Ministry of Education calls to revoke canceling exam in IO control areas 

The leadership of SPLM-IO has urged the minister of General Education, Hon. Awut Deng Acuil overrules an unprecedented decision stopping standard eight examinations in IO control areas. 

According to the General Education schedule, primary eight candidates are expected to sit for the South Sudan national exam next week. 

Deng indefinitely issued a statement on Thursday withholding the standard eight exam of reaching IO control areas due to what she described as “insecurity threats” in Jonglei and the Upper Nile state. 

In the statement, there was no proper evidence to prove such concerns. The ministry claimed that their staff belonging was previously detained by IO after person assign, send to pay teachers incentive in Nyiror in Jonglei state.

Ministry further reiterated concerns shared with the National Security Service and the police department. All agreed that the exam would not be taken until SPLM-IO gives them proper security assurance.

It is not clear if that can be a reason for adjourning children’s exam when all parties agree to work in one government.

The first vice president spokesperson Puok Kueth Baluong has condemned General education’s decision. He says they are being surprised by “statement that violates the norms and constitutional right of the child access to education.”

Mr. Puok dismissed all insecurity claims naked by the General education. He said the politicized move rights to education of South Sudanese children regardless of who controls the area.   

We think this move is sort of politicking this matter of education, the move or decision is denying pupils to have this of examination.” 

UNICEF communication specialist Helene Sandbu Ryeng says her organization is so concerned for primary eight candidates in SPLM-IO control areas if they do not have a site for the exam. She told pupils are well prepared to sit for the exam, and it is their right to complete the course.

Ryeng says UNICEF was supporting the ministry of General Education in sending out exams across the country. And she urged parties to the agreement to find an amicable solution as soon as possible to ensure that children will not miss the exam.

“It is a fundamental principle for UNICEF to acknowledge that education is the right for every child regardless where in the room child is, and that is standing until today.”

The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 (as amended) article 29 guarantees every Child a right to education.

Activists criticized the new lockdown cited it violate the agreement.

South Sudan human rights activists, have disregarded government decision on new coronavirus lockdown, labeling it “overdue reckless action and politically motivated action that jeopardized the peace agreement.

On Wednesday, South Sudan National Task Force issued an order number” statement, banned social gatherings, schools, religious events, political events, closure of business, limited more passengers in the bus, and restricted mandatory wearing of the facemask.

According to the letter circulated to the public, Vice president Hussein Abdelbagi, the National Taskforce chairperson on COVID-19, signed the document.

The public health laboratory [Ministry of Health] has confirmed 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, February 3rd. And the total cases of people affected with coronavirus reached over 4,000 since the pandemic began.

Activists challenge the government to put the country into partial lockdown for the second time without proper plans to ensure that people observe health measures. They say such raw decision had a political motive when the government of national unity is due to be formed at the states. 

The executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, Edmund Yakani says the new lockdown means nothing but the strategy that will be complicated Revitalize agreement’s implementation.

“This lockdown has come in the unfortunate movement we supposed to have a proper acceleration of peace agreement. It is also a bit disturbing that the government has agreed that the first vice and other ministers from other parties should tour the country. However, they say these people cannot go because of the lockdown.”

Director of Okay Africa Wani Michael says that government restriction on COVID-19 has been careless of handling the pandemic with proper precaution measures in the public gathering. 

Micahel blamed the government as a major violator of health prevention rules on many occasions, gathering people in the conference minus precaution.

“Is the government severe on the issue of COVID? You know, they have been very careless of handling COVID-19. So, what has change? Or the changes they will have for them to think of bringing in new restrictions? Wani said.

Wani further said new restriction sabotage the implementation process of the agreement, which the main public hope. 

The Special Representative of the UN secretary general, David Shearer  urges parties to accelerate peace deal implementation to enable free and fair elections.

In May last year, government lifted restriction and order for re-opening of schools, businesses, meetings, and public activities. 

Gov’t Reveal Creation of Special Courts to trial GBV cases at the states

South Sudan Chief Justice has revealed the government plan to create a Special court for only violence cases against women and girls. 

It’s named “Gender-Based Violence and Juvenile Court.” That Court began to trial several cases in Juba after being established two months ago.

Judges disclosed that the special Court mandates cases related to sexual violence, rapes, and forced marriage.

Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut spokes to the media on Wednesday during the visit of diplomats to the special in Juba.

He says the justice department is waiting for a new budget pass to assign judges to the states.

“There are plans to send judges on duty to different parts of South Sudan which are accessible and have enough security for the judges to attend the cases.”  said Reech

The Chief Justice stated that all allegations reported about GBV must be approved beyond a reasonable doubt with evidence, testimonies from witnesses, police, and doctors’ reports.

Sixty-four [64] tribes have different customary laws. The judges do not apply customary law if it contradicts fundamental human rights.

The Kingdom of Netherlands’s Ambassador pledged his government support to the Special Court.  

Jelte Van Wieren, Dutch Ambassador to South Sudan, says access to justice is crucial to promote peace and law rule.

 “I announced already today (Wednesday) that we are going to a new part of our support to the judiciary to support the psychosocial support unit within the Gender-Based Violence Court. So that people with traumas can get proper counseling, and can be accompanied, and also helped when they come with their cases to the Court”, Jelte said.

The diplomat offers to facilitate logistics of prisoners to attends court seasons.

On Wednesday, 3rd February, diplomats from different countries include the Kingdom of Netherlands, European Union, France, Norway, Germany, Canada, Japan, UK, and the UN Development Programme’s representative, visited the Gender-Based Violence Court at the Judiciary complex in Juba.


Diplomat calls South Sudanese’s journalists to protect the national image

The Egyptian Ambassador has urged South Sudanese journalists to protect the country’s image and prioritize nation-building in news reporting.

The diplomat says the negatives perception damage the image of South Sudan’s reputation globally due to the political dynamic, which he said should be corrected.

Dr. Mohamed Mansur, an Egyptian Ambassador to South Sudan, spokes to the journalist on Tuesday in Juba.

The Ambassador acknowledged challenges facing journalists include security situations and limitation of resources to perform their work.

He reiterated the country had suffered a lot, and journalists should focus on essential areas to unite the nation through constructive reporting.

“I think South Sudanese journalists need to give particular focus on ideas and challenges like nation-building. Like correcting the image of South Sudan. The image of South Sudan you like it or has suffered a lot because of civil war, and you need to work on this”.

It would be best if you told the world the civil war is finish in South Sudan. South Sudan now does not have civil war anymore”. It does have some violence here and there. It does have some problems; in the end, you should be objectives. So, correcting the image of South Sudan is a big challenge that I invited all journalists to address.”

Mansur believed that using positive reporting is an alternative way to change the notion of others about South Sudan.

The chairperson of the South Sudan Union of Journalists, Oliver Mondi, is confident that most journalists are constructive despite numerous media industry problems in South Sudan.

He said several government officials in the country are against media reporting, forcing many journalists to leave the profession due to restrictions and fears.

In December, Egypt sponsored the training, both private and government media, from South Sudan as part of bilateral relations between Cairo and Juba.

Elders Call on Kiir-Machar to Exit Power After Transitional Government

A group of Dinka elders says President Kiir and Vice President Machar should resign in two years. The Jieng Council of elders asks the leaders to exit power after the Transitional Government of National Unity.

The group says both leaders have failed the country. And at the next elections, they should step aside to allow new leadership to solve South Sudan’s problems.

Jieng Council of Elders member Daniel Dhieu Matuet, an MP in the National Assembly, said this is the only way there will be peace and prosperity.

President Kiir says the national Dialogue’s outcome represents citizen views and must be considering. And promised to incorporate the resolutions will into the permanent constitution process.

The Jieng Council of Elders is headed by a 5-member team. They all confirmed to us that they had made this extraordinary statement that has been published online.

The group of Dinka elders said their ideas come as a result of The National Dialogue. This was a process of talking and planning initiated by President Salve Kiir in 2017. It was designed to produce peace and reconciliation after the period of the transitional government ends. At the time, SPLM-IO chairperson Dr. Riek Machar and National Revolution Movement Dr. Lam Akol, were not fully supportive of The National Dialogue.

The Jieng Council of Elders believes that recommendations made during National Dialogue have not been implemented. This means there is a risk that war will return to South Sudan.

In particular, they criticize President Kiir and Vice President Machar. Saying the current government is not interested in fixing South Sudan’s problems because it continues to be dominated by the rivalry that caused the fighting in 2013.

Now the Dinka elders say it is time to “break silence on national affairs.”

Daniel Dhieu Matuet is one of the elders. He mentioned there needs to be a new leadership with the skills and ideas to build the economy and unite South Sudan people. Matuet says the Dinka elders call on the old administration to declare they will not be President and Vice President in 2023 when the transitional government ends.

Dhieu worried that the economy collapsed, innocent people dying due to insecurity threats risked in the peace implementation.

”Things should be corrected when they are not made right, and it’s our duty; we’re not after the presidency. We’re not after ministries, but we want our generation to be reserves, have their lives, and have adequate security. The community is the family of these two people [Kiir-Machar]. What will make them happy, what will make them prosper they have to do it”.

Citizens also spokes out about the calls Jieng Council of Elders made. They say President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar should not participate in the upcoming election.

The community members argued that Kiir and Machar have been waging a war that doesn’t promote peace and development.

“Starting from 2005, there is no development between the two leaders. Since 2005 up to date there is no change. Now we want a new face to come and develop others.” 

The presidential spokesperson says national dialogue resolution politically motivate and cannot be implemented.

Ateny Wek Ateny said the peace agreement is the supreme document that gives Kiir and Machar a mandate to rule the country during the transitional period.

 “What have been said in the National Dialogue, particularly the resolution that is calling for the President and Dr Riek Machar to step aside, has overtaken. The revitalized peace agreement on the conflict resolution makes it clear that President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar will be part of this transition that will last for three years, depending on elections. And they will also go elections according to the agreement which now is the supreme of the country,” Wek said.

The SPLM-IO disagreed with the calls for both leaders to leave power.

Puok Both Kulang, a Director for Information and Public relation in the leading Opposition group He said Jieng Council of Elders has the right to expressed their views but should know that SPLM-IO not eligible to implement any legal resolution of the national dialogue

“Whatever has been decided by the so-called ‘the National Dialogue’ will not concern us as the SPLMM –IO because we are not part and parcel,” said Puok

The elders emphasized that new leadership to set policy economy and development, not a power struggle, is needed in South Sudan.