By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, JUN/09/2017, SSN;
It has been a while since I thought about this topic concerning the role of money in crisis of South Sudan. When Comprehensive Peace Agreement (the CPA) between the Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and National Islamic Front (NIF) regime, Southern Sudan was created, which was administered as an autonomous region from Northern Sudan.
The autonomy of Southern Sudan was to last for six years (2005-2011), which should be followed by referendum, in which all South Sudanese or sixty four tribes currently in South Sudan have to decide whether to become independent nation called South Sudan or continue to be part of larger Sudan.
Indeed, after six years South Sudanese decided to vote for separation. Consequently, they voted for independent South Sudan and in July 2011 the current Official Flag of South Sudan was raised and the Flag of Sudan that many of us associated with all predicaments that were facing South Sudanese under Khartoum was lowered. As the Official Flag was being raised, the crowd was wild with joy while braving simmering sun of Juba.
However, one thing was clear. One thing that was clear was money. Money, which is defined as any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a particular country or socio-economic context, or is easily converted to such a form, was becoming a great major player in the governance of South Sudan.
Nonetheless, though the Money was becoming so important to the extent that development of South Sudan was going to depend on its availability, another side of the money is that it is so corrupting that even the simple act of thinking about it can lead people to act in unethical ways (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/16/money-corruption-study_n_3450724.html).Thus, this article assesses the veracity of the statement that money is the root cause of all evils in South Sudan.
But before we assess the evils caused by money in South Sudan, it is important to list all general evils that are associated with money worldwide, which are:
Money causes dishonesty just to earn more money; in addition money causes corruption as a person or authority operates under the conflict of interest; money leads to the abuse of political power; bribery; moreover, use of money has given rise to greed and exploitation of poor which has resulted into greater inequalities of incomes and wealth.
The economic exploitation caused by greed of money triggers social upheavals in different countries as was seen in the case of Arab spring in 2011; money helps in extending the scale of production, which after certain limits may result in a situation where production far exceeds the demand. This leads to fall in level of prices, unemployment, decline in incomes and thereby misery for the masses.
Money has encouraged many kinds of anti-social activities like gambling, fraud, robbery. It makes people greedy and acquisitive. It encourages tendencies of exploiting others. However, it cannot be denied that most of the evils listed above arise because of improper use of money.
Money has caused political corruption due to politics of money. The Government officials use powers for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.
Forms of corruption money encourages includes bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Money causes corruption which in turn facilitates criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities but to any unjust misuse of power against citizens or to the disadvantage of the citizens..
In addition, misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption caused by greed of money. This is because greed for money hates freedom of speech and expression. It is been reported that in worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning “rule by thieves”. Protect ion of political corruption has led to institutional corruption, which are distinguished from bribery and other kinds of obvious personal gain.
As Panama Papers leaks revealed, government officials secretly owned companies, many of which are based in the UK’s tax havens. Panama Papers were documents, which belonged to the Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, that were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source, some dating back to the 1970s. The Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. This law firm supported dictators, money launderers and tax evaders all over the world to escape taxes and also steal money from theirs nations.
The above are general evils associated with money and therefore it is true to say that money is the root of all evils. The same evils are seen in South Sudan as shall be discussed in the following examples—
There has been faking of qualifications in South Sudan since education is equated with money. Hence, the higher one is educated the bigger the salary or money one may earn. In order to get good post in the employment one must be educated so forging of academic qualifications become handy business in South Sudan. As a result, education has lost its values and importance in South Sudan because it is seen as a means to the end. This is because according to those forged documents the end of education is not knowledge but money.
To prove the above point, in 2016 Busoga University was closed after awarding 1,000 South Sudanese fake degrees in 60 days. In addition, there are also many forged academic documents in various offices in South Sudan because people see education in term of money not knowledge.
Moreover, we have seen in South Sudan rampant misuse of diplomatic passport because of money. It is not uncommon to get ordinary citizens holding diplomatic passport simply because it protects them from paying migration fee or ticket fee of fifty dollars or so. This is just to defraud the country with resources or money. This is because the burden always comes back to the country since it is the one to pay the money to foreign countries in term of diplomatic fee that was not charged against South Sudanese nationals holding diplomatic passports.
The government should collect all Diplomat passports from citizens who do not have any international work related to the business of South Sudan and at the same time they must be tasked to pay all whatever money they would have paid in all the travels they have undertaken. Otherwise, allowing them to use diplomatic passports though their works have nothing to do with diplomacy is abuse of a country and foreign affairs or foreign relations.
Because of money, there is also lucrative black market, evil practices caused by desire for more money. Many bank officials in both Central and commercial banks of South Sudan, for instance, horde hard currencies through the process of insider trading in order to sell them in blank market at higher prices just to get uncontrolled or huge profits. This, as a result, pushes up prices in the market to the economic detriment of the ordinary citizens.
There is much secrecy in dealings in different offices in South Sudan as Money, Politics and Power are interrelated and because of that transparency and accountability are hated in South Sudan. This is because of corruption caused by money. In 2010 during general elections, many youth sold the truth for money. For example, General Daniel Awet is a well-known General in Southern Sudan because of his role in liberation war but because of money the youth lied that he was not well-known simply because they need money; hence truth became an enemy to them.
Money causes corruption which in turn causes financial and political scandals. Politics in South Sudan is based on tribalism, discriminations and nepotism because of money. All is caused by politics of money and because of that money has destroyed unity among us South Sudanese as it has destroyed our traditional African morals that used to hold us together.
Due to the lost of morals, which are replaced by immorality, many of us have resorted into doing abominable things. For example, some people bury money under the ground; some put money in a coffin like dead people and hire people to cry for that money as a means of stealing the money to the neighbouring countries. This is a worse thing any human being with moral values can do but because money has made us to lose morals, we no longer care about integrity.
Because of money, many army generals have destroyed the army because they steal money from soldiers to build their own houses. In addition, many people join rebellion with the aim to get higher rank in order to get good position and a lot of money. This is why rebellion has become a good business as many who join rebellion do not join with the intention of bringing change but with the intention of getting position in the bush and when they join government later they will be incorporated or integrated into the SPLA with the ranks they obtained in the bush. Hence, the whole meaning of rebellion has changed.
Because of money, professionalism has been lost in almost all areas. The worst hit areas by the lost of professionalism are army and legal profession. This is because people working in these areas are only looking for money not practising their professionalism. This is why, for example, the army has been turned into where people in the government employed their own relatives who are not fit to serve in the army. All in the name of money.
In summary, money is the root cause of all evils in South Sudan. Greed for money is a ‘bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction’. Unless we have the law to control the people South Sudan will be sold for money. We already have that indication as there are agents of Khartoum working with the government. The work of these agents is to keep on informing Khartoum of all the latest development in South Sudan.
In addition, the office of the president of South Sudan is turned into business ventures and this is why there are no any secrets in that office. Those inside the office of the President are agents of undisclosed principals. My humble opinion is that the people who corrupt the nation should be sentenced to death once proved in court of law and found guilty in order to save the country from the present serious corruption caused by greed of money.
NB// the author is human rights lawyer and can be reached through: email@example.com