No doubt. The conflict in the youngest nation in Africa, and on earth, South Sudan has dragged on for long. This conflict has also caused a lot of suffering for the people of South Sudan not to mention to add on insecurity and tension in the region at large. When the conflict started, many thought it was a passing cloud that ended up hanging over this young and poor nation for long. Recent remarks by an American Senator, needs to act as a wakeup call if not an eye opener for protagonists in South Sudan, president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his nemesis, former president, Dr Riek Machar.
Looking at how the situation is deteriorating in the South Sudan, one’d argue that there must be war-weariness. Resources and funds that would have pulled this poor country out of abject penury are directed to the cockpit of the conflict which is counterproductive and detrimental for the country. Many lives have already been lost. Many people have been displaced while property destroyed in this madness resulting from power hunger and disrespect of human rights. Time to call upon Mayardit and Machar to talk peace is now. South Sudan needs peace, stable peace but not peace in pieces as it is expected from a fragmented country.
Although the conflict in Syria has overshadowed other conflicts in Africa especially those going on in Central Africa Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan, remarks by the US Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who’s recently quoted as saying that two sparring leaders in South Sudan, “would end up in jail soon under any standard court. “Cocker minced no words. He termed what’s going in the country as, “South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership.” And indeed, due to the carnage that’s gone on for long, Corker’s views will be construed as true especially when we consider the fact that the failure of leaders leads to a failed state. Methinks the two nemeses in South Sudan need to learn from what happened in neighbouring Somalia after the leadership failed. They also can learn from warlords such as Charles Taylor (Liberian former dictator) or Laurent Gbagbo (former Ivorian dictator). For anybody who loves his country, wouldn’t espouse his luv for power while it turns his country into a failed state.
The US senator was furious but bold when he said the word quoted above. His fury revolved around seeing innocent people suffering. And his boldness was aimed at inspiring others to take bold and peaceful steps in pulling South Sudan out of protracted but wantonly violent crisis resulting from power lust and egocentrism. Ironically, while a leader far away in the US is sickened by the atrocities in South Sudan, her sons aren’t bothered with such sufferings their brothers and sisters are going through. Corker showed leadership qualities while those supposed to show the same to their people have taken bold steps toward violence and destruction. What’s clear about the conflict in South Sudan is that there won’t be any winner by the barrel of gun. The winner is the one who’ll stop war and go to a round table to chart out the way for South Sudan.
It is awkward and backward way of thinking to note that this young nation now is borrowing money to feed war machinery instead of pulling her people out manmade miseries such as ignorance, lack of infrastructure and other institutional recipes missing in the country. According to the Wall Street Journal (Aug. 5, 2014), South Sudanese authorities are myopically and wantonly selling their countries to any bidder without reckoning with tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Strapped government afloat, South Sudan officials huddled in June in Juba with Chinese, Malaysian and Indian oil executives to propose an emergency loan of $200 million.” Things are getting worse by the day thanks to the conflict in point. According to Countryeconomy.com, In 2014 South Sudan public debt was 2,757 million dollars, has increased 972 million since 2013.This amount means that the debt in 2014 reached 20.27% of South Sudan GDP, a 7.91 percentage point rise from 2013, when it was 12.36% of GDP. If the country still has tumbledown infrastructure, poor or no social services, where does the money the government borrow go? The answer is simple. It goes to servicing war. A wise leader, be he in power or in the opposition, can’t stand such megalomania.
To nicely see how worse the situation is in South Sudan, Nigeria’s Vanguard (December 01, 2015) quoted Philip Boldit, Director-General, Directorate of Macroeconomic Planning, South Sudan as saying, “In fact, most of the borrowings were through the Central Bank. The Central Bank is supposed to be the last resort but we abused it. This resulted in the apex bank printing more money, which meant more money in the market and it caused the devaluation of our currency. So, we have a very high inflation which can only be brought down when we devise ways to manage our debts properly.”
As Corker puts it, shall bloodbath go on in South Sudan, two protagonists deserve nowhere to live except in the prison as they face charges of committing crimes against humanity. It is still early though for the duo to decide to resume their sanity and save their necks, faces, and their countries altogether. All depends on the wise choice they’ll make. Again, shall things remain as they currently are in South Sudan; it becomes easy to predict the climax of the protagonists. The International Criminal Court is still weighing what to do next.
Source: African Executive Dec., 16, 2015.