By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, LL.M. Candidate, Law School, Univ. of Nairobi, Kenya, JAN/14/2017, SSN;
South Sudanese are indeed a great people, they’re a people endowed with very strong hearts who continuously suffer in dignified silence even when there’s need to rise up in demand for certain rights. This is exactly the situation South Sudanese find themselves in at a time when their own government should have stood up for them.
The economic hardships we’re facing are not less than the economic hardships and situation which caused President Ben Ali of Tunisia to flee, President Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen to leave office and flee and the great President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to resign and be put on trial till now.
The causes and conditions of this so-called Arab Spring which almost swept through the Arab world are not less than the economic hardships we’re facing here in South Sudan. Our economic situation is much worse than that of the Arab Spring World.
Our unemployment rate is beyond hundred per cent level. Hundreds of south Sudanese go to bed with empty stomachs. Some are already dead and the rest are on their way to the grave. This is worse than that of the Arab Spring.
The only difference is that we’re used to enduring hardships of all sorts while the citizens of the countries where the Arab spring burst aren’t used to this kind of situation.
But the questions many south Sudanese are asking: what’s the government of South Sudan really doing? What exactly is the role of the Ministry of finance and Economic Planning? How about the Central bank, what’s its role? Which institution is truly responsible for economic policies and planning? And which institution is responsible for the implementation of national monetary policies in South Sudan?
Hard questions a layman like me is grappling with. But, to answer some questions on matters of facts and law, the Central Bank has its own share of failure for it is the one that is charged by law to formulate monetary policy, promote and maintain price stability, maintain a stable exchange rate, and maintain sound, efficient and effective banking system.
But the Central bank instantly failed in its function to strictly regulate, maintain sound, effective and efficient banking system when it allows all Forex Bureaus and Commercial Banks to commercialize the dollar instead of keeping it as a medium of exchange.
The Central Bank commercialized the dollar, making it an item for trade and not a medium of exchange causing hikes in almost every item on sale in the market.
Today, the rate of 1 dollar stands at 10.2 SSP, meaning that one hundred dollars equal to 10,200 SSP (South Sudanese Pounds), causing the inflation rate to shoot up to more than 800%, something which never happens in any country around the world.
The two institutions, ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Central Bank have completely failed us with their weak measures and an untenable modality of strategizing the efficiency of economy. It seems that in South Sudan, everything runs on its own.
Traders are selling and raising prices on their own, the Central bank floating the rate of the hard currency as it wishes unquestionably.
The luckiest rich few are manipulating everything from the Ministry of Finance to the Central Bank to the market at the expense of the majority downtrodden poor South Sudanese who have no ability or the energy to do anything about it or change the status quo.
The authorities both at the ministry of finance and economic planning and the central bank together with their cohorts are responsible for this economic downturn.
We entrusted hyenas with responsibility to look after our goats and sheep. We gave them power to roast any goat or sheep they wish amongst the flock. This is why this economic turmoil ensued and is the sole reason you can’t understand the head and the tail of who is responsible or not responsible in this country.
The country seems to have been left on its own economic downturn. We’re convinced that truly our government is indeed a boondoggled government.
Where’s the supposed Joshua? Or is he the same driver of this vehicle that is taking South Sudanese to hell earlier than the day that God planned?
Let our government know that the root causes of the Arab Spring aren’t more worse than ours and that an Arab Spring may inevitably ensue in this part of the world as we may be forced to violently demand our socio-economic rights to food and decent living like others.
We can’t permit others to enjoy live at our expense on resources that belongs to all of us. What a country?
If the president can’t think twice to bring in responsible personalities with expertise especially at the Central bank to turn things around, he must be prepared for eventualities for the people of South Sudan will not in any way continue to suffer at the hands of selfish and corrupt leaders who buy their positions at the expense of the people.
There will be time when the people of South Sudan stand up to forcefully demand their socio-economic rights from these oligarchs and mafias. We will surely touch these untouchable mafias and oligarchs who scoop all our money for their selfish enrichment unless they rescue themselves from these shambles.
I assure you, economic and political uprisings as civil means of ending the life of a repugnant and an unproductive government like the government of South Sudan will be inevitable.
Mr. President, this is a fact. Look at the faces of South Sudanese; listen to their voices on the streets on how they are suffering and you will dismiss these failed leaders who buy their positions using public money.
You’ve a weak, lousy and ailing governor of the Central Bank and this is a danger that’s haunting you and it will surely reach your gates if you don’t act swiftly.
The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org