Opinion Politics

Opinion: Deliver Public Goods and Services to End the Wars

By Machien Luoi T. Dagoor,

Salva Kiir Mayardit and cabinet ministers holding a session to welcome COVID-19 at J1(Photo credit: courtesy image)
Salva Kiir Mayardit and cabinet ministers holding a session to welcome COVID-19 at J1(Photo credit: courtesy image)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021In an Ebony Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) document entitled, “South Sudan: The Institutional Environment for Service Delivery,” published on September 20, 2019, Professor Daniel W. Bromley writes,“ when conflict finally ends, those who have devoted their lives to that conflict have a set of expectations about improved livelihoods now that peace has emerged. Then, when daily life remains problematic, frustration emerges and if not addressed, serious political problems may soon appear.”

He is quite right on South Sudan matters, particularly now that parties to the R- ARCSS are near to completing the full formation of the R-TGONU. This stint of progress is encouraging. It makes citizens whose livelihoods and  dreams were shattered by the civil wars hopeful. It must be turned to make up for what was lost through the war and not to plan for another violent conflict. It must be time to make our masses happy. 

Cynics, pessimists, skeptics and critics  are quick to point out that delivery of public goods and services at this time, at whatever level of the South Sudan government, is utopian. They painfully and ignorantly conclude that failures and shortcomings of leader A will be the same as that of leader B (successor). Some think public goods and services can only be delivered with unhindered flow of funds from the top to the bottom. This is true to some extent. Yet this kind of thinking tends to forgo the logic that what comes from up  must have left the bottom at some point. 

The oil, gold, timber, customs revenue, taxes and the list of all our national, state and County sources of revenue, are extracted or collected from the bottom (States, Counties, Payams, Bomas, Villages) before making up the national coffers. It then follows and should be discerned that these sources of revenue (taxes, local court fines and other) fall within the jurisdiction of a state, county office. If utilized on tangible development activities. 

It is highly possible a local school, clinic, police post, or border court works could change lives and inspire the communities placed at the bottom level of government structures. 

Endeavoring to deliver public goods and services must remain the cardinal actionable objective of public office holders in our country. 

By doing this, “social contract” between our masses and their government will be strengthened. In particular, the State and County governments must remain resolute in the quest to deliver public goods and services, though against the tide of surmounting challenges of our varying contexts. As Professor Bromley seems to suggest, the unending wars and needless transitional governments will truly come to an end, and for good, when our citizens are satisfied with the level of service delivery by their government. 

Machien Luoi T. Dagoor is a South Sudanese residing in Juba. He can be reached at mjluoi@yahoo.com

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