May 28, 2012 (SSNA) — At long last, after years and years of denial of mismanagement, a Tsunami of failures begin to coagulate and surge forth towards the centre of power in Juba, some of the cream della cream of the Oyee party are exhibiting symptoms of crack up under the weight of the unsustainable excuses and lies they preached to South Sudanese people and the international community about their liberation values and performance. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it is in line with nature – anything built on a tissue of lies at the end will fall, disintegrate and disappear. We have seen that in Egypt with Mubarak, in Libya with Gaddafi, in Ethiopia with Mengistu, in Uganda with Amin, in Romania with Ceausescu, in the Sudan with Nimeiri and the list goes back centuries to Plato, the Greek philosopher’s era.
So change in South Sudan is inevitable and we may now be seeing the beginning of it with Pagan Amum’s interview with Voice of America (VOA) on 10th May 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YnErNQalAw ; Luka Biong Deng’s article in Sudan Tribune on 11th May 2012 and Majak D’Agoot’s speech at the opening of the Sudd Research Institute on Saturday 12th May 2012. 3 days in a row, one by one the trio have whether by error or design displayed a rarely observed phenomenon – admitting to Oyee party’s failure. For the ease of clarity, these new activities of this trio will be chronologically presented here and the conclusions from their material will be summed up to illuminate their contributions to the overall failures of governance in RSS. This is crucial because the manner in which the trio presented their material appears to distance them from the utter mismanagement of the RSS going on.
Pagan Amun on 10th May 2012 in an interview with Vincent Makori of Voice of America (VOA) titled, ‘South Sudan Corruption Discussion’ stated to the presenter as a matter of fact that the RSS suffers from ‘Infantile disorders’. This is clear reference to the political, social and management deficit in the country. In a nutshell, Pagan summarised the state of RSS in two heavily loaded words.
Within 24 hours, Luka Biong Deng, the sensitizer of the regime from Abyei now admits Kiir’s performance is not up to standard. His seemingly innocuous statement which loudly vindicates those who have been calling for the replacement of Kiir’s administration by a care taker government should be a warning that if things are left unchecked, the country is heading towards the abyss. In his article with the heading, ‘Sudan and South Sudan: Where are they heading?’ published in Sudan Tribune on 11 th May 2012 with reference to the Panthou war, Deng argues that the unexpected and hostile behaviour of the two states [South Sudan and Sudan] underlined serious economic fragility faced by the two states as both suffer from “resource curse” and poor governance. Note with emphasise the phrase ‘poor governance’. While pondering on the unexpected objectivity of Deng, the following day another surprise came from Majak D’Agoot, one of the intellectuals groomed by the previous leader for leadership in RSS in line with their nefarious ideology of ‘Born to rule’.
D’Agoot did not mince his words. The conclusion of his speech in the opening of the Sudd Research Institute was very alarming and frightening. He painted a very bleak but true picture about RSS as follows: quote
– Threat of direct military confrontation with Khartoum and its proxies (militia and LRA)
– Post independent issues including the status of Abyei, border demarcation, oil export, debt, Sudanese pastoralists entering South Sudan and South Sudanese in Sudan
– Economic challenges resulting from recent shutdown of oil operations and dependence on one source of revenue, being a land locked country and lack of infrastructure.
– Challenges of nation building and state formation; dysfunctional institutions, decapitated press and civil society, lack of respect for the constitution, provision and maintenance of public safety and security, gaps in diplomacy, poor management of public resources and lack of accountability and transparency among others.
– Weak political community, that is, weak political parties, coupled with unfortunate deepening of ethno-regional sectarian politics
– Ethnic violence; ethnic rivalry, conflict over resource, cattle rustling etc
– Border and immigration issues, influx of refugees and spillover of transnational crimes such as proliferation of small arms and a fear of spread of international terrorism.
– Lack of rigorous policy analysis aimed at improving strategic policy design and decision making, service delivery and creation of equitable resources distribution formulae and matrices that ensure a certain level of parity among the country’s regions. Unquote
These eight points sound like stuff from the opposition to an international audience.
Well, there we are. The apologists of the regime now have got a big job to do to hover out these words from the public space. The cracks on the Oyee led government have opened up and it would be difficult to weld it back given the sorry state of affairs in the country and the recent Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 published by USA. This report lays bare the naked truth of dinkocracy in South Sudan. Please access it for yourself via this ural. http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dynamic_load_id=187675#wrapper .
The trio are to be commended for making these bold statements. Seldom do we see members of the Oyee party accepting their failures openly. Let us hope that this may be the beginning of a new dawn where these heavy weights of the ruling party will remain loyal to their recently found objectivity and hold their failed organisation to account, or even trigger a change from within. If not, they will only discredit themselves before South Sudanese masses in particular and the world at large.
Now that the cat is out of the bag and the world is hearing about the grave mismanagement of the country directly from the very people who run the machinery responsible for negligence of RSS; there are pertinent questions to be asked. Since the trio have been running the show with president Kiir in RSS as of 2005, where were they when things drifted to the current situation? What did they do to address the causes of the failures they are pointing out now? Are they willing now to come clean and accept responsibility for padding up the system? Or are they trying to clean themselves up so as to reposition themselves for a new era without president Kiir? Could their posturing be harbinger of a change? Are these cogs of Oyee machine falling off or consciously deserting? These are only few of the many questions to be asked. Whatever the answers and situations, the citizens of South Sudan need to note that the entire Oyee party and its members including the trio can not be trusted again with managing the country. Mismanaging the country, they did with fan fare and this should be it for all of them.
This admission by the trio should be given the seriousness it deserves if only because they rightly have pin pointed with accuracy the disease eating up the country. As loyal members of the Oyee party they would not have gone to this length spewing venom if the situation did not appear dire to them. Looking at this interesting development from this angle of thinking leads us to conclude that their lamentation is a cry for help. They need to be rescued from themselves. The administration is confused and lost which is the very reason things have been going wrong in the country because president Kiir and acolytes have no clue of what to do. They steered RSS into a failed state ignorantly by trial and error.
Noam Chomsky, the renowned American linguist and philosopher in his book, ‘Failed States’, published in 2006 by Penguin in London identifies three factors as main characteristics of a failed state. 1) The failure of state to protect its citizen. 2) Lack of respect for law domestically and internationally and 3) what he calls “democratic deficit”. Careful analysis and evaluation of what the trio have already said with the characteristics of failed states illuminated by Chomsky leads us to decisively conclude that RSS is a failed state – a product of the ‘born to rule’. This is vindication of all those who have in the various websites been raising the alert on the poor governance by the Oyee party in South Sudan. The latest in this long list is Juma Keak who gives ample examples that meet the criteria laid out by Chomsky. Now there should not be any ifs, buts or excuses because it is clear RSS is a failed state. The only thing waiting to happen is certification by the international community.
South Sudan and its people collectively as a whole is bigger than president Kiir and his Oyee party. The most crucial question then is: what should we the people of South Sudan do to rescue the situation before the international community certify our new hard won country as a failed state? Before that happens president Kiir and acolytes need to be patriotic to pre-empt such a sure catastrophe waiting to happen by ceding power straight away to a care taker government of national unity.
If Kiir does this, he will go down in history as a patriot and the consequences of his very actions (mismanagement of the state and driving it into failure) will not only be forgotten with time, but also forgiven. If he does not, then he risks wiping out his achievements in the liberation struggle – squandering the good name of the person who led the country to independence. He would be a total disgrace if not already. Again if he does not gracefully hand power to an interim government, it means the only avenue for the people of South Sudan is to vigorously campaign for a peaceful change of the government both internally and externally. This campaign has in fact already started but it is in its infancy and what needs to be done is to nurture it into a big effective one. The offer made by Hilary Clinton on 14 th December 2011 at the donor conference in Washington to protect our new pre-mature baby state should now be factored in and built into this strategy.
Even in the murky world of politics where dealing and wheeling allow countries to ignore sufferings of citizens in abusive states such as South Sudan, there is a moral obligation on such countries to apply some ethics if only to ensure the continuation of their interest in the future. No other countries understand the problems created by failed states better than the countries of our region, the horn of Africa. The price to allow a neighbouring state to deteriorate can be unnecessarily costly to the entire world and this is why the world must listen and stand with the voices of reason in RSS. When Somalia was deteriorating and going down the route of failure nobody thought that the consequence of Somalia becoming a failed state would affect the region and the world as it has now done. Lawlessness in Somalia led to development of piracy in the Indian Ocean affecting international trade and tourism. The frequent hijacking of all types of ships with demands for ransom by various Somali groups seeking funding for their group activities has impacted on free movement of goods and people in that part of the world. The activities of some of these Somali groups extended into Kenyan territories forcing Kenya to intervene militarily in southern Somalia to protect itself, its citizens and its tourist industry. Worse still the region became a breeding ground for terror groups with international connections affecting countries thousands of miles away in different parts of the world. The late intervention by African Union has not only proved ineffective to protect civilians and divisive in African politics but enormously costly.
Regional heavy weights and countries with vested economic interest in South Sudan are better placed to understand the downside of a failed state. Given this, it would make sense for them to be at the forefront to protect their interest and the region by exerting considerable pressure for a peaceful change in RSS. The Oyee party may be friendly and submissive to them now but it is not good for their future. The Oyee party is negligent, unpredictable and psychopathic. God forbid, if RSS should collapse, there is no knowing of what forces it would unleash on the region and the world. But one thing is for certain, instability will quickly spread like wild fire in the entire region of horn of Africa due to shared ethnicities. To bring South Sudan then back into control after collapse will be more problematic and costly in comparison to Somalia which is still in the ditch. In Somalia, there is predominately one ethnic group with one language and various clans whereas South Sudan has 64 ethnic groups each with their own clans and language. In an event of total breakdown of law and order in South Sudan, just image the difficulty in trying to bring these groups back together after losing trust from each other and the centre of power in Juba. This is not an easy task at all. It is precisely for this reason that the whole world has a duty to ensure that RSS succeeds for the interest of regional peace, security and prosperity of the region and the world. Please see ‘Benign intervention is the way forward for Republic of South Sudan’ published by South Sudan News Agency on 12th December 2011 or click on this Ural: http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/benign-intervention-is-the-way-forward-for-republic-of-south-sudan
The way to do this is to force a democratic change in South Sudan now. This is critical and a must if catastrophe is to be avoided. Time is ticking and running out. The world can not afford to let RSS degenerate further than what it is now. The world needs to listen to the concerned voice of reason coming out of South Sudan. The world needs to act together with the people of South Sudan now.
Finally, the time of reckoning has come and if president Kiir and the Oyee party are the liberators that they claim, then they need to see sense and make way for a government of national unity that will contain all the stake holders in RSS. Translating this into practice means freeing all the political detainees; inviting all the different rebel groups; inviting all the political parties and the civil society groups to join in the political process to form such a government. This will enable RSS to start from a clean slate without any destructive opposition that can be used by enemies of the state. From then on the business of appropriate management of the state begins with preparation for a credible general election to be held within 2 years to democratically bring in a government of the people by the people for the people.[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The Author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected]