The role of national technocrats in socio-economic and political development of South Sudan

By Wani Tombe Lako

August 18, 2013 (SSNA) — Sometimes back, before the restructuring and downsizing of the hitherto inflated and ineffectual government of South Sudan (GoSS) by President Kiir, I wrote and published an article, in which, I strongly recommended that, the GoSS ought to be reduced to only eighteen (18) ministries. The committee that carried out this task reduced the GoSS to nineteen (19) ministries, which is brilliant. My suggested restructuring of the ministries did not also differ greatly from that undertaken by the committee tasked with this crucial job.

I also wrote and published an article in which, I raised many issues pertaining to the efficacy and productivity of up to 90% of the Presidential advisors, within the ambit of the GoSS. I said that, the majority of these advisors were waste of temporal and spatial as well as economic/financial resources. I also said that, most of these advisors were there for their personal and group interests and that; they misled the President and created political and other havocs in South Sudan.

In both occasions, I have been accused of all sorts of things, and called all sorts of names. Others alleged that, I am trying very hard to write my way into an advisory position in the GoSS. When the restructuring occurred, others accused me of having an inside information about the restructuring process.

My dear citizens of South Sudan; some of us went to school, and as a result, we attained knowledge, skills, experiences and attitudes, which informed the capacities and abilities; we demonstrate, within the remit of comprehensive human capital of South Sudanese. Why is it unacceptable to others; that, I, as an individual, can produce the same conclusions, arrived at, by a number of men and women, within the remit of this restructuring committee, set up by the GoSS? Is it my fault that these men and women, almost concurred with my intellectual thinking and wishes? On the other hand, and in terms of these Presidential Advisors, am I not being proven right incrementally?

The fact that I am not rubbing shoulders with those in government in Juba, and sipping what is there to be sipped, with them, in all occasions, it does not mean that I am against the GoSS, or the peoples of South Sudan. Nor am I writing all these lengthy articles for my own interests. No. I am as nationalist as anybody who wants to arrogate South Sudanese nationalism to himself or herself. 

I politically despise those who claim to be in parliament as opposition parties, and when they are asked for the elucidations of their political programmes, they end up stating that; their programme of action is not different from that of the SPLM. Why call yourself an opposition party then? Some of these so-called opposition parties, and which contain some technocrats, are there for personal constitutional posts only and nothing more.

In fact, some of these men and women, in these nominal opposition parties, confuse being kept in government, forever, due to dubious personal reasons, with agile statesmanship. No; this is not agile statesmanship; this is called politics and economics of elites, and it has nothing to do with peoples’ socio-economic, financial, political, technological, cultural, religious, moral and ethical development in South Sudan.

In further advancement of my honest and nationalistic role, as one concerned South Sudanese technocrat, I strongly recommend the following to the GoSS:-

i. The establishment of The High Authority for Procurement and Liquidation of Government Assets (hereinafter, The HAPLOGA).

(a) The HAPLOGA shall operate under the institution of the Presidency, answerable to the Minister in the Office of the President;
(b) It shall be established by a Republican Order, and empowered by a Procurement and Liquidation of Government Assets Law (hereinafter, The PALOGA Law); to be passed by Parliament as a matter of urgency. If such a law is already in existence, then, it must be activated immediately;
(c)The PALOGA Law shall be a general law applicable uniformly throughout the RoSS, that is, it is not subject to modifications or amendments to suit local or State interests in the RoSS;
(d) With the same token, the PALOGA by Laws, for the operationalisation of the PALOGA Law, shall be written by a technical committee within The HAPLOGA, for the whole RoSS and it is also to be approved by Parliament;
(e) The HAPLOGA shall have branches allover the RoSS;
(f) The HAPLOGA shall closely work with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, The Economic Security Agency, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Central Bank and the Auditor’s General Chambers of the RoSS;
(g) The HAPLOGA shall supervise international, national, state, county and local public procurement of all goods and services through transparent, legal, and accountable tenders;
(h) The HAPLOGA shall supervise all procurement contracts for public goods and services in the RoSS;
(i) The HAPLOGA shall dispose of, and liquidate all surplus public assets, through public transparent and accountable auctions, or through recycling of these assets, to other sectors and orgnisations, within the economy of the RoSS;
(j) The HAPLOGA shall be headed by a Director General in Grade (1) Special, Segment (1); equivalent to any undersecretary in the RoSS.

ii. The establishment of The High Authority for Social and Rural Development (hereinafter, The HASRUD).

(a) The HASRUD shall operate under the institution of the Presidency, answerable to the Minister in the Office of the President;
(b) It shall be established by a Republican Order, and empowered by an enabling framework Social and Rural Development Law (hereinafter, The SORUD Law), to be passed by Parliament;
(c) The HASRUD shall have branches allover the RoSS;
(d) The HASRUD shall spearhead, monitor, evaluate and render quarterly progress reports to the Cabinet of Ministers; via the concerned Minister; on general and specific development processes, strength, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges, and obstacles in the whole RoSS;
(e) The HASRUD shall conduct developmental social, economic, financial, technical, and environmental researches, to inform government policy on general and specific issues of socio-rural development in the RoSS; and
(f) The HASRUD shall be headed by a Director General in Grade (1) Special, Segment (1) equivalent to any undersecretary in the RoSS.

iii. Justifications for the establishment of The HAPLOGA: The HAPLOGA, if properly set up, and supported by the relevant law shall:-

(a) Positively impact on Monetary and Fiscal Policies of the RoSS;
(b) Reduce corruption by 90% if properly applied, in the first Fiscal Year;
(c) Make all government procurements predictable, accountable and transparent;
(d) Bring budgetary deficit under objective control via budgeted procurement of government goods and services;
(e) Check inflationary tendencies in the economy, as well as positive impacts on both interest and exchange rates in the RoSS;
(f) Positively contribute to socio-economic development of all segments of the population;
(g) Positively contribute to development of all sectors of the economy in the RoSS;
(h) Positively contribute to the development of robust private sector in the RoSS;
(i) Positively recycle excess and redundant government assets for societal benefits;
(j) Restore confidence in political and economic as well as financial governance in the RoSS;
(k) Establish clear legal boundaries between the private and the public in the RoSS;
(l) Do away with the politicisation of government procurement via ministers and others;
(m) Protect public wealth from corrupt ministers, governors, and various civil servants;
(n) Improve on the transparent application of the Company Law in the RoSS;
(o) Improve on the transparent application of the Contract Law in the RoSS;
(p) Improve on the transparent application of the Investment Law in the RoSS;
(q) Ensure proper regulation of the private sector in the RoSS;
(r) Restore the confidence of our international and regional partners and friends, in our abilities to manage our financial and other assets; and
(s) Become the guaranteed safeguard, for the sacredness and sanctity of the institution of the Presidency in the RoSS.

iv. Justifications for the establishment of the HASRUD: The HASRUD shall:-

(a) Do away with bureaucraticised and politicised delays in the delivery of goods and services to all South Sudanese who live in rural areas;
(b) Become the operational vehicle for the realisation of the aspiration of taking towns to rural areas in the RoSS;
(c) Operate on cost-benefit analyses basis and results oriented, away from political slogans and promises;
(d) Become the economic, financial and social instrument for the diversification of the economy in the RoSS;
(e) Become the implementing agency for all developmental policies in the RoSS within the remit of rural development, since socio-economic development in the RoSS is in essence; rural development;
(f) Inform policy on all priorities as regards physical, social, financial, economic, and environmental infrastructures in the RoSS;
(g) Advise government in terms of immediate basic needs and strategic developmental priorities of rural South Sudan and available resources from our international, and regional partners;
(h) Advise government on appropriate rural development investment opportunities with international, national, state, county and local positive implications;
(i) Play a proactive role in sustainable commercialization of all modes of production in rural South Sudan, saturated in human rights approach, whereby, the rural folks shall not be alienated from their means, (factors) and relations of production, while at the same time respecting their particularistic cultural values, while maximizing the benefits from their resources; as well as liberating themselves from threats of hunger and famines in a sustainable fashion;
(j) Make rural South Sudan the driver of comprehensive socio-economic development without the oil as the only revenue earning commodity; and
(k) Pioneer and establish proper and versatile rural infrastructures for productive, safe, environmental friendly and sustainable rural industries in fisheries, animal products; forest products and various agricultural products.

I hope that, these sincere suggestions are meaningful and sensible enough to be considered in the next phase of the governance of South Sudan. It is obvious that, we need to make use of all our available human resources in the RoSS, regardless of our political colours. Our general concern ought to be the happiness of our people, and our people who are predominantly rural dwellers, and looking up to us for honest guidance and help.

At the moment, we are in need of more human resources with the required knowledge, skills, experiences, and attitude for the general stability of the RoSS. It is also imperative that, we need honest and dedicated individuals to be entrusted with the fiduciary duties of managing the various resources in the RoSS, including the current productive human resources. There is also a profound need for selfless human resources if we are to be able to mobilise our comprehensive resources in the next critical phase of our development journey in the RoSS.

It is my cardinal believes that, while all levels of governance in the RoSS are important, however, more emphasis and inputs ought to be put where productive human resources are found. The economy of the RoSS shall only move positively ahead, if we relentlessly concentrate on value creation. This shall include economic, financial, and all other positive values which entrench comprehensive harmony in our society.

The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws; and can be reached at [email protected]

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