South Sudan risks being a failed-state before its second anniversary By TREVOR ANALO | Monday, July 9 2012 at 08:19
What’s remarkable about secession movements, revolutions and coups d’ etat in Africa is not how many they are, but how small their impact is on the average citizen.
They are usually staged in the name of democracy, freedom and social justice, but they seldom accomplish either.
Africa’s first generation of nationalist leaders swiftly consolidated power after the independence honeymoon was over, crumbling the artificial foundations of democracy built by the Europeans.
The presidents personified the state; to the masses they were the elect of God yet these men were a little more than clerks with guns. Their cronies and families were a little more than white collar thieves.
Overseeing everything from poaching of colobus monkeys to stashing billions of pilfered funds in Western banks. Julius Nyerere – the conscience of Africa, observed that these so-called revolutionaries spoke as though, if given the opportunity to run matters of state, they would quickly establish utopias.
Instead, they gave their people hell: Famine, death, civil wars, corruption, injustice, political repression and tyranny.
Reflecting on South Sudan’s progress as they celebrate their first independence anniversary, it is worrying that the leadership has deliberately chosen to learn from Africa’s treatise on how to govern.
The country is a microcosm of the past African independence movements that detoured from their pledges to the people.
A year after independence South Sudan presents a typical African political script; it has gone to war with its northern neighbour over border disputes,
billions of dollars have been pilfered by politicians, the safety valve of public expression is slowly being closed and hundreds have died from tribal skirmishes.
The ruling party and the president are taking advantage of the prestige and high honour they enjoy because of their role in the liberation, to consolidate power and mould a system of personal rule and cultism.
It is a sacred duty to unite behind the party and its leadership. One is branded a traitor by the public for expressing alternative views from the government’s narrative.
You know South Sudan is the most screwed-up place on earth when 75 government officials pilfer $4 billion, and the president writes a letter to these white collar thieves begging them to return the money.
They spend $4 billion buying their children Chryslers and Hummers to cruise on Nairobi’s highways, when South Sudan has less than 100 km of paved road.
Their spoilt brats live and party senseless in Kenya’s suburbs when more than 80 per cent of the South Sudanese people live in tukulus (mud-and-thatched homes) and have no access to toilet facilities.
The priorities of those running matters of state are confused. What they seek is not national development but personal prestige and grandiose.
Sadly, chances are SPLM might end up being just another of Africa’s independence movements that had no meaningful impact on the average citizen’s life.
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