Thieves of the State ~ Part II
By Dominic Ukelo,
Sept 24, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– It is with great unfortunate to say that many of Africa’s greater revolutionaries, for instance Meles Zenawi, Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame, Robert Mugabe, Isaiasi Afwerki, and recently Kiir Mayardit failed to give-up power once they gained it. Some of the reasons behind sticking to the power by those leaders is that leaders of rebel movements, are hard-wired into authoritarian command-and-control types of politics, even when out of the bush and in control of the state.
However, a common refrain in newspaper accounts on some of African’s countries is that Africa’s lack of democracy and economic development is due to the poor quality of its leaders. If only South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, or the Democratic Republic of Congo produced more Nelson Mandelas, who would be more principled and less corrupted, then poverty and violence would have declined.
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On the surface, this explanation appears to mirror what we see. Mugabe and Museveni for instance started as rebel leaders, who fought for democratic ideals only to become one of the continent’s worst dictators. Perhaps there is something uniquely bad about African leaders, something that makes even the most revered freedom fighters corrupt and greedy once in office.
This explanation however, ignores two structural features that are driving this bad behavior in many of African countries: rich resources and weak political institutions. Some African countries, such as South Sudan hold substantial resources that tempt President to line his pockets and use both his authorities and money to easily intimidate, commit atrocities, suppress and sometimes buy off opponents to remain in power. In the South Sudan in particular there have been few institutional restraints on its executives, making it easier for the higher public officers in the country to behave as they want.
Higher South Sudanese public officers, including the president of the republic Salva Kiir Myardeit and army Chief of Staff General Paul Malong Awan, have interest in continuation of the civil war to have opportunity to crap the country’s resources, therefore have been encouraging the mass killings and rapes in the South Sudan, with aim to amass enormous wealth inside and outside the country, according to an investigative report released on 12.09.2016 by the Sentry, a partnership of rights advocates and policy experts.
The families and top associates of the regime in Juba, including President Salva Kiir, benefiting from the civil war, own multimillion-dollar properties, own shares in many companies, married several wives, drive luxury cars and stay at expensive hotels, all while many of the South Sudanese’s population, are been suffering from the consequences of a brutal civil war and, in many places, experiences famine.
Instead of stealing the money buying expensive assets and deposit some the money in Uganda, Kenya, and the rest as the leaders and the members of regime in the South Sudan have been doing, what would happen if the money is invested in development programs that benefit the whole citizens? How the future of the country would look like, if every school in the South Sudan has library with the right kind of books that will enable students to get the knowledge and skills they needed? What do you think will happen if the money is invested in generating electricity for those living in the villages, towns and cities?
What about if the money is used to build water treatment plants to supply the South Sudanese citizens with potable water? What would happen to standard of living if the money is invested in agriculture, build irrigation and storage facilities, or the money used to buy tractors for farmers so they can produce to feed nation?
Are South Sudanese leaders happy when every negative thing in the world is associated with their country: poverty, wars, corruption, AIDS/HIV, illiteracy and starvation? Are they happy when children die of diseases that can be easily eradicated?
Why don’t they use the money generated from the sale of oil and other natural resources to invest in efficient transportation systems that could help increase business activities, create jobs and raise the standard of living of South Sudanese peoples? It is maybe because Salva Kiir Myardit and his regime members do not care about the development of the South Sudan? Is it because the president and his officials do not know what development is all about? Or is it because their only aim of remaining in power is to steal and mismanage the public resources?
The Sentry report continues to illustrate on how the President of the Republic Salva Kiir Mayardit and his regime members have been prolonging the civil war in the country, in order for them and their family members to benefit financially. As South Sudanese innocent civilians been losing their dear life as the result of the civil war, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his family members are been stealing the money of the country, to own for instance a multi-million assets, such as shares and the large farm at Luri, a rural area about 10 miles west of South Sudan capital, Juba. As well as, the president’s gated house in Lavington, one of Nairobi’s most upper-class neighbourhoods.
President Salva Kiir Mayardit continues to pinch the South Sudanese resources and owns shares through his family members. For instance, Mr. Mayar Kiir, the president’s 29 years old son, owns a 50 percent shares in Specialist Services Company, the firm that has been involving in oilfield services and petroleum supply. Mr. Mayar Kiir also owns half of Oil Line & Hydrocarbons Limited.
Furthermore, Mrs. Salva Mayar, the president’s daughter, owns shares in Rocky Mining Industries. Also, Mr. Thiik Kiir, the president’s 28-year-old son, owned 35 percent of Nile Link petroleum. Both Mr. Thiik and Mayar, in 2007, held shares in Buffalo Commercial bank alongside Mr. Benjamin Bol Mel.
The list continues to include Mrs. Anok Kiir, President Salva Kiir’s 29 year old daughter, who held a 45 percent share in CPA Petroleum. Mrs. Winnie Salva Kiir, the president’s 20-year-old daughter, also held an 11 percent share in Fortune Minerals & Construction.
The whole majority of South Sudanese population is rife with poverty. What makes the president of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit to have a negative attitude towards development and poverty eradication but love to accept and engage in corruption and embezzlement? When the leader of South Sudan travels to Europe, North America, or Asian or even neighbour countries doesn’t he see the roads and the airports? Doesn’t he see the infrastructures that make it easier to do business? What prevents the president from doing the same in his home, South Sudan?
Will President Salva Kiir Mayardit for once put on his thinking cap, build strong institutions, build infrastructures, develop local talents, local businesses, end poverty and starvation, forge unity and stop instigating wars, and allow democracy and rule of law to work in the South Sudan?