Unmasking the Invisible Hand of Futile Peace in South Sudan

By Deng Lueth Yuang, Canada

The IGAD leaders meeting on a sideline in New York(Photo: supplied)
The IGAD leaders meeting on a sideline in New York(Photo: supplied)

Feb 8, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — I think South Sudan’s peace is elusive because IGAD is “stupid”. Messrs.  Mahboub Maalim, PM Desalegn and Co tried their level best to bring peace to the South Sudanese people on time but failed to rise. Through appeasement, threats of sanctions, negotiated settlement and coercion, none of those has worked.

Ironically, when CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi) intervened to mediate the intraparty dialogue, it was able to find some leeway at the expense of returning status quo to Juba.

However, this South Sudan’s conflict has produced some ripple effects across Eastern African states and international community. Some of these impacts are positive and negative.

I will solely dwell on the positive effects to the wider eastern African states – Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania. Congo DR, Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda and Burundi are out for they are deemed neutral in this conflict.

Hence, every member state wants a piece of our national cake – petro-dollars.

Uganda intervened at the whims of Kiir government to defend Juba against ‘forceful takeover’ (with no sugar-coating, it is called a COUP) by voracious White Army with renegade soldiers of the national army. Kiir administration is paying and owing them millions of dollars for their undoubted brave sacrifices to save the young nation from apocalypse.

It is a known fact that Sudan is happy and laughing at South Sudan killing themselves in the name of democracy. She is enjoying, siphoning off South’s oil in her terminals and getting a fat cheque from declining oil revenues. At the moment, no one is critiquing what she is doing and she is in great spirit for we are occupied with the war.

In the wee hours of rebellion, Kenya championed a shuttle diplomacy to return the country back to normalcy so as to continue her economic monopoly over South Sudan. But to no avail, none came as a breakthrough. Now, Kenya is a hotbed for announcement of rebellions, and a ripe hosting ground for thousands of elites and ‘foot’ rebels.

Tanzania has entered the fray to spearhead her interest in South Sudan. Perhaps, she needs Juba and rebel elites to invest, spend or waste the few remaining and looted petro dollars on Tanzania’s socialistic economy. For the past few months it has been hosting the intraparty talks, Arusha and its environs are teeming with full resorts, hotels, bars and accommodations glimmering in a twilight scene from dusk to dawn.

To stress it further, according to recent denouncement by one of the international community officials, the Addis peace is just a joke because the negotiators are enjoying bar life 24/7 with their $2000 a day stipend.

Sooner than later, Arusha, and Dar es Salaam will displace Nairobi as a regional hub of refuge and spending of blooded dollars from Juba.

But conceding the fact to that, thanks to the Australian based SBS Dinka Radio for today’s candid interview with former president of Ethiopia, Gen. Mengistu Haile Mariam. Now we have clearly understood many of the whirlwinds surrounding the close association between the peoples of Ethiopia and southern Sudan. Theirs is a mutual neighborliness and friendliness based on understanding of human suffering, redemption and liberation.

But the current Ethiopian regime, not her people, is swimming in crocodile infested waters. It seems to be supporting the rebels in one hand and government on the other hand. That is systematically biased. It is jeopardizing peace.

Back to the invisible hand of this war, every war creates two groups of refugees, namely: the economic who are the ‘haves’ and humanitarian who are the ‘have-nots’. The former who have financial muscles are a foreign government’s happiness to welcome and incorporate them into her economy. The latter is a threat to her national security for they come with heavy burden on the state to provide more humanitarian assistance rather than for the government to depend on them economically.

That is why it is crystally clear that the hidden hand of economy depicts that most of Eastern African nations are dizzy dallying with our peace. Our peace is for sale and is lying in the auction market with no immediate buyer. The highest bidders are not yet out, and the auctioneers are many. So the current bidders on the floor could not distinguish who is shouting out the correct price. We are hallucinating. We are hearing too many voices in our brains!

This conundrum however has created a buzzing remittance market for these nations hosting up to two million South Sudanese in major cities, and refugee camps. Among those are refugees with sustainable means of livelihoods such as the ‘haves’ or economic refugees, students, patients of war, visiting and relocating government officials, and relatives to the diaspora South Sudanese communities. In essence, about half a million ‘diasporians’ send in millions of dollars each month to help their loved ones displaced by fighting. All of that money ends up in the host nations!

However such pouring in of millions of dollars into eastern African economies from all over the world has created a booming money transfer business which is very lucrative for the local and international banks and Somali-run hawalas (Amal, Dahab Shill, Juba express, etc). The first two segments make billions of dollars annually on money transfer services such as sending charges, exchange rate differentials, taxes, and other levies which remain in the receiving countries financial systems.

Imagine, if South Sudanese government was nationalistic, it could have developed the whole nation within a decade for it was born in a 21st century. Ensuring a free democratic state with accountability could have given rise to neo-classical economic liberalization policies such as capital and labour mobility between states.

The remittances market could be producing millions or even billions of pounds to help boost national revenues. Internationally-based financial institutions such as Barclay, FC Stanbic, HSBC, Bank of America, Agricole Bank, etc could have established shops here in Juba.

Likewise, famous insurance companies such as Jubilee, AIG and AON among others could have made life easier for the poor innocent souls of the South. Unlike this kind of regional and local based banks which are adapted and prone to corruption e.g. partly owned by government officials and their relatives.

Consequentially, as long as the war in South Sudan is not ranked ‘worst’ on the humanitarian disaster scale, the sweetness of our blood will be tasted in faraway lands where people-of-means have run to for refuge. As the saying goes, “one man’s poison is another man’s meat” or vice versa. South Sudanese butchering themselves create fruitful opportunities for other nations.

The ‘diasporians’ are busy working overtime to ensure their displaced loved ones are able to live through the hard life of being a refugee or a temporary resident in another man’s country.

So my country men and women, be blessed and remain with this mantra of the invisible hand of economics – create more havocs in your home country, pay more money to your relatives and develop the economies of the host nations.

I think YOU South Sudanese are not yet fed up of “TKK” – TOA KITU KIDOGO Wee!

The commentator is an Economist. Facebook – Deng Lueth Yuang or reach me at delyuang@gmail.com

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