CONFUSION

By: Zalson Khor

When the evidence of what sparked off the 2013 unraveling was buried under the rubble of Qiada military Barracks, South Sudan’s Orwellian moments of reckoning already arrived a little earlier hidden in plain hypocrisy of a shoddy unity of convenience. The 16th Dec simply threw the lit open and unmasked the truth of the analogous animal farm that we are in today.

Not that many people bought into the Khartoum cynical view that we could not govern ourselves, but their insistence makes it impossible to ignore the possibility. In just two fateful years of independence, South Sudan ascended to the roof of the world as the most dangerous place on earth. What went wrong?

Freedom

It is difficult to measure actual freedom while suppressing civil liberties…a conjoint twin South Sudanese risked everything long before the oppressor learned of it. Generation after generation confronted fortified garrisons bare-handed in pursuit of liberation and to fundamentally change the whole Sudan to make it work for everybody. Call it a moon mission we are familiar with: if you can’t reach the moon but end up somewhere in the sky, it is still high. Besides, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
So, we came back victorious and planted a flag on South Sudan soil. That’s freedom.
What went wrong

Liberty

Absent in the locus of our great revolution is liberty: freedom of speech, of expression, of association and the right to life, to security, to choose how to be governed. Once the free speech advocates trying to warn their country that we are walking in the footsteps of the old regime were preyed on and struck down by the one they considered has their backs, the known unknown, helplessness, fear, disbelief, bitterness and uncertainty blanketed the entire land. The citizens we were once repeatedly told formed a bedrock of our struggle have no say whatsoever in their own country, or they face reprisal. The government meanwhile, has taken their silent for granted: the fact that they don’t complain is not because they have nothing to complain about, they have nobody to complain to. A country committed to the ideal of a free state is apparently in dereliction of it.
So what went wrong?

Government

Easy said than done is a tired cliche only if it wasn’t the best illustration depicting the hubris we were fed at the dawn of independence day by the brand new government of our own. Our struggle, just to remind the starters, wasn’t against any particular race, just like we shouldn’t zero in on any particular tribe today, but against successive governments of the time that lost both moral and political trust of the nation. Looking back in retrospect, the government of, for and by the people then promised is far from reaching, another reason why many rightly continue the wild goose chase.

South Sudanese never gave up everything for a ‘pie in the sky’ promises, they knew their country is wealthier than often portrayed. Instead, they got a government with no memorable program well tailored to satisfy the needs of the people. Too bloated in the Playlist, but slim in action thereby rendering it its first inability to move a step outside the comfortable confines of the capital to share their plight.
And we cannot blame Khartoum with such a straight face for our own missteps and failings 14 years later because the Jackboot is now on the other foot.
Just asking what went wrong.

Leadership

Ignore the semantics, South Sudan ex-officios want to equate leadership to mean president Kiir alone and pray we don’t notice. Fact is, they all owned it, square and simple. Hold on for now, let’s put aside the “ it is, no it isn’t” argument, it doesn’t matter, but if it is, we shall come to that later.
So, regardless of which side of the political divide one belongs, allow the civic comity dictates on a few things :

President Kiir spectacular failure is not about senility and education cards most of his friends slap in his face quite often. South Sudanese have no problem with that, besides, he dedicated his youthful fime fighting the good cause. For the former, he is probably at par or younger than successful Donald Trump and his closest rivals hellbent to oust him in November 2nd US elections next year if he survives the ongoing impeachment onslaught. And for the latter, despite his bizarre “inu” syntax, he expresses himself better than those other African leaders that shall remain nameless. But let’s face it, he dared renown PhDs {some pompous} from putting up a formidable opposition against him, double-checked others except one and forced their hand to doubletalk on numerous occasions. Funny!
If that sounds like a support, that would be a retail politics I am happy to disengage.

Larger point is. While the president bears huge responsibility for the unfulfilled promises and other ills affecting people of South Sudan, we are calling upon those acting brand new to swallow the bitterness of their collective guilt and join hands with South Sudanese tired of shenanigans of the past years and start a new.

So what really went wrong.
A Lot of people I respect decry dictatorship today and I have no ground to look weirdo or overtly sound unhinged if I don’t. Problem is,dictators are result-oriented and this particular president is a rare of a kind with less and less appetite for it. Amin Dada had no house in the United States, but Uganda has an entire building as embassy, while South Sudan is closing its embassies around the globe. The more I scan right through it, draw a parallel between dictatorship and leisure-Faire, the more and more leisure-faire leadership come to view.
Let me explain.

The president abdicated his rightful seat in the center longtime ago, absorbed in the partisan camp, abandoned his own constituency along with their counsel and took a back seat, leaving in his wake all sorts of power-hungry traditional elites who need state power for all sorts of reasons to fill in the void. As may have noted too, had refused to show the most cursory interest to governan let alone lead. An idea the proponents of minimum supervision praised as refraining from micromanaging everyone. Fair enough.

But the truth be told nevertheless. This is a leisure-Faire leadership at its best. Very few leaders will cry wolf when senior officials are decreed in and out in their name, or remain less curious when they realized some people “ shake when they see money “ and clearly can’t afford to look-on when they discovered years later that a multimillion dollar road project cutting at the heart of a country to serve millions more of our people in Bahr El Gazhal never existed.

Some commentators concluded that the government heaved all the dirt on non elective employees as a way of escaping angry citizens asking why the project stalled. No. Have faith in our elected officials. Someone, I imagine, walked to the central bank, collected the money, followed by a telephone call shortly afterward from I don’t know how higher, that something important just cropped up, so the road can wait . It’s all by the book. See, nothing tricky.

True, non has been charged for anything so far, much less investigated for any of these acts because who cares, they did nothing wrong. Non had challenged the leaders and non opined on the internet—- a high crime. They just rip off morsels from the poor mouths for which we are all accustomed to.

And how remarkable a day can make! A lifelong example of prudence stands accused of violation. A “Once upon a time” South Sudanese Joshua turned Jacobin and lost his shine. A prospect of unity now represents everything adrift.
What went wrong.

Conclusion

Although Africa’s youngest was
born in abundance, it lacks bold foresight leadership, and therefore should wait for the dividends of independence and it’s what went wearily wrong from the beginning.
Therefore, I strongly encourage African longest serving leaders to try this. Now that Mandela is far-fetched, the horror of Muammar still shocks, Mugabe seems the only emergency door available…the last train leaving the station.

Footnote
Mandela{left willingly} , Moumer{forced out} and Mugabe {deal}.

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