By: Abraham Deng Lueth, B.S, MPA
November 30, 2013 (SSNA) --Table of Contents and the corresponding Budgets in billions of dollars:
Principles, Values & Vision
Energy & Oil
Community Rehabilitation Program
Total budget of $ 133.0 billion over a period of 5 years @ $ 26.6 billion a year
I. National Principles, Shared Values and a Vision for the future
South Sudan needs to redefine its set of fundamental beliefs, concepts, and principles that should underlie its shared values. These beliefs, concepts and principles will not only guide the government decisions on key policy issues but will also regulate the behaviors of its citizenry. Moreover, Juba will need to set an attainable vision for the future. Well established core national principles and vision glue the foundation for national macro policies and development agenda. Certainly, a setting of shared values and a striking vision for the future will positively transform the current culture of menace in Juba and around the country.
Not only can these important recipes for developing a sovereign nation be written on a paper but they must also be instilled into the spirits of the nation’s citizenry. Juba can operationalize these through positive developments, civic engagement, holding of fair elections and respect for individual liberties and freedoms among others. Government actions of the sorts help close the gap between the people and their government, hence, its legitimacy.
South Sudan built on strong principles and shared values can successfully seize its achingly needed national coherence. Attainment of such a national concinnity will enable Juba to embark on controlling its national security, economy, foreign policy, energy & oil, education and the healthcare of its population. It will also be peremptory for us as a nation to recognize that our government needs to undergo aggressive reforms. South Sudan needs a vibrant constitution, functional branches of government and vigorous accountability measures to end the culture of corruption. Moreover, Juba and its development partners need to develop a robust community mental health rehabilitation program aimed at treating or reversing the effects of the 21 year old war on the South Sudanese citizenry. This opinion piece superficially touches on the stated issues and urges Juba to undertake immediately and terribly needed reforms and development initiatives as soon as possible in order to prevent the country from falling into an anarchic state.
II. National Security
The key to our own national security depends on the following parameters among others; defined borders, well-developed, professional security apparatus, gun control, heavily punitive crimes intervention initiatives, conflict mitigation and peace promotion in trouble spots around the country. As a nation, we cannot continue to have de facto borders. We must immediately demarcate those border areas that do not present any disputes and embark on a contingency plan to finalize the disputed borders. South Sudan security forces should be organized into police (boma, payam, county and state), army (state guards, reserve, active), Komodo, equivalent to marines, air force and Special Forces. The army, Komodo, Air force and Special Forces should make up the military of South Sudan.
A. The Police
South Sudan needs to empower bomas, payams, counties and states to be able to organize their police personnel (community policing). These administrative sections should only need from the national government a budget that supports the security system. The key to this is to have police men and women protect communities where their families and properties belong. This provides a vested interest for security apparatus to do a better job of securing the people they are charged to protect.
The idea of stationing a police post around a residential area to protect people living in that area is not only chuckleheaded or birdbrained but it also gives the residents of the respective area no guarantee that they are being properly protected. Therefore, a boma police must be made up of individuals who live and have families and properties in that boma. The same should apply to payams, counties, and states. There is no way a resident of Northern Bar el ghazal whose family and properties are based in Awiel can be placed in Bentiu as a policeman to, assumedly, protect the people in Bentiu. This can be possible only if the person in question has moved or is willing to move and become a resident of Bentiu prior or during the time of the job offer. This does not only have a security implication but it also has an equitable economic significance.
B. The Military
As suggested earlier, South Sudan military should be organized as follows; army, Komodo, Air Force and Special Forces. The army should be further divided into guards (state-specific), reserve and active. The guards will be recruited, trained and stationed in the states to primarily response (under the direction of the national army) to states disasters and catastrophes (both natural and man-made). The guards can also be deployed when needed. The army reserve should be a group of soldiers recruited, trained and discharge back to their homes and hold regular jobs elsewhere. However, they must sustain certain benefits for enlisting and they can be called to report to the army barracks anytime if they are needed for services.
The active branch of the army should be the one that is actively deployed. This includes those in army barracks, those in the front lines and those in different active duty categories. The overall overarching role of the South Sudan army should be specialization in defending the state or areas in question.
The Komodo as an independent branch of South Sudan army must be developed to suit its outstanding role of crushing the enemy or target. The military branch of South Sudan armed forces that will have a similar role with Komodo is the Air Force. The difference should be that Komodo capabilities are on the ground and Air Force capabilities are in the air. Both the Komodo and Air Force can be used for reinforcement if needed to support the army.
The Special Forces should be a part of South Sudan military that is specialized in carrying out special missions. Their job will be critical in killing people like David Yau Yau to avoid an all-out war with the rebel forces as was the case in the death of Arthor Deng. The Special Forces should be made up of capable and physically-fit individuals selected from the army, Komodo, Air Force or freshly recruited and must be given special trainings suitable for their duties.
South Sudan security systems must then put in place a timely response mechanism that should be well-coordinated. For example, if a boma is attacked by unknown gunmen, the boma police should response and immediately activate the payam and county police forces. The county police force should then activate the state police which should activate the state guards which in turn activate the national security forces (Army active, Komodo and Air force). If the number of the attacking, unknown gunmen is small, it may be deterred by the county police force. However, it is still necessary to activate up to the level of the security apparatus necessary to follow, kill or arrest the criminals and bring them to justice. The key is to make the business of cattle rustling or rebellion more expensive or risky to operate. A security system of this kind or better can significantly reduce if not stop the acts of cattle rustling, especially, if it is coupled together with innovative ways of identifying stolen cattle.
C. Secured Borders, Conflict Mitigation and Peace Promotion in trouble spots
It is also critical to the nation of South Sudan national security to secure or control its borders. South Sudan must enact immigration policies that secure its borders and allow foreigners to lawfully enter South Sudan. The already existing illegal immigrants must be given an opportunity to go back to the line and obtain their legal status but must pay very generous fees for that.
South Sudan must also manage its conflicting ethnicities and promote peace in trouble spots. The re-configuration of the security forces into boma, payam, county, state police forces and the state guards will minimize the ethnic hostilities by increasing the chances of arresting or killing culprits who initiate the conflicts. South Sudan must recognize that these so called ethnic violence are thriving businesses that can bring down South Sudan if left to thrive.
A case in example is that of David Yau Yau. Every time an amnesty is issued, he, probably, laughs at the naïve president. As a result of his rebellion, he is getting millions from Bashir that Khartoum gets from juba through its oil. At the same time, he raids communities and drive off thousand heads of cattle. Due to this kind of profitable, unethical business practice, he will become a billionaire one of these days before president Kiir. So, why would he leave such a thriving business and response to an amnesty that will offer him nothing? That is left to South Sudanese to answer.
South Sudan must design a permanent strategy to rid itself of rebels. Amnesty and reward with positions are not ways of discouraging the culture of rebellion. Instead, they encourage it to continue. This is why Dr. Garang declared to all rebels during the early days of CPA to either join the Southern or Northern army or else there was not going to be such a thing as roaming militia in the South because the SPLA would get rid of them. South Sudan must be secured for it to see a boom in its economic growth.
To build its economy, South Sudan needs to prioritize the building of its never-existed infrastructures. The primary focus should be placed on connecting the ten states with major highways and seventy nine counties with main roads. Since the states do not have budgets of their own, Juba must help the state and municipal governments to develop the needed infrastructure systems. At the same time, South Sudan will need to identify and continue to instituteon sophistically developing its sources of revenues (trade, taxes, fees, grants and loans).
Oil is the main commodity that South Sudan trades now. It is the main source of government revenues as indicated by many written works. This can have very serious, adverse effects on the country in a long run if other sectors of the economy are not quickly developed. Oil is a depletive commodity and it will reach its production peak. The best that South Sudan today is to use oil revenues to develop the agriculture sector as John Garang proposed.
A combination of infrastructure development and empowerment of local farmers to produce local produces at a scale slightly bigger than the subsistent level will enable South Sudan realize its slogan of taking towns to people. Subsequently, this will greatly minimize ethnic conflicts and raise the level of pride among the citizens, hence; resulting in government legitimacy.
Juba government must work to make conditions for trade conducive. In addition to security, other conditions for trade are good roads, good trade policies (that reward those with good business practices and ethics), market regulation (as in licensing) and subsidizing of feasible markets, to mention a few.
Trades and foreign investments are very sensitive to insecurity. Therefore, given the tightness of things now, South Sudan needs to prioritize two things and make a serious commitment to accomplish them; security and building of roads connecting ten states and seventy nine counties. Moreover, South Sudan needs to improve its tax system.
B. Taxes and Jobs
South Sudan should innovate on its tax collection methods. It needs enriched means for collecting income, payroll, sales, corporate, custom duty and licenses and occupational taxes. It must also quickly work to innovate on other possible tax additions. Taxes come from jobs because only the working population should pay them. Therefore, job creation is the key to collection of a good amount of tax revenues.
One of the things South Sudan can do to improve job creation is to incorporate into its tax system the incentives for business companies to grow and nonprofit organizations to continue to operate so that the three sectors of economy; private, public (government) and voluntary (nonprofit) or civic sectors are fully created and aligned. To do this, the government of South Sudan must give tax breaks to businesses which hire indiscriminately and embark on good labor practices. Juba government must tax rich people and businesses and give them tax breaks when they donate to nonprofit organizations. It is this government tax policy that will place the three sectors in a satisfactory alignment as shown in the vent diagram below:
[See-click next photo number two on top-right to see the image].
In South Sudan, the largest employers are the government (public sector) and nonprofit sectors (NGO sector, mainly foreign). The ideal situation that will make South Sudan a viable sovereign state is to have more of its workforce employed by private businesses (private sector) and the rest by the government and nonprofit sectors (should be mainly domestic). This means that South Sudan needs to start working hard to create conditions that encourage innovations, foreign investments and establishment of local private and voluntary businesses.
C. Fees, Grants and Loan
South Sudan must innovate in these areas of charging fees, collecting grants and smart borrowing. It needs to establish a generous but complete fee structures. Fees can be collected from businesses (both for profit and nonprofit) and individuals. Grants are based on mutual interests of the parties involved. Therefore, South Sudan needs to establish great national principles, values and a vision that coincide with those of her friends and allies. Vibrant, diplomatic efforts can help in the marketing of the principles and values to friends and allies.
Juba must minimize borrowing of loans and must borrow when absolutely necessary. To boost its credit worthiness, South Sudan needs to develop and publish its potential national endowment (natural capacity). If South Sudan is serious about its wellbeing, it will be logical to see that it borrows the capital funds needed for development of all its sectors with a contingency plan to pay it off over a certain, ascertained period of time.
D. The oil Marketing and Transport
The government of South Sudan needs to free itself from the hostage of Khartoum. Otherwise, oil will not be of any benefits to South Sudan economy unless South Sudan puts Khartoum in a spot where it will run after Juba for the oil deals instead of having it the other way. Juba must immediately construct good roads from the oilfields to Ethiopia and Kenya and start trucking some of its oil on the ground. Then it should minimize the number of barrels a day being pumped and transported through the pipeline to Port Sudan.
At the same time, Juba also needs to embark on partnering with the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti to finish the constructions of the alternative pipelines to Lamu and the Djibouti coast. When these pipelines are in place and running, Juba can stop the ground transportation of oil or reduce it to a small amount that is traded among the neighboring countries. Juba will need to use a significant among of oil revenues to empower agriculture and other vital non-oil economic sectors. It can also significantly reduce, if not stop at all, the amount of oil that is transported through Sudan.
At this point, Juba will have its grips on Khartoum and it can be very influential this way to a point of even deciding who can be a president in Khartoum. It is sad to admit here that the situation just described is where Khartoum has South Sudan in right now. It should also be noticed that South Sudan locks itself into this position.
E. Work Force Transformation
Juba will need to transform the workforce in South Sudan. All foreign business organizations must be required to employ at least 60% of South Sudanese nationals. The idea of some of these organizations transporting their streets citizens to South Sudan to come and do even the low jobs that South Sudanese nationals with no experiences can do is absurd. China has a track record of doing this and that must be watched closely. This is not only a way to put South Sudanese to work but it is also a way to develop the needed domestic human capitals through work experiences.
It is vital for South Sudan to realize that it is paying its government workers (cabinets, MPs, governors, commissioners, directors etc.) way too much salaries relative to the standard of living in the country. This is a very bad thing economically. It hazardously widens the gap between the rich and the poor, hence; sending the standard of living to a false high.
The president of South Sudan should make at most $5000/month, the cabinet members at $4000/month, MPs at $3500/month, governors at $4000/month, commissioners at $3000/month, directors at $2,500/month and everybody else should be making lower than the directors with folks at the national level making more while those at the county level making the lowest. This should be maintained until most of South Sudan economic sectors are fully developed after which a generous raise can be introduced. What do you think Mr. President?
IV. Foreign Policy
Juba is currently doing so terribly at the international stage. A good foreign policy is one of the keys to building a strong, sovereign nation. A nation must have friends and close allies to prosper because these become sources of foreign investments. They also become those nations that stand with you during good and bad times. The world we live in today is so interconnected and no one nation, no matter how strong or great, is an island. Juba must recognize that nations just don’t become friends because they want or have to.
Nations are inhabited by people. People who call themselves friends are those who have certain things in common. The same is true with nations. They are united by their mutual principles, values and visions. That is why we are seeing a huge retreat by many nations that stood with South Sudan when it became independent because we have parted from our values of democracy, human rights, freedoms, justice, prosperity and equality for all.
Those values are what initially drew a number of nations to the support of South Sudan. Now that we are becoming a nation run by one man to achieve his political, regional and tribal objectives as opposed to that of a nation, we are left alone by our friends. Very soon, if nothing changes, South Sudanese will follow and the situation in South Sudan will be a nightmare. Juba will need to strategically reprogram its foreign policy.
A. Friends of South Sudan
In its search for a best foreign policy, Juba must begin by listing those countries that are not just allies but great friends to South Sudan. These nations should enjoy unique, nurturing mutual relations with South Sudan. South Sudan should understand these nations’ principles and values and wittingly align their own with them. Which are they? America is on top of this list.
The secondary group will be those nations that are connected to South Sudan by business. They are in South Sudan because of business. South Sudan should understand these nations’ business principles and track records of past business practices with other nations. This will help in drawing of good, scrutinized business contracts. Which are they? China is one but not on top of the list!
C. Enemies of south Sudan
So,which are these nations? I don’t think South Sudan has made enemies yet.
D. Overall foreign policy
Juba must know that a nation gets back from other countries what it gives to those others. While it enjoys the warmth relations with its friends, Juba must also have an appreciating attitude toward its business partners and continuously work to better relations with them to attain a greater mutual understanding needed to upgrade to friends. Juba must also constantly try to normalize relations with those nations that do not have good relations with South Sudan but in an assertive manner, not in a “bootlicking” fashion as we are continuously witnessing in the case of Sudan.
South Sudan needs energy in order to industrialize. It must upscale its building of refineries and the necessary infrastructure system connecting the oilfields with the refineries. Juba must brisk up the construction of roads, pipelines and railroads leading to the Kenyan and Djibouti coasts. Moreover, South Sudan will need to explore and develop fully its other non-oil energy sources such as natural gas.
The issues of environmental and social impacts such as degradation or pollution that emerge as a result of oil drilling activities should be looked at keenly. While big oil companies like those of China scoop deep into the share of South Sudan oil, Juba should reciprocate this by imposing different taxes (pollution, local schools, and library) as well as property taxes on premises belonging to the oil companies such has buildings and equipment.
Those buildings and equipment are not sitting on Chinese but South Sudanese soil and since we are doing business, they must pay for them. Oil companies should be given tax reliefs when they cooperate with the government on developing other non-oil energy sources such as natural gas, biomass and the likes. They should, however, generate new taxes on those other business ventures.
VI. Health Care
Juba should work to ensure good health for its population by improving improvised health centers around the country. It should map out the population densities and craft necessary social services programs, health care included. The idea of equally distributing resources to states is not only dull but also lacks informed basis. Resource allocation and appropriation should be needs based. Juba needs to strategically place its social programs, health centers included, where they are critically needed and work to spot them everywhere else later. For example, there should be a clinic in every county headquarter. The already existing clinics will need to be renovated and expanded.
The government and the healthcare industry must collaborate and partner together. The collaboration and partnership among the public, nonprofit and business sectors is critically important because a public problem is perplexing. Due to its complex nature, its solution (s) requires collective approach or concerted efforts by all organizations or entities affiliated with it. The point is that South Sudan must start to support many hospitals that are already built by concerned citizens. Good examples are the Duk lost boys Clinics, Werekok Lost boys Memorial Hospital and many others elsewhere in the nations. A partnership of this kind can lead to building of the same hospitals in other places where hospitals are needed. It will be easier for the government to partner with Duk Lost boys clinics and build a second Duk Lost boys clinic in Pibor and another one in Pinchalla. The resources of John Dau foundation and those of the government of South Sudan and the state of Jonglei can be better leveraged this way. One other advantage of this kind of partnership is the attraction of private health care businesses (insurance, pharmaceutical, health care equipment etc.).
In the same manner, the government of South Sudan can partner with different healthcare organization, both international and domestic; to create comprehensive health education and awareness programs aimed at strategic disease prevention programs. For a nation with over 8 million people without even one major hospital, the best this nation can do for its citizenry wellbeing is to put many resources into disease prevention initiates while vigorously working to establish health care centers around the country.
In the same collaborative spirits, the health care systems and the government can better regulate the distribution of outdated drugs and smuggling of illegal drugs. The health care specialists can educate the government officials on the effects (potential crimes) of the illegal drugs.
The government of South Sudan needs to invest in the healthcare insurance sector. Right now in South Sudan, it can be easier to mobilize resources and build a hospital but it can be very hard to sustain it. This is because the clients or patients neither have money nor insurance to pay for the services. However, the operation of a healthcare facility (hospital or clinic) is a very expensive one. If South Sudan puts money aside and ask a few organizations to bid entering into the insurance market, it will be a better way of creating payer sources for many patients. An insurance program of this sort should open up to employers and working individuals to buy their own insurances and those of their families. The government of South Sudan should pick up paying for children, elderly and the unemployed who will be unable to pay.
The government organization dealing with health and human services needs to create social welfare programs aimed at providing basic or essential needs for the unemployed. There is no sense for people to get rich in Juba and the population in the country side is left to die of hunger. If President Kiir and members of the parliament want to be re-elected, they must create welfare programs intended to allow the oil dividends to reach all South Sudanese now. There should be registration of families in all 79 counties and a check, depending on the size of the family, should reach those families. This is what can be used to buy food and cater for other family needs. A heath care card issued by the government can be given to children, elderly and the unemployed to use when they go to the clinics or hospitals within South Sudan only.
Development of a national health care system is critical to any nation because it not only provides the needed health services for the nation’s citizens but it is also a source of good, paying jobs. It can also be correctly said that good jobs mean good tax revenues for the government. Equal delivery of social services is critical to the stabilization of South Sudan. South Sudanese should be able to go anywhere in the country and find a clean running water, a place to eat & sleep, tarmac roads to drive on and a health care facility to seek medical attention at when they get sick on the roads, among others.
Education is the engine of development. Great nations have well-informed if not well-educated citizenries. South Sudan, being one of the nations with a very high illiteracy rate, must work to establish a transforming educational system. The biggest challenge that South Sudan has today is the desire of its great leaders to do well for their country but lacking needed skills and qualifications to implement those good intentions. A few, only qualified citizens cannot do it alone. Nevertheless, time and time again, some educated citizens have their education frequently used against them as they float in the sea of insecure, illiterate masses. Therefore, there is a critical need to rapidly develop the workforce or human capital that the country needs for its development. Juba education policy must be aimed at enhancing the already existing schools and building of new urgently needed educational institutions.
A. Primary and Secondary Education
Currently, there are many primary schools across South Sudan. Even though they are muddy-walled, grass-thatched, roofed-structures that are wiped away by bad weather any times, they are schools. South Sudan needs to put money into ameliorating these educational structures and put well-educated teachers in the classrooms. The same should apply to the secondary schools. The key should be to have a primary and a secondary school in each of the 79 counties.
B. Community and Technical Colleges
South Sudan needs to establish community (providing up to 2 year degree programs)and technical colleges (providing up to 4 year degree programs but specialize in workforce development). A state should be responsible for the development of its community college while the national (please, allow me to call it federal) government should provide the Technical College in a state. The state can name and build its community college where it will provide better services for the state. The federal government should also build a Technical college in a state where it will impact the state better.
These Technical colleges should bear names such as Jonglei Technical College (JTC), Warrap Technical College (WTC), Unity Technical College (UTC), Eastern Equatoria Technical College (EETC) etc. They will need to specialize in technical degree programs (electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, nursing, accounting, finance, computer science, agriculture etc.) but will also offer other non-technical degrees (sociology, arts, and humanities).
These schools should offer as well an adult education program aimed at enabling the vastly illiterate population of South Sudan to be able to read and write English since it is now one of the official languages. This will help the massive citizenry in understanding government policies that affects them and their families. The economy of the education system will greatly help South Sudan because a vibrant development of this system will not only provide for needed human capitals and knowledge but will also provide jobs.
VIII. Government Reforms
A. Executive, Legislature and Judiciary
The prevailing, wobbling branches of South Sudan government are good start. However, they cannot be left to remain kind of de facto in functions. They must be habilitated to perform their constitutional functions like a regular government. They, equally like the army, need professionalizing. There is no government when the three branches of government, namely; executive, legislature and judiciary do not carry out their constitutional responsibilities independently and cannot provide checks and balances for each other. What seems to turn up time and time again is this situation where the president finds himself above everything (such as in the most recent dissolving of the SPLM structures, threatening to send MPs to roam in the streets, failure to protect the people of South Sudan through provision of critical security and, paradoxically, decreeing out governors who do not provide security etc.) This situation where the president decrees out anything but himself is not good. It negates positive developments and threatens progress in the juvenile nation. For South Sudan to be reformed, its leaders must reform themselves and develop the culture of accepting the wrongs they do or that happen on their watch as opposed to the culture of excessive, shameless denial. These leaders must accept when they do not have the knowledge necessary and fill that gap through delegation of responsibilities to the more able-individuals.
President Kiir will need to start following the right democratic processes and procedures for the rests to follow. For example, if a governor of one of the states is performing so terribly enough that the president thinks he or she deserves to be removed, instead of just issuing a presidential decree removing him or her, maybe the president can table the issue before the state parliament and urge them to impeach the governor. This will be a better process. If the parliament cannot get enough votes to remove the governor, then democracy has spoken.
Whatever issue the governor has must then be swallowed with “a large pinch of salt.” This procedure should be followed for all issues regarding publicly elected officials. As a matter of respect of privacy and an enshrined code of professionalism, established systems of governments do not publicly decree out their employees. An employee is asked to resign and sent away in a friendly news conference in which he or she is palpably praised for the contributions made within a short time in office.
In established democracies, the president is the chief executive officer. That means that he or she is the one who runs the nation day-to-day activities. He is the chief implementer of the nation programs and policies, among other set of roles. The president proposes programs and policies that must be debated, changed or unchanged and passed by the parliament before they make it back to his desk for signatures. There are usually clear lines between issues that the president can make executive decisions on versus those that need deliberations and passages by the parliament before the president can sign or veto them.
Parliament debates, approves or denies the president’s proposals and when that happens, everybody goes back to the drawing board for reframing. The legislature creates policies, programs and laws that are implemented or carried out by the executive. However, the president vetoes or signs those policies, programs and bills into laws. The judiciary branch safeguards and interprets the laws (the constitution of the country) to help the executive, legislature and the citizenry understand implications of the laws. The Judiciary branch can pronounce or denounce an act (s) of either the executive or legislative branch as unconstitutional. However, the president appoints the members of the judiciary branch and the parliament confirms them. The work to clearly define and respect the role of each of each branch of the government rests heavily on the parliament.
The parliament is the people’s house and it must stand up for the people when everyone seems to be lost in the midst of fierce corruption and self-interest. If the president decides to send you (parliament) roaming on the streets because you were doing the right thing for the nation of South Sudan and its people, the people of South Sudan and their friends around the world will join you on those streets. So, fear no man on the face of Earth and stand up for what South Sudanese people took up arms for more than 29 years ago.
Generally speaking, it is your absolute job to impeach a president if he or she continues to dangerously make reckless decisions which threaten the nation’s future or stability. When you vote to impeach a president, he or she can lose legitimacy of being the nation leader. The South Sudanese people and their friends around the world will join you and will enormously deny the president’s legitimacy. He or she will not be the first president ever impeached. NB: It should be noted here that I am not talking about a specific situation but generally speaking.
B. Parliamentary to Federalism
I do not know about my fellow citizens but I am convinced that most of the issues in our nation are being caused by the parliamentary system. It is a horrible system. It turns the government into a political pie. A political party is formed just for the sake of getting power-sharing seats in the government. A small South Sudan that was created a couple of years ago now has numerous political parties, all wanting posts in the government for representations. To me, this is a little insane. Even during the today’s SPLM power wrangling, you hear some people telling others to go and form a political party, for what purpose and mission?
We need federalism. Not only does it decentralize the systems of government but it also gives the ruling party legitimacy in forming its own government. It gives the citizenry a clear unit of analysis to judge the performance of the government. Federalism creates conducive atmosphere for political parties to compete, hence, benefiting the country from the innovation in policies that come as each political party tries to define the nation vision and programs. Citizens can then vote for a political party they like its programs or policies and hold that political party accountable when it does not deliver. It cannot be said now that SPLM has failed the country even when we like to say that, me included, because this is not just a government of the SPLM. I like to see federalism enacted and I call upon the government of South Sudan to make this happen soon.
Federalism creates a “survival of the fittest” scenario for political parties. That is why in many countries, where federalism is a system, you don’t see many political parties not because they are restricted but because the citizenries in those countries vote in favor of political parties with track records of doing things for their nations. Therefore, the political parties that cannot win elections go through a peaceful, gradual, self-death. The opposition political parties do not demand representation when they lose in elections. It becomes the prerogative of the president-elect and his team to form the government.
C. Government Accountability Department (GAD)
The government of South Sudan needs to empower anticorruption department to give it a capacity necessary to carry out its duties. This body should be allowed to change its name to government accountability Department. Its duties should include but not limited to, tracking of government dollars and publishing the finding every quarter for public consumption. Equally important is to allow this body to be independent. Its operation should not be interfered with by the president or anybody or organization. The GAD should be equipped with all the technology it needs to track all the public money from contracts made with other companies (domestic or foreign) to federal grants issued to states, counties, payams and bomas.
GAD should track public money from when it leaves where it is made to where it is spent. For example, oil money from how many barrels were drilled and transported through the pipelines to how much it was sold and what bank it went through and when it comes out from the bank to where it goes and for what purpose and whether it was used for that purpose or not. When a fraud or corruption is detected, it will be the work of the federal prosecutors to execute through a court of law.
A federal prosecutor should go to a court; file a case with a judge and the judge orders the person in question to appear in court. When the defendant appears in the court, the judge makes a ruling to either free the person or send him or her to prison or jail. The function of prison or jail is to keep people but not beat them up in the morning when they wake up and in the evening before they go to sleep. It is neither a job of the prison or jail to torture the inmates, randomly or intermittently, when they wish. When South Sudan observes this, it will slightly help refine its human rights image.
IX. Community Rehabilitation program
Last but not least, the government of South Sudan needs to create a rehabilitation programs that brings all partners on board and aimed at reversing the effects of the 21 year old war on its population. Research proves it beyond reasonable doubt that when people are subjected to a violent situation for a prolonged period of time, they become traumatized. Cases of Post-traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSDs) are rampant among the South Sudanese population. Most people, including many leaders, suffer from the PTSDs or/and other forms of war-induced mental health precipitates.
The terrifying ordeals that the people of South Sudan went through for 21 years have left them to constantly relive the endangerments that betide them. One example is what we have seen in the killing sprees going on around the country but it is seen as a normal thing. People refer or dismiss those killings as “ethnic conflicts that have existed for years” and the likes. Some leaders who are looked up to for solutions are heard as telling communities to protect themselves because there is nothing the government can do.
This is a serious issue and a clear sign that our leaders are sick and they do not know it. The public that is doing the killings is also sick and the killings are ways to say that we are sick and we need help. When people are deprived of their free will to do the right things, it is a clear sign that they are mentally sick. The government of South Sudan needs to partner with its international partners, invest a great deal of money into this program and rehabilitate the whole South Sudan population.
One easy way to treat the psychological effects of war such as trauma is to develop a trauma-informed program or awareness. When people are informed of what become the effects on them after being subjected to a series of traumatic events, they begin to catechize themselves and develop coping skills, accordingly. People can seek treatment in case of more serious conditions such as prolonged depression, behaviors that pose harm to self or others, psychosis or substance abuse mental conditions such as abuse of alcohol as we see all over the country. Unfortunately, South Sudan does not have mental health treatment centers. Instead, it sends mentally ill population to jails and prisons.
Mental health and substance abuse issues are ones of the great public problems that South Sudan will face today and the years to come. Solutions to address them must be modeled and worked on today. For this program to be successful when it is being piloted, it must be started with leaders at all levels of the government, from federal down to boma then extended to the public afterward. It must be done concurrently with the reconciliation initiative because the two can complement each other very well.
Summary of recommendations on the way forward
1. Principles, shared values and a vision for the future. South Sudan can achieve this through concrete respect for individual liberties (freedoms and life), human rights, and holding of fair elections, among others. South Sudan needs a new generation to implement these principles. Therefore, it should start hiring young college graduates in key positions in the government. Moreover, Juba needs to go back to the vision of New Sudan. It must not shy away from calling for democracy and freedom of all Sudanese people. It must make it clear to Khartoum that its relation with it is dependent on its promotion of democracy and freedom. Trying to normalize or make friendship with the same Khartoum we left yesterday is like trying to make a goat and hyena friends. Khartoum must change if it wants Juba friendship. Juba must align its principles and values with those of it friends. I propose a budget of $3.5 billion put into this area for a period of five years.
2. National Security: South Sudan needs to take a strategic control of its oil and its oil routes to the market. It must develop its other sectors of the economy. Its biggest threats to its national security are intertwined into its economic wellbeing and this is very dangerous for the young nation. It must then take control of its internal turbulences and develop its infrastructures. It must develop a professional security apparatus. I propose a budget of $20 billion put into this area for a period of five years.
3. Economy: Use oil money to quickly develop other sectors of the economy. Prioritize security and building of roads connecting the 10 states and 79 counties. Strategize ways to put South Sudanese to work. Involve in good business practices, including good contracts. Innovate on ways to better handle payroll as opposed to cashing system and this way, a better tax collection system will be developed. South Sudan must have a citizenship process that legalizes illegal immigrants and gives them the same opportunities as natural citizens. This is equally important for its national security. I propose a budget of $25 billion put into this area for a period of five years
4. Foreign Policy: Know who your friends are and do not loss them. Know who your business partners are and improve on your business relations. Work to normalize relations with your adversaries and make new allies. Understand that nations get from others what they give to those others. There is no such thing as free things. I propose a budget of $10 billion put into this area for a period of five years
5. Energy & Oil: Immediately implement plans to find other routes of transporting the South Sudanese oil to its market. Diversify these routes. Develop other non-oil energy sources as well. I propose a budget of $15 billion put into this area for a period of five years
6. Health care: South Sudan has to have a vibrant health care policy. Strong nations derive their strengths from healthy and able citizens. Money must be put into the health care systems to provide health services and jobs for the citizens. I propose a budget of $20 billion put into this area for a period of five years.
7. Education: South Sudan must quickly develop its workforce. It must improves its primary and secondary education systems and create technical colleges aimed at providing needed workforce. I propose a budget of $30 billion put into this area for a period of five years.
8. Government Reforms: The branches of South Sudan government must live up to their constitutional responsibilities. The interim constitution must be developed into a permanent one. Serious accountability measures must be set forth. Government accountability Department should be established. This should be the government watchdog that follows all the public dollars and educate the public on its website of public money transactions and fund embezzlements. I propose a budget of $4.5 billion dollars put into this area for a period of five years.
9. Community Mental Health Rehabilitation program: Yes, South Sudanese needs mental health rehabilitation. This is important and it needs full support by the government. I propose a budget of $5 billion put into this area for a period of five years.
South Sudan is at crossroads. President Kiir must stop the children’s fights going on between him and Dr. Riek. The South Sudanese leaderships (executive, MPs, governors, commissioners and the civil society leaders) must focus on developing the highlighted sectors of economy which are the pillars of people’s lives in any society if we all want the adolescent nation to prosper. President Kiir needs to fire his advisors and hire national security, healthcare, economic, education, Energy and foreign policy advisors. His legal advisors will come from the ministry of justice, featuring the minister as his chief legal advisor.
He needs very well-experienced budgeters and planners to help him with action plans for development. He needs strategists to help him strategize on many problems that need his attention. He must know that he cannot micro-manage everything in the country. Above all, he needs to have a vision (not his but the nation’s) for the future and not allow himself to be distracted but just keep his head up like he did during the referendum time. When a leader does not have a vision, everyone’s vision becomes his or hers and this can be very dangerous, sometimes since not all people would give quality or honest pieces of advice.
If there is anything South Sudanese should have learned from John Garang, it would be staying firm on the vision you have set and not allowing yourself to be distracted. President Kiir needs to normalize his relations with the nation. He has recently taken very dangerous turns. The vehicle he is driving will crash soon if he does not pause and look to see who is behind him.
What is the point of silencing citizens who can contribute to the development of the young nation when it needs them the most? South Sudan currently needs all of its citizens to contribute. It even needs help from its neighboring countries’ citizenries and friends around the world. South Sudan must know that a nation cannot cut itself and still wish to grow. It just does not add up. So, to all my leaders, please, end the children’s fights and grow professionally in politics and your roles.
Finally, South Sudan must seek out a loan of $133 billion dollars that is needed to lay the foundation of the sectors discussed in this opinion piece. South Sudan must have a strategic plan to pay it back. When this loan is obtained, the implementation of the development projects for the sectors must be outsourced to the more experienced USAID and the JICA. These two have shown South Sudanese their commitment and a record of getting things done. They should lead the implementation projects and in the process, help develop the masses of South Sudanese nationals whom they or others they have contracted will hire.
Of course, they will have partners and the government of South Sudan will be the number one of those partners. Other components will include the UN agencies and other foreign development partners already operating in South Sudan. This coalition is needed because it can even match the South Sudanese contribution of $133 billion (resulting in $266 billion) and if this happens, it can take South Sudan far in terms of its development and stability. Again, all the organizations involved in the implementation must be required to hire South Sudanese nationals. This way, a future workforce that can independently implement future programs is produced through experience. Recruiting, training and development of this work force will be overseen by the USAID and the JICA. This is not only a way to help develop the young nation but it will attract back all its discouraged development partners. It will re-energize new commitments.
Abraham Deng Lueth is a Community Support Specialist at Truman Behavioral health Emergency Department in Kansas City, Missouri, United States; he is the President of Greater Bor Community-USA. He previously worked as a critical care laboratory technician and conducted an independent undergraduate biomedical research project which was published in the Plant Science Journal in 2007.