Contributor's Dak Buoth Opinion Politics South Sudan

I’m a Member at Last But What Prompted South Sudan Admission to EAC at Last?

By Dak Buoth,

Dak Buoth flanked by other South Sudanese Students leaders during the media briefing after the signing of SSSAK concord at South Sudan Embassy in Nairobi on June 2015.(Photo: Dak)
Dak Buoth flanked by other South Sudanese Students leaders during the media briefing after the signing of SSSAK concord at South Sudan Embassy in Nairobi on June 2015.(Photo: Dak)

March 05, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– I’m happy to learn that my country has finally been admitted to the East Africa community (EAC) on this 2nd day of March, 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania. We’re part and parcel of this regional family call EAC, and we have a birth right to its membership just like we have natural and political rights to the Mother Africa Union (AU) and United Nations general Assembly (UNGA) as sovereign state. I have always wondered why it has taken EAC six good years to accept our application.

South Sudan has natural right to join EAC

In event a Region seceded legitimately among these ‘Nile countries’ like we did on 9th July 2011, that country shall become EAC member automatically. No cliques of bourgeois would claim prerogatives to decide whether it should be a member or not; and they shall not send an application and wait for the outcome as we did today. The irrational conditions given by existing EAC members that a country must first uphold to the principles of good governance, democracy and the rule of law before it could become member is really nonsensical.

As matter of fact, no country is born with good governance and the rule of law, these are contemporary values which a country can learn and or adopt as it continue to socialize and interact with other civilized or mature nations that have perfected those ideals; and as such South Sudan should use EAC as its ‘practicing ground’ in its endeavor to ascertain the goal of becoming a more peaceful, United and democratic Nation.

And if the above condition would remain as prerequisite for any new country to join EAC, than we shall also insert another condition, that if any EAC member country do not adhere to the same principles of none violent, good governance and constitutionalism that made it a member in the past, that country shall have its membership withdrawn.

If they had done that before, the republic of Kenya would have lost its EAC membership in 2008 followed the disputed presidential poll; and Uganda could have lost its membership this month because of the recent farcical election marred by violent, intimidation and continued arrest of opposition leaders; as well as the Burundi and Rwanda because Kagame and Peire Nkurunziza had violated the presidential terms limit which is blatant attack on Africa democracy. If we amend that condition, I will support it unconditionally because it is fair and not biased.

The Name EAC should be change to The River Nile countries’

In addition, the name ‘East Africa Community’ should also be change to ‘The River Nile Countries’ this is because River Nile is our collective cultural heritage and its bind all of us. The river Nile passes South Sudan and combined Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in Lake Victoria which is the main source of the River Nile. I’m sure even Rwanda and Burundi are connected to it by other tributaries. The so call ‘EAC’ does not have any meaning unless they just like the English words, east’ Africa and the word Community.

EAC was pregnant with South Sudan

It is common knowledge that EAC was pregnant with South Sudan and it ultimately gave birth and nursed it until it became a member of Nations, therefore it cannot avoid handling this child simply because it keep crying and defecating on itself. EAC should be one of the institutions that owe South Sudan a duty of care to help shape its destiny especially during this crawling stage until the time it fully conforms to the democratic rules coined by its founding fathers.

No new born child has ever been rejected by her mother because of some strange or abnormal features she was born with. There is nothing that south Sudan possesses which does not originated from East Africa countries with exception of the blowing wind. Even the high theft and rampant corruption that characterized most EAC countries is now the binding norm in most government levels, hence to hesitate or delay the admission of South Sudan into EAC is quite surprising.

Nonetheless, there isn’t anything much to loss when a country is not EAC member neither is there anything much to gain when a country become its member other than the mere political membership. But that mere political right is essential in the sense that it serve to bolster our image regionally because our leaders will be party to any decision-making process on issues regarding the region.

The mix reactions over the admission of South Sudan to EAC

On the one hand, the admission of South Sudan into EAC has elicited varied of criticisms and applause in equal measure, and that is the goodness of it because when a deal become too good, it can easily become too bad in the end. Therefore, whenever a decision has garnered its fair share of cynics as well as supporters, it is good one.

Yesterday and better part of today, numerous south Sudanese colleagues came out opposing the admission of South Sudan into EAC. Their claims for objecting the decision include inter alia; that south Sudan is too young to compete in term of jobs with the citizens of EAC countries; and that they fear it will be used as testing ground for EAC countries to sell their junk produces; and that they will constantly meddle in our internal affairs.

Allow me at the onset to dispel the above mentioned squarely and with logic, first I dismiss the idea that we’re too young to join EAC, IF we can join AU, UN and other inter-continental bodies, what is so special or different with join EAC? It is not mentioned anywhere that a newly independent country will spend some time before it could join any existing organization. In the same vein, the maturity of a country is not measured by the years of its independency but rather its commitment to tread the right path and do the right things. Many third world countries have been able to surpass their former colonies because they were governed and lead by visionary leaders with developmental agenda. And with the abundant resources that we’re endowed with, I’m sure we can easily sail through steadily and faster.

Later, I found out majority of those who reject south Sudan to become EAC Member are supporters of the so-call SPLM-IO. I think they’re just being too paranoid because of the brutality that President Museveni did to us in South Sudan. Nonetheless, that paranoiac tendency won’t prevail We just need to set a ground rules that allow human and economic growth, believed me, in few years we can be on the same page or overcome those EAC countries.

On the issue that our jobs will be taken by their citizens, the first question I asked myself, when will our jobs be taken, and what about now? Already our jobs are being grabbed by them, and we’re conspiring against ourselves. In other words, we’re aiding them to grab our opportunities. You would recall, the other day the ministry of higher education announced that they are going to hire Zimbabwe teachers not South Sudanese or Kenyan teachers.

To tell you the truth, if there is anything that EAC countries will do again, they will just be affirming what is already there. The damage has already been done by them. Such arguments are water under the bridge and they can’t overturn the decision of admitting south Sudan to EAC. I see the advantages than the demerits of this decision.

What I think prompted the admission of South Sudan to EAC

There is only one malicious and mischievous issue I noticed when this unexpected agenda merged. Yesterday evening when I saw the news on social media that we have finally been accepted, I started asking myself some questions, why not before? Why now? As it is said’ judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers’’ In this case, i encourage the readers to judge me by my questions. EAC has been dragging its feet for so long. We keep receiving rejection reports for the last six years. They have been hesitating to welcome to the house. Up to now we’re yet to ascertain what prompted their sudden change of minds.
You would agree, the reasons why they rejected our passed applications was simply that we had violent conflict and no good leadership in our country. The question on the same is: why do they accept us now while they verily know south Sudan has further graduated to the deathbed and our political leadership is in tatters?

As we converse now, South Sudan is pariah state due to the ongoing armed conflict characterized by gross human rights violation and wide breach of international humanitarian law, and some EAC Members are not exception, countries such Uganda has frontally fought in the ongoing war as well as contributing to the compromised peace agreement whose results are yet to be realized.

As I said above, my worry is on the reason why they delay and what prompted the admission now? Once we understand the rationale behind these two scenarios, we’re good to go. I urge the readers to continue asking such answers and speak meticulously about it.
Partly, I believe what prompted our admission to EAC was necessitated by President Museveni’s burning ambition to become President of Federal East Africa Community. He knows he has won the recent farcical presidential election; and he has managed to convert the likes of Kiir and Uhuru to become his cohorts who will not questions his motive. He has eliminated Dr.Garang and he is no longer afraid of Raila Odinga, the enigma of Kenyan politics; and he has also shaken Riek Machar and reduced him to unknown.. He has installed Kagame and Kiir and he is holding Kenyatta at the pendulum because of the pending ICC cases. By so doing he does not want to take this opportunity for granted.
Chances are that whatever attempt he will make in his efforts to become president of Federal East Africa republic, he might penetrate through. Right now he does not want to leave anything to chance, that is why he convene the EAC summit and make South Sudan a member unconditionally. Good enough, all of us will be there to witness this event unfolding.

I’m a member at last

Notwithstanding the aforementioned scenario, I salute the EAC fraternity for admitting us despite our unhappiness caused by the unreasonable delay. The curse brought by the ruling SPLM party should not be used as an excuse to deny us our membership right.
Certainly, if they had admitted us right after we attained our independent on 9th July 2011, maybe the current inept leaders in juba would have not ruined south Sudan the way it is today, perhaps they would have had the change of attitudes and perception toward governance, maybe they can change the leadership of killing unto the leadership of economic and human development.

More importantly, with the admission of South Sudan, East Africa community is on a verge of achieving its historical goal of regional integration. It could not succeed in that mission without South Sudan; and therefore with this decisive decision, we’re assured of obtaining the absolute regional integration dream.

Forthwith, we shall move freely like other members of the region without any more restriction or disturbances, and we shall have access or enjoy to some privileges that we have always been denied of. No south Sudanese student studying in East Africa shall pay additional school fee et cetera.

The writer lives in Kenya, he can be reach for comments via eligodakb@yahoo.com

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1 comment

Judahlobele March 7, 2016 at 1:49 am

1.What programs and initiatives exist to manage market weaknesses so that South Sudan will not become the dumping ground of goods and services from these neighbouring economies?
2.What provision/s is/are there by the EAC to assist South Sudan to develop the production capacity of its infant industries?
3.Have South Sudanese citizens been consulted about ascension into the EAC?
4.Has there been a sustained, internal debate about the inclusion of South Sudan within the EAC?


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