By "Papa" Maury Clark
August 4, 2013 (SSNA) — Dear Friends, we may not know each other, but I have written often about the triune risks of NEPOTISM, TRIBALISM and CORRUPTION. Sadly, I now urge all of the citizens of South Sudan to be very careful and alert during these very difficult times. I am terribly afraid for good people who may be hurt during the current, political turmoil. For years, I have been a very active supporter of all of the People fighting for freedom, but I resigned my advisory role on June 1, 2013 because I feared that something more important has happened in the RSS- even more important than the realities of nepotism, tribalism and corruption: FAILED LEADERSHIP!
I can no longer stand by and watch our people suffer after fighting so hard for freedom.
If the Republic fails, it will be due to the lack of strong leadership at the top. President Salva Kiir appears to mistake self-interest (or indecision) for leadership, and I fear that his apparent inability to make decisions in the best interests of ALL OF THE PEOPLE risks collapse. His inability to investigate, quickly and decisively, to protect his citizens from abuse and corruption has encouraged thieves to take what they want because no one has held them responsible. But by firing his entire cabinet, without immediate appointments to fill the vacuum is like locking the prison doors after the criminals have escaped. This does not inspire confidence. This is not leadership!
I assume that the President is honest and well-intentioned, but his appearance of indecision and inaction leaves the crooks in charge. Political warfare is almost as deadly as the real thing. Good generals do not let the attacking army seize control. Good generals, and presidents LEAD! Honest, strong leadership and action is necessary to strengthen the foundation of this potentially great, new nation. Corruption that has gone unpunished has quickly established corruption as the substitute for leadership. Unchecked, tribalist warfare, such as that between the Murle’ and Nuer simply proves that central government leadership, rule by law, and democratic principles exist in name only.
Be careful my friends, because in times like these, until new strong, democratically elected leaders for ALL of this nations people surface, current office-holders may mistake self-protection for leadership, and "shoot the messengers".
Do not mistake my disappointment with Salva Kiir, as disappointment with the principles of democracy and freedom. As citizens who survived decades of bloody war for freedom against an evil dictatorship in Khartoum, you are entitled to a government that represents its people. I hurt terribly for you, that the SPLM government has failed you.
Stand up for the principles of freedom and self-determination for which you fought. Do not forget the sacrifices that you made for freedom, and do not let the lives that were lost in war for your freedom to have been taken in vain. Insist on your right to honest government, free of corruption, and dedicated to your freedom and protection. I pray that the new ministers act immediately, and responsibly to get the government back on track.
HOLD YOUR ELECTED LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE!
LET THEM HEAR YOUR DISSATISFACTION LOUDLY AND CLEARLY!
And if they continue to ignore the people’s right to strong, representative leadership,
PREPARE TO ELECT LEADERS WHO WILL!
The author is a former advisor to the government of South Sudan, retired investment banker/broker, as well as a Called and Commissioned Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Northwest Washington Synod. He served under Bishops Appointment as pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Maple Valley, Washington in 1990 and 1991, and also served four years on the Synod Council and he has been deeply involved with the people of South Sudan since 1996.