By Dr. James Okuk
March 2, 2011 (SSNA) — I just finished listening to the lecture of the would-be Dr. Augustino Ting on adoption of a small (lean) government for South Sudan and would like to critique his article and recommend some nomenclature for the desired Federal Government Ministries in the Republic of South Sudan as well as their connectivity to the Ten States Governments.
Putting under critical telescopic lenses Ting’s article titled “South Sudan needs quality, not quantity: The reason for smaller government,” I would like to draw the attention of the writer to the fact that quantity is not necessarily connected with quality because “qualitative quantity is possible.” Also I would like to remind him that quality is not necessarily attached to small things because even a lean a government could be suffering from poverty of quality.
Thus, the use of “need” in the title of Ting’s article to qualify the “Quality Government” only and disqualify the “Quantity Government” would seems to require thorough correctional revision. It would have looked comfortable and less hectic if the title of his article read: “South Sudan Need both Quality and Quantity: the Reason for Good Governance.” This would have catered for the synthesis desired from efficient application of both quality and quantity at the same time and in the same place, especially for the new emerging least develop countries where governments are supposed to patronize or matronize a lot of activities and human living demands.
Also, Ting’s comparative administration analysis and verdicts on the current government of Southern Sudan is incomplete, to say the least. This is because it only focused on comparing the top (i.e. the GoSS) without putting into consideration the middle (i.e., the States) and the bottom (i.e., Counties, Payams and Bomas) in Southern Sudan. The writer would have avoided suspicion of his article from some of us if he took his precious time to compare the whole government of Southern Sudan with all its levels from top to bottom with the holistic government of the U.S. on the same scale. Yes, the U.S. has a lean government at the Federal level but I am not very sure if it has the same at the middle and the bottom when it comes to States and Municipalities as well as other basic units of the government.
Ting’s reductionism approach of evaluating the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) on purely economic scale is also a lacking methodology for concluding a final verdict that a lean government is needed for South Sudan, else the new country might fail to survive.
To do some connections of dots a bit, what Ting is trying to recommend is not really different from the Bretton Woods financial and monetary institutions that had harmed Africa so badly with their reductionist Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) some years back.
These institutions failed to acknowledge that government is not only about finance economy but also social and political economy as well as other factors demanded by human existence in their commonly organized set up. In the same mode, Ting’s tends to recommend repetition in South Sudan of bad history that was written in Africa by the Western Bretton Woods Institutions. Should we not learn from mistakes of the past in order to make a good present and draw a best future for South Sudan posterity? I think we should!!!
Having critiqued Ting’s article, I would rather recommend that South Sudan comes up with ministries in accordance to the volume of the public work that need to be done. If there is more work, then we should not shy away to have quantity of Ministries with an army of ministers to top-run them. Quantity could be improved and we should not burry it alive, simply, because of incompetence (lack of quality) of some ministers. I don’t think Southern Sudanese are incapable of qualifying their quantitative ministries to do the work that is needed to be done both in short and long run.
The needed ministries in addition to Offices of the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister for South Sudan as per commencement of its independence could be the following and with avoidance of over-naming and meddling into parliamentary affairs, which should be independent from the executive branch of the government (including of course, the judiciary):
I – SOVEREIGNTY MINISTRIES:
II – ECONOMY MINISTRIES:
III – SERVICE MINISTRIES:
IV – MISCELLANEOUS MINISTRIES:
These mentioned Federal Ministries should coordinate with the States Secretariats headed by Secretaries (not States Ministries headed by Ministers) that are set up to do the same work on a decentralized basis and in accordance with realities available. For example, it does not make sense to have a Secretariat for Fisheries in a state that does not have places where fish live except if we plan to have artificial fish ponds there. Also it does not make sense to have Forestry Secretariat in a State that does not have forests unless we decide to plant human-made forests there. For now, over and out!!! You can take the podium.
Dr. James Okuk is a PhD holder in the area of Political Philosophy with a good command of necessary knowledge in other related epistemic fields. He can be reached at email@example.com.