By Duop Chak Wuol
October 6, 2019 (SSNA) — Trusting Salva Kiir is like trusting a pathological liar who constantly beats his chest to prove that his lies are the embodiment of truth. I have harshly criticized Kiir’s policies in the media for years—my articles in the media can attest to my claim. There are those who are staunch supporters of Salva Kiir, it is understandable. Even a medically madman who regularly claims that he is a God can have supporters. This is an attempt to show that Kiir is not just a dictator, he is Kleptocrat who wrongly believes he can swindle South Sudan and the international community for as long as he stays in power.
In 2018, Kiir politely (cunning to be exact) asked Dr. Machar to turn over all oilfields that were under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO). The oilfields in question are those that were captured by the armed opposition and need to be repaired. In his rather sneaky request, Kiir claimed that he wanted the oilfields so that he can restore them, resume oil output, and fund the peace agreement. Dr. Machar relented, thinking Kiir was really for peace. What happened next is anyone’s imagination. Kiir consistently refused to finance the deal. Who is at fault? I would suggest, at least for now, that the correct answer is still up in the air. The cold-blooded calculating deceiver keeps deceiving the people of South Sudan and the international community. Months after he resumed oil production, Kiir surprised Machar by asking the international community for money. He asked many global donors and the United Nations that he has no money and that the agreement will not succeed if he cannot secure funding. The international community was not convinced by his words. Realizing that the community of nations is not supportive of his request, he launched a seemingly ferocious campaign by accusing the United States of influencing world leaders against funding the peace process. He even accused the US of working against peace in South Sudan. It was a desperate move on his part. Any reasonable person knows that the United States backed South Sudanese during the struggle against Sudan and it is the biggest donor to South Sudan. Kiir’s accusation against the American government is simply too naked to believe. He is simply furious because the U.S. decided to stop most of its direct financial aid to his regime.
In February 2019, after he noticed that most world leaders no longer trust him when it comes to money, he announced that he will tax all South Sudanese civil servants and that he will be able to collect at least $285 million dollars, enough to implement the deal—assuming he was going to successfully do it. But there was an indisputable fact Kiir was not interested to share with South Sudanese. This fact was that the civil servants he wanted to tax sometimes go months without pay. One wonders where on earth Kiir would be able to collect this huge amount of money when the very people he wanted to collect the money from are in bad situations, most of whom cannot even provide food for their families because of his government continue refusal to pay their salaries. The reality is that the tyrant failed to collect the $285 million he was bragging about because according to facts, he was clearly misleading the people.
Last month, Salva Kiir borrowed $600 million dollars from China. He told the Chinese government that he wanted the money to pay a six-month salary of all South Sudanese civil servants. When the Chinese government asked him why he wanted to pay a total of six months, his response was that his government did not have money and that he wanted to pay civil servants because the peace will be implemented and a transitional government will be formed by November 12. China then agreed and gave him the $600 million loan. Now, it has emerged that Kiir only paid a two-month salary of civil servants and $400 million went missing. This is an irrefutable fact from a government insider who has a full knowledge of when the money was requested, why it was requested, and when the fund was given to South Sudan’s government.
It is worth reminding that this is not the first time Juba’s regime asks for money from a foreign entity or government to pay its civil servants. In June 2019, Kiir’s government asked Afri-Exim Bank for a $500 million dollars loan, claiming it wants the money to pay salaries for public servants, fund oil, agricultural, and infrastructure projects. The regime went further by sugar-coating its loan request, saying it has the necessary plan to repay the money back in four years. I am not sure if there is anyone who can tell me if Salva Kiir has in fact carried out infrastructure projects as he claimed. The whole thing is just another fraud designed to scam money from a foreign company in the name of the nation.
There is also another critical point that South Sudanese need to know. This main point is that South Sudan currently owes $27.6 million dollars to the East African Community (EAC). Recently, representatives of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) humiliated South Sudan by lashing out in the parliament, saying they do not understand why Juba is not paying its monthly dues. The issue of fee arrears make South Sudan appears as if it is not a nation that can respect its international obligations. Even some representatives used an abusing language against our country. The East African parliament is right. Salva Kiir was quick to join the EAC not because he wanted South Sudan to be part of it, but because his regional ally, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told him to do so. He thought Museveni will protect him whenever he did something wrong. Now the EAC is threatening to suspend South Sudan because of Kiir’s twisted love for money. I am glad many EAC representatives brutally criticized our nation. Kiir does not care about the image of the country. His mind is all about taking oil money, buy weapons, and kill anyone who opposes his regime. Tanzanian representative to EALA Mrs. Fancy Haji Nkuhi said, “Today we eat from the house of Mr. Tanzania, tomorrow Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda. When we go to South Sudan, they close their doors and say we are not around.” This is the bitter truth of how Salva Kiir’s actions reduce South Sudan to a mere useless village in the eyes of the world.
Kiir’s behavior speaks for itself. Last month, the United States ambassador to South Sudan Thomas Hushek explicitly declared that Salva Kiir cannot be trusted when it comes to the management of money. The ambassador also stated that Kiir has been and still misusing South Sudan’s resources including oil revenues. It is true that Salva Kiir controls the oil in a way that he sees it as his own property.
Kiir has no intention of ending the conflict. His main goal is to keep looting the nation’s national coffers and agrees to a deal that only maintains the current dictatorial system. The man is addicted to appointing and dismissing state and national officials on the state-run South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), let alone elected officials. Any peace agreement that asks him to relinquish some constitutional powers will face obstacles. His mind keeps telling him that he can keep enriching himself as long as the war drags on. In a logical sense, he is saying that he is capable of protecting his regime militarily, meaning he prefers war over peace unless such a peace maintains his tyranny. However, if the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition, receives military assistance today from a foreign country, I guarantee you, Kiir would be the one preaching the peace tomorrow. For those who believe Salva Kiir is a leader, please consult your conscience. A leader who is a tyrant and kleptocrat is not a leader. Salva Kiir fits within the meaning of these two titles. He is indisputably a master of deceit. Only a conscience-stricken person would trust him—trust him at your own peril.
Duop Chak Wuol is an Analyst and Editor-in-Chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are his and should not be attributed to the South Sudan News Agency.