Articles and Analysies
CPA Adjustment and Quest for Southern Sudan Development *By James Okuk
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Feb 21, 2008 - 10:01:57 AM

CPA Adjustment and Quest for Southern Sudan Development

* By James Okuk

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Secretary-General, H.E. Pagan Amum affirmed in an interview with Sudan TV on Tuesday 19, 2008 that SPLM will be ready to adjust the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) if that can lead to resolution of the problem of Darfur . This is good on the basis of sympathy but it is risky on the perspective of political interest, especially if it is going to change the current dividend shares of Southern Sudan . The CPA clearly stipulates that wealth and power in the Sudan should be shared fairly as a way of combating marginalization and injustice, which has ignited the longest full fledged civil war in Africa with the adverse effects of deterioration of dignified livelihood for so many citizens. Unfortunately, this is not being translated into hard facts, so far so bad, because of shift of the same unfortunate practices from one guard to another.

1. Adjustment should not affect Southern Sudan

If at all there is any adjustment in wealth and power sharing percentages for the sake of accommodating the marginalized people of Darfur in governmental institutions and privileges; it should be from the 70% of Northern Sudan and not at all from the 30% of the South – Darfur is part of Northern Sudan and its share should be taken from the percentage of Northern Sudan. This deduction will relieve the minority parties in the Presidency, the National Parliament (including the Council of States)and the National Council of Ministers from tyranny of the majority National Congress Party (NCP) in the democratic decision-making mechanism. But that adjustment should never touch the right of self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan , which is preserved for practice in 2011 with the possible outcome of secession of South Sudan as an independent African state. That possible adjustment should not also touch the independent status of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) because it is the only hope and last resort for the protection of the final right of Southerners at the end of the CPA age. If the SPLM SG moves in this direction then Southerners will support his initiative, but if not, then he will find himself alone with a red card on his politics of sacrificing Southern Sudan interests to please non-southerners in the Republic of the Sudan and beyond.

2. SPLM/GoSS has not done More Development than Previous Governments:

When asked whether Southern Sudan faces setbacks in development under the current SPLM controlled Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), some insincere SPLM leaders and politicians shamelessly says the South is far more better now that it was under the past governments for fifty years. This justification is an imagination more than a fact; it sounds like Squealer argument in the fictional political satire of Animal Farm, which deters the people from the possibility of Mr. Jones coming back to re-oppress them if they defy the orders of the new leaders. It is also like the excitement of a dull student (on the day of announcement of exams results) who tells his friends: “Look! I am proud because I am the best of the lasts in my class!” But the underdeveloped people of Southern Sudan do not want comparison in failures; they are interested in comparison in successes in the pursuit for development. One of them has commented in website that SPLM is a party that has failed. This is excerpt of what he wrote: “Some of us care less about the in-fighting of a party that has FAILED in delivering the promises of "liberation" to our oppressed masses. While they point crooked fingers at each other, our south groans under the weight of their ineptitude, corruption, thuggery, and political prostitution… he couldn't see the institutionalized failures of the SPLM; he couldn't see the mammoth corruption in the system; he could not see the visible lack of direction and vision in the SPLM/A. Someone spare me the Garang's vision rhetoric!.... He who thinks that there is honor among thieves must be a fool indeed… Perhaps we'll reach the point where the thieves hiding behind "His Excellencies" are revealed for what they actually are.”

What has been achieved by the SPLM in Southern Sudan under the GoSS governance in the last three years is not more than what has been achieved by the successive governments who ruled Sudan since the independence from the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Rule. This is a fact and not a propaganda imagination. To give few examples, the current GoSS offices and offices of governments of Southern Sudan states have not been built by GoSS; they were there before GoSS took over. The current residents of Mr. President of GoSS, the Advisors and Ministers of the GoSS, and other top officials of the GoSS and SPLA were built by the past governments. That is to say, most of the infrastructure (even if poor) that is available in Southern Sudan now has been built by previous governments, except the private ones like the Home and Away Hotel and other hotels and bars in Juba and other parts of Southern Sudan that have been built by some corrupt SPLM cadres and their accomplices.

It is a virtue to be sincere in relating facts! Southerners in this critical moment will not benefit from Machiavellian political rhetoric where a lie and treachery is considered as a good value when it keeps a leader and his regime in power even by evil means. Southerners will only benefit from Aristotelian and Platonic politics where truth and dedicated hard work is the only right value for governance, and where perfidy and inefficiency are discarded as intolerable vices. It should be sincerely said that what the SPLM/GoSS has achieved so far is very scanty compared to what has been expected to be achieved under its leadership in three years of the CPA life. The present let-down of the people of Southern Sudan (in term of development) by the SPLM/GoSS should not be diverted and scapegoated to the past record of previous governments. Those governments are gone (though some of their hangovers are still available) but it is the SPLM/GoSS which is there now to develop Southern Sudan . Here I tend to agree with one of the concerned Southerners in Gurtong website who wrote on February 15, 2008 : “It is too easy to blame the NCP or the “Jellabas” for our failures or in order to hide our weaknesses…This is the culture of passing the buck. It is like hiding our heads in the sand. This does not change the reality a little bit. Yes, the NCP bears responsibility for some of the gaps and lapses but not all. Let us stop beating around the bush and hold the bull from its horns….

3. Wrong Start has affected the Quest of Development in Southern Sudan :

It is known that the wrong start and money embezzling in the SPLM/GoSS from day one of their control of the South is what is haunting the quest for development in Southern Sudan up to this moment. This is to confirm Barack Obama’s wisdom of “it is good to be right from day one”, which is making him to defeat Hillary Clinton in US presidential election preliminaries because of her wrong start for accepting the unfortunate invasion of Iraq. SPLM/GoSS was wrong on day one in the fight against poverty through decentralized development dividends stipulated in the CPA and the interim constitutions. Late CPA hero and Boss of the SPLM/A, Dr. John Garanag de Mabior was said to have wrongly rushed to reward himself and some of his beloved commanders with huge sum of dollars in the early down of the CPA implementation takeoff. He should have first rightly rewarded the common people of Southern Sudan with quality schools, hospitals, health centres, highways, modern agricultural machines, etc., (rightly outlined in the SPLM Strategic Framework for War-to-Peace Transition of 2004) as a thank and return for their unwavering support for the SPLM/A during the hard times of the struggle. Right away from their tenure in the public institutions of GoSS, SPLM insensitively went for luxurious expensive cars (with inflated receipts) for the ministers and party top leaders. The price of one of these cars could have built a concrete eight class rooms for primary school in each of the poor counties of Southern Sudan . Not only that, but also their daily expenditures of accommodations in the expensive hotels in Juba and Rumbek could have built the capacity of so many teachers and health workers, if not doctors and professors to contribute to qualitative development of Southern Sudan. Individuals, student unions, associations and civil society organizations were given assistances from GoSS budget as if it was a relief grant; money which could have help to build public infrastructure rather than individuals or groups gains. The common people within and around Juba are also regretting that the town has turn out to be unbearably the most expensive in the Sudan .

As a result of these anomalies, so far so bad, the SPLM has not managed to take even a single town to a village in Southern Sudan as visioned by Dr. Garang that the New Sudan will witness a reverse in development paradigms; it will take towns to rural areas to make decentralization of government goods and services pragmatic/accessible for the marginalized who have never witnessed a tarmac road since the creation of Adam and Eve.

4. It is destructive to be a Statesperson and a Businessperson at the Same Time:

Up to now many of the SPLM politicians are more of businesspersons than statespersons while it is prohibited by the constitution; they are not becoming different from many NCP politicians and statespersons! And you can tell the regrettable consequences when the statesmanship is mingled with ‘businessmanship’ and vice versa – the public money and assets get diverted and disappearing into private savings and properties – what is called corruption in one word. This is what a truth-revering Southerner wrote in Sudan Tribune website, posted in February 19, 2008: “If the breakwater sea wall around South, and the road pavement in South, and all government schools built in South and hospitals in all ten states, and the construction, and most government sponsored scholarships, are either grants or loans from foreign countries, where did the government invest all the money. It is as if the Southern income was an effervescent substance.” I am grieved that Southern Sudan is crying for help in spite of its blessedness in natural resources but do its current leaders hear its voice! A lament for a missed leadership for good governance!

5. Though Disappointed there is still room for improvement:

To admit one’s fault is not a crime/sin though it is a shame. SPLM/GoSS should be proud to admit their own faults because people do forgive and even forget the wrong done to them if confessed without crocodile tears. SPLM/GoSS should admit and get determined not to abuse public rights anymore and then Southern Sudan can catch up in development process. Sincere self-evaluation is a virtuous strength that can lead to sustainable development, progress and prosperity. It is good to be a brilliant public orator, but the aim should not be turning black into white more than giving a new outlook to improved living standard of the people. Wherein there is political will to change for better thereto there is hope for the best in the development quest and commitment to achievements (short-term, middle-term or long-term). It is not too late for Southern Sudan to get dignified in development!

* James Okuk is Sudanese from Southern part pursuing PhD in the field of political philosophy in University of Nairobi . He can be reached at: [email protected]


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