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South Sudan News

Investigators To Reveal South Sudan Stolen Money Next Monday

By Staff writer


International experts are set to launch on Monday the report of a two-year investigation into alleged money scandals  in South Sudan by officials and also reveal the alleged ongoing money-laundering and arms deals involving particular companies and business people around the world.

According to Media Advisory seen by The Nation Mirror, the Sentry, an investigative initiative co-founded by John Prendergast and George Clooney, will present findings of the investigation into networks of South Sudan’s senior officials and their international facilitators, “whose violent competition over corruption opportunities has turned their country into one of world’s deadliest war zones.”

The event will reveal sources of corruption in South Sudan and attempts to establish a links between massive corruption and armed conflict.

Clooney, Prendergast, Don Cheadle and members of the Sentry team are expected to discuss the findings of the investigation.

The organizers say he Sentry will release a report summarizing the results of nearly two years of following the money in South Sudan’s “shadowy war economy” and the links to an array of international facilitators and enablers, which include bankers, arms dealers, and businessmen.

It said experienced team of investigators, including former employees of the United States FBI, Treasury Department, other government agencies, intelligence communities, and Congress, as well as contributions from field researchers, country experts, academia and press, will attend the event.

The two-year investigation, according to the report, was done by expert researchers who pored through thousands of pages of legal records, corporate filings, financial statements, transaction and shipping documents, and other official correspondence; tracked suspects’ online social media footprints; and utilized satellite imagery to gather and analyze data about South Sudan’s assets and movements.

Investigators according to the Advisory, traveled to multiple locations including Melbourne, Adelaide, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Juba, Cairo and Nairobi, etc, to gather evidence and interview hundreds of experts and eyewitnesses, “many of whom spoke under the condition of anonymity”.

The Nation Mirror will follow the event online.

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UNDP Ready To Support Finance Ministry For Economic Recovery


By Dach Agoth Mayen


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has affirmed readiness to work with the ministry of finance in order to advance the country’s economic recovery.

The Development agency official met with Minister of Finance Stephen Dhieu Dau and called for commitment to economic stabilization and sustainable development initiatives. The agency also said there is “momentum” toward progress on recovery efforts.

UNDP has been arranging international donor support for the SPLM-led South Sudanese government throughout for the nearly three year civil war through various grant-making mechanisms. It has consistently advocated that donor governments should keep funding developmental projects rather than diverting their donations into humanitarian relief.

UNDP Acting Country Director Jean-Luc Stalon revealed this week in Juba after meeting with the minister of finance and economic planning Stephen Dhieu Dau “Today’s meeting highlighted the mutual understanding between UNDP and Ministry of Finance, and the momentum at the present moment to make progress on recovery efforts in South Sudan,” he said.

The meeting came after the United Nations Security Council visited South Sudan last week and promised to cooperate with the government of President Salva Kiir. Development support will be a part of that cooperation, according to the UNDP Acting Country Director. “UNDP advocated for balanced approach of inter-related humanitarian and development responses in South Sudan, emphasizing the Ministry’s role in critical recovery and stabilization efforts,” it said in a statement.

The two also discussed the New Deal Compact, which is an agreement between conflict-affected states, international development partners and civil society to improve development policy and practice.

On his part the Minister of finance said he discussed with Mr. Stalon on the preparations needed to develop a Compact specific to South Sudan with an emphasis on strengthening state-level institutions as UNDP reiterated its commitment to working with the Ministry of Finance to support reinvigorated local economies, inclusive economic growth, and more resilient communities.

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Minister Cautions Journalists Over Fueling Conflict


By Chuty Anyar


The Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Service Michael Makuei Lueth, has challenged journalists to adhere to professionalism and avoid rumor mongering which he said contributes to more disaster.   

“I had been on your neck all along guarding you on how to write correct news with inaccurate information but you (journalists) shifted to be writing rumors cooked on social media particularly Facebook which are contributing problem to this nation,” Makuei said.  Makuei was addressing members of press yesterday at the Ministry of Information. He urged journalists to objectively analyze information before publishing the stories. 

He said despite continued caution, journalists trended to inaccurate writing without considering the situation of the country, arguing that journalists have never realized mistakes often committed in their media houses and on social media has fueled conflict.  According to him, journalists have decided to use social media which is out of government control. He added that there are no possibilities for the government to control wrong messages which are being fabricated on social media.

The government official said any information which does not have sources cannot   be published simply because it is always negatively tarnish the image of the nation or individuals. 

“I am saying this because some of the newspapers like Al-mougif and Al-Wahda have already attested the argument as they go contrary to each other,” he stressed. On Monday, Al-mougif Arabic newspaper reported that the government has accepted in principle to the deployment of regional protection force while Al-Wada said government accepted the deployment of protection force. “Now are these two titles in harmony,” Makuei asked.

He appealed to media fraternity to uphold ethical reporting and added that the press briefing was held in order to make realignment in the media to avoid mistakes.

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Students Say Impossible To Receive Money In China Using South Sudan Passport


By Garang Abraham Malak


South Sudanese students in China have claimed that Chinese Banks have failed to recognize their passports to receive money from any part of the due to lack of zip code recognized in Chinese database.

Atem Chol Apoith a student from China University of Petroleum told The Nation Mirror yesterday on phone that the Chinese banks have constantly halted most students from receiving money using their South Sudan passports.

“We as south Sudanese students studying in China are facing a lot of problems. We don’t know where to run for help except to ask our relative back home and all over the world to send us money which is restricted.  Right now the problems that need an immediate solution cannot be solved despite money in the bank,” Chol stressed.

Chol revealed each time student is sent money from any part of the world and if he or she goes to the bank to cash the money using his own South Sudanese passport, the student are denied access to their money.  

He said the Chinese business entities always stated to them that South Sudan does not exist in the new Chinese database.

“I urge our government to take this matter seriously and help us  (students) studying abroad by at least including the country’s code in the new Chinese database for the sake of  students prosper in China so that we can freely use our passports without restriction,” he explained.

He said using other students from other countries to cash their money is always risky.   On expiry of passports, he said. “This problem has hindered the earlier receiving of school dues for the students and that may lead one to delay in attending lectures in time since he or she will not be able to settle his or her school dues in time,” he stressed.

Chol mentioned that some students sometimes need the money urgently for urgent affairs like sickness and personal proper upkeep. He called on the government and especially the ministry of higher education to urgently address the matter with Chinese authorities in order to resolve the issue.

However, The Nation Mirror was not able to verify the information about passports and recognition of zip codes from neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Chinese Embassy.

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Gov’t, UNSC Agree To Work Cooperatively, Cabinet Minister Says


By Dach Agoth Mayen


The Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro has said the visit by the United Nations Security Council has enabled renewal of spirit of cooperation between the government and the world highest security institution.

The UNSC on Friday began a three-day tour of the war ravaged country to further push for UN approved protection force to be deployed in Juba. “The United Nations Security Council and the Transitional Government of National Unity agreed to work in a fresh spirit of cooperation to advance the interests of South Sudanese people particularly the aspiration for justice, liberty and prosperity,” Dr. Lomuro told media. He said the unity government will devise a plan with UNMISS by the end of September on concrete steps to remove impediments to UNMISS’s ability to implement its mandate, including reviewing procedures related to movement and streamlining bureaucratic processes.

Meanwhile President Salva Kiir Mayardit took the 15-member delegation to witness the scene of July 8 fighting between forces loyal to him and former First Vice President, Riek Machar Teny.  The UNSC delegation co-led by US Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Samantha Power arrived to the capital over the weekend to push for deployment of additional regional protection forces in the country. President Kiir warmly received the UN Security Council delegation in his office and assured them of government’s cooperation. On her part, Ms. Power, pledged a fresh spirit of cooperation to work with President Kiir’s administration.

The 15-member delegation after series of talks appealed to President Kiir government to allow reinforcement of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to implement the peace pact signed in August 2015.

According to the UN, the violence has displaced 1.6 million people internally and other 900,000 into neighboring countries. Another 4.6 million are severely food insecure. Since July, the government had vowed it will not allow the UN authorized 4000 regional protection forces arguing that it was a threat to sovereignty. President Kiir vowed not to allow even a single foreign soldier to set foot into the country’s territory. But Power, pledged that the UN Mission in South Sudan would remain “impartial” and would be in cooperation with the government. She explained that “early references to the force as an intervention brigade may have left a bad taste in some folks’ mouth so part of the reason we are here also is to clarify what the force is here to do, and it is very deliberately... described as a regional protection force in that it is comprised of forces from the region in order to enhance protection here.”

Fode Secke, the Ambassador of Senegal and a member of the delegation said, “This deployment will be done in collaboration with the South Sudanese government.” On the proposed Hybrid Court of South Sudan, Samantha said justice and peace “have to go hand in hand” to ensure alleged rape and looting is stopped and perpetuators brought to justice to avoid impunity.

 “There has been a lot of rhetoric about the regional protection force, this additional force on top of the UNMISS is proposed with one constituency in mind and that is the people of South Sudan” Power told the press last week.

The peace deal says that the Hybrid Court should consist of a mixture of African and South Sudanese judges, but there is no progress so far in setting up of the court.

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JMEC Resumes Operations In Juba, Urged To Unite Taban, Machar

By Roger Alfred Yoron


The secretariat of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission JMEC has fully resumed its mission in Juba as of Saturday 3rd September after weeks of temporary operations in Addis Ababa, the peace monitors said.

In a statement yesterday, JMEC said its chairperson Festus G Mogae remains committed to assist the transitional government of national unity to implement peace agreement.

“The JMEC Chairperson expressed his unflinching commitment to assist TGoNU in its implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The Chairperson also stated his plan to engage in the next few days with all major stake holders in the peace process including the leadership of TGoNU at the highest level,” the statement said. “Since its return, the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) former President H.E. Festus G Mogae held consultations with the United Nation Security Council delegation which was on a working visit to South Sudan from the 2nd to the 5th of September 2016.”

Mogea expressed his appreciation to the UN Security Council delegation for undertaking “timely” visit to South Sudan.


The statement said:

“He [Mogae] underscored the importance of the visit in reassuring the government and the people of South Sudan of the partnership of the International Community in general, and the United Nations in particular, with the government and people of South Sudan, in bringing sustainable peace to the nation.

“The Chairperson briefed the delegation on his diplomatic engagements, with the IGAD Chairman, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, several South Sudanese TGoNU cabinet Ministers, South Sudanese representatives to JMEC, and representatives of the International Community including UNMISS, TROIKA, EU and IGAD ambassadors.”

On his part, Onyoti Adigo Nykwec, the former leader of minority in the national parliament urges JMEC to implement the security arrangements mentioned in the peace agreement.Adigo says JMEC should prioritize making the peace process inclusive by uniting the different factions of the parties to the agreement including the SPLM Former Detainees.

“I thought the first thing which they should have done as JMEC… they should have try to put together Riek Machar and Taban Deng so that they put their house in order, so that implementation of peace agreement will be smooth,” Adigo said.

“If it is hard to unite them then there is war in the country like what is happening now. The supporters of Riek will continue fighting, and then you don’t have peace… it is a very simple equation… if we need peace, we need to involve everybody, and it is enshrined in the agreement that peace should be inclusive.”

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Jonglei, Boma State To Form A Joint Police Force


By Garang Abraham Malak


Jonglei and Boma state said they will form a joint police force which will address issues of cattle raiding and child abduction at the borders of two states. 

The governor of Jonglei state Phillip Aguer Panyang told The Nation Mirror in an exclusive interview over the weekend that the reason for visit to Boma state was to address the issues of cattle raiding and child abduction that has been roaming between the two states for quiet long and has not been settled. 

“In addition to stop cattle raiding and child abduction, we also agreed to open up joint business for traders and business members from respective states to have an opportunities of visiting other states, exchanges commodities between themselves hence promoting trade among. 

Aguer reiterated that he and governor Baba Medan of Boma, James Nyuon and Bol Kong as members of former Jonglei state all agreed to build to Greater Jonglei, as Jonglei and Boma state have started implementing agreement were us the rests will join us in embracing the agreement deeds in Greater Jonglei and south Sudan at a large”.

Aguer stated that his purpose for the visit to Gumuruk was based on peace embracement, “the peace building meeting went on successfully as the meeting was attended by more than forty administrators on both parties”.

“The administrators involved both governors, commissioners, peace advisors, members of the traditional authorities, paramount chiefs, the representative of women and youth which was well balanced as I can explained that we all shared the meeting well” he stressed.

Aguer  mentioned that the governor of Boma Baba Medan and Hon. David Yau Yau the deputy Minister of defense have worked to recover some of the children that were abducted.  “There was also one child that was abducted by the criminals from Jonglei state, that child will be returned back to Boma state in the coming Anyidi Peace conference that will take place on 15 September 2016, am so glad with the authorities of the Boma because of the promise they gave relating to elimination of child abduction” Aguer added.

He stated that more than eight children have been returned since last year and the process of return continues. 

Aguer also mentioned that the only way were Juba-Bor road ambushes (Khor Makuac) is through the establishment of joint police that will keep on patrolling the highway.

The governor calls on the media to extends the word of peace to grassroots level, it is the only tool we can use to see peace prevailing, through sensitization the local communities, communities need to be preached the word of peace through local languages because they are sometimes been misled by the politicians.

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Two National Youth Union Executive Officials Resign

By Dach Agoth Mayen


Dr. Thomas Thiik Yak, National Youth Union Secretary for States Affairs and Dr. Achol Deng Alak, Secretary of Information, have announced their resignation from their jobs.

The duo issued a letter seen by The Nation Mirror claiming that they have resigned from the administration of the Youth Union.

The two executive members accused their President Dr. Albino Bol for harboring no vision to unite the youth.

“The sole purpose for the formation of the youth Union was to unite the Youth in the country, under your leadership, but they have become divided than before, whereas our country need peace and unity, especially among youth, I find it unnecessary to work under a leader who has no vision of uniting the youth of this country. As such it is moral obligation to distant from your dividing practice “the letter narrated.

In yet another accusation, the youth executives charge Dr. Albino of violating the constitution and threatening colleagues. “It has become your tradition to accuse members and conspired to the National Security and government any youth who disagrees with you in the manner, you are running union alone…..by misleading the government with wrong information which I believe discouraged many members to desert the Union including me” the letter added.

They further charge the youth president of using the Youth Union as a political tool to advance his interest.

Meanwhile Dr. Ayak Chol who resigned together with Dr. Thiik, explained that there was always information gap in the Union as she claimed that she was always bypassed and sidelined in as far as the information is concerned.

“I found that what is for this secretary is not consistent so I decided to withdraw from the executive” she said. However, Dr. Albino denied any knowledge of resignation by any of the officials. When The Nation Mirror contacted him on phone, he said, “I do not have any knowledge about their resignation I am hearing this from the newspaper” Last week, some of the Council Members of the Youth Union accused Dr. Albino of obstructing the meeting which they claimed did not take place since formation of the Union. 

They said Dr. Albino and Council Speaker submitted a budget to the Ministry of Youth bigger than the requirement needed for sitting of the national parliament. However Dr. Albino said the Council Meeting could not happen if youth from the states are not involved. He said the 1.5 million pounds if released could cater for accommodation of states youth delegates.    It is not clear what the new resignation could mean to the youth leadership.

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Failures, Threats To Fulfillment Of Public’s Right To Information In South Sudan

By Roger Alfred Yoron


South Sudan’s Right of Access to Information Act explicitly recognizes the constitutional right of citizens to access information held by public or private bodies, as fundamental to fulfilment of human rights and fighting corruption. But nearly three years since enactment, the law has failed to achieve its purpose.

Nicodemus Ajak Bior, the Information Commissioner together with his deputy Moses Wol Deng Atak were appointed by President Salva Kiir and took oath of office in February 2016 with the mandate to amongst others, promote maximum discloser of information in the public interest provide for in the Act, a task they both have failed to execute. 

Wol resigned nearly two months ago, citing absence of political will and institutional support to ensure independence of the commission.

Ajak who still holds office blames the commission’s failure on lack of budget and funding from donor sources.

“We cannot start when we don’t have people. We need people.  The whole structure of the office is in place but we don’t have individuals to do those jobs. Like if it is receiving and reviewing complaints from requesters, we need to have a department for that,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Nation Mirror.

“We need people to monitor compliance and how other government institutions are making information available. We need people to do the training, public awareness so that people are aware that there’s a law that actually gives them the right to access information. This is the challenge now we have. Not many people know that the law permits them to seek information.”

Ajak said the Information Commission has not been considered for any “budgetary allocation” because it was established when the Country was already in the middle of the Financial Year 2015/2016. 

He currently occupies “temporarily” an office space inside the Public Information Center, a department within the Ministry of Information after failing to secure an “establishment fund” from the government for an acquisition of an office. 

Article 24 Sub-Article 2 and Article 32 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan respectively provide that “All levels of government shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society.” And “Every citizen has the right of access to official information and records, including electronic records in the possession of any level of government or any organ or agency.”  The Right of Access to Information Act is one of the Media Laws which have been enacted to give effect to the exercise of those constitutional rights in the Country. 

However, right groups continue to call for reform of the laws to conform to international human rights law. “Everyone, not just citizens of South Sudan should be entitled to access information under the law,” partly read a submission by Article 19 to the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of South Sudan.

Commissioner Ajak however disagrees insisting that “...we have it (the right of access to information) in our Constitution, there is nothing that can stop it from being the right of everybody in this country. That is why there are institutions like the Information Commission.”

On his part, Oliver Modi Benjamin the Chairperson of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan UJOSS and an Executive Member of the Association of Media Development in South Sudan AMDISS reiterated calls for full implementation of the law.

Speaking to The Nation Mirror, Modi urged that the vacancy of the deputy commissioner vacated by Wol be filled in line with provisions of the Act. He however maintained that there are better alternatives to solving work differences than resignation.  

“When those people resigned, they have their own reasons which I cannot be able to pre-empt but all I can say is some people need a peaceful environment and some people can work throughout, in peaceful environment and in hardship... but rather my advice to my fellow South Sudanese is that, resignation is not a solution to our offices, to our responsibilities,” Modi said.

Modi said members of the commission should be “active and collaborative” with local partners. “We are eager to sharing with them, not necessarily all that they want but I think sharing of opinion, ideas and information,” he said. The Information Act criminalizes obstruction or destruction from public of information not exempted under the law.

The Commissioner of Information said the commission will embark on enlightening government officials on their obligations under the law once there is a budget. 


Commissioner to Regulate Fees 

The Act authorizes the commissioner after consultations with the ministers of information and of finance to regulate amongst other modes of pay and maximum fee payable to public and private bodies for cost of production of information.

“The fee amount… shall exclude costs of searching for the information requested, the time spent examining and redrafting the relevant information, or those related to those related to transcribing the information,” states section 12 subsection 2 of the Act. Ajak said the commission is still going slow on the matter.

“This is a fee that we will all agree [on] because we don’t want to overcharge people and even make it hard for people to access information. We also don’t want to make it so free so that even other administrative things don’t happen. That can only be done with the ministry of finance, once we settle the budget, once we have the place, and we hire people,” the commissioner said before conceding that the fee shall be only for production cost of information.

Meanwhile, Modi has called for “flexibility” from the institutions saying affordable amount of fee should be adopted because of the current inflation in the Country. “Because at the moment it is very difficult to determine a cost of a document because of the high prices in the market... So we shall not be able to have a stable price that can really make such kind of activity to run,” he said. 

The information Commissioner agrees that it would be difficult to find an appropriate affordable amount  Two Journalists spoke to The Nation Mirror on condition of anonymity expressing concern that the fees should not go beyond a reasonable production cost of providing the information.

Ajak said the information commission will compel all government institutions to establish a “working interactive” websites, equipped with the activities and personnel of each body to in order to reduce the cost of accessing of information by the public. 

“You don’t need to go to every particular institution in order to find some information. When I worked in the Ministry of Petroleum, people were coming to us to ask even very simple things,” the commissioner said as he decried the poor mode of communications amongst institutions of the government.

“So we will work with those institutions to see into it that if they have websites that have stalled and are not working, they are brought back to work.  If there are institutions who do not have websites, they need to create them.  Every public institution....”

He pointed out that the use of personal emails for office correspondences, an act commonly practiced by South Sudan’s government officials, is hampering the rights of the public to access information.

Some ministers when relieved from duties leave with office computers and files, forcing their successors to start from scratch, Ajak added.

“Some of those information that goes like that are very, very sensitive and then it becomes difficult for citizens to get those information, not because they were not there but simply because there was no laid down procedure of keeping that information,” the commissioner said adding that he will work to see in to it that government emails for officials in “sensitive positions” are created. 

“Correspondences of the government either within or outside must be done with the government emails...so that when you leave, that email does not function with you and you don’t leave with all the government information,” he stated.

Threats and Hopes 

With only a logo approved by the cabinet, a temporary office space, no “support staff,” no Deputy, no agency supporting it, coupled with the economic crises facing South Sudan, the Information Commission’s hope is centered on the new budget for the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 which is currently under discussion.

That hope almost came into a complete end last week when the ministry of finance “accidentally” issued the Commission a budget limit of 5 Million South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) for the proposed budget for the new financial year.  

“What we are seeing now is that the ceiling that has been given to us is a bit worrying. We have been told that the access to information commission has an operating ceiling of 5000000 pounds, at this particular rate this is less than 75 Thousand [US] dollars. Basically there is nothing you can do with such an amount of money,” Commissioner Ajak said at the time. 

He later told The Nation Mirror on Saturday that the finance ministry has now rectified the matter after realizing that the Commission is an independent institution and not a department within the ministry of information. 

Ajak said an SSP 75 Million budget prepared by the Commission “to ensure for full implementation of the Act” will now be presented to the cabinet for consideration in the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 budget.

“We just have already the one that we have done, it is only unfortunate that they did not put it in this new budget but we will have to make our case again, and the minister of information will have to take it back to the cabinet for reconsideration,” he said.

Concerns have been raised on whether the commission’s budget passing through the executive (cabinet) as opposed to parliament direct would not jeopardize the work or independence of the commission.

“We are hopeful that the council will work this out… and will pass it and we will take it to the ministry of finance, so that it is included in the new budget,” the commissioner said.

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Inadequate Capacity Hinders Media Authority Work To Handle Media Issues, Chairperson

atong MA

By Roger Alfred Yoron


Journalists thought the formation of the Media Authority would finally end their scuffle with security institutions over media related issues, but nothing changed ever since President Salva Kiir assented to the media laws and appointed officials to the media regulatory body.

President Kiir appointed nine members of the board of directors of the Media Authority last year but cases of detention of journalists by security still persist.

Ayuen Akuot Atem, a freelance journalist based in Juba said he is surprised why the body has failed to turn things around.

“When they were established… it was a hope for the media professionals but to my surprise as a journalist today, the situation has never changed. It is like we are still in the same stage whereby there is no anybody or media regulatory body that is taking care of journalists’ affairs,” Akuot told The Nation Mirror.

“We always operate in fear because there is no Media Authority or a Media Regulatory Body that will take care of us and our media houses in case of anything. So we are actually in fear and in fear of uncertainty.” The role of Media Authority according to the Act, is to regulate, develop and promote independent and professional media in South Sudan.

The Authority shall be a regulatory body for the broadcast media and transformation of government and state controlled television and radio into a public broadcasting corporation, the law says. “The Authority shall ensure that media development and press freedoms in South Sudan are consistent with Constitutional and International guarantees of freedom of expression and shall promote public interest in the media sector specifically by: … (h) amicably resolving legal complaints of defamation, incitement to violence, hate speech and invasion of privacy,” provides Section 19 (1) of the Act. 


Yet, the board of directors currently operates with only seven members after two, including the former chairperson Kiir Chol Deng resigned.

Some eight specialized committees and autonomous bodies including the Press and Broadcast Complaints Council, Hearings Panel, Media Appeals Board, Legal Committee, Complaints and Monitoring Committee, Broadcast and Frequency Licensing Committee, Public Affairs and Education Committee Engineering and Technical Standard Committee are required by the law for the fulfilment of the mandate of the Authority.

None of those committees and bodies have been formed. Atong Majok Kur, chairperson of the Authority told The Nation Mirror that the body has failed to deliver and form the required committees due to lack of budget.

However, she explained that, the Authority has been giving advice to the government, media houses, and security agencies with regards to the issues raised in the media law.

“There are some positive outcome of that guidance and what we always receive [from the NSS] as an answer is ‘please, the Media Authority, we shouldn’t be doing your work. Establish your office. We are just here to fill the vacuum, because we are seeing a vacuum. If you are not here to regulate, then there must be somebody who must be taking care of this until you come up,’” Majok said.

“And when they tell us that…we look at ourselves and ask: ‘where will we start from?’ The budget is not there and we don’t have money to bring in the committees [required by the law]...”

She said the Authority has failed to secure funds from agencies including UNESCO and Internews.

Earlier, some agencies promised to fund the Authority once transitional government of national unity is formed, she said.

“And we have been waiting, the transitional government is formed and we have not seen any help from them. So that was another thing. We also have inadequate capacity to respond and handle media issues,” Majok said. Oliver Modi Phillip, the Chairperson of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan UJOSS urged the Media body to fulfill their mandate defined by the law.

He said the Authority should have strategies for lobbying besides the government budget.

“The security are right that they are filling a vacuum which was created long time ago even before this media laws existed. Since the [the Media Authority] were not there, the security have to shoulder that kind of responsibility...” Modi told The Nation Mirror. “If they come to UJOSS and say they wanted something like a printing paper, I will give, even if the little, we shall share with them. That is the creativity we are talking about. If we start locally like that, then we’ll advance to other partners who have more support.” However, journalist Akuot remains skeptical about what the Media Authority will deliver. 

“…you need to reflect your skill and ability that you can be able to do the job. But if you first put up the issue of budget without doing the work, there is no guarantee… So I am still skeptical they may be given that budget and they relax the way they relax. I’m still having that skepticism,” Akuot said. “Whenever they are functioning, I expect them to handle the issues of media without the interference of other organ like the security… they should also work so that the Country will be able to know what they are doing and whether they are working for the interest of institutions that they were formed to regulate.”


Questionable Independence

Right groups have raised concerns that provisions of the Act which give the executive the power to appoint and dismiss members of the board of directors will compromise independence of the Media Authority.

The groups, including Article 19 adds that provisions in the Act which make the Media Authority dependent on budget and grants approved by the government, open a door for undue influence.

However, Majok insisted the Media Authority shall maintain independent regardless of how its members have been appointed. “So the fact that I am appointed, I don’t see it is contradicting with my roles, because the law was very clear that the Media Authority should be independent, should be advising the government. As long as there is something guiding me, the Act, I will not fear being removed, even if it costs me my job, that’s OK,” she added.

“Maybe if there are some articles [which are not good] in the law, the law is not there to be permanent, it can be amended, anytime. If you feel like this law is really contradicting with this, then you amend, if the majority accept that it has to be amended.”


Some Minimal Achievement and The Future

Majok revealed that the Media Authority has managed to acquire a rented office space which shall be launched soon. 

“…despite all the challenges that we are facing, lack of funding…we now have our office, it’s only the process of now launching it and making it operational. We have paid all the rent.  We have furnished the offices and it is all about the business community helping,” she said.

Thereafter, Majok said, the specialized committees required by the law will be formed, with the hope that the government will include the Authority in the budget currently under discussion for the financial year 2016/2017.

“If you will delay someone’s [the committees’] salary for one month, it is understandable,” Majok said explaining that the Managing Director of the Authority has been “volunteering” since his appointment four months ago.

Modi, the UJOSS chairperson urged the Authority to “as soon as possible” form the Press and Broadcast Complaints Council.

The Act says the Council shall “promote and adopt codes of ethics and guidelines for professional conduct for print and broadcast journalists.” Modi called for review and unification of the current codes of ethics being used by journalists in the Country.

“What we did [the current code] was temporarily to make sure that journalists have something to at least guide them... the Media Authority has responsibility to make sure that all these will be put right, and that’s why we need them to be really there,” said Modi, who also doubles as executive member of the Association for Media Development in South Sudan AMDISS.

He further called for replacement of the two members who have resigned from the Authority. Modi argued that challenges affecting journalists cannot wait for the Country to become stable.

“They are supposed to be opening their office. That office is rented but nobody is inside. The issues of structures and office equipment does not need to wait until the budget is out,” the UJOSS chairperson stressed.

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Western Lakes, Gok States Quarrel Over Territory

Gok State map 0

By Garang Abraham Malak


The two states of Western Lakes and Gok previously curved from Greater Lakes State have quarreled over, an expanse of land in the border between the two sisterly states where each state claims ownership.

The Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports in Gok State, Madol Panther told The Nation Mirror that the neighboring State of Western Lakes State has been attacking and  intimidating their state citizens with the aims of destroying agricultural produces in the area. The State government official spokesman accused Gok states authorities of looting, and killing two civilians as well as wounding two others within a disputed payam. Information Minister Madol said Western Lakes State deputy Governor Madam Agum Ruben Machir and accompanying delegation frequently visit the area he called Ngap Payam, leaving communities in chaos.

“Deputy governor with her teams were accused several times of distributing ammunitions, bullets to local communities of Jur Bel of Western Lakes state with intention to fight communities of Ngap Payam in Gok state,” Madol stressed. Madol mentioned that Gok state government under the leadership of Governor Madhang Majok Meen has been quiet over the matter with hope that authorities from neighboring state under the leadership of Abraham Makoi Bol refrain from the attacks but to no avail.  “Western Lakes State governor surprised us with announcement of the newly created counties of his state that include Ngap or Barel as one of his state counties. Ngap county does not belongs to them, this is a clear indication that the Governor was behind the attacks on our people,” Madol accused Governor Bol.   Madol claimed that his government will always remain committed to peaceful resettlement of the matter and called upon local population to remain calm.

“Our government is fully committed to peace and reconciliation and this is why our state is peaceful despite external aggressions,” he concluded. On his side, a member of Gok state Legislative Assembly representing the said area John Aremic Manga seriously condemned the attacks on innocent people and called for immediate sacking of Western Lakes States deputy governor Madam Agum Ruben from her position citing charges of instigating sisterly communities to fight.  

“Ngap is one of the proposed counties of the newly created Gok state that Western Lakes Government claimed to be one of their areas under Wulu county of Western Lakes state,” he explained. However, Western Lakes States Information Minister Daniel Dut told The Nation Mirror that armed criminals of about 240 youth from Gok State attacked what he called Barel payam and abducted two ladies, raped them and one managed to escape. Dut said the armed youth from Gok State also stole two solar panels from the states hospital including hand free (HF radio) and killed one person leaving three others wounded. “The criminals also disarmed four police men and attacked Barel primary school and also looted 600SSP from the neighboring school,” said Dut.

Asked about the claimed of announced Nyap payam or Barel payam as one of their county, he replied “I have never heard of any story about Nyap payam nor do I know whether that name exist,” said information Minister.

Dut stated that Gok state elements first attacked Barel payam twice in which later they formed a committee comprise of deputy governor of Western lakes, National security advisor and police commission to verify the first attack but were also attacked before reaching Gok governor.

“Western Lakes State governor called Gok state’s governor when he heard of the second attack but assured to investigate the incident,” he stressed.

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