By: Justin Ambago Ramba
June 30, 2012 (SSNA) — In the Third World – Africa specifically – and South Sudan in particular the people’s sufferings are often by large due to the ruling elite’s attitude towards national resources, the management of public funds and the irresistible urge to amass illegal wealth at the blink of the eye.
Nonetheless in South Sudan the situation has currently degenerated to a dramatic level where the new country’s socioeconomic and political dictates are no longer impressive even to qualify it as a post independence state given how hugely it remains economically dependent on its neighbors, the countless Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs], and the alms that its government continues to receive from the International Community in spite of being blessed with huge Oil reserves.
Furthermore down the same line the country doesn’t as well qualify to be called a “post conflict state”, when a large proportion of its communities continue to endlessly engage in inter-community feuds. Whatever peace is there, remains on paper and God only know whether this part of the world will ever live to experience it.
It is also important to acknowledge that when we talk of the insecurity in South Sudan, it goes beyond the cattle raids between the Dinka, the Murle, the Nuer or the Mundari which has come to dominate the News headlines under the current Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM], making it the country’s number one “National Cultural Activity” as judged the percentage of communities involved in it in spite of its criminal dimension.
Surprisingly though should a Murle herdsman or a Luo Nuer child or a Bor Dinka cattle trader go missing within the Jongeli State territory, the culprits are certainly and to a larger extent to be from the rival community(s).
However the chances of a person to go mysteriously missing and never to be accounted for remains to be the highest in the metropolis of Juba City – the country’s capital than anywhere else in the entire country. This is where the failure hits deep into the central government’s backyard and its complacent role in the protection and the covering-up for the perpetrators of insecurity cannot thus be taken lightly anymore.
There is never the slightest doubt that the insecurity in the capital of Juba like the other many vices that are mercilessly chocking the country, are indeed the creation of individuals well placed in the highest echelons of the ruling SPLM party.
It is in fact their [SPLM’s] designed policy aimed at scaring off opposition or any voice of dissent that may arise against the entrenched widespread corruption-driven ill governance. It is more obvious to see this in the case of Juba City, for this particular city cannot suffer from insecurity as a result of under-staffing as some would like us to believe.
Practically speaking the place [Juba] is even being over-guarded by all kinds of security personnel that visibly operate in what is probably the the world’s least populated capital. Yet the outcome is a total dissatisfaction to both the inhabitants and the visitors alike.
In Juba City there are the International Security Agents, the National Security Agents , and those local agents of the Central Equatoria State (not to mention the other countless private security agents that roam the streets of the city day and night).
Despite all these, Juba remains the leading spot in the country where the bulk majority of citizens are brutalized, murdered in cold blood or robbed of their properties at gun point. It’s here that you always hear the same repeated narrative of “people in police uniform” breaking into a house and making it away with their loots.
The confession of the country’s Interior Minister sums it all:
In the below statement the Minister of Interior Alison Monani Magaya has admitted that some police and other Organized Forces’s officials are sometimes involved in killings and armed robberies, which continue to go on unabated in the city of Juba and across the other parts of South Sudan.
"To some extent yes. Not only are the police, even other organized forces are doing the same. We have arrested many of them. If the police are doing things which are spoiling the name of the police, it is the duty of the ministry of interior to take necessary steps to address these issues," Magaya told Radio Miraya.
"Admitting is one way of solving the problem. If you begin to deny, then actually you are making the case to multiply”. The Minister added.
The above probably sheds light on how South Sudan under President Kiir and his SPLM apologists have so far driven the country into a stage where only radical measures can salvage it.
However it is worth stressing here that the current government with its structure, composition and mission statement is in itself unqualified to administer such measures since all its members from top to bottom are none but the perpetrators themselves and the true culprits of all the ills that is now devouring this new country.
In another development those who follow the media closely will have already acquainted themselves with the fact that South Sudan is proposing cutting the numbers of government and elected officials by 40% in a bid to reduce the public spending as the country faces a severe economic crisis.(Sudan Tribune 29/06/2012).
Accordingly the expenditure in the 2012 budget will be 6.4 billion South Sudanese pounds ($2.4bn), down from over SSP 10 billion ($3.7bn) in the original 2011-12 budget, the report says.
Although of course there are good parts in what Sudan Tribune refers to as “ The Draft Proposal” for it plans to merge some ministries and independent commissions, reducing the government to 17 federal cabinet ministers, five independent commissions, and cutting a number of departments in various ministries and institutions to key essential units………….. there is a downfall to it.
This is largely because the plan seeks for the first time to present the capitalistic face of the SPLM and how it has prepared itself to come face to face with the South Sudan proletariat as it intends to put an end to “ Free Education” and recommends that in higher learning institutions, students should pay for their tuition fees and accommodation.
What we see here is typical of a group of thieves who after emptying the public coffers and guaranteeing quality education for their children and family members – mostly overseas – are now coming to impose austerity on the only thing that can make a poor village child move out of abject poverty and that is “Free Education”.
The question is: “Where would these so-called policy makers of President Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and the President himself be today if not for the Free Education that they got”.
Believe me, many would still be languishing in the cattle camps or taking turns playing “Mongula” under those mahogany trees that litter our local market places. For now under the current leadership this has by large emerged as the only way to kill time and escape the boredom of unemployment as it prevails today in our towns and market places.
The challenge is if President Kiir really heeds to advice of true economists, then he and the entire country are better off adopting the so-called “confidential note” passed on to the South Sudan government by the World Bank earlier this year in which it suggests a drastic cutting of public spending by 77% to allow the government to use its reserves to December 2013.
What this means is that the cuts must be 77% or more if South Sudan is to continue having some reserves to last it till Christmas 2013 and not merely the 40% which is only halfway. And in this case you will need actually less that 8 Federal Ministries so as to speak and again not as high as the proposed 17.
This same “Cutting Formula” will also have to be applied to all the two Houses of the Parliament and all the other government departments at both the Federal and the States levels. Mind you this is just to see the country through to December 2013. What will happen thereafter may probably entail President Kiir and his cohort vanishing from the political scene all together.
However the extremely worrying bit in all these developments is the projection put forward by the World Bank which suggested that the percentage of the population “living in poverty” will jump from 51% in 2012 to 83% in 2013. In gross numbers 3.6 million more people will fall below the poverty line. This is the population which inevitably under President Salvatore Kiir and the direction-less SPLM party will for sure not be able to afford to educate their children when the country gets to the year 2013, barely six months from now.
What this article aims to bring to our collective notice is that while the media keeps saying that the current crisis are a result of the shutdown of Oil production earlier this year that led to the loss of the country’s only source of revenue ( a consequence of the unbridgeable row between Juba and Khartoum), however any keen observer would have seen it coming even without the Oil shut down.
In other words you can’t just be busy looting and transferring “cash money” out of the country into your private accounts overseas and continue to expect a flourishing national economy. Simply the country goes bankrupt. What type of people are we really? Even as thieves, we are the crudest!!!
Oil is a finite resource and this was what the SPLM under President Kiir failed spectacularly to understand. Out of abject poverty from the protracted civil war, the whole SPLM intelligentsia and a good chunk of corrupted SPLA commanders never turned on their sense of economic thinking. All they did was say, “God this is it”. “ It is time to party”.
Now here we are because we partied too much. Some of us even boasted too much and that very arrogance did much to deprive many from ever thinking that Economics is a science that have to be learnt whether you perceive yourself as a liberator, liberated , or both.
The way the SPLM members moved from what was perceived as “agrarian freedom fighters” to the post CPA oligarchs and finally now to become the the continents top kleptocrats just in the blink of an eye, has tremendously shattered the nations dream for a better tomorrow.
The very fabric of the country has been tempered with when others sought to enrich themselves at the expense of the whole. Unfortunately they forgot that they were killing the goose that lays the “Golden Eggs”.
It all sounds funny when the laymen learn that it is only now that Juba is considering to implement austerity measures to avoid the collapse of its economy. Given what came to characterize the economic style of the so-called liberators of South Sudan, the truth be said for even if the Oil were to flow like the Nile Water – this Day would have still arrived!
Now hopefully President Kiir should be able to see and reflect that except for his Black Cowboy Texan hat and the fact that he doesn’t dance to entertain his audience [unlike Bashir] – he and the entire SPLM has nothing to present to the people of South Sudan on the first anniversary of the country’s Independence but their own picture of how they have gone imitating the Khartoum based National Congress Party (NCP) in almost everything. No wonder they both reached the final destination at the same time with the same results.
Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached At: [email protected], or [email protected] or [email protected]