By Kuir ё Garang
November 4, 2011 (SSNA) — It has become a known phenomenon that governments only pay attention to the media when it comes to issues that are instrumentally important to their citizens but deemed destructive to government officials’ cause. And this cause is most of the time driven by narcissistic agenda. When the media voices valuable issues, it is ignored.
What makes the government strong in a destructive manner is the nature of people’s performance relative to the government. The government is supposed to work for the people not people for the government. It becomes monstrously a sad affair to see that African people are answerable to their governments rather than the government being answerable to the people.
Too much power vested in the presidency and government officials disenfranchises the average citizen and leads prominently to a stalled or frustrated developmental cause.
We need leadership that leads by example. As much as we’d want to believe and acknowledge that transitioning from a military mentality to a conventional civil society mentality is hard, we have to also acknowledge the fact that a glimmer of hope is all we need to do more. This glimmer of hope has to hint towards the thought that ‘things are practically not perceptively changing for the better.’
As corruption becomes rampant and incompetence rules throughout the civil service, it is incumbent on the leadership to make sure their acts are cleaned before they show us where our development should head.
Government officials starting from the president need to publicly declare their assets. They also have to account for how they acquired their wealth so as to be absolved from the lingering assumption that all the most powerful government officials are corrupt. This will assure the people of South Sudan that our new leadership is serious about corruption.
The government should also liaise with western governments to make sure that any assets stolen from public coffers and hidden in foreign banks be frozen and sent back to be channelled back into developmental projects.
This will also send an efficacious signal to the would-be corrupt elements that whatever one owns has to be accounted for. If you know you won’t be able to account for your wealth, then you will think twice before you indulge in corrupt practices.
The leadership has to also put in place modalities that make it difficult for junior and senior civil servants to be corrupt. Awarding and allocation of contracts have to have clear channels that can easily be tracked for faults. Leaving allocation of contracts to a single person such as a minister is a ticket to corruption.
People who live in the west know that racism can sometimes be hidden in issues that look really fair on face value. A person of color can be discriminated citing lack of experience; a claim that might sound fair on face value. This same sentiment is prevalent in South Sudan where an official hires people from his own tribe citing the excusable mantra of ‘he’s well educated and experienced.’
Things have to be balanced. As much as the governments see the young as inexperienced, naïve and foreign-minded, it is inevitable that they are tomorrow’s leaders.
I know young people who have fallen into the same corruption dilemmas and traps. This is not a good precedent for our young country. I urge the leaders to lead by practical examples or else, our development and economic outlook will remain bleak.
Besides, young people who’ve gone to school and have documented evidence of seriousness have to be heard. South Sudan needs a changed mentality; a mentality that is conducive for co-existence and investment.
Kuir ё Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet living in Calgary, Canada. He’s the author of Carcass Valley (poetry) and Trifles (Novel). For more about Kuir’s writings, visit www.kuirthiy.info