Op-Ed By Nul J. Mayendit – Juba – 16. November 2014
The Republic of South Sudan is known for brilliant people and a great history as well as for being situated in a very rich geographical location with fertile soils. A country endowed with enormous natural resources such as high-grade oil that sells top in the international markets, gold, diamonds, probably uranium, etc.
This country, however, has been often categorized as being among the failing states during its phases of inception ranging from an oppressed regional district to full sovereignty as a world-recognized state, within which it obtained:
“Free at Last”, the 9th July 2011 Independence.
The world’s records published in business journals and economic magazines have shown South Sudan as one of the most upcoming states with many immediate development opportunities, being democratic and a business hub with a great potential.
On the other hand South Sudanese from different backgrounds write to the entire world, testify and advocate that this country would be a failed state, characterized by dictatorial hegemony, a poor economy and above all a corrupt country governance. It is very clear that the negative impression that global citizens have about our country is our own bias, erroneous reports and slanderous communications to the media houses.
Those South Sudanese find it a “fashion” to abuse and belittle even themselves in public places such as conferences, workshops, media and even churches. Beginning from the top-most citizens, military generals, state-sponsored tycoons and other gurus, they sharpened their python-tongues against South Sudan and have now mentioned enough aspects of a failed state to foreigners staying within and abroad. They portrait our country just on the systemic cancer called “corruption”, while government officials and civil societies, religious leaders and opinion leaders sing songs about tribalism, nepotism and citizens’ laziness to work. In part this alone explains why we have an influx of foreign opportunists in South Sudan.
Of course yes! Early last month, October, there was a citizens’ out-cry pressing Government to create more jobs by asking foreigners in the country to leave so that certain positions are available to South Sudanese nationals – a ministerial order that nearly brought the young country to its knees. These foreigners came to work in government offices, foreign banks and companies, they have introduced a “monkey business” that has now left many citizens at the crossroads of idle wanderers. But we are entirely responsible for this mistake in the first place and it’s correction will be at a cost with maybe another liberation struggle – to secure our jobs already taken up by the aliens.
The majority South Sudanese unfortunately have gone silent about the evil deeds in the country, the only statement they often mention is: “This country will collapse”. If it does collapse indeed, are we ready to go back to the Arabs in Khartoum to wash their dishes and to farm for them just like a few years ago? I quote President Salva Kiir: “We fought for freedom, justice and equality, Yet, once we got to power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people.”
President Kiir in his March 2012 letter to 75 government officials – asking to return $4 billion dollars in stolen government funds, reiterated: “People in South Sudan are suffering and yet some government officials simply care about themselves. Most of these funds have been taken out of the country and deposited in foreign accounts. Some have purchased properties, often paid in cash.” The president also says corrupt individuals with close ties to government officials were involved in stealing the missing billions. Since the government had announced that order only 60 South Sudanese pounds have been returned.
A case in point is the presidential directive of “Zero Tolerance to Corruption”. Some civil servants, ministers, army generals and the general public took it for granted and then used the same roadmap to blame the President for having failed in its implementation. Come-on! Policies and road-maps are set by the Head of State and the rest remains a collective contribution by all.
I have registered a particular case with civil society groups such as the South Sudan Civil Society or Enough Project International as well as some individuals who are paid off by the political prostitutes in Juba to write nonsense about our country. These organizations have become very irrelevant in peace building and reconciliation, and they seem to be composed in majority of people from the opposition parties, former civil servants and less educated self-proclaimed journalists. These organizations lack transparency and the ability to analyse personalities and the systemic disparities in the Government of South Sudan. These organizations and individuals have sold out the image of our country to the extent that it would belong to the world of institutionalized and expanded corruption, tribalism and war crimes. They have never declared themselves openly in their own actual achievements to improve things and this cast doubts whether they will ever be at least impartial about the current leadership’s achievements. I suspect they have taken this up as a “personal vendetta”, but they must tell us the answer to the question: “How much do you have to offer yourselves and when?”
It is quite unfortunate and embarrassing for some citizens, who at one or another point of time served in the political or military system, to criticize and display the weaknesses they themselves were part of and to blame the shortcomings onto others. But they always do this only after they have been removed from power, professionally short-circuited or lost their positions.
I have respect for only one dissident individual, who did oppose the Government of South Sudan from the word “go”: Dr. Adwok Nyaba – although he hates the consequences and I quote: “I do not enjoy the tenancy of prisons.” Who does anyway!
However, constructive criticisms aired by this elite thinker and learned fellow personally impresses me, even if he dishes it out ad libidum and often drives it ad absurdum.
“In our collective search for meaningful political change, we need to understand that change is a process. It takes time to build democratic institutions and to establish fair political practices. Violent opposition is not a political change but destruction,” said Malith Kur in London.
There is no country in the world that has a proper definition of democracy. Every nation has its principal application of “democracy” in the context to which it perceives democratic governance. Therefore and on a serious note, South Sudanese first require a comprehensive understanding of their own nation, legal precedence, its populace, national resources and the level of their physical presence in order to advocate for the so called democracy.
I know of one challenge to the “democrats of South Sudan”: The democracy imported from various countries makes few efforts to bring forth any role model other than betraying our own country as a failed state. What did we have back then, while we were classified as asylum seekers, refugees and or political and army deserters? Isn’t it better to have a struggling start-up governance than having none? The latter would let chaos prevail and that attracts foreign vultures. Is that what is wanted?
Since quiet some time South Sudanese are staining this country with the strongest dye that will cost the most expensive detergent for removal in the future.
However, there is no point of being hopeless – let’s consider our future improvement.
Hilary Clinton, back then US Secretary of State, warned on 14. December 2011 the South Sudanese, when she said: “We know that it [oil] will either help your country finance its own path out of poverty, or you will fall prey to the natural resource curse, which will enrich a small elite, outside interests, corporations and countries, and leave your people hardly better off than when you started. South Sudan survived by being born, but it does need intensive care. And it needs intensive care from all of us”. Did she mean us or US?
In South Sudan, “there is no constitutional provision for dual citizenship” – therefore, South Sudanese abroad that have another citizenship must give a chance to the true South Sudanese in our country to resolve their own affairs and adjust to the next level of best governance. Otherwise their foreign intervention camouflaged as “their contribution” will ransack our country and incite our people, but lead to the deterioration into tribal slums. Cyberspace has become the base of tribalism – here a forum of slander and there a collage of deceit – naïve, propagandistic and capable to cause another war within our families.
The best attitude of a good citizen is to be proud of his/her origin and country and to defend it when and where necessary – the rest are inside renovations, which do not require to inundate other people the world over with bad publications and false indoctrinations – resulting in a negative image towards our country.
We as South Sudanese have never had a sovereign state before, and it seems that only some are still aware today what price was paid to obtain it for our country and for us. Those, who mention South Sudan – even just by a slip-of-tongue – as a failed state, are beyond any doubt out of their minds.
Compatriotism, nationalism, Pan-Africanism, comradeship and people engaged in collaborative efforts are key elements to form a good citizenry. Do South-Sudanese abroad have these qualities in them? They’re reflected in our own actions, they are displayed in our scientific analysis of the current tragedy in which the country is held up from proper development.
The bright and prosperous future of this country will never come in a form brought from another country or by their citizens. It needs to be developed by us South Sudanese working in our country ourselves.
Leaders come and they go, however, The Republic of South Sudan will always remain forever and forever more free!
(*) The author, Nul Jacob Mayendit [BAE,MBA], is based in Juba, South Sudan, and can be reached directly via chaapwut[AT]gmail.com
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