Extravagance veiled as a national pride in South Sudan.

By Gai James Kai,

Opinion.

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Salva Kiir Mayardit(Photo: file)

July 10, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Let me begin this article on extravagance of SPLM-Juba on public expenditure, with this South Sudan example to demonstrate that criticism on extravagance is not a Western concept, as probably our coteries of political advisors and self-serving propaganda experts would always say. Those great people who have found solutions
for their own countries have always identified the problem first.

There is nothing in South Sudan without lavishness. From birthday celebrations of the
Head of the State or a Minister to an insignificant event, waste of public finance becomes so obvious. Inauguration of the President Salva Kiir in 2011 marked two weeks of celebrations with specific
instructions being given by the Presidential Secretariat itself to heads of departments and public corporations to engage in various activities, such as decorating and illuminating public institutions at night, having over 10,000 flexed-hoardings and bill boards with
specifically designed artwork, late night dance etc. All these expenses are being met with State funds.

Detailed arrangements were made through security establishments to ensure that celebrations are not disturbed.
The entire State mechanism worked on the celebrations for one whole week. Though the
costs were obviously more than what one could imagine, no head of a public institution dare oppose such wasteful expenditure for fear of the repercussions. Even if a minimum $3. 5 Million (much below than actual figures) was spent on an average by each Ministry and Corporation the cost would be over $5 million for this extravaganza.

In addition to direct expenditure from the President’s office and defense establishments and waiving off of numerous costs.
Consider the waste of State funds when over a hundred and fifty handpicked people including the Governor of the Central Bank of this economically ailing country, are taken to the Caribbean island, St. Kittes, to bid for the Commonwealth Games.

Take the foreign visits by our Head of State even when he goes to address the UN
General Assembly – free passage for hundreds of politicians, state officials,
supporters, relatives, beauticians etc. at public cost. The costs include accommodation in five star hotels; possibly they also enjoy other perks like transport and being invited to official parties. Usage of Air force helicopters for local holiday travel, together with state protection, for even political appointees such as Central Bank
governor is just acceptable.

Look at the public purchases. South Sudan Presidential Secretariat has received 412  V8 landcruisers in December 2011 from USA and, according to
media; these vehicles have been
configured for VIP passenger travel. This is obviously not for security concerns but purely
post-war luxury. Who pays for them? Are we dreaming of the fallen Tunisian dictator Ben
Ali’s collection of private jets here in South Sudan? Whatever the counter arguments may be; let us not forget that the money
spent are ours – money that belongs to you and to me.

Gai James Kai; is an independent writer and a Law student at Nkumba University-Kampala. He can be reached through,  gaijames11@gmail.com.

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