Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vetting and Verification (V &V) Should Always be Upheld with Pious Passion


When President Kiir fired his entire cabinet and appointed a new one in July of 2013, many of us thought it was the advent of a new era of accountability. Sadly, as the subsequent series of events would prove, it was actually the advent of a gloomy era of serious flood of errors. Even for some of us who knew that Mr. Kiir was already an incapable leader as early as 2005, we didn’t know his incompetence would be this destructive and eternally damning. As he metaphorically and fatefully said when he assumed power after the demise of late Garang, the country is running with no ‘reverse gear.’ So it is easy to see why there is no stop to killings, meaningless decrees, economic deterioration, and political intimidation.
But when the cabinet was initially named, a semblance of a democratic process was exercised with a nominal ‘vetting’ of the ministers. There was even a rejection of one of the president’s nominees. South Sudanese therefore thought the dawn of democracy was in the air. However, the acrimonious vetting process of Telar Ring Deng for Justice Minister soon revealed something sinister. Mr. Telar was the only one actually vetted as the rest of the cabinet wasn’t seriously vetted. Telar’s rejection was later understood to be ‘revenge’ as he was seen to be the power behind the president’s decisions.

Our democratic utopia was therefore dashed. The process was even aggravated when the president warned the parliament after they expressed desire to subject the president’s nominees for the speaker of legislative assembly and Vice Presidency, to scrutiny. The president warned parliament that there’d be consequences if they reject his nominees. It was the classic African preference of personality cult as opposed to democratic or parliamentary principles.
While the president found it easy, or even necessary to do away with the vetting process to bolster his hold on the presidency and power, he can now see that the chicken are coming home to roost.

The constant defection of the likes of Peter Gatdet and Johnson Oliny is a result of not following due process in the institution of any given policy proposals. The incorporation of militia into the national army needs to be done in a manner that reduces any chance of such rebellion-prone folks to rebel. A government, or even the army, can’t just make decisions because they feel they are necessary at the time. Long-term effects have to be put into consideration before any decision is made.
We all know South Sudan has become a totalitarian regime that has copied Khartoum’s theocratic totalitarianism letter by letter and word by word. The political atmosphere is stifling in Juba and any political opposition is treated with pious brutality. There are people who are in government’s controlled areas but they disapprove of the government. They just don’t see rebellion as a solution to the problems in South Sudan.

However, the government doesn’t take it seriously that the more they stifle the political breathing space in South Sudan, the more they drive the disgruntled minds toward rebellion. The SPLA and National Security Agents arrest people anyhow and detain them without any due process of the law. Ateny Wek, the presidential spokesperson, argues that the president doesn’t order such arrests. If the president doesn’t order such arrests then who has the authority to do so? Without doubt, we know such arrests are unconstitutional, so why doesn’t the president stop such arrests given the facts that he’s the guardian of the constitution, ideally speaking?

The government brags about having been elected; that it is a democratically elected leadership. However, the president doesn’t explain to the people—who gave him the mandate to rule—the logic behind some of the decisions he makes. He breaks constitutional provisions and finds it unnecessary to explain to the people the reason why. In what nation on earth, even dictatorial ones, does a president select the leadership and board members of the supposedly independent bodies such as media authority? Media authority is supposed to be an independent body that employs people of merit by subjecting them to credential assessment in their hiring process.
Doesn’t the president have something to do, something presidential? It has come to the point in which the president is going to pass decrees employing janitors for his office and the parliament. This president has either been reduced to this level by those who’d want to see him destroyed; or he’s reduced himself to his level through incompetence. Either way, the president needs to wake up and salvage what’s left of his legacy. The failed Nigerian former president, Goodluck E. Jonathan, salvaged his legacy in the last minute. He’s going to be remembered for having conceded election loss and for having peacefully handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, rather than through his failures.

It’s time for President Kiir and Riek Machar to realize that time is up for them and that the leadership needs to go to a different, younger class of South Sudanese leadership.
It’s high for the leadership in South Sudan to subject policies to verification and stern vetting mechanics. We know with certainty that cabinet ministers contradict each other day in day out because of lack of systematized verification process.  Ministers have to consult one another before they go public in order not to reflect the government as confused and incompetent. The minister of foreign information says one thing but he’s soon contradicted by either the minister of foreign affairs or presidential spokesperson.
Transparency, information verification, respect for human rights and respect for democratic ideals have never harmed any civilians or leadership.

Kuir ë Garang is the author of “South Sudan Ideologically.” For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info
 

ON CULTURAL IDENTITY & BELONGING

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.

TOLERANCE & INCLUSION


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.