Athorbei and Koryom shouldn’t take People of South Sudan for Granted

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, NAIROBI, Kenya, DEC/17/2015, SSN;

I am not an economist or financial expert but a lawyer by profession and a concerned citizen who has gravely been affected by unscrupulous incessant rise in inflation rates in the country caused by inertia of people entrusted with responsibility to oversee, run and initiate policies that meets the demand of the common man not highly privileged members of this community.

The issue of inflation and hikes in prices has severely impacted on the common citizens who are unable to get even ten pounds a day for a living.

It has reached the unprecedented climax precipitated by dollarization of every item in the market. The decision taken by both the minister of finance and economic planning, Deng Athorbei, and Bank of South Sudan governor, Kornelio Koryom Mayiik, has added salt to the already bleeding wound at unprecedented scale.

If you allow the rate to be determined by the marketeers without rules and regulations, you have given okay to the thieves and market predators who think about nothing but how to benefit at the behest of the common man in South Sudan.

You have initialed and legalized the survival of the fittest forgetting that not everybody has the ability to meet that living.

In Juba today, you buy a cup of tea at unprecedented rate determined by tea-makers and if you ask as to why the price of the cup of tea has risen, the only answer you get is that the dollar has shoot-up and she’s selling it at such a price so that “I get something to eat with my children.”

Now that the dollar rate is fixed to 18.5 but subject to determination by marketeers, you gave them licenses to loot the public especially the poor in broad daylight at your watch.

One thing Athorbei and Koriom and their accomplices must know is the fact that not all of us are privileged to live a life they are living with their families and not all of us in this country have access to public funds to establish businesses that can sustain us in meeting the new changes and demands.

When you make policies as a leader, the only thing you put in mind is the common or poor man not people of your status.

This policy or realignment of demand and supply as the economists call it, will surely make matters worse for the common man and increase turmoil and criminal activities because eighty per cent of the people will have nothing to eat and they can’t allow themselves to die while seeing others eating.

I am not against the decision to initiate economic policies or align the demand and supply in the market but any decision that is taken must not be retrogressive and at the disadvantage of the common people who are less privileged members of the society.

This decision I believe didn’t take into consideration the low and less income groups of people who are the majority in the country.

One thing our leaders should know is the fact that over the past years, a wide gap has been created among the people and that economic imbalance still exists and grows wider and wider day and night.

If this decision is effected as per the order communicated by the two principal authorities, it will create a lot of retro-gradation and would accelerate the worsening situation where everybody rebels since only the gate to recruitment into the army is the only way you can get employment and this has caused a lot of criminal enterprises in the country.

This decision needs to be revisited and reversed before it provokes and causes outrage and havoc. It is worse than the one that was sought to be enforced by the Governor of Central Bank which was rejected and reversed by the National Assembly.

If the two principals are real economists and they wanted to rescue the situation effectively, they must call and sit down with all economists we have in this country to deliberate on most pressing economic issues and to design and devise mechanisms to address these issues instead of embarking on a process that will backfire and cause the government and its people heavily in material and lives.

Our leaders must think twice before making any decision. Athorbei and Koriom should not take people of South Sudan for granted.

We have been patient enough and have persistently persevered all odds and hardships of the highest order on this planet. Spare us this time and revisit if not reversing your so-called realignment policy to meet demands and supplies on rates to be determined by marketeers.

Market forces in South Sudan are economic predators who wanted to benefit overnight at the disadvantage of the paupers or common man because they affect the availability of goods and the demand for them, on the pretext that dollar rates are high.

Without any help or control by government, tens of thousands of people will surely starve to death just at the beginning of the new year.

Don’t take people of South Sudan for granted simply because they have tied their belts and suffered for a very long time; our patience will surely run out this time if you continue slapping us in the face.

Believe me or not, it’s a fact and you will pay heavy consequences if the people angrily storm your offices or residences.

You brought shame to our great party, the SPLM, and to the people of South Sudan in the eyes of the world.

The National Assembly must exercise its powers and functions under article 57(i) of the Transitional Constitution and cast a vote of no-confidence against the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning because his action is a threat to national security of the country which if not urgently dealt with properly will cause havoc and turmoil of unprecedented scale.

Tong Kot Kuocnin is a Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached at:


  1. Mafai says:

    Let us hear from the pro-government elites and how it will affect their salaries. Those with platoon of wives kept in Kampala, Nairobi, Eldoret and etc feeding on the expenses of the tax payers of the republic of South Sudan will have their wives and children back to the their villages or risk loosing their wives to other wolves.The unfortunate thing is that the ordinary people are the ones who are going to suffer most.
    Basic mathematics can tell us that now a Director General whose salary is about 2,000 SSP will now earn approximately 100 USD, the useless MPs and ministers ( Salary about 8,000 SSP) will earn roughly 450 USD and the unfortunate civil servants i.e. support staffs including our indiscipline soldiers ( salary approximately 700-1000) will earn 50 USD. Comparing these salaries to the current market price, one can conclude that a family can rarely survive up to the end of the month.
    What a free market policy?????? Hooligans in governments left to decide on our fate. God bless South Sudan and the blood of our martyrs dwell on the hooligans.

  2. Chol Deng Anyieth says:

    You have elaborated it well Moulana. Do not blame Koriom or Deng Athorbei but blame the person who appointed them. First of all, Koriom is not a banker, he joined the banking sector as a clerk and continued to work there until his promotion to the post of a manager. He does not know economic policies. On the other hand, Deng Athorbei studied business administration. He can only manage people. He does not read figures like economist. In light of the forgoing reasons, the two gentlemen will lead the country economy into fatal end. Thus the only way is to preclude them from economic policies

    • info@southsudannation says:

      If want you clearly exposed above about the proficiency or lack of it among the two ‘financial gurus’ of kiir are true, then indeed our nation is forever and irreversibly doomed. These two are like the best the Jieeng Council of Elders could recommend for these two strategic positions in their diabolical junta in Juba, so their continued tenure in those positions will continue to the detriment of South Sudan nation and people.

  3. Eastern says:

    Dear Tong Kot Kuocnin,

    Please go slow on Athorbei and Koryom, being a learned person you should have analysed the underlying factors that pushed these folks to do what they did.

    The so-called official rate was something which was always going to be unsustainable given the glaring economic realities:
    1. The oil exports have dwindled thanks to the ongoing war and price drop of oil in the world market.
    2. The so-called official rate was being abused by influential people in Kiir’s government who in turn churn the dollar they acquire into the black market. You can see this dollar being sold along the streets by the nephews of these officials. The proceeds from the black market dollar sales is used to meet the expenses of large families and footing bills of lavish lifestyles in Juba hotels and brothels.
    3. Kiir’s cronies continue to bleed the dollar vaults further by ‘special approvals’ – individuals approach the presidency to acquire dollars to foot medical expenses abroad, etc.
    4. The government through some tribal advisory groupings notably the JCE continue to believe in financing the war efforts by selling oil still underground – Kiir confessed to this in recent address to the nation!
    5. Uganda continues to believe in military solution to the ongoing conflict – South Sudan bought the idea. Please read the article in this link:

    Given the above, I expected you not to react to the move of the Central Bank governor with proposals and alternatives. If one of the influential people in government wrote the way you did, I won’t be surprised. But for an LLM candidate, I am shocked!!!

    It’s common knowledge that the cattlecamp boys selling dollars in the street of Juba and Nimule have direct connection and backing of powerful people in government. Now that the currency market has been let to run on supply and demand bases, they are afraid that their stashes of SSP bills tucked away in their custodies will become worthless. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are a beneficiary of the dollar scum at the Central Bank. One time Cornelious Koryom wanted the dollar account to be shifted to ministry of finance under Athorbei because peowerful individuals in government were threatening him because of his ‘strictness’ !!!!!

    Tong, the economic problem bedevilling South Sudan is far beyond Koryom-Athorbei resignation. I would expect you as a legal fellow to be looking at future solutions including setting up an independent financial body in South Sudan responsible for managing public revenues. You could even go further to propose trial of individuals involved in financing the war and ‘encouraging’ the government to invest in war. Nobody will buy the notion of South Sudan continuing to fight the war to ‘defend its sovereignty’. Much as reconciliation will be pursued, justice for those affected by the conflict must be pursued to its logical conclusion.

    There are people in South Sudan who continue to sing that there’s no tribalism yet the vice is responsible for the current predicament in the country, such must be tried for their roles in misleading the country.

  4. SJ Oryem says:

    Comrade Tong, I laud you for your eloquent and well put message on behalf of the South Sudanese people. Our society cannot take any more of these measures which could not have come from anybody who consider himself responsible for the well being of the society. These measures are not like increasing tax on alcohol or tobacco products, but these are measures that affect the live and well beings of every South Sudanese, and in particular the children. What responsible would deny any person the right to provide his/her children milk, sugar, bread, ful-Masri, janjaro etc. at affordable price! As you correctly put it, these measures are a threat to the national security of the country and must be rescinded forthwith. When hungary people come into the streets protesting no amount of guns can control them, because dying of bullets or hunger would means the same….Athorbei and Koryom should not push our people and country to the point of no return. Enough has been said of South Sudan being a young nation; the people running the affairs of South Sudan are neither young or inexperienced lots. It they are, the should voluntarily vacate those positions and leave it capable technocrats to take the country forward. We are absolutely feed up with the mess in South Sudan!

    • johnjerry says:

      Let peace return to the Country so that the “reforms” that was the reasons for the outbreak of the senseless war that caused the majority of the Nuer people and others because reforms was called for .According to IGAD Mr. Riak will be tasked with reforms that is badly needed to move the country forward. I do not know exactly how the two “CO-PILOT” will land the plane safely after the 30 months of transitional government of national unity leading to the general election after that. Tough financial laws must be put in place to avoid further corruption and the president’s Office should not be another ministry of Finance or Bank of South Sudan because it is in the Office of the President that a lot of money went missing. A new constitution be written that will be accepted by all not imposed by one person that gave more power to the president and at the end of the day it was only a presidential decree that became the order of the day and the Parliament became dormant as the JCE became the real August House.

  5. Bol says:

    Dear Tong,
    National Security has been under threat since the government found itself in the red, and failed to act, for nearly 4 years now.
    Devaluation of local currency may be the single sound economic policy ever taken by the government and shout be strictly followed. Government revenues are around 100M USD which is equivalent to 340M SSP a month, while expenditures are around 900M SSP per a month. Opposing this policy means one thing: Encouraging the government to keep borrowing 600M SSP a month.
    Food items sold in the market are priced at 18 SSP a dollar and ordinary citizen living in the RSS was not getting anything anyway. Deregulating dollar would cut un-necessary imports, deports foreign workers and repatriates our self-imposed exile individuals who won’t be able to pay their bills in East Africa.
    RSS is in economic ruins before and after currency devaluation and the situation could even get worse under united SPLM, because of internal fighting, more expenditures and obvious leadership failure….They could have refine our oil to save 400M USD spend on petrol imports a year…. They could have control food items prices by encouraging local production and co-operate shops…..They could have strengthen Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC) as the only system of External Trade, saving us millions of USD …..They could have adopted Artisanal Mining, not Corporate Mining as a practical method of utilising our mineral sector to generate more USD …..Our government has one song to sing {liberation}….Can someone eats freedom when they are hungry?
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

  6. Hoiloom says:

    Eastern and Bol,

    I could’t agree more with your assertion on ssp devaluation. This is an overdue decision that should have been carried out since 2013. In fact the decision of currency devaluation was only revoked in 2013 by parliament for obvious reasons as these are the elites whose families reside in East Africa. As for the ordinary citizen, I don’t really see any difference since prices in the market were pegged against parallel exchange rates. Harmonizing the exchange rates by Koryom and Athorbei is the right thing to do as it will deprived the few to benefit from this ill practice.


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