More rough times ahead for South Sudan!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

June 25, 2013 (SSNA) — Of recent everything and everyday has come to look the same for South Sudan before even celebrating its second Independence anniversary. Under President Salva Kiir’s leadership, the peoples’ hopes for an agrarian society have long evaporated while his Excellency continues to hire and fire and rehires and fires again. Does he really has anything to show for?!!

Eventually a new country is brought to an abrupt halt as a result of incapacity right in the top office. Today neither the country’s internal politics nor its external engagements are any closer to its peoples’ expectations. For in both cases the thermometers have persistently recorded very high reading, especially so lately when scales seem to offer no any assurances.

The strained relationship between Juba and Khartoum continues to dominate the news headlines. And as things are far from being rosy, there are every reason to predict that president Kiir’s administration is yet to face huge challenges ahead, as it struggles to adjust amid all these hiring and the firing drama of senior officials and ministers alike.     

First this administration is not doing well to secure the future of the country’s Oil industry which represents over 98% of the revenues. Kiir has been to China last year, and he was referred back to sort out things with al Bashir. Not too long he was also in Japan, and no much was heard, with exception of the old wild talk about a certain Toyata company which accepted to build the pipeline to Lamu. Nothing new!

Secondly this government’s performance in the field of Human Rights will continue to strain relationship with the international community which has for a very long time, carried the burden of filling in the gaps in the weak economy and rudimentary service sectors.  

The US administration and the Communist China are all working day and night to deter Al Bashir of Sudan from implementing his declared threats to shut down the oil pipelines. As things stand now, one can say that President Kiir can only pray for the goodwill of these two superpowers to pressure Khartoum into reversing its hostile position on South Sudan’s Oil industry. 

With China, it’s of course business and truly business without attaching any of those strings like Human Rights Records or Good Governance, issues often brought to the table when Western governments deal with Sudan and South Sudan and in line with their policies towards most third world countries. 

For this reason alone, it can be said that whether the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) enters Khartoum and takes over the seat of power or it is the other way round with the ruling NCP succeeding in putting an end to the country’s many rebellions or /and completely eradicating the indigenous people in the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, or the Blue Nile Region, all these could be Okayed by China as long as they never impact negatively on its multibillion dollar business investments in the country.

While  the South Sudan and Sudan relationship are important for the Chinese interests in the region, it cannot be overstressed that they too [Chinese] , like it is case with the above scenarios, see no point in favoring one side over the other after South Sudan has become a sovereign state, run from Juba and not Khartoum any more.

The Chinese need the Oil, which is mainly produced in the South, and can only at the present be transported through the Chinese built pipelines across the North, for export to China and elsewhere. In this case, the best that China can do as a way to safeguard its investments, is to discourage and disapprove any of the very frequent political brinkmanship that characterizes the North Sudan and South Sudan relationship.

It’s in China’s interest if the two Sudans can rather take their historical hostilities away from the Oil industry or other areas where Beijing has, and is planning to invest. If the Sudanese and the South Sudanese fail to see the relevancy of sticking with programs that will alleviate the sufferings of their poor citizens, and rather engage in promoting border warfare and subversive activities to undermine the sovereignty of the other, then China for its own interest will be forced to discipline the two.

On the other hand, the Western governments and especially so, countries like the US, UK, Norway, although all had directly invested heavily in the wake up to South Sudan’s independence, they are all terribly disappointed with this new country’s record on Human Rights and Good Governance.

Reports,  year after year from the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Crisis Group, the Center for Journalism Studies (CJS), and the US State Department, are all critical of the performance of Salva Kiir Mayardit’s government on Human Rights which has persistently been characterized by gross violations.

As a concerned South Sudanese citizen, it doesn’t in any way take me by any surprise to read the numerous reports about my country’s appalling Human Rights records under President Salva Kiir’s leadership. Nonetheless these reports as written by the international bodies and other foreign countries friendly to South Sudan are to be seen as signs of concern by South Sudan’s friends and all those well-wishers.

It also encourages the people that their plights have really reached the international community, thanks to the development in the ICT; no death in the most remote parts of the world can go unreported. But as the deaths after deaths [e.g. Engineer John Luis Silvino, Isaiah Abraham, and many others] have now been brought to the attention of the world and rightly acknowledged as extra judiciary killings, the next step would be to hold the president and his executives responsible and work hard to bring them to the book.    

Did I hear someone mention the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague? Yet the people of South Sudan expect these countries like USA, Britain, Norway and others to do more than just condemning Salva Kiir and his government for running not only   a police state, but in fact presiding over slaughter houses being manned by butchers who relate to the president through kinship, and patronage.

It’s true that corruption and graft are ubiquitously practiced at all levels of Kiir’s government, and be reminded that these vices were allowed to take root by design. President Kiir and his cronies, planted it, then nurtured it and are now harvesting its fruits. Everything here happens for a reason as designed by His Excellency.

And it can no longer be held as a secret that President Salva Kiir Mayardit had planned to buy loyalties in order to cling to power. This,  he has made by many other ways,  including handing out millions of dollars of the public money to his associates, kinsmen, loyalists and cronies.

He also had over the past years,   been very reluctant to prosecute his ministers and executive officials who were accused of grafts in the millions and billions of dollars. This has been the situation throughout his tenure in office over the past eight years.  He was clearly avoiding any attempts  that could be seen as stirring  the political waters within and without the SPLM party, as his way of buying loyalties, the old fashioned Jallaba style. But this must end, and so must Kiir’s term in office ended as well, come 2015.

No one can be made to accept the president’s  latest move to fire two of his most senior ministers- Deng Alor and Kosti Manibe, just like that and  without  asking even the most basic  questions,  like why now and not before?  Whatever that thing which forced Salva Kiir to part ways with these two senior comrades, has more to do with Kiir’s own survival in power and as a person than it is to do with the good of the Country.

This being the case, whatever the president’s hopes to avoid by sacrificing,  both Alor and Manibe must for sure be something very huge and an imminent danger. It must also be so huge, that preventing it can only be by  sacrificing Hon. Deng Alor & Hon. Kosti Manibe. In other words only sacrifices of their calibers were necessary to secure the redemption of whoever was (were) to be redeemed. If it is true that everything in politics has a price, then the price being paid by the SPLM rulers through their sacrifice of two of their most senior members is so big that it can never go unnoticed.

However the track records and history of this leadership, past and present, have undoubtedly pushed SPLM’s friends before the enemies to pass a very strong verdict  against Salva Kiir and his leadership style,  both of which are now beyond human redemption.  And completely unredeemable as it is, and by all standards, this government is heading towards a self-inflicted disaster of the implosion type…

As stated somewhere in this article, President Salva Kiir lacks both the political shrewdness and the necessary pragmatism to settle the border demarcation stalemate with Khartoum.  Nor is he a visionary leader to guarantee a steady flow of his country’s Oil to the world markets, through Port Sudan, Lamu, Mombasa, Djibouti or otherwise. Talking without taking actions is NOT being visionary!

Whatever that president Kiir is up to in his last days in office, will NEVER buy him the trust he has so far lost. And when you look far on the horizon, you can only see more hard times ahead for a leader who has nothing more to offer! Is it not time that he calls it a day and packs!

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba is the Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at: [email protected]

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