Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: South Sudan Leaders have lost their bearing

By Sindani Sebit Ireneaus,

Sep 17, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan; the land of wonders. Is it intellectual dwarfism or traditional leadership that leaders in South Sudan seem not to be finding their bearing?

The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, right, and Dr. Riek Machar, left, greet each other after swearing in ceremony in Juba, South Sudan Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. South Sudan opened a new chapter in its fragile emergence from civil war Saturday as rival leaders formed a coalition government that many observers prayed would last this time around. (AP Photo)

The Central Bank of South Sudan is said to be bankrupt. Government soon will not be able to pay for its services. The commercial banks have taken over the economy and the bank owe the commercial banks USD 100 million. The South Sudan pound is caput while prices in the market are skyrocketing at their free will and desire. 

The minister of trade has thrown his hands up because he is not able to control the trade in South Sudan. He is crying for Japan to buy South Sudan honey, which with the roads in complete shambles, insecurity rampant and business highjacked, the chances that honey will rescue South Sudan is walking in the shadow of non-existence. 

While this is happening, we are getting illusionary dreams of setting South Sudan vision 2040. Surely when the country is unable to find solutions to its microeconomic and macroeconomic challenges, what is there that can convince the rest of us that vision 2040 is viable?

The shite-holes of the junta in Juba, the footstools of the elite and the downtrodden have persistently said that the regime in Juba has ignored all modern principles of governance but have continued to practice the tenets of traditional leaderships. In most communities in South Sudan particularly the cattle keeping communities, usually the cattle is the leader while the cattle-keeper is either a body guard or relaxing at the back of the herd while the herd leads him to the water point or grazing land. Imagine a situation where the animals are being taken to the river or grazing, usually the men are behind the animals. They are guarding the animals to ensure that they are not attacked, get lost or deviate from the destination. This indeed is the role of the bodyguard in government structure. The bodyguard is always behind the leader, guarding and protecting him/her from enemies.

Certainly, this the situation in South Sudan where the leadership is happily relaxed while the people are left alone on the mercy of the corrupt official, ruthless business community and unguided civil services. 

The result is chaos that is being witnessed in the economic meltdown in the country.

The second issue imputed from traditional leadership that the shite-holes of the junta, the footstools of the elite and the downtrodden masses have expounded is gerontocracy. Similarly, in most of South Sudan communities, leadership belongs to the elderly. 

The word of the elder is the golden rule and cannot be contradicted. It is a defacto judgement that must be obeyed and upheld by all. Any attempt to contradict it is met with admonition or even violence. This is why the word that comes from the JCE in South Sudan is golden. It is the law and cannot be opposed. It is like a military law where any contrary opinion can lead to court martial. What is saddening about this is that these octogenarians are already senile or semi senile who have forgotten or have no faint knowledge of modern economic principles. 

In economics, they only remember bookkeeping, debt and credit. They cannot comprehend or are oblique to the simple strategies of micro and macro-economic management. They have lost the nitty gritty of balancing trade and economic growth. They cannot understand the basic undertakings of stimulation of economy or controlling national resources for the good of everybody. 

What pre-occupies them is how to eat as much as they can before Abraham retrieves their files and asks them to report to sleep with the fathers. This is the tragedy. Because of gerontocracy the knowledgeable young and educated lot are pushed to the margins and their mouths shut. They are not allowed to participate in generating ideas and actively robustly build the country. They are considered a threat to the old or labelled not to have participated in the liberation and therefore must wait for the crumbs that fall from the big man’s table.

The third traditional principal that is being imported into governance in Juba is stealing by force. Cattle raiding in South Sudan is stealing using violence to accumulate riches that has been accepted and dignified by all cattle keepers in South Sudan. Cattle raiders are always praised, glorified as heroes, gallant sons of the community and defenders of community wealth despite the fact that the raids do not only involve stealing somebody’s cattle but in most cases always result in killing of the members of the community that is raided. 

Sadly, this mode of stealing is not considered as crime. Unfortunately, this traditional thievery has be translated into government coffers and has manifested itself in the grant corruption that is now being witnessed in South Sudan. South Sudanese are no longer ashamed of cleaning the government coffers. We are daily hearing corruption reports involving millions of dollars. In fact the central bank is reported to have ran out of money because the top leadership in the country is using it to deviate money to their currency bureaus in the market.

Looted money is kept in containers in houses in Juba. This is the money that is supposing to be circulating in the market maintaining a vibrant economy. Much of the money is being sent to families living abroad benefiting the countries where they families live. Some of it is used for buying mansons abroad. They are oblivious that they are enriching their adopted countries while leaving their own people wallow in perpetual poverty.

This is the sad story of South Sudan that has tainted all the liberators of the country. This is scar that will remain with SPLM/A forever and amen. So SPLM/A has consciously or unconsciously driven South Sudan into state of abyss and made South Sudanese minnows in their own country. South Sudanese have become the last in everything, the laughingstock of the world, the stupid, uninformed, backward and uncivilized yet there are hundreds of PHD and masters holders in South Sudan. But because they are marginalized, they are forced to sit back as destitute by gerontocrats and mediocres. Wake up South Sudan otherwise you are doomed.

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