What derailed the journey to economic development in South Sudan?

Posted: December 6, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Economy, Featured Articles, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

South Sudanese perspective of what derailed the journey to economic development

By Paul Logali, Logali House, Juba

The current state of RSS

December 6, 2016 (SSB) — After the government of South Sudan was established in 2006, initiation of rapid economic development programs followed led by the public sector in partnership with the private sector. Part of my assignment was to participate in developing industrial strategies and polices for the ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment.

To get this done we had to travel to all the previous 10 states to consider the views and perspectives of all the state and non state actors about economic development issues, the roles of the private sector and the challenges they thought should be captured in the formulation of these policies.

We equipped ourselves with working tool kits [questionnaires] that have been tested in other post conflict environments to help us collect the data required. Among these tools were a set of kits designed to examine and inform us about the mental models of our people.

With the facilitation and directives of the government in Juba, the state authorities welcomed us with open arms and even helped us administer the kits to the intended groups [government officials, members of the private sector, Development agencies, UN agencies and NGOs with economic empowerment mandate].

After rounding up all the 10 states, we ran all the data through programs to generate the statistical information presented in graphs and bar charts.

For reasons of space and relevance, I have taken only the excerpts of the mental model survey findings [feedback of the people by percentages] as follows:

Infrastructure: 45%

Food Insecurity 43%

Tribal tensions 37%

Corruption36%

Insecurity/Crimes 34%

Since this survey was carried out between 2009-2011, the first barrier [Infrastructure] above has been neglected like a child of another woman for reasons one can’t simply comprehend.

The second one below [Food insecurity] has been in the mouth of the vocals and has been the center of volumes of scripts written by both the government policy agencies, international partners, farmers and concerned citizens. Therefore, I will not dwell on this issue since the reader’s attention is on report of food availability at affordable prices.

The third indicator in the descending order is Tribal tensions, although it appeared a genuine contender to slow us down, people interviewed in Western Bhar Elgazel state didn’t agree with the views of the rest of the country at the time; five years down the line I don’t know if their position is still the same.

Nonetheless, today tribal tensions have become too bold and daring to cut us into pieces like a mincing machine.

If you think we are far from it, just consider the case of my good friend with a father from a village in greater Bhar El Ghazel and a mother from a village in greater Equatoria, he received a call from his diaspora friends asking him to decide which side of the divide is he on; it appears the perpetrators, sponsors and fans of blood shed don’t have a consideration for person/s with a middle or neutral position in such times, reminding us of George W. Bush, the former president of the the united states of America, who in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack said to allies “you are either with us or against us.”

I told my conscious friend that when fathers and mothers at home pick a quarrel, children don’t take sides, instead they leverage their endearing position to prevent the noise from reaching the neighbors homes, and the mature ones would even play the conciliatory role for sense and respect to prevail in the family.

Driving further below, we are at the doorstep of Corruption; for some reasons its at loggerhead with some of our cultures and norms. Some called it protocol and others see it as a fire breathing Godzilla.

In our society today, corruption has become so pervasive. If you want to know why, then, picture the case of a balloon pumped with excessive pressure beyond its capacity, it will burst into the thin air! This is exactly what has become of corruption, every body directly or indirectly has become a partaker of this alien gas in the atmosphere, to the extent that the most revered and admired amongst us are also breathing it to survive!

It will certainly take along time and a lot of effort to condense the gas carrying corruption to water form which will then be easy to detect and confined.

As we are trying to concentrate on the position of the known sharp objects threatening our journey towards building a robust economy, Insecurity/Crime is on our eyes like the flies of the day and in our ears like the buzzing mosquitos of the night, all time making the people restless and week to focus.

All the above issues highlighted have undergone very serious metamorphosis, so bad, that if we went back to ask the same people who gave us these views 5 years ago, they will think they are credible prophets after all.

The real danger which we are yet to experience is the conspiracy and malicious collaboration between the victims of food insecurity and riders of insecurity/crime. These two have already bought the devious corruption for free and are currently negotiating with the stooges of tribal tension to form a formidable and extremely aggressive gang force, much stronger than the tribal loyalties with their protective behaviors.

Together they have the tendency to harm without discerning members of their clans, tribes and other acquaintances, starting with their masters and trainers whom they used to protect, in a fashion familiar to some of the plays witnessed in islands between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Therefore, if we truly and honestly desire lasting peace, stability and socio-economic development, then we must be prepared to look back to know where we came from [the long generational struggles for independence since 1955-2005], how we got to this situation [Transitional period and December 2013 and July 2016] and accept to journey on the safe path which will ultimately lead us to our most preferred destination of peace, justice, liberty and prosperity.

As it is, we are still cruising through the path of blood bath and over sharp objects without regard to possibilities of overturning or running into irreparable head on collusions. The people whose blood is being sacrificed are wondering why and for how long this will continue.

Resumption of the economic journey now appears like a mirage but the visibility can be improved if the wise among us choose to compromise and shoulder each others burden, and agree to tramp forward together with full knowledge of our bearings and with proper navigation system to avoid unnecessary collusions and embrace nationhood.

The wise men and women am referring to here are those who seek their wisdom and knowledge from God for peace and stability to prevail but not that of the world. Isaiah 33:6

You can reach the author, Paul Logali of Logali House, via his email: paullogali9@gmail.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.

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