Bashir regretted helping Kiir rig 2010 elections against Dr. Lam – documentary

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, left, opposition leader Dr. Lam Akol, center, and former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right [Photos via Getty Images]

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, left, opposition leader Dr. Lam Akol, center, and former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right [Photos via Getty Images]

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s former Islamist leader, Omar al-Bashir, opposed Dr. Lam Akol’s election bid for president of the government of Southern Sudan in 2010 and so worked to ensure President Kiir was elected with an aim to exploit the inadequate education of the South Sudanese leader, according to a new footage of a secret meeting broadcasted as a part of a TV documentary, “The Islamic Front: The Major Secrets” by Al Arabiya channel.

In the secret meeting of the National Islamic Front (NIF) held in Khartoum following the 2011 referendum, former President Omar al Bashir who came to power through a bloodless coup in 1989 said his government’s conviction, when they allowed President Kiir to rig elections in Southern Sudan in his favor in 2010, was that Dr. Lam Akol would not cooperate with them and would be hard to do business with.

Al-Bashir said his Islamist government was not in any position to accept that election for the President of the Government of Southern Sudan is won by someone rather than President Salva Kiir who was then his first deputy.

“Our conviction – despite Lam [Akol’s] relationship with us and their support for us – was that if Lam win election, he would not be able to govern South Sudan,” Al-Bashir said the meeting attended by senior members of the NIF and those working in his government.

“Secondly we would not be able to cooperate and do business with him. That’s why we decided to endorse Salva [Kiir] because we believed he was the only person we would be able to cooperate and do business with for the remaining part of the interim period,” he added.

Al-Bashir further highlighted in that meeting that Dr. Lam Akol who he said could not return to South Sudan would not be able to handle the oil-rich south asking at some point how he would government a country he couldn’t set foot in.

“Lam cannot even return to South Sudan, so how can he lead South Sudan?” he asked.

Destabilizing South Sudan

In a separate audio recorded following the 2012 Heglig crisis, Al-Bashir said Sudan’s Islamist government had no interest in the stability of South Sudan as well as in saving it from rebellions which rocked the country following the independence in 2011.

He said Sudan would work to ensure that the SPLM is removed from power in the South and vowed that such action was going to take place within a very short period of time.

“We don’t have any interest in saving the government of South Sudan [from rebels] and we will not work with the government of South Sudan unless the SPLM is gone,” he said.

“So, our [National Islamic Front] goal is to remove the SPLM in South Sudan.  We will not discuss with them anything unless we are sure 100% that no aggression will come from South Sudan because any single barrel of crude oil exported from South Sudan, will be used to buy weapons. So, any single barrel of oil from South Sudan is a threat to our security,” he said.

India to offer more scholarships to South Sudanese students – envoy 

Indian ambassador to South Sudan Shri S.D. Moorthy addressing a function in Juba [Photo by Indian embassy website]

Indian ambassador to South Sudan Shri S.D. Moorthy addressing a function in Juba [Photo by Indian embassy website]

JUBA – The government of India has pledged to provide more educational opportunities for South Sudanese students, according to its ambassador to Juba, Shri S.D. Moorthy.

The Indian envoy made the revelation during a meeting with South Sudan’s minister of presidential affairs Nhial Deng Nhial in Juba on Tuesday.

“The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Nhial Deng Nhial met with the Indian Ambassador to South Sudan, Shri S.D. Moorthy,” the Presidency said in a brief state on Twitter on Tuesday.

In a statement to the media following the meeting, Ambassador Moorthy said his country is ready to provide more study opportunities and is planning to build a health facility in Juba.

“India will provide more scholarship opportunities to South Sudanese students to study in India, and build a health facility in Juba,” the Indian envoy said.

South Sudan gov’t employees enter fifth month without salary – deputy finance minister

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit in 2020 [Photo by Reuters]

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit in 2020 [Photo by Reuters]

JUBA – South Sudan is running short of foreign-cash reserves and is struggling to pay public-servants’ wages as Africa’s newest country battles weak oil prices and violence that’s straining a peace agreement.

The country generated 3 billion South Sudanese pounds ($18 million) in non-oil revenue in August, which allowed it to pay state workers for April, Deputy Finance Minister Agok Makur said by phone from the capital, Juba. He’s hopeful increased non-oil income can help the government settle the May-through-August arrears.

“The situation of economic crisis in South Sudan now is very bad,” he said. “It is not like those days, 2010, 2011, because at that time oil was very high.”

The East African nation’s official production of crude has dropped to 170,000 barrels a day as lockdowns to control the coronavirus delay the movement of production equipment and materials. The commodity is the landlocked country’s only major export and is crucial to an economy shattered by conflict since it seceded from Sudan in 2011.

“Because of this Covid-19, because of the oil price dropping there is no foreign exchange and our pound has become of less value,” Makur said.

The nation’s currency has plunged to about 440 pounds to the dollar on the parallel market, compared with the official rate of 168.5 pounds. Inflation was 37.2% in April, according to the last data released by the central bank.

Waiting for aid

With brent crude prices almost 40% lower this year as the pandemic drains global demand, the government is looking to boost income from gold and gum arabic, a sap that’s extracted from acacia trees and used in sodas and pharmaceuticals, Makur said.

It’s applied for a $250 million loan from the African Export-Import Bank to help finance its recovery plan and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The government is also seeking aid as it tries to hold together a peace deal that brought an end to its civil war. Violence between ethnic groups in rural communities has continued, leaving hundreds of people dead.

“We are still waiting for the promises from countries like America and others in Europe and Africa,” Makur said. “Before we signed this agreement, we got promises from those countries, but up to now there has been no help.”

 

Government reopens schools, orders return to work

South Sudan Information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth [Photo via SSNA]

South Sudan Information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth [Photo via SSNA]

JUBA – South Sudan government has ordered the immediate reopening of schools, Universities and other higher institutes of learning, according to the information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei.

In March, the government ordered the closure of all schools and the reduction of employee in different sectors after the outbreak of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has killed several senior government officials.

Speaking to reporters on Friday following a weekly cabinet meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir, Makuei said the government has resolved to reopen schools and also directed for the resumption of work in all sectors in the country.

“The cabinet has decided that all the higher institutes of learning should resume and should be reopened. As to went, this will be determined by the ministers of higher education and general education but schools should be reopened,” Makuei told reporters.

“The work should resume as usual from now onward, that is from next Monday because it is already Friday. We work should resume from on Monday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. This is very important because there is need for us to work because if we don’t work out economy will continue going down and collapse,” the senior government official said.

Makuei further warned against absence from work saying:  “So work will resume next week for all of us and there is nothing for someone to say that ‘I am sick’ if you are sick, come to the office with a medical report.”

“Some of the people have exploited the issue of COVID-19 and have gone silence for long and go for self-quarantine. There is no self-quarantine anymore.”

Gov’t announces plan to crack down on fake academic certificates

South Sudan vice-president for service delivery cluster Hussein Abdelbaggi Ayii [Photo by presidency]

South Sudan vice-president for service delivery cluster Hussein Abdelbaggi Ayii [Photo by presidency]

JUBA – The cabinet cluster for service delivery has said it is going to investigate into reported forged academic certificates possessed by some government employees.

This was announced by the office of Vice President for Service Cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi, on Wednesday.

On August 25, 2020, VP Abdelbagi received a report from the Ministry of General Education and Instructions, detailing how some civil servants acquired fake academic documents.

The ministry said the falsified papers include secondary and university certificates from Sudanese, Ugandan and South Sudanese learning institutions.

Individuals with fake documents are allegedly working in several ministries, including general education, higher education, and foreign affairs and international cooperation.

The spokesperson of the Vice President told Eye Radio that a committee will be formed to thoroughly investigate the forgery.

This comes after a plenary meeting held in Juba on Tuesday.

This meeting was meant to listen to the issues affecting the mentioned ministries,” Gabriel Kiir told Eye Radio on Wednesday.

In 2016, Uganda’s National Council of Higher Education openned an investigation into the manner in which more than 1,000 South Sudanese were admitted to Busoga University and went on to graduate in a space of just two months.

The results of the investigations remain unclear.

According to the South Sudan Penal Code, whoever commits forgery intending that the document forged shall be used for the purpose of cheating commits an offense.

It states that, upon conviction, the accused shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years and may also be liable to a fine.

Sudans Post website wins Swedish protection against S. Sudan gov’t blocking

Sudans Post logo [Photo by Sudans Post]

Sudans Post logo [Photo by Sudans Post]

JUBA – The Sudans Post website which was blocked in South Sudan’s capital Juba for two months since June has won the protection of a non-profit Swedish organization that has now deployed a mirror, a system designed to circumvent government blocking, on the website.

Sudans Post website was blocked in South Sudan’s capital Juba in June. Until dawn Monday, the website remained blocked.

Access was limited to a handful number of locations in Juba including, but not limited to, the presidency, National Security Service (NSS) headquarters (also known as the Blue House), and the ministries complex.

Readers complained in several emails to Sudans Post management in June that they were facing issues accessing the website, after which the Sudans Post management discovered that access to the website had been restricted – since June 12 – to a few areas in Juba by the Media Authority upon the orders of the NSS.

A Chinese company implemented the blocking, two sources at the media authority said at the time said.

In a statement, the Sudans Post management welcomed the offer of protection from the Swedish organization and said the move would help protect the right of South Sudan readership to access information.

“As good news to our readership, today, August 17, 2020, we have the honor to announce to our readership that Qurium media which is based in Sweden has offered a mirror to our website which is a mechanism to circumvent the unlawful government blocking,” the statement said.

The management further said the hosting of the website has been moved to the Qurium Media Foundation and said as of Monday afternoon, the website was accessible in areas of the capital Juba where it was previously accessible including Jebel and Gudele.

“As of this afternoon, our website can be accessed in all parts of Juba and South Sudan where it has previously been inaccessible, according to some of our readers. Because of the continued threats we faced and which are faced by our host from the National Security Service (NSS) and influential government officials and security personnel, we have decided to also move our hosting to the Qurium in Sweden,” it said.

The statement further thanked the Swedish organization “for coming into our aid and we are looking forward to working with them to better improve the information dissemination in South Sudan.”

‘Silent Blocking’ of Websites

For its part, the Qurium Media Foundation said the blocking of Sudans Post is a part of a wider government campaign implemented silently by external providers to manipulate information dissemination in the world’s youngest country, something the Qurium is fighting elsewhere in the world.

READ: South Sudanese media blocked after threats from NSS – transcript revealed

It said that the blocking by South Sudanese authorities is being carried on without the obvious and prior judicial process.

“Qurium sees a worrying trend of blocking media websites in South Sudan. The blocking is done with no transparency or accountability, no measures to appeal, no legal process and implemented silently by the upstream providers,” the non-profit organization said in the statement extended to Sudans Post on Monday morning.

READ: “Sudans Post” gets blocked after receiving personal threats from NSS – transcript revealed

The organization said Sudans Post was joining an existing list of two South Sudanese websites. The two websites – Nyamilepedia and PaanLuel Wel – are among four websites blocked by South Sudan government in July 2017.

“To circumvent the blocking of South Sudanese news sites and to prevent digital attacks against them, Qurium is hosting and providing mirrors to no less than three blocked media organizations: Sudans Post, Nyamilepedia, and PaanLuel Wel,” it said.

“Qurium believes that access to information is a key element for critical thinking and public education. The government of South Sudan is depriving its population of information, which is the reason why Qurium supports blocked media with circumvention capabilities,” it added.

The organization said the website – before the deployment of the mirror – was “only reachable from IP addresses belonging to the ministries, the presidential palace, the National Security Service, and a few large international NGOs.”

Building peace through education in South Sudan

By Aida Orgocka

7 out of 10 children are out of school in South Sudan. Protection of Civilian site outside Juba. Photo Aida Orgocka/ ECW

OPINION – “If I was not educated, I would be one of the people that would cause problems for South Sudan now,” says Victor Dut Chol, the Director of Research Policy Development and Sustainable Development Goals/Peace Education Focal Point in the Ministry of Education of South Sudan.

I met Victor in Juba during my last field mission to South Sudan where Education Cannot Wait is supporting the development of a multi-year programme aiming to provide education to the country’s most vulnerable children and youth.

Victor is one of theLost Boys of Sudan. Like many of the boys who fled the violence of the civil war in the ’80s and trekked enormous distances to find safety in Ethiopia, the capital and other places, Victor doesn’t actually know how old he is. Birth registration is very low in South Sudan, and only about half of children are registered at birth.

But Victor never gave up. He pursued education with tenacity throughout his journey as a person uprooted by violence, from Ethiopia, to Kenya and then to the United States of America. Having graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration, he is now back in South Sudan because he believes it is his time to give back. He is part of the Task Team that will put together the Multi-Year Resilience Programme led by the Government of South Sudan.

South Sudan is one of the six countries where the Fund will invest in such programmes in 2019 – bringing ongoing Multi-Year Resilience Programmes supported by Education Cannot Wait to a total of 11 countries by the end of the year. Designed to strengthen linkages between emergency response and longer-term strengthening of education systems, these programmes bring together a wide range of international, national and local stakeholders to deliver quality education to the most marginalized girls and boys.

UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGE

More than 2.2 million school-aged children in South Sudan have been dropped out of school due to the continuous conflict. This is one of the highest rates in the world. In some areas, girls make up to 75 per cent of the children outside the education system. The gender gap widens with age, according to the Global Initiative On Out Of School Children report (May 2018). While 10.6 per cent of boys were in secondary school at age 16, this was the case for only 1.3 per cent of 16-year-old girls.

Victor fears that if education is not provided for these children, they will grow up thinking like he did when he was out of school, that people of tribes other than the Dinka were out there to harm him. Without the opportunity an education provides, Victor believes these children would choose taking up arms instead of making windows, chairs and benches for classrooms, or pursuing other productive activities to build the social and economic fabric of the young nation.

We need to prepare the next generation of workers in South Sudan – and across the globe in countries affected by disaster, emergency and protracted crisis. As outlined in Education Cannot Wait’s Case for Investment, for each dollar invested in education, more than US$5 is returned in additional gross earnings in low-income countries and US$2.50 in lower middle-income countries.

Education is the key.

South Sudan cannot be self-sufficient if it does not have its own educated workforce. It all starts with having an opportunity to go to school and stay in school. For girls, meeting the education challenge means lifting socio-cultural barriers including eliminating child marriage and sexual violence, and building the confidence, knowledge and power needed to take their place in economic and social life. For boys, the alternative would be a future of joining armed groups or being victimized during cattle raids. For the nation, realizing the education imperative means the hope of peace, the hope of security, and the hope of reducing poverty and hunger South Sudan signed up for, along with 193 countries, when it committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

PUTTING EDUCATION FIRST

How difficult can it be to keep children in school? Parents in South Sudan are selling cows to bring children to school because they are realizing the importance of an educated child.

Anyone who knows the country would say this is a huge investment. Cows symbolize income generation, status and the promise of a family life in a context where communities exhausted by conflict are saying: “This is enough.”

But even when the desire is there, there are no schools, and when there are schools, they lack trained teachers.

At a Protection of Civilians site outside of Juba, one teacher told us that while “back to school campaigns” try to increase enrollment numbers of girls and boys in school, what’s also really needed is a “back to teach campaign.”

Above all, women teachers should be recruited and trained. These women educators will serve as role models for girls like Vicky in Hossana Primary School who told me she wants to be a pilot.

Having worked in the field of education in emergencies for some time now, I sometimes get impatient with ideas that evolve around building more schools and training more teachers.

Haven’t we done enough? No, we haven’t.

In South Sudan when you see a poster that reads “You should never try to hit your friends with a metal or big stick,” you wonder why in the first place you would hit a friend.

As one of the countries that endorsed the Safe School Declaration, South Sudan places a lot of faith in schools and teachers to be the entryway to peace. As Victor puts it “we cannot afford to fight now and get educated later.”

This article was first published here

The author of the article which was first published here is the Gender Specialist at Education Cannot Wait. She visited South Sudan March 24-31, 2019 with Michael Corlin, Education Cannot Wait Senior Advisor as part of the Fund’s support to the development of a Multi-Year Resilience Programme to be launched this year.


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