opinionBy Elhag Paul
The volcano of corruption erupted in Juba on the first week of June 2012 with the release of the letter of president Kiir dated 3rd May 2012 to 75 official thieves and the interview of Judge John Gatwech Lul on Radio Bakhieta on 25th May 2012.
The volcano's initial red hot lava has cooled but it is still spewing the ashes of corruption to the entire world raising alarms everywhere about President Salva Kiir's insincerity and the web of lies he has so far woven. Unfortunately the president is now deeply entrapped in this web of his own making without an exit for escape. Just like the unfortunate hundreds of people killed by the spewed ashes from Mount Pinatubo in Philippines in the early 1990s, the ashes of corruption spewed on the people of South Sudan and the world may turn out to be the Achilles Hills of president Kiir and the Oyee machine. This ash is still being spewed damaging the image and credibility of RSS.
In 'Lies and Illusion of South Sudan's President Kiir' published in Sudan Tribune on 26th September 2011 http://www.sudantribune.com/Lies-and-illusions-of-South-Sudan,40241 and 'President Kiir: between the rock and the hard place' published in South Sudan News Agency on 10th October 2011 http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/news/articles/president-kiir-between-the-rock-and-the-hard-place the president was warned that he was setting himself up to fail but he arrogantly brushed the warning aside believing in the might of his Oyee machine. The confidence that this machine exudes can be deceptive. The Oyeeites need to know that. Usually people who have been in power for long become complacent and condescending of their subjects not knowing that the very power they hold and exercise depends on the subject's will to wilfully conform. If the subjects withdraw their consent for the holders of power to govern, it translates into an earthquake-like-event where the initial tremor brings down buildings to rubble.
So if the seemingly cowed down South Sudanese should say enough is enough to the Oyee machine and they withdraw their consent, all the cogs of this dysfunctional Oyee machine from president Kiir down to the member on the ground will scatter into pieces and that will be it. A new dawn will come into life with South Sudanese having the chance to re-organise themselves again around human values with better social life and hopes. No amount of violence or armaments that the Oyee machine possesses will keep it in power. This is as simple as that as a child's Lego game.
The revolutions sweeping North Africa and the Middle East now spring from this very concept of consent within social contract. The people agree to let the rulers represent them to do what they want such as improving health, communication, education, protection from harm and so on. If the chosen ruler and acolytes then steal the resources of the nation to buy mansions abroad without doing what is expected of them, and they refuse to account, the masses have every right to ask the rulers to quit. The people brought the president to power by consenting to being ruled by him. This consent is not an open blank cheque. It is conditional on good governance and time limited. When the people as now are convinced of the rulers' total failure to govern and are asking them to go, they have every right to demand so because the rulers failed them.
The country is ours collectively and it does not belong to the rulers. The rulers have not performed up to the standard. They have proven to be thieving thugs with a Don Salvatore rather than decent professionals led by a Paul Kagame. Thus, the president needs to peacefully quit and leave leadership to capable and decent people. There are lots of them in South Sudan. Isaiah Abrahams in his piece 'Intrigues associated with South Sudan fight against corruption' published by South Sudan Nation on 19th June 2012 now as I write believes president Kiir is a tribalist and must go. He writes, "It is saddening indeed to continue to malign people like Dr Lual like that. But there must be a reason why his name appeared. Mr Kiir is a tribalist and this is apparent looking at the list (of corrupt officials) he has produced." In this I fully agree with Isaiah Abraham although I do not subscribe to his promotion of Dr Riek Machar as heir apparent who obviously is not any better.
As others and I very well know, the president's tribalism is obnoxious since we are victims of it. Now if Isaiah Abraham who is a Dinka like the president is also crying foul of the president's tribalism then what chance have the rest of us got in this system.
However, Isaiah Abraham needs to look himself in the mirror and pick the specks in his eyes. He must come clean. What does he mean by saying, "The president ........... should bow out and give power to his vice president. In that way, he would struck (strike) double. Dr Machar will not prosecute him, or go after others." If Dr Riek is not going to deal with corruption firmly which is the very reason he asking president Kiir to bow out for, why should the masses of South Sudan replace a Don with another Don? Isaiah Abraham needs to be honest by answering this question if he wants to be credible by setting out clearly the reason why he is promoting one of the most corrupt politicians in the country as a replacement for president Kiir.
It is good that some decent Dinka people are now gathering courage and joining hands with their brothers and sisters from other parts of the country to speak out against the abusive system in RSS. That is right and this is the only way forward if South Sudanese regardless of tribe, gender, race etc are to coalesce as one family. A family whose foundation is based on values and principles of equality, fairness and justice. Since the Oyee machine deliberately deprived South Sudanese from addressing the horrible things that have been going on for the last three decades, the people on their own initiatives as evidenced by commentaries made by some decent Dinka people on the various websites recently must be a good thing. For example, the objectivity of our professor, Dr Jok Madut Jok who is a Dinka is an encouraging thing. I take my hat off to him for expressing his disappointment with this corrupt system. He must be carrying the Dinka burden and the rest of us need to lessen the load on him by giving him the necessary support. Dr Jok got tired and ashamed of the Oyee machine's lies. He could not take it any more and as a result he opined in Gurtong that the lies of the leaders of Oyee party on the looting spree in the country now look ridiculous. He is right and it is hoped that Don Salvatore will listen to him as a voice of reason.
President Kiir's credibility is in tatters. He is a serial liar, a trait that does not sit well with a character of a true leader. On 10th July 2011, a day after independence at J1 in Juba during the meeting with political parties, he shocked some of us when he shamelessly said in Arabic, "Anihna ma a'kaziib bitana da" meaning 'We and our lies'. He said this in reference to the speeches he and president Bashir gave during the Independence declaration day. At the time, it seemed like a joke but actually president Kiir was revealing part of his true character unknowingly through a slip of the tongue as can be seen now in his running of the country. He has proved to the world beyond doubt that he is a liar and he can not be relied upon. Here are some of the evidences to back this point.
In April 2010 during the general election, the Oyee party massively rigged out candidates of the other competing parties giving itself a ridiculous majority resulting into total domination of all political activities in the country. Noticing that the people were getting angry and security could become an issue, it extended a reconciliatory hand to the other parties under the pretext of inclusivity. Thus in October 2010 a South-South dialogue was held to heal the wounds of the nation and prepare for the coming referendum. On good faith, the other parties joined hand with president Kiir and they worked hard to prepare the people for the referendum. When the referendum was held in the second week of January 2011 the combined efforts of all the other parties and civil societies produced a wonderful result of 98.83 percent votes in favour of secession. The manner in which the referendum was done was envied by the world. South Sudanese world wide were happy to show the world what they could do and achieve.
Unbeknown to the other parties the South-South dialogue was a political trick of the Oyee party to take them on another wild goose chase. The strategist of the Oyee party were well aware that their declared objective of 'United New Sudan' for which they fired their first bullets against the separatist was not going to sell to the South Sudanese people who clearly wanted to separate from Khartoum. So in order to steal the show and the slogan of secession while discarding its failed policy of unity, it dangled the carrot of inclusivity and South-South dialogue to the other parties and civil societies to rebrand itself as a separatist movement. The opposition parties fell for it and swallowed the bait with the Oyee party succeeding in baptising itself as a party of secession.
As soon as the referendum was completed, president Kiir true to his character reneged on the terms agreed upon in October 2010 South-Sudan dialogue. This was done to exclude all stake holders from participating in drafting the interim constitution for the new emerging country. As it is known, president Kiir and his Oyee party on their own drafted a shoddy constitution which they violently shoved down the throats of the people.
Again noticing the growing anger of South Sudanese, president Kiir set out to assuage the pain of the masses by promising a first inclusive cabinet for the government of South Sudan. True to his character, he ignored the feelings of the people and went on to appoint his failed cronies to parliament and ministerial positions.
Having gotten comfortable with deceiving the masses all the time, president Kiir extended his intrigues to the world body in New York. On 23rd September 2011 during the 66th General Assembly of the United Nation, in his trade mark hat he pledged before the world that he would eradicate corruption in South Sudan. Since then he has not made his pledge good.
In the second week of April during the Panthou war, president Kiir crowed that he would not take orders from the UN Secretary General Mr Banki Moon. But days later he not only capitulated but was full of praise to the world leaders he initially disparaged.
The latest now is the issue of his letters to the 75 corrupt officials. The president of late tries to twist the contents of his letter to mean something out of comic books with Dr Barnaba Marial working hard to limit the damage. All of this is done before the world. Talk of washing dirty linen in public. This is it in a unique Dinkocratic style. No shame. No duty of care to the country. Just naked lies.
The short chronology provided above shows that on all those occasions president Kiir raised the hopes of the masses only to dash them later for his own and group interest in detriment to the country. He comfortably played with the emotional well being of the people without thinking seriously of the emotional damage he was causing to the psyche of the nation. This kind of rabble rousing by a president is neither desirable nor essential in a fragile new country like South Sudan.
As can be seen above, president Kiir's reputation and credibility is damaged beyond repair domestically and internationally. No amount of spinning or damage limitation can save him. He and his Oyee party are a liability to South Sudan now. Dr Barnaba Marial, the Joseph Goebbels of the regime can sing, shout, rant, advertise and spin but nobody in South Sudan or abroad will believe a word coming from his mouth. The very damage afflicting president Kiir is now extended to the country through him as the president. Brand RSS like president Kiir with his trade mark black hat by direct association looks undesirable to the world of investment. Its image is now seriously tainted. The world looks at South Sudan as a failed state led by corrupt personalities and a violent disorganised political party from whom no good can come. Who can blame them when the whole system in RSS resembles a Mafia joint? With this kind of reputation no investor is going to come and participate in development of the country. There will be no hospitals, schools, roads, houses, electricity, water etc because no credible businessmen or organisations will want to do deals with exposed wolves in sheep skin.
Don Salvatore, the rabble rouser has driven the country to near collapse simply because he refused to heed warning given to him such as those in the articles referred to above. He can not deal with corruption firmly because he is not only weak but also because he is a hostage to some of the corrupt generals and Oyee apparatchiks. Thus he is part and parcel of the stench. His intrigue to pull the wool over the eyes of the world on the issue of massive corruption has not only flopped, but widely exposed his character and the nature of 'Oyee party' to the world.
So South Sudan now is on the edge and this can not be allowed to continue. As Isaiah Abraham wrote president Kiir needs to bow out and make way for a government of national unity comprising all the stake holders in the country. Judging by the voices of South Sudanese coming out of the mass media, it is clear that South Sudanese have decided to withdraw their consent to be ruled by President Kiir and the Oyee party. A new contract to manage the country is needed urgently.
Therefore, as stated and demanded in other articles by numerous South Sudanese, president Kiir needs to release all political detainees now and start speaking to the various armed groups, political parties and civil society organisations regarding formation of a new credible government of national unity whose task will be to manage the country in the interim while arranging for a credible general election. Such action is important and a must to create harmony and to salvage the image of the country in order to attract investment into the country. South Sudan can not wait to be certified by the international community as a corrupt failed state while it can salvage itself. The ball is now squarely in president Kiir's court to do the decent thing and resign. The people have said enough is enough.