Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Opinion: The “Shadowy SPLM/AVeterans" are Riding the Wave of Discontent

By John A. Akec

All of us are entitled to voice any discontent. But we must do so and sign our names. It has been a practice of certain sections of our population to wait until they sense a public discontent and then ride on the wave of public discontent. They do so with masks in their faces (see the press release posted below).

It appears there is a power struggle going on somewhere. There is also a tendency to pick out certain individuals and mix in additional names (control groups) in order to create confusion and thereby make it hard to identify the fingerprints of the group behind the memo. Anonymous memo is now a cheap tool of political power struggle.
Some of fatal inconsistencies committed by the “SPLM/A Veterans” have given away their true colours (as political impostors), especially in attacking whom they call “Garang Boys” and the Secretary General. When we know full well that most of “Garang Boys” are themselves marginalized in the GOSS (who actually has power in GOSS? - that is a big question)!

In particular when we know that if there is any one left carrying the banner of SPLM/A ideology, it is the secretary General, Pagan Amum.

What is more, when 700 SPLA soldiers went on rampage in Juba on 14 December 2006, who went to negotiate with them but the poor widow of John Garang. Where were the shadowy “SPLM/A Veterans”?

There are many outstanding issues: implementation of Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) recommendation, the disarming of GOS militia, and the tendency by NCP to abrogate the CPA at all fronts. Where do the shadowy “SPLM/A Veterans” stand? Why don’t they speak up about these issues. Why are the only obsessed with “money, money, and money”?

I have no problem whatsoever with any one expressing their opinion about the affair of our nation. What I find horrible is doing it while hiding behind fancy labels. Those whose names they use at whims are human beings. And if they have a case, the “SPLM/A Veterans” should the press release using their names.

It is now clear that the voices of the people are mixed with voices of the wolves. The phenomenon of anonymous memos undermines the very democracy the “SPLM/A Veterans” are claiming to exercise.

To put it plainly: “SPLM/A Veterans” who are afraid to write their names are nothing but bunch of opportunistic politicians trying to exploit very genuine public concerns in the most dishonest methods. This will only make matters worst. Furthermore, it is most unfair to those of us who openly express our concerns irrespective of the consequences.

Establishing democracy can only be achieved by coming out of the shadows into public light and be ready to defend their position openly.
John A. Akec

Incompetence and corruption are the hallmarks of GOSS
Wednesday 3 January 2007 02:30
SPLM/A Veterans against Corruption and Nepotism
Press Release
Wednesday 3 January 2007 02:30 It is nearly two years now since the establishment of the institutions of governance in South Sudan and nothing has happened. Individual GOSS ministers tried in vain to do something and make us belief they were active but this only increase the wrath and disappointment of the southern public. Two interesting examples are the fencing of government houses by Dr. Riek mẳ car with bamboos with a staggering bill amounting to millions of dollars. Another desperate minister, Mrs. Rebecca tried in vain to maintain Juba roads using unconventional methods by plastering the roads with cement and when Juba rains fell they were washed away leaving huge potholes that endanger the lives of Juba motorists. Again millions of dollars from the public funds were wasted and Juba roads have remained the most dangerous in the world. There is absolutely nothing happening in the other sectors, instead there is a marked deterioration particularly in the security and health sectors.

If there is one clear message that can be derived from this turbulent way things are moving in Southern Sudan, it is that the public is frustrated and deeply concerned with how the GOSS works - or more aptly put, doesn’t work. If a public opinion poll were to be conducted today it would be revealed that nearly four fourths of Southern Sudanese are dissatisfied with the GOSS, the SPLM and the way they do business. GOSS is a government that is far from home, politically and financially corrupt and insolvent. Equally, the SPLM has become gridlock politically and has lost direction. The young, corrupt and inexperienced so-called secretary general sits comfortably in Juba absolutely doing nothing to transform the party into a viable political platform which can champion the aspirations of the people of southern Sudan.

The SPLM has remained an irrelevant political mouthpiece for only very few opportunists who continue to spend SPLM funds for their own personal use. SPLM organs at the grass root have not been formed and only few elements from the old guards make decisions that are not disseminated to any levels of the party. The SPLM has left its supporters surly and disgusted and unable to connect to their party and their stated objectives.

What is needed urgently is to reinvent both the party and the government in the South. But to do this we need to put in place certain fundamental principles and goals that promote good governance and political correctness. Mr. Mayardit has to liberate himself from the webs and snares of the so-called ’Garang’ boys’ and the ’Gogrial-Aweil kitchen cabinet’ and behave like the president of GOSS. His belated attempts to distance himself from corruption by complaining to the public about it can not absolve him. He has to sack and punish those involved unless he fears opening the ’Pandora box’. The suspension of five senior finance officials was lauded as a positive step towards the start of the war against corruption. However, it is now six months since forming an investigation committee and nothing has been heard of. People wonder whether his move was not meant to kill the issue of corruption. Remember the old adage, ’if you want to kill an issue, form a committee’. We have now learnt that Dr. Pauline’s investigation committee has stalled, blocked by the lords of GOSS corruption, Arthur Akuen and Dr. Justin Yac.

Corruption in the South is not confined to finance, there is also political corruption. If you look at the list of GOSS ministers you will discover that the occupants of the most senior and ’sovereign’ ministries are from one particular tribe except for the lone and ineffectual portfolio of the Vice presidency. This is unacceptable and does not augur with the SPLM stated principles of inclusiveness and fairness. More dangerously, this state of affairs threatens the harmonious and cohesiveness of the Southern communities. This has to be corrected immediately because in the first place the people of the South took up arms against the very act of being excluded and marginalized by northerners in the political administration of the country.

The most annoying thing is that it is now two years since the institution of the governments in the South and nothing have happened in terms of development. There can be no excuse for this incompetence and inaction. The GOSS continues to receive millions of dollars from oil revenues from GONU, where does this money go to? Even the World Bank has acknowledged the availability of money in the GOSS bank accounts. A statement in Juba by a representative of the Bank confirmed that GOSS has more money than any neighboring countries and that this money should go to development. No GOSS minister belied this statement. Possibly the World Bank representative was right. While the capital Juba is still dressed in the pre-war racked clothes, the states are worse. There is no electricity, no medical facilities and barely any running water. The GOSS continues to deprive the states from the oil revenues and only occasionally dishes out to the states small fractions that can hardly fund development. States must be full-fledged partners and should no longer be treated simply like administrative units. States must be provided with adequate funds to develop policy and implement development projects. It is only through a more balanced power and wealth sharing between GOSS and the states that our people can realized the benefits of decentralization.

In conclusion, it is about time the GOSS reexamines the way it administers the south. The southern people are demanding greater efficiency, accountability and transparency in the use of their resources. Equally important is that the president of GOSS, Mr. Mayardit continues to ensure that equity, fairness and inclusiveness are maintained in his appointment of ministers at the GOSS, GONU and state levels so that there are no hard feelings against any particular tribe and so that harmony and peaceful co-existence is maintained among our people.