The Perils of Kleptocracy in South Sudan

Posted: May 28, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Malual Garang Jangdit, Juba, South Sudan

Journalism in South Sudan

May 28, 2017 (SSB) — The aim of this article is to explore the consequences of kleptocracy, a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources whereas monocracy is a form of government in which one person alone rules the nation at his behest and peril. In essence, it is undeniable that South Sudan is a monocratic and kleptocratic state according to the current waves of the political tension, rampant corruption and Kiir’s Presidential Decree to relieve whoever disagreed with him and appointed his cronies rather than following the constitutional procedure of appointing the government officials.

Thus, I argue that Kiir’s political move of dismissing his opponents and appointing his hounds to coerce people to support Kiir Mayardit despite his weakness and political flaw is a clear setback for peace and reconciliation. On top of that, such coercion and intimidation are the main cause of ethnic division and tribal conflict. For example, the case of King Paul dismissal and appointment of Ajongo Mawut including Michael Makuei Lueth current disagreement with Kiir Mayardit showed us a way in which President Kiir imposes his will on people.

However, the article is aimed to find a constructive approach to end the crisis of neo-patrimonialism (Kiir’s Neo-patrimonial Regime) that leads to the political crisis and the current schism in the SPLM party. In fact, the thematic intention is to examine the consequences of a system of social hierarchy where patrons use state resources in order to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population. Kiir Mayardit uses this system, an informal patron–client relationship that can reach from very high up in state structures down to individuals in small villages.

For example, the promotion of David Yau Yau to Lt. General and Ministerial Position instead of indicting him for war crimes and atrocities against the people of South Sudan provides very strong evidence on the political flaw of Kiir’s neo-patrimonial regime and it also describes the negative effects of monocracy in South Sudan that unleashes a pestilence that wreaked unspeakable havoc and schism.

Since in 1991, a major split within the SPLM, usually on the grounds of the differences in the political doctrines and practice leading to the setting up of a separate breakaway party, or the offense of causing such a split is persistent due to the political flaw as well as lack of ethnic pacification and Political solidarity. For example, King Paul worked for the people of South Sudan for a long period of time, however, Kiir sacked him due to difference of opinion of refusing to attack Jonglei Youth who took the law into their hands and followed their raided cattle and abducted children to Murle.

In this case, one can argue that, the youth who took revenge should not be blamed due to the fact that Kiir’s administration turns a blind eye and deaf eye to their suffering. In essence, I argue that if Kiir’s administration could have drafted and implemented Child Abduction Act and Cattle Rustling Act to enforcing law and order as an essential approach to prevent Murle Youth from raiding cattle and abducting kids from Jonglei State, therefore, the Jonglei youth could have attacked the civilians in Machabool and Kochar.

For more than ten years in throne, Murle attacked Bor, killed parents, kidnapped children, and raided cattle but Kiir did not give speech or condemn Child Abduction or Cattle Rustling and this silence tells a story of proxy war that Kiir’s administration is supporting Murle to terrorize Jonglei State as a tactical way of engaging people of Jonglei in order not to focus on the weakness of Kiir’s kleptocratic and monocractic government.

To support his argument, Michael Makuei and Kiir Mayardit current argument provides strong evidence. Kiir Mayardit approached Michael Makuei to call back Jonglei Youth and ordered King Paul to send Mathiang Anyoor to attack the youth of Jonglei and this move was supported by Akol Koor Kuch, a Kiir’s crony and hound to coerce Jonglei Community to follow the absurd doctrine of Kiir’s neo-patrimonial regime.

I suggest that it would have been better for Kiir Mayardit to go to Bor and address the violent youth as a conceptual framework to prevent revenge and tribal-counter-attack in Jonglei rather than to threaten MPS of Jonglei. Thus, I wonder why Kiir Mayardit does/ did not approach David Yau Yau to talk to his friends to stop Children Abduction, Cattle Rustling and ethnic killing rather than Michael Makuei.

This move proves that Kiir Mayardit and his cronies especially Akol Koor and Akot Lual are warmongers who start the war between Bor and Murle. Kiir Mayardit and his cronies want to know the ramifications of ethnic violence. I suggest that Kiir’s administration should implement the modalities of curbing the ethnic violence rather than taking side.

On the other hand, Kiir Mayardit forgot that people of Jonglei are the instrument who made him to who is he today. During 21 years of civil war and ethnic violence, Dinka Bor stood firmly with Kiir Mayardit. Not only steadfastness, but in the aftermath of civil war and death of John Garang, Kuol Manyang appointed Kiir Mayardit to succeed John Garang rather than letting the wolves; Riek Machar and Lam Akol took over the leadership.

Therefore, What I would like to say is that, Dinka Bor and Dinka Bahr el Ghazal were coherent, sticking together and formed an inseparable mass, however, today Kiir Mayardit is trying to melt the resin that bound Dinka together in order to stick to power, however, he does not know we “Dinka” cannot be divided for the sake of leadership. Thus, I argue that instead of creating schism, we shall unclench those who clench to power.

According to the rumour, Kiir Mayardit and his cronies are drafting a cabinet reshuffle and it is clear that Michael Makuei is going to be dumped and King Paul is confined to stay in Juba. This conspiracy will topple Kiir Mayardit. Kiir wants to know that his leadership is not worth Dinka unity. Even though Kiir launched National Dialogue still yet, it will not work out due to lack of SPLM policies and objectives.

SPLM is weakened and the other tribes are against Dinka and this ethnic hatred and political animosity is key concepts that Kiir’s administration needs to address first of all. If it is true that Kiir sacked King Paul because he refused to send Mathiang Anyoor to wipe out Jonglei Youth as essential technique of quelling the ethnic violence between Jonglei and Boma States, I can argue that it was a wrong move/ political decision that could have cost him of his leadership.

Therefore, I argue that south Sudan would not be stable under Kiir’s reign of terror and kleptocractic and monocratic government. However, it would be good if Jieng Council of Elders should convene and ask Kiir Mayardit to step down as an essential method of achieving peace and reconciliation. Kiir’s relinquishment of leadership will pave the way for National Dialogue and restoration of national unity.

On the other hand, I know Kiir’s cronies in their egotism, they think that Kiir’s quit is disastrous. However, it is not a political catastrophe or ruination for the nation rather than it is a turning point in the political mollification and tribal unification. How long we are going to fight unjust war and ethnic conflict? For example, People of Warrap, Kiir’s birthplace are fighting but the President does not bother himself to go to Apuk and Aguok and talk to them or send Mathiang Anyoor to quell the clannish fight but he chose to take actions against Jonglei Youth.

In Rumbek, Youth are committing human rights violations and atrocities against women and children but Kiir does/did not want to go to address them rather than staying in J1. To conclude, it would be advantageous for Kiir to sack Akol Koor kuc and warn Akot Lual that Dinka Bor is the only community that is not interested in kiir’s leadership and bear in their minds, Dinka Bor’s enemy is Dinka Bahr el Ghazal’s foe and the proxy war would not help Kiir Mayardit to stick on power.

However, the presence of Jonglei’s people in Kiir’s weak and corrupt government is a crucial point for Kiir Mayardit to reign until his death. Not only resignation, but Kiir’s administration should implement the criminal law and reform military to conform to the modern military rather than be in form of guerrilla movement that lacks laws and orders.

The ethnic conflict is deep and it would not be solved through National Dialogue because all the warring parties would not be able to attend the National Dialogue. For that reason, I call for the major changes in the government institutions and structure (basically SPLM/A hierarchy) as a key solution to the political crisis and ethnic violence in South Sudan.

I am not denying that Kiir Mayardit’s hard work and commitment for more than 40 years since Anyanya 1 War until today, however, it is good for him step down from politics and take a rest.

You can reach the author, Malual Jangdit, via his email:  

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 SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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