“Is it the last kicks of a dying horse”?
By: Justin Ambago Ramba
March 19, 2014 (SSNA) — It was barely eight months ago when President Salva Kiir tried to fool the world when he staged the July 23, 2013 president led coup in Juba. At first he dismissed all his ministers together with his long time deputy Dr Riek Machar.
Asked as to why such a mega purge? The president who was clearly hiding something, simply answered that he was seeking a lean government, given the country’s economic conditions.
Of course not only did the lean government became a reality, but it almost brought about an end to the current leadership as now symbolized by the inevitable disintegration of what was a loosely patched SPLA/M.
Today as I write, South Sudan is back to yet another big cabinet following the new “republican order” another phrase for the over used “presidential decree” in which the president reversed his previous stand on lean government and brought back a king size cabinet of 57 ministers.
To say the obvious, the president is now doing everything in his capacity not to bring an end to the crisis that he personally begun in Juba on the eve of December 15, 2013. What we are witnessing is a president that is struggling to survive by clinging to power even at the expense of his once declared principles.
Is going back to a king-size cabinet a good thing for a country whose only source of revenue is oil, and that oil industry itself is already down to one third of its total capacity? And why should we be made to believe that the way out of our current political crisis only lies in have another very big cabinet?
In a country where even primary school drop outs are aspiring to become ministers, maybe president Kiir sees in what he is doing a way to pacify the ongoing rebellion from engulfing the whole country. However my question is why then create ministries for things we don’t do and leave things we do without any ministry.
Like all these things called tourism, investment, labour, defence, etc. we don’t have them! Do we? Things like investment and tourism don’t go hand in hand with our national choice of instability, insecurity and inter and intra-tribal wars.
Again talking about the ministry of defence! This can turn out to be a mere duplication now that our capital city and other main installations and strategic towns are stuffed with the Ugandan UPDF mercenaries in the name of defending these places.
Also soon our country is set to play a host to some 15,000 strong mercenaries from the four IGAD countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, leave alone the 12,000 UNIMISS troops already in the country. Can’t it be seen that the country is being over defended to the extent that it has become defenceless.
The ministry of Wildlife & Fisheries! Yes this one seems to make some sense only that it has always been assigned the wrong role. Who can’t see that South Sudanese are now wild and eating themselves like fish? Hence the reinstated ministry of Wildlife and Fisheries should have indeed replaced the ministry of Interior.
What ministries does South Sudan actually need at this stage of its negative developmental indices? You don’t have to be a Nano Physicist to answer this question. By the look of it, one can say that South Sudan has always been at war with over 2 million dead. It badly needs a ministry for Funerals and Bereavement to say the least. This will suit our peoples’ life style that Salva Kiir’s government has prescribed for them!
Even the things that South Sudanese youth do every day and often take it for granted and here I mean cattle raiding/ rustling (in fact cattle theft), has all through been a deadly game. Don’t those they leave behind deserve government sponsored funeral sessions? Say every Saturdays of the week? The widows and mothers will obviously need some bereavement arrangements. Don’t they deserve that?
You see when we talk about issues like Peace, Reconciliation and Nation Healing bla la bla bla, we need to be serious. For today as you read this article, South Sudan’s major mis-manager, the SPLA/M is at war with itself.
Not so long ago, the current SPLM/A –Opposition leader Dr Riek Machar was himself the person heading the National Healing & Reconciliation Process in his capacity by then as the Vice President of the country and a deputy Chairman of the SPLM party. What later happened to him and that big dream of National Healing & Reconciliation Process, is everyone’s knowledge.
There is also the story of the charismatic ex-SPLM Secretary General who now languishes in the regime’s detention cell, facing a kangaroo court for crimes that keep changing names, details and magnitude each time there is a change in president Salva Kiir’s mood.
From the day the comrade was put under house arrest six months ago, every week the charges against him grown by geometrical progression. It’s Pagan Amum Akeich, a common household name in both Sudan and South Sudan that I am talking about.
At a certain stage he was made the minister for PEACE and Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) Implementation with Khartoum. Now following the FOUR RIGHTS AGREEMENT between Juba and Khartoum, Pagan Amum finds himself incarcerated to leave way for the likes of Telar Deng and Ateny Awek Ateny.
Maybe the Peace we badly need in South Sudan is now imprisoned with comrade Pagan Amum in that cell which only suits criminals but not freedom fighters. The National Healing & Reconciliation Process too might have been dismissed together with Dr Riek Machar Teny!
Think of it objectively and you are likely to see for yourself the points I am trying to make here. Or simply ask yourself is it not these two, Riek Machar and Pagan Amum, each with his followers and supporters that president Salva Kiir would want to reconcile and reach peace. At least as a starting point to a nationwide peace and the much talked about National Healing & Reconciliation Process?
The other thing that caught my eye is this ministry for Disaster Management and humanitarian bla bla bla. We can all remember well that since this ministry was first created some months ago, the country went from having a few disasters here and there to what can be called now a nationwide disaster. Maybe it was a ministry for Manufacturing Disasters, but not managing it.
My question then is, “Has this too familiar ministry in any way controlled any disaster or is it that, it even escalated the already disastrous situation in the country? The answer is obvious. However someone somewhere is busy manufacturing these disaster through poor leadership.
Maybe it is time that disasters go back to where they came from. This ministry of disaster should be housed within the presidency, for it is there that all the disasters befalling the country are manufactured. At least if it is kept there, there is a chance that it will catch up with the master minders!
So far the above could be some of the ways how any of these futile attempts at diverting people’s attentions from what is brewing in Addis Ababa can rightly be exposed. Who doesn’t know that the popular quest for an interim government without the two (Kiir & Machar), has very much gained momentum in the Addis talks!
The other good news is of course none of the previous corrupt ministers who served under these two gentlemen will be considered in the interim cabinet. In short if you have had yourself known as an honourable, or his/her Excellency, you are out of the interim period. The idea is to have an interim period free of any hangovers.
This is where the country stands now and not some dubious moves to remanufacture what was already diagnosed as unwise practice. Didn’t we all agree that we wanted a lean government? If so why then this sudden return to the scrap yard? The answer lies with the new politicians of the “Belly” who will be appointed in the few coming days join in the feast while the entire country is practically sinking at an unprecedented pace.
Dr Justin Ambago Ramba is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and a voice for the millions who remain voiceless in the country.