Opinion: Plunder Of S. Sudan Oil Resources Is Heartbreaking
My friends, I watched a programme on Al Jazeera TV this morning titled "INSIDE STORY".
It was a debate about South Sudan and the progress it is making since independence and it surely made me literally weep, shed tears why we as Africans are so cursed.
The background to the programme was a letter that the President Silva Kiir wrote to 75 current and former government officials to return more than $ 4 billion that disappeared from state coffers since South Sudan become self-governing 5 years ago and then eventually fully independent last year.
Within this 6 year period of time, South Sudan had received $17 billion in international donations and oil revenues.
But over $7 billion could not be accounted for, according to a World Bank and IMF audit.
The Audit discovered that between 2005-2007, up to $1.5 billion of oil revenues could not be accounted for and there were no financial reports, even the most rudimentary.
Of a $2 billion international donor aid to build up grain reserves to guard against famine, none of this money could be traced.
All in all, the South Sudan government has been running a totally corrupt, completely incompetent government on such staggering proportions that it just beggars belief.
All the goodwill that it had before is almost all disappeared now.
South Sudan is running out of cash by July, ie in just a few days time. But the reaction of its president Silva Kiir is even more staggering and astonishing. He has written to 75 current and former officials of the SPLM/A to return the money they looted in exchange for immunity and confidentiality.
LACK OF POLITICAL WILL
These are the actions and reactions of a President, to massive corruption of a country totally crippled with endemic poverty; has no roads, no schools, 90% illiteracy, has a doctor-patient ration of 1 to 500,000.
This is the reaction of Silva Kiir, a man who calls himself President of South Sudan, who is begging people in his own army and movement to return the more than $7 billion they looted, instead of arresting them and putting them on trial and legally recovering the looted money.
Silva Kiir is just another Museveni and his SPLM/A is just the same as Museveni's NRMA.
Admittedly, South Sudan does not have any functioning institutions, and its resistance against northern Sudan oppression and domination was built completely along military lines, whereas in a proper national democratic revolution, the military struggle is secondary to the mass social and democratic struggle nationwide and in the communities, where organs and political structures of governance and accountability are carefully and painstakingly crafted, built and put in place in case of victory. This is the reason the South Sudan experimentation at independence and self-governance is unraveling and totally failing after only one year.
The SPLA/M soldiers came to power on the wave of the hatred of the Southern African people of northern Arab domination, but I don't think they had even a single idea of how to run a country and to liberate its people.
The military leaders suddenly became ministers and senior government officials and the first thing they went for was the sizzling muchomo dangling in their faces.
They could not resist its aroma, so they all grabbed it. And in this they totally forgot what they had been fighting for over fifty years. The suffering of the people became the least of their concerns.
With this serious amount of corruption and total lack of accountability, South Sudan will increasingly find it difficult to attract foreign investors.
It is like this analogy, if a woman is already well known to have HIV, she is going to have very few suitors, except those willing to take toxic risks, and there are very few of those.
George O. Pacu-Otto is UAH Forumists
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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