“They have not only ate our dura (grain), but they have as well ate away our image before the international community”
By Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
January 25, 2010 (SSNA) — At a time when we are all engaged with the political developments in the preparations for the election and the referendum issues which have now come to a stalemate, suddenly the “Graingate” popped up to spoil the situation even the more. It is really a pity to see that when south Sudan makes two steps ahead, the witches take us three steps behind.
This grain scandal which is of the magnitude of the astronomical figure of $2.7 billion is no simple deal at all. And in real democracy of which we are not, many big shots would have put in their resignations. This of course is not to be expected from our ethnically selected GoSS, but all the same witches are still witches.
South Sudan has been languishing in widespread insecurity and inter-tribal disputes for the good chunk of this year. The region is completely awash with all kinds of fire arms and sophisticated guns and rocket loungers owned by tribal militias. GoSS believes that the tribal clashes in south Sudan is sponsored by its CPA partners of the dominant NCP of President al Bashir. Well this bit though largely shared by many south Sudanese politicians and some foreigners, it is still a thing to be backed with concrete proofs and evidence to make it sell universally as the north repeatedly denies any involvement in these tribal bloodbaths. We can also do well to avoid any unnecessary provocations that would cost us dearly as the recent diplomatic row with the neighbouring Kenyan knowing well that we are a landlocked country.
Then some months back, the UN warned of a looming famine over south Sudan as the rains are very poor and there is a widespread crop failure. With this in mind, a mega grain scandal is in fact the last thing a south Sudanese would want to hear.
We have had the north blamed for most of our problems and I wish we could blame them again on the “Graingate” if there is a chance not necessarily a proof as usual. Unfortunately I am not going to do that here and obviously the GoSS is not going to use its bitter rival the NCP as a scapegoat here in any way. This particular scandal have been cut and tailored to the size of HE Salva Kiir Mayardit and his cabinet in Juba
This presents now the real challenge to the institutions of south Sudan and it should remind us of what President Barrack Obama said on his visit to Ghana and later echoed by Hilary Clinton in Nigeria on August 12, 2009 on good governance.
“Again, to refer to President Obama’s speech, what Africa needs is not more strong men; it needs more strong democratic institutions that will stand the test of time. (Applause.) Without good governance, no amount of oil or no amount of aid, no amount of effort can guarantee Nigeria’s success.” She said.
The point here is indeed very clear and it is our institutions that can see us through. We need it now to dig into this defaming scandal. The South Sudan Legislative Assembly(SSLA), the law enforcement organs, the Judiciary, the Press(journalists), and the civil society should all come out and play their parts responsibly in unearthing those witches who have dealt south Sudan this fatal blow.
However as I have come to live with it, I will never be surprised to receive some condemnation remarks from the cronies of those involved in this $2.7 billion “Graingate” once they realize that I am asking for the whole GoSS to be turned inside out right from the President’s Office to the ministry of Finance and beyond and those involved should be asked to resign and taken to court regardless of who they are.
One veteran south Sudanese politician who resided in London during the civil war once commented that south Sudanese are abnormally too sensitive to minor issues. Well the issue being discussed was about an SPLM supporter who was caught at Heathrow airport in possession of real cash at the range of almost half a million dollars.
“We don’t have to be too sensitive like that, after all the money is barely $500 thousands. Not much”, he said.
This time around I will not be surprised at all if some one asks me to shut up because this $2.7 billion scandal is nothing. “After all they did nothing. What have they eaten for you to make all this fuss? Nothing! Just some dura? ”.
Nevertheless now for our dignity’s sake as south Sudanese we all need to go out there and prove to the world that we can govern ourselves in a civilized manner and stop throwing blames on the north who though our traditional enemies, but sometimes our own can even do us more harm than the enemy. And to tell the truth, on many occasions we tend to tell the world that we are a bunch of incompetent people which even hurts and damages our image more than the subversions of Khartoum. But incase the minister of finance has a proof to implicate the NCP and the north as culprits in this saga, he should not hesitate to say it, otherwise the whole thing lingers around the President, his cronies and the dominant party in the GoSS.
Last but not least I appeal to the south Sudanese masses to be patient but focused. We all know that the today’s GoSS and its leadership are a team of well knitted mafia net work dictated on us by the terms of the CPA. However people should not loose hope as the forth coming elections offer them an opportunity to vote the right people into office and those drowned in corruption, tribalism and nepotism can be democratically ousted. This craziness must stop.
Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba is a Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). The party that stands for the independence of South Sudan. He can be reached at: [email protected]