By Dr. Sindani Sebit
The Revitalization meeting kicked off today in Addis Ababa after the ministerial conference that took place yesterday. I was impressed by the statement of the EU representative to the ministerial conference particularly on the point that the western tax-payers are beginning to ask questions on the continuous support they are giving to South Sudan for saving the lives of estimated 6 million South Sudanese who are facing starvation in the country and outside South Sudan in the refugee camps while the Government of South Sudan has run down the economy of the country. In fact, he pointed out that they are aware that the South Sudanese money is ending up in the pockets of the politicians and the military in the country.
However, let us put the facts in place. Although the oil production in South Sudan has dropped from 360,000 barrels of oil per day before the war to 200,000 barrels per day now, South Sudan is still getting enough money which could feed the people of South Sudan. Take 200,000 barrels of oil per day at price of 50 USD per barrel, this gives (200,000X50) 10,000,000 USD per day. Multiply this amount with 30 days of month (10,000,000X30=300,000,000 USD) and then with 12 months in a year (300,000,000X12=3,600,000,000), it amounts to 3.6 billion USD annually. Therefore, during the 4 years of war, the junta in Juba got 14.4 billion USD. This why the junta is always ready to continue with the war instead of solving the problem. The question is where does this money go? Instead of feeding the hungry people of South Sudan, the dictatorial government has been using this money to acquire weapons that they are using to kill, maim and displacing the civil people creating the worse humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
I do not understand why it took the western tax-payers nearly 4 years to begin asking questions about the economy of South Sudan now while their governments for all these years of war have been allowing the government to use these resources to persecute its people. It appears to me the western governments have been complicit to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan because they condoned the government of South Sudan’s policy of diverting the national resources to acquire arms that it has used against people.
Apparently the humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are appealing for 1.7 billion USD from the same Western tax-payers to continue to address the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan yet the South Sudan money from the sale of the 200,000 barrels of oil could be used to address the catastrophe. During the Iraq war, the collusion countries decided that funds from the sale of Iraq oil would be used to fund the humanitarian situation in Iraq. As such all funds coming from the sale of Iraq oil were diverted into a consolidated account overseas. These funds were used for feeding the people of Iraq and for the reconstruction of the country after the war. This policy had two major effects. First it denied the dictatorial government of Iraq the funds that it could use to procure more weapons to persecute the war. Secondly, the funds were used to solve the humanitarian crisis without causing strain on western tax-payers.
If this policy was done in Iraq and it proved to be successful, why is that it cannot be used in South Sudan. The government in Juba must be denied the resources to continue destroying its own people. Secondly the suffering people of South Sudan must be saved by using their own resources which are now be exploited by a clique in juba to sustain itself in power. I think time has come during this revitalization process to tell South Sudan Government frankly that if they do not stop the war, then the international community that is bearing the brunt of the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan have the legal and legitimate right to take over the sale of the oil for the purpose of responding to the humanitarian crisis. Certainly I would like to see South Sudanese share in their resources instead of been feed by the international community as if the country has no resources. The ball is the court of the TROIKA and IGAD to take bold decisions now to use the South Sudan resources for solving a South Sudan problem. We will keep seized to what is happening in Addis Ababa. God bless the suffering people of South Sudan.
Views expressed in this opinion are not necessarily AFTABOSS’s.