BY: Juliana Akin Bobson, Rumbek, South Sudan, MAR/05/2014, SSN;
The worrisome and unfortunate question being asked nationally and internationally, is South Sudan a failed state? Why is it important for us to ask these questions?
It is because, this question obliges us to identify the elements that made South Sudan a failed state, and in turn this perhaps is where we may find the solutions in the quest of the restoration process.
In the road to seeking answers, we are forced to find out what constitutes a failed state and how does a failed state look like?
If indeed it is, how did our country reach or achieve failures?Though there is no concrete definition of a failed states, there are, however, common characteristic consistent in all the worlds ranking failed states and below are some few:
• States that amass power and abuse its mandate in turn assaulting its institutions that guards and advocate democracy. This is the sure indicator the state is heading towards collapse, this is where the slippery slope begins, and this is the first violation. We see in South Sudan nearly all the institutions that advocate democracy are deactivated, rendered worthless in favor of a one man’s show and this is what is currently consuming us in Republic of South Sudan.
• When state loses control over its territory, resorts to the use of physical force (state security) to repress its citizens as means of governance rather than democratic tools and consensus.
• Conversions of states functions into a one man business rather than a collective approach and abolition of citizen participation rather than wider consultations in matters of public interests.
• Inability to provide public services, to include; schools, hospitals, roads, clean water etc.
• Inability to interact with other states fully as a member of the international community.
• Loss of legitimacy over Social and political structures, such that they function outside the margin of the established structures.
• Prominence of warlords and militias and their grip on the state because the national army is not able to function as an entity or doesn’t exist.
• When the country’s economy is barely functioning, and looking for loans from other states.
Where does South stands against the eight points mentioned above? As an infant country, in 2013 United State think tank group, fund for peace, ranked South Sudan the 4th failed states in the world, South Sudan only scored below Somalia, Afghanistan and Democratic Republic of Congo.
This ranking came at the time South Sudan was preparing to celebrate its second birthday of independence from Khartoum. Not only South Sudan is ranked number four, in companies of some of the worlds chronically failed states, but South Sudan was also ranked number five among the most corrupt countries after it had become the newest country to join the family of United Nations.
Before we think this is a very harsh judgment on our country, we should be reminded that South Sudan Judges her own people even harsher, ponder on the following:
Do we have abuses, assaults on media, press and ordinary people who want to advocate for democracy and rules of law in South Sudan?
Have we not seen journalists and opinion writers, killed, jailed, disappeared or tortured by the government of President Salva Kiir? Yes we do, without denial cold-blooded murder of Isaiah Abraham was one of the most destabilizing assault and darkest moment in our young history as a country and on freedom of expression.
What about the constant threats issued by the states security on the owners of the citizen newspaper, and Juba monitor?
If indeed then a failed state is, one that abuse its power and assault its population, and repress the media, prevent justice for aggrieved citizens, then there is no doubt therefore that ours is a failed state and cannot be spared and exempted from the harsh reality of categorizing it as a failed state.
Just less than three weeks ago the chief whip who is tasked with committee of MP that oversees the armed forces and security, for the first time, at the national legislative assembly, acknowledged the huge defection of south Sudan SPLA army to join the armed group rebels led by former vice president Dr Riek Machar.
According to this individual up to 70% of South Sudan national army have switched side to armed rebels group under the leadership Dr Riek Machar.
Even the notorious interior minister Gen. Alue Ayieny Alue, echoed that his ministry is left without enough police and even the very senior officers defected.
My people since this based on the testimonies of this very senior members of the ruling party, essentially they have lost control over its armed forces up to 70%, for the sake of truth, if it still matter, should we accept the fact that South Sudan in this regards by definition is a failed state?
We have spotted uncle James Wani Igga without rational thinking, lashed out, laying blames on the international community for characterized South Sudan as a failed and corrupt state.
This is only being shortsighted and burying his head in the sand concerning the vice President who agree to become the vice president at the time the state is/was already fatally inflicted with the deadly poison of corruption scandals, repression, tortured, injustice on non Dinka and unprecedented killings and disappearing of ordinary citizens at the hands of state security apparatus.
Now with current defection figure standing at up to 70%, acknowledged by a member of security leaders, it has become clear that South Sudan is a failed state. Evidently the Kiir led government, which by now should have resigned, wishes to fail even deeper as it hired for money the Uganda army to fight for him in order to keep him in power even though he is incompetent to lead us to 2015 elections.
During his speech in the rally organized by SPLA youth league, Mr. Kiir has for the first time, accept publicly that he has tried to run private militias and he blamed the people he referred to as “other people” whom the president said have denied salaries and guns to his private militias during their time of training in Luri outside Juba, though he referred to his private militias, as reserve army.
This is yet another lie coming from a president who now is a habitual liar!
If indeed these are army reservist, shouldn’t their recruitments have come through the office of general chief of staff?
In functional and legitimate governments of the world, reservist are activated only and armed when the state is at war, but at the time the president created and activated this militia, South Sudan was not at a war.
What about the cases of militia leaders operating parallel and running their own private government and nobody knows where their funding is coming from and who is sponsoring them.
And since the government in Juba is not able to control the warlords in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states before Juba incident of December 15 2013 in which more 2000 Nuer community were murdered by Kiir own private militias, doesn’t this yet again shows that South Sudan is not able to control the armed groups within her sovereign territories, therefore this constitute to a failed state?
What about the very much-needed services? Have we ever seen tangible service deliverance by this government of Kiir since he has assumed power in 2005?
Isn’t his government even incapable of collect garbage/trash and keep the city clean and healthy?
Where has the billions of donated and oil money gone? Do we have any well-established hospital running with full capacity to treat our dying children from easily preventable malaria? Or now at least for treating our youth wounded in the battlefield.
Have we seen any state run university that performs with deserved standards? Haven’t we witnessed the rich and middle class sending their children to Uganda for better education?
The gap between the poor and rich is visible seen in the houses they live in and the cars they drive, the ministers, directors, governors and senior civil servants can easily be differentiated from the poor by the visible big bellies while the poor that need the services of their government are seen skinny bonny and wasting away.
Since the state is not able to run the most needed public services mentioned above, this confirmed without doubt that our country is rightfully ranked among the failed states.
Uncle Wani Igga, the comedian, should by now know that he is the vice president of a failed state of South Sudan.
As the argument above shows, It is beyond doubt our country is rightly categorized as a member of disgraced failed sates, so it is up to you the readers to come with the grip, that this our nations realities.
This therefore being the case, the journey is downward unless we hold the bull by the horns, Should we fail to do so, It should take no one by surprise if we reach to the following scenarios!
1. South Sudan falling on its own weight and shattering into three regions.
2. The most violent states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, will reduce itself into dust in terms of complete collapse of human resources and utter destruction of the already non-existent infrastructures. This is already in the working as we have seen already most of the buildings were reduced into rubles and debris. Unless the constant change of hands between the rebels and the government stops, this is inevitable!
We will see in two years time the three violent states will become like Mogadishu. While the other state in Bahr El Ghanzal will also experience violence because the white army will not cease their constant hostility against Kiir’s own state in retaliations to Kiir’s massacre and genocide on the Nuer people.
3. And finally, in my opinion the greater Equatorial region, if it keeps on its current neutrality, we can see it eventually becoming the Somaliland of south Sudan, but this can only be achieved when leaders like governor Luis Lobong have changed his attitude of being a puppet of the dictatorial government of Kiir.
There is, therefore, no questions left and no denials, that we are shamefully ranked number 4 among the world’s disgraced failed states, consequently we can see the results of this failure, but yet the president who wants to remain in the country’s top job, though he is the one who derailed this country, sees no reason even for an interim government, that is how oblivious this government is.
He continues to do business as usual; from January to February 2014, he has already issued at least two republican decrees instead of realizing you cannot run a country by decrees.
Now the failed president blindly allowed the foreign military (UPDF) to use one of the most prohibited ammunition in conventional wars. Remains of cluster bombs were found by UN demining team along Juba-Bor road where fighting took place between SPLA, her foreign mercenaries and Rebels forces.
The dictator, who resorts to killing his own people, is therefore a monster head of a criminal state, for that is what a failed state is, contrary to the argument of legitimacy, rendering Kiir a failed president of a failed state.
I have washed my hands and leave the rest for you my fellow beloved country people; we have enough of this president, I therefore join with the voice of peace loving people, and called for cessation of hostility in order for peace to reign.
This is possible with interim government without Kiir.
Juliana Akin Bobson,
Rumbek South Sudan