THE DEBATE – SOUTH SUDAN: THE DEVALUATION POLICY WAS JUST PREMATURE!

Written by Deng S. Elijah

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A currency circulated as a Sudanese Pound(Photo: file)

Nov 19, 2013(Nyamilepedia) – The current debate on South Sudan’s devaluation policy is taking a new turn. The August House, in the present of the Central Bank Governor suspended the devaluation policy on Friday, giving the governor the weekend to prepare his report. I believe the ordinary citizens would benefit if more laymen, like these politicians and myself join the debate, and if someone (BoSS) exists out there to strategically analyze these reports.

The fact that the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has objected the decision does not necessarily means that the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) went entirely astray. It could mean that these honorables were just overwhelmed by the rampant premature decisions flooding the country. Or out of availability heuristic, the parliamentarians were forced to believe that the decision was intolerable because of the short-term shocks such as shortage of oil and inflation, which floated the economy before the news report was even concluded on SSTV. From the emotional reaction in the NLA, one would be forced to conclude that the NLA were, perhaps, convinced to have spared the governor. As some were speaking, others were stamping their feet, yet others were either standing yelling or shouting at the top of their lungs. Perhaps this volatility is what led to Monday’s adjournment.  This seems to validate the allegation that the former BoSS governor, Elijah Malok, who was removed one month after the independent of South Sudan by the president Salva Kiir, was decreed because of a slide slip of South Sudanese Pound (SSP).

The decision was neither wrong nor right but premature. It would beg a question to conclude that the decision was entirely wrong because the SSP will depreciate and will be devalued sooner or later. It would also be a fallacy to conclude that the decision was right without cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and without convincing the NLA, which runs the politics of the state. Mr. Biar Ajak has well argued against the notion of data as Mr. Chol Kuch argued in its favor, however, I’m convinced that the data Mr. Biar is referring to is the same data I will be referring to in this article. Although this information exists on the Internet, neither of the organs of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP) nor the BoSS, made an effort to carry out a CBA or utilitarian calculus. It is an economic shock, per se, to see the Central Bank Governor addressing the NLA without, even a single page, summary of this breathtaking policy. To make it worse, the finance minister didn’t even have the guts to show up for the Friday’s briefing. How dare?

Before I proceed, by making the above conclusions, I’m not, by any mean infringing the autonomy of the Central Bank nor am I recommending the CBA for every economic analysis! Furthermore, I’m convinced to acknowledge that I agree with most views raised by my senior analysts Mr. Chol Kuch Chol-Mang’aai and Mr. Peter Biar Ajak in their respective analyses, and therefore, I recommend you read these articles, if you haven’t, because they may complement some parts of this article. Also worth mentioning, I found it interesting that it’s hard to disagree with either of these analysts, entirely, without agreeing with the other. For example, I couldn’t disagree with Mr. Chol until I read his analysis on the balance of trade and some components of inflation, which obliged me to revisit and agree more with Mr. Biar on trade. So, I’m obliged to respond, however, I won’t spare you from interpreting boring statistical data and lengthy reading because this is where we agree and disagree.

The South Sudan’s economic level: South Sudan is, most often, reported as one of the poorest countries in the world; however, such a story is incomplete. The country has abundant resources, including vast oils reserves and one of the most fertile arable soils in the African continent. In Eastern African region, comprising of six other countries: Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, South Sudan’s nominal GDP is ranked fifth (out of the seven) with USD 13,227. Its GDP per capita is ranked first among the seven Eastern African countries, with average of 1625.0 USD.  Globally, South Sudan’s GDP is ranked as 110th, and her GDP per capita comes as 154th out of 193 countries in the world, which is equivalent to 17 percent of the world’s average.   Approximated by the Gini index, South Sudan comes 35th of all countries with a coefficient of 46, which comes very close to Rwanda’s ranking, 33rd, with a coefficient of 46.8

In term of GDP per capita, South Sudan has better economic standards than any other East African country. Given that most of these countries gained independent in earliest 1960s, South Sudan is expected to see economic prosperity in the region, if the country gets stable and if the right monetary and fiscal policies are put in place.

Internally, majority of the country’s population has very little access to the income from oil revenue. An estimate of about 82 percent of the population resides in rural areas, and 49.4 percent lives below the poverty line. Due to poor and inaccessible infrastructure this rural population is disconnected – forming an economic block of its own – from the urban ones.  For this reason, we would assume that only a small percentage would be frustrated, ceteris paribus, if this management policy devastates the economy. In other words, many sectors would remain primitive as currently are, however, the rural poor who depends on agricultural products would be least affected, holding other factors constant. And if the opposite holds, then development would stimulate all sectors and everyone would be better off.

South Sudan Foreign Exchange Rate Regime (background): After the independent, South Sudan adopted SSP and within a few weeks (between July 18 and September 1st) converted SDG 1.771 billions out of the SDG 2.1 billions that was in circulation in South Sudan into its own currency, SSP. This was exchanged at a rate of 1:1. By December 11, the Central Bank declared to peg the SSP to the U.S. dollar. It was later recalled that such a move would affect the South Sudan’s exchange rate with its oil-exporting partners such as China, Singapore and Malaysia. For this reason the BoSS resort to adopt an exchange rate regime that is managed within a band. To manage depreciation of SSP to foreign currencies (mainly U.S. dollar), South Sudan started using the floating exchange rate regime, within a band, from September 2011. From 2011 to mid November 2013, SSP has been floated within a band, between 2.9 and 3.3 against 1 U.S. dollar. The SSP has been depreciating sharply due to the low foreign reserves, especially U.S. dollar, in the country. In the black market, 1 U.S. dollar has been traded at over 4 South Sudanese pound. This is one of the factors that necessitated the BoSS to take its current measures to devaluate the SSP. However, it begs a question whether this devaluation would really eliminate the parallel exchange rate in the country.

The SSP could have further depreciated, however, the Central Bank has been injecting foreign currencies (e.g. U.S. dollar) into the market. To meet the increase demand of USD in the market, the BoSS increased its weekly money supply from USD 100 million weekly in October 2011 to USD 200 million weekly in 2012. This measure was rational because it controls inflation.  It was also necessary due to speculators who buys and hold the foreign currency, to only sell them when the profit margin is higher.

TRADE: South Sudan’s exports are expected to be very close to the amount of oil generated, which yields a proximately USD 2.0 billion per year. Imports, although we lack the latest data, would amount to an equivalent of just over USD 500 millions from Kenya and Uganda. In 2009, for example, South Sudan’s imports from Uganda, alone, amounted to USD 184.6 millions whereas imports from Kenya amounted to USD 144.5 millions. These amounts have significantly increased in the last two years, as South Sudan opens borders, with hopes to join the East Africa trade block.

Using a simple utilitarianism calculus to determine the net balance of trade, South Sudan would be better off because it exports more than it imports. Mr. Chol made the contrary conclusion here because he didn’t consider oil sector in his trade analysis. According to SSNBS, the balance of trade was a surplus of 20453.89 million SPD in 2011. If we consider only this information, and the fact that devaluation favors exports in the expense of hurting the imports, then we would, without constraint, support devaluation of SSP. But practically, devaluation makes South Sudan worse off for two reasons: (1) the country’s main export commodity is oil and (2) South Sudan is a small country to influence the world prices.

Currently, the export sector is dominated by one commodity, oil. However, South Sudan, which produces 240,00bpd, is considered a small country in relation to the rest of her trading partners. For this reason its devaluation would be insignificant to influence world oil prices. Whether as a member of OPEC or as an independent exporter, and despite that oil prices would be rising due to inflation back home, South Sudan will continue to export oil at the same prices. For this reason the net balance of trade would shrink because the export revenue will remain constant when the imports would be increasing, both in short and medium term.  Also, it is unreasonable to expect the oil prices to drop when transport cost through Port Sudan remains expensive.

Moreover, South Sudan’s oil production is soon expected to reach its peak at 527,000 bpd. According to 2011 predictions (when oil was produced at 490,000 bpd) production was expected to reach its peak in 2012, but was instead shutdown. If the contrary weren’t the case, oil production would have sharply declined from 2015. For this reason, South Sudan would be worse off in the medium run, whether in 5 or 10 years, assuming the imports remains constant.  Therefore, the BoSS has to seek alternatives.

Non-oil sectors: Currently the non-oil sectors are developing gradually. According to the current statistics, non-oil sectors contribute less than 2 percent to the total revenue; however, these sectors show promising potentials to grow. At the current growth rate, devaluation, by itself, won’t stimulate these sectors to help the economy from collapsing after the oil decline. On the other hand, if we consider devaluation as a tool to reduce imports, and if such theory holds in the long run (maybe 50 years), then the country would benefit from the non-oil sectors such as agriculture and tourism. Out of the 644,329 square kilometer 37 percentage is arable land but only 4 percent of this portion is currently cultivated and mainly for livelihood. The country also has an estimate of between 10 to 20 million heads of cattle and large herds of wildlife. If these, among other sectors, are developed in the long run and imports are limited, then devaluation would be a good policy. In sum, the main factor to consider here would be the timing of devaluation.

Direct Foreign Investment: Direct foreign investment in South Sudan has been hampered by insecurity, poor infrastructure, corruptions and many other variables.  From civil wars to tribal conflicts and rebellions, South Sudan has ever been that stable to attract foreign investments, except the greedy ones who want to seize the opportunities. However, we could hold these factors constant and only consider devaluation, but still the decision is self-defeating. Raising the SSP from its current band hurts the investors: it becomes expensive to invest in the country and also creates uncertainty.  Nevertheless, this decision could spark similar decisions in parallel markets or even leads to contagion, in the worse case.  So, foreign investors are likely to divert their capitals to more economically stable countries.

Monetary and Fiscal Policy: The country’s financial policies, managed by the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) have been defective over the last few years.  The main malfunctions within the financial systems are attributed to the corruption from within the central bank, dependent on the oil revenues and high inflation rates. To stabilize the economy, these setbacks have to be resolved. The BoSS has worked tirelessly in the last few years, to overcome some of these challenges. For example (back in the good days of October 2011) 20 members of the central bankers were arrested over corruption cases, involving illegal dealings of foreign currency. The Central Bank did also increase its weekly money supply. These are reasonable management practices to eradicate corruption and to reduce inflation. But this did not completely solve the problems. The SSP continued to depreciate and was traded in the parallel markets at a rate much higher than the official rates.

The BoSS has struggled to derail the black market, until this week, when it seems to be loosing the fight. This devaluation, if not politically motivated, which seems not to be the case, then it was definitely an attempt to eliminate the parallel markets and not necessary to stabilized prices as argued on Sudan Tribune. This is a loose policy because there were better policies, such as the ones mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. In fact the central bank has successfully reduced the inflation from as high as 79.5 percent, in May 2012, to as low as -11.0 percent in June 2013. Although the margin between the official rate and parallel rate was still high, the BoSS would have reduced the margin by eradicating corruption within the Central Bank. As many analysts are convinced that those who have connections to the central bank, especially the politicians, are the ones feeding the black market, the BoSS would have closed all these windows and continue supporting the commercial banks.  This would have been an efficient way to eliminate the parallel markets, without devaluating the currency. Devaluating the currency in this regard is unreasonable management practice and a lost to fighting political influence and the black market. The politicians, the BoSS’ corrupt officials and the parallel markets, who are suppose to be the main victims of this policy, would find ways to circumvent the devaluation and the BoSS would be at odd. The circumvention could mean more corruption, further depreciation and inflation or whatever pays the lost. Furthermore, devaluation is almost irreversible, and so undesirable.

Inflation revisited: In September 2013, the inflation rate stands at -7.20 percent. Given that devaluating the SSP by over 40 percent could spark similar rate of inflation, the country’s inflation was going to be settled around 35 percent in the short run. Although developed countries like Canada regulate their inflation rate around 1.1 percent, averaging to 3.2 percent; a rate of 30 percent was not going to scare the South Sudanese enough. Compared to 65.55 of January 2012 (sparked by the oil shutdown and border crisis) or 79.95 percent of May 2012 (sparked by the Heglig war), this inflation rate could be tolerated in the short run, however, as political atmosphere keep boiling, the economic situation may get worse. The devaluation in this sense creates uncertainty and so could have only been adopted as a last resort.

Alternatives to devaluation: As discussed in some parts of this article and by Mr. Chol Kuch in his article other mechanisms could have been adopted instead. For example the central bank could continue injecting more foreign currencies into the market, supporting commercial banks, fighting corruption within the BoSS, fighting the parallel markets, supporting non-oil sectors and conducting more profound research. Like Mr. Biar, I believe eliminating the black market through the commercial banks would be more effective than fighting it through government interventions or any other non-market regulations. Instead of devaluation, the Central Bank could conduct open market operations or provides overnight rates to commercial banks, assuming that corruption is eradicated or minimal. For more information, please visits:

References

  1. Chol Kuch Chol-Mang’aai:
  2. Peter Biar Ajak –Part  1:
  3. Peter Biar Ajak – part 2:
  4. Trading economics:
  5. Ichisaka, Kohei, 2012, The Monetary and Fiscal Policy of South Sudan: Analysis of a Newly Independent Oil-exporting country.

South Sudan Crisis and the Future Shortcomings!

“But having labored for years to nurture democracy in South Sudan, the White House is loath to turn against it. “They’re very worried that they’re going to have to do a major policy shift,” said Sarah Margon, the acting Washington director of Human Rights Watch. “They’re trying to figure out how to balance a very tricky situation in a way that doesn’t end up being a major fail for them.”” Diplomatic Memo, The New York Time

By Deng S. Elijah

A South Sudan rebel fighter, battling the government of South Sudan in Upper Nile Region(Photo: file)

August 2, 2013 (Nyamilepedia) — Since the days of Britain there has always been hopes that South Sudan would one day be independent; independent from atrocities, marginalization, dictatorial regimes, Sharia and everything that the “first class” imposed against the wills of the African Sudanese. After a series of struggles, South Sudan gained independent in 2011, which was vigorously celebrated as a sign of the better days that were eagerly anticipated.  But South Sudan is not yet independent.

Within the last two years, although the country is theoretically independent, the death toll has hit very high for an independent state, more rebellions, more ethnic cleansing, more foreign interventions, horrible mistakes within the government, rough’-and-tumble autocracy, corruption and untold tokens of a “failed” state. Surprisingly, South Sudanese still celebrate and maintain those hopes that, surely, the better days are yet to come.

Although the better days would come, South Sudanese should wonder how long would they anticipate these magical days when tribalism is the only traded commodity? How would the South Sudanese achieve these hopes? Patience pays, but is always guaranteed? The ten million population should sit down to find N, the numbers of years!

The South Sudanese intellectuals and leaders must optimize these scarce hopes and dreams to build a democratic society that is inclusive of every child’s dream otherwise the current populace aspirations, which are likely to fade, are potentially constructive and can as well be destructive. Thus, should be wisely materialized. These joyrides are the only mechanisms that currently unite a nation that has heavily invested powers in ethnic frontiers, quasi-federalism and illiberal democracy. As learned from her own history, South Sudan’s unity has always been short-lived due to greed for power, lack of equitability, nepotism, tribalism and quasi coexistence. Although we are in twenty first century, South Sudanese have not modernized. We are still about five decades behind other Africans, a sad truth to accept. Some citizen use MacBook air and IPods to fight tribal interests, when the country cannot even produce a needle. These are tough pills to swallow but South Sudanese intellectuals and leaders have to recognize them in order to move the nation forwards.

Thousands South Sudanese who have seen the glimpse of the dark days gleaming are still confirming with the majority who believe in prosperity and better days that would paradoxically immerse the failed state. But only time will judge the magnitude and the scale of this conformities and patience. As seen from – the online criticism, journalists arrests and flees, rebellions, hapless public policies, dwindling government, downsizing of army and polices when the country is at the brink of war, massive corruption, unconstitutional intimidations of governors, increase dependent on foreign aids and international interventions, recessions and inflation –South Sudanese scholars and leaders should celebrate with cautions. There is a little than shame to celebrate. These are manifestations that should necessitate leaders and intellectuals to behave within their own standards and ethics, but sadly the citizens are paralyzed within the wildness of autocracy, and hardly could an exit be distinguished from an entrance; a moment of razzle-dazzle, where every sign seems to bring change.

Due to the current political states, there are very limited differences in rationales between the rich and the poor, the literates and the illiterate, the politicians and the religious leaders. A very unique tropospheric state that only revolves over South Sudan, perhaps the true presentiments for change!

The recent government crisis was not long awaited rather a despondency and despair!

The current state in South Sudan has demonstrated a failed in the country’s public policies, and should have hardly been celebrated in the short run. The president had independently shouldered a rare astronomical undertaking that is infrequently (if any) implemented. This decision is a political suicide in a broad daylight:

“But now President Kiir is himself a problem: last week, he dismissed his vice president, who had threatened to challenge him for his party’s leadership before elections in 2015, and his entire cabinet. “ Mark Landley

“Too much sacrifice has been made to see that effort go backward. The world is watching to see if South Sudan pursues the path of peace and prosperity, or the tragic path of violence and conflict that has characterized much of its past.” Secretary of State John Kerry

Critiques would argue that there are alternative schemes that would have been more efficient and effective compared to this extravagant dissolution. It is expected because the president did not consult his right wings chambers, the Political Bureau, the Secretariate and the Liberation Council due to the power struggle that shakes the foundation of the nation. He solely depends on his state of mind and the constitution, however, not everything that is constitutional is desirable. The constitution, like prescriptive medicines; should only be administered when it is necessarily necessary.

This particular decision will have economic, social and political outbursts that the South Sudanese will manage for a lengthy period. The next one-year will be wasted in trading internal and external accusations, while the North (Khartoum) and Uganda interchangeably control the remote system of South Sudanese future. If not properly mitigated, the South Sudanese may resolve the aftermaths through a major revolution(s), or through a slow democratic process, which is another stumbling block to the South Sudanese people. The decision did not weight the social costs and benefits to the society rather than the political benefits to the president and his allies. But the surprises of this resolution would be likely shocking!

The recent delay in formation of a new cabinet, per se, was not by design rather by default. It is most likely that the team behind the dissolution dubiously assumed that the cabinet positions are still a hot-cake since the unemployment rate is extremely high, which is true, however, that seems to have neglected that the president has to find some good apples that would not only be yes-men and women but candidates with strong military ground and grass root popularity. These candidates also have to be pillars of the SPLM party, the Politburo and the Liberation council, who would help the president wins the party chairmanship, 2015 elections or violence. When these factors, alone, were condensed, chances of qualifying these criteria (without recycling the old faces) were insignificant.  The appointed few had to submit their resumes after their appointment, on August 1st, something unusual. Otherwise, if such leaders exist and support the president, then their patriotism would be questioned if they would miraculously fulfill the South Sudanese dream in less than two years (i.e. before the 2015 election).

The president exhausted all the potentials from the chief of general staff to opposition parties. This was a desperate trial that was only necessitated by the pressure that the president was in, and still the country has no vice president and a governor in Jonglei State. In the worse case scenario, the president could have downloaded more bugs in the light of installing the anti-virus to clean up the system.  This was an invisible.

A wise landlord should never pull down the roof of his tenants before he finds a roofer!

Social Cost and Benefits to the Society

The decision has partitioned the nation and the SPLM party into political camps. The party may split before or after the party convention, which is long overdue. The split might only come before the convention if and only if the political situation continues to deteriorate and if the president postpones the convention. This move would only be a last resort in an attempt to isolate or impeach the chairman. If this happens, it would either be a cost or a benefit, depending on how the split is materialized. For example, if the South Sudanese people are politically mature to divide along their political interests and not along their tribal lines, then it would be a benefit to the society. This would mark the birth of democracy in South Sudan. Through democracy, the party and the nation at large would be moving on the right direction and the South Sudanese people would enjoy their rights and freedoms. However, this path is the hardest to achieve due to asymmetric belief systems that the South Sudanese built up during the struggle, and also because the cheaper path would seems attractive and competitive but it would be unsustainable in the long run. So, it is most likely that many people would prefer the lazy alternatives!

If the SPLM does not split, which is hard to predict, then the power struggle would boil to climax and tensions would tight up. This would lead to a tribal escalation, dictatorship or even a military coup before or after the election. To avoid this path, South Sudanese politicians would have to moderate their current behaviors and tactics that are becoming eminent. The president would have to call for the party and national conventions before the turmoil builds up. Through a convention, if the SPLM party freely and fairly elects the chairman, who would then be the SPLM flag bearer, then the other candidate(s) would either support the chairman or split to form a new party. If the candidates approve the convention results and decide to support the elected candidate, then that would be a surplus to the nation and the entire Eastern Africa. Otherwise, if the convention leads to the split of the party, then the net social benefits would depend on the above materialization.

The long-term political consequences can always, although a cost, be abated through deliberations and candidate debates (i.e. waste time telling the citizen the sweet things the citizens would want to hear), if the country were democratic. Perhaps, seeing the current presidential aspirants debating on South Sudan Television could further relieve tensions!

Government failure, and the last days of the old SPLM

The current government crisis is one of the last kicks of a dying horse. SPLM has been grieved by challenges, and the SPLM chairman ensured he added an ounce of salt to each of the fresh injuries. The president mistakenly wrote a letter, which was meant to be a fair comment, to the seventy -five SPLM officials. This letter was the basic collateral damage to the SPLM, or the chairman in particular. The 75 officials have been criticized, called thieves and branded as the ideal icons of corruption in the country. They are the classical convention of corruption that the international community and the media reference. This letter confirmed to the world that the Republic of South Sudan is “rotten to the core”, and one of the most corrupt countries in Africa. The president later tried to apologize, admitting that he did not mean to called his colleagues “thieves” as portrayed by the media and general public. Sadly, it was too late and the damage was irreversible. The 75 SPLM pillars and their colleagues have been a passive party within the SPLM party, waiting to be triggered.

The main reason that the president seems to be circumventing the politburo, the liberation council and other SPLM organs could be a mere isolation. If that were the case then the president would be jumping out of a frying pan into the fire for consulting the oppositions appointing and approving the new cabinet without acknowledging the SPLM chambers. Winning the SPLM chairmanship does not require yes-men and intimidations but qualities and a vision. The president had already tried options such as “voting by a show of hand” or appointing some of the delegates to the convention but all seem to have failed, if not then the convention would have been convened in May. These suggestions were criticized by his opponents, such as mama Nyandeang, and therefore the only last resort, that rang a bell, was dissolving the cabinet and removing the Secretary Generals. This was a gateway of hopes for new recruitments; however, it could be a ticking bomb in the long run.

According to the SPLM constitution, the party should elect the new secretary general. Furthermore, Dr. Riek is still the vice-chairman of the party and Pagan Amum would still be a member. Therefore, the crisis has not impacted the membership in the party, instead it will affect the decision making within the party. This crisis will procreate more political rivals for the president. Thus, chances of the president winning the SPLM ticket are drastically declining.

The only missile that the president would be gearing towards would be delaying the convention and the election, which again come at their own consequences. In sum, the president would just be weighing between what crisis would be less consequential than the other(s).

Dr Marial Benjamins and his misleading campaign comments!

As the former Minister of Information (currently Foreign Affairs), Dr. Marial Benjamin, spoken in his usual political tongue that the “reshuffle” was “long awaited”. First, the recent government crisis was not a reshuffle unless the term reshuffle has been redefined in SPLM. Perhaps Dr. Marial just went “technocrat” with the terms as he was campaigning and begging prayers for his return. Likely, he was going to return since he is a free rider, who hardly balances public interest and philosophical theory of mind of his listeners. Marial had been a die-hard supporter of the President’s policies and his recent lone-cabinet appointment may cost him down the road.

The term reshuffle would, politically, refer to interchanging the positions of government appointees. The recent crises in South Sudan was not a reshuffle because it involves dissolving the national cabinet, dislodging the vice president, firing and ordering investigation of the ruling party’s secretary general, re-allotment, reappointment and recycling of ministerial faces. The decision risked genocides and another civil war. In a reshuffle, you would be required to have two vice presidents and two SPLM Secretaries generals, who should not only had been sworn in and fully acknowledged by the constitutions and the country, but also willing to interchange positions. Nevertheless, the president could have retained the same side of the cabinet, without creating a ten days vacuum. We never format a disk to reshuffle songs, for correctness sake!

In his interviews with Aljazeera, Marial could never agree that it was a government crisis, even when it was apparent. It’s a government crisis because the act of the president deeply divided the party, and the government; because some elements are believed to be unconstitutional; because some of the appointees turned down the presidential appointment; because the president mixed the party controversies with the nationals; because the president did not consulted or convene the party leadership, instead the president approached the oppositions. Above all, it is a crisis because the president removed 17 police brigadiers, a very clear sign of aggravation, intimidation and violence. It could be loosely concluded that the 117-army generals that were removed a few months ago (when the cabinet was on a one month break) could have been a preparation for the crisis. Other sources have also rumored that the Uganda troops have been deployed within South Sudan, in a readiness to encounter any ensigncies. In a reshuffle, you would never waste all these resources because it would be within public interest and also in the interest of the appointees being reshuffled.

The long awaited-ness of dissolving a cabinet was an option but not a necessity. A cabinet of twenty-nine members cannot be categorized as huge, maybe (small-) medium when compared to the economically slimmed cabinet, just announced. So, any Justification that is centered on the size of the cabinet may not be genuine. However, it is acceptable that the previous cabinet was immersed in corruption and it had also underperformed its duties but dissolving it was not a solution, instead it creates more loopholes.

If the justification was the “zero tolerance” to corruption, then the cabinet would have been dissolved on the day the president wrote his letters to the 75 officials, as the former vice president asserted lately.

Surprisingly, the dissolution was not blamed on the Khartoum government as usual, although it is a direct consequence of NIF’s plan to collapse the South Sudan government. Sudanese are remotely controlling the Juba’s government through economic measures and this was an output of such plans. This decision is partly an austerity measure because of future uncertainty on oil revenue and party to mask the dislodging of the former vice president. Dr Riek Machar. The buttons of Dr. Riek and Bashir were flashing so Kiir had to hastily respond. Thus, some cabinet members, who are now rivaling the president, were just inadvertent casualties.

The author, Deng Elijah, Vancouver, British Columbia can be reached @ dengsimon2000 at yahoo dot com

Kiir’s Perilous Gamble!

In dismissing Riek Machar and sending Pagan Amum for investigation, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir has taken a bold step towards consolidating power, if it holds.

By Salah Khalil

South Sudan's Salva Kiir begins the implementation of Khartoum regime in the Newly independent South Sudan(Photo: file)

South Sudan’s Salva Kiir begins the implementation of Khartoum regime in the Newly independent South Sudan(Photo: file)

July 31, 2013(Nyamilepedia) — President Salva Kiir of South Sudan has done it. He fired his entire cabinet, dismissed vice president Riek Machar, and had the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) secretary-general, Pagan Amum, investigated for corruption.

Machar and Amum were his top rivals for power. In fact, Machar recently declared that he intends to be the SPLM candidate for the 2015 presidential elections. Both men have criticised Kiir for failing to share power and to meet the aspirations of the fledgling nation.

Amum was banned from speaking to the media and told that he cannot leave Juba until investigations are over.

Kiir also dismissed 17 police chiefs. Two months ago, he sacked top army officers and a couple of governors.

By doing so, Kiir hopes to consolidate his power, which is what some of his young supporters want him to do. But he may have bit off more than he can chew. The men he has antagonised are not only powerful within the ruling SPLM, but they have the backing of some of Sudan’s most potent tribes.

Is South Sudan heading to a civil war? It is still too early to tell. What is clear, however, is that Kiir’s actions didn’t come out of the blue. The South Sudanese leader knew that several of his ministers wanted him out of office. One may say that the recent measures were his attempt to consolidate power before it was too late.

It is also worth noting that these measures have widespread support among the young echelons of the SPLM. Kiir has also taken other steps that may help him win the current power struggle. In particular, he was able to win the support of militia leaders who came back to South Sudan after Kiir promised them government posts.

Still, there are claims that Kiir is trying to create a dictatorship in South Sudan. His critics say that what he cares about is power, not the interests of the nation.

His actions have the stamp of approval of powerful African statesmen, such as Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who has on more than one occasion said that the fledgling nation needs a strong hand at the helm. But there is a hint of despair in the uncharacteristic impetuousness of the recent measures.

South Sudan is still a fragile society, riven with clan rivalries, borne out of war, locked in uneasy relations with its northern neighbour. It is landlocked, short on decent infrastructure, embroiled in internal conflict, steeped in corruption, and in dire need of domestic solidarity.

The recent measures are certain to antagonise the Nuer tribe of Machar and the Shilluk tribe of Amum. Kiir knew that, but he obviously decided that it was a risk worth taking.

The power struggle, which is now in full swing, will have to be resolved by one of two ways. Either Kiir’s rivals would be able to answer him through peaceful means by trying to win the next election, or they would decide that the time for peacefulness is over and that they must oust him though military confrontation, or a coup.

If the worst happens, and South Sudan becomes embroiled in tribal warfare, Kiir’s backers in the Dinka tribe may discover that they not only have to contend with the country’s two other major clans, the Nuers and the Shilluks, but with a host of other ethnic groups who have not been fully integrated into the country’s fledgling political scene.

The Dinkas have controlled the political scene since the formation of the SPLM. But this time there may be new players in the field. Tribes such as the Azande and the Bari may turn out to be major contenders if the country slips down the path of tribal warfare. This maybe explains the strict security precautions taken in Juba on the eve of Kiir’s recent decisions.

What is also clear is that the SPLM may not survive the current crisis intact. Even if Kiir manages to maintain his hold on this organisation, it is likely that the supporters of his rivals would walk away.

The turmoil that South Sudan is about to go through may prove detrimental to the nation. The country is at the verge of economic collapse, having lost its main revenue since Sudan blocked its exports of oil.

South Sudan cannot possibly get its act together without holding successful talks with its northern neighbour. Unless the issues of borders, oil, militias, Abyei and debts are resolved, the South Sudanese will have a hard time getting their economy in order. And with the country distracted by a power struggle that may not remain peaceful for long, the odds of reaching agreement with Khartoum seem slim.

Still, there is a chance that the SPLM will be able to work its way through the current conflict with a modicum of unity. If this happens, a lot of African leaders would be willing to step in to mediate a deal with Sudan, which could be the only hope left for the South Sudanese.

During a recent visit to Sudan, African Union emissary Thabo Mbeki offered to promote a cooperation deal between Khartoum and Juba. This deal could mean a lot to the South Sudanese, but will they have the united leadership that can pull it off? Kiir may claim that his recent measures were meant to give the country the integrity of decision-making it needs to move forward. Others, including at least two of his former associates, would disagree.

Ugandan President Has a Deadly Hand in South Sudan’s Political Crisis

By James Moises*

Yoweri-MuseveniPresident Yoweri Museveni.

July 27, 2013 (Nyamilepedia) — I closely monitor South Sudan’s security, political, and economic developments because it was a big part of my job as a former insider who worked for one of Uganda’s most secret organizations. After I left my former employer here in Kampala, I have been experiencing constant change brought about by the past actions that I carried out against the wills of my brothers and sisters in South Sudan. I have sensitive documents that will show to the world that my president, Museveni, has South Sudanese blood on his hands and he is protecting billions of dollars for both relatives and operatives of the South Sudanese president, including secret deals that were signed between the two presidents.

The Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has gained unwanted attention in the political stadium of the Republic of South Sudan. Museveni, son of a cattle-keeper, was born in south-western Uganda. The president of Uganda rules our nation with an iron fist and has recently managed to lend his niggling leadership ideology to President Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

The relationship between Kiir of South Sudan and Museveni of Uganda has reached an unparalleled level: the two men talk at least once a day, earning them the nickname “The East African Lions,” a name only known to their trusted insiders (I was one of the Ugandan insiders). But what I am concerned about is whether or not Salva Kiir knows he is dealing with an experienced dictator who can manipulate and slay with a smile on his face. Maybe the South Sudanese leader likes the way my president is running his country because he may have been influenced by Museveni’s success in ruling Uganda for more than twenty seven years.

The current political crisis in South Sudan started with a five-member team secretly handpicked by the South Sudanese president in October 2011. The men were not well-known to South Sudan, let alone the political leaders of South Sudan. All the team members were called “presidential private secretaries.” They were told to do exactly what the president of South Sudan wanted them to do because “the risks were high.” Then, in late October of the same year, the leader of the so-called “presidential private secretaries” on South Sudanese side was told by President Kiir to prepare for a serious meeting with an unidentified contact, a Ugandan by nationality. During the discussion, Kiir went into details describing the plan as the “big project” that must be managed behind the scene, no matter what it takes.

In the first week of November 2011, the meeting took place in an office located north-west of the State House of the Republic of Uganda. The meeting involved two Ugandan security agents and the five men selected by Kiir. A similar plan developed by South Sudan’s president to use Ethiopia as a secret location to deal with peripheral threats was also initiated. Nevertheless, the request was denied by the former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, citing an aversion. The idea almost cripples the bi-lateral relationship between Juba and Addis Ababa but the relationship of the two countries was later normalized after Kiir agreed not to repeat such a controversial request ever again. This is just a foretaste of Museveni’s long evil act against the freedom of the people of South Sudan.

Museveni’s involvement in dirty political tricks is not new; the man has been caught red-handed before by the United Nations (UN) investigation commission, which was mandated by the UN Security Council to investigate his link with a Congolese rebel movement, the M23. The UN found that Museveni supported the rebels through his brother called General Salim Saleh, who is best known in Uganda as a “scandal-prone sibling.” The evidences provided by the United Nations (UN) showed that Museveni provided financial, military, and intelligence support to the ruthless, eastern rebel movement. Museveni’s interest in toppling a foreign government has been described as a “fantasy” by both his rivals and critics.

As a former insider, I know that the ‘Juba-Kampala plan’ helped Kiir in some areas of his political wishes, but the plan itself caused many problems in South Sudan, for example, it is inciting tribalism and threatening the new nation to collapse.

The president of Uganda is already a suspicious man in South Sudan. In July 2005, South Sudanese charismatic leader, Dr. John Garang, died in a mysterious Ugandan presidential helicopter crash. Many South Sudanese also suspected that George Athor, a former rebel leader fighting against Kiir’s regime, was not killed in South Sudan as the Juba alleged. Instead, they believe that Athor was killed in Kampala by Juba’s agents who were accommodated by Museveni’s private security branch. They then transported his body to South Sudan to stage the act.

Museveni is known in the international arena as a staunch supporter of South Sudan. In the past, he publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with Khartoum’s treatment of the South Sudanese. But his unwavering support of South Sudan should not be taken as a sign of good friendship between the two countries.

Here in Kampala alone, South Sudanese who have links with Juba’s regime have bought houses worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of the people who bought houses are ordinary people who have no jobs, but received huge financial support from Juba through Museveni’s close aids. I have documents of financial agreements, land donation, network of underground corruption, and expensive properties owned by President Kiir and some of the people in his inner circle. I am prepared to expose documents that will directly link Museveni to the grim crisis that is now brewing in the Republic of South Sudan.

The South Sudanese are not Ugandans

South Sudan has over 63 different tribes who speak different languages. These people are known for their diversity, hardwork, courage, hospitality, and many other unique cultural norms. The idea that a plan created by a Ugandan dictator can succeed in South Sudan is absurd. Yoweri Museveni must first study the people of South Sudan, and only then can he be sure of what to do. The South Sudanese are brave people and are afraid of no man. Therefore, dictator Museveni, who established himself as the teacher of a Kiir in Africa’s newest nation, must be exposed.

President Museveni recently sent Uganda’s soldiers into South Sudan to help Kiir deal with the ongoing political crisis. These army personals are now in Juba assemble in north-western side of Juba, some 57 Km away from Juba. The other division is stationed in South of Juba, a distance of about 81 Km. South Sudan National intelligence Agency must check out these locations to verify these evidences. Believe me; you will be stunned when you reach in those locations. The international community and South Sudanese must know that the Ugandan president is the one who gave all these ill-guidance to Kiir and he is now assisting him with covert military assistance intended to kill anyone who oppose Kiir’s leadership. South Sudan national army, SPLA, must be vigilance about Ugandans who are no living in South Sudan.

The world, and the South Sudan in particular, must know that the Ugandan president is not an expert in any good governance; he is only an expert in dictatorship. I want the good people of South Sudan to understand that Museveni is an experienced killer here in Uganda, and you must tell him to stay out of your home dealings or else your nation will be another Somalia in our beloved Africa. The people of Uganda are your brothers and sisters; please do not see us in the image of our long-time dictator, Museveni.

James Moises is a former national security agent in the government of Uganda and has extensive knowledge of the covert security deals signed between Kampala and Juba. He can be reached at james.m.moses@yahoo.co.uk

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