By Wani Tombe Lako
April 30, 2013 (SSNA) — It is socially, culturally, morally, religiously, politically, and in sovereignty terms, refreshing; to hear Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, of Jonglei State, bemoaning the fact that, the majority of his government employees, may be, including some, or all of his ministers, are keeping their families in other foreign countries, and that, I suppose, according to Governor Manyang, is not nice. To put it politely, for the sake of social and intellectual harmony!
I am just bemused by the fact that, it has taken this Governor of Jonglei State; good eight (8) years, that is, from 2005 to 2013, to realise that, South Sudan is ruled by rulers, the majority of whom are birds of passage; as opposed to settled birds. It is very funny that, it has just occurred to H.E the Governor of Jonglei State that, most of his colleagues, in the government of South Sudan (GoSS); if not him, treat South Sudan like a goldmine. They are here in South Sudan (SS), just to mine the gold, and send the proceeds back home; in Uganda, Kenya, and elsewhere in Europe, America, Australia, and such like.
On the other hand, constitutionally and administratively; the temporal ultimatum issued by the said Governor is utterly ultra vires. In this regard, the said Governor has gone beyond constitutional and administrative powers allowed him within his powers as Governor of the said State. His intentions within the remit of this temporal ultimatum are unlawful threats against the human rights of freedom of movement; of the people who shall be affected by these intentions; if put into effect. On the other hand, at Common-law, which is the formal legal tradition in SS, the said ultimatum is also culpable. The said Governor cannot attempt to make laws on the hoofs as it were, for this shall amount to ruling his State through retrogressive laws.
This Governor of Jonglei State ought to be informed that, at law, and in accordance with constitutional and administrative laws of SS, as they stand at the moment, the whereabouts of his employees’ families, as well as, future intentions of his employees, and including his ministers, as to where they want to keep their families, is none of his business. Unless, there were clauses, in their contracts of employment, expressly, stating that, these employees shall keep their children in SS, during the course of their employment with the government of Jonglei State; the Governor of the said State must not interfere with the family lives of these citizens of SS, ministers and all employees of Jonglei State.
Something is constitutionally, administratively, and legally wrong with the senior rulers of SS. Is it raw ignorance, or raw arrogance, or just outright application of jungle laws in the administration of SS; including the lives of the people herein? South Sudanese are not commonplace chattels. If the peoples of SS are not being threatened with crucifixion by deputy governors; and if they are not being barred from working anywhere in the State by the concerned Governor, or now, if they are not being told where to keep their children; they are singularly and severally being left to fend for themselves in the comprehensive quagmire of SS.
The majority of these rulers in Federal SS behave like very bad landlords, who treat their tenants like some human garbage. In fact, our comprehensive collective dilemmas, in SS, are akin to comprehensive collective dilemmas, of retarded children, under the care of very bad nannies, in a hostile and forlorn hostel. Therefore, I still stand by what I said and wrote, some years ago, and that is that; SS is like an orphanage kindergarten; being run by, and under the sole authority of convicted pedophiles.
The least the Governor of Jonglei State can do, in a way of persuading his employees to bring their dependents to SS, is by not accommodating them in family size government houses, and restricting his ministers to just one vehicle, instead of the standard two cars, one for the minister, and the other one for the madam as it were. Such administrative decisions shall not be infringing any human or legal rights of the said employees in Jonglei State. However, the Governor cannot deny his employees their marriage allowances with or without children, as long as there are legal documents supporting such claims. My legal advice is that, Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk must get himself an excellent legal advisor from one of his relatives as is the practice in SS.
The Governor of Jonglei State ought to know that, moral wrongs are not always legal wrongs. Governor Manyang, you cannot, and shall not, convert, the ought into the is. On the other hand ethical, moral, and religious sins cannot be converted into legal felonies; whether civil or criminal. Laws must be reasonable, just, fair, objective, predicable and discoverable. Governors and others cannot just get out of their beds and begin criminalising conducts, acts, and omissions; just because, they think that, they as Governors are right, or because, they think that, such decisions shall make them popular with the voters, tribesmen and tribeswomen, or general followers. Leadership is a tricky business Governor Kuol Manyang, and it is dangerously saturated with constitutional, legal, and administrative dilemmas.
I have in many occasions condemned this tourist mentality of our rulers in SS, whereby, I called them political sojourners. However, this is argued from political mortality standpoint. I for example said that, the schools and hospitals to which our rulers send their children for education in Uganda and Kenya, were built by Kenyan and Ugandan mothers and fathers for their children’s education. However, we in SS appear not have reached that level of social development in which, we can also build and sustain our own schools for the education of our children in SS. The saga and tragedy of the lost billions of dollars in SS; through ministerial theft; and other frauds; against public funds; notwithstanding. The byword of starting from scratch appears to have become a permanent excuse for government misfeasance.
After eight (8) years of ruling ourselves by ourselves, and being in charge of billions of dollars, an amount of wealth, which is more than whole budgets of Uganda and Kenya, put together, during the same period; and here we are, still sending our children to Uganda and Kenya for primary education. I am not going to buy the argument that, because we have been at war for many years, we have therefore lost our educational and health infrastructures. Any first year student of development economics will disagree with such contention, given the billions of dollars which went through our hands in SS; if put into good logical usages, from 2005 to date, these monies could have transformed us into some success story in this part of Africa. However, how can we positively advance if we have been busy carrying our monies to Uganda and other places, through refrigerators, coffins, jute-sacks and such like.
Governor Manyang, the relative peace, tranquility, and security that your employees, and others in SS want to savour, and bask in, in Uganda and Kenya, did not just drop from the blue skies on to these countries. In these countries, there are certain cultural values, and traditions which value human life. The majority of Ugandans for example, do not just enter into one another’s house and begin looting or beating the occupants for some tribal reasons. This is commonplace in SS. These acts are not committed by foreigners in SS. They are committed by particular tribes in SS.
The police in Uganda and Kenya can at least protect the citizens of these countries. Compare the situation with us in SS. The peoples in these East African countries in which we want to live are peaceful. The rulers there are at least, relatively predicable. The people there value humanity. The peoples there want to produce, and indeed do produce their own food, not like us in SS; where, we abandon our villages to come and live in hotels at the expense of public purse. Or, we abandon our villages to come and crowd in our relatives’ homes in all urban centres in SS or, we abandon our villages to come and sell government monies in the form of US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, and Euros in markets places; because; our kinsmen and women; are in charge of these public monies in the GoSS, therefore; it is free for all; for the few of us. Governor Manyang; these are just few reasons why your employees do not want their children; to stay in Jonglei in particular, and SS at large. Let us show our peoples that we are humans, and then they shall let their children stay in SS. If we show our peoples that we are political sojourners; they shall also become tourists through their children; like us the rulers in Juba and Bor. Can you blame them Governor Manyang?
The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org