By Dr. Peter Wankomo
QUOTE: "If the money is eaten by a few, all the rest will go hungry, and a hungry citizen is an angry citizen. This is as true in the Counties and States as it is in Juba. ..in order to fight this endemic disease in the courts we must have the laws to do so. Until these laws exist, our hands are tied in fighting corruptees, while they betray our commitment to serve and provide services to our long-suffering people." Pres. Kiir at Governors Forum, Juba, OCT.,02/2008
July 3, 2012 (SSNA) -- Our nation’s First Independence Anniversary arrives sadly with President Kiir’s perilously steering the country down the path which many typically failed states in Africa have gone before.
And like many of these African countries that are still wallowing in the abyss of bad governance and abject poverty, South Sudan has outstandingly set the worst record as a top corrupt country in the shortest time ever.
However, unlike many of these countries which embarked on independence with little or nothing, South Sudan, regardless of what Kiir’s apologists might erroneously assert, didn’t start from “scratch,” its treasury was awash with blissful abundance of billions of real American dollars.
Furthermore, unlike Congo which achieved Independence in 1960 with only on engineer, South Sudan had already qualified pool of technocrats, professors, civil servants, UN experts, etc.. which Kiir injudiciously sidelined in favor of illiterate soldiers and unqualified fellow tribesmen and women.
Acceptably, the Kiir SPLM/A regime started on a wrong footing, which thus accelerated its descent into the situation of a ‘banana republic’ that became totally dependent on a single resource (oil) and governed by corrupt thugs.
Looking back to the one year of total independence, the majority of the citizens of the newest nation see no exhilaration to celebrate a hollow ceremony.
Painfully, they’ve become less assured of the prosperity that they had rightly hoped would come with independence for which they made tremendous sacrifice.
Kiir’s legacy as leader of the new nation will be remembered for the calamity he has effectuated that includes massive corruption blatantly perpetuated by top SPLM/A leaders.
Tragically, after eight years in power, "with his hands still tied," Kiir has abysmally failed to persecute not a single suspect despite personally being cognizant of more than 75 'thieves.'
This blame is equally shared by a utterly compromised parliament which can’t pass the needed legislation that would expedite the arrest and prosecution of the 4-billion-dollar thieves.
Typical of failed banana republics, our attenuated parliamentarians pay more allegiance to president Kiir personally than to the nation
More inimical, however, is Kiir’s absolute failure to achieve pacification and resolution of the ceaseless inter- and intra-tribal slaughter, often of genocidal proportions like the ever recurrent Nuer and Dinka against Murle or vice versa.
Thus, since SPLM/A assumed power in 2005, our nation has been bleeding unforgivably despite the nation having a massively overblown army (SPLA) and other security organs, all consuming nearly half the national budget.
By persistently avoiding constituting the often-called-for Truth and Reconciliation Commission which in essence would have led to the resolution of these tribal aggressions, president Kiir and his SPLM/A party will be held responsible for the ongoing tribal killings.
This disharmonious aggressiveness has unfortunately even trickled down to students who're as easily agitated to fight mini-wars against other tribes, as disgracefully exhibited at the national Juba University, a foreboding development for so-called future leaders.
More puzzling for the young nation is that nearly seven years after signing the peace accord (CPA), multiple anti-SPLM/A rebels still operate in those states of Jonglei and Unity, and instead of resolving holistically the problems causing these rebellions, we see the Kiir regime naively reintegrating piecemeal these rebel ranks into the SPLA.
The future is even more bleak and uncertain in regards to the projected rehabilitation of the oil industry as there are inexplicable complications: will South Sudan build 1, 2 or 3 pipelines and will the oil be wholly or partially exported through Kenya, Ethiopia or Djibouti?
Another related issue aggravating the economic woes facing the peoples is the total domination of the economy by foreigners emanating mainly from lawless and failed states of Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia along with unscrupulous traders from Lebanon and East Africa, all colluding with corrupt officials to under develop South Sudan.
Finally, if our nation is to progress in peace, all outstanding land grabbing or territorial expansionist polices by other belligerent tribes against other so-called non-dominant tribes must cease immediately otherwise we shall never achieve national cohesion.
In light of the inevitable economic mess brought about by a messy ‘kirronomics,’ one wonders how much the common man and woman will bear in the second year of independence.
Yes, we’re now a free country, but in our long struggle that cost more than 4 millions lives in totality, South Sudanese had hopefully anticipated that the freedom gained would translate not into more suffering in perpetuity but into tangible dividends.