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South Sudan downplays warnings over disintegration

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April 20, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s government on Sunday downplayed warnings that the country risks breaking down into smaller and tribally-run administrations, claiming that such utterances are meant to undermine the authority and legitimacy of its current leadership.

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South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, September 13, 2011 (ST)

"There is a democratically elected government by the people of this country. The current president was elected by the 93% votes by the people of this country. This was unprecedented win. His term has not yet finished and when it finishes, and there are people wanting to contest, their rights will be respected because we a democratic state," said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister.

"But before that we will have violated not only our own constitution but the democratic principles and the best practices," he added.

The minister denied that the new nation would disintegrate into regional and tribal conclaves, stressing that the government was doing everything within its power to exert full control and deliver services.

"Yes, there are challenges, but I think these challenges can be overcome if we work together as a country, as leaders, as brothers and sisters and as citizens of this country in putting the national agenda first before anything else," said Marial.

Our diversity should be a source of our strength to building this nation, he added.

The top diplomat admitted that the country was undergoing a challenging period, but stressed that the situation would return to normal when peace talks are concluded.

"The government has accepted in principle to negotiate with those who have issues. These talks will resume soon and it is important the government is given a chance to try to resolve all these issues through peaceful dialogue. There is revenge to incite and revenge and then say the country will disintegrate”, he said.

The culture of war, according to the minister, has replaced the culture of the past generation, where dialogue was the preferred choice to resolve differences between rivals.

"The effect of the past war continues to denominate our thinking attitude. The culture of peace which was the preferred choice of the past generation had been replaced with the culture. The culture of today, especially among you, the young people is influenced by the thinking that the war is the best option to claim anything," he said.

Because of this war like attitude, the politicians who have no principles at all are taking advantage to cause havoc, Marial told Sudan Tribune during the interview.

Presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, said the government was doing its best to bring lasting peace into the country, explaining that the army had been deployed to provide protection and safety of the United Nations and its premises as well as personnel in Bor, Jonglei state.

Mark Nyipuoc, the deputy speaker of the national assembly said he was not surprised that some people were quick to warn about disintegration of the country, instead of reaching out to their communities with a message of peace so that the government can deliver the needed services.

"Such statements do not surprise us because we have heard them before. They are part of the political attempts to undermine authority and the legitimacy of a democratically elected government. But I believe the utterance of such inflammable statement needs to be serious attention. I just don’t think we were really paying attention," Nyipuoc said.

"There were periods when relations between communities flourished quite a bit and there were also periods of, shall I say, grayish mood between our two communities before but leaders from these communities never uttered such inflammable statements," he added.

The officials’ reactions came in the wake of numerous public outcry regarding the attack on members of Nuer ethnic group seeking protection at the UN base in Bor.

The government denied its involvement in the attack, but a statement issued by the country’s former political detainees, claimed a group of armed police, military and wildlife soldiers in plain clothes together with some elements of Dinka Bor youth, armed with AK47 rifles and machetes attacked thousands of Nuer IDPs in Bor.

(ST)

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  • 21 April 08:27, by Mi diit

    I agree with the government for the first time. South Sudan will not disintegrate because of an incompetent, illiterate, alcoholic dictator called Salva Kiir. What will happen is that the rebels will soon clear the whole of Upper Nile region, control all oilfields, come to Juba to chase Kiir out and make his supporters in Bahr el Ghazal surrender without any conditions and save the nation.

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    • 21 April 17:03, by Randit

      Dear Marial,
      You are nuer by blood but the God Almighty will finish you and your family for killing innocent Nuer because of money .

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  • 21 April 08:28, by Ross

    Dear Barnaba
    Please, kindly know that the Nation is wise enough to know the foolishness that you are talking about. According to Sudan Interim Constitution, The Elected Presidency’s power has ended with the Separation of South Sudan and all powers gone with the Constitution, that is why Kiir has Step down and SPLA members only appointed him as President of South Sudan. The truth is clear when he t

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  • 21 April 08:42, by Malou Manyiel

    The symptoms of our country becoming another Somalia are very high. Tribe vs tribe, Community vs community, clan vs clan. Therefore, what else is left here? There is no rule of law in place because judiciary system is dead long time ago. I have to prove FM wrong because we the youth of this country are innocent. Politicians are the entire leadership are responsible for all the messes.

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  • 21 April 08:56, by Uncle J

    If the word surrender* was easy for Dinka, why din’t they surrender to Arabs in Khartoum for 21 years of war when Mr. Riek was enjoying slavery swing in the North??? all I know is Dinka never surrender but fight to the end

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    • 21 April 09:40, by Bentiu son

      The half Dinka and half Nuer Dr Marial Benjamin Bil Gatkouth won’t be assimilated or integrated into Nuer Society at all.Dr Marial did not learn from his dad Benjamin Bil Gatkuoth who was chased by Dinka Agaar when he was trying to contest Agaar’s Constituency during Election where he was badly rejected and told to go to Nuerland of Lou Nuer in Jonglei.Dr Marial has been rejected by Uror County

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      • 21 April 09:48, by Bentiu son

        right now and he will be reject by Dinka Agaar too who rejected his dad previously.I do wonder where will he may go,Warap,Lake or Jonglei? Hence, Dr Marial is big liar,yesman,submissiver,womanizer and heartless glutton who sold his origin alive to enemies. We Nuer won’t forgive him and others sellout,traitors,betrayers,food lovers,and blood money suckers Nuer boys who sided with genocidal regime N

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        • 21 April 10:08, by Majongdit

          Bentiu son,
          It irritates you so much that Dr Marial is not as stupid and illiterate like you. There is nothing you can do about him. There is a strong possibility that he can be President of South. Sudan in future. Please respect him.
          Majongdit Yirol

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  • 21 April 09:55, by Niggorota

    Uncle Marial, be inform that when we South Sudanese elected Salva to the of the President, it was not for him to abuse it.
    Also be inform that we elected Salva for the sit of the president of Government of South Sudan not the PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN.
    Also be inform that once the PRESIDENT looses the support of 75% the people HE is ruling then he is no longer the PRESIDENT.

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  • 21 April 10:05, by Uncle J

    Marial Benjamin is the only civilize man in Dinka Nuer who doesn’t believe in ethnicity. With that spirit he will never incite Dinka Vs Nuer massacre. Because his popularity is going up without bad history against he would possibly become President of South Sudan one day while Mr. Riek will experience in-honored death

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  • 21 April 10:15, by Thokidine

    Dear Marial, I think it would be good for u to just silence like other politician who are getting their blood money share and are not making noise around in the world. ur teaching and distorting of truth has been rejected by the world long ago and I don’t know why u still bark, what do u want to tell us? if the president is elected and he turned evil, who else would denounce him puppet, is it not

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    • 21 April 10:22, by Thokidine

      the same pple we elected or should God come down from heaven to denounce his deed. Stop ur cheap propaganda fooling pple around coz u are bribed, if dinka were pple whom u should praise now a day, why were u rejected like "DOG" to contest in the election u are reminding us of? We are the pple we elected him and we are the same pple who denounced him coz he kills and he was not elected to kill

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      • 21 April 12:02, by Frak Cho

        "Do not do unto others what you do not want done unto you!" I have never seen any Nuer commencing cleverly! Is it because Dinka person is a president that’s why you Nuer talk of Dinka kingdom? What if Riek Machar becomes president you Nuer then becomes kingdom, or when Shiuluk/Bari becomes president then that tribe turn to kingship? What’s all this!!

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      • 21 April 12:09, by Frak Cho

        It is said Nuer are war like-people and is confirmed in this war. The person you elected has not yet finished is term yet you chose to fight! Why and there are no votes rigged to justify your fight and yet 2015 is still ahead! Even if Riek becomes president that the means you people chose, still will not lead South Sudan successfully because of your tribal mindset.

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  • 21 April 10:16, by Majongdit

    DISINTEGRATION OF SOUTH SUDAN IS NOT POSSIBLE. THE DINKA WILL NEVER ACCEPT TO BE DIVIDED LIKE THE NUER. FOR INSTANCE, THERE IS NOW NUER ETHIOPIA AND NUER SOUTH SUDAN.

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  • 21 April 14:28, by Positive Thinker

    It is very unpportunate to have people like Dr. Barnaba Marial who can not accept the truth until it come to pass.
    I am sick and tired of one song that goes, elected president with 93%. call electtion today and see how many people will elect him. And you Dr. Marial, contest in Uror today and see whether you will win any vote. it better to analyse than just throwing out independent opine.

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    • 21 April 21:29, by Fact Nonsense

      If Salva Kiir could listen to the people, thenI humbly ask him to transfer power to any willing person from other tribes than give us a chance to go head to with these stupid nuer. I’m frankly radical because I’ve given up accepting to be with these fools in this land. Give us the chance the ICC won’t have enough space to take all Dinka to the court. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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