JUBA – South Sudan’s problems have proven to be hanging clouds we can’t just wish away. With every neighbor next door having a beef to pounce on you at any closing of an eyelid overnight. Reasonably because of pushed landmark boundaries that have chopped off a piece of his land.
As unforgiving bangs of self-made hunger put up a scathing front to make itself heard at any cost, due to numerously created states that won’t put food on the dining table.
With viable sources of revenue to pay for public services depleted. Service industry and agriculture sectors in none-existence. Formal businesses collapsed while informal sector lacks the required hard currency to outsource goods and services from the neighboring countries.
Dwindling purchasing power has failed to balance supply and demand on the fast changing market, courtesy of high inflation. While hostile environment full of skirmishes sprouting out everywhere has immensely served to scare away courageous and potential investors.
The total sum of the above mentioned shortcomings comfortably make the center fall apart and unable to support the peripheries called 28 banana states. Which only help to create socio-economic disparities that make 28 states not well thought out economic policy to serve the common man.
But being more of a strategy for desperate government to thieve some local support and keep sinking elites afloat in the troubled waters against peaceful resolution of the on-going political crisis.
In the face of this crisis, South Sudanese as people worth their salt must in a matter of fact wake up for some reality check. Since current crisis facing the country is not first of its kind. It goes way back to 33 years ago when SPLM/A came into troubled existence.
The movement’s objective was then united democratic secular socialist Sudan worth achieving, according to its architects. Unity, equality, prosperity and justice filled the lips as goals that objective should achieve and nurture if old Sudan was overrun.
That never came to pass. Reason being both objective and goals turned out to be indifferent with South Sudanese popular demand in form of self-determination. Which would and indeed later lead to complete independent State in the Southern autonomous half of the country.
Putting the two objectives – Unity and separation – to test, Comprehensive Peace Agreement was secured on 9th January, 2005 between government of Sudan and rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, SPLM/A.
Testing ground became Khartoum Peace Agreement’s re-instated autonomous region in which six years of interim period was experimented. In this period like any other SPLM/A’s politico-economic policies, taking towns to people as Dr. John Garang espoused was given the ample opportunity to be implemented.
All the hurdles to impede peace were then cleared from our long road to referendum with the region having the overall legal authority to run its internal affairs and secure its internal borders against any perceivable outside security disturbances. That is in form of an independent army, police, prisons as well as wildlife and fire brigade services, capped with all the public security apparatus.
Oil prices as the main source of national revenue for the region went sky rocketing for not less than 100 US Dollar per a barrel on the world market all through the interim period of six good years.
Foreign investors rolled in with their goods and services and immensely charged at the specific entry points by our immigration and customs departments.
Western gullible donors to make sure peace was secure and well of chipped in wades of multi-million dollars in order to roll back the region’s economic decadence in all its forms. Well-wishers’ intention was to deprive us of any invalid excuse should we fail to make a remarkable difference in our lives.
After donating handsomely, the well-wishers took a back seat and waited to see the spectacle of the expected development in order to reap from its goodwill which turned out to be its mesmerizing rude chock.
For like no tomorrow, we became the eating and merry – making nation than the working one. The Unholy trinity of reddish substances: meat, alcohol and sex Prophet Ngundeng prophesized about, became the truly retrogressive guiding stars of our daily lives.
No difference between us and herds of cattle that only graze pastures they can’t transplant with new ones. Social anarchy creeped in overnight. Previous friendly bush culture of comrade – in – arm replaced nepotism. Communalism with individualism.
Public property changed hands into private monopoly. Segregation of majority by sizable few begot hatred between individuals and social groups. Ill feelings didn’t only grow, but divided the national psyche along ethnic fault lines.
Karl Marx’s famous communist maxim of exploitation of man by man became the norm rather than the exception, backed by hostile market forces of demand and supply, which accrued into new and lowly social fabric.
In this heartless exploitation, growing features of kleptocracy, corruption, injustice, negative ethnicity, social alienation, income inequality and poverty dividing haves and have nots became the order of the day.
From then on, the new Sudan’s experiment in the South became the crashing curse than the much awaited blessing. The North, Centre, East and West of the Sudan to which we could export the new Sudan’s experiment saw us as more of a liability than the success story to emulate.
Seeing the stark truth of eminent defeat, Kiir turned down to contest his match, the republican Presidency and opted to swindle Machar of Southern Presidency given the SPLM party’s hierarchy.
While Abdel El Haziz El Hilou lost full and square in Southern Kordofan state as Malik Agar Ayer won controversially in Blue Nile state, all being the SPLM’s gubernatorial flag bearers there in the North.
With North politically overrun by NCP 100%, South Sudan became the only remaining fortress to defend tooth and nail by South Sudanese people, spelling a resounding doom to new Sudan’s project once and for all.
Even in the South, struggling SPLM with its watertight control of security forces had to rig-loot the mid-term general elections in order to win.
Came the referendum in which south Sudanese voted to a man to secede from repressive North and not because of direction given to them by the party on how to vote. Commendable job well done by the SPLM/A can’t be gainsaid. For it fended off the likely intruding north so that people expressed true feelings as they cast their ballots.
After successful referendum vote and independence secured, SPLM couldn’t pay back people for their proverbial donkey’s patience in the most undignified silence and depilating face of abject poverty. It has been all time monkey business as usual characterized by mindless eating spree with all its regrettable negatives.
Then mouthful of warmongering rhetoric, with no money and international community’s goodwill in hand to turn failed dreams into reality now, what were SPLM – in government’s leaders telling us at the joint celebrations ceremony at Dr. John Garang’s mausoleum in Juba for the newly appointed 28 Governors?
Other than multiplying poverty and spreading hatred among the peaceful communities with the promulgation of those convoluted 28 banana states in the war weary country.
NOTE: the opinions expressed herein are entirely for the Author of this article. The Upper Nile Times have no responsibility on the contents published here.
The Upper Nile Times
Deng Vanang is the author and member of SPLM/A –IO’s advance team in Juba. To be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org