South Sudan’s Leaders and Accountability

By: Bol Khan Rom

October 9, 2013 (SSNA) —In today’s world, particularly in South Sudan almost everybody wants to be a leader. Of course, it is a moral or national ambition because all of us on this modern planet would like to see ourselves in history but to leave better legacy for generations. However, none or few are prepared to accept the responsibility and accountability that goes with it (Leadership). If you’ve any vacancy today and ask question, that who will take this post; be it a ministerial, gubernatorial, commissionership or directorial post, everybody around you there could just stood up and say it is me or I’m the one. Definitely, the reasons she/he would have to produce categorically are good governance, transparency, justice, equality, development, and accountability. 

Hence, before we can read practically the case, with existing examples about how our leaders in this country ridiculously avoid responsibility and accountability. I think it would be better to have installed some features needed in leadership. At the basic level, a leader is someone who leads other. She/he should be a person who has a vision, drive and a commitment to achieve that vision, and the skills to make it happen. A leader should not be selfish who sits, lives alone, so he must cares very much for public welfare, he should talk to his/her people not only in time of elections. Leaders do not demand their ordinary people to give them something; the reverse is true. In this case, until you take responsibility as a leader, you are a victim. Thus, being a victim is an exact opposite of being a leader.

A leader does not wallow in remorse or self-pity. She/he simply accepts responsibility for her/his mistakes, learns what she/he can, and pledges to do better. He/she takes actions to correct the problems. This means that he/she accept responsibility for the outcome expected of him/her—both good and bad. He/she does not blame external environment and others .There are always things he/she could have done—or still can do—to change the ending. This is the great thing about responsibility and leadership. For these reasons, it is constitutionally important for leaders to accept accountability for the good and bad results they produce alike! Coming back to the aim of this piece, yes, in South Sudan, we have leaders both ex-and current ones; those are Ministers, Undersecretaries, Directors, Governors, and Commissioners.

Frankly speaking, several of those leaders in South Sudan have succeed in their distinguish assignments while majority of them do not make it. Now our questions are, is there any leader among ex-and current leaders of South Sudan directly accepts both good and bad deeds they were/are performing on daily basis? Is there any person or institution holding leaders accountable? If there, were any institution-taking leaders to court whom would you like to be hold accountable, starting from yours? Answers are from you the readers. Do we contribute to make accountability a reality in our Republic?

Instead, to the best of our knowledge, all political birds with the same political wings, who do fly together, are just putting themselves in the room of truth, and put other in the opposite part of building. Now you could see how stooges are defending indirectly by distorting even successful acts. We use to read their dependent articles.

Centrally, there are seventy-five plus, former and present government officials who have had pocketed about $4.5 USD, Dura Saga on the list, Constituencies Development Funds, President’s money among other has also reported-stolen and investigated effectively. Yet, nothing has been materializing! Nevertheless, when we come to the field of accountability against that complicity, they would never accept responsibility of taking that national asset nor would their political friends sign/stamp any referral letter to the court of corruption.

In the lower level, you can even find some leaders in accordance with powers conferred upon them by law; sometimes they make decisions with resolution that no matter what the outcome, they will take responsibility for the results. Without, knowing that responsibility variously has both negative and positive connotation. That is, accomplishment as a positive sense and failure-mistake as a negative one. Anytime, a credential leader certainly accepts one of these two implications comes what. Now in our case, once there is anything that went wrong or when a leader gets unexpected result of his/her decision (resolution) he/she finds ways to avoid responsibility or finds someone and something else to blame. Look around you; you will see an example, I ‘m sure!

In Giraffe County in 2011, the pre-successor of current Commissioner, Mr. James Maluit had decided to order the collection of 300,000 SSP from the County’s Chiefs that was accordingly did by those traditional Chiefs immediately. But in the middle of Administration’s intricacy, when the outcome of the coin he tossed by his own turned out to be a slippery-tail or a false start, it became difficult to the extent that you can even now see the case standing alone without any body been found to held responsible or accountable.

Before that, in (June) the same year a section called Chuol’s section (Chieng-Chuol) was constrained to pay nine thousand, two hundred South Sudanese pounds (9.200 SSP) by the same Administration. The quest was to be just a selection of one person for a vacant post of an Executive Chief, Mr. Dul Riek Turoal who died earlier on; in Dec 2010. Mr.Duoth Dul Riek was anonymously been selected by the section to replace his father. Despite this traditionally related fact, the Commissioner insisted. When asked, as to what reason a whole section’s Head Chiefs, sub- Chiefs and all headmen should be dissolve and call for fresh elections without the involvement of the other sections in the County, the Commissioner said, it is an Administrative decision or responsibility to be explain latter. This either never been explained and may not be explain since there is no strong institution to copes with leaders and accountability in this young country called South Sudan. Here, in case of giraffe’s county "The former local government’s head is not responsible for all these"

Nationalizing our view, accountability of public functionaries across South Sudan should be ensuring at all levels of governmental system through appropriate legislative and administrative measures. Otherwise, everything would be a nightmare! It needs hardly emphasized that transparency and accountability would help in minimizing this grouped corruption in public life. Administrative malpractices are in details and may take many forms. Numerous are the forms of corruption and abuse of authority that needs accountability in this country.

These forms are misappropriation of public money, production of forged certificates for subordinates (destroying human resources), cheating in recruitment (students for scholarship based on family-lineup), selling out people properties-assistances—ignoring the international mark: "Not for sale" because it is a gift! I could agree with you that there is neither better nor worse selling out of people gifts from developed Communities. Simply because, there is no different at all, if the former was the case, for they were all deliberated cheating or looters practices on people interests.

Is this country democratic? Genuine democracy does not only mean the structure of local, state, and national governments or parliamentary representative. However, it necessarily involves participation of people in the affairs of country. It is a continuum in a linked set of notions that establish the democratic rights of the people. These quintessential bedrocks of democratic are: (a) Participation (b) Transparency and (c) Accountability. As one of the norms of democratic administration is that power should be commensurate with responsibility and the holders of public office should be accountable to the people.

Inclusion, we would like to say one of the fundamental preconditions of good governance is the right to information. That good governance would never been realized in South Sudan unless masses are made aware of their rights and bureaucrats are made accountable for their deeds. Secrecy breeds lack of accountability and that is the prime reason behind the cancer of corruption that afflicts the whole country, South Sudan. Therefore, the author is of the view that any alleged leader whether current or ex- leader irrespective of which government levels but perceives of embezzled public fund should explain his/her case in the court! Otherwise, leaders’ accountability would never been realized in South Sudan!

The author is a concerned South Sudanese; he can be reached at [email protected]

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