Feb 23, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The meeting was organized by the Canadian Parliament, to hear from Hon. Henry Odwar and Hon. Sophia Gai as witnesses to South Sudan Conflicts and the Human Rights Violation in South Sudan.
In summary, Hon. Sophia Gai, the former Secretary for Administration and Organization, who also served in South Sudan Parliament as Presidential Nominee, elaborated the following major points during her briefing of Canadian Parliament:
- Salva Kiir government, dominated by one tribe, is prepared to eliminate anybody who has ambitions for leadership, reforms, accountability, human rights, transparency and service delivery in the country at any cost, in order for a few cliques from one tribe, Dinka, to maintain status quos.
- The government targeted Nuer Ethnic Group and killed over 20,000 people using a privately trained militia in three days to provoked the Nuer Youth in an attempt to turn the political conflict into a tribal war in order to derail issues of government failures into tribal issues and divert attention.
- That South Sudan has fallen into the wrong hands of thugs and mafia compared to terrorist group, who have no interest in developing the country but looting the resources.
- That South Sudan has received from the oil revenue an estimate of over $20 billion U.S dollar, yet no development has been realized, no services have been delivered, instead 75 politicians enriched themselves in expense of 12 million populations.
- That critical issues such as corruptions, human rights violations, and reforms in government institutions such as the security sector reform, Judiciary, Public service, the Constitutions, Justice and accountability, national Reconciliation, Poor foreign policy cannot be addressed in present of the current government.
- The government is dominated by one tribe from all the important institutions – Presidency, defense, army, police, finance, foreign affairs, media, judiciary, internal security, mining, energy, wild life, fire brigade, customs, prisons, immigration and custom – to lower institutions leaving the 62 minorities tribes with few and none-decision making posts.
This transcript is Hon. Sophia Gai version of her witness .
Begin the report ……
Brief Introduction of self: I was born and grew up in fragile war torn South Sudan and I never left the Country during those difficult time of Conflict between the South and North Sudan under the Islamic Regime of Sudan Government, until when the CPA accord was signed in 2005, we then move to juba to lives as a free Nation to start rebuild and re construction of the Country, I then worked in the SPLM Party as Secretary for Administration and Organization before being appointed as Presidential Nominee in the Parliament, a position I held until August/14.
I was in Juba till 14 Dec/13 when a Security guy smuggled me out of the Country due to high tensions in the SPLM Party’s meeting conducted on 14th Dec/13, I never went back to Juba till today. My personal testimonies is that I’ve lost two uncles with their family members, a watchman, my two neighbors families, 3 relatives in Malakal town, some friends I know, large number of the Nuer community’s members who were living around neighborhood of house at Mangateen Area.
The war erupted due to conflict in the Party between Dictatorship Kiir’s group and Reformist let by Dr. Riek Machar, the war took ethnic dimension when Presidential guards fought among themselves which later spread to target one Ethnic group of Nuer, killing women, children, youth, elderly and war disabled based on their ethnicity up to 20 000 people are believed to have died in 3 days from the conflict.
It was clear that killing of innocent was intentionally done by the government to suppressed forces of democracy and replaced it with a view of a tribal war in order to down play real issues that affect citizens and isolate others who are not from Nuer or Dinka by tribes in participating in those reforms establishment of democratic systems of governance.
This issue of targeting innocent people base on their ethnicity goes back to the liberation history but of recent, the government intensify its operation through security organs to silent any group that may want to aspire for leadership of the country in the proposed said elections.
To prove this, in 2010, the Dinka Ngok of Pigi county in Jonglie State, were targeted and killed in hundreds because their Son. Gen. George Athor protested after announcement of failed result in State governorship position as a result he fought with the government for not being fair to announce credible result of his succession over Governor Gen. Kuol Manyang in State elections.
In 2011, the Murle communities were targeted and had been killed in thousands by the government security forces because of their son David YauYau who claimed to have won elections for State Assembly.
Likewise the Chollo community of Upper Nile State were also targeted and killed in few hundreds in 2010 elections because of Dr. Lam Akol who contested to stand against President Kiir.
Then in 2012 the fertite Communities of Western Bahr El Ghazal were also killed because they did not want to be abide to authorities of their ruthless Governor whom is believed to be strong ally of the President. This community lost politicians and civilians among the communities.
Finally, the Nuer communities were targeted, tortured, detained, raped and properties looted from 15-18 Dec/2013, by security organs who were separately trained outside regular forces of the SPLA, the National Army. Many Nuer families who survived found themselves under the UN Protection Camps in Juba, the State Capital Juba.
I believe the government had planned to killed anybody who has ambitions for leadership status and reforms, Human Rights Activist, Journalist such as Isaiah Abraham, Aid workers, Lawyers and Civil Society Activists were all targeted because they wanted government to be democratic, accountable, transparent and deliver service to the people.
I wanted to say that the war is not ethnic in Nature between the Nuer and the Dinka but it took ethnic dimensions when it broke out in Juba. The government confined and down play the war to look ethnic in nature to derail real issues of government failures into community’s issues so as to suppress tensions of citizens demand to a minimal situation. To be really precised, we need to look at the bigger picture in both Camps of the government and the oppositions, both camps have politicians of both Tribe for examples in the Opposition movement of Dr. Riek Machar a Nuer, have many Dinkas including Hon. Mabior Garang a Dinka by tribe and a son of Late Dr. John Garang the founding father of the nation, at the same time in President Kiir, a Dinka camp, have many Nuer including 3 prominent Ministers from the Nuer Tribe.
Our Communities of Nuer and Dinka have existed and lived peacefully ever since they were created in South Sudan.
This conflict is about a group of a clique of Greater Bahr El Ghazel elites who found themselves in power and in control of the Country’s resources since 2005. They have been looting resource of the country through government contracts in expense of others. Decision-making processes are in different levels through the Assembly, to the level of Greater Bahr El Ghazal Dinka council of elders, the second layer of decision-making is at Warrap State where the president comes from and the last level is a security organs behind closed doors after which the President will sign the document.
South Sudan national parliament is a rubber stamp of the government. Parliamentarians cannot hold anybody accountable. Corruption for example is permanent. All of you may have heard of 75 most corrupt government officials who had looted the country’s resources. With that I would like to say that our country has fallen into the wrong hands of thugs and mafia compare to terrorist group.
In the last nine to ten years we had received from the oil revenue an estimate of over $20 billion U.S dollar, as yet, development activities are not realized, services are lacking. Schools for example are limited with high number of children attending them, in some villages children go to schools under trees. Hospitals and clinics are not available with limited facilities including medical personnel, village Clinics are very far away from each other.
South Sudan roads are pathetic to connect inter States and between counties. The only good road is Nimule-Juba road constructed by USAID.
We have a lot of concerns on issues affecting us as people of South Sudan, issues of corruptions, human rights violations, and reforms in government institutions such as the security sector reform, Judiciary, Public service, the Constitutions, Justice and accountability, national Reconciliation, Poor foreign policy.
The need for reforms is important due to imposed domination by one tribe out of 63 Tribes of South Sudan. Power sharing and division of a national cake is in the hands of a few Dinka people for example, the President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the SPLA is Gen. Salva Kiir from Dinka, other positions occupy by Dinkas include South Sudan Judiciary with its entire leadership, South Sudan Bank and the Treasury, Chief of General Staff of SPLA is with majority heads of Divisions Commanders of SPLA, Heads of organized forces such as Police inspector General, heads of Wild life, fire brigade and Prisons the Ministers of Defends, Finance, Energy and Mining, Internal Security, Immigration and Customs, National Security, Foreign Affairs all these important institutions are headed by Dinka, the President’s tribe, beside many Deputy Ministers plus heads of 19 commissions are all Dinka, they are also in charge of many businesses in Juba.
Recommendations to the Canadian Government and the Parliament as follows:
- We, the former Members of the Parliament urge the Sub Committee on International Human Rights to request from the AU report on South Sudan conflict and to publish the root causes of Conflict which triggered the War; this report will be the basis to address most of the issues pertained to the civil war. The report will help in bringing sustainable peace in South Sudan.
- The team urged the Canadian Government to continue its assistance to Humanitarian Bodies so that refugees are helped and protected in UNMISS Camps in Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu.
- The team encourages the Canadian Government to open up resettlement opportunities for Nuer Orphans Children who have no support as many of them have not been in Schools for the past one year.
- The team encourages the Canadian Government to have Peace Ambassador station in IGAD Country which is hosting South Sudan peace talks, the Ambassador will bring direct reports about peace process with effective participation of the two principle, why is this important? It’s because the Canadian Embassy in Juba only hears one side of the story, the oppositions are not having such an opportunity to also talk their issues in a free environment.
- The team encourages participation of women and youth in peace building therefore they need Capacity buildings and empowerment programs so that their voices are heard and their issues are included in the negotiations.
- The Subcommittee on International Human Right should visit the IDPs in Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu as well as in the refugees camps around the neighboring Countries as such Ethiopian, Uganda and in Kenya.
- The Committee to visit Dr.Riek Machar in Addis Ababa to hear his side of the story about conflict and possible solutions.
- The Canadian Government to support the warring parties on peace building also for them to have a better understanding about the model for federal systems of governance, how it works, its pros and corns of this type of governance system and its constitution too.
Best Regards/ Hon. Sophia Gai