WHAT SHOULD SOUTH SUDAN LEARN ABOUT THE INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION? THE CASE OF GOK STATE,

Opinion,

By Juol Daniel Nhomngek,

Members of public and activists protest against corruption in 2012.

Members of public and activists protest against corruption in 2012.

August 17th, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — This article is the second series on the issues of corruption in our society. As the author understands using personal experiences, once the society is corrupt no one can claim to be free from corruption even those who preach against corruption. Realizing that is the only way to deal with issues of corruption and if possible to eliminate them. 

As it can be understood in this article, corruption comes in many ways and the society where corruption has got roots such a society becomes highly politicized as moral fabrics begin fading away slowly but sure. In this discussion, one of the deadliest forms of corruption, which is the subject of this article, is institutional corruption. 

The institutional corruption is deadliest because it destroys the capacity of the institutions to effective serve the public. Institutions according to Wikipedia.org can be referred as to mechanisms of social order, which govern the behaviour of a set of individuals within a given community. They are identified with a social purpose, transcending individuals and intentions by mediating the rules that govern living behavior,

 The effectiveness of institutions to control the individuals’ behaviour and to serve the public effectively depends on how accountable they are which makes public to trust them. But once the public has lost trust and confidence in the institutions, they become corrupt even though in real sense they are not corrupt. This can be one of the causes of corruption in public institutions where the public perceive them to be corrupt while they are really not (Read more in the work of TYCHO PRINS entitled: WHAT IS WRONG WITH INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION: A philosophical investigation into the moral foundation of modern institutions? This was the MASTER THESIS PHILOSOPHY on ETHICS AND POLITICS in the LEIDEN UNIVERSITY in APRIL 2017).  

On institutional corruption, Tycho Prins in his work as quoted above correctly asks the following questions which I strongly agree with: what makes an institution corrupt? How can we correctly judge institutional functioning? Can actions of individuals be legal, socially expected, or even morally right, yet, taken together, lead to institutional corruption? 

In finding answers to the above questions, Tycho Prins correctly states that “institutional corruption is an elusive phenomenon as it is hard to pinpoint wherein the corruptive element of an institutionalized practice lies. What is clear however is the fact of the loss of public trust in institutions, which may not only be severe, but it becomes a pressing social, economic and political problem for many societies. 

The community in which the institutions are corrupted, the anarchy is bound to arise and the community is like to be thrown into chaos or social rebellion or potentially hanging at the zone of community relations and conflicts. The role of institutions is to secure society and support solidarity (read the work of TYCHO PRINS quoted above). The institution can secure the State and its citizens when it respects the rule of law. 

The rule of law is the desire by the institutions and those in working in it by law. The institution which works according to the law is strong and this helps to create strong and united society as the members of that society keep trust in each other as they fight against injustices together through the institutions or security sector. The security sector is taken to mean all those organisations which have authority to use, or order the use of force, or threat of force, to protect the state and its citizens (Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael). 

The security sector is grouped into three pillars: the first pillar is the group composed of   military, paramilitaries and police forces; the second groups are those mandated with a role in managing and monitoring the security sector such as civilian ministries, parliaments and NGOs; and the third are those bodies responsible for guaranteeing the rule of law and the judiciary, which is the penal system and human rights ombudsmen. These bodies can play a proper role in securing the security of the community. 

Where the institutions are corruption, they cannot protect the community which makes them become a source of public distrust that later breed hatred, misunderstandings, misgivings unnecessary institutions internal petty politics of backbiting and endless day and dreams gossip. The politics within the government offices in the corruption institutions is more pronounced and it does not have any clear boundary with the community politics since both become diffused and confusing. 

In corrupted institutions, those who believe in the system and the law are isolated and forced to conform or gossiped out of the office as the most powerful qualifications are the groups that have specialized in lobbying but not true qualifications or know how. Lobbying in fact becomes the most powerful tools in assessing the government and NGOs’ offices. Worse still, leaders and institutions become one and the other as those who blame leaders due to mismanagement are taken to have attacked institutions and the beneficiaries use the powers of the institutions to discipline “the rebel”.

The meaning of the “word rebel” in the institutions that are highly corrupted changes as instead of person being against the system, he or she is deemed to be  against the institutions. The person in the highest authority like the president may not even know that terrible crimes are being committed in his or her name by the group that are using institutional powers to terrorize the dissenting voices against the state in the name of protecting the state. 

The authorities managing the corrupted institutions are also corrupt by imagination interpreted in accordance of who is in charge. Worse to that they become detached from the public and the public becomes like a sheep without a Shepard or criminalized by implications. This weakens social solidarity and result into social unrest that may grow into worse by contributing to radicalization or terrorism at community or communities’ levels. 

What we see in Gok State and other parts of South Sudan as conflicts are social unrests caused by the corrupted institutions. In Gok State like other States in South Sudan, all forms of social corruption do exist. For instance, some of the authorities there are unlawfully taxing civilians and pocket the taxes leaving people highly impoverished. The case in point is where the authorities put unnecessary numerous roadblocks just to get money and in doing that increase the prices in the markets. 

Another situation we see corrupted institution is where we lost central government both at the state levels and at the national levels. The authorities or government officials in the corrupted institutions do not think of nation building as they are indirectly supporting their clan-mates by supplying them with guns against their subjects who are from other clans. Getting jobs in the corrupted institutions becomes a matter of lobbying and through peddling influence. 

In corrupted institutions the demand for qualifications becomes very important but when one acquires them, the reverse becomes true. The one who does not have those qualifications becomes more eligible if he or she has the most powerful lobbying group or the “Big” persons in the institutions. At that point, one begins to wonder as to which is which? There is no need for qualifications in the community where big persons become human qualifications.

Once the big persons recommend the small person looking for a job, the need for the papers become redundant as whether there are papers or not the individuals will still get the works.  The law laid down favours those individuals who automatically qualify for a given job. Social issues become marred in the institutional management. Institutions become enemy and also a friend to all.

In short there is a lot of institutional corruption in South Sudan. The leaders may be innocent but they are corrupt as institutions are corrupted. In order to end the institutional corruption in Gok State in particular and in South Sudan in general, there is a need for the commitment to the leadership level. The leaders must confront corruption by ensuring that the formal requirements are actually implemented in practice to achieve their expected impact, and that corrupt actors are effectively held to account and sanctioned.

The democratic principles of freedom of expression should be respected and protected by the authorities without be equated to Western World values. The leaders must learn how to manage the conflict of interest which will enable them to protect the interest of the community even against their interests. Corruption is Institutional corruption is high in our states because of the conflict of interests among our leaders. 

The author is a concern South Sudanese. He can be reached for more information at juoldaniel2003@gmail.com

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