Will the 2018 elections restore the political and economic fortune of South Sudan?

Posted: November 5, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Featured Articles, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Awet Maker Buong, Jiangsu Province, China

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November 5, 2016 (SSB) —- With brevity, clarity of opinion and wit, we distill what’s important on the global, national agenda and most importantly, what to make of it. Our objectivity of opinion, originality of insight and advocacy of economic and political freedom set us apart from other publications. That’s why six million people read: “The Economist”, every week, including the world’s leading political and business figures.

How about South Sudan’s economy which is ‘in intensive care’ as famine looms? A year that will require moral integrity from those who had been kept in deafening silence and doomed for far too long; a year in waiting to change our daily focus on war and work on the tickets to our national parliament, states assemblies, gubernatorial positions and the king of all that will sit in J1, and assume the duties of sovereignty.

My question is, “will the elections of 2018 make a difference?” Will it herald an age of peace and development for South Sudan? Will it resurrect a unified political will and reshape our country economically? Only if we first have peace, unity, reconciliation, and forgiveness, can we achieve all these. Only if we first find common cause that transcends tribes and regions can we forge ahead.

We must accept the flaws of incompetence ranging from policymakers who have the master key to our country’s political problems or buried that deadly way of leadership and open up the peaceful methods of leadership in South Sudan. Our president must stop from being threatened by his politicians and military generals in decision making and choose from “do or die” for the sake of citizens not few policyholders all the times.

It’s high time our president completely closed down rewarding rebels with positions and unnecessary ranks which have now ruined and turned our country into bloody and ashes. It’s been taken as a formula now should he temper to relieve someone for example, from duties, then they will go to the bush and fight back his government. Then if we keep on playing this game, do you think there will be South Sudan?

I don’t think so hence, I am sincerely begging President Salva Kiir’s administration to stop this new ill-gotten formula and remain bold in decision making. Napoleon Bonaparte put it clearly:’’ I’ am more afraid of an army of one hundred sheep led by a lion than an army of one hundred lions led by a sheep.” President Kiir must reflect his memories of Tiger division.

A tiger must pronounce his tigeritude and doesn’t attack when you have done nothing to him, but should you step on his feet, then you are finished and your sorrowful death will be upon yourself. You cannot rule the country like South Sudan with “a pastor’s or bishop’s style. Our president must bring the perpetrators of grave crimes against humanity to books than to destroy peaceful lives of the 11 million people period.

Human being is an animal like a cow and cattle keepers beat up their animals during their movement in search of green pastures and water in order to follow the correct route. “Hence, do we all need the same thing in case we have gone astray from the system?’’

South Sudan’s oil rich Unity State is destroyed by war and famine has stalked the land as thousands of locals flee their homes. At night, the glow from the light of the oil installations in Paloch which cuts through many miles of undeveloped countryside twinkles in a distance.

During the day, the gleaming pipes and hard edges of modern technology stand in stark contrast to the simple huts of the nearby villages. Oil used to be the greatest source of income. But in the three years since we gained independence on 9th July 2011, the oil wealth has not brought much development as expected.

Now the oilfields at Paloch and others are threatened by the civil war that broke out in December 2013, and which is damaging all aspects of life in South Sudan, including the economy. The fighting between South Sudan government troops and rebels has all but stopped production in Unity State, one of the country’s two oil areas.

Over all oil production is now less than half of the 350,000 barrels per day the country was churning out at the time of independence.

As this is not enough for South Sudan, civil population who needs better health, better education, infrastructure, better security and so forth. The financial situation is quite precarious. Previous predictions showed that South Sudan’s economy would grow by 35% in 2014, but have proven to be tragically wide out of the mark on total collapse in 2015-2016 and maybe next year as well.

Man’s hand on parched soil image. Famine is threatening to add to South Sudan’s many economic problems due to number of rebellions that have encircled the country hence, blocking the movement of imported goods by land from the neighborhoods of Uganda, Kenya, Khartoum, amongst others. Neither does it allow citizens from accessing their own agricultural lands for the fear of roads indiscriminate killings everywhere

The fighting has displaced more than a million people, and as farming has been disrupted there are fears the country could slide into famine. Even in the capital Juba, there are consequences. People are not earning money from what they’re doing and the prices of everything in the market even a toothbrush and a shoe polish have gone up, let alone clothes and food items that have skyrocketed.

With the war rumbling on, no one is focusing on development or growth now. Hardships continue to plague citizens set upon by our leaders who are waging the game of throne over their subjects.

For many in South Sudan, though, that assessment also holds true for the period before the civil war began. Independence, which came after decades of conflict with Khartoum, was expected to bring the dividends of peace to the beleaguered South Sudanese. The years of war, coupled with an even longer period of neglect, meant the vast majority of the population was living in hardship frustration from president Omar’s regime.

South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir is at war with rebels backed by former corrupt politicians and some of our neighboring countries whose intention is to loot from our economic challenges and political instability. Well they could not be blamed either as the Dinka saying goes: “destruction of your brother’s home is a fortune to goodness of your home assets”.

When its flag was raised for the first time, South Sudan was one of the least developed regions on earth. Our founder the late Dr. John Garang, had talked of “taking the towns to the people”; bringing representation, development and services to the rural areas where most people live. A philosophy fulfilled by president Kiir on his presidential decree of 02nd Oct.2015 which created 28 states followed by several counties created under each state. But the question is, “will they be resourceful and developmental in the future?”

The oil billions should have achieved this vision far gone since the days of 2005 to the independence period. Yet even before conflict broke out in Juba, there was growing dissatisfaction with the pace of change. As part of a row with Sudan, the South Sudanese leaders took the extraordinary decision, in January 2012, to shut down our own oil production. The new country needed to export its oil through Sudan’s pipelines, refineries and export terminal but there was no agreement on how much this would cost.

When Khartoum began confiscating South Sudan’s oil, the new country’s leaders simply stopped the flow from their oilfields without measuring impact. It continued for more than a year, until a deal was reached with Sudan and the South Sudanese had to live with stringent austerity measures. All development was put on hold. Salaries came late. Poverty rates grew.

With only one year away from South Sudan general elections, one may ask himself, “with this crippling economy, will there be enough funds to facilitate the elections?”  If yes, “will this new political house learn from the mistakes and bring our suffering to an end?”  Well there seems to be a wider gap of mistrust between citizens and those who choose to lead them on bloody lines.

President Kiir should stop being softer in things that matter and find the ways to convince people during the campaign for 2018 general elections because we have all learned from one another  the ways of handling affairs. Let’s all never lose sight and hope there’s always a way for living, and there’s an end to every good and bad situation.

South Sudan will be a great nation I believe. May God bless you all!

The author is an engineering student in the college of Automation Engineering, Nanjing University, Jiangsu Province, China. He can be reached at awetbenjamin.maker@yahoo.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

  1. Yes, Awet , it will restore political and economic situation if Ethiopia, North Sudan, Kenya, DRC and Uganda keep their decision of restrictions on the negative rebellion in South Sudan . Also those who like the system of democracy would support the system regardless who won the general election .


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