Contributor's Opinion

John Githongo is Not the Man we Perceived him to be for he Advises a Corrupt Government

By Gatkuoth Jal Gatluak Nyak,

John Githongo, the Kenyan politicians who says Jubilee is the most corrupt government in history(Photo: Kenyan media)
John Githongo, the Kenyan politicians who says Jubilee is the most corrupt government in history(Photo: Kenyan media)

August 13, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — It is with almost profound disappointment to others and me who for many years had poured much praises to John Githongo for his explicit role on the fight against corruption not only in his country (Kenya) but also in Africa at large. John Githongo is a public intellectual and mores so Alumni at the university of Nairobi, and University of wales where he studied degree in Economics and Philosophy, and has attained numerous awards on his objective approach to corruption.

He was appointed to the advisory role in the office of the President of South Sudan, President Salva Kiir Mayardit. A role he assumed in 2013 privately, but revealed to public in 2019. Soon after his appointment, the whole cabinet was dislodged including Kiir’s running Dr.Riek Machar Teny, a decree which was primitive, and still remain primitive as per as our constitution dictates at the time because currently I doubt whether president Salva Kiir works within the confine of the law, or if he ever follows certain legal guidelines; He seem to me as a man who had subjected the country to operates on “one man’s will” However, the genesis to the unconstitutional running of state affairs, and introduction of ethnics profiling and regionalism as well as sectarianism were orchestrated by Salva kiir himself in what he termed back then in 2013 as “reshuffling of the government” to date  that move remains forwardly as the dark days to our hard fought independence, and thus marks the beginning of the subsequent events not limited to the hundreds thousand of lives which were lost as a result. Statistically speaking, the conflict in South Sudan has robbed approximately close to 460,000 or more lives-majority of whom are children and elderly not to forget to mention about the dire need for humanitarian assistance by those who survived the horror. The same statistics was reported by UNMISS and many other reliable institutions. To anyone who is conversant with South Sudan’s affairs, it is indisputable for anyone to say that; the figures were underestimated either deliberately or unknowingly because in South Sudan, there are people who have died unrecorded, and the mass grave in the country is totaling to 10 in number let alone those that were thrown onto the rivers and the ones birds fed on.

John Githongo who I am his student on the war against corruption, and his activism work in Africa, a personality I have much regard for has directly disappointed me for assuming a role contrary to his integrity and moral ethics.  For a fact, I don’t really know John in person but I read books and articles written about him such as “our Turn to Eat” by Michella Wrong. In that book, I learnt John was appointed chairman of Anti-corruption commission by the then former president Mwai Kibaki; a moved which was felt by many activists and human rights commission for they had bestowed much trust on John who happened to have worked with them, and was notably seen in the forefront with regards to fight against corruption; with that in mind, many gave the President Kibaki a thumbed up in support of John’s appointment knowing with no reasonable doubt he will deliver, and thus he is the right man for the job.

Then shortly afterward John resigned and exiled himself in London for a fear of unknown, and the narrative provided on the book was that, because he (John) resigned from government’s lucrative job, his life was going to be in danger et cetera; from that book, I developed keen interest to study John Githongo, and what he do continentally and globally. When I learned of his role in South Sudan, I ask myself is this really same John Githongo characterized in that book (our Turn to Eat)? Why did he accept to advise a rogue government then? And if he had accepted as he did, why is it that we can’t felt his presence in that government, why aren’t we noticing the changes we should expect from government advised by like-minded such as John Githongo because apparently the government he advises is doing the opposite-oppression and rampant corruption as I will enumerates below are notable in the government he advises. Those are the questions that lingers in my mind and others that look up to John Githogo because I know for a fact that;

  1. Under President Kiir’s government, Wealth were amassed and stashed in foreign banks; some are channeled into real estates in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Zambia et cetera.
  2. Under President Kiir’s government, Ethnics cleansing or annihilation of Nuer, Equatoria and Shilluk tribes who the president perceived as eminent threat to his dinka Hegemony is the order of the day.
  3. Lack of accountability, unprofessionalism, rule of law, freedom of expression and all other rights were quashed in practice and;
  4. Abject starvation, famine and stagflation in the economy are at high degree.

The above mentioned variables are what President Kiir’s leadership has provided to her citizens where John Githongo being one of the intellectual informing that government on how they it should run and administered the country (South Sudan) affairs; of course I can’t mention if there could be any other assistance John is providing to that government besides the advisory role on governance which was publicly brought to light of late. 

South Sudan as a country in the region, continent and the world has over the years engulfed in the longest civil war which has cost millions lives; After the attainment of our independence from Sudan, with many not aware on what to be done and where to begin, a called for capacity building was made which up to date has opened up loopholes for big brain from region and global professional services providers with power brokers and their acolytes from corrupt authoritarian states and certain elements within the legal, financial, and influence communities, seeking new markets, clients, and profits among an emerging global class of super wealthy actors with fortunes of dubious provenance, have in the past ten years begun offering their services to transnational kleptocrats linked to authoritarian regimes; it’s without doubts that these professionals have become enablers of authoritarian influence within country(South Sudan) in a twofold manner. First, they are facilitating the concealment, insertion, and deployment of kleptocrats’ illicit funds within regional economies and more so the western economies. Second, they are using their skills and expertise to help kleptocrats establish networks of influence inside democratic societies. This relationship between western and regional professionals as well as authoritarian elites has not only fueled a boom in money laundering; it has transformed significant elements of the most distinguished, influential professions into wholesale importers of transnational corruption.

These actors include but not limited to IMF that lured our government to its outdated policies that are manipulative in nature, and currently, the debt incurred by South Sudan from IMF plays major role on what appears to be pervasive irreversible inflation and stagflation. It’s only the IMF that will help the country over the application of pegged currency or otherwise, South Sudanese pounds will be rendered valueless in 5 years to come should this on-going war continue. Good brains entered South Sudan on commercial basis were their major objective is to siphon its coffers visa vise helping the warlords who literally knows little on how to set up strong institutions which could develop economic plans for the country. As I write this article, South Sudan government have not set up anti-corruption commission just to point out the deficiency, which was to look into those that uses their office to acquire wealth illegally or if that institution is ever found to be in existence, then I presumed it’s legless and toothless institution which is only there for formality. A month ago, I heard President Kiir has appointment Cabinet Minister Martin Ellia to head an investigation committee which he himself formed to investigate an allege corruption case purported to have been committed by former minister of Petroleum Hon. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth. You and I knows that, under normal circumstance, it’s not the President that should appoint who to investigate who but a task which should have been taken up by the body concern to investigate officials that practice impunity, misuse of office, and any other malicious act contrary to what is prescribed by law would have been dealt with head on and in public without politicization of the matter; such individuals would have been prosecuted if found guilty for having involved in any scandal but not the president himself forming a ad hoc committee for just one particular individual. It’s also alleged that, since the inception of the ministry pre-sales and other dealings to go missing is a culture in that portfolio; so really if the above act is a widespread norm in the ministry then, Ezekiel Gatkuoth has not gone astray. I also heard nobody has raised a formal complain against the said individual. So the formation of the committee by the president is questionable and also, their impartiality to handle the matter makes one to raise eyebrows.

Therefore, the whole world knows how Salva Kiir runs the affairs of South Sudan, he has demonstrated his inability lead the country, let alone implementing a peace deal that he himself signed; He instead resort to bribing foreign diplomats, and technocrats as witness in the case of Former US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger who he tasked to lobby out certain clauses in the peace agreement that he perceived not to be favorable to him and his cronies. In that contract between them and Michael Ranneberger contain three things to be done for by the Ambassador that;

1) Improve relations with the United States, both politically and economically

2) Persuade Trump Administration to reverse sanctions and prevent further sanctions should he failed to implement the agreement that he signed with the opposition in Addis Ababa or Khartoum peace deal.

3) To lobby for the removal of hybrid court from the agreement, so that he (President Kiir) who is guilty for the gross human right violation, wars crime and crime against humanity should not be prosecuted in anyway; its always said” the guilty are afraid”

In a nutshell, I wish to appeal to John Githongo to denounce his role on South Sudan for those people are failing him, and will continue to fail him in the near future. Instead join hands with imminent personalities that are out advocating for justice, and democratization of the country; modernization of the South Sudan where reforms, and workable institutions are established; where rule of law, freedom of expression and rights of picketing are highly regarded and respected. The government that we have in South Sudan is acting as if they have any other place they called home; their children are not schooled in the country, their businesses are abroad, nearly every valuable thing is not in the country for them, and therefore its not a surprise that they treat South Sudan as a minefield. 

Gatkuoth Jal Gatluak Nyak is a finalist student at University of Nairobi, studying Bachelor Degree in Economics and Statistics; And Holder of Diploma in Business Administration from Nairobi Aviation College. He can be reached for comment via email; banyjal@yahoo.com

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