BY: Elhag Paul, RSS
[The tears of honorable Matur Maker shed on 2nd November 2011 in the parliament in Juba during the presentation of the report of the auditor general Mr. Steven Wondu calls for rescue of South Sudan from the claws of the felons]
JUNE 22/2012, SSN; The corruption that is eating away South Sudan like a terminal cancer slowly spreading all over a healthy person is not something new. This is a disease dating back to the inception of the movement. The infection started when the founders of SPLM/A failed to put in place the necessary instruments, mechanism and structures as pillars of a robust organization. The maxim invoked by architectural engineers that a robust foundation and corner pillars are a must for any sound construction was ignored here.
The fact that SPLM/A survived to this date against all odds as an amorphous organization beats my mind. No doubt a research study on it may come up with an interesting unique theory in management. Anybody studying for a higher degree in management may want to consider doing such a research. It would benefit the advancement of knowledge in that area for human kind.
HOW IT STARTED: SPLM/A was founded at a very critical time in the history of Sudan. Competing forces in late 1970s and early 1980s were violently trying to achieve their interests in the Sudan. The Arabs under Nimeiri wanted to totally subjugate, Islamize and Arabise South Sudan and their strategy to achieve this was to foment massive divisions in the South.
In the South, internally, the Dinka using their smooth relationship with the Arabs wanted to establish themselves as the elites forcefully via corrupt behavior such as nepotism and tribalism. Then, the government of Abel Alier Dinkanised the police force, and put it under the command of Reuben Mach as a tool to realize their already stated objective. The Equatorians on the other hand were fighting to resist Dinka abuse and domination. Internationally, America and Russia were fighting their cold war in the region using Sudan and Ethiopia respectively.
The dynamics of these forceful clashes led to the corruption in the Sudan army to give birth to SPLM/A. Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, the commander of battalion 105 in Bor and his superior major general Sadiq El Bana in Juba were involved in financial embezzlement and illicit deals involving the smuggling of ivory tasks, leopard skins and the like. Their disagreement over the proceeds of the loot as would be expected led both officers to use their positions and their forces to settle score.
The atmosphere by then was ripe for rebellion, especially given that Nimeiri had already repealed the Addis Ababa agreement of 1972 and ordered the transfer of the integrated 6000 Anyanya forces from South Sudan to the north. Kerubino seized this highly charged political atmosphere to ignite the war on 16th May 1983 because he did not want to be crashed by his powerful superior whom he double-crossed.
It was true that at the time many South Sudanese in the Sudan armed forces were agitating for action and it was only a matter of time for a rebellion to take place in the South. Do not forget that Anyanya 2 already was up and active operating in Upper Nile against Khartoum. So Kerubino was clever enough to use this sensitive period for his own benefit to cover up his illegal activities with his superior.
BORN OUT OF CORRUPTION: There you are, SPLM/A was born out of the violence of corruption and led by the very people who were major actors in corruption in the Sudanese army. Seeking support for its survival, SPLM/A turned to Ethiopia communist regime under Mengistu Haile Mariam and they adopted a Marxist management model which implemented an absolutist system generating an environment of terror within the organization. Nobody could dare to speak against any wrong being done lest you get lynched.
In absence of instruments, mechanism and structures, Dr Garang became everything: the leader, the finance officer, the preacher, mini-god and what have you. The fact that the management of the organization was a one man show, it meant that the necessary instruments for checking corruption like auditing and accountability were ignored. Kiir lamented during the Rumbek meeting of November 2004 by saying, “corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate.”
This led to the worship of Dr Garang and the setting of the scene for rapid development of corruption. Myint in his article in the journal of Asia-Pacific Development, vol. 7, No.2, Dec. 2000, titled, Corruption: Causes, Consequences and Cures, defines corruption as ‘the use of public office for private gain, or in other words, use of official position, rank or status by an officer for his own personal benefit.’ From this definition it is clear that the behavior of major Kerubino and his superior major general Sadiq El Bana were acts of corruption. Consequently they led the country into crisis.
GARANG’S ABSOLUTISM WAS CORRUPTION: Similarly, the absolute control of the entire SPLM/A by Garang constituted an act of corruption in that he used the organization to build himself and perpetuate a personality cult.
Professor Robert Klitgaard in his influential article on the vice of corruption, ‘International Cooperation Against Corruption’ published in the journal of Finance & Development in March 1998 argues that monopoly of power is the number one culprit in perpetuation of corruption. He defines corruption as C=M+D-A which stands for corruption equals monopoly plus discretion minus accountability. So the acts of Dr Garang fit in well with Klitgaards definition of corruption because he wielded monopoly of power in SPLM/A with full discretion to do what he wanted without any accountability.
Extending this argument further on Dr Garang’s person throws more light on his character. His acquired fame and status as a hero in the liberation war in itself is a product of corruption as argued elsewhere that he does not deserve to be called the “Father of the nation.” There can not be honor in corruption.
The first corruption in the movement started with brain washing and the disablement of the free will of the person. The consequence of this type of corruption was huge in that innocent lives of true freedom fighters were sacrificed on flimsy grounds without any serious legal enquiries being conducted.
Peter Nyaba in his book titled ‘The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View’, published in Kampala in 1997 by KPI, points out that Dr Juac Erjok, a veterinary doctor from Ngok Dinka, Mr Lokurunyang Lado, a leftist activist and member of the South Sudan Patriotic Front and a certain Yahyah, a trade unionist who joined the ranks of SPLA, were framed as agents of Nimeiri and executed by firing squad during the graduation of the first brigade of the Jarad division in 1985. There was no investigation carried out and there was no appeal against the death sentences before execution.
Lam Akol in his book, titled ‘SPLM/SPLA Inside African Revolution’ published in Khartoum in 2001 by Khartoum University Press goes further to explain that Pagan Amum, Nyachugak Nyachiluk and Lokurnyang Lado were members of one group led by the latter. Pagan and Nyachugak conspired against Lokurnyang, arrested him and handed him over to SPLA leading to his execution. According to Lam, Pagan was a member of the firing squad that executed Lokurnyang Lado. What a horrible injustice?
This was a shameful betrayal of comradeship and an unpatriotic act from people who call themselves freedom fighters. But we must not forget this was a consequence of corruption in action. Now that South Sudan is an independent country, it is only right that a truth and reconciliation commission is established to investigate the violations of human rights within its territory. The severe punishment meted out on these freedom fighters should be investigated and if found innocent they should be righted posthumously so they can rest in peace.
Imagine destroying your own fighting force based on falsity knowingly. With hindsight now, how can such people be taken seriously as freedom fighters? Kiir was right in his confrontation with Dr Garang in Rumbek to say, ‘there are people among us who are more dangerous than the enemy.’ Yes, even now as I write on this sensitive issue there are very dangerous people in SPLM/A. Kiir himself is one of these dangerous people. He supervised the dungeons of SPLM/A for 22 years under Dr Garang. He also appointed ruthless and dangerous opportunists who betrayed the South to the parliament and the cabinet to support him. It is a case of birds of the same feathers flocking together.
CORRUPTION GOT UNCONTROLLABLE: The lid came off the issue of corruption for the first time in SPLM/A publicly during the national convention of 1994. Then Dr Garang said the fish had grown too big meaning corruption was getting out of control. Garang being a suave talker, the issue was laid to rest without any further follow up. I suspect fear was a factor in people keeping quiet. It is unbelievable that Garang, a man of such formidable intellect could not have foreseen the seriousness of the problem. It is certain that Garang knew well the corrosive impact of corruption but chose to ignore it because he was the major beneficiary of the practice and therefore he saw no reason to curb it for the good of the South.
If it is of any help, I just want to remind you that Garang in his speech of 3rd March 1983 way back at the start of the movement diagnosed corruption as the cause of inequality in the Sudan and committed himself to fighting it by fighting the system in the Sudan. How could he eleven years later then not take action against it? It looks like there is utilitarianism in play here.
For 22 years until 2004, corruption existed in the bush with limited major players namely Dr Garang and his close confidantes like Deng Alor, Barnaba Marial, Wani Igga and late Dr Justin Yac mainly feasting on donations to the movement from friendly countries and aid coming in through SRRA. On the field, the officers appropriated captured materials in form of vehicles and trucks which they sold out to traders in Uganda and Congo retarding the progress on the war.
At the other end in SPLM/A United, Dr Riek Machar was at it squeezing every penny out of the Arabs and defrauding UN aid agencies operating in areas under their control. Talk about vultures, here you have got them.
Low level corruption in the fighting force was rampant too with officers selling things like petrol and diesel intended for operations. Even a bizarre form of corruption developed in Yei where the officers were selling prisoners of war (POW) back to the Sudan government through the Sudan embassy in Kampala. The poor soldiers on the bottom were left with nothing but to help themselves to looting and raping the unprotected civilians in the liberated areas. So in effect, SPLM/A was already a seasoned corrupt organization.
SPLM/A NOW CORRUPT ORGANIZATION: We now have a picture of corruption in the SPLM/A. Hold it for now and let us move on to the government controlled areas of South Sudan in order for us to form a holistic understanding of the subject and how deeply it has become part of our daily culture.
Corruption surfaced in South Sudan with the coming of Addis Ababa agreement of 03/03/1972 into force which granted South Sudan regional autonomy. The first president of the High Executive Council (HEC) Abel Alier initially started well in governing the South but gradually proved to be a tribalist sparking serious divisions within South Sudan that the Arabs (Nimeiri) exploited to repeal the Addis Ababa agreement. As South was completely dependent on the North economically, it was deliberately starved of funds by the Arabs. The only major employer in the South was the regional government.
Therefore, most of the people who lived in the towns relied for their survival on their employed relatives. With meager salaries not being paid on time and sometimes taking couple of months, civil servants were forced to use their positions to make money to feed their families and extended relatives. Bookkeepers, cashiers, store keepers and so on became corrupt. Bookkeepers fiddled the books to steal money. In some cases they collaborated with directors to include ghost names on the pay sheets. Cashiers set up hurdles in paying out money to legitimate payees in order to extract bribes. Store keepers stole materials from stores. Drivers siphoned out fuel from government cars to sell in black market and so corruption flourished like wild fire and any hope of minuscule development vanished.
The politicians went for the lucrative corruption in quota distribution which rations essential commodities throughout the country by region. They awarded quotas to their agents (Malakia boys and Arab traders) and relatives. The documents of these quotas were sold for huge amount of money to the Arab traders. In most cases the commodities concerned ended up in the North with citizens in the South going through painful suffering resulting from severe shortage of these essential commodities.
The South Sudanese political parties like Sudan African People Congress Party (SAPCO) led by Morris Lowiya and People Progressive Party (PPP) led by Eliaba Surur while using some of the proceeds from quota business, they also engaged in deals with the Northern parties where they received money in return for supporting Northern parties’ policies in parliament in Khartoum.
So the poverty in the South and the total economic strangulation of the South by Khartoum led to development of corruption for the sake of survival. Most of the politicians like Arthur Akuen and late Dr Justin Yac who experienced and personally participated in this new emerging culture went to join the SPLM/A after the re-division of the South into 3 regions. As the saying goes, people come with their baggage, Arthur and Dr Justin went to SPLM with their own baggage of corruption.
Those South Sudanese who continued to live in the government controlled areas had no way out but to live under this new culture, although there were changes of governments in the Sudan. The replacement of Jaafar Nimeiri by General Suwar El Dahab and Suward El Dahab by Sadiq El Mahdi’s and the replacement of Sadiq El Mahdi by Omer Bashir in 1985, 1986 and 1989 respectively. But this time the beneficiaries were the Malakia boys by virtue of their religion together with members of the new tribe of Muslim-Christians of Turbi and NCP who got themselves baptized by being branded with Quoranic versus in sensitive parts of their bodies.
The reason this group benefitted was simply because they assumed power as the new rulers of the South by proxy. The Arabs encouraged corruption to keep the South Sudanese politicians sweet and contented. Khartoum deliberately ignored corruption so long as it could promote its policies of Arabisation and Islamisation. To achieve this objective Khartoum intended to destroy and prevent any emergence of a distinct South Sudanese identity to develop. Development of South Sudan was not on the agenda and so the South Sudanese were allowed to destroy themselves in this vice.
So in effect corruption has been in operation in both the SPLM/A and the government controlled areas and this has gone on for 40 years (from 1972 to date). As you can see, this is a long time and certainly corruption has taken roots and spread to every nooks and cranny of South Sudan society. Look at the present government of Kiir which is saturated with felons from top to bottom.
CORRUPTION RAISED AT RUMBEK: Having now looked at corruption from a wider angel in the entire South Sudan, let us move back to pick the issue from the end of 2004, just weeks before the CPA of 2005. Those in SPLM/A who lost out in the corruption game within the movement like Kiir found the opportunity to raise the issue in the Rumbek meeting of November 2004 as a weapon to nail Garang in their power dispute.
This Rumbek meeting provided the opportunity to deal with the issue of this vice culture of corruption at a very unique time, just before the signing of the CPA in preparation for good governance during the interim period. But, unsurprisingly it was squandered when Garang argued against any changes to the status quo.
All the complaints against corruption and the demands for structures in the movement by the high ranking officers of the SPLA in this meeting came to naught with one simple sentence from Garang supported by Ambrose Ring Thiik. Garang wittingly argued that, “Our imperfect structures have brought us to the present day. Let us not throw away these structures now. Otherwise we will throw ourselves away.”
Ambrose reinforced the point by saying, “Most of the things done are imperfect, but they have served us.” What an excellent expression of collective self interest coded with threat of self destruction? Of-course as human beings, our instinct is always to survive and nobody wants to perish and thus Garang won the argument.
SPLM PEDDLING LIES: However, by arguing against positive change, Garang and his supporters failed the test of being true freedom fighters. Morally, freedom fighters go to war to improve the whole lot of society and not for self gain or interest. No wonder, we have chaos in SPLM and by implication in GOSS because the ideals sung are not driven by the right values. What is said is different from what is believed and done. Basically, SPLM peddles lies. They are the problems of South Sudan.
Just compare and contrast Garang’s passionate defense for corruption here with his speech of 3rd March 1983 in which he bashed Khartoum on the subject. This is what he said, “Nimeirism which was plagued by corruption is a regime in which a few people have amassed great wealth at the expense of the majority.” Is this not similar to what is going on now in Juba?
Ironically, our liberators (SPLM/A) of yesterday have truly turned out to be today’s Nimeirists in Juba. Is it any wonder honorable Matur Maker broke down in tears on learning the magnitude of the economic barbarity?
Garang’s argument against structures was not for nothing. He was aware of what was awaiting them in the interim period – exercise of state power greased by oil money. By this time he had already requested 60 million dollars from Bashir for rehabilitation purposes. Do not forget that during the period of the peace talks he and his cohorts had began to embezzle millions donated by the Troika and others.
Garang’s close friends were buying mansions in Nairobi, Kampala and even as far as Europe, America and Australia. Kiir in the Rumbek meeting was scathing about this behavior. He pointed out in relation to rampant corruption that, “At the moment some members of the movement have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system are we going to establish in South Sudan considering ourselves included in this respect.”
SPLM/A DINKOCRACY NEEDED CORRUPTION: What poor Kiir did not work out was that Garang was intent on promoting corruption because having negotiated for himself the position of first vice president of the Sudan and president of South Sudan; he would need to use money to promote Dinkocracy.
SPLM/A strategy for promoting Dinkocracy necessarily needed corruption as a tool. So they set out to ensure during the interim period and beyond that Dinka:—
1) —- control the police and judiciary. The importance of these two organs in promotion of corruption can not be over stated. In all the states of south Sudan, all the legal officers responsible for state business and contracts are Dinka. Even in the 3 Equatorian states where Dinka are not inhabitants, the legal officers are Dinka in violation of the decentralisation policy in force. This strategic control allow people like retired Brigadier Martin Malwal, the former member of the Ingaz revolutionary Council of Omer Bashir turned businessman to get away with millions supposedly for supplying South Sudan government with vehicles. The vehicles turned out to be reconditioned second hand cars bought from Dubai not worth the contract.
It also allows for human rights abuses by Dinka to go unchecked. It also allows people like Arthur Akuen to be released from detention by his tribes mates without consequences to enjoy the millions he stole with impunity. It also allows people like Koul Athian to scheme with the justice department to defraud the state of over 4 billion dollars in grain contracts with impunity.
After having Dinkanised the police force, the ministry is now handed to a recycled non-Dinka NCP die hard whose business would be to oppress South Sudanese on behalf of the masters.
2) 2) —- Control mass media for continuation of indoctrination as well as to deprive others from voicing their life experience.
3) 3) —- Create a dummy Anti-Corruption Commission headed by powerless people. In effect a commission managed and controlled by apparatchiks for Dinka interest. The fact that this commission is toothless in the middle of sea of corruption is unbelievable, but true. Instead of going after the real big fish, it wastes resource and time by pursuing non urgent cases of small value. The truth is that this body was formed to deflect attention of the people from the real corruption.
Kiir who lamented corruption few months before he took over the presidency of the South Sudan after the unfortunate death of Garang was all talk without action. Under his watch, over 20 billion dollars disappeared from the government coffers into the pockets of his people in the last six years. Yet they go around the world asking for development money. What a disgrace! Michael Makuei Lueth, the legal brain of SPLM in Rumbek meeting was right to say, “The leadership is not committed to fighting corruption.” There you are. What more are we expecting from this lot and their SPLM party?
4) 4) —- Create a dummy Audit Commission. This initially was a joke until the diligent Steven Wondu took over and did a wonderful job of exposing the depth of corruption committed in only one year (from 2005 to 2006) amounting to over 1.5 billion dollars unaccounted for. Although Wondu’s report was clear when it came to pointing out who the thieves are president Kiir looked the other way and buried the issue. Having been exposed by this report, auditing for the subsequent years appears to have been abandoned. Since GOSS came to power, they have not shown us any tangible evidence to hold thieves to account.
Believe you me, in Juba expensive government vehicles are being stolen daily without anybody raising alarm. Would you believe it that 6 years on, most ministries have no idea what they own in terms of vehicles, machines, equipment and so. Yet, we are supposed to have something called Audit Commission. What a joke?
5) 5) —- Constitute a lame parliament packed with party functionaries and appointed, discredited, opportunistic, principle-less MPs who can not enact legislations against the interest of the masters. In effect a rubber stamp organ to facilitate poor governance.
6) 6) —- Control finance. In order to plunder the coffers, well experienced thieves were appointed to head the ministry of finance. Their function was to disburse millions of dollars to fake Dinka businessmen. In addition to that they created for themselves an exclusive limited welfare system under which favored tribes men would receive massive help. This system is something called ‘assistance’ in the circles of the government offices of South Sudan. Under this system, the ministers reserve the discretion to approve about 20 thousand dollars as assistance to anyone at any given time. I do not have to talk of the beneficiaries of this blatant abuse of public money. You can work it out for yourself.
7) 7) —- Do not allow audit. In the last 6 years of SPLM’s administration. No auditing of some government departments have been conducted simply because the Dinkocrats in these offices have bled the ministries dry. This deliberate negligence is calculated to allow its members who are employed en masse without appropriate qualifications to loot the government without accounting. The absence of auditing which is a clear sign of deliberate orchestrated poor governance leaves room for the record to disappear which then renders accounting impossible.
8) 8) —- Brain-wash the public by claiming that, ‘we are starting from scratch.’ This is a phrase well designed to divert attention of people, especially foreigners working with donor agencies from paying attention to details. This phrase is so widely used in South Sudan to the extent that people now believe it. When corruption or ill deeds are raised, it is immediately invoked and the matter becomes so minor.
Please see this YouTube clip: South Sudan Corruption Discussion hosted by Vincent Makori of Voice of America on 10th May 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YnErNQalAw Also please see The Rape of the RSS by the ‘Oyee party’ published by South Sudan News Agency on 12th February 2012. http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/the-rape-of-the-rss-by-the-oyee-party
The impact of corruption to our society and country has been destructive and corrosive. In terms of infrastructure development, we lost hundred of millions of dollars on the roads projects. The amounts charged per kilometer by corrupt companies for asphalting roads around Juba are unbelievable. Despite millions being paid out in the last 6 years, to date the total mileage of asphalted roads in the whole South Sudan is less than 100 miles. Moreover the quality of the work itself is substandard and shoddy. This is replicated in all the situation numbered below.
Lighting – the Sudan government had erected electricity poles around Juba made up of concrete. These poles were perfectly OK and the lines were in order. Without any good reason, the corporation decided to replace these good poles with wooden poles imported from Uganda costing millions of dollars. The life span of these wooden poles surely will not last as long as the replaced concrete durable ones.
Again, instead of purchasing good modern electricity generators, our officials for no good reason went and acquired second world war diesel generators that are not able to light Juba town. Today, receiving light in Juba is a lottery. Sometimes, one can stay for weeks on end without any light. As a result, Juba is like mini Lagos in Nigeria. A town run by numerous privately owned generators producing noise pollution detrimental to healthy living.
Renovation of government building. The entire renovation of the ministries is reported to have cost around 300 million dollars, yet when you look around, the work done would have cost less than 5 million dollars. Despite the renovation, some of these ministries are leaking and there is no running water for the lavatories. Go to Radio Juba and you would see the shock of your life. Ever since the British left the Sudan, that building remains the same. The only difference is that it is completely dilapidated. I am not an engineer, but one glance told me that this building should have been condemned as it is a danger in terms of health and safety. Nevertheless, it is still in full use.
Government properties. The Dinkocratic governor of Central Equatoria, whose own biological daughter is his official office manager, without any sound legal basis in law is Dinkocratically privatizing and distributing government properties to his masters and foreigners to gain favors. This action is being taken in the face of severe shortage of government accommodation.
It is worth mentioning that these properties were built by the former British colonial administration and they have rich history in terms of the personalities who lived in them and the role they played in the events that unfolded in South Sudan. Any fit administration would actually list these buildings as heritage sites as they are part of our culture. Proper planning would see these properties attracting visitors and tourists interested in the history of our country. Now, the Dinkocrats are destroying this rich heritage for future generation due to their ignorance, lack of foresight and greed.
Contracts – most of the multi-million contracts are given out to incompetent companies which do not deliver such as the companies that cashed in on the 4 billion dollars intended to supply grain to the 10 states. These companies are owned by none other than the family members of the masters. Today, the consequence has been eye watering. Our innocent and peaceful villagers in Warrap, Unity and Upper Nile states are paying the price in terms of thousands of lives lost due to hunger.
Loss of life. Due to deprivation, citizens are dying daily all over South Sudan. In Juba and other towns, patients in hospitals simply die due to lack of oxygen, medications and so on. Many people also die daily too due to lack of enforcement of building regulations. Buildings constructed hastily without rules being followed collapse on people with impunity.
Social relationship. Our social relationship is suffering because of the inequality, unfairness and the deprivation leading to bitterness in our communities. In Juba seeing angry people is routine and if you bother to listen to some of these people you begin to get the sense of bitterness harbored towards some sections of the society. This is understandable as the corrupt are living it large with their actions causing suffering all around. This is not good for South Sudan as it perpetuates ethnic hatred and causes unnecessary divisions among us.
Development. Corruption retards our development in the sense that it deprives GOSS of revenue, wasted time and resource necessary for provision of vital services such as health, education, employment, eradicating poverty and so on.
Image of RSS. Corruption demeans our image as a country and destroys our credibility. It no doubt has effects on our official documents such as passports, driving license etc.
These are just few examples and I could go on and on and on, but there is no need. To sum it up, the price we are paying for corruption is so huge that it is difficult to find words to quantify or express it.
Boris Begovic in his article, ‘Corruption: Concepts, Types, Causes and Consequences’ in the journal of Documentos, Year III, No.26, March 2005 highlights the huge damages corruption does to a society in both visible and invisible terms. What Boris highlights is visible in our country on daily basis.
Today walking around Juba or any town in South Sudan does not fill the eye with joy. One sees suffering all around. You see children in rags playing, others defecating in open on the streets; emaciated children collecting stones for sale. Empty plastic bottles strewn everywhere and garbage everywhere.
It is truly a disheartening environment. Yet, you see the thieves in the most expensive cars driving around laughing happily. The sobering images coming out of Juba hospital daily and the wailing of the mourners seem not to say anything to this group of people. What a bunch of heartless people? People who have lost their humanity to greed and violence.
These thieves believe that by defrauding the South Sudanese people to construct for themselves high quality of life and live it, they will inevitably get away with it when they die and thereby passing the proceeds of the loot to their offsprings as inheritance. Since we the South Sudanese people are always forgiving we would forget and their families would remain established with vast economic and political advantage which they wrenched violently from the people.
To allow this situation to stand would be to endorse and accept Mafiaism. Since the process of accumulating this economic and political advantage was/is illegal, it follows that the South Sudanese people should have recourse to legal recovery of these stolen resources regardless of the farcical pronouncements of president Kiir; the woeful work of the rubber stamp parliament and the disgraceful work of the anti-corruption commission.
What we the South Sudanese need to do now is to forget the façade of Kiir’s administration on this issue. This government will not deal with this subject as it should because they are the beneficiaries. In the bush SPLM/A fudged this issue. During the interim period they encouraged it massively in presence of the dummy anti-corruption commission. As you know, no arrests made, no convictions handed down, no nothing. It is well known that SPLM/A has a well documented culture of resistance to investigation, accountability and good governance.
Peter Nyaba in his book mentioned above on page 127 tells us that Riek Machar, the current vice president is not only corrupt but he does not like to hear the words investigation or accountability. He writes, “When SPLM/A United was disintegrating, the Bahr El Ghazal called for accountability. Riek refused to investigate allegation of financial irregularities and misappropriation of public funds and protected his subordinates in defiance of the wishes of his colleagues. Riek’s lack of transparency and accountability annoyed the Bahr El Ghazal group which began to distance itself from the Nasir faction.”
What hope is there for a government led by people of such characters to address the problem?
Klitgaard argues and rightly so that corrupt officials at the top are monopolists unwilling to sacrifice their loot and the source of their ill gains. When corrupt rulers, corrupt civil servants and corrupt private companies gain with society being the net loser then a state of equilibrium in corruption has been reached.
This appears to be the case in RSS. In such a situation as South Sudan’s nothing can be done to tackle corruption except change of the “agents” promoting corruption. This has to be done root and branch for the good of the country.
So, the SPLM needs to be kicked out of power through the ballot box and a fresh blood brought in to address this cancer. Where the top leadership is infested with corruption as now there can be no hope of change with these leeches being on the driving seat.
As RSS is already a failed state saturated with corruption, our strategy should be to work together towards addressing this disease in the future. We need to do this with all the opposition parties, to work towards developing means by which to recover all the resources stolen from GOSS by these irreformable corrupt officials and feral politicians.
In the next elections, the public needs to be sensitised not to vote for any party that does not pledge to address the issue of corruption once and for all. So we expect the next government to enact a legislation setting up a commission for Economic Recovery and Rehabilitation (CERR) with wide powers. Such a commission in my view is to be led by a strong personality preferably by a credible and ethical judge or a retired army officer with legal background. This body is to be answerable to a parliamentary committee and the president and should have among others the following remit:
- — Investigate all forms of economic irregularities as from 2005 to date in South Sudan. Such investigation to cover everything ranging from individual activities to state transactions with individuals and other bodies
- — Investigate the near collapse or collapse of Nile Commercial Bank and its inability to perform in a virgin environment of a new oil rich country
- — In collaboration with ministry of justice, the commission is to prosecute offenders and recover assets of the state from individuals as well as other bodies; no matter where such assets are hoarded or stashed away in other parts of the world.
- — In collaboration with the audit commission, the commission is to pursue vigorously any irregularity discovered by the Audit Commission and to recovery any assets lost to the state.
- — Re-open and re-investigate thoroughly the disbursement of the 4 billion dollars budget for grain.
- — Review and where necessary re-open and re-investigate all the cases dealt with by the dummy Anti-corruption commission.
- — Investigate use of state resource by SPLM as a party which in itself is corruption giving one party advantage over the others. SPLM office bearers and officials of South Sudan government involved in this illegal act to be held accountable.
- — Any lobbying or obstruction of the work of this commission to constitute a crime. Therefore, the legislation giving it force must be robust.
- — Investigate any other acts deemed damaging to the economic well being of the country
SPLM/A as a product of corruption and a corrupt organisation is fond of claiming successful program to itself and this is how it rejuvenates itself time and again. Even in the battle fields when the SPLA won, the real commanders who commanded the battles, and were responsible for the excellent job got sidelined and the credit bestowed upon Garang or any Dinka officer.
Therefore to protect the idea of CERR from being stolen and watered down by SPLM, any negotiations on the subject should not accept anything less than a body with wide ranging powers and duties as suggested above. We do not want to see CERR in the political graveyard like South-South dialogue.
Resting this issue, let us get to sensitize our people and organize to recover our country from the thieves. This joint called SPLM is past its sell by date. It is already rotten to the core and therefore it needs to be demolished and cleared for the real South Sudan to emerge.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent those of the website.