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,