By: Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut
January 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- It must be a terrible life to be a minister in this government, knowing that you may be fired at the drop of a hat for no particular reason other than suspicion of your disloyalty.
This, of course, is regardless of how you may have served the people of South Sudan. Honestly, how can we run a country like that? A colleague of mine jokingly said to me that “Mashalah fi duol jaahin lom, at least they have international friends coming to them” and I agree.
Make no mistake, I feel no compassion whatsoever for the potential victims because they joined SPLM-Juba faction with their eyes wide open hoping to pursue personal and not national interests. So they must reap their harvest of sorrows.
I am really more concerned about the damage that is being done to our country’s potential through mismanagement and sheer waste of precious time and resources as ministers are hired or fired at President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his close colleagues' whims. Our land is tied of welcoming fresh bonds.
I do agree that there is a lot of deadwood in the Cabinet and, of course, if we try and quantify the losses to the country caused by the actions of some of these ministers, they would definitely be in prison were we in a normal democracy where there is accountability.
Some obvious names pop up in my brain which I am sure my dear readers are aware of.
Throughout my experiences, I have learnt that if you want to change the results of a system, you change its structure because it is the structure that determines behaviors and the output you get.
The results we are getting from the SPLM-Juba faction management style are not solely determined by who occupies what position at ministerial level; it is because we have a fundamentally flawed political system.
As long as we have a system where a partisan President has the sole discretion of appointing ministers, their loyalty will not be to the country first, but to the party and in our case to the President and lately his close friends, regardless of their competence or intent.
We certainly have a structural problem and this has been the case for many years. Ministers that are corrupt and incompetent, but loyal to the party have tended to get away with it despite the damage they continue to cause the country. The recent purges are a clear indication of how flawed our system is.
Of course, the situation is made worse when you have a dictatorial President because he will tend to protect his incompetence and position by appointing yes-men who will not dare challenge him. Ask expelled SPLM-Ministers. This leads to substandard solutions to our problems.
I would certainly prefer a system where Parliament is responsible for appointing ministers and these ministers are accountable to Parliament with the President only having oversight. This removes patronage bias and creates some collective accountability. That is what I will definitely promote as President.
Our country will continue to stay arrested by the selfish pursuit of power and privilege by a few at the expense of having smart and ministers around who can deliver to the millions of our people who deserve a better life.
For far too long we have bought the lie that only those that participated in the struggle have the inalienable right to rule, even when they have shown us that they are disinterested in creating the future we desire. Their core competency will remain being popular within the party structures and groveling to the President and his entourage, nothing else.
We can also no longer pretend that SPLM in its totality stands for our good because throughout their disastrous reign, we have seen how they only stand for themselves.
We must believe that as a nation, our potential must only be limited by our imagination and not by guns or fear. South Sudan has all it needs to be a great and prosperous nation and it is our responsibility to ensure that all South Sudanese take the opportunity to live to their full potential and gain access to opportunities to serve others in public office if they so wish.
The sad reality is that amongst us lie all the skills and talent we require to take South Sudan forward but we continue to be limited by a political system of patronage that draws talent from a limited pool with limited competencies and narrow political motives.
In my opinion, leading South Sudan into the future will take a totally different kind of leadership than what we have seen within SPLM-Juba faction we cannot accept the caliber of the average SPLM cadre to lead this nation into the 21st century.
We also cannot have leaders and ministers who have conflicts of interest as is the case with most of them. Our political leadership must never be in business or be involved in money making ventures because this creates a serious conflict.
As a result, our public resources are not allocated or managed efficiently and this has led to the plunder of our resources, patronage and corruption and theft.
The long and short of it is that, no amount of Cabinet reshuffle will change the fact that our political system no longer serves the interests of the country and those involved in it are therefore not the people we should expect to create the South Sudan we imagine.
In my opinion as Cde. Sirir Gabriel, the President can reshuffle all he wants, but this will not lead to new results. We are stuck in a rut of entitlement to power, non-accountability, mismanagement and lack of national interest.
That is not about to change until we begin to source talent outside political party structures.
I have said my words and may gods of the land hear my voice...