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Stop Clearing Oromo from their Land in the Name of Boosting Economic Development: Who Will Stand for the Oromo People Living on the Outskirts of Finfinnee? February 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Food Production, Gadaa System, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Ideas, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Nubia, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Sirna Gadaa, Slavery, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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It is to be recalled that Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) was founded as the present capital city the so called Ethiopian in 1886 by a man called Minilik II. During this time, the area was inhabited by the Oromo people and the area was almost covered with natural forest. Initially the Shawa government made it seat at Ankober. Hence, before the founding of Finfinee as a political and economic capital of the king, all the areas within the present Finfinnee and the surround areas was free like any other Oromia lands. However, after 1886 the Semitic people from the northern segments and others had taken the land and the Oromo people who were used to live in these areas were forced lost their land through time.

For example, according to Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia (2007) Out of the 2,738,248 100% total population living in Finfinnee, the total number of the Oromo people living in the city was only 534,255 (19.51%). Since its founding as a capital, Finfinnee remained the capital city for the successive Ethiopian regimes (Menilik II, Lij Eyassu, Zawuditu, Hailesillasse I, Mengistu, Melles and HaileMariam). Through time, the number of inhabitants increased and urbanization expanded greatly. The deliberate and implicitly planned mission and decision of the Semitic people to erase any sign of Oromo history from Finfinnee was started during the forcefully integration of Oromo people into Ethiopia as second-class citizens and the process has continued in the present government.

Different people mostly from the northern part of the so called Ethiopia have come from the various ethnic groups come and settled in the capital owing to its supper suitable agro-climatic and exploit the natural within the outside today’s Finfinne from the near distance in the name of work and investment. Where did those Oromo farmers go when Finfinnee became the property of new invaders? Be in mind that the Oromo’s are pushed to the peripheral areas of the capital and the number of Oromo people inhabitants decreased from time to time, as the above data depicts. The indigenous people of the land were pushed out one after the other and were replaced by the invaders from the north. What is happening to the Oromo people living on the outskirt of Finfinne today? It is simply the continuation of a process, which had resulted in a massive displacement of an indigenous Oromo people.

B. The New Master Plan of Fifinnee and Areas to be Incorporated

For the last 100 or so years the Master Plan of Finfinnee city was revised several times. The recent proposal of preparing new Master Plan for City administration that planned to incorporates all the towns and districts lying within the range of 1 hour commuting distance from the Finfinnee, justifies the blatant violation of the constitution and their voracious appetite to systematically replacing resource and land deficient people to these fertile lands owned by the Oromo people. According to the proposed plan of established the “Integrated Regional Development Plan”, an additional 36 towns and 17 districts currently administered by the Oromia regional State will be merged with Finfinnee so that the right of the land use will be determined by the central mayor .

The new Master Plan was intended to incorporate Oromia’s land locating in 100kms around the Finfinnee city. According to Ethiopia Government preparation, the following 36 Towns and 17 Districts are included in the newly planned Master plan. (See the figure 1.)

Some of the Towns are: Adama, Sodere, Mojo, Wenji Adama, Ejere, Alem Tena, Koka, Adulala, Bushoftu, Dukem, Gelen, Akaki Beseka, Godino, Chefe Donsa, Sebeta , Sendafa, Milkewa, Wendoda, Sirti, Duber,Gorfo, Chancho, Mulo, Debra,Muger , Ulo, Adis Alem, Holota, Burayu,Debre Genet, Illu Teji, Tefki, Sebeta, Boneya, Melka Kunture and etc.
Some of the Districts areas are: Adama, Dodota, Bora, Lome, Liben chukala, Adea (around Bushoftu), Akaki, Gimbichu, Bereh(around Sebeta), Aleltu, Jida, Sulultu, Ejere, Welmera, Illu, Sebeta Hawas and etc.
Today, when the world is concerned about preserving ecology and wild life in their natural habitat, it is an Ethiopian Government that is clearing an indigenous Oromo people from their home Land in the name of inequitable Economic Development. Hence, who should stand and speak for these innocent people and argue to preserve the right of the extremely vulnerable Oromo people living in the proposed territories and to preserve the indigenous Oromo people, culture, Languages and etc. Otherwise sooner than latter these great people will be marginalized and lost their identities.

Finfinee
Figure 1: The newly Developed and proposed Master Plan of the tomorrow’s Finfinne over the coming 25 years

C. The Agenda behind the “Integrated Regional Development Plan (IRDP)”

An office called “Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia Integrated Development Plan” prepared an International and National Conference on June 2013 at Adama Town, Galma Abba Gadaa. The Objective of organizing the conference of the top ranking government cadres (mostly OPDO’s) was to work on the manifesting of the proposed Integrated Regional Development Plan (IRDP) and prepare the cadre’s to work on the people.

On the Conference, it was stated that, the Purposes of the “IRDP” are:

Instrumental to unleashing Regional Development Potentials
Enables localities addressing their mutual development challenges
Enables localities addressing their mutual development challenges
Strengthens complementarities and interconnection of localities
These purposes can be the explicit or clear objectives of the plan. However, the plan have hidden or implicit agenda. Systematically bringing the land under their custody so that, it will sooner or later scramble among their impoverished people in their region. For example, the Finfinnee City Administration and Finfinnee Special Zone can address their mutual development challenges without being incorporated into one master plan. However, the Master plan is not prepared on mutual benefit as the plan is solely prepared by Finfinnee City Administration, despite the name of the office. Hence, though development is boldly emphasized, the main purpose seems to clear the Oromo farmers from their lands in the name of unfair Economic Development.

It was also stated that the Pillars of the Integrated Regional Development Plan are:

Regional Infrastructure Networks
Natural Resource and Environment Stewardship
Cross – Boundary Investments/ e.g FDI)
Joint Regional Projects
However, there seem hidden agenda behind these pillars. For example, in the name of cross-Boundary Investments, local Oromo farmers are going to lose their land for the so-called “investors” and under the pretext of promoting national economy through FDI initiatives In addition, if the plan is going to be realized natural and environmental degradation is inevitable.

In addition, the Basic Principles of the Integrated Regional Development Plan are:

Ensuring Mutual Benefits
A joint development Framework – not a substitute for local plans
An Integrated Regional Plan voluntarily accepted by participating partners
Differences resolved through negotiation and under in-win scenario
Nevertheless, the plan will not ensure a mutual benefit at it is largely intended to displace Oromo farmers from their land. In additions, the populations of the two areas are not homogenous. Hence, they have no common interest. Even though it is said the “IRDP’ will be voluntarily accepted by participating partners, the top cadres in Oromia themselves have strongly opposed the plan on the conference. Beside, the implicit objective of the plan is to remove/avoid the differences in language and culture there by to plant “Ethiopianism or Tigreans” on Oromo land. The plan is intended to say good bye to Oromo Culture and language. The other thing is that the differences between Oromo and others cannot be resolved as it is intended to eradicate Oromo identity, culture and language. As we know from history, Oromo’s never compromised on these issues. Hence, if the plan is to be implemented, peaceful co-existence may not be there.

D. Problems that may come because of the Integrated Regional Development Plan

As different sources shown, many Oromo’s living in Special Zone has already lost their land in the name of foreign direct investment and land grasping. This is because of several fa3ctories are constructed in the special zone by taking the Lands from local Oromo farmers. It is not new to see Oromo labor workers or guards in their own land. Family members are highly displaced by this measure. Many went to street. Not only the displaced Oromos damaged by this. It is said chemical coming out of the factories are also hurting the health of the remaining Oromos. It is said that “In Central Oromia, thousands of people and their livestock died due to the industrial pollution directly released to rivers and lakes.”

Taking the above as an experience, there also different reasons why the newly Master plan of Finfinne should not be implemented on Oromo people. Some of the reasons are:

1. It will bring Extreme Poverty: It is inevitable that the local Oromo farmers lost their land in the name of investment and urbanization. This means that the Oromos are systematically cleaned from their own land, as they were cleaned from Finfinnee in earlier days. Hence, the local farmers lose their land which is part of their permanent asset. After the lose their land, the farmers will going to work for 300 birrr in the factory or serve as house servant or home guard, which is already started. By doing so, the farmers face extreme poverty. In addition, the gap between rich and poor will very high. For example, one writer described the impact of “investment” saying:

“The current regime has sold out more than 3 million hectares of fertile land to the foreigner investors after forcefully displacing Oromo farmers from their ancestral land. The grabbing of land ended the indigenous people without shelter and foods. This displacement of the Oromo people accompanied by limitless human rights violations set the Oromo to be the vast number of immigrants in the Horn of Africa.”

2. Family displacement and disintegration: Members of a family will be displaced and disintegrated as a result of loosing their land. In addition, the workers of Finfinnee special zone will be displaced as they are working in Afan Oromo.

3. Abuse of constitutional rights: After long year of struggle and sacrifice of thousands of Life, Afan Oromo given constitution right to be used in administration, school and other sectors in Oromia region. This is one of the basic objectives that Oromos has been struggling. However, if the master plan is going to be implemented, working language of Finfinnee City, Amharic, is going to be used in the areas. By doing so, the local people will be forced to learn new language to use it for different purpose. The measure will take back Oromo to the “Atse” region. The Federal Constitution states “Every people, nation and nationality have the right to speak, to write and to develop their own language, as well as to express, to develop and to promote their culture and history.Article 39” will be clearly violated. The Oromo living in Finfinnee Special Zone will lose the rights that the FDRE constitution guarantees them.

4. Academic and psychological impacts on Oromo students: If the newly proposed master plan of Finfinnee City is going to be implemented, Oromo students living in the surrounding area will attend their education in Amharic, which is second language to the students. It is strongly argued that using the native languages of students as a medium of instruction is a decisive factor for effective learning However, this situation, failure to give a role to native languages and largely depending on second/foreign language instruction, brought various difficulties to students. The students are expected to entangle not only with learning the subject matters but also the language itself. It also creates difficulty to students in expressing themselves and as a result it limits their classroom participation as there is fear of making mistakes. In addition, it is a barrier to smooth classroom communication. It is also argued that use of a second/foreign language in education negatively affects the ability and the ease with which knowledge is acquired by students. It also affects the performance of students and creates difficulties in developing their cognitive skills. Moreover, giving low status to native languages of students in educational setting leads to marginalization of majority of the citizens from active engagement in the development arena. In general, the master plan will have negative impacts on Oromo students in various academic aspects.

5. Impact on Identity and Culture of Local Oromo People: The new plan will make Oromos to lose their identity and culture, like the previous regimes did. This is because people having different identity and culture are going to settle on Oromo land. The settlers will push out the Oromo identity and replace by their own. The Oromo’s will have very limited opportunity to exercise their cultural value and linguistic form. The language and cultural development will be also hampered by the new plan.

6. Economic impact: If the master plan is going to be realized, the Finfinnee City Adminstration will control all economic aspects of the areas. The income that is collected from different factories will be taken. The Oromiya government will loose great income to Finfinnee city administration.

7. Impact on Natural Resource and Environment: As the result of the plan, there will be overspread ground and surface water pollution. In addition, there will be severe deforestation and natural resource depletion.

8. Cutting Oromia into East and West Regions: The new Master Plan of Finfinne city will cut the current Oromia into two parts i.e. Eastern and Western. This is because the Central and great part of Oromia is proposed to be taken and incorporated into Finfinnee. Hence, the Central part that joins East and West will be taken.

D. What Should be done to Save the Oromo People around Finfinnee

As shown above, the master plan is so disadvantage for Oromia. In general, if we see the plan, it will affect local Oromo people in various aspects. However, the government who is supposed to represent the Oromo people is unable to see the danger. So we kindly ask the Oromos at home and Diaspora and other concerned bodies to forward ways and mechanisms to stop the intended plan. We ask the Oromo people and international communities, who will stand for the Oromo’s living around Finfinnee??

If we read an honest history of the present and past Governments of Ethiopia, we would conclude that the present Government is truly facing a difficult dilemma. At the dawn of the 21st century, we can neither run away from ourselves nor hide our realities. We have to face our generation and the historical realities of our time. It is undeniable that today, people demand respect for their human and national rights. Above all, people will not rest until their identity and their sovereignty over what is theirs is ensured. These are the peoples’ most burning issues. They realize that they have to make utmost effort of their own. It is within the context of the above-mentioned framework that the Oromo people resolutely demand their rights and freedom. It is to those who want to deny the rights and freedoms of the people that we are most bitterly opposed. It is a crime to deny the national identity and sovereignty of a people no matter how sophisticated the tactics used to do so. It is equally wrong to see the national desire of a people from a selfish perspective. It is based on the above concepts and precepts that the Oromo people continue their unceasing and bitter struggle against being treated as second class citizens. We know that our struggle is just for it is motivated by our desire to preserve our dignity and identity as a people.

We, the sons and daughters of the Oromo people, strenuously oppose the implementation of new Master Plan for Finfinne administration because we fully understand the historical development of the desire of other people to displace the Oromo people in order to benefit the non-Oromo new comers and their lackeys in this country. This highly orchestrated conspiracy, the present Oromo generation shall not tolerate at any cost. It will steadfastly and resolutely resist the conspiracy.

We also request international communities to put pressure on FDRE/TPLF Government and Finfinnee City Administration to stop the proposed Master Plan, which directly or indirectly harm the Oromo people.

We call on the Federal Government of Ethiopia, House of Peoples’ Representatives, the Federation Council, the Oromia Council to stop clearing Oromo people from their home Land in the name of inequitable Development and replacing others on their land.

Please generate comments as many as possible on what should be done about the plan.

May Waaq Gurraacha help us!

From: Sabbontoota Oromoo, Oromia.

We are always Oromo First!!!!

Sabbontoota Oromo can be reached at sabboontotaaoromo@yahoo.in

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Ethiopia: Raya under destruction

by Teumay Debesay | February 13, 2014
rayaRaya refers a tract of land stretching from Ala wuha in the south to Alaje in the north. That is bigger than Adwa and Axum awrajas combined. Historically, this is where the Weyane rebellion started in 1928 as a spontaneous reaction to a repressive system of the time. Originating in their present day Kobo wereda, the revolt would quickly spread to cover the entire Raya and Wejerat provinces. Later, the inhabitants of Enderta joined the revolt and a sort of quasi-organized alliance was formed after a decade of Raya and Wejerat rebellion. This alliance, Weyane, would emerge so potent that by its heyday it practically liberated the provinces of Raya, Wejerat and Enderta. The imperial government with the support of British Air force resorted to aerial bombardment of the rebel held areas which caused a wide-spread damage, including complete erasure of villages. However, the most detrimental factor that actually caused the demise of Weyane was to come from none other than Adwa people. In 1943, Dejazmach Gebrehiwot Meshesha along with a dozen of Adwans exploited the trust vested on them to assassinate the leaders of the Weyane movement. This is significant for in the Ethiopian tradition, at least until then, if one manages to kill the leader one will win the battle. Meshesha and co. breach of the traditional trust and value was so venomous that even to this date mistrust and resentment runs high in Raya. It is to be noted that if not for Meshesha of Adwa, the people were in a very strong bargaining position and if one has to look how similar revolts in Bale and other regions were resolved, the rebels demand for better governance was within reach. As a thank you for their contribution, Meshesha and his fellow Adwans were rewarded heavily by Haileselasse while a series of punitive attacks continued on the ‘originators’ of Weyane and ultimately Raya was divided between Wollo and Tigray.
When the TPLF started the armed insurrection in Ethiopia, it took little time to transform itself as an Adwa-only club by the same inherited act of treachery. The legacy of resentment that Meshesha and co. left means TPLF-Adwa had hard time to set foot in Raya. Hence, they needed to come up with a trick and did it so by cosmetically inserting the word Weyane in the Tigrigna version of its name. Taken with the harsher realities under DERG, Rayans reluctantly sided with TPLF on the principle of the lesser devil. Soon, tens of thousands of Raya youth joined the TPLF, including forming the majority and the backbone of Hadush “Hayelom” Ariaya’s fighting force that brought the little known“Hayelom” into prominence. However, if the experience of my village is anything, it is fair to conclude that almost all the Raya recruits ended up as cannon fodders. Those who survived, especially the independent and rational ones, would have never escaped the Meles-Sebhat death squad. In Raya, for example, it is not uncommon to talk to your relative TPLF fighter over the phone in the morning only to be notified of his death of “natural” consequences on the same day. I will say more on the motives next time. But for now, I want to draw your attention to the following Table, which is taken from the 1994 and 2007 population census of Ethiopia. I think this illustrates how the Raya and Adwa are faring under the TPLF-Adwa administration.
Table 1: Population of Raya and Adwa awraja towns in 1994 and 2007 census

Clearly, 7 towns (Robit, Gobiye, Waja, Mersa, Korem, Wedisemro, Chelena) of Raya from the total 11, i.e., 64% of the town that existed in the 1994 Census Ethiopia have died or are dying.  Well, with Adwa awraja towns the figures show a hard-to-believe growth registering as ridiculous as 1033% for Gerhusenay, Idegaarbi(377%), Nebelet(266%); even noticeable is the emergence of a novel city (Diobdibo) in the 2007 census, attesting to the developmental and modernization campaigns  in Adwa rural areas as well. The bar graph of the rate at which towns are expanding (Adwa) or shrinking (Raya) shown below can only be a proof that in the so-called Tigray “killil” both, depending on the area, de-constructive and constructive policies are in operation. To the unsuspecting, it may occur that this might have to do with the pre-1991 TPLF bandit caused civil war. However, it is not quite so for, for instance, there was no single bomb that was dropped on Adwa towns nor was a confrontation in populated areas in the entire Adwa awraja. There was insignificant causality as far as the civilian population of Adwa is concerned for the TPLF military engagement tactic in Adwa/Axum area was totally different from the rest awrajas. For example, Korem town alone might have received far more arial bombardment than the entire Adwa awraja. From SehulMikael (the Godfather of Ethiopia’s disintegration), to Meshesha-Sebhat-Meles-Sebhat(again), there exist very little dissimilarity.Raya-under-destruction2Right now, Alamata, the only remaining city not to die fast enough as Adwans would have liked to see, is under open destruction. The residents never complained on the absence of developmental activity but never expected that the Adwa administration of the city will come-up with a destruction agenda. Surprised by the revelation, the unsuspecting residents went to Mekelle to air their grievances in the hope that the big men there might be rational and take proper action. However, Abay Woldu’s administration did not give it a second to listen; just ordered more Bulldozers, armored tanks and a battalion to effectively carry out the planned destruction. Worse, those who complained the demolishing of their belonging are rounded-up and now languish in Adwa operated secret Tigrayan jails
Reference:

  1. Central Statistical Authority Ethiopia: The 1994 populaion and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Tigray region, Volume 1, Statistical report.Table 2.2, Page 11
  2. Central Statistical Authority Ethiopia: The 1994 populaion and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Amhara Region, Volume 1, Statistical report.Table 2.2, Page 13
  3. The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Tigray Region, Table 2.1, page 7
  4. The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Amhara Region, Table 2.2, page 11

http://ethiofreespeech.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/ethiopia-raya-under-destruction.html?spref=fb

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South Sudan: Is Peace Possible? February 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Human Rights, Humanity and Social Civilization, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, South Sudan, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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Kiir is accused of creeping authoritarianism, strengthening his control over the security apparatus and threatening to curb non-government organisations and the media. A newspaper reportedly found itself in trouble for daring to publish a photo of the president wiping sweat from his brow. One foreign diplomat commented: “There is a danger that this country that fought so hard for its liberty is going to end up resembling the country it fought against.”

Peter Adwok Nyaba was higher education minister but says he could not get an audience with Kiir from July 2012 until his dismissal in July 2013. “Things were going wrong in the education system but I had a complete year of not being able to meet him,” says Nyaba, who has been under house arrest since Christmas Day. “Many people complained of the same thing. I think being president of the country is too big for him, which is showing itself in him being unable to take charge of the current situation. He’s just a village chief.”

Even the US president was reportedly given short shift. One aid agency official recalls: “Kiir treated Barack Obama like shit. The story goes they were supposed to meet at the UN in New York but Kiir kept him waiting for 20 or 30 minutes. People should have said this guy is not our friend.”

America is feeling buyer’s remorse, the source adds. “The people who were pushing the narrative South Sudan good, Sudan bad, are now calling out the South Sudanese government, but it’s too late. When a crisis like this breaks, the US’s leverage gets less and less.”

Kiir’s increasingly autocratic behaviour sowed division within his governing party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), struggling, like so many militant liberation movements before it, to transition to a political party. Last July, his vice-president, Riek Machar, a charismatic and ruthless former warlord once married to a British aid worker, openly defied him, telling the Guardian: “To avoid authoritarianism and dictatorship, it is better to change.” Machar and the rest of the cabinet were sacked three weeks later.

In early December, Machar and other malcontents amplified their dissent at a press conference and planned a public rally. “Growing disenchantment and international criticism created fertile ground for opportunists masquerading as democrats,” noted one insider. On 14 December, Machar and seven others walked out of an SPLM meeting. The following day, with the mood volatile, fighting broke out within the presidential guard. Kiir accused Machar, a rival of old, of attempting to overthrow him in a coup. But many observers pour scorn on this notion. “If it was a coup attempt it was the worst organised, worse conceived and worst executed coup ever,” says a diplomatic source. “There’s a constant battle between chaos and conspiracy in South Sudan. Nine times out of 10, it’s chaos.”

Nevertheless, Machar was content to ride the wave and subsequently accept leadership of a rebellion that quickly took on ugly ethnic dimension. Kiir is a Dinka, the biggest group, while Machar is a Nuer, the second most populous. Some say Kiir used the alleged coup attempt as a pretext to unleash his own private militia and, whether he intended it or not, Nuers were the victims. Machar, linked to a massacre of Dinkas in 1991, stands accused of stoking tribalism and mobilising a Nuer force known as the “white army”.

There is nothing inevitable about this, experts argue, noting that for most of their history Dinkas and Nuers have coexisted peacefully and inter-married. Indeed, five of 11 detainees accused of plotting against Kiir are Dinka, while there are Nuers in his government. Yet in villages across the country, where three in four people are illiterate, each group is feeding a spiral of paranoia about the other. Ivan Simonovic, the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, warned in Juba last Friday: “There are completely different worldviews and narratives among communities. Truth is becoming ethnicised.”

Nowhere is this more evident than at the UN base in Juba, where more than 20,000 Nuers are crammed into about 45 acres, including young children, who can be seen defecating in the dirt, and heavily pregnant women. Many here believe the Nuer are the target of nothing less than ethnic cleansing and, officials say, some who have dared to venture beyond the gate in search of food and water have been murdered on sight.

Among them are a group of Nuer politicians roughing it inside a tent, lying on mattresses amid suitcases and jerry cans, their suits hanging in zip-up garment bags, one of which has the label, “Shoreditch, London”. One, too fearful to be named, tells me: “Men with guns came to my house and knocked on the door. They started shooting into the house and a bullet just missed my left eye and went into the wall. I ran and told my children to lie down. I felt toothless. It’s what happened in Rwanda exactly: if you were found in your house, you were dead.”

As peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia go nowhere fast, many are gloomy about the prospects for peace in the short term and democracy in the long term. The conflict appears to be driving Kiir into the arms of Bashir and Uganda’s strongman president Yoweri Museveni, who is providing military support. The Americans are being spurned – described as “heartbreaking” for many senior officials who feel professionally and personally invested in the new nation.

But amid the atrocities on both sides there have been redemptive stories of Dinkas giving hunted Nuer families refuge in their homes and vice versa. No one interviewed by the Guardian believes that South Sudan was a mistake or regrets secession in those idealistic days of 2011. They do, however, blame the political elite. “Independence, with all its challenges, was the best thing that happened to this country,” insists Mading Ngor, a journalist and commentator. “I don’t know anyone who is looking for reunification with Sudan.

“There were a lot of emotional faces on independence day. People teared up when they saw the flag going up for the first time. There were youths running about celebrating the rise of a new nation: Dinka youths, Nuer youths. Now those youths are killing each other. There is a need for a new generation to accomplish what the politicians failed to do, which is to build. My hopes are pinned on the people of South Sudan. The future is always better.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/south-sudan-death-of-a-dream?CMP=twt_gu

http://africanarguments.org/2014/01/22/south-sudans-leaders-have-learnt-nothing-from-50-years-of-independence-in-africa-by-richard-dowden/

On 15 December 2013, South Sudan was rocked by fighting in the capital Juba. The conflict was apparently sparked by a dispute within the presidential guard, pitching Dinka against Nuer in support of, respectively, the President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his previous vice-president Riek Machar. Soon it spread like a wildfire to other parts of the country.

What began as a political power struggle within the political elite soon turned into deadly ethnic conflict taking the life of several thousands. While President Kiir accused his opponents of trying to seize power through a military coup, his opponents led by Riek Machar accused him of trying to use the incident to suppress his opponents. The outbreak of the fighting followed a drawn out political struggle between the two political rivals.

Mr. Machar accused Kiir of incompetence, failure in curbing corruption, ensuring national unity, state building and making progress towards socio-economic development. The president retorted by accusing him of undermining his government. The president also told his opponents to abandon the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and form their own party.

The opponents however know very well that abandoning the SPLM spells political suicide because it means ending up in the cold. Instead of heeding the admonition of the president they opted to utilize the SPLM in challenging Salva Kiir. Thus, they decided to test their luck within the SPLM and demanded the convening of the SPLM congress.

Instead of convening a congress, however, Kiir decided to cleanse the SPLM and the government from his opponents. Riek Machar was fired as vice-president on 23 July 2013 and Pagan Amun from his post as Secretary General of the SPLM. Then the cabinet was dissolved on 31 July to pave the way for the president to install his loyalists.

After resisting persistent demand to convene the National Liberation Council (legislative organ of the SPLM), the president agreed to call the meeting which took place on 14 December 2013. The NLC however failed to reach an agreement that led to walk out of opponents that sparked the incident of 15 December.

Two interlinked factors of failures could explain the outbreak of the conflict.

The first is the failure of the SPLM government to transform itself from a liberation movement to a democratic political governing party and from bearer of a liberation political culture to civic political culture. Liberation political culture demands loyalty to the leader. Those who harbor political ambition and disloyalty and incline to express rivalry with the leader are thus thrown out in the cold.

In accordance with this political culture the vice-president and the secretary general of SPLM were fired from office because they expressed their intention to run against the president in the coming elections, which was construed by the president as harbouring lack of loyalty to him.

This action of the president threw the ruling party and the government into deep political crisis. Unfortunately democratic institutions of governance and conflict resolution that could mitigate and manage disputes are markedly absent in South Sudan. Therefore the political struggle among the political elite got out of hand plunging the new nation into an unprecedented spree of ethnic massacres.

The second failure concerns the transformation of the, virtually conglomerate, army of militias into an integrated national disciplined army. During the liberation struggle several ethnic based militias emerged and latter were incorporated into the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army). Following secession no efforts to transform the SPLA was carried out. Rather the SPLA remained divided on ethnic basis.

Militias that fought against the SPLA during the liberation struggle were simply incorporated in the emergent national army following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The incorporation took place without necessary political education that would lead to integration and cohesion of the national army. Indeed the incorporation remained mechanical. When the political struggle within the political elite exploded the army simply degenerated into its ethnic origins.

This double failure of transformation aggravated the already highly fractured society along ethnic fault-lines. The all-time precarious inter-ethnic relation and fragile state building process was further thrown into disarray. The post-secession nation building and state construction has suffered immensely.

It seems now that whatever efforts of negotiation and reconciliation are attempted between the rivals it will be near to impossibility to bring them to a cordial working relation. There is no way they could work together again. The reconciliation process has come too late and the blood spilled in this conflict will haunt the nation for a long time to come.

Uganda’s meddling has also complicated the mediation and reconciliation efforts. Therefore there is a real possibility that South Sudan could be heading towards prolonged bloody civil war with ethnic accentuation unless friends and neighbours exert real pressure on the leaders. The role of the friendly states, external actors in general, mildly expressed, in the post-secession reconstruction have been paradoxical. It is time that they reassess their role!

Amid this near impossibility of reaching political reconciliation the following measures could be considered to be of critical importance:

http://naiforum.org/2014/02/the-crisis-in-south-sudan/