By Dr. Aldo Deng-Akuey
Addressing the Graduates from the military college in 1994, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, within a long lecture, had this to say, “when the SPLM gets political power in New Sudan, things shall be different from the SPLM/SPLA war efforts we are undergoing. The Government program shall be different in designation and provision of social development and delivery of services. The Government shall provide money to build roads, schools, and hospitals. We must know that a government, any government worldwide, does not possess ready-printed money in stores, though our people believe that a government has money stored in big public stores to be freely handed out to people. That image is false. The government depends on taxes paid by the citizens and from all fields of private industries. If there are no taxes, then the government, per se, shall not function or deliver any services.”
As Dr. John correctly predicted, South Sudanese believe that there is a lot of free money in-store of the National Bank of South Sudan, owned by the Ministry of Finance and other private banks for a takeaway. South Sudan’s economy is very sick now, and requires a very speedy treatment, though we had had hiccoughs since 2005.
As we speak, the economic situation of South Sudan is in further decline: The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) has authoritative devices and should fix it!
But, with hind eyes, it is quite a fact of history that the Republic of South Sudan was born out of a deadly civil war between Khartoum and Southern Sudan, from 1955 to 2005. The long war killed 2.5 million South Sudanese and destroyed every square of land and every property on its face.
Fortunately, not luckily, the SPLM prevailed and, in 2005, liberated the country and declared its independence on 9 July 2011. South Sudan inherited no assets, or financial reserves from Khartoum, though it inherited the land and primarily developed of 10% of petroleum reserves, Khartoum couldn’t leave us alone to administer it.
In 2012, the oil production was closed down following the conflict with Khartoum over the oil conduit pipeline, from the oil fields of South Sudan to Port Sudan. This crisis was followed up with rebellion in 2013. The 98% national revenue was now gone. The country then and the resilience South Sudanese had no any other means rather than hand-to-mouth-economic life.
Many South Sudanese, internally and externally, say the economy has been mismanaged by corrupt “Dinka Government and Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). Less, the critics don’t refer to Mother SPLM and its “break-away” wings SPLM IO and SPLM Leaders, the Former Detainees (FDs), in order to charge them against the “2013-2018’s “senseless war” and the main reasons that led to the economic break-down and eventual collapsed.
Genuine professional critics correctly believe that the economics of South Sudan suffered first, from ignorance, political anarchy within the ruling SPLM, Government’s mismanagement, corruption, Troika (the US, UK, and Norway) withdrawal of economic aids, the Khartoum’s sabotage and the recent war of 2013-2018. Now that the war has ended, what next?
What next is to commit to the new page: The 12 September 2018, Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The Presidency and R-TGoNU must take full charge, in accordance with the R-ARCSS and the Constitution, close the recent past and implement concurrently, all the chapters within the agreed timetable by the parties and mediators led by IGAD, AU and the UN.
In my opinion, the South Sudanese, without prejudice to the Presidency and R-TGoNU, should focus on and follow up the process leading to a successful and smooth implementation of R-ARCSS, “in letter and spirit.” Blames and counter blames are bygones, that shall not bail out the country and the suffering citizenry of South Sudan, from the accumulated destruction and chaotic mess we have alone inflicted on ourselves and the country. Let’s focus and concentrate on the peaceful resolution of our conflicts.
Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey,
By Dr. Aldo Ajou Deng-Akuey
Let’s hope for the best, while we thank God for giving us the R-ARCSS, signed on 12 September 2018, by the then warring parties (the -SPLM, SPLM IO and SSOA).
As the public of South Sudan is affected and devastated by traumatic insecurity, lack of food, death and poverty, our expectations are always put on government leaders to bail us out of the sufferings on which hopeful wishes hang on smooth implementation of the peace deal “in letter and spirit” and in good faith.
Our expectations need inclusive and concerted efforts for the R-ARCSS to succeed. But, without Join commitment, honesty, trust and confidence among the leaders and the affected citizens of South Sudan, the “expectations for peaceful stable country shall never be achieved.” There is a believe, right now, that the political parties: the SPLM, SPLM IO and SSOA in the Presidency and R-TGoNU, are not collectively united in a sole agenda of “peace and security” per se, but differ on their agendas. The SPLM honestly leads the agenda of “peace and security.” But, the former adversaries of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who should be seen to firmly commit to peace and security agenda, are half-heartedly uncommitted. To be exact in my reading, SPLM IO and SSOA are gambling on which is which agenda?: Peace and security or the “regime change.” They have already succeeded by dissolving the 32 states and sanctioning official supporters of President Salva Kiir through the Sentry “Enough project.” These parties are not in peace with the SPLM, but they have a devised strategic change of approach towards the “Kiir must go!”
Yes, the evidence shows that some criticisms are constructive in terms of power sharing, but, seriously, domestic and international critics pose a targeting and destructive campaign against our country and its founding leadership. For example, “Kiir and Riek should be excluded from unity Government!” That means the R-ARCSS could collapse. We are very much aware that South Sudan is a fragile, weak socially, politically and economically, thus facing compounded problems of livelihood in all fields.
In my assessment, the only option available to South Sudanese, in order to save the unity of the country and humanity is the R-ARCSS if the national security institutions are reorganised, united and integrated. These challenges are so huge and so much that the main political parties’ leaders, can not solve them alone without public commitment and necessary support.
To be exact and honest, the problems facing the Presidency and R-TGoNU, are getting worse under the pandemic COVID-19 regime. First, the pandemic has done away with the only National source of revenues: (a) oil markets prices internationally are down, (b) no exports or imports duties, (c) food production failed last year, thus causing severe hunger, (d) repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement of 6 million returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), (e) rendering the country to an acute poverty. In a nutshell, our country is financially handicapped to fund the implementation of R-ARCSS, let alone the humanitarian disaster, in terms of hunger, internal homelessness and coming back of refugees from the neighbouring countries. But, the good thing is that, the politicians are not going back to war. But the violence ranges among the communities (call them tribes if you like).
But, Nevertheless, new violence has moved out of Juba to states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, unity versus Warrap, Lakes and Central Equatoria. The fighting in Jonglei is a politico-community war. It involves Morlei, Nuer Low and Dinka. The war expected to erupt in Upper Nile, would be among the Nuer, Dinka and shilluk. The war going on in central Equatoria is said to be a liberation war, against who? It is not yet clear, but gossips figure point against politicians and warlords. These fightings are not small, they can seriously divide the communities, states and regions or could derail the ongoing Revitalised national peace.
Let’s accept the fact that our country is at the climax of national paralysis and dispersal in all fields of livelihoods. All of us must unite, avoid social and political anarchy for national dialogue, reconciliation and forgiveness.
In my opinion, the problems facing the country now are comprehensively identified by many South Sudanese intellectuals’ forums, such as the National Dialogue forum, Ebony centre-Think Tank, Sudd Research institution, professionals of schools of know how, universities and other centres in Africa and elsewhere in the world. Available are South Sudanese writers like Francis Mading Deng, Jacob Jiel Akol, Bona Malual, Dr. Lual A Deng, so many more-and check on historical records for political philosopher, Dr. John Garang’s on unity of Sudanese Africans, Arabs, Muslims and Christians. History of decolonized and post independence developments infrastructures are available.
These groups and individuals are not being consulted on related issues to their professionalisms and expierences to success or failure and why? There is no country anywhere in the world, that does not consult or refer it problems for experts opinion or advice, specially when the country is under establishment and eventual nation building.
The politicians need to involve South Sudanese civil society, women, youth, intellectuals and the church, in order to succeed in their endeavor to implement the R.ARCSS successfully. Otherwise implementation process shall fail. Aldo Ajou
The pandemic disease, coronavirus-covid-19 (C19) is a new killer in South Sudan. Two and half millions died in the war of liberation from 1955-2005. Forty thousand died in our “senseless war of 2013-2018.” That death was inclusive of diseases and lack of food. All in all, the R-ARCSS and its implementation machine, the R-TGoNU, is seriously interrupted by the Pandemic C19 and with collapsed of our insecurity, economy, hunger, diseases and poverty. The country is seriously halted. We have to move collectively in order to rescue humanity in South Sudan and the Country itself. Let’s standup now and to gather for the purpose of “save ourselves and the country.” All the war mongers must be told to stop now and join our war for survival.
Agency chief Qu Dongyu stressed that more action is still needed to avert a food security crisis as the ongoing rainy season, which benefits farmers and pastoralists, also provides favourable conditions for locusts to breed.
“Our gains have been significant; but the battle is long and is not yet over”, he said. “More people are at risk of losing their livelihoods and worsening food security in the coming months.”
Protecting crops and livelihoods
FAO has released its first progress report on the locust control campaign which began in January and now covers 10 countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen.
It was launched to protect crops and livelihoods from what are considered the most destructive migratory pests in the world. A single Desert Locust swarm, which can contain up to 150 million insects per square kilometre, is capable of eating as much food in a day, as 35,000 people.
Through FAO’s support, more than 365,000 hectares have been controlled, and an additional 350,000 pastoral households have been spared from distress.
While swathes of treated land are now relatively locust-free, the agency warned that a second wave of locusts will transition to the young adult phase in June, at a critical time when many farmers prepare to harvest their crops.
Second locust wave and food insecurity looming
FAO said the upsurge is “particularly alarming” in the broader context.
Forecasts made prior to the COVID-19 crisis indicate that more than 25 million people in the East Africa region will face acute food insecurity in the latter half of the year. An additional 17 million people in Yemen are already affected.
“We can and must protect vulnerable people from the impact of multiple crises: conflicts, climate extremes, desert locusts and COVID-19, which threaten to cause a further dramatic deterioration in their food security,” said Mr. Qu, the FAO Director General.
“To do this, we need to intensify our efforts further and focus not just on controls but on supporting the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists so they can get through this.”
An FAO appeal launched in January has netted $130 million. While funding has been largely concentrated on locust control activities, more support for livelihoods is needed.
Governments have been working with the UN agency to design, monitor and implement control operations. FAO has also been providing pesticides, bio-pesticides, equipment, aircraft and training.
Given the favourable conditions for locust reproduction, the agency has called for sustained efforts, and a revised appeal will be launched in the coming weeks.
The appeal will request additional resources for Iran and Pakistan, which are also facing locust infestations, and for scaling up efforts in the Sahel region, which risks being affected.