The financial and economic quagmire of South Sudan

By Wani Tombe Lako

February 12, 2013 (SSNA) — The world has been taken aback by the excruciating admissions of President Slava Kiir; of the Republic of South (RoSS); as regards the looting and siphoning off; of the public monies by various individuals in the RoSS. The real issue is that, the financial and economic ills of the RoSS shall not simply be wished away by the mere coming out of President Kiir, from his hitherto political closet, and confessing openly that; former and current ministers and others in his former and current administrations have stolen four (4) billion dollars meant for the poor peoples of South Sudan.

For those who know the RoSS very well, it is sincerely, humanely, painful to just imagine some group of heartless politicians, and others in their league, depriving the innocent children; women; youth and men of the RoSS, of this much wealth, just so that; they as individuals, and as groups, can build up fat bank accounts, in foreign banks, for their own luxury, and their posterities’ financial security.

It is also very disturbing to know that, those who are always standing by the wrong doings, of some of the corrupt officials in the RoSS, just standby, and do nothing just because, their national interests are in jeopardy, should they openly criticize the RoSS for such gross negligence, and dishonesty, in not discharging its fiduciary duties, owed to the poverty crippled peoples of South Sudan.

What some of these international and regional interest groups seem to ignore is that; the group misfeasance, practiced by the rulers in the RoSS, is actually the making of today’s recipes, for tomorrows’ comprehensive unrest in the RoSS, and an unrest which they will not escape from, albeit through their hurt interests.

One thing is certain, the RoSS is not going to escape the foreseeable tragedies suffered by all African countries South of the Sahara, and which classically or otherwise; won their nominal political independence, so to speak, methodologies and colonial masters notwithstanding.

These countries singularly and severally, plunged into drowning bloody baths for decades, and such human tragedies left the economies, and financial institutions of these countries in tatters, with their human populations turned into chronic, and despised dependents, of the international food, and other aid systems.

The blood stained chained that links all these Sub-Saharan African countries together, in their dance of death; is the self-destructive mindset of the rulers in charge, in these unfortunate human formations, improperly called, independent sovereign nations. The rulers in these countries appear to suffer from debilitating political masochistic disorder, which turned them all into political sadists, who enjoy ruling via the agency of hurt and sufferings, seen in the socio-personal conditions, of the downtrodden populace in their respective countries.

This, in a nutshell, is the kernel of the financial and economic quagmire in the RoSS. The financial and economic disability in the RoSS is a symptom of comprehensive human gross political negligence and recklessness. These political negligence and recklessness are built upon foundations of dysfunctional socio-cultural and anthropological concepts; of self, and group enrichment. These are in turn sustained by formal bureaucratic attitudinal decadence, whereby, the private and the public are unscrupulously collapsed into one.

The climax in this orgy of group and tribal misfeasance, in which, fiduciary duties are turned into group and individual licenses to loot the public, is reached, when the anthropological morality of cattle wrestling, is translated into public money looting. In the case of cattle wrestling, this vile conduct is celebrated as the coziest fashion of privatizing hitherto community livestock of distant tribes; in which, the property in the cattle stolen, is possessed and owned by the robbers. This is the South Sudanese tragedy, of running formal institutions, in informal African ways and means. 

Therefore, in this regards, the RoSS is awash with socio-cultural variables, which make it extremely legal, right and fitting, to just order the poor minister of finance, in the RoSS, to hand over as many millions of dollars as possible. Herein, justifications is not necessary, as long as this money is a property that can be gotten anyhow, anyway by those with power, backed with force of arms, both fire and white arms.

These types of cognitive processes; make the human persons possessed of them, oblivious to the feelings of those others, who understandably, find it extremely impossible, to put up with these kinds of conducts; exhibited by public figures; purported to be rulers of improperly called, independent sovereign nations.

It appears that, President Kiir’s conscience, had the better of him; and he cannot stomach the situation anymore, or is it the fact that, the donors and the USA in particular, are becoming more uneasy, with the free for all attitudes prevailing in Juba. Economies and financial institutions, are mostly, and in fact always, run according to certain set rules. Some of these rules have close and intimate affinity with, the concept and practice of the rule of law.

If the President of the RoSS were to run the RoSS in accordance with the rule of law for example, those identified as the culprits ought to be behind the bars by now. It is very legally amusing, to see people indentified by a president, as being corrupt and caught red-handed, with their hands in the public coffers, could be allowed to carry on in his government; as ministers and such like. Well, if anything, this shall always, gravely, call into question, the veracity of his intentions.

In a properly functioning governments, where there are legal rules, and other conventions and customs in place; those who are involved in such serious criminal offences, are immediately dismissed, therefore, all those accused of this crime, ought to be sacked from government, and other governmental institutions, and the President ought to immediately order legal proceedings against them straightaway. Unless this is done, the integrity of the government of the RoSS is in jeopardy.

The RoSS appears to be run in accordance with some concepts ingrained in economics of emotions; and this kind of subsistence economics logic of treating public coffers, like some tribal granary, do not serve the comprehensive interest of the RoSS. Those so-called international advisors, around President Kiir, ought to tell him to follow customary norms of handling such matters, as practiced by all honourable governments internationally.

It is not enough to blame individual ministers of finance, who, in accordance with the mindset in the RoSS, are just the padlock keepers for the chief’s granary. The chief can order any amount of grain to be drawn from such granary without the said keepers uttering a word. After all, these padlock keepers owe their personal survival to the happiness of the boss. The Chief-in-Chief; of all the Chiefs and sub-chiefs; of Counties, Payams, and Bomas in South Sudan as it were. This is the tragedy of South Sudan.

The Author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He could be reached at [email protected]

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