities where they operate. He also said that two percent of the proceeds of such business ventures are ploughed back to the communities where the resources are obtained from.


H.E. Garang explained that Southern Sudan is developing necessary legislation to regulate the mining sector to ensure compliance with industry best practices and public good. For instance, he said that the Mining Act draft is now with the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development while the Petroleum Policy is still being drafted. He expressed confidence that both laws will be enacted by July 2011.

 


Some of the journalists who attended the Media Forum
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The minister, who was addressing the weekly Media Forum in the company of his Information counterpart H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, also asserted that necessary systems are in place to protect the natural resources from unscrupulous investors who may only be interested in selfish gains. Dr. Marial also added that though Southern Sudan is a virgin country inviting investors, it is in the interest of its citizens that the investments are mutually beneficial.


Dr. Marial assured potential international investors that Southern Sudan has one of the most attractive investment laws in the region which guarantees the rights of the investors adequately. He also explained that the Government of Southern Sudan is working tirelessly to sustain a favourable investment climate which is peaceful and secure to ensure good returns on investment. Dr. Marial cited agriculture as one of the lucrative sectors for investment in the region saying that Southern Sudan is a “huge organic farm on earth”.


H.E. Garang also announced that a Norwegian company has been retained by the government to conduct an environmental audit of the regions where mining is ongoing to ascertain if there are any damages to the environment, their extent and possible remedies. If any damages are confirmed then the concerned companies will be required to provide necessary redress. He also said that while GOSS respects contracts signed before the CPA, it has the right to review those that are not favourable to the people of Southern Sudan. 
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

Three refineries to be built in Southern Sudan

JUBA, 9 November 2010 – Three oil refineries will be built in Southern Sudan to cater for the region’s internal oil needs in case it becomes an independent country after the referendum. The refineries will also be expanded to serve any export needs which may arise in future.


This was announced today by H.E. Garang Diing Akuong, the minister for Energy and Mining in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) when he addressed journalists at the weekly Media Forum organized by the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba.


The minister explained that the process of constructing one of the refineries in Akon, Warrap state has already begun with an investor already on board. He said that the other two refineries have been earmarked for the Greater Upper Nile – possibly to be located in Bentiu in Unity state – while the other will be in the Greater Equatoria with some suggesting it be located at Terkeka.


The minister also explained that the South will need to cooperate with the North to facilitate export of oil from the South in case of independence. He said that the North has the facilities and that the South will utilize these in the short-term as other options are explored. He reported that one of the options is to construct a pipeline from Southern Sudan to the port of Lamu in Kenya. He said the latter option is still being negotiated. He also clarified that even when the negotiations on this option are concluded, the construction of such a pipeline would take not less than four years to complete.

 


H.E. Garang (left) and H.E. Dr. Marial (right) addressing the Media Forum
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


H.E. Garang who was flanked by his Information counterpart, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, asserted that it is in the interest of Southern Sudan that Northern Sudan remains a viable peaceful state even if the former becomes independent after the referendum. Dr. Marial emphasized that the referendum process and the possible independence of the South should not be treated as a threat to the stability of Northern Sudan. He pointed out that if the South votes for independence then the two countries will have even better opportunities to influence international agenda in their favour, a position which he said would benefit their citizens.


Dr. Marial also expressed concern over the security and political challenges in some parts of Northern Sudan, including the Darfur region. He said that no efforts should be spared to support the resolution of these challenges before they can become disastrous. He appealed to the international community to take a keen interest on these issues so that Northern Sudan can remain a progressive state.


H.E. Garang was accompanied by his undersecretary Mr David Loro; the Managing Director of the Southern Sudan Electricity Company, Prof Ajuoi Magot; and the Managing Director of Nile Petroleum, Mr. Mangok Aleu. On the other hand, the minister for Information was accompanied by top officers in the ministry led by the Undersecretary, Mr. George Garang Deng. The forum was attended by local and international journalists from various public and private media institutions.
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

“Southern Sudan will not be a failed state”, Dr. Marial

JUBA, 9 November 2010 - Those who wish to see Southern Sudan become a failed state “will wait till thy kingdom come”, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) said this today during the ministry’s weekly Media Forum.


Dr. Marial urged the people to instead get concerned about the current political scenario in the Northern Sudan and the Darfur problem which may lead to destabilization of the would be neighbouring state in case the South votes for the independence. He said that it is not the interest of the people of Southern Sudan to see the North as a failed state after a possible separation.


Dr. Marial said Southern Sudan has good security record after the CPA. He also explained that even before the peace agreement Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) did not have any bad records of kidnapping humanitarian workers or peacekeepers unlike in other areas where this happens frequently. He said that GOSS has the capacity to protect life of the citizens and the investors and emphasized that an independent Southern Sudan cannot be a failed state.

 


H.E. Dr. Marial (right) stresses a point during the media forum. Looking on is H.E. Garang (left)
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


Addressing the same forum, the GOSS minister for Energy and Mining, H.E Garang Diing Akuong emphasized the importance of cooperation between the North and the South after the referendum. He explained to the press that most of the oil and part of oil pipelines are in the south while most of the oil pipeline and the refineries are in the North hence the need for cooperation between the two states if the South should become independent.


Dr. Marial reported that President Al-Bashir has also reiterated the need for cooperation yesterday during a televised briefing on the referendum. The President is reported to have said that even if the South votes for separation “we shall still be united in spirit and economy”.


Both ministers encouraged the potential investors to come to Southern Sudan to invest and assured them that their rights and interests will be well protected.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

JUBA, 10 November 2010 - The General Manager of Southern Sudan Electricity Corporation, Professor Ajuei Magot Chol, has assured all clients and members of the public of the commitment of the Corporation to provide electricity services to people in all the towns of Southern Sudan, and generate enough electric power to support heavy industries in the region.

 

Speaking during the weekly media forum of the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba on Tuesday, Professor Magot said Southern Sudan and Ethiopia are currently engaged in negotiations for Ethiopia to supply electric power network to Southern Sudan.

 


Prof Ajuei Magot during the media forum

 

He also confirmed that Renk in Upper Nile State is already connected to the national power grid, and announced that there are plans to extend the power line to Malakal, also in Upper Nile State.

 

Professor Magot sounded optimistic about continued cooperation between the North and the South in the provision of electric power supply in the event the South chooses independence in the referendum in January 2011. He appealed to all clients to pay their electricity bills to enable the corporation to continue offering services unhindered.


By Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

UNIRED donates 20 vehicles to referendum bureau

JUBA, 10 November 2010 – The United Nations Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division (UNIRED) today handed over 20 hardtop Toyota land cruisers to the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB). The vehicles were procured by the UNDP through the “Support to Southern Sudan Referendum Project” Basket Fund (a pooled contribution from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Norway, the European Union, Sweden, Denmark, France and Australia).


The 20 vehicles are intended to support Southern Sudan Referendum activities in all the ten states of Southern Sudan and are currently being dispatched to the Referendum State High Committees in the ten state capitals. In addition to the procured vehicles, UNIRED through the Basket Fund is also supporting the transport needs of the Southern Sudan Referendum process in the North and the South by providing funds to Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) for the hire of over 200 vehicles to be used in the States and Counties across the country.


Also being dispatched across Southern Sudan this week are civic and voter education materials including posters, banners, stickers, T-shirts, caps, bags, kangas, and wristbands. Additionally, UNIRED and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized training in Juba, Wau and Malakal this week for civil society groups being funded by the UNDP Basket Fund to conduct face-to-face civic and voter education activities. They will be using a wide range of techniques from traditional storytelling at Boma level to mobile cinema in the State capitals, as well as a pictorial flipchart designed by SSRC and UNIRED. These efforts are targeting the voter registration process, which begins on 15 November 2010.

 


Justice Reec trying one of the vehicles.


The vehicles were received by the SSRB Chair who is also the SSRC Deputy Chair, Justice Chan Reec Madut at the bureau’s office in Hai Amarat, Juba. The vehicles were officially handed over by the UNIRED Director, Mr. Dennis Kadima who emphasized that the United Nations will continue to support the Southern Sudan referendum process. Also in attendance at the brief ceremony were Mr. Eamon Ó Mordha, the UNIRED Deputy Director; and Mr. Azhar Malik, the Project Manager; as well as several Basket Fund donor representatives.


UNIRED is providing integrated assistance to the referendum process as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1919, which officially mandates the UN to provide technical support to the Southern Sudan referendum process. However, this remains a Sudanese process led by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission. The total budget of the UN SSSR project is US$ 58 million and is funded through the Basket Fund, a contribution of ten donors from the International Community. 
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

SAF goes on rampage in Melut, leaves teenage girl dead - SPLA

JUBA, 10 November 2010 - In a press release issued by the General Headquarters in Juba on yesterday, the spokesperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Colonel Philip Aguer Panyang, gave details of a provocation by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) component of the Joint Integrated Units in Melut Town, Upper Nile State, on Monday, 8th November 2010.

 

According to the press release, forces of the SAF component of the JIU in the town went on a shooting spree beginning at 8.30pm. They targeted positions of the SPLA component and the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), and directed fire into the town.

 

Nyakuma Thomas Dak, a teenage girl, was shot dead, while Hadi Abdallah of the Falata Community and Kur Puot, a policeman, were wounded.

 

The SPLA remained level-headed and never retaliated; they stayed under cover up to early Tuesday morning. The press release also stated that the SAF component of the JIU has repeatedly engaged in provocative acts as witnessed in Malakal and recently in Abyei in total violation of the ceasefire in force.

 

On Tuesday morning SAF Command attributed the deeds to drunken soldiers. The press release restated the commitment of the SPLA to maintaining peace in the Sudan, and asked the SAF Command to reciprocate by controlling its soldiers who must respect the lives of the innocent civilians they are supposed to protect. The SPLA cautions the SAF against flimsy excuses, and to refrain from being trigger-happy for war is never a good commodity to trade in.

 

Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

“Pension is your right”, Madam Rebecca Joshua

JUBA, 11 November 2010 - Madam Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour and Public Service in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) yesterday asserted that receiving a pension on retirement is every civil servant’s right and not a favour.

 

Addressing a press conference held yesterday at the Kush Resort Hotel in Juba, Madam Rebecca announced that 604 out of the 1,574 pending pension files have been reviewed successfully. The technical committee handling the matter has consequently written to the GOSS Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to process the payments of the same.

 

Madam Rebecca explained that the government is committed to addressing the needs of the pensioners. She said that even though this matter has been pending for several years, its full resolution is now in sight following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between GOSS and the Government of National Unity (GONU).

 

The Undersecretary also announced that the remaining 970 files have been sent back for inquiries and will be processed once they are received back. The Director General of National Pensions Funds, Hussein Mohammed Hussein announced the details of the completed files. He also urged the pensioners whose files were returned to remain calm as the issue is being addressed. He explained that they will receive their dues as soon as the pending issues are resolved.

 

By Justin Jada Joseph

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

President Kiir and Taha discuss peace and referendum issues with Mbeki

KHARTOUM, 14 November 2010 (SUNA) - The First Vice - President of the Republic and President of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the Vice - President, H.E. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Sunday met at the residency of President Kiir with the chairman of the African Union Panel on Sudan, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, and discussed the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).


After the meeting, Mr. Mbeki said in a press statement that the two partners, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), began special negotiations pertinent to the framework agreement for solving the controversial issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the post-referendum issues.


Mr. Mbeki said that the formulation of the framework agreement is about to be finalized, explaining that the framework agreement deals with the issues of the borders between the north and the south, the referendum, security and the post-referendum issues.


Mr. Mbeki also said that the two parties agreed discuss the Abyei issue at the Presidency level, adding that the two parties have resolved to achieve solutions for the controversial issues at the Presidency level after the return of the President of the Republic from the Hajj.
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

Referendum registration kicks off in Southern Sudan

JUBA, 15 November 2010 – Voter registration for the self-determination referendum for Southern Sudan which is due in January next year has kicked off in the region.


Even though most of the eligible Southern Sudanese are yet to register, they are determined to participate in this critical plebiscite to decide their future. The registration officers are expecting a large turnout at the registration centres because of the significance of this exercise.

 


Referendum registration clerk attends to potential voters.


Some of the potential voters also expressed concern that the centres are few and are difficult to access in some areas. However, they asserted that in spite of the challenges they are willing to go the extra mile to register so as to participate in this all-important event.


The determination is so great that the people are willing to wait in the long queues, explains Chief Mande Andrea of Hai Amarat and Juba Nabar East. He explains, however, that the registration clerks are doing their best to hasten the process. This determination is founded on the hope for a better future that guarantees equality to all. An international monitor was awed by the sheer determination of the people in spite of the challenges and quipped that if it had been in a European country the potential voters would not have exhibited the degree of patience witnessed.
 


Mr Jacob Dini Onorato, a Southern Sudanese, stresses a point on referendum registration


The potential voters have also expressed satisfaction with the symbols. However, they called on all the stakeholders and the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) to sensitize the people effectively to make the right choice during the referendum. They particularly emphasized the need for intensive sensitization, especially in the rural areas. Some Southern Sudanese also expressed concern about the fate of Abyei referendum. They called on the authorities to resolve the pending issues urgently to enable the Abyei citizens to decide their fate.


Political analysts and the general atmosphere in Southern Sudan indicate that the region will most likely vote unanimously for independence. Whatever the outcome may be, all Southern Sudanese political, religious and community leaders have called for the maintenance of peace during the period and beyond.
 

This article was updated on Nov 25, 2010

Referendum registration kicks off in Kampala

JUBA, 16 November 2010 – The registration process of voters for the referendum has kicked off in Kampala for the eligible Southern Sudanese living in Uganda. There had been confusion over the fate of the exercise in the country as some people had called on the people to boycott it.


The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) sent a delegation to the Ugandan capital to address the Southern Sudanese communities in the country to build their confidence in the process and to encourage them to participate unreservedly in the process.


The delegation was led by Mr. Joseph Madak Both, the Director of Monitoring and Policies in the Office of the President and Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan; Col. Chuol Wan Luot, the Coordinator for Diaspora and International Stakeholders Southern Sudan 2011 Referendum task-force technical Secretariat; and Mr. Deng Deng.


The delegation addressed their compatriots at the Kabira Country Club in Kampala. Different community and leaders; civil society; and political parties attended the briefing which began at 6pm and continued up to around 10pm.


In his address, Mr. Madak urged the Southern Sudanese in Uganda to register in Kampala if they are not able to make it to Southern Sudan itself. He also told the press that the Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora in eight countries can participate in the registration process according to the provisions of the Referendum Act. He identified the countries as Australia, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, United Kingdom, United State of America, and Canada.


Mr. Madak also said that the International Organization for Immigration (IOM) is the one which is mandated to administer the registration process in the Diaspora. He explained that the IOM was given the task because of its reputation and capacity to conduct such an exercise to international standards.


Mr. Deng Deng emphasized that this registration and the referendum after it are critical milestones of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed in Naivasha Kenya in 2005 by the late liberation hero, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.


One of the community leaders, Mr. Abraham Majok who is also the Lakes State representative in Uganda, said that the people had not received authentic information from the government on time. He explained that this is why they were doubtful about the role of the IOM in the process. He said that since the government has now cleared the air on the issue, registration will proceed as planned.


Meanwhile in Juba, thousands of eligible voters thronged the registration centres in spite of the fact that today was a holiday in the country. Though some of the people complained that the process is slow, they said that they were happy with the general conduct of the process. The turnout is still high in most parts of the country as well with many people expressing their determination to make their voices heard through the plebiscite that marks the last mile of the several-decade march towards freedom, justice and equality. Similar reports have also been received from Kenya where the exercise is ongoing smoothly in Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kukuma, among other centres.


In another development, the US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has also encouraged the CPA parties to work together to ensure that the referendum is held as provided for by the CPA. She made these remarks when addressing the UN Security Council on Tuesday. Mrs Clinton also urged the international community to respect the results of the self-determination referendum.


By Peter Gai Manyuon

This article was updated on Nov 28, 2010

Dr. Turabi on unity of the Sudan

16 November 2010 (VOA) - The leader of Sudan’s Popular Congress Party, Dr. Hassan Al Turabi, has cast doubt on the viability of a unified Sudan, saying ‘’ Sudan is a composition of people [with] no common history as a people or as a nation or [as] a country…”

 

Al Turabi told VOA the country’s diversity of religion, cultures and languages has made it impossible to unify Sudan. The result, according to Turabi, will be the likely disintegration of Sudan after the January 9, 2011 referendum if, as expected, southern Sudan votes for independence.


“This is not a country which has known dictatorship in history, but it is a little bit libertarian because it is in a continent where people are mostly rural and free”, Turabi says.


Turabi has been a central player in Sudanese politics for decades and is instrumental in bringing Islamic Sharia law to the country. He helped bring President Hassan Al Bashir to power in 1989, and served in various government positions, including as Speaker of the National Assembly in the 1990s. In the late 1990s he began criticizing the government and has been jailed on several occasions.


Turabi also said that Sudan’s failure to democratize is another reason for the country’s unravelling. He blames three military coup d’états for overthrowing democratically elected governments since the country gained independence on January 1, 1955. This has led to a concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the central government which, he says, encouraged rebellions throughout Sudan, and particularly in the south.

 

The north and south have been engaged in successive civil wars since Sudan gained its independence and Turabi accuses the military governments of failing to honour peace agreements, thus giving a justification to southern nationalists and the desire of people in the south to separate from north.


Another factor, he said, working against achieving a truly unified Sudan is decentralized regional governments. The governments have sought a measure of self-rule from Khartoum in an attempt to address disparities in wealth and development between the different regions of Sudan. He says Sudan’s diversity requires a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources.


By John Tanza Mabusu

This article was updated on Nov 28, 2010

Government of Sudan affirms its commitment to hold referendum and to accept its result

NEW YORK, 17 November 2010 (SUNA) - The Government of Sudan has reiterated its commitment to hold the referendum of Southern Sudan in the fixed time and to accept its result, be it unity or separation.


In his address before the UN Security Council, the Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, said that the government has accepted to hold the referendum toward completing the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), stressing that the referendum shall be a step for boosting the peace and stability in Sudan.


He said that it was agreed that the funding of the referendum shall be by 40% from the two partners of the CPA, the National Congress and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), and 60% from the international community, adding that the government has fulfilled its commitment in this connection.


Karti called on the international community to fulfil its financial commitment in supporting the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission to enable it execute its mandate effectively.


He called on the Security Council to adopt a comprehensive method in dealing with the issue of Abyei which guarantees prevalence of the stability and the traditional peaceful co-existence between the citizens at this area.


The minister said that the government is pressing ahead in handling the issue of the post referendum arrangements, including the aspects of resources, citizenship, security and the international legal agreements and conventions. Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister also reported that great progress has been achieved lately with regard to the accomplishment of the framework agreement on the relation between the north and the south. This was in reference to the efforts made during the past week by the two partners and the African Union Panel on Sudan which is headed by the former president of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki.


He disclosed that the historic agreement, which was signed Tuesday evening, has underscored the common strategic options of the north and the south, top of them is the refrain from a return to war, the special and unique ties between south and north Sudan which are characterized by mutual understanding and co-existence.
 

This article was updated on Nov 28, 2010

H.E. Amum addresses UN Security Council

NEW YORK, 17 November 2010 (SPLM) - Government of South Sudan (GOSS) Minister for Peace and CPA implementation and Secretary-General of the SPLM, Comrade Pag’an Amum on Tuesday appealed to the United Nations (UN) Security Council to ensure that every letter of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is implemented and that there be no return to war in Sudan.

 

Comrade Amum made the plea yesterday in a statement at the UN Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Sudan in New York.

 

Comrade Amum also thanked the Council for inviting him and for initiating a meeting on Sudan, saying “the fact of this meeting sends a very strong signal or support for the full implementation of the CPA, for the referenda to be conducted on time, and above all for peace to be maintained”.

 


GOSS Minister of Peace and CPA Implementation making a statement at the UN Security Council in New York


He pointed out to the Council that GOSS “will never weaver in [its] commitment to implement the CPA”. After highlighting some of the “tremendous efforts” the GOSS has made so far for the referendum to take place on time, the minister appealed to the Council to ensure that the National Congress Party (NCP) in the Government of Sudan in Khartoum also shows the same commitment.

 

He also stated, as a matter of fact, that all signs suggest that the people of Southern Sudan are likely to vote for independence in January 2011; a reality that requires the Council and the UN members to respect as it will be the choice of the people of Southern Sudan.

 

He went on to assure the Council that the GOSS has negotiated a framework agreement on post-referendum arrangements with the NCP that lays out general principles that would govern the future relations between the Southern and Northern Sudan as two sovereign states.

 

He explained, however, some issues of crucial importance have not yet been resolved. The question of citizenship rights, border demarcation and Abyei remains thorny issues that need to be resolved.

 

Comrade Pag’an Amum finally appealed to the NCP to “join us [SPLM] in a positive politics of peace, reconciliation, respect and pursued mutual interest”.

 

The UN Security Council Ministerial meeting on Sudan was initiated by the United Kingdom and presided over by William Huge.
 

This article was updated on Nov 28, 2010

“Amadi institute to reopen soon”, H.E. Lemi

JUBA, 18 November 2010 – The Amadi Rural Development Institute which was relocated to Juba during the liberation war will soon reopen at its original location in Western Equatoria State.


H.E. Jimmy Lemi Milla, the minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) made this announcement today when he addressed staff of the institution in their satellite campus in Juba. The minister emphasized the role of rural development in national development and explained that the institute will train community development officers who will go back to their communities and stimulate development.


The minister also reiterated the support of the government and the ministry for the institute and announced that funds have been set aside to complete the buildings currently under construction at its main campus. He also said that the ministry envisions upgrading the institute to a university to offer advanced courses on rural and community development locally. He emphasized that the institute is for the entire Southern Sudan and should not be misunderstood to belong to Western Equatoria only.

 


H.E. Lemi (centre) addresses the staff of Amadi Institute accompanied by Prof Mathew Gordon (left) and Mr Victor Maburuk (right)


H.E. Lemi pledged that he will work hand in hand with the other arms of the government and the institute’s administration to address the challenges it currently faces such as inadequate infrastructure and lack of qualified professional trainers. “We are mobilizing the staff to move back to the original location of the institute, possibly by mid 2011”, he said.


The minister also stressed that the institute will need to reorganize its curriculum to reflect new challenges especially after the referendum. He also urged the institute to consider establishing branches in all the states to provide easy access to the courses for the rural people. He said that the institute is critical to the achievement of the government policy of supporting rural development under the “take the cities to the villages” scheme.


The Principal of the institute, Mr. Victor Maburuk, said that the college, which was established in 1975, has great potential. He explained that the institute was established as a response to the challenges communities in Southern Sudan faced such as diseases, poor sanitation, dilapidated infrastructure and lack of adequate human resource to reconstruct the country after the 17 years of civil war. He reiterated that the institute trains community development officers who take back the skills to their communities. He reported that so far, the institute has graduated 14 batches of students who have now been deployed to various states in Southern Sudan.


Mr. Maburuk also explained that since the institute moved to Juba in 1987, it has not offered the certificate courses it used to offer. Instead, it has embarked on offering short courses in areas such as Project Planning and Management, Disaster Management, Bee Keeping, Extension Work as well as Leadership especially for women.

 


H.E. Lemi poses for a group photo with Amadi Institute staff


The principal also announced that the institute hopes to establish new projects for training and revenue generation once it reopens. He identified some of these as establishment of an apiary (collection of beehives), poultry farm, dairy farm, vegetable and fruit orchard, as well as appropriate technology centres for making bricks.


On the referendum, the minister urged all Southern Sudanese to register and vote wisely. He explained the symbols of the choices of the plebiscite and quipped that the one for independence is like a goodbye gesture to all the problems that the people have faced for many years. He encouraged the people not to fear for the future and urged them to work together to build a better future for the generations to come. He cautioned them not to miss out in the referendum and explained that this plebiscite is not like the previous elections where people cast votes for individuals or parties. He said that in the referendum, people are casting votes for their own future and that of their children. He expressed confidence that all will be well after the referendum. He also reiterated that the government is working on post-referendum issues to ensure that Southern Sudan advances should it choose independence.


The occasion was also attended by top officers from the ministry led by the Undersecretary, Prof Mathew Gordon; the Director General for Cooperatives and Development, Mr Abdon Ayuen Kuol; the Director General for Administration and Finance, Mr John Deng; and the Director for Field Management, Mr Aggrey Maluk Luett among others.

 

This article was updated on Nov 28, 2010

Ministry of Health directs healthcare providers to register

JUBA, 19 November 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan, through its Ministry of Health, has issued a directive to all health and health-related facilities, institutions, companies and agencies which are interested in or are already practising in Southern Sudan to register immediately and obtain requisite clearance from the ministry.


Through a directive issued yesterday by the Undersecretary in the ministry, Dr. Olivia Lomoro, the ministry explains that this requirement is part of the efforts of the government to control widespread mushrooming of illegal medical practice in Southern Sudan.


Dr. Lomoro also announced that the Southern Sudan branch of the Sudan Medical Council is now operational and is housed within the premises of the ministry in Juba. She warned that serious disciplinary measures will be taken against any person or institution which does not comply with this directive. She emphasized that this registration is important in safeguarding the health of the people of Southern Sudan.
 

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

“Registration progressing well”, SSRB

JUBA, 19 November 2010 – The registration of voters for the Southern Sudan Referendum expected in January 2011 is progressing well, the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) has said.


During a press conference at a hotel in Juba this afternoon, the SSRB confirmed that all registration centres in Sudan have opened and are conducting registration as planned. The bureau also reported that there is a high turn-out of voters throughout the country. However, it was unable to provide the provisional statistics of the registered voters so far.


The bureau also confirmed that the registration of voters in Egypt had not kicked off by yesterday due to some problems which it did not wish to divulge because it is not responsible for centres abroad. However, it is expected that the problems will be addressed in due course so that registration can begin in earnest. All the other centres abroad are operating.


The bureau also said that it has received reports of long queues of voters in some centres but explained that the issue is being addressed so that potential voters can register easily. It also confirmed that the deadline for registration is 1st of December 2010 and not 7th December as has been reported in some quarters. It appealed to all the eligible voters to go to the registration centre nearest to them and which has the lowest number of people. The bureau also confirmed that people are expected to vote where they have registered.

 


Dr. Achier Deng Akol (left) of the SSRB stresses a point during the conference as his colleague Mr. Samuel Maccar Riak (right)


The bureau also announced that the accreditation of international and domestic observers has begun and appealed to all the registration officials and the communities to allow the observers to monitor the process to give it the credibility that is due to it. The bureau also appealed to the public not to remove or tamper with the posters and billboards because they are being used for voter education.


The press conference was addressed by Dr. Achier Deng Akol, the SSRB Overseer for Operations and Mr. Samuel Maccar Riak, the bureau’s Public Outreach and Supervisor of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal state, on behalf of the chairman who was unable to attend to due to commitments elsewhere.


The officials denied allegations that potential voters in Eastern Equatoria were boycotting the process. They appealed to political leaders not to mar the exercise by reviving their political differences during the past elections. They said that there are only two options for voters in the referendum and no one should confuse them with other differences.


The bureau officials also denied reports that women are not turning out as expected. They explained that while this may be true in some centres, in others the converse is also true. Nonetheless, they appealed to ladies to turn out and exercise their right. They also appealed to men to support the ladies in this process.


On the adequacy of the registration centres, the officials explained that no new centres can be created after the process has begun. They therefore appealed to the people to use the available centres. In cases where the registration materials have run out, the bureau said that it has procedures of receiving reports on this and replenishing them. To this end, the officials reported that the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has donated 400 thuraya phones which have been distributed to the centres to facilitate easy communication.
 

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

Southern Sudan anticipates voters' rush as the North experiences weak turnout

WAU, 21 November (Xinhua) - As registration centers in north Sudan are complaining about the weak turnout of voters who have rights to vote in south Sudan referendum, registration centers in south Sudan are experiencing a voters’ rush.


South Sudan government, run by Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), shows great concerns with the voter registration process as it is the base of the self-determination referendum for south Sudan, slated for Jan. 9, 2011.


"Voters' registration is progressing well. We have called for all eligible voters in and outside Sudan to register to ensure their right in the coming referendum," Riek Machar, vice-president of south Sudan government, told reporters here on Sunday."The registration phase constitutes a decisive stage in the referendum process," he said.


Meanwhile, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State governor Riziq Zakaria told Xinhua that "our arrangements regarding the referendum process are progressing satisfactorily and we are fully ready for all stages."


"Voters' registration in Western Bahr El-Ghazal State is being conducted in 120 centers. In three days 33,000 citizens have registered," he said, adding "the problem we faced is the intensive turnout of voters, which poses a great pressure on the registration personnel."


However, registration process in north Sudan is not progressing as well as the southern states, and two major partners of the Sudanese government, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM, are exchanging accusations over hampering the registration process in north Sudan.


The NCP threatened not to recognize the referendum result if the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) does not resolve what it termed as "the big violations" at the registration centers.


"The SPLM is terrorizing and threatening the southerners to register," Deputy Chairman of NCP in Khartoum State Mandour al-Mahdi said in a statement on Sunday. "The NCP has monitored violations at the registration centers and has submitted them to the SSRC, but it has not yet taken any action," he said.


Meanwhile, Atem Garang, a leading SPLM member and deputy speaker of the Sudanese National Assembly (parliament), told reporters on Sunday that "some people belonging to the NCP inside the registration centers called the southerners after they registered and told them that they must vote for unity." "This violates the law," Garang said.


The SSRC, for its part, denied that there was any violation of the registration process. "We have not received any official complaint concerning violation of the registration process in north or south Sudan," said SSRC spokesman George Maker in a statement on Sunday. He attributed the weak turnout at the beginning of the registration in Khartoum State to "objective reasons" such as the beginning of Eid al-Adha.


He further affirmed that the registration process, which started on Nov. 15 and would last till the end of November, is witnessing an increasing turnout and the number of the southerners who registered in north Sudan so far has reached 9,000.


Regarding the registration process in south Sudan, Maker said "this (the intensive turnout) is normal because of the population density there, in addition, the process is mainly conducted there."
 

By Fayez el-Zaki Hassan

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

Report on registration - SPLM

JUBA, 22 November 2010 (SPLM) - Just six days into the 17-days long voter registration process, reports reaching the SPLM Referendum Operations Room (ROR) in Juba indicate that the turn-out has so far been good and the process is peaceful and consistent across all the 10 states of Southern Sudan.

 

According to coordinators at the ROR responsible for monitoring, coordinating and collecting information from the three greater regions of Southern Sudan, the average number of voters registered per center is approximately 180 people per day.

 

The queues are still long at most centers given the fact that it takes approximately three minutes to process just one registration – an issue that some people complained about.

 

However, Comrade Milla Francis, ROR coordinator for Greater Bahr El Ghazal Region is optimistic that the challenges will not deter the people from waiting for hours to register.

 

“I am sure that by the end of the 17 days of voter registration, almost all eligible voters in the four states of Greater Bahr El Ghazal would have registered to vote and decide their future on the 9th of January 2011,” stated Comrade Milla Francis.

 

He acknowledged some of the challenges on the ground (centers several kilometers apart) but remains confident that the calm attitude, wisdom and determination of the people of Southern Sudan to register and take part in the historic referendum supersede anything he has ever seen before.

 

“The people of Southern Sudan are determined to get what they want by registering to exercise their right of Self-determination as agreed upon in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)”, he added.

 

Other regions have also reported similar successes and challenges.

 

Comrade John Deng, coordinator for Greater Upper Nile Region (Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei States) said registration is generally “okay” as figures from some remote centers could not be processed as the centers are inaccessible by phone.

 

With just 50 days remaining for the Referendum and less than 11 days for the voter registration, the South has yet again surprised many who thought that the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) would not be capable to carry out such a massive exercise.

 

The SPLM has repeatedly and consistently expressed its commitment to holding a free, fair and transparent Referendum on the 09th of January 2011 and will do everything in its power to ensure that the result, whether unity or separation, is acknowledged and respected as the choice of the people of Southern Sudan.
 

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

South Sudan denies voter intimidation charge ahead of Referendum

WASHINGTON, 22 November 2010 (VOA) - Ezekiel Gatkuoth, head of south Sudan mission to the US and UN says it is the north that is holding southerners in the north hostage.


An official of the government of Southern Sudan is denying reported allegations that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has told southerners in the north not to register for the 9th January southern Sudan referendum.


This comes as Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) was quoted Sunday as saying that low registration of southerners in the north would affect the credibility of the referendum.


Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of the southern Sudan missions to the United Nations and the United States and a member of SPLM ruling council, told VOA that, on the contrary, it is the NCP that is making it difficult for southerners in the north to register.


“In the SPLM leadership, we have made it clear that this referendum must be transparent, free and fair and everybody is encouraged to register because this is historic for southern Sudanese. Southern Sudanese in the north, what we are hearing is that registration is very slow because some of them are afraid of registering themselves because the NCP, and the leadership of the NCP, (are) even threatening that, if they are not going to vote unity, their lives will be in danger; they will not even be treated in the hospital,” he said.


One news report quoted two unidentified SPLM officials as saying that the SPLM did not want southerners in the north to register for fear the north could manipulate the results. Gatkuoth said the south continues to encourage all southerners to register wherever they are.


“You know, individuals have their own decisions and choices to make, and so those southerners who are in the north, if they decided to move to the south and register in the south, they have their own right. Even here, in America where I am, there are southern Sudanese who decided to go home to register because they wanted to be registered in their villages. So, we are encouraging everybody to register and vote,” Gatkuoth said.


He called on the NCP not to discourage southerners in the north from registering, including in Abyei.


“They are basically holding Abyei hostage; they are not allowing the people of Abyei to exercise their rights. The Ngok Dinka people should come register and vote to decide if they are going to be part of the north or move back to the south. The Missirya, they have never been in the south, why would they be asked to return to the south or remain in the north because they have never been in the south. The Ngok Dinka are the ones who are asked in the referendum to return back to the south, not the Missirya. So, definitely, Abyei belongs to the Ngok Dinka people, and the NCP should stop keep(ing) them as hostage,” Gatkuoth said.


Gatkuoth rejected the NCP assertion that the SPLM was afraid of southern Sudanese in the north registering for the referendum because they might vote for unity as opposed to secession.


“We have no problem if there are individuals who are actually interested in voting for unity; we have no problem, and that is why President Salva Kiir made it very clear that, those who are campaigning for unity, they will campaign freely without any fear or intimidation. Those of us who are for separation, we are going to campaign also for separation. And, let me reassure you there is no reason for SPLM to intimidate anybody. We know for sure the southerners are going to vote for separation 100 percent. So, there is no reason for us to resort to anything that will make us look bad in the eyes of the international community,” Gatkuoth said.


By James Butty
 

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

Registration is yet to kick off in Egypt

JUBA, 23 November 2010 – Registration of Southern Sudanese wishing to vote during the referendum in Egypt is yet to kick off nearly one week behind the other registration centres.


Mr. Paulino Wanawilla Unango, a member of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), told the media today in Juba that the delay has been caused by some communication and diplomatic hitches which are currently being addressed.


Mr. Paulino explained that the Egyptian government is not to blame for the delay adding that it was not properly informed that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) would set up registration centres in the country to register the Southern Sudanese living there.

 


Mr. Paulino Wanawilla Unango addresses the media in Juba.


The commissioner expressed hope that the registration centres in Egypt would open in due course. He also announced that should there be genuine need to extend the registration period for Egypt then the Commission will follow the legal procedures as provided for in the Referendum Act and utilize the twelve days allocated for receiving and resolving complaints after the completion of the official registration (on 1st of December 2010) and publication of the preliminary register. He said that the Commission will deal with the issue appropriately at the opportune time.


Mr. Paulino also confirmed that it is true that the registration turnout in Khartoum and other centres in the North is still low. He explained that this scenario can be attributed to many factors including the fact that many of the eligible voters preferred to register and vote in the South so they moved from the North before the registration kicked off. He also said that potential voters may have been scared by unfriendly statements from some political figures in the North on their fate should Southern Sudan secede. Mr. Paulino also said that it is possible that one of the CPA partners is telling the voters not to register in the North. He clarified, however, that the Commission is investigating the issue and will address it appropriately.


The Commissioner also cautioned political parties and leaders against politicizing the registration process but instead to cooperate to support it. He explained that the National Congress Party (NCP) for instance, has been complaining that the identifiers (chiefs) in the North are not bona fide. This, he said complicates the process unnecessarily. He appealed to all the people to create and maintain a good environment in which a free and fair referendum can be conducted.

 

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

Registration progresses on in spite of myriad challenges

JUBA, 23 November 2010 – The registration of voters for the forthcoming self-determination referendum for Southern Sudan is progressing well in spite of myriad challenges.


The deputy chairperson of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) who is also the chairperson of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB), Justice Chan Reec Madut asserted that there will be no retreat until the process is completed successfully.


Justice Reec made these statements when he addressed the weekly media forum held at the GOSS Ministry of Information headquarters in Juba today. He said that one of the challenges is inaccessibility of the registration centres which he explained may not be easy to reach especially during the rainy season. He clarified, however, that all registration materials have been delivered to the centres by air.

 


Justice Reec (left) and Mr Garang (right) listen to comments and questions from the media.


Justice Reec also reported that the SSRC is facing funding challenges because it has not received all the funds allotted to it. He said that at the moment, the SSRB is relying mainly on the support from the Government of Southern Sudan. He expressed hope that the funds will be released on time to enable the commission to conduct the referendum successfully.


He also reported that fitting all the activities of the commission in the tight schedule is a big challenge as well. For instance, he said that production of the ballot materials has not begun yet the voting day is just about 40 days away.


Justice Reec reiterated that only the persons who meet the eligibility criteria as set out by the Referendum Act will be allowed to register and vote. However, he said that those who feel that they have been excluded unfairly have the right to complain to the Consideration Committees which can then ascertain whether they meet the eligibility criteria or not. He cautioned the affected people against complaining to the politicians. He encourages them to complain to the respective committees so that the issue can be addressed legally.


He clarified that one of the eligibility criteria for registration is attainment of 18 years of age. He admitted that the criterion may be difficult to enforce especially because most Southern Sudanese are not sure about their birthdays. He also explained that the fact that in some communities one is considered as an adult immediately after undergoing the respective rites of passage further exacerbates the issue. He expressed confidence that such cases will be dealt with appropriately.


Justice Reec reiterated that no new registration centres can be created in Southern Sudan. He explained that the number and location of the centres was based on the last census statistics. He explained that each registration centre is managed by three officers. He announced, however, that in some centres where the turnout is high, the number of the staff will be increased to enable the people to register with least inconvenience.

 


Some of the people who came from Khartoum at the forum.


The Justice also advised the registered voters to keep their cards carefully. He said that no one will be allowed to vote without the cards. He explained that the cards have serial numbers that facilitate the confirmation of the voters.


On the perceived low turnout of women, Justice Reec said that the commission has confirmed that the turnout is not as low as perceived. He said that in some centres, the turnout was higher than that of men. He cited a case in Western Equatoria where the queue for women was much longer than that of men. He admitted that there are some centres registering low turnout of women but clarified that the phenomenon is not generalizable. Nonetheless, he announced that women groups in Juba will conduct a sensitization campaign from tomorrow. He said similar campaigns will be conducted in other towns and states.


Mr. Paulino Wanawalla Unango, a member of the SSRC who was present during the briefing, appealed to the masses to avoid rumours. He reported that all manner of rumours are currently being peddled left, centre and right. Some of the rumours are that northerners are registering as voters in Khartoum yet they are not eligible to participate in the referendum; that some people are being registered clandestinely in private houses in Khartoum; that there are people bribing potential voters not to register or buying and destroying the voters’ cards; and that ineligible northerners married to ladies from the South are being registered. He asserted that all these rumours are unsubstantiated and are untrue. He said that the commission is ready to receive genuine concerns but not unfounded rumours meant to cause anxiety.


Today’s forum was chaired by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang Deng. The minister, H.E. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has travelled to his rural home to register as a voter there. Also in attendance were some members from the SSRC in Khartoum, members of the Independent High Committee on Media led by Mahjalib Mohamed Salih, members of the SSRB and several local and international journalists.
 

This article was updated on Dec 7, 2010

ICT workshop kicks off in Juba

JUBA, 24 November 2010 – An international two day ICT workshop kicked off yesterday at Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba under the theme, “Connectivity for Communications, Commerce and Governance”.


The event was organized by the Government of Southern Sudan’s Ministry of Communication and Postal Services in collaboration with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), in order to strengthen Southern Sudan capacity in the ICTs and reap the benefits of the modern technology.


The key issues discussed were the needs and priorities of southern Sudan, connectivity as a tool to achieve socio -economic development, potentials of public -private-people’s partnerships, localizing global best practices, practical challenges of setting up rural telecenters, managing frequency to facilitate the growth of VAS and case studies on benefits of ICT-enabled public services.


H.E. Kosti Manibe, the GOSS minister for Cabinet Affairs lauded the role played by the CTO in encouraging Southern Sudan to adopt ICTs especially now as the region approaches the critical time of the referendum which is scheduled for Jan 9th 2011.


He said it is a policy of the GOSS to promote ICT and explained that ICTs can be used to improve the livelihood of the people of Southern Sudan in many ways. He said this is in line with vision of the late hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior of taking towns to the people. He said this would be achieved when the ICT systems are deployed in the rural areas helping the people to get all the services needed there at their locality without having to go into the towns.


He said the gesture by the CTO to select Southern Sudan into CTO executive is important for the country. He assured the CTO of the support of the GOSS President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. He also observed that the organization deserves a certificate of recognition.


H.E Lt Gen Gier Chuang also commended the CTO for making the dream come true by including Southern Sudan in CTO’s five member states executive body. He said that ICT enable easy delivery of services that include e-commerce, e-education, e-government and he added e-sleeping because using alarm is a result of this new technology. He said with ICT many crimes are being managed otherwise things would have gone the other way. He concluded by saying that he appreciates gadgets and commented that ICT is a core and lifeblood of development.


H.E. Madut Biar, the GOSS minister for Communications and Postal Services appreciated the CTO for the encouragement and the advisory roles it has played helping the south to embrace ICTs. He reiterated that it is in GOSS’ policy to connect rural areas with the new technology but due to some challenges pertaining to dispersed geographical settlement patterns and inadequate funding, this goal may not be realized in the short-term.


He also reported that the ICT policy was passed in 2008. He also said that the National Telecom laws were also passed in 2010. The minister also disclosed that Juba ICT Institute has been established. He said that a large number of civil servants is being trained abroad but added that considering the enormous amount of human resource capacity building needed, this number still falls far below expectation. He also reported that GOSS has endorsed e-government and that the ministry is now working on a suitable policy for it.


The workshop is attended by different African Commonwealth countries which are sharing experiences and knowledge on how these experiences can be applicable in Southern Sudan.


Also in attendance were Terso Achero State Minister for ICT in National Government; Elijah Malok Aleng Governor of Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS) and Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah Chief Executive Officer( CTO), among other government and Commonwealth dignitaries.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Dec 29, 2010

Enthusiastic would-be voters in Canada said “Fire the last Bullet through the ballot box”

OTTAWA, 24 November 2010 (GOSS Mission Canada) - Registration for the Southern Sudan Referendum in Canada continued to defy odds over the weekend, as both centres in Toronto and Calgary reported high turn-out and enthusiasm.


Enthusiastic members of the Southern Sudanese communities across the country braved the cold winter weather, driving hundreds of kilometres to register and be part of the whole process, come January 9th, 2011. Some of them said “they want to fire the last bullet or hummer in the last nail into the coffin that bears the name of the old Sudan”.

 


Some of the registered members showing off their registration cards – Toronto, Canada.
 


The Representative of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission in Canada Mr. Gatdeet Thon Wakou, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission’s delegate to the Diaspora in Canada, Dr. Mom Kou Arou, accompanied by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) officials and received by the GoSS Head of Mission to Canada Mr. Joseph Malok, held very fruitful meetings in Calgary, Brooks, and Edmonton to reassure the sceptics that their votes will be safe with the International Organization for Migration, given the fact that those working as registration staff at the centre are 100% Sudanese.


Dr. Arou was able to set the record straight that the result will be announced here in Toronto and Calgary and people in Canada will know what they have voted for before IOM could send two copies of the result simultaneously to Juba and Khartoum. He also said that southern Sudanese in Canada should not worry because four members of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission from the south are permanently stationed in Khartoum in the Commission’s Headquarters to receive the results.


Thus hundreds of southern Sudanese continue to drive to the registration centres to have their names in the voters list as part of history. Some of them drove 12 hours to be registered in Calgary, while in Toronto they come from as far as Winsor, Ottawa and London Ontario an average distance of 450 kilometres or 5 hours driving.

 


Southern Sudanese in Canada proudly display their registration cards.


The emphasis is that when you register, you have an obligation to make sure, you come back to vote from January 9th to January 15th, 2011 because of the 60% turn-out threshold for the result for either of the options to be recognized.


It is worth mentioning that, the registration process in Canada is being monitored by a team of two members from the Carter Centres in both Toronto and Calgary.


The Government of Southern Sudan Mission to Canada will continue to monitor the whole process and takes this opportunity to encourage those who have not yet registered to turn out and register given the historical nature of the referendum, and the fact that it is a “onetime chance”.

 

By Morris Batali, Deputy Head of Mission, GoSS Mission to Canada
Ottawa Liaison Office

This article was updated on Dec 29, 2010

Myths about the referendum registration

JUBA, 25 November 2010 – As registration for the referendum progresses, Dr. Achier Deng Akol, the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) Overseer of Operations, clarified that there are many rumours about the referendum process in general and registration in particular which the people should be aware of. He dismissed the following as unfounded myths that the people should discard:

 

  1. People are being asked to pay some fees before they can register – He explained that no fee is or should be charged for registration. He clarified that the citizens in Jonglei state had voluntarily expressed support for the process by contributing 5 SDG each. He said that this was not a directive of the commission but a voluntary show of solidarity and support for the process. He said that in the interest of clarity, the contribution has been stopped.
  2. You can register here and vote elsewhere – Dr. Achier reiterated that people will vote at the very centres where they have registered. He implored the people to be aware of this. One cannot register in Khartoum or in the Diaspora and then come to vote in Juba or elsewhere.
  3. You can use the election voter’s card for the referendum as well – Dr. Achier explained that voter’s cards used during the last elections will not be used during the referendum. He appealed to eligible voters to register afresh for the referendum. He also appealed to those who have already registered for the referendum to take care of their cards as they will not vote without them.
  4. Women’s turnout is too low – Dr. Achier said that the rumours that women are not registering adequately is unfounded. He admitted that while there may be some centres where the turnout of women is low, there are also others where it has surpassed that of men. However, he appealed to all the people to support each other – male or female; young or old – to participate meaningfully in the referendum.
  5. There are two referendum commissions – Dr. Achier explained that there is only one Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC). He clarified that even the SSRB is just a component of the SSRC which is the national body mandated to conduct the self-determination referendum for Southern Sudan.


Dr. Achier was speaking on the sides of the weekly media forum held at the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba early this week.
 

This article was updated on Dec 29, 2010

“Don’t leave Abyei behind”, pleads Nyankol

JUBA, 25 November 2010 – Nyankol Mathiong Dut, a veteran Southern Sudanese artiste has appealed to the leaders to resolve the pending issues regarding the future of Abyei so that its fate may be known as Southern Sudan prepares for its self-determination referendum.


During an interview with the SSTV facilitated by Mr Atem Yaak Atem, Nyankol asserted that Abyei is part of Southern Sudan. She emphasized that the destiny of the two regions is twinned. Therefore she pleads that Southern Sudan should not leave Abyei behind if it becomes independent after the referendum next year.


Nyankol, whom some admirers call “the Miriam Makeba of Southern Sudan”, has been singing since the mid 1970s and has so far released four albums with a fifth one being on the way. Most of her songs revolve around love, patriotism, peace and culture. In one of her songs, she pledges not to forget Southern Sudan, her motherland. She urges the Southern Sudanese not to forget their roots. Even though she migrated to Canada, she has maintained a remarkable presence in Southern Sudan. Through the song, she is asking the Southern Sudanese in the Diaspora not to forget their motherland and support its development.


The artiste is also appealing to the Southern Sudanese to embrace hard work and produce food for so as to be self-reliant. She reports that she is currently working on establishing a farm in Wau where she will engage in crop and animal husbandry. She says that Southern Sudan is blessed with a good climate and vast natural resources which they should harness for their sustenance. She also runs a rehabilitation project for the street children in Southern Sudan. She appealed to the other Southern Sudanese of means to do likewise.

 


Nyankol (left) and Mr Atem (right) during the interview at the SSTV studios in Juba.


Nyankol has also appealed to the people to maintain peace. Having gone through the trauma of several decades of war, she urges all Southern Sudanese to nurture peace and live in harmony with each other so that the region can catch up with the rest of the world. She also urged the people to discard retrogressive cultural practices such as cattle rustling which jeopardize peaceful coexistence in the society.


She also asked the Southern Sudanese parents to take their children to school. She says that the role of education in modern society cannot be overemphasized. She says she has tried her best to educate all her children some of whom are now practising in the professionals fields such as engineering, laboratory technology and psychiatry. She appealed to the people to nurture family life and asked wives and husbands to show mutual respect and love for each other so that family units can flourish for the benefit of the country.


She appealed to the Southern Sudanese to participate fully during the referendum and to choose wisely knowing that the results of the plebiscite will define their destiny. She said that she is planning to rally together fellow artistes to hold musical concerts countrywide to encourage the people, especially the women, to participate actively in the referendum and maintain peace.


The interview was conducted at the SSTV studios in Juba yesterday afternoon.
 

This article was updated on Jan 2, 2011

HIV/AIDS testing campaign launched

JUBA, 26 November 2010 – The HIV/AIDS Commission of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) yesterday launched a one-week door to door campaign to sensitize people to take HIV/AIDS test in order to know their status and take appropriate steps to protect themselves.


Launching the campaign in Juba yesterday, the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Esterina Novello Nyilok said that so far only 60,000 Southern Sudanese have taken HIV/AIDS tests since 2008. She said that knowing one’s HIV status is important and enables the government and the individual to manage the condition in time and to reduce its effect on the families and society at large.


Dr Novello appealed to all the people to take the test emphasizing that everyone is at risk. She said the prevalence rate of HIV in Southern Sudan is about 3%. She said that the trend needs to be reversed. Dr Novello also appealed to the society to treat HIV positive persons with dignity. “HIV does not discriminate, why do we discriminate the people living positive?” she asked.

 


Dr Novello (centre) and Dr Riek (left) at the launch.


She emphasized that each household should be reached by this campaign which officially kicks off on Monday 29 November to 5 December 2010. She appealed to the peer educators and counsellors to act professionally during the campaign and offer as much support as possible. This campaign will coincide with the celebration of World AIDS Day on 1 December 2010.


On his part, Dr Lul Riek, the Director General for HIV/AIDS at the GOSS Ministry of Health said that it is estimated that about 300,000 Southern Sudanese live with HIV. Sadly, not many of these people know their status. He said the government has upped its efforts in fighting the disease and has established the necessary structures and systems to make this possible.


Dr Riek appealed to all the people to join hands with the government to fight the disease. He said that the government alone cannot win the war. Echoing the counsel of the late hero, Dr John Garang de Mabior, Dr Riek cautioned that HIV/AIDS has the potential to gobble all the progress that Southern Sudan has made in other spheres.

 


Some of the peer educators at the workshop.


Dr Riek also encouraged the people who may have tested positive not to lose hope. He emphasized that HIV is a health condition just like the others and if managed promptly, those infected may live positively and productively for many years.


Dr Novello also appealed to the peer educators to encourage the people to turn out in large numbers and register for the referendum. She specifically appealed to the women whose turnout so far has been below expectation to take the opportunity and make their voices heard through the ballot for the freedom of Southern Sudan.


The two leaders were speaking at the Juba Bridge Hotel when they closed a workshop for the peer educators and counsellors who will conduct the campaign in Central Equatoria State.
 

This article was updated on Jan 2, 2011

President Kiir appoints new top officers

JUBA, 28 November 2010 - The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, has issued five decrees.


In the first decree the President relieves Thomas Dut Gatkek of the post of deputy Chairperson of the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission. The vacant post has immediately been filled by the appointment of Biel Jock Thich, according to the second decree.


The third decree names seven persons to fill vacant posts of Deputy Chairpersons of Government of Southern Sudan Commissions and Independent Institutions as follows: Mohammed Morgan, the Southern Sudan Public Grievances Chamber; Dr Achol Ayom, Southern Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission; Nyang Chol Dhuor, Southern Sudan Demining Authority/Commission; Anthony Ariki, Southern Sudan Local Government Board; Thomas Dut Gatkek, Southern Sudan Civil Service Commission; Ms Silvia Michael Lugor, Southern Sudan Employees’ Justice Chamber; and Ms Yar Paul, Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.


In the fourth decree the President appointed the following advisors for the respective GOSS ministries: Louis Anei, Ministry of Culture and Heritage; Deng Chuol Malang, Ministry of Labour and Public Service; Elias Bulabek Alor Kuol, Ministry of Telecommunication and Postal Services; Ms Javana Luka Kpakasiro, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, and David Nok Marial, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.


The fifth decree appoints Jacob Marial Maker the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport and Roads. All five decrees are effective from Friday, 26th November 2010.


Abraham Garang

 

This article was updated on Jan 2, 2011

President Al-Bashir is for all Sudanese – Dr. Marial

JUBA, 30 November, 2010 – The minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, has called on the National Congress Party (NCP) not to perceive President Omar Al-Bashir as a president of the northern states alone.


Dr. Marial wondered “why others would think the President will work to protect interests of the northerners only”. We have not yet separated and the President Bashir is still our President and should be known to other tribes in the northern Sudan such as the Meseriya that Bashir is not theirs alone with exclusion of the southerners and Dinka Ngok (Abyei people)”, he asserted.


Dr. Marial condemned the recent bombardment of the northern Bahr el Ghazal state in which four SPLA soldiers were wounded and two civilians killed. He blamed some of the people in the north “who do not want the referendum to take place” for the offensive. He urged the authorities to bring these people to book.


He said some steps have been taken in regard to the Abyei referendum process during the recent Addis Ababa meeting between the former South African president Thabo Mbeki, IGAD and the AU representatives. “It was suggested that this would be discussed at the Presidency level that is why H.E. President Salva Kiir was in Khartoum two days ago”, he explained. Dr. Marial said as it is known to many people that Abyei which was transferred to Southern Kordufan in 1905 has a right through the CPA to vote on whether to remain in the north or return back to the south through the referendum. He said any development on the matter will be made known in the next media forum.
Dr. Marial condemned the hatred being preached by the northern media against the south and said that it is discouraging and may cause instability in the country. He said that the southerners have created conducive atmosphere for all parties to campaign for any of the choices they would wish to vote for during the referendum voting process.


The minister also said that the southerners have done a lot with the 50% received from the Government of National Unity (GONU) out of the oil share. He explained that the southerners have achieved tremendous development to improve on its infrastructure and building institutions. “Seeing the unity option as it is not been made attractive, the current public opinion indicates that southerners are likely to vote in favour of the separation but still there is need for stable two countries after the separation that is why there is post-referendum arrangements’ discussion going on these days to prevent any violence after the referendum”, he explained.


Dr. Marial also said that the northern business people and investors should not get worried that there will be war during the voting process. “I want to assure them that there will be no harassment or looting of the property since the GOSS will be in full protection of your lives and property”, he said adding that the GOSS President H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit has always reiterated that there will be no going back to war.


Dr. Marial made these remarks when he addressed the weekly media forum at the ministry. He was accompanied by his Acting Undersecretary Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak, the DG for Southern Sudan Radio and TV, Mr. Arop Bagat and other senior officers in the ministry. The forum was attended by journalists from the private and public media houses in Southern Sudan.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Jan 2, 2011

Communiqué of the 16th Extra-Ordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of States and Government on the Sudan

The IGAD Assembly of Heads of States and Government held its 16th Extra-Ordinary summit in Addis Ababa, on 23rd Nov. 2010, under the Chairmanship of H.E Meles Zenawi, the Prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of IGAD to consider the progress on the Implementation of the CPA in the country. The Assembly also had on its Agenda an update of the situation in Somalia.

 


President Kiir with other leaders at the summit.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]


The Assembly was attended by leaders of the IGAD Countries among them are H.E Mwai Kibaki, the President of Kenya, H.E Yuwere Musevini the President of Uganda, H.E Isamael Omer Guelleh, the President of the Republic of Djibouti , H.E Omer El-Bashir the President of the Republic of Sudan, H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit the First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of southern Sudan. Besides the presence of H.E Thabu Mbeki the Chairperson on the AU High level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Sir Derek Plumbly the Chair person of Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) and others.


The Assembly was addressed by H.E Prime minister of Ethiopia Meles Zinawi, and H.E President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki. The Assembly was also briefed on the implementation of the CPA by the leaders of the two parties H.E Omer El-Bashir of NCP and H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit of SPLM. In addition to that some observations made to the summit on the CPA Implementation by the Deputy Chairperson on of the AU Commission Mr. Erastus Mwencha, H.E Thabu Mbeki and Derek Plumbly.

 


President Kiir (left) with his host President Zenawi of Ethiopia (right).
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]


After extensive deliberations on the progress of the CPA Implementation in the country, the Assembly issued the following Communiqué:

 

  1. Takes note that the summit comes at a critical juncture in the history of Sudan, just less than two months before the Referendum and a few days after the start of registration of voters for the Referendum. This represents a significant milestone in the CPA implementation.
  2. Reiterates commitment of IGAD to support the Sudan during the post Referendum period for the sake of peace, stability and democracy, irrespective of whether the people of southern Sudan choose unity or secession.
  3. Commends the efforts of AUHIP in facilitating the parties agreement on the implementation of outstanding issues in the CPA and post referendum arrangements. The Summit was particularly encouraged by the parties’ commitment in achieving in the event of the secession of southern Sudan, two viable States, living as peaceful and cooperative neighbors that maintain common security as well as a “soft border” between the North and South that forges cooperation without disruption to the livelihood of the people.
  4. Welcomes the decision of the parties to resolve the outstanding issues in particular Abyei and called upon the parties to approach the next round of negotiations with a spirit of compromise cognizant of the need to guarantee the rights and livelihood of the affected people.
  5. Welcomes commitment of the parties to timely and credible conduct of free and fair Referendum and the respect for its outcome; and notes in particular the commitment by the parties to never return to war but instead to seek peaceful resolution of issues that may divide them.
  6. Underlines the progress made towards reaching a Framework Agreement, but at the same time expresses concern over pending issues that continue to threaten the full implementation of the CPA and URGES the parties to expeditiously resolve the remaining differences on the issues of border demarcation, the Abyei Referendum and Post Referendum arrangements.
  7. Recognizes the steps undertaken to finalize the popular consultations in Blue Nile and south Kordufan states and URGES the parties to agree on a practical timeline for completion of the exercise before the end of the CPA Interim period.
  8. Requests the AUHIP to keep IGAD update through its Chairperson on the progress of negotiations including the ongoing discussions between the two parties.
  9. Mandates the Chairperson of IGAD Assembly to present IGAD position to the AU Peace and Security Council (AU- PSC) at its forthcoming session due to be held in Tripoli, Libya and requests the summit to take due note of its recommendations.

 

 


President Bashir and His First Vice President Gen. Kiir and Meles Zenawi leaving the meeting hall.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

 

By Thomas Kenneth – P.P.U, GOSS

 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Registration at Garang’s Mausoleum “sends a clear message”

JUBA, 29 November 2010 (SPLM) – As Southerners in Juba continue to turn up in huge numbers to register for the January 2011 Referendum on self-determination, one centre situated at the Mausoleum of Dr. John Garang continue to draw a large crowd.


The Chairman of the SPLM and President of the GOSS, Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit was among the first people to register at the centre on the first day of registration.

 

Other top-level party members and Government of Southern Sudan ministers have also had their index fingers stained at this Referendum Center. On Friday, the Secretary-General of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) comrade Pag’an Amum, together with Deng Alor and Cirino Hiteng (GOSS Ministers), registered at this center.

 

The choice to register at this particular Referendum Center is, according to Cde. Amum, of deep strategic significance. “The Mausoleum of Dr. John Garang is a very holy site for us. Those who chose to register here want to make and send a clear statement. By registering here at the grave site of our great leader and hero, they confirm their resolve that they will continue the struggle. They also thank him for having struggled and led us up to this point,” Cde. Pag’an Amum told reporters at the site.

 


SPLM SG Amum waits patiently in the queue to register at the Referendum Center


The Referendum Center at the Mausoleum of Dr. John Garang, expected to register 6000 people, is one of the busiest centres in Juba. On Thursday the centre ran out of registration forms, but more registration forms were delivered the next day allowing the centre to resume business as usual.

 

“I walked all the way from Gumba (7 kilometers away) to register here with a promise to Dr. Garang that he did not struggle and die in vain,” said an emotional 64 year-old veteran Thomas Lado after acquiring his card.

 

“With this card, I can peacefully get want we were not able to get by force from the North… our freedom and our land!” he concluded.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

“Referendum process is going on well in the south”, Dr. Marial

JUBA, 30 November, 2010 - H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Government of Southern Sudan Minister for Information today announced that the registration for the referendum is going on well in all the southern ten states.


He said that despite some challenges such as the flood in some areas, long distances to the registration centres especially for women, lack of communication equipment, the turnout has been big in many registration centers in the south. He also said that issue in Lakes state where youth seemed to be running away because of the fear of disarmament was resolved with suspension of the disarmament process to allow them to register and vote for the January referendum.


In the northern states, Dr. Marial said, the turnout is still low because many southerners are in the process of coming back home in the south. He denied allegations by some northern media that GOSS has influenced eligible voters not to turn out and register in the north and is instead repatriating them to the south. Dr. Marial said this has nothing to do with GOSS and explained that it is purely a humanitarian decision by the Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management to repatriate people who have been displaced by the war back to their original places in the south. This, he said, is a voluntary repatriation which will continue beyond the referendum.

 


H.E. Dr. Marial (centre) addresses the journalists accompanied by senior ministry officials led by the Acting Undersecretary, Mr. Mustafa Biong (second left).


Dr. Marial urged the national government to sympathize with the people living in deplorable conditions in the northern capital’s suburbs without permanent housing and make it easy for them to come back to their original homes where they can live dignified lives like their brothers and sisters in the south.


About the registration process in the Diaspora, Dr. Marial reiterated that only eight (8) countries in the Diaspora have voter registration centers. These are the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. He advised the southerners in the Diaspora not to register if they are unlikely to come to the registration centres to vote due to unavoidable factors beyond their control.


About the accusation by the National Congress Party (NCP) that Darfur leaders are being hosted in the south, Dr. Marial said that this is not true. “We in the Government of Southern Sudan are advocating for a peaceful co-existence and there are no reasons to contradict ourselves to encourage instability in the same country we [are] supposed to protect”, he said. “We still have one President, Omer Hassen el Bashir…one national security; so there is no reason to doubt us” said Dr. Marial. He challenged any parties or individuals with doubts to come to the south and confirm that there are no Darfur leaders in the region.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

President Kiir reinstates Maj Gen Dau Aturjong Nyuol

JUBA, 2 December 2010 - The President of the Government of Southern Sudan and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), General Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued two Presidential Orders on Wednesday.


The first of the two orders reinstates Major General Dau Aturjong Nyuol to active service in the SPLA with effect from 1st December 2010.


The second order constitutes a high-level committee to meet Lt General George Athor Deng. The committee comprises Archbishop of Episcopal Church of Sudan Right Rev. Daniel Deng Bul in chair, and membership of Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak, of Wau Catholic Dioceses, Rev Tijwok A Agwet, Goss Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs, Lt Gen Dr Majak D’Agot Atem, Lt Gen Ayuen Alier, and any other member co-opted by the committee.


This order is effective from Tuesday, 30th November 2010, the date of signature.
 

Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Registration for referendum nearing 3m

JUBA, 6 December 2010 – The Deputy Secretary General of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) for the Southern Sector and minister for Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Dr. Anne Itto on Saturday announced that the number of people already registered for the referendum is nearing 3 million.


Addressing journalists during a press conference at the party’s Southern Sector office, Dr. Itto also reiterated that the SPLM/A will not be baited by the provocative actions of the National Congress Party (NCP) hardliners. She cited the case of bombings in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state in the guise of pursuing rebels. She explained that contrary to what the NCP functionaries are saying in public, there seems to be a master-plot to cause insecurity and confusion in the South so as to justify the calls to delay or discard the referendum.


The minister and party official also decried the delay tactics apparently being used by the NCP to derail the referendum process. She cited a case in Switzerland where the NCP sent junior officials to negotiate with the SPLM thus crippling the consensus building process on pending issues such as the economy and natural resources. Dr. Itto also reiterated that the SPLM/A and the Government of Southern Sudan are committed to the full implementation of the CPA which encompasses the conclusive conduct of the referendum.


Dr. Itto also lauded the high turnout of the women to register to participate in the referendum. She said that this high turnout shows how seriously the Southerners take the referendum. She urged those who may have not registered by now to hurry up and beat the new deadline. Dr. Itto also reported that the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission is engaged in discussions with all the concerned parties and institutions to set in motion the pending preparations such as the printing and distribution of ballot papers.


The minister also reiterated that regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the relationship between the North and South will remain cordial. She appealed to the international community to support the process as much as they can and, above all, respect its outcome.


Reported by Emmanuel Dumba Dima

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

School of the blind and deaf to re-open soon

JUBA, 7 December 2010 - The Rajaf School for the Blind and Deaf which closed down during the liberation struggle will open soon. This was announced today by the minister for Gender and Social Welfare in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Agnes Kwaje Lasuba during the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information.


H.E. Lasuba explained that the school is currently being reconstructed and expressed hope that it will begin operations in due course. She reported that even though it has been relatively dormant, the school has produced ten (six male and four female) students who joined and graduated from the University of Juba in the past five years.


The minister also said that the government is working to rehabilitate street children to become productive citizens and also to prevent other children from venturing into the streets. She explained, however, that this problem is deeply rooted in society and cannot be eliminated in a short time. She called on all citizens to lend a hand in ridding the streets of children who should either be in schools or homes.

 


H.E. Agnes Lasuba (left) and H.E. Dr. Marial listen to questions by journalists during the forum.


H.E. Lasuba urged both men and women to shun domestic violence. She admitted that even though most of the victims of domestic violence are women, some men are also now falling victim of the vice. She reported that the ministry has teamed up with the police and established focal points in the police stations to assist the victims promptly.


She also decried incidents of child abduction which, she explained, is being done by some Southerners and foreigners. She reported that some of the abductees end up in slavery, forced marriages or as part of child soldiers in rebel movements such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). She said that the girl-child is more at risk and urged communities to protect them.


The minister urged the media and other development partners to help publicize gender and child welfare issues. She also announced that the Child Rights Act is in force and appealed to the leaders and media to disseminate it widely so that the populace can be aware of its provisions and use it to protect the rights of children. She reported that the Gender Policy Framework is still before the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) and expressed hope that it will be enacted in due course.

 


Some of the journalists and ministry officers who attended today's forum.


The minister, who was accompanied by her advisor and other technocrats from the ministry also reported that the ministry is currently implementing a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) project targeting economic empowerment of women; construction of the ministry offices; as well as institutional development.


H.E. Lasuba explained that the ministry began from scratch recently but has managed to put up institutional structures and achieved part of its mission and vision. She called on all citizens to be aware of the gender and specialized needs in the society and respond to them appropriately. She also reported that she is happy with the turnout of women to register for the referendum and urged them to keep the momentum. She also encouraged them to ensure that they don’t just register but also vote in the forthcoming referendum.


The forum was chaired by the GOSS minister for Information, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin who also called on all citizens who may have not registered to take part in the referendum to do so between today and tomorrow when the deadline lapses. It was also attended by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang Deng and other top officers.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Egyptian trade fair opens in Juba

JUBA, 8 December 2010 – The first Egyptian international trade fair and exhibition in Southern Sudan opened this morning at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba.


According to H.E. Stephen Dhieu Dau, the minister for Commerce and Industry in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), the trade fair is aimed at strengthening trade relations between Southern Sudan and Egypt.


H.E. Dhieu also explained that the event is also aimed at promoting economic development by encouraging the international investors; establishing bilateral trade relations between the two countries; promoting the local and international products and availing the investment opportunities in Southern Sudan; and promoting the cooperation between the private and public sectors in the two countries.

 


H.E. Dr. Marial (second right) cuts the tape to officially open the expo accompanied by H.E. Dhieu (second left) and the Egyptian officials.


“The Egyptian people and the Southern Sudanese share economic interests, common challenges and opportunities based on their close geographical and strong historical ties”, H.E. Dhieu said. The minister also recognized the fact that the Egyptians respect the CPA and expressed confidence that the current cordial bilateral relations between the two countries will remain in the post-referendum period regardless of the outcome of the plebiscite.


“Egypt is an industrialized country whose experience we can learn from to enable us to exploit the full potential of our natural resources and boost our economic development”, said the minister.


Dubbed “Egypt in Juba”, the exhibition showcases various Egyptian products ranging from textiles, electronics, carpets, industrial goods, and foodstuff, among other products.


The trade fair and exhibition which has been organized by the Egyptian Consul General in Juba in coordination with the GOSS Ministry of Commerce and Industry, was officially opened by H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information who was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony. It was also attended by H.E. Awut Deng Acuil, the GOSS minister for Labour and Public Service; H.E. Jema Nunu Kumba, the GOSS minister for Housing and Physical Planning; H.E. Kuol Manyang, the Governor of Jonglei State; and other top government officers.

 


H.E. Jema Nunu Kumba (right) admiring one of the products at the expo.

 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Bahr el Ghazal is attacked by aerial bombardment again

JUBA, 9 December 2010 - Around three in the afternoon Sudan time on Wednesday the 8th December, 2010 a military plane dropped 18 air bombs on an area between Raja and Timsaha in Western Bahr el Ghazal State. No casualties were reported.


In press statements, the spokesperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Col. Philip Aguer Panyang said that it has become a habit of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) to drop air bombs on the Southern Sudan territory of Bahr el Ghazal. He described the act as malicious provocations meant to derail the peace process in the country as the people of the region prepare for the referendum in January 2011 to choose their future Status.


“It is not a surprise that SAF has no concern about the safety of the innocent civil population because it has been working for the interest of the minority ruling clique in the country”, said the SPLA spokesperson.


He added that through SAF, the enemies of peace in the North want to create an imaginary foe in order to rally the people behind them against the interest of the people of Southern Sudan. He said that the SPLA will remain level-headed to maintain peace and stability in the region.


“The SPLA would like to draw the attention of the people of Sudan and the International Community to the persistent provocations by the Sudan Army. The SPLA will not drag the nation back to war but it will continue working for peace”, he said. Col. Panyang appealed to the Sudanese people in the North and South to maintain good relationship and embrace the spirit of peace stability regardless of the outcome of the referendum on the self determination for the people of Southern Sudan.


By Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

“No Darfur rebels are in Juba”, reiterates Dr. Marial

JUBA, 9 December 2010 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has once more denied that there are Darfur rebels in Juba or any other area in its territory.


Addressing the press after a briefing meeting with the accredited consulates in Juba, the GOSS minister for Information who is also its official spokesperson, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin asserted that GOSS is part of the central government and is party to the search for lasting peace in Darfur.


“We are part of the national government in Khartoum and we support the peace process in Darfur”, he emphasized.


Dr. Marial also informed the diplomats that consultations are ongoing at all levels of government to clear the air on the issue. He reported that his counterpart in the Government of National Unity (GONU) may come to Juba in due course to enable them to join efforts in clarifying the issue.

 


H.E. Dr. Marial addresses the media after the meeting. He is accompanied by the undersecretary of the Ministry of Information Mr. George Garang Deng (second left); the SPLA spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer (right) and the undersecrtary for Regional Cooperation (left).


The minister also informed the diplomats on the progress of the just-concluded registration process. He said GOSS is satisfied with the progress and congratulates the people of Southern Sudan for conducting themselves with decorum during the process. He expressed confidence that similar conduct will be exhibited during the voting exercise for the referendum.


Dr. Marial also condemned the recent bombing of areas of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. He said though no casualties have been reported so far, property of unknown value has been destroyed. Similarly, several families have been displaced.


“The bombings disrupt our people and turn them into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) again”, he explained adding that the incidents are a major threat to peace which is necessary at this critical time. He also asserted that the bombings are a violation of the spirit of peace enshrined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).


The minister was accompanied by his Undersecretary Mr. George Garang Deng; the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Regional Cooperation; and the SPLA spokesperson, Col Philip Aguer.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Brief from the Council of Ministers

JUBA, 11 December 2010 - In the weekly meeting on Friday, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, briefed the Council of Ministers on the security situation in Northern and Western Bahr El Ghazal states. Recently the two areas were targets of aerial attacks attributed to elements of the Sudan Armed Forces. President Kiir said three persons were killed and fifteen other injured in the attacks.

 

These acts of aggression compelled the Government of Southern Sudan to cancel the holding of the twenty-second National Interschool sports and cultural tournaments concurrently in Kwajok, Warrap State; Aweil, Northern Bahr El Ghazal; and Wau, Western Bahr El Ghazal State; to safeguard precious lives, President Kiir explained. He said no student from Southern Sudan would be sent to Khartoum, the new venue, for the tournaments. According to President Kiir, there are no Darfur rebel groups or elements in Southern Sudan. He was forthright in dismissing all such allegations as utterly false and baseless.

 

The Council then discussed performance of Government institutions. Later the Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the Council discussed a memorandum presented by the Minister of Labour and Public Service, H.E. Awut Deng Acuil, on recruiting workforce and experts in different fields from East African countries. These experts are to train and build the capacity of indigenous employees of the Government of Southern Sudan. The Minister also confirmed that the Council duly endorsed a memorandum of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on food security. The basic principle is pile up strategic food reserve, he said.

 

Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Breakdown of registered referendum voters

JUBA, 14 December 2010 – The Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) today released the breakdown of the number of registered voters for the forthcoming referendum.


The chairperson of the SSRB, Justice Chan Reec Madut announced that 3,275,577 people, constituting 96 percent of the eligible voters, have registered in Southern Sudan. He also announced that in Northern Sudan, 116,890 people (43.1 percent of the eligible voters) have registered.

 


Justice Reec (centre) and Mr. Garang (on his right) accompanied by other top SSRB and Ministry of Information officers follow the proceedings of the media forum.


Justice Reec also announced that 58,089 people have registered in the Diaspora. Of these 9,431 have registered in Australia; 2,294 in Canada; 2,985 in Egypt; 7,370 in Ethiopia; 15,021 in Kenya; 13,291 in Uganda; while 654 have registered in the United Kingdom.


Justice Reec also confirmed that registration exercise is still ongoing in Egypt until 18th December 2010. Similarly, the process is still open in the USA until 22nd December 2010.


The SSRB chairperson made these announcements today when he addressed the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba. The meeting was chaired by the Undersecretary of the ministry, Mr. George Garang Deng.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Printing of ballot papers has begun

JUBA, 14 December 2010 – The printing of ballot papers to be used during the self-determination referendum in Southern Sudan has commenced.


According to the chairperson of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB), Justice Chan Reec Madut, the printing is progressing well and about 4million papers have already been printed. He also reported that the papers are expected in Juba by 21st December 2010.


Justice Reec explained that the referendum process is progressing well generally in spite of several challenges. He identified inadequate funding, inaccessibility of some areas, as well as insecurity in some counties, as the major challenges the SSRB is facing.


The SSRB leader also announced that the bureau launched a data centre yesterday. He explained that the data centre will operate 24 hours to ensure that information relating to the referendum process is computed, processed, stored and disseminated promptly and appropriately.

 


SSRB's Ms Beatrice Wani (raising paper) stresses a point during the media forum.


Justice Reec clarified that the decision to register eligible prisoners to vote during the referendum was made by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) and was meant to enable the prisoners to exercise their right to determine their future. He explained that necessary safeguards were also instituted to ensure that the numbers are not doctored.


Ms Beatrice Wani, a member of the SSRB, emphasized that civic education is ongoing. She announced that training of trainers (ToT) is currently being conducted for peer trainers here in Juba. She said that these peer trainers will be dispatched to all the states and counties to educate the voters on the basic processes such as marking of the ballot papers and the symbols. She also clarified that the ink to be used during the process to mark the ballots is of a kind that dries fast and will not smudge or spoil the ballots.


Another member of the SSRB, Ms Warida Jeremiah also reiterated that with the operational data centre, the preliminary registers will be released on time.


The SSRB officials were addressing members of the press at the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information. It was chaired by the Undersecretary of the ministry, Mr. George Garang Deng. Journalists from various media institutions attended.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

SRS launches FM station in Juba

JUBA, 15 December 2010 – The Sudan Radio Service (SRS) yesterday launched a new FM radio station in Juba.


Talking during the launch, the minister for Information in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said that the opening of the new station was a manifestation of the commitment of the government to liberalize the airwaves.

 


Dr. Marial addressing guests at the the launch of the 98.6 SRS FM.


Dr. Marial also reiterated that the GOSS guarantees freedom of the press and is working with the sector stakeholders to develop relevant legislation to underpin these freedoms. He reported that the media bill is currently being fine-tuned and expressed confidence that it will be enacted soon.


The minister underscored the role of the mass media in facilitating development and democracy. He singled out radio as a valuable medium of communication in oral societies such as Southern Sudan. “Radio is a powerful communication tool in a society such as ours and should be used responsibly”, he said. He congratulated the SRS and its benefactors for launching the station which will broadcast on 98.6 FM and will cover most of Equatoria. He appealed to them to enhance their effort to reach the whole of Southern Sudan and beyond.


He urged the media to collaborate with all the stakeholders in facilitating the referendum process. Particularly, he called on the media to offer civic education to empower the power of Southern Sudan to choose appropriately during the referendum. At the same time, he reiterated the position of GOSS that the referendum will proceed as scheduled and appealed to the international community to respect its outcome. “Let the choice of the people of Southern Sudan be respected; not anything more, not anything less”, he emphasized.

 


Madam Rebecca Okwaci talking at the function.


Addressing the same event, the US consul general in Juba, H.E. Barrie Walkley recalled how he first recognized the value of radio when he served as an English teacher in Somalia in 1967. He emphasized that with the low levels of literacy, radio has been the medium of choice in most countries in Africa. He also said that due to its intrinsic potential, radio has also been targeted by most governments for censorship. He commended GOSS for freeing the airwaves.


Ms Nancy Lindborg, the USAID Assistant Administrator said that her organization has been supporting the SRS and radio communication in Sudan because of its power to break news, entertain, democratize, build peace, stimulate community development, and unify.


Madam Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, the Undersecretary of the GOSS Ministry of Labour and Public Service who is also a veteran radio broadcaster and member of the SRS Advisory Board asserted that SRS has changed lives through its broadcasts. She said that this has been achieved because of its use of Southern Sudan languages in addition to simple Arabic; unique programming which is attractive to the people; highly professional staff producing quality programs; as well as dedicated leadership and management.

 


Some of the guests at the function.


SRS is a project of the Education Development Centre (EDC) with support from the USAID. It has been broadcasting all over Sudan on shortwave since 30 July 2003. The new FM station covers major towns in Central Equatoria and parts of Eastern and Western Equatoria states. Programs include detailed news, civic education, health, agriculture, business and economic issues.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

“Be vigilant”, Internal Affairs minister directs security organs

JUBA, 15 December 2010 - The Minister of Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Gier Chuang Aluong, had directed all security organs in the region to work assiduously to maintain security and stability in order to protect lives and property.


Addressing the graduation of the first batch of the Southern Sudan Police Service recruits at the Unified Police Training Centre at Rejaf West on Tuesday, H.E. Aluong underlined the important role of the police in realizing socio-political development. He enticed the members of the general public to cooperate with the police in order to nip crime in the bud, and emphasized the importance of respecting law and order for a successful and stable society.


He reminded every citizen of the dire need for unity of Southern Sudanese at this crucial stage as we stand at the threshold of the referendum to determine our destiny. H.E. Aluong asked the international community to continue to support the Southern Sudan Police Service to develop into a professional force in readiness for the referendum and beyond.


The Commissioner of the Southern Sudan Police Service, General Acuil Tito Madut, elaborated on the achievements of the Service in the last five years, and the ability of the graduating batch to secure the referendum exercise. He complimented members of the Service for successfully securing the conduct of the elections in April 2010.


Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Hope of improved security as 5,570 police pass out

JUBA, 15 December 2010 - The first and largest batch of five thousand, five hundred and seventy recruits of the Southern Sudan Police Service passed out yesterday after intensive training at Dr John Garang De Mabior Unified Police Training Centre at Rejaf West.


Addressing the function, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, cautioned the police to be extra vigilant in maintaining security for the people and the referendum. He reminded them of their obligation to detect and prevent crime, but not to be a part of any gangster groups operating outside the law.


He directed the police to get rid of what is called Niggers groups where ever they may be found in Southern Sudan. President Kiir sternly warned the police against taking bribes, something that tarnishes any good image, and promised to mete out heavy penalty on those who engage in the practice.


According to the President, the region is at a critical stage in its history and spoke out against activities of those who sell and buy voter registration cards in a bid to derail the referendum process. Anybody caught in the act ought to be arrested and dealt with according to the law, he said. President Kiir commended the leadership of the Southern Sudan Police Service on the job well done. He utilized the occasion to announce the promotions of the Commissioner of the Southern Sudan Police Service, Lt General Acuil Tito Madut to the rank of General, the Director-General of the Southern Sudan Prison Service, Lt General Abel Makoi to the rank of General and of the Director-General of the Southern Sudan Fire Brigade Service, Lt General Aro Man Mayen also to the rank of General.


In related development, the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for Dr John Garang de Mabior Unified Police Training Centre at Rejaf West. This coincided with the graduation of the first and largest batch of police recruits drawn from university graduates and secondary school leavers. President Kiir also inaugurated a health centre and a mess of the Southern Sudan Police Service at the Training Centre at Rejaf.
 

by Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

World Bank praises GOSS’s improved project implementation capacity

JUBA, 16 December 2010 – The Word Bank office in Juba has commended the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) for its improved project implementation capacity over the past one year.


“There has been an unprecedented level of spending amounting to 190 million dollars this year in part because government institutions are now maturing and stronger essential systems have been developed to surge project implementation”, said the World Bank Southern Sudan Program Manager, Dr. Laurence Clark.


Dr. Clark also explained that most of the projects GOSS has been implementing are supported by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) which is administered by the World Bank. He also explained that among the accomplishments of the MDTF is the rehabilitation of over 510km of roads linking Juba to state capitals; sinking of 597 new boreholes and rehabilitation of 528 old ones; supply of pharmaceuticals to 200 health facilities and distribution of one million bed nets to children and pregnant women across Southern Sudan through the Ministry of Health; training of 1,220 public servants; drafting of laws and development policies; rehabilitation of GOSS office buildings, Juba Teaching Hospital and vocational training centres in Juba, Wau and Malakal; demobilization and reintegration of 2,300 former soldiers.

 


Dr. Clark (right) addresses the media accompanied by the bank's Communication Specialist, Mr. Albino Okeny (left)


Dr. Clark also explained that in the education sector, the MDTF has funded the construction of 25 primary schools and ten County Education Centres in different locations in Southern Sudan. He also added that 300 teachers have also been trained in school management while 917 teachers have also trained in English under the same program. The MDTF, Dr. Clark said, has also recruited 1,228 teachers and 30 trainers besides supplying 127,000 Primary Education Teachers’ Guides and 3,647 text books. In the agricultural sector, the fund has supplied 12 mobile veterinary clinics and disbursed USD 1.9 to 24,800 farming groups to improve food production.


Dr. Clark made these remarks when he addressed the media at the World Bank offices in Juba this morning.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Sudan to reinforce sharia after south vote: Bashir

KHARTOUM, 19 December 2010 (AFP) – President Omar al-Bashir said on Sunday that northern Sudan will reinforce its Islamic laws after a January referendum which is expected to grant independence to the south.


"If south Sudan secedes, we'll change the constitution. There will be no question of cultural or ethnic diversity. Sharia will be the only source of the constitution, and Arabic the only official language," he said in a speech on national television.


Southerners are set to vote in a referendum on January 9 on whether to remain united with the north or break away and form their own country. The vote is a key plank of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south that put an end to more than two decades of civil war. Analysts are predicting that the southerners will opt for independence, and senior officials in Khartoum are even beginning to accept the idea of the split.


An aide to Bashir admitted on Thursday that south Sudan would probably choose secession because efforts aimed at promoting unity had failed. "Despite our work for unity, we should not deceive ourselves or cling to dreams. We should rely on the facts on the ground," the official SUNA news agency quoted Nafie Ali Nafie as saying. "After the secession of the south, we could see the north radicalise and the creation of a Muslim caliphate," one foreign official said on condition of anonymity.


After the civil war, Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) and the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed on an interim constitution valid until July 2011. The constitution recognises the "multi-ethnic," "multi-cultural" and "multi-faith" status of the Sudanese state, and is based on both sharia, or Islamic law, and the "consensus" of the population. It also recognises Arabic and English as the two official languages of Africa's largest country, which was formerly under British and Egyptian rule.

 


President Bashir during a previous visit to Juba


Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague on Sunday put Sudan and Lebanon into the same bracket as potential areas of renewed conflict in the Arab world. They were the "two areas in January that are most obvious at this stage to watch for a political crisis or an outbreak of violence," Hague told Britain's Sky News television. "So across the international community we must be ready to do everything we can to assist with those countries," he said in reference to Sudan's referendum and a UN-backed investigation into ex-Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's murder.


Bashir, meanwhile, in a speech punctuated by religious references, defended the way the authorities have dealt with the case of a young woman whose whipping by police appeared in a YouTube video. A police spokesman said last Tuesday that 46 women and six men had been arrested for holding an illegal demonstration after the video was made public.


"There are people who say they feel ashamed about this sentence. They should review their interpretation of Islam because sharia has always stipulated that one must whip, cut, or kill," said Bashir.


Under Sudan's 1991 penal code - which came into force two years after the coup that brought Bashir to power - people can be whipped if found guilty of "indecent" behaviour. Several activists have sought to challenge the legality of the code under the constitution, saying it violated articles of the interim law.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

GOSS SG justifies expansion of the cabinet

JUBA, 21 December 2010 – The Secretary General (SG) of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Mr. Abdon Agaw Jok Nhial, today explained that the expansion of the cabinet was necessitated by the need to hasten service delivery in specific areas.


Mr Agaw, who was addressing the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information, also explained that the expansion of the cabinet has already yielded remarkable benefits for the people of Southern Sudan in terms of quality and speed of services.


While admitting that there are still challenges, Mr Agaw reported that the government has established the requisite institutions and structures that has enabled it to offer services to the people. He explained that the major challenge the civil service still faces is lack of qualified personnel. He clarified, however, that capacity building efforts by the government, backed by development partners and neighbours, has borne fruit as the number of qualified indigenous Southern Sudanese continues to rise.

 


Mr Agaw addresses the media


The SG also underlined the fact that GOSS has performed outstandingly in spite of the fact that it began from scratch just over five years ago. He said that the government initially focused on rehabilitating or building new facilities which including offices. He reported that the government is now focusing on implementing long-term development projects.


He said that the good performance registered by GOSS since its inception demonstrates that Southern Sudan is capable of running its affairs. The SG admitted that there are several issues that still need to be addressed. However, he explained that there is no government, even in the developed world, which can or has provided all the needs of the citizens perfectly (100%).


Mr Agaw appealed to the international community to judge GOSS within its context as being in charge of a region just emerging from several years of civil war. “We have weathered these challenges and we are sure to overcome more”, he asserted.

 


Mr Agaw (centre) accompanied by H.E. Dr. Marial (right) and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang (left) stresses a point.


The SG also reiterated that Southern Sudan is keen on maintaining cordial relationship with its neighbours. He explained that citizens of other countries are free to conduct business or work in Southern Sudan as long as they abide by the laws of the land. He said that no community or individual should feel discriminated. Specifically, he assured the Ugandan community in Southern Sudan that they are not being targeted for harassment. He reiterated that the government is committed to offering security to all the people in its territory.


On the rising commodity prices in Juba, the SG explained that the GOSS Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as the Local Government Authority of Central Equatoria are working on resolving the high price issue. He emphasized, however, that prices will only be stable once Southern Sudan begins to produce basic commodities.


Mr. Agaw also explained that the government is working to repatriate and resettle the returnees from the North and other countries. He explained that the process is delicate and expensive but assured that the government is committed to accomplish it.

 


The GOSS minister for Information, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin who chaired the session reiterated that GOSS began from zero but has achieved a lot in the interim period. He explained that unlike most of its neighbours, GOSS did not inherit any structures or resources. He expressed confidence that the pace of development will now be faster given that most systems are now in place. He also wished all the people of Southern Sudan a merry Christmas.

 

The media forum was also attended by top officers at the Ministry of Information led by the Undersecretary Mr. George Garang Deng and the Advisor to the Minister, Mr. David Nok Marial. Journalists from local and international media institutions attended.
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

UN delivers ballot for referendum

The United Nations has delivered ballots for more than 4 million voters in Southern Sudan for next month's independence referendum, culminating a six-year peace process that ended two decades of civil war between the north and south. Each ballot carries two pictures: one hand, signifying independence, and two hands, standing for unity.

 

Bad weather in Europe threatened to delay delivery of the ballots, printed in the United Kingdom, for the Jan 9-15 vote, but they arrived on schedule in Juba, Southern Sudan's capital, last week and were handed over to local referendum authorities by the UN Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division (UNIRED), formed jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

 

"We are very pleased that UNDP has been able to deliver such a major component of the referendum on schedule, especially given the compressed time frame for delivery and logistical challenges," UNDP Deputy Head in Southern Sudan George Conway said.

 

Ballots were also delivered in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, for southerners living in the north.

 

"Just a few months ago, not many would have predicted that we would be standing here today handing over the referendum polling material," UNIRED Director Denis Kadima said. "We are here not only to symbolically hand over the ballots and other materials, but to acknowledge the magnitude of work that you and the members and staff of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission have accomplished."

 

Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau chairman Chan Reec Madut thanked international donors who gave USD 58 million to a UN fund to finance the referendum and hailed the logistical support and technical advice provided by the UN and other international partners.

 

In addition to the procurement of ballots, UNDP has helped set up 3,000 polling stations and register millions of voters in Sudan and eight other countries.

 

UNIRED Deputy Director Eamon O'Mordha hailed the recent completion of registration as "a tremendous achievement" and congratulated the Southern authorities for its successful implementation despite the extremely tight time line.

 

"The most important group in the referendum process are the voters themselves, and it is with the ballot papers where the voters make their own individual choice," he said. "I am happy to say that all the materials and plans are in place to meet the goal of a timely start to the referendum."

 

With UNDP assistance, two independent domestic observers will be placed at each polling station to monitor voting and counting in the week-long referendum. To improve security the agency has helped train 20,000 police officers. More than 10,000 polling station officers are currently enrolled in training programmes on managing the referendum centres and conducting a transparent and efficient voting process.

 

UNDP has also helped to set up data centres where the votes will be counted, and will provide satellite telephones to convey results to data centres from remote referendum stations, which lack other means of communication. 
 

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

Bashir promises to help Sudan's independent south

KHARTOUM, 28 December 2010 (AFP) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir pledged on Tuesday to help build a secure, stable and brotherly state in the south if it votes for independence in a referendum less than two weeks away.


"We will not deny our southern brothers their decision, and we will help them to build their state, because we want a secure and stable state ... if there are troubles, these troubles will come to us," Bashir said in a live speech on state television.


Speaking to thousands of supporters in Gezira state, Sudan's bread basket southeast of Khartoum, Bashir said he would be "the first to recognise the south" if it chooses secession in a free and fair vote on January 9.


"The ball is in your court and the decision is yours. If you say unity, welcome. And if you say secession, also welcome, and welcome to a new brotherly state."


"We are going to cooperate and integrate in all areas because what is between us is more than what is between any other countries."


More than 3.5 million southerners are registered to participate in the referendum, which will give them the chance to vote on whether to remain united with the north or secede. The vote, a key plank of the 2005 north-south peace deal that ended the devastating 22-year civil war in which killed some two million people, is widely expected to endorse southern independence.


Pagan Amum, secretary general of the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), welcomed Bashir's comments. "This is the positive outlook we are calling for ... This is precisely what we are saying," he told reporters in Khartoum. "We are calling on the people of northern Sudan to be in solidarity with the people of southern Sudan as they begin to build their own independent state."


"They need their solidarity, while the people of southern Sudan need to give solidarity to the people of the north as they begin a new journey of building a new state in what remains after the separation of the south."


Since July, Khartoum and Juba have been unsuccessfully discussing the key post-referendum sticking points, including future citizenship arrangements, the sharing out of natural resources -- especially oil -- security and compliance with international accords.


Negotiations are also deadlocked on two outstanding issues that Bashir's ruling National Congress Party and the SPLM have been seeking to resolve, namely the future of the disputed Abyei region and demarcation of the north-south border. Amum said the two parties had agreed to prioritise certain issues that should be finalised before the referendum and other issue that will be discussed afterwards, without elaborating which. Tensions have flared between the north and the south in recent months, with the United Nations confirming on December 13 that Sudanese warplanes had raided a border area of south Sudan.


A committee was set up under the 2005 peace deal to demarcate the boundary between the Muslim north and mostly Christian south along the border that existed when Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. But around 20 percent of the border has yet to be agreed on, with the two sides disputing at least five points along it.


Amum said on Tuesday that the border disagreements might be referred to international arbitration if they were not overcome in the next few months. "The border demarcation did got go as we had both expected. The commission looked at the disputed areas technically and they disagree, so we need to look at them politically."

"If we cannot reach agreement then... maybe arbitration will be required." But Arab League chief Amr Mussa said on Tuesday he saw no indication that north and south Sudan would return to war.
"I don't see any indication that the parties have the willingness to go back to war," he said in Khartoum. "What is going on between them is far away from war. There is a political good will." Mussa was speaking at the start of a two-day visit to Sudan that will also take him to the south.


"I will discuss post-referendum issues in Khartoum and Juba and how to save a good relationship between the north and the south," he said, adding that the future of that relationship would have an impact on the region.


by Simon Martelli

This article was updated on Jan 4, 2011

The journey reawakened – Bor and Ayod 1983

On 16 May 1983, battalion 105 which was deployed in Bor and led by Major Kuanyin Bol disobeyed President Nimeiry’s transfer orders. Battalion 104 under Major William Nyuon followed suit. The two battalions mutinied, deserted the government forces and fled into the bush. During the mutinies, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, then a colonel in the army, was on holiday in Bor. He supported the mutineers, especially Major Kuanyin who had been wounded in the battle. He later joined them in the bush to continue the liberation war now as Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).


The new movement and army settled in Ethiopia in a place called Bilpam. They were joined by the former Anyanya Two forces led by the then Captains Oyay Deng Ajak and John Kulang Puot as well as the former members of the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) led by the then Major Nyacigak Ngaciluk and Captain Pagan Amum.


In Bahr el Ghazal Anyanya Two forces under Paul Malong Awan, Anthony Bol Madut and Miakol Deng Kuol merged with the SPLA. Similarly, James Wani Igga joined with recruits from Equatoria; Yusif Kuwa from the Nuba Mountains; while Malik Agar came from Blue Nile. Thousands of peasant youth, students, politicians, civil servants, policemen and army officers trekked to Ethiopia and joined SPLM/A.



Some of the SPLM/A leaders (from left to right) Nyuon, Dr. Garang, Kiir and Kuol
[Photo: New Sudan Vision]


With these new reinforcement, the SPLM/A became a formidable force which waged a gallant war and captured one town after another and annihilated any approaching government forces. Between 1990 and 1991, the first phase of Bright Star Campaign, commanded by the C-in-C himself and deputized by Commander Kuol Manyang Juk launched a devastating attack in the eastern bank of the Nile capturing Kapoeta, Torit, Chukudum, Nimule, Ikotos, Waat, Mongala, Gemeiza and Bor. The second phase went to the western bank and captured Kajo Keji, Kaya, Yei, Morobo, Bazi, Kagulu, Yambio, Maridi, Toumbura, Nzara, Izo and Sersibo. By early 1991, the SPLA had captured virtually all major towns in Southern Sudan confining the government to the garrison towns of Juba, Malakal and Wau.


In spite of the exploits, the SPLM/A was weakened by the defection of some of its top members including Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin. Consequently, it lost Nasir, Akobo, Waat, Pibor, Ayod, Fanjak, Bor, Kapoeta, Torit, Magwi, Parajok, Mongala, Gemeiza, Melut, Maban, Yirol, Bailiet, Kaya, Kajo Keji, Morobo, Bazi, Kagulu and Pageri.


In 1992, the SPLA regrouped under Operation Jungle Storm (OJS), besieged Juba in 1993 and captured the Juba Bridge and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) general headquarters but was repulsed by the SAF with the help of local militias. In 1995, the SPLA regrouped and regained Owinykibul, Aswa, Pageri, Magwi, Ame and Opari. In 1997, the Operation Deng Nhial (ODN) captured Rumbek, Yirol, Tali, Tonj and Tindilo. In 2002, Operation Nyacigak Ngaciluk (ONN) was formed leading to the capture of Torit, Kapoeta and Lafon.


Additional information obtained from the SPLA Website

This article was updated on Jan 5, 2011

President Kiir's Christmas and new year message

Fellow citizens,
At this Christmas Eve, I would like to wish you and your families a happy festive season. This Christmas is very special in many ways to the people of the Sudan and to Southern Sudanese in particular. In about two weeks time, our country will experience a significant event in its history. On January 9th, 2011, over three and half million people of Southern Sudan throughout the country and worldwide who registered will express their wish in a vote to choose either to maintain the unity of the country or opt to become a new entity. Therefore, the destiny of this nation will be decided in the forthcoming referendum exercise which our people have been yearning for many years.


Distinguished countrymen and women,
I urge you all to spend this Christmas season with your families and friends in a tranquil manner. Remember that the greatest wish of every Southern Sudanese is to wake up in that morning of January 9th, 2011 to fulfill the dream of our forefathers in the casting of that ballot which will determine the future of the coming generations. Moreover this historic exercise is a hard-won gain whose ultimate price has been the blood of our martyrs. It is therefore incumbent upon us all to honor our heroes and heroines in the referendum vote as a significant testimony that they did not die in vain.


I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my very best wishes to our President, Field Marshal Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and the National Congress Party (NCP), our partners in peace and the Sudanese people. On behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the government and people of Southern Sudan and on my own behalf, I wish to sincerely acknowledge the role our President and the NCP have played in order for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to be signed. That brave move will forever be remembered by peace loving Sudanese and particularly Southern Sudanese who will be voting on January 9th, 2011. This is a historic credit to President Bashir and the NCP and I further urge him to continue working hand in hand with us to consolidate peace and prosperity for all irrespective of what the referendum holds in store for Sudan.


Finally, I wish you all a Peaceful Christmas Festival, a Prosperous New Year 2011 and a Peaceful Referendum on January 9th, 2011.


Thank you!

 

This article was updated on Jan 5, 2011

“You are free to wear your own choice of clothes”, assures Internal Affairs minister

JUBA, 30 December 2010 – The minister for Internal Affairs, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Lt. Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong has asserted that Southern Sudan is a “sharia free zone” in which anyone can wear clothes of his/her own choice.


This assurance came as a result of some incident of harassment of ladies on Christmas day citing the dress code. Gen. Gier explained that this was an isolated case that is condemned by the government and that proper investigations are ongoing to nab the perpetrators. He said some time there are mistakes committed by people during their official duties that are always referred to as human mistakes but if this one is found to have a different motive behind it, it shall be punished.


He decried the phenomenon in which seemingly small issues are always dramatized by the enemies of south to show that GOSS is failing. Gen. Gier assured the public that security situation in the south during the referendum shall be better than during the past elections. He also reported that security has been calm over the Christmas season.


“The police forces that have been deployed everywhere in the south are not meant to threaten lives of the people but to safeguard and secure the referendum process”, he explained.


H.E. Dr. Marial, the GOSS minister for Information reiterated that the referendum will be peaceful and that there is no reason for the foreigners and northern Sudanese businesspersons to fear.


While answering a question about the idle youth spending precious time playing dice and other games, H.E. Gier said government policies on idleness may be enacted after the referendum to correct those who have developed dependence syndrome. He said that the recent rise of market prices have been discussed in a meeting by the Council of Ministers and may be resolved in due course.


H.E Dr. Marial encouraged the independent media and assured them that they will fully participate in the coverage of the referendum using available means that will allow them to access and disseminate information.


The two ministers were addressing the press during a media forum at the Ministry of Information headquarters yesterday. Dr. Marial informed the press that the next media forum will be addressed by the Chairperson of Anti-Corruption Commission, H.E. Dr Pauline Riak.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Jan 5, 2011

GOSS minister appreciates President Bashir’s comment on possible independence of the South

JUBA, 30 December 2010 – The minister for Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin Bil, in his capacity as the official GOSS spokesperson yesterday lauded President Omar Al-Bashir’s comments on television that if Southerners voted for independence during the referendum, he would be the first person to recognize that new state.


This positive statement from President Bashiir ahead of the referendum creates an environment which is conducive for the people to vote freely without fear. Similarly, it provides a reassurance that the referendum will be successful and guarantees better relationship in future between the two states in case the Southerners vote for independence. Dr. Marial emphasized that this statement reflects the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 and asserted that should it should be maintained by the CPA partners to resolve the pending issues such as the future of Abyei, border demarcation and other post referendum arrangements that are currently under discussion.

 


H.E. Gier (left) accompanied by H.E. Marial (right) addresses the media.


Dr. Marial also appreciated the people of Southern Sudan for the peaceful Christmas. He also highlighted the telephone conversation between presidents Barack Obama of the USA and GOSS President Salva Kiir Mayardit on the timely conduct of the referendum in a free and fair manner.


On the media development in the Southern Sudan Dr. Marial proudly highlighted the achievements by GOSS during the past five years by enumerating some government-owned and community-based FM radio stations in the south.


He reported that in the Greater Equatoria states there are Bakhita FM, Liberty FM, Capital FM, Miraya FM, Sudan Radio Services (SRS) Al Shurooq FM, Voice of the People FM (VOP), French International (FI), and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) all in Juba. Catholic Radio Network and Spirit FM operate in Yei River County.


In Kajo Keji County, he said that there is a community radio station, in Torit there are Emmanuel FM, Catholic Radio station and Eastern Equatoria FM. In Kapoeta County there is a community radio station and Inter News Network. In western Equatorial state there is Yambio FM.


In the Greater Bahr al Ghazal states, he reported that there are Malual Kon FM (community radio station in Aweil), Raja FM (Inter News Network in Raja), Turalei FM (Inter News Network in Turalei), Kwajok FM (Inter News Network and community network), Rumbek FM (Inter News Network in Rumbek), and Rumbek FM which is government-owned.


In the Greater Upper Nile states, Dr. Marial said there are Bentiu FM, Melut FM, Fanjak FM, Ayod FM, Waat FM, Pibor FM, Boma FM, Akoba FM, Pochalla FM and Nasser FM. Most of these FM stations are owned by either the Inter News Network or communities. Dr. Marial explained that this shows how the government is friendly to media as well as its commitment to promote freedom of expression even for those that are critical to it. He said that FM radio operation like other media in the south shall be reviewed after the referendum to meet standards of government policy and regulations.

 


Some of the senior GOSS officers led by Mr George Garang Deng, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information (left) and journalists at the media forum.


Dr. Marial made these remarks when he addressed the press yesterday at the ministry’s headquarters in Juba. The press conference was also attended by H.E Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong, the GOSS minister for Internal Affairs, Dr. Julia Akeer Dwany the Undersecretary for the Parliamentarian Affairs, Mr. George Garang Deng Chol, the Undersecretary for Information as well as other senior GOSS staff and journalists from government and independent media houses.


Reported by Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Jan 5, 2011

List of judges to handle referendum cases

JUBA, 31 December 2010 - The President of the Supreme Court of Southern Sudan, Justice John Wuol Makec, has appointed the judges to preside over "Competent Courts" in all the ten states of Southern Sudan and rule on appeals and contraventions filed in accordance with the provisions of the Southern Sudan Referendum Act (2009).

 

>>Click here for the list of judges

>>Click here for the Judicial Circular on the procedures of the "Competent Courts".

 

This article was updated on Jan 6, 2011

GOSS Council of Ministers discusses President Bashir’s visit to Juba

JUBA, 2 January 2011 - The ordinary weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Friday scrutinized security arrangements for the visit of President Al Beshir to Juba on Tuesday.


Later the Minister for Information and Government spokesperson, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, confirmed that all arrangements are in place for the President’s visit. He asked the people and members of diplomatic missions accredited to Juba to come to welcome the President and the accompanying delegation.


Dr Marial also said the Council also discussed and approved payment of post-service benefits to constitutional post-holders in the state, conditional on necessary arrangements for this. Expenses for medical referral cases are to be met by the various Ministries, rather than the Council of Ministers, Dr Marial explained. He also said the Government would work hard to improve the quality of medical service in domestic hospitals to minimize referral cases.

 
For the celebration of the New Year midnight service, the President has directed free movement and maximum security alert, the Minister concluded.


By Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 6, 2011

NCP official defects to SPLM

JUBA, 2 January 2011 - The Head of the Information Secretariat in the National Congress Party, Southern Sudan, Salah Rajab Bunduki, in Juba on Friday, formally declared his defection from the party to join the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

 

The Central Equatoria State Governor and SPLM Chairman, Clement Wani Konga, warmly welcomed Mr Bunduki to the ranks and files of the SPLM. He lauded the decision taken in the interests of Southern Sudan.

 

In a statement, Salah Rajab Bunduki said his decision is in the interest of Central Equatoria State and Southern Sudanese unity for the realization of the people’s aspirations. “I planned to announce the change of heart to coincide with the end of the year 2010, the eve of 2011, the year of the referendum in order to begin the new with a new affiliation”, Bunduki explained. He promised to work hard to mould unity for confronting the new challenges of the next stage in Southern Sudanese history.

 

His defection follows that of leading figures in the National Congress Party, Central Equatoria State, headed by Adam Fodo Diu, former Speaker of the then Bahr Eljebel State, who declared their defection from the party on Thursday last week. The group that includes Margaret Peter Abudi, the former Head of Human Rights Committee in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly has expressed its intention to switch allegiance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

 

The leader of the group was quick to point out that their decision to opt out of the NCP is motivated by their individual desires to play an active role in the referendum for Southern Sudan. They all recognized the inevitability of Southern Sudanese independence through the plebiscite. Adam Fodo asked those Southern Sudanese in the NCP to join their brothers and sisters in the South in the march to the referendum. The Governor of Central Equatoria State, Clement Wani Konga, welcomed the new comers into the folds of the SPLM.

 

By Abraham Garang

This article was updated on Jan 6, 2011

President Kiir's New Year Message Year 2011

Fellow citizens,
Once again, I would like to convey to you and your families my very best wishes for the New Year 2011. As I expressed it in my Christmas message, this year is a special one indeed for the Sudanese people in general and Southern Sudanese in particular because of the upcoming referendum Event on January 9th, 2011. May this year become truly a year of the final journey for permanent peace in the Sudan full of happiness and prosperity.

 

My message to you is simple and clear: peaceful campaigns and mobilization in order to attain a free, fair and transparent atmosphere during the polling. It is in the interest of us all as Southern Sudanese to ensure that the outcome of the exercise, determined by the freewill of our people, is wholeheartedly favorably received by our brothers and sisters in Northern Sudan, the region and the international community. 


To the people of Abyei, particularly the Ngok Dinka, I take this opportunity to express my solidarity and also to sincerely wish you a happy New Year 2011. The fact that your Referendum has not been scheduled as agreed, it does not mean that you are already forgotten. I would like to convey you my reassurances that a solution will be found on the problem of Abyei. 


The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the NCP must put their minds together to find a final solution. I am optimistic that every hurdle will be overcome and the people of Abyei will be free. To the Sudanese people, I call upon you all to usher into the New Year 2011 with a renewed spirit of life full of hope for the future. We implore God Almighty to endow each and every one of us with the spirit of forgiveness and tolerance as we enter into a new situation in our country.

 

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce to the people and Government of Southern Sudan that we have been honoured by our President H.E. Field Marshall Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, who will be our first guest for the New Year. I therefore urge Southern Sudanese of all walks of life and particularly the citizens of Juba to turn up in big numbers to give him a thunderous welcome when he arrives in the morning of January 4th, 2011.


Fellow countrymen and women, Tonight, join me in wishing our President and his family, the government and people of the Republic of the Sudan good health, happy and prosperous New Year 2011. As I said earlier on in my Christmas message, President Bashir and the National Congress Party (NCP) will be forever remembered for having endured the burden of presiding over the affairs of this country during the difficult moments of our history. My brother President, this is indeed a historic credit to both the NCP and the SPLM and I truthfully commend your brave decision to sail the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) through amidst all obstacles. 


Last but not the least, I wish you all serene celebrations and radiant entrance into a prosperous New Year 2011 and successful Referendum on January 9th, 2011.


Happy and Prosperous New Year!


 

This article was updated on Jan 10, 2011

“I’ll be the first to respect the choice of the Southerners”, pledges President Bashir

JUBA, 4 December 2011 – The President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omar Al-Bashir, has pledged that he will be the first person to recognize and respect the choice of the Southerners in the referendum, should they choose separation.


Addressing the press at the Presidential Palace in Juba (Juba One) at the end of his one-day working trip to the Southern capital, President Bashir affirmed that his government will support the new country in all ways possible if that be the will of the people of Southern Sudan.


President Bashir reiterated that he still prefers unity of the Sudan but clarified that no institution or person can impose their choice on the people of Southern Sudan. He explained that only the people of Southern Sudan have the right and capacity to voluntarily choose between separation and unity. He also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to facilitating the conduct of the referendum promptly and successfully.


The President also reported that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is progressing well adding that even the international observers are in agreement with this assessment.


On Abyei, President Bashir asserted that the parties will abide by the Abyei Protocol which states that Abyei belongs to Dinka Ngok and other people residing in the area. He explained that this issue will be concluded by the end of the CPA on 9 July 2011.

 


President Bashir (right) addresses the press at the "Juba One" accompanied by GOSS President Kiir (on his right) and other GOSS leaders. 


Addressing the same conference, the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit reiterated that his government will guarantee the security of the Northerners living in the South in case of separation. He also reiterated that in case of separation the new country will also maintain cordial mutually-beneficial relationship with the North.


The two leaders also agreed that neither territory would support the respective oppositions. President Bashir said that he has learnt from the cases of Chad and Eritrea and would not wish to go through a similar experience. H.E. Kiir reiterated that there are no Darfur rebels in the Southern territory and asserted that GOSS will not support any Northern opposition group.


President Bashir’s Presidential Plane touched down at the Juba International Airport at 10:56 am where he was received by the GOSS President Kiir and Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny. The President of the Republic was accompanied by a high-level National Congress Party (NCP) delegation among them the minister for Defence, Agnes Lokudu; Bona Malual; Ali Tamim Paritat; Dr. Riak Gai; Baship Rooric de Jur; and other southerners who are pro-unity.


President Bashir has been reconciliatory of late and seems to have accepted the reality that only Southerners can determine the future of the Sudan. Thousands of jubilant Juba residents received him warmly. This follows a plea by the GOSS minister for Information, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, who had implored the people to receive the president warmly following his conciliatory remarks in the recent past. Nonetheless, the people still made their preferred choice in the referendum clear by waving flags and flyers with the one hand symbol of separation as well as chanting pro-separation slogans.


By Joseph Garang Deng

This article was updated on Jan 11, 2011

Birthing pains of a new nation

ONTARIO, 29 December 2010 - On January 9 2011 the world is poised to witness the birth of a new nation in Southern Sudan. Is Canada ready to accept this nascent country?


While the referendums in south Sudan and Abyei approach, the possibility for violence and humanitarian crises remains threatening. Although one or both referendums may be delayed, every indication suggests the currently semi-autonomous south will vote to secede from the Northern rulers in Khartoum.


The outcome of the January referendums will monumentally affect the prospect of peace and the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of civil war between north and south Sudan where two million people died.


The United Nations and stakeholders, in anticipation of major problems, have mapped out potential flashpoints for conflict, yet critical challenges remain. Among these, agencies lack sufficient staffing, humanitarian access is an ongoing issue, and a comprehensive plan to protect vulnerable minority populations has not been secured.


As if the situation was not tense enough, both Khartoum’s armed forces and those of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south have massed along the volatile north-south border. This offensive positioning is remilitarizing a deadly conflict that can only be settled peacefully by a political solution.


Canada indeed has been an active player in Sudan. The government’s self-described engagement in Sudan has prioritized three core areas: aid, security and diplomacy. Actions around these core areas have sought to contain violence and enhance security, reduce vulnerability and save lives, build longer-term stability and resilience. To these ends, Canada’s contribution to peace initiatives, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in Sudan has totalled more than $800-million since January, 2006.


But there is much more we can and should be doing. The Canadian decision to support the demise of the Standby High-Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG), a multinational rapid-reaction force ready for peacekeeping, has precluded the possibility of timely reinforcement of the UN in this conflict zone at this most volatile moment. Canada should have fought to keep that multilateral military capacity viable and at the ready for these occasions. As a middle power with no history of colonialism, taking a lead role in Sudan should be our rallying cry.


First CIDA, our aid agency, must re-engage in hot zones around the north-south border. The focus of Western aid has centred largely on Juba, the capital of south Sudan. Disbursing project funds to meet long-term goals is laudable; it may even contribute to alleviating the conflict’s root causes. But we must ensure that the communities most in need – those around the precarious north-south border – are receiving the best help Canadian dollars can buy.


Second, Canada, and more specifically our politicians and diplomatic corps, must build needed relationships with the leaders of Southern Sudan, the SPLM. While the U.S., the African Union and others are engaging the leadership of north and south Sudan in deal-brokering conversations, Canada has little part in these relationship-building exercises.


Unlike our belated recognition of Kosovo’s secession in March, 2008, Canada can play a strong role in recognizing an independent Southern Sudan from day one. Southern leaders have been knocking on the doors of Western politicians for some time, seeking governance training in democratic principles. The Canadian experience of federalism offers valuable leverage with SPLM leaders. A joint Canadian-U.S. Political Assistance Task Force, through our respective foreign policy departments, would be an appropriate vehicle with which to strengthen our relationships with the Southern Sudanese leadership.


Third, Canada must work diligently with our partners in Sudan to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe with the potential for widespread mass atrocities. One of the CPA’s greatest unresolved issues is the status and protection of minority communities seeking to cross the north-south border. Within both north and south Sudan, millions of civilians are at serious risk of being targeted by malignant spoilers. Canada must continue pursuing a strengthened United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with the necessary preventive strategy, training, financial and logistical support.


Lastly, we are encouraged by our government’s simultaneous commitment to maintaining focus on the armed conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, a conflict that has claimed more than 300,000 lives and displaced more than two million people. Unfortunately, our position on Darfur is not explicitly shared by all: Current diplomatic brokering with Khartoum has taken the track of decoupling north-south issues from Darfur, which has worsened this year. While implementing the CPA’s provisions is of paramount importance, we cannot allow the message sent to Khartoum – however subtly – of having a free hand, as long as it accedes to Southern independence, to crush Darfur.


Although the immediacy of the Jan. 9 referendums is cause for much attention, we must ensure Canada’s sights are set, too, on the six-month window following, in which our greatest fears could manifest tragically”.


By Roméo Dallaire and Glen Pearson
Senator Roméo Dallaire is a retired Lieutenant-General and former Commander of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda. Glen Pearson is a Liberal MP for London North Centre Ontario, Canada. This article comes in the aftermath of a presentation by the Principal Liaison Officer of the Government of Southern Sudan Mission to Canada in October to the parliamentary “Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development”.

This article was updated on Jan 11, 2011

South Sudan signs ceasefire with rebels

JUBA, 6 January 2011 (AFP) – South Sudan's army yesterday signed a "permanent ceasefire" with rebel forces it has been fighting since an election last April, just four days ahead of an historic independence referendum.


The deal with renegade senior officer George Athor, who began a rebellion after he claimed he was cheated in gubernatorial elections in the state of Jonglei, was welcomed as a step to easing tensions in the south ahead of the key vote.


"This is a great agreement," said Brigadier General Michael Majur, who signed the agreement for the south's Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA).


"I want to thank comrade Athor for his tireless effort to make this agreement a success." Athor did not appear himself at the ceremony but sent a delegation instead.


"This is an important step towards establishing peace in south Sudan," said Major General Abraham Thon, who signed the ceasefire on behalf of Athor. "This will help our people [to enjoy] the benefits of good security."


The agreement was overseen by the Government of Southern Sudan’s Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, and the Episcopal Archbishop of Sudan, Daniel Deng Bol. The southern army had accused Athor and his men of acting on behalf of Khartoum in a bid to destabilise southern Sudan, a charge denied by the central government.


The referendum is a key provision of a peace deal signed between Khartoum and southern rebels in 2005 to end a two-decade civil war between north and south Sudan which left two million people dead.

 

This article was updated on Jan 11, 2011

50-year battle for Southern Sudan freedom

JUBA, 7 January 2011 (AFP) - General Joseph Lagu doesn’t need to think how he will vote in Southern Sudan’s independence referendum: he’s been battling for the freedom of his homeland for the past half century.


“We began fighting for our independence with our bare hands,” said Lagu, who in 1963 abandoned his post as a young army lieutenant to command a rebellion fighting to split Africa’s largest nation into two.


“We would ambush government forces, lay landmines or blow up railway lines,” said the 79-year-old veteran, recalling the early days of battles against government forces. We saw no other option than to fight for the right of our people to live in freedom.”


Southern Sudanese are to begin voting on Sunday in a historic referendum for its potential full independence, a poll set up under the terms of a peace agreement to end the 1983-2005 civil war between the north and south.


But that was not the first war southerners fought for the right to choose a future for themselves. The first shots of the independence fight were fired in a 1955 mutiny in the Eastern Equatorian town of Torit, a year before the end of British colonial rule. Low-level fighting rumbled on before the wider guerrilla war during which Lagu worked to bring the loosely organised rebels into a single force. Lagu called that rebel army the “Anyanya”, named after the deadly snake venom hunters dip their arrows into.


The rebels started with little. “We had only three old firearms to start with,” said Lagu. “I myself carried a machete". The general can still list the exact armoury he began the fight with: a 19th century British army rifle, a faulty sporting gun, and an ancient muzzle loader. “We knew our cause was right, but we lacked the tools to do it with,” said Lagu, who gained his first major supplies from Congo, before winning Israel’s support, after Sudan backed Egypt following its defeat in the 1967 Six Day War. That support helped build a considerable force. “People came to me to fight from all across the south,” said Lagu. “In the end we had about 18,000 men under arms.”


Some estimate about half a million people died, and many more were forced to flee their homes, before Lagu signed a deal in 1972. “I was aware that the deal fell short of fulfilling the expectations of my people, but I knew too that my people needed a period of rest,” said Lagu, who would later head the south’s parliament set up under that accord. The steady erosion by Khartoum of the agreement drove southerners to return to rebellion in 1983, fighting for equality within a secular Sudan.


Many Anyanya veterans would play key roles in that rebellion, including commander John Garang — who died in 2005 shortly after signing the peace agreement — and current southern president Salva Kiir. Some two million people died in that round of conflict, battles fuelled by religion, ethnicity, ideology and resources, including oil. For veterans like Lagu, the referendum is a climax of a life-long struggle.


“It gives me great happiness that God Almighty has preserved me to see my youngsters, people I have trained, continuing with what I participated in to start,” said Lagu, who is now an adviser to Kiir. Southern leaders are well aware of that long struggle. “The referendum is an exercise that even the great, great parents had waited for, but never had the opportunity,” said Anne Itto, a top official in the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, the rebel movement turned political party.


“Maybe it is God’s will that it is our generation that chooses for the rest of the generations that were before and who will come in the future,” Itto added. If Lagu has his way, south will split on July 9. “We are marching towards freedom,” said Lagu. “Nothing on earth can stop this.”

 

This article was updated on Jan 11, 2011

Southern Sudanese in Kampala hold final rally

JUBA, 7 January 2011 - The Government of Southern Sudan Liaison Office in Kampala organized a rally on Wednesday this week to educate the Southern Sudanese living in Uganda on the referendum symbols and to underscore the need for all the citizens who have registered to turn up and cast their vote.


Different artists from Southern Sudan like Duop Pur Duop, Pan Chol Ajang and Helen Malese from the Republic of Eritrea entertained the people with music laden with relevant messages on the referendum. For instance, Pan Chol Ajang sang a song which partly said: “If you are bribed eat your money... unity is not needed, southern Sudan independence Oyee”.


One of the Referendum Taskforce members in Uganda Mr. Michael Saki urged the people to avoid taking too much of alcohol because this could affect the turn out as well as the actual voting. Mr Saki said voters who are drunk may just be confused by the ballot papers and symbols and cast the wrong vote or spoil the votes.


Mr. Saki also expressed confidence that Southern Sudan will vote for independence. He explained that the general opinion of the nearly 3.9 million registered voters is to vote for independence of the south. He urged all the registered voters in Uganda to honour the fallen liberation heroes by casting their vote for independence on 9 January 2011.


The rally which was held at the Wonder World was attended by the Southern Sudanese communities and students, civil organizations and church leaders.


By Peter Gai Manyuon

 

This article was updated on Jan 11, 2011

All 'on track' for south Sudan referendum: UN

JUBA, 7 January 2011 (AFP) - Preparations for south Sudan's independence referendum are "on track" ahead of Sunday's historic vote, the head of United Nations peacekeepers in the south says.


"Everything appears to be on track for the region's 2638 polling centres, which are scheduled to open at 8am (1600 AEDT) on January 9," said David Gressly, head of the United Nations Mission to Sudan in the south.


"The many sceptics who never thought southern Sudan would be ready to hold its referendum by next Sunday were proven wrong," he told reporters in the regional capital Juba on Thursday.


Gressly said that violent attacks were running at their lowest level since the 2005 peace agreement that put an end to two decades of civil war between north and south, creating propitious conditions for last month's voter registration and the run-in to the seven days of polling.


"For the last several weeks - several months probably - we have seen the lowest level of insecurity in southern Sudan since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement has been signed," he said.


"It has been a very conducive environment for the registration, and we expect the same to continue for the polling period."


South Sudan is still recovering from decades of war with the north, during which an estimated two million people were killed in a conflict fuelled by religion, ethnicity, ideology and resources including oil. Most analysts expect the south to use the referendum, which was a central plank of the 2005 peace deal, to vote to break away and split Africa's largest nation in two.


"The general security situation is currently stable, generally quiet," said Gressly, although he noted that cattle raiders in Lakes state killed 11 people and wounded 25 last Saturday. North-south tensions had also eased, he said. In November, the southern army accused the north of wounding four soldiers and two civilians in a helicopter gunship attack, a charge the north denied. The reported attack followed an earlier bombing raid on the south that the north did admit, although it said the target was Darfuri rebels, not southerners. Gressly said that the situation had since improved.


"Tensions along the north-south border have eased over the last three weeks," he said. "Reports of major troop build-ups on either side of the north-south border appear to have been exaggerated."


Arriving in Sudan on Thursday, former US president Jimmy Carter urged Khartoum to accept peacefully the results of the referendum, regardless of its outcome. "Just accept the decision of the southerners in the referendum peacefully, no matter whether it is to stay part of Sudan or to form a new nation," said the statesman who heads the Carter Centre, one of the main international bodies charged with monitoring the vote.


Gressly said that returnees from the north were arriving back at a rate of some 2000 a day, noting that 143,000 had returned since the end of October. Aid agencies warned that the large numbers coming back were stretching communities in the areas they were settling in beyond their limits.


Those returnees are placing a "significant strain on communities that already lack water, food, sanitation and shelter," Melinda Young, Oxfam chief for south Sudan, said in a joint statement with the International Rescue Committee. IRC south Sudan director Susan Purdin warned that amid all the focus on the independence vote, the international community was ignoring the plight of the population of one of the world's poorest regions.


"Amid all the international debate about various scenarios and the referendum's outcome, there has been a stunning lack of attention to the current and long-term protection and humanitarian needs of vulnerable civilians," she said. "We have an unfolding humanitarian crisis, layered on top of an existing and forsaken one.


"These regions are struggling to recover from the last war," she said. "They lack basic services, infrastructure, food and the means to protect their civilians, and have little capacity to absorb returnees or displaced populations given the already bleak conditions."


By Peter Martell

 

This article was updated on Jan 11, 2011

Nigeria keen to open consulate in Juba

JUBA, 7 January 2011 - The minister for Regional Cooperation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) H.E. Deng Alor Koul yesterday in his office met the Nigerian delegation led by Mr. Timloh Butuen Nkem, the Director (North & Horn of Africa Division) in the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The meeting discussed the mission of the intention of Nigeria to official open an office in Juba. The delegation also requested the Government of Southern Sudan to allocate a plot of land for that purpose.

 


H.E. Deng Alor (second right) with the Nigerian delegation.


In another function, H.E. Deng Alor also met the Federal Republic of Germany parliamentary delegation led by the Mr Joannes Selle. They discussed political issues on the preparation of the forthcoming Referendum.


Addressing the press after the meetings, the minister said that main purpose of the two delegations was to know about the stand of the Government of Southern Sudan and its people about the referendum and build bilateral relations for better foreign relations. He also added that the Nigerian delegation was also interested to contribute in capacity building in Southern Sudan in various areas.


The minister also addressed diverse international press conferences on the Southern Sudan Referendum.


By Miriam Maneno

This article was updated on Jan 12, 2011

The referendum is the beginning of a new struggle – President Kiir

The long walk to freedom is gradually reaching its last mile. The last bullet of the struggle has been released and freedom is nigh. The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, himself a veteran of decades-long struggle, is urging the citizens to remain vigilant and focused.


“Whatever the outcome of the referendum, all will not be milk and honey”, he cautions. He explains that the successful conclusion of the referendum is nothing but the beginning of a new struggle which requires even more resilience and patience. “We are going to be confronted with new challenges that we must all face head-on”, he admonishes. Some of these challenges, he says, include generating adequate revenues, inadequate basic social services, poor physical infrastructure, as well as reintegration of the Southerners coming back from the North and elsewhere.


“All such challenges and many more will demand collective attention and commitment from all of us as a people”, he says. “In order for us to surmount every hurdle and challenge, there is dire need to change our attitudes and behaviour”, he advices. He urges the citizens to work hard to develop an identity. He encourages them to harness the full potential of the natural resources God has given them to satisfy all their needs.


“If it is food, we have the land to produce in abundance and the weather to achieve that; if it is tourism, we have got all the wildlife and world-class sites; if it is fame, we can compete in all types of sports; if it is cement and iron ore, we have got all the necessary stones and ingredients to manufacture; if it is power generation, we have got the Nile water falls; if it is wealth creation, we have got all the natural mineral resources and herds to accomplish that desire”, he explains.


He urges the people not to be complacent in this phase of the struggle if the ultimate freedom is to be won. “Let us all stay calm and vigilant because the future is bright and full of blessings and hope”, he concludes.