By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, APR/16/2018, SSN,
Daniel Juol Nhomngek
Viewing South Sudan critically points to one conclusion that it’s a collapsed nation. In other words, it is a failed state. According to Wikipedia, the failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly.
The failure of the State comes about when a nation is weakened as its standard of living declines, which eventually leads to the total governmental collapse.
In this respect, Fund for Peace characterizes the failed state as having the following characteristics:
(1) loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein;
(2) erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions;
(3) inability to provide public services; and
(4) inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.
The above common characteristics of a failing state make a central government so weak or ineffective that it has an inability to raise taxes or other support due to rampant corruption, and consequently, has little practical control over much of its territory and hence there is a non-provision of public services.
In the failed State, there is a lot of widespread corruption and criminality as there is intervention of non-state actors, the widespread appearance of refugees and the involuntary movement of populations and sharp economic decline occur.
All these scenarios exist all over South Sudan.
In South Sudan, there is a lot of widespread corruption throughout the country as witnessed in some of the states. The clear examples of these states where corruption has reached the highest levels are:
In Gok State, the governor is running the State like personal enterprise as he has taken control of everything while using state powers to silence citizens who are conscious about the duties of the State that Gok State are not executing.
The Governor in Gok State has criminalized majority of the youth who are vocal of his mismanagement of the State. While some youth are blindly supporting him because he is from their county. Therefore, every person in Gok State who criticizes the Government is seen as interested in politics and therefore outlawed.
In order to survive in Gok State and get some employment, one must at all the times praise the governor even at the face of very clear apparent failure. Some of the youth by implication become submissive as conditions demand.
Another state with high levels of corruption and mismanagement is Western Lakes. In this State, the Governor is running the State like one-man enterprise as already pointed out in the discussion on Gok State.
To make the matters worse after failing to unite the people of Western Lakes through implementing the rule of law, the government is now trying to use force to bring people together that he is creating unity, which may lead to the destruction of the community settings.
What the governor of Western Lakes should have known is that unity of the people is not brought through the use of force or putting people in one room but it is brought through making unity attractive as the Late Dr. John Garang Mabior used to say.
Another State that is corrupted is Ruweng. In Ruweng State, the governor is using force to silence those complaining about his mismanagement of the State. This is despite the fact that citizens of South Sudan inhabiting Ruweng State are being affected by careless production of oil. The plights of citizens in Pariang who are affected by oil production are not heeded to.
Though I have only mentioned the three States above, it should not be understood that there is no corruption in other states no referred to. In fact, there is a lot a lot of corruption going on there.
When it comes to the issue of criminality, there is now rampant crime at every level and in every state of South Sudan as the States are using the intervention of non-state actors to champion their interests and to protect leadership not the citizens. This explains the strong presence of unknown government though they’re known.
Indeed, the issue of unknown gunmen has now even become a major concern to every citizen as they are killing big people as well as common citizens that are perceived as threat against the government.
This has led to the widespread killings that are not accounted for but the State does not even take any measure to protect citizens which means that they are killing in protection of the State.
Apart from the above crime, there are also a lot of widespread cattle wrestling or raiding which has made the keeping of animals to be a very risky project in various cattle communities in South Sudan.
This has deprived the citizens of the source of their livelihood that has pushed them to the streets in all major cities to beg in order to earn a living.
In terms of public service, there is none at all. Public servants working inside South Sudan and different embassies of South Sudan are now over ten months without salaries yet we still believe that there is a State.
The failure to pay government employees and the soldiers in particular has pushed some of them to engage in robbery and begging on the streets in different States.
It is very sad indeed and raises the vital question as to what does the State mean to those who believe that there is a state called South Sudan?
It is the fallacy of our understanding of the word STATE. A state that does not give her citizens services is the illusive State that exists in the state of minds of those who believe in its existence.
The absence of the State or inability of the State of South Sudan to control crimes is explained by the fact that the rampant crimes coupled with the ongoing civil war have led to a very serious refugee crisis.
The widespread appearance of refugees and the involuntary movement of populations and sharp economic decline are the clear description of South Sudanese State, which are the signs of non-existing state.
However, what surprises me and others who are well informed about the vital nature of the government and leadership is the fact that many individuals though educated keep on blaming the citizens of South Sudan for the collapse of South Sudan State and economy.
This shows that they have totally failed to understand the role of leadership in maintaining law and order and state stability in general. The question that they have not addressed their minds to, is if citizens where the ones responsible for the state stability why then do, we need the government?
In order to understand this question properly, there is a need to define the term government. The government is defined as a body that has the power to make and enforce laws within an organization or group.
In the broadest sense, “to govern” means to manage or supervise, whether over an area of land, a set of people, or a collection of assets. It is for this reason some writers point out that a God-ordained government acts like a restraint on man’s selfishness and regulates his societal interactions when necessary.
As it is already pointed, the primary duty of a government is to reward the people who do good things and punish the wrongdoers. In that respect, the overall supervisor of any government is the head of state. The head of state plays an important role of being an impartial guardian of the constitution and representative of the people.
The Government plays the role of: ensuring a secured and stable environment to enable free trade, innovation, development, quality education and production through securing the national borders, and protecting against internal threats such as racketeering, intimidation, violence and corruption, and defend the country from any external threat to our way of life.
As seen in the above discussion, government and leadership are what define the state and without them the state will be a failed state as it is the case of South Sudan. It is somehow said to see that in spite of this fact, some people who claim to be educated keep on blaming the citizens for the crisis in South Sudan.
Blaming citizens for the collapse of the country is the failure to understand that leadership and government are everything. The country that does not have an effective government and leadership is the failed country.
The effective government in this context is that government that delivers quality public services, the government that has the quality civil service, which is independent from political pressures.
To sum up, it must be stated that the problems of South Sudan are not due to the weaknesses of citizens but the ineffective leadership that has made the government ineffective.
The author is South Sudanese lawyer residing in Kampala and he can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org