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To where is the deterioration of security and the economy leading Sudan?

By Salah Shuaib

December 25, 2015 (SSNA) -- In following what is happening in Sudan, one cannot be sure about what issue should be addressed first. Perhaps people are unable to read all the bad news pouring out of the country via social media every day. Such stories reveal some of what is going on, but Khartoum’s media suffers under the restrictions of Sudan’s constitution and the theoretical interpretation of its contents. Moreover, the Sudanese media is restricted from reporting real news; articles that address the roots of events and issues are often suppressed by the government. In addition, print media is suffering from a decline in readership, a lack of journalistic professionalism, and daily confrontations with a heavy press industry. 

The biggest challenge now for Sudanese newspapers is how to deal with President Omar al-Bashir’s announcement that he intends to care personally about the media. The president’s statement struck many in the press as threatening in tone. Of course, the private media channels owned by Sudanese Islamists have been eager to hide the truth by distracting people with programs that do not deeply address serious issues, but footnotes. 

The news leaked from inside the country barely tells us about the cruelty of the regime. Now, Sudanese officials are worried by the news covering the lack of security throughout the Sudan’s territories, including within the capital. From the first look, one will find that the roots of this problem arise from the erosion of the country’s security institutions and the judiciary’s long-standing ignorance of its responsibilities. This failure shows us that the regime’s basic priority is to maintain its own safety and security, not that of all Sudanese citizens. 

Journalistic writing on the situation in Sudan has become pointless. Given the obvious failure of the Islamist experiment, it seems unwise to suggest that achieving peace and security requires ending the war through negotiation with forces still carrying weapons, or expediting judicial procedures, or supporting the government’s forces with cars or, as the president said, using the country’s entire budget to fund the army to protect Sudan. What is strange is that some political figures and senior opposition writers are calling for reforms within the country’s security institutions to enable them to protect citizens in areas of conflict. 

Addressing the security issue in Sudan will not be achieved by issuing political statements that appeal to power to stop the war without available governmental mechanisms to do so. The deterioration in security cannot be stopped by publishing disinterested articles that call for the resignation of the minister or the director general of the police for their failure to maintain peace in the country. 

To be sure, the issue of peace and security in Sudan is connected to the nature of the authoritarian power structure that brought the lives of its citizens to this critical juncture. The issue can only be practically addressed via the creation of a state that is satisfactory to the Sudanese citizenry. There are three ways by which this theoretical state may be brought into being: (1) if Islamists were to decide to give up power in exchange for participation in an interim government, (2) if the regime were to be toppled by a popular revolution, or (3) if the country’s armed forces had the power to change the regime in favor of the state of citizenship, as they advocate. But it is foolish to imagine that Sudan’s Islamists will hand over power to the people voluntarily. In all likelihood, the security situation will continue to deteriorate; thus, it is fair to say that the fate of Sudan lies in the hands of God. 

As for the country’s economic state, there are many oddities. While the Minister of Finance says that “hard currency rises for psychological reasons”, the economic situation has become commonplace, in looking to the structural deficit in helping the position of national currency. 

Sudan’s economic news discloses how Islamist corruption has affected people’s lives. The state has become a slush fund for Islamists who control its resources, trade, and investments without transparency and accountability. They have spent all of the state’s oil revenues, destroyed agricultural projects, and exploited usurious loans that created wealthy companies for governmental officers. It appears that the Merawi Dam was not a practical answer for opposition parties, but rather a way to facilitate corruption and to bury Chinese industrial waste, as the media later discovered. 

There is no need to put forth evidence of the elements that have worsened living conditions of Sudanese citizens, who have stopped participating in industrial, agricultural, and livestock production, or whether, as a result, these citizens have emigrated, gone searching for gold, been concentrated in camps for displaced persons, enlisted in armed movements, and so on. 

In light of this societal development, Sudan’s Islamists turned out to be the biggest investors in the Gulf countries’ subsidies, notwithstanding the latter’s being in violation of their political principles and its endangerment of the lives of our troops engaged in Yemen’s war, in which sectarian, regional, and international conflicts intersect. 

President Bashir has shown us that, for the sake of his own personal safety, he is ready to sacrifice the lives of these thousands of helpless Sudanese sent to Yemen to fight on behalf of another state. He and his inner circle unashamedly promise Sudanese that these subsidies will boost the country’s treasury resources to soon alleviate the suffering of the citizenry. States are not administered by outside subsidies, however, but by facilitating instruments for production and employing the minds of economists, agricultural experts, and other professionals to better the conditions of the country. But how does the Islamist experiment benefit from the efforts of others it originally came to get rid of their duties, despite their high qualifications and achievements? 

For the foreseeable future, there appear to be no ready solutions for the security, economic, and other problems affecting the lives of Sudanese citizens. The country’s tragedy will continue worsening until the occurrence of one of the scenarios anticipated by a number of political experts. Perhaps the regime’s opponents and respected readers are aware of these scenarios and their potential consequences. But the question is, for how long will non-politicized elites continue in their ignorance of supporting the mobility of the people to get rid of Islamist despotism (this if we imagine that the elites involved in politics have failed to play their major role)?

Salah Shuaib is a Sudanese writer and journalist. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Are the Governors of South Sudan True Citizens of Their States or Mere Political Proxies?

By Juma Mabor Marial

December 24, 2015 (SSNA) -- Due to the civil war and economic hardships that has prevailed in the country for the past two years, citizens’ attention has been completely switched from scrutinizing their leaders and concentrated on how to achieve peace and exit from these unprecedented economic difficulties. In doing so, the leaders especially politicians get it as a tolerable window of opportunity to loot and short-change the country and citizens at different levels.

This article is going to have a discussion about the Governors of the ten states both present and previous and answer the question on whether or otherwise, these Governors are true citizens of their respective states or just, but power hungry politicians who are seen around or within the states when elected and/or appointed to lead at different times.

The hypothesis on this question and which we shall, throughout our discourse, endeavor to qualify is that, almost all the Governors especially the former ones are not true citizens of their states although they may be of course, biological citizens of those states. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that, once sacked from their positions, such Governors catches the next flight to Juba on transit to Kenya and Uganda while those who have homes and families in Australia, Canada, America and other western countries proceeds there in few days after their dismissal. These actions shows that, those who are elected/appointed as Governors are only interested in power but not the people and this is why they leave their states as soon as the power is no longer in their hands.

The consequences of these behaviors is that, some of the Governors who goes to rule some states in South Sudan do not have any essential rapport with the citizens of their states hence, the lack of proper delivery of services to the people. The reason is that, the Governors especially the appointed politicians are total strangers to the citizens of the states and because there has never been a social contract between them and the citizens, they don’t see any obligation to develop policies that would help them in implementing some of the programs that they might have promised the electorates, instead, they only do things that impress their appointing authority even when they are things that are at the expenses of the state citizens.

Comical enough, most of the former Governors in the states of South Sudan do not have houses in their states and villages but they have bought houses in Nairobi, Kampala and in most of the western countries. Once appointed, most of them accommodates in the state houses while others are rented some private premises using state resources and this compromised the delivery of services to the state citizens. The few that have built themselves houses in their states in turn rents them to the state government for themselves, which is a manifestation of fully pledge corruption and conflict of interest. I know of one incumbent Governor who has rented out his own house as a coordination office in Juba for the state that he is currently leading.

In other countries, once out of power, the best place to retire to is the rural village, the examples are President Moi of Kenya who after his presidency went to Kabarak in Nakuru where he participates and interacts with local populations, the dignitaries and politicians comes to visit him there, others are George Walker Bush (Senior and Junior), the former Presidents of the United States of America who retired to their homes in Taxes, Mandela, Mwai Kabaki and most retired African leaders are some of the leaders that retired to their native homes once out of power. The situation in South Sudan is different, once out of office especially the Governors, instead of going back to their homes, they come to Juba or proceeds to East Africa and beyond.

I am not sure whether President Kiir will go to Akoon when he retires, we shall see that when the time comes. The importance of retiring home is that, you get out of public life and concentrate on your private life which you were unable to enjoy when you were in the public office; another benefit is that, you are able to share with the local people some of their problems and help in resolving them. The retire leader can also initiate some projects base on his connections to help the communities in terms of service delivery. His presence also enhances stability in the village or state and last but more importantly, it shows the citizens of your state that you are not only there for power but you are there for them all the times whether in power or not.

With these analyses, you would realize that most of the Governors especially the former Governors do not deliver adequate services to their people in the state because they don’t have children to go to schools, wives to give birth, sick to go to hospitals in the state as their families are in far away countries where such services are avail on demand, the only thing they can do is to expedite their looting and remit money to their families abroad in order to access these services. This is why some of them just go to their states when they are given power but does not care about what happen to the citizens of the state when they are not in power. It is unfortunate that most of the Governors who are sacked come to Juba and lobby to be reinstated as Governors or get other senior government positions at the centre.

Recommendations

In order to get rid of this habit of being visiting politicians to the states, the following recommendations should be considered;

1. Random removal of Governors and replacing them with roaming politicians should be avoided so as to allow the citizens to scrutinize their leaders and elect only those that they know and the ones that are staying with them;

2. The President should try to appoint only those that are in the states to avoid politicians that pretend to be true citizens of the states in Juba to only achieve appointment to Governorship positions;

3. The citizens should also ensure that they reject those that are being imposed on them without knowing the concerns of the people;

4. All the politicians and those who aspire to be Governors should develop in them the spirit of nationalism and love for their states, they should do this by ensuring that they construct houses for themselves in their respective states;

5. The President or the citizens must make it as one of the mandatory criteria that, once appointed or elected as a Governor in any state of South Sudan, such individuals must bring their families to the state such that they can be able to offer the same services to all the people as if they were taking care of their immediate family. This will assist in building schools, hospitals, roads, among others as no Governor would want the members of their family to die or subjected to poor healthcare facilities or allow their children to go to sub-standard schools.

6. Last but not the least, it must be conditional upon the Governors to ensure that they stay in their states for at least six months before they could leave so as to show the citizens that they can stay in the state even if they are no longer in power.

Conclusion

The situation discussed above is not unique to the former Governors alone but it applies to all the politicians of South Sudan especially the state politicians. This also tells us the reason why some politicians changed their political alliances as soon as they loss their political positions and some even becomes rebels. In any case and for lack of better adjectives, one would easily accept the hypothesis that, our politicians are only interested in power but care less about their people and the country. I hope this habit will change with adoption of the above recommendations and the new reforms through the proper and timely implementation of the peace agreement.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year, 2016.

Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate based in Juba, reachable at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A plea to Mogae and Kiir to avert GRSS’ invective financial economy

By James Okuk, PhD

December 24, 2015 (SSNA) -- Getting water and food, sleeping in peace at homes without fear of being harmed, and celebrating seasonal festivals for all citizens should have been the most immediate responsibility of the Government of South Sudan (GRSS) like any other normal governments in the world. Alas! This is happening only to a very limited number of isolated privileged few citizens these days.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) advance delegation of peace have already arrived in Juba with accommodation and feeding in the best five star hotels while the common citizens are moaning economically at the suburbs and countryside. Though their repatriation and return to Juba is good news to peace-loving citizens and international friends, still the recently prescribed disastrous capitalist economic shock by the Governor of Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) and Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) is opening another front of terrible poverty war.

What is the use of having dollars available in commercial banks and fuel stations if majority of the made-to-suffer poor South Sudanese cannot afford sufficient pounds (SSP) for a minimum purchasing power?

What is the utility of ‘free float’ or even call it ‘managed float’ if this is being mismanaged in the negative expend of the common citizens?

Where in the world a capital city can be proud to call itself a human habitat without available cheap drinking and bathing water for all the residents?

If the staggering abnormal economy of the Republic of South Sudan is still infected by Oil’s Dutch Disease, and worst by kleptocratic war situation, what a hell on earth have those who came up with ‘floating policy’ are bringing upon the common poor citizens?

Why would the international experts of well-established laissez-faire economic institutions and their South Sudanese stooges want to unethically experiment irrelevant economics theories on dear poor lives of already downtrodden citizens of the Child Republic of South Sudan?

If the BoSS and MoFED have secretly been suspected as the main suppliers of dollars to Atuots and few other paralleled hard currency black marketers (what President Kiir described as ‘illiterate shabby men with expensive new brand dollars under umbrellas in Juba and Custom markets’), will these GRSS’ financial institutions be free and credible this time round to act in favor of the most affected low-income citizens?

Despite the fact that the poor citizens have accepted to tolerate the situation of celebrating 2015 Christmas without new shoes, cloths, hair styles and cuts, cakes, sweets, local groundnuts, soft juices, hard drinks and delicious foods, I don’t think they will continue to afford a welcome of the New Year 2016 with the current demise of hard currency floating policy!

It is becoming clearer that the current messed-up financial economy of South Sudan is based on nothing dignified but irrelevant advanced laissez-fare policies akin to the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) that was intended to neo-colonize Africa and the rest of least developed countries on deceptive and vicious traps of the so-called ’Economic Growth’.

Like what the common citizens of the SAPs affected African, Latin America and Asian countries faced in 1970s and 1980s, the ordinary citizens of South Sudan are already paying the prize dearly while we continue encountering contradicting and confusing messages (as usual) from our old SPLM ruling party’s economists and their cunning international advisors.

I doubt whether the GRSS top decision-makers have been closely attached to the vulnerable disadvantaged poor so that they could know where and how they get charcoal, firewood and cooking dry grass!

I doubt whether these heartless decision-makers understand where water is fetched from for serving many residences in Juba were it not for the committed Eritrean truck drivers but who are now pushed by the hiked crazy fuel and dollar crises to charge the poor citizens accordingly and un-affordably!

I doubt whether these elites comprehend that those who used to sell Cleto’s 1.5 liter fuel plastic containers are poor women, neglected children, unemployed youth, and disabled elderly citizens who made some ends meet for temporary economic Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at the end of the bad days before things could get better after war! The litany of agony is longer.

That is why the poor citizens are now left with nothing much to console them at this tough of the toughest times but a honest plea to JMEC’s Chairman, H.E. Fesus Gontebanye Mogae, and GSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, to intervene quickly by using their joint veto powers to avert the on-going genocidal economic wrath and red pangs of poverty.

We are lucky to have with us an experienced people-oriented developmental economist and sagacious hard-working statesman in the person of Former Botswana President, who shall soon visit the other affected states of South Sudan to see the full image of the painfully regrettable level of SPLM/A’s made economic hazards and destructions in the new country.

If the disastrous hard currency floating policy cannot be canceled now, let Presidents Mogae and Kiir order serious and urgent subsidizing measures to be implemented immediately, particularly in the basic strategic economic sectors of fuel, water, food, transport, communication and pharmaceuticals. Prices of luxurious and prestigious items could be left to be determined by the floating markets reaction and bargain.

Friedman’s economic approach (i.e., controlling the supply of money and allowing the free market to fix itself) and Chicago Boys’ ‘Shock Doctrine’ is not a proper ‘therapy’ for the war affected South Sudan. It increases the vulnerability agony of the working-poor, leave alone the lazy-poor.

Also the Keynesian economic therapy is not totally relevant for unmodified adoption in South Sudan because productivity of goods and services is still a big problem due to the SPLM/A’s war legacy and perpetual politically motivated destabilization.

Depending on bad wills of reactive anarchical markets in South Sudan is a lethality prescription. It has already shown its counter-productivity in the last very few days. The Republic of South Sudan needs controlled and subsidized markets now, perhaps, until such a time when it has reached a status of adulthood where it could be economically self-reliant with productive sufficiency and surplus.

Playing the dirty politicized economic game by way of gerontocratic kleptocracy of financial anarchy without fixed principles (except anarchy itself) is too harmfully bad for the poverty-ridden South Sudan.

A utilitarian economic growth should be a function of a holistic people’s development and not mere numeric growth of calculated Gross National Income (GNI) without fair distributive and equal opportunity justice.

Thus, let Chairman Mogae and President Kiir come to the most urgent rescue of the poor citizens of the naturally resource-rich Republic of South Sudan. It is good for them to have tamed the politico-military anarchists by awarding them with power privileges in accordance with the provisions of the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).

Nonetheless, they should do this simultaneously with taming of heartless economic (particularly financial) anarchists of South Sudan too. Let them use their legitimate peace powers to prescribe the most needed basic subsidies now before it is too late for the ordinary citizens to keep hanging on the thin thread of difficult livelihood these days. Waiting for a utopian prosperous future in the land of the ‘dead’ is a meaningless posterity. Lives of the majority of the citizens of South Sudan should be saved first from the current economic woes for good future promises to make sense later!

No best wishes for a Happy Christmas 2015 and Prosperous New Year 2016 till the current GRSS created invective financial economics is averted finally through pro-poor subsidy policy that should coexist with the pro-rich hard currency floating policy rate.

Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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