Friday, August 16, 2013

 Is the Baby ‘Grown’ up or is This Once-In-a-While Incident?

Let’s not kid ourselves that things have changed for better; however, South Sudan is starting to ‘grow up’ if it was ever a conceptual or situational child.  The ‘vetting’ of president’s nominees for the cabinet is a start of democratic and due process of accountability in South Sudan.  At least, that’s what I think; and for a long time I have something, just a little, to make me smile for once.
Or maybe not! As Dr. Lam Akol has pointed out, the function of the ‘vetting’ committee wasn’t well spelt out and presented to the public before they started their function. That means their mandates, constraints and terms of ‘vetting’ weren’t known until they started their work of ‘vetting’ the nominees.  Like always in South Sudan, accountability is kicked onto the wayside in the process of trying to be accountable. But let me say they (MPs) are trying.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Telar is now a ‘victim’ of due process; and we know victims of due process are most of the time up to no good. Perhaps Telar is a victim of incompetence and lack of transparency. We know one thing though: Telar accepted the parliamentary vote so the MPs must have done something right…and that’s why Telar accepted it. Kudos to both Telar and the Parliament!
So, admittedly, South Sudanese national assembly has now started to do what it was elected to do; not some mouth-piece of the president and his cabinet. ‘Why’ is not a question I’m able to answer, however, ‘why’ is an unnecessary question now.

The questions we have to ask now are: ‘would they continue this as a political tradition in South Sudan? And will they also shake up the security services?’ A ‘yes’ to those questions would call for a huge celebration. Strict adherence to constitutional requirements and being the voice of the people is the natural function of the parliament. Additionally, the parliament is also there to put checks and balances on some of the president’s decisions.
If I’m not being too optimistic, or to some extent naïve, I’d say that putting everyone to account for one’s deeds should be extended to all functions of the government to make sure no one gets away with abuse of public office and public resources. The president of South Sudan, who has been given absolute power by John Luk Jok through the Interim and/or Transitional Constitution, will now (fingers crossed) know that he doesn’t have free reign as long as he does something contrary to the good of South Sudanese citizens, or the constitution.

Unfortunately, the South Sudanese Transitional Constitution and the government borrowed evil and undemocratic clauses and practices from the enemy we were trying to get rid of. Council of Ministers, Council of States and the National Assembly, as a structure, were borrowed from the Sudanese Constitution. Section 101 (r) which says the president can remove an elected governor in the event of a ‘crisis’ that threatens ‘national security and territorial integrity’ was taken from the Sudanese ‘Emergency Laws’. Beshir does it so Kiir does it! The use of decrees; mostly the favorite of dictatorial leaders, was derived from the Sudanese government: Abboud used it, Nimeiri used it and Beshir now uses it…and now president Kiir has adopted it. The censorship of newspapers and unwarranted arrests of journalists were borrowed from the Sudanese National Security. Nhial Bol and Alfred Taban will tell you that security harassment even gets worse in Juba than in Khartoum! Such state of affair would have made comrade Kiir (of 1980s) sad. But president Kiir now (of 2013) seems to be okay with it!
So, having patted the Parliament on the back, I have to stress that the parliament still has a long way to go and a lot to do for South Sudanese to see it as a strong, independent institution that cannot be manipulated by the president and people of self-interest like Telar Ring Deng. Telar was kicked out of the SPLM in 2008 so he used his closeness to the president to hit back; because someone helped the president kick him out. We know who that is!

The parliament should now ask to review the removal of Mr. Chol Tong Mayay as the governor of Lake State and Mr. Taban Deng Gai as governor of Unity State. Their removals are all unconstitutional as their states didn’t and don’t have any crises that are threatening our ‘national security and territorial integrity’. The only state whose crisis is threatening national security and territorial integrity is Jonglei State. This is the time for the parliament to make sure that whimsical decision making are checked to make sure they are in the best interest of South Sudanese.
Without delay, the parliament should protect people whose opinions and ideologies differ from those of SPLM. Members of the media should also be protected as some misguided political leaders think the enemy of the people are journalists. People who point out mistakes committed by government officials are the friends of the people. People who ignore performance faux pas are the enemy number one of South Sudan.

The parliament should therefore enlighten government officials and the security services in order to understand that no nation is built on a single point of view. Diversity of opinion, as long as it’s well intended and respectfully conveyed, is of paramount importance. People who show the government where it goes wrong give the government an opportunity for self-evaluation in order to find ways to improve service provision. If the government is not given an opportunity for self-evaluation, or challenged on how it’s performing, then such as a government can never produce any tangle dividends to the people it serves. It will always assume it’s doing the right thing even when it’s headed in the wrong direction.

There’s a long way to go and a lot to do but the ‘vetting’ of nominees is a start.


Dear Melbournians, the South Sudanese people to be precise. Do you think we have seen it all? Do you think we have seen that: I mean in the aftermath of yesteryears, in regard to our culture and the notions around identity and belonging? Do you think we have seen the true reaping of what we sowed years ago? Do you really think so? After all, did we really sow anything like seeds and that there’s something to be reaped? Did we really live it out well to be seen today?

I am sorry to have bothered you, my potential readers, with questions regarding our social, economic, and political location in our host society: Australia. I think we have not seen it all and as a whole: The idea that people are bound by certain values and beliefs of significance to them. This requires cooperation and role-specific obligations on the roles of every man and woman across a given people and their society.


While it is possible for us to racially discriminate or judge people we know, the chances of judging people we know diminish significantly the more we know them. An easy example of the importance of understanding others is the attitude people develop when they want to harm others or when they want to deny them something valuable. Essentially, before you fight someone, you insult them. Insults are attempts at diminishing the value of people, an attempt at estranging them, as Toni Morrison argued in The Origin of Others. It is easy to discriminate against strangers or make others strangers or dehumanized in order to discriminate against them.

Transformational Leadership, Inclusive Institutions and Service Provision

Leadership, given what is happening now in South Sudan, and generally in Africa, fascinates me. And it fascinates me not in a good way but because of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic ills facing the African continent and most of the so-called 'Third World.' To me, South Sudan, now, is a classic case.

Rebellion by disaffected politico-military leaders and repression by the government of South Sudan in Juba have stunted institutional development and leadership growth. This has made service provision almost irrelevant as political survival has taken primacy and supremacy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.

Author's Photo Gallery - Presentations