South Sudan Democratic Forum
March 2, 2006
The people of South Sudan are shocked by the donation of $1million dollars made by the government of South Sudan to Kenya’s National Famine kitty. The decision shocks every reasonable human being except the members of infamous “Gogrial kitchen cabinet”.
It is now clear to rational individuals that Salva Kiir is an accidental president of South Sudan who was not democratically elected. There are compelling reasons why he has failed the suffering people of the South by donating $1 million dollars to Kenya.
First of all, Kenya has the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3 billion dollars a year. It is capable of handling famine without outside help. Moreover, it is capable of asking for help from affluent Western countries to fight acute famine instead to accept donation from South Sudan.
Secondly, seventy eight people died this week from cholera caused by unclean water in greater Equatoria. In Juba, which is the capital city of the South, there are people sleeping outside without shelters and any sustenance. In addition to that, the South Sudan civil servants, including ministers of the government of South Sudan (GoSS), have no houses. It’s unfathomable that a President of the most devastated region in the world could donate a million dollar to a country that is supposed to donate to the South.
Thirdly, it’s a common knowledge to all South Sudanese, including the international community, that ten South Sudan States do not have equipments to run the administration of governance. Items like tables, chairs and pens are difficult to get due to lack of money to buy them. Last year, the South Sudan parliament passed a budget of only $35 million dollars with an assumption that the National Congress Party of President Bashir was not willing to abide by Power-sharing protocol. It’s somebody who lost touch with reality who should donate a million dollar to a foreign country, which has been independent for more four decades.
Fourthly, the SPLA men and women who fought the war for twenty two years have not been paid. The explanation for the failure to pay the SPLA has been attributed to lack of money. Yet the same South Sudan government that is crying to international community for help is donating millions of dollars to a foreign country.
The South Sudan Democratic Forum is calling on international community to take serious measures against Salva Kiir. Although the GoSS is a coalition government of many parties, the SPLM Party, which controls 70% of power, should be held accountable for such an irresponsible leadership. It’s immoral for Salva Kiir to donate money to Kenyans who are hit by drought while people are dying in South Sudan due to Cholera and lack of food. Donating a million dollar to an affluent country like Kenya is not an act of charity but unforgivable foolishness and lack of sensitivity to public suffering.
The donor nations need to be reminded by Kiir’s immoral decision and accept the fact that the SPLM leadership is immersed in corruption. “The Gogrial kitchen cabinet” that decided to donate money to Kenya was motivated by self-interest rather than an act of charity. The SPLM leaders have businesses in Kenya. Donating money to President Mwai Kibaki, who fails to curb corruption in Kenya, is a form of bribery to secure the safety of individual businesses.
The South Sudan Democratic Forum has made it clear that SPLM is not fit to government the South because its leaders are corrupt and do not have a vision to tackle abject poverty in the South. The international community needs to acknowledge that SPLM is another Fatah Movement whose program is to steal little money the international community donates to South Sudan for development. The SPLM leaders have bought villas in Nairobi with the money embezzled from international funds allocated for South Sudan recovery.
It’s high time the international community set up a corruption body that will audit South Sudan government finances every year. The donors should not just give money to South Sudan government without making sure where the money will go. Without international financial auditing, some SPLM leaders would soon become millionaires. Late Dr. Garang was paying his life insurance for fifteen years in Uganda with money stolen from international donors. It’s reported that Dr. Garang’s life insurance was worth $23 million dollars when he accidentally died. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know that the money for his life insurance came from the money given to South Sudan for relief and rehabilitation purposes. Most rebel leaders do not get salaries in the bush while fighting the government. The money for life insurance might have come from another source.
The South Sudan parliament must also investigate the allegation that the Government of National Unity (GONU) wired $100 million dollars to SPLM Party in 2005. That money was deposited in the SPLM bank account in Nairobi. Salva Kiir told South Sudan parliament in November 2005 that the central government of Sudan gave only $35 million dollars to South Sudan government. President Bashir contradicted his statement when he visited South Sudan capital, Juba.
It’s also questionable why the money of South Sudan government should be deposited in the SPLM bank account rather than South Sudan National Bank. Although the minister of Finance in Khartoum stated that South Sudan received more than $100 million, Arthur Akuen, the minister of Finance and Economy of the GoSS, has never made any public statement denying or confirming the allegation. The Democratic Forum’s investigation confirmed the allegation of Minister of Finance in Khartoum.
The South Sudan government is already engaged in corruption before its first anniversary. One needs to go to Juba to see SPLM leadership spending $200 dollars a night in Tent hotels while the government departments do not have tables and chairs to set up the ministries. As soon as the South Sudan parliament begins work this month, there is a possibility that most of SPLM leadership will face criminal charges for corruption.
It’s very sad that the people of South Sudan are fighting three enemies: poverty, corruption and lack of political leadership. If Salva Kiir thinks that South Sudan is rich enough to donate money to Kenya, there is no need for international community to donate money to South Sudan. It is mind-boggling that a beggar who cries for help from international community can also become a donor to a country which is part of a donors’ community. Kiir’s irresponsible behaviour would not only discourage donors but also calls into question his state of mind.
G. Buay Reath
Chairman of South Sudan Democratic Forum-Canada