By Daniel Juol Nhomngek

Map featuring Gok State in former Warrap State (File Photo)
Map featuring Gok State in former Warrap State (File Photo)

Mar 29th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – Since the creation of Gok State on 2 October 2015, I have written a lot about it. I have written on both good and bad things, praises and attacks on some of the authorities. Despite others and my efforts to fight for change that may benefits the people, things appear not to be moving towards right directions as the state keeps on fluctuating between progress and digression.

The problem that keeps Gok State at the same level or even at the worse level is the fact that the authorities have become enemies to the truth. This automatic means that were darkness is valued over light, the evil flourishes undercover.  This is because in a situation where the people who talk against evil are viewed as enemies, it is not easy to bring the change in the society as truth is the first causality.

In fact, what characterizes Gok State system of governance like what is happening in all thirty two States can be summed up by quoting from the Dissertation of Ibrahim Abubakar Siddique from the University of Ghana (see; http://ugspace.ug.edu.gh) that—

“Self-help and power politics do not follow either logically or causally from anarchy and that if today we find ourselves in a self-help world, this is due to process, not structure. There is no ‘logic’ of anarchy apart from the practices that create and instantiate one structure of identities and interests rather than another; structure has no existence or causal powers apart from process. Self-help and power politics are institutions, not essential features of anarchy. Anarchy is what states make of it.”

The quotation above clearly summarizes what is happening in Gok State when it comes to the sharing of resources. In sharing of the resources, Gok State Authorities reduce themselves to the level of common citizens as they struggle for resources instead of overseeing the equitable distribution of resources among the common citizens.

As stated in the above paragraph besides lack of proper management and equitable distribution of resources there has been created suspicion and clandestine politics among the subjects. This politics involves gossiping and backbiting. The whole thing comes about from the weakness in both leadership of South Sudan and Gok State that encourage the culture of backbiting and gossiping.

Due to this kind of culture, citizens have lost their personal freedoms (liberties) and independence as they have to try by all means to make up stories against each other in order to win the favour of the authorities. Consequently, authorities have become like Semi-God that should be praised at all the times in order to make feel happy.

In such a situation, every citizen struggling to keep their independence or freedom or personal liberties becomes a real or enemy number one to the State. The State views citizens with dissenting opinions as enemies simply because the leaders lack democratic culture. The lack of democratic culture has led to absolute abuse of power as there are no democratic safeguards against the abuse of power and corruption.

The lack of safeguards against corruption and abuse of power by the authorities of different states and Gok State, in particular, have made authorities to operate with impunity. Because of that, the authorities have extended their power over the operations and activities of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), would have not been bad if their intention of controlling NGOs were to benefit the citizens of Gok State.

But as many incidences have shown, the Gok State Authorities have extended their corruption into the activities of these NGOs. The interference by the authorities in Gok State in the activities of NGOs clearly came to my understanding in February 2017. I came to confirm the previous allegations against the NGOs by that time when the Oxfam implicit activities in corruption of the authorities came into spotlight.

At that time Oxfam instead of applying the principles of fairness and justices, it allowed the authorities to influence their recruitment process in Gok State in which the authorities directed the management to employ the people based on the directives of the authorities not on merit. When I received this information from those that were affected, I immediately wrote an article entitled; How International NGOs Foster corruption in South Sudan: the striking case of Oxfam. That article was published on February 5, 2017 12:20 PM by paanluelwel.com/2017/02/how-international—.

Though the above was the first time I wrote about how NGOs’ activities are influenced and corrupted by Gok State authorities, there were two cases that I have not commented on. One is that of BRAC. BRAC is a development organization founded in 1972. It is dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Its objectives are summed up in the statement that in order for the poor to come out of poverty, they must have tools to fight it across all fronts.

However, despite the above objectives and in particular the objective that protects people against injustices, the authorities in Gok State have influenced BRAC’S activities to the extent of BRAC becoming a tool of injustice.

For instance, the incentives intended to be given to girls that do not have supports at home for their education don’t reach them. Instead, the real beneficiaries are women who are not in schools. Hence, BRAC is now turned into income generating project for the family instead of supporting children of the poor who cannot go to school due to poverty.

Apart from the above scenario of BRAC, there is also another organization that gives support to families whose girls are in school but it is turned into another income project for some groups of people who are in the village. This led to the person who has been acting as coordinator being accused of misusing the NGOs resources. Nevertheless, I am still investigating this Organization and I will publish an article about its activities in Gok State in future.

Then, another Organization that I wrote about recently concerning how its activities are corrupted by the authorities is VSF Germany whose main purpose is to help the poor. The VSF Germany recruits the vulnerable and puts them in the system where they constantly receive income within a given period subject to review.

Nonetheless, the activities of VSF Germany have been corrupted by the authorities who instead of helping the VSF Germany to recruit the poor people have their own families and families of honorable entered the system. These are injustices being perpetuated by some Executive Directors and commissioners through NGOs in Gok State.

Then, comes the activities of the UNMISS in respect of peace building in Gok State, which are the subject of this article. The UNMISS stands for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. I have received the news that it is holding workshop on peace building process in Gok State from March 28—29, 2018.

Whereas I recommend the UNMISS for the commendable job for peace building, I at the same time do so with some reservations based on the fact that it is being used as a vehicle for corruption by some of the State authorities. Thus, I strongly advise the UNMISS to safeguard against some of those Authorities using it in that way.

The use of NGOs in Gok State as tools of corruption was as already explained above and in the first two workshops on peace building process that was held in the State by the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) and the Catholic Church respectively. In those workshops, some of the authorities corrupted allowances of the participants.

The amount that was intended for the participants was not given to them as some the authorities took all the allowances and all participants ended up only with food and drinks that they took during the workshops. It was real corruption as the amount that someone told (though not confirmed from independence source) was SSP 1500 per day for each participant for two days. This was a good amount of money but it as corrupted by those authorities.

Due to the corruption as explained above, the participants were not happy with what the authorities did. Because of that I have taken this time to warn the UNMISS not to allow itself to be used as the vehicle for corruption by some of these authorities of Gok State in disregard to its own principles.

The UNMISS has vowed to safeguard the principles of justice, integrity, democracy and human rights which are the founding principles of the United Nations. Thus, I expected the UNMISS to uphold these principles and avoid all the likelihood of being used as a vehicle of corruption in detriment to its reputation.

In a nutshell, I must warn the UNMISS that should it allow itself to be compromised by some of the authorities, I will not hesitate to expose it to the general South Sudan public without any fear.

Moreover, I will publish the name of any authority that corrupts the UNMISS whether the Governor or the Minister of Local Government in Gok State who I have received the information that he is the one in charge of that workshop in corroboration with the UNMISS.

It therefore means that the allowances intended for all participants in that workshop must be given to them as intended without even levying the taxes. The law does not allow the money received in that way to be taxed since it was not generated from taxable income of all the participants.

*The authorities in Gok State should avoid corrupting UNMISS and other NGOS or risk being exposed to the public.

*The warning to all NGOs operating in Gok State and State Authorities as well.

The author, a lawyer by profession and a Gok State citizen, can be reached via juokdaniel2003@gmail.com.

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