By Gatluak Khot Keat
South Sudan is one of the fifty-four independent African Countries that gained sovereignty on the morning of 9th July, 2011 after a successful secession from the Sudan. A historic event which ensued from a conduct of referendum to determine a self-rule and exhibited by a voting process which ran from 9th to 15th January, 2011. The final results published by the Referendum Commission on the 7th February, 2011 read 98.83 per cent votes in favor of independence.
Subsequent to separation, there seemed highly anticipation that the hard won independence would answer the South Sudanese quest for freedom and democracy which took thirty-nine years of struggle ranging from initial guerrilla, Anyanya and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement wars. On the contrary, an inglorious culture where law is just on its face and unjust in its application, hatred and leadership practices along ethnicities became vaccines injected into the veins of our civilization.
Record has it that power struggle with a view to generating wealth and luxury is more desirable than the credibility which is an attribute for a good leader in South Sudan. Leaders have assumption that clinging to power is entirely the nexus of affluence. Consequently, recurrent problems increasingly emerge placing the same leaders in awkward position of resolving them.
Wealth generation has been made possible by the elites through a corruption spree. And describing corruption as significantly rampant, the Government of South Sudan has been riddled with graft and bribery.
According to a report by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, different types of corruption in South Sudan stand bureaucratic corruption, patronage, political corruption and embezzlement with ‘Dura Saga’ being the major scandal. A graft which takes place in extractives, public finance management, police and security forces sectors.
Another report by the Transparency International revealed that South Sudan ranks 171st out of 175 countries in 2014 and 2015 Corruption Perception Index. In other words, only four countries rank worse than South Sudan.
The major cause of corruption is attributed to chronic poverty. South Sudanese in the event that there was no monetary system used to engage in the realm of cultivation, cattle rearing and fishing activities as sources of livelihood. Almost if not all, everyone had had no bank accounts. But post South Sudan independent, the modern sources of livelihood chiefly turns to salaries and assistances – leaving half a population sycophants. And leaving the troubled population at the mercy of nature, the people in power steal money and fill their newly created empty accounts with hundreds of millions of dollars.
The same clique has definitely controlled monies and exposed the innocent people to unceasing vulnerability. Dependence has become too high and assistance has been provided only to the tribesmen who in turn defend the providers from regime change. That triggers people’s misconception and notion that the leadership for the nation belongs to specific ethnicity that they get assistance when in need. Such a notion that the leadership belongs to particular ethnic group and the fact that the mind of a leader from whom his tribesmen tribalized believes in that notion has torn the country into undesired tribal segments. The pride that a leader comes from a particular tribe and that the leader becomes so proud and engulfs himself with his tribe council of elders robs other ethnicities of their peace of mind.
Leaders in such situations outrightly become egocentric instead of egalitarian. And as the leader adheres to the overwhelming tribal cohesion, the governance of state falls into the hands of a section led by tribal council of elders. Subsequently, the victims of the years of struggle become the perpetrators of their secured independent South Sudan.
When a reform across all sectors is demanded, more problems arise. The tyrannical leader in that case authoritatively introduces iron fist as a rule of law to silence the sagacious reformists and democrats. The tyrants continue to turn down abdicating power when his term ends and as a result, the virginity of our beautiful country gets broken.
However, the firm resistance to tribal cohesion, dictatorship and autocracy by the patriots and nationalists carries on so as to realize a better Republic of South Sudan. Democracy serves a purpose for peace and it must not be underestimated, if we really need to have a peaceful country.
Ultimately, South Sudan will have less problems the moment every leader fights to make a credible history than having negative and unfounded thought that leadership is a tool for generating affluence and keeping to live in the lap of luxury. A philosophy which only increases the inexorable occurrence of more problems in the country that the leaders can hardly resolve.
Forever more shall reign Justice, Liberty and Prosperity