LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BASKET: THE DIRTY POLITICS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT EXPOSED
By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda
April 8, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– This article is purposely written to expose dirty politics that is going on in the Office of the President of South Sudan. In doing that my approach will be as follows: first, I will describe, defines and discuss the meaning of politics in general, then relates it to South Sudan and the Office of the President of South Sudan in particular. After that I will discuss reasons to support my argument that politics is not a dirty game but a good game played by dirty politicians. Thus, I begin in the order as given.
In order to effectively explain how dirty the politics is, let’s begin with the quotation of James McGreevey who once said, “We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views”.
Hence, the above quotation of James clearly describes our political scene as we see in South Sudan today as politics that exists in the country is that of destruction but not for development. Consequently, as Donald Trump pointed out “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government”. Exactly, in South Sudan politics is hijacked by sycophants, cronies and miscreants, which have turned politics into a dirty game and blocked out good people of the government.
The summary of the above description of politics is that it is the dirty politics. When politics is being played by wrong people then wrong methods such as bribery, corruption and fraud may be used in order to win the opponents politically, thus some people may conclude that politics is a dirty game. However, it must be observed and stressed that such a statement is not correct since politics is not a game with general rule because it differs from one country to the other, from one person to the other and from one system to the other.
Because of that the difference in politics as pointed out above proves that what differs are the methods and concept of politics not politics itself, which shows that holding other things constant, then we can say that politics is not a dirty game but it is a good game played by dirty people which makes it become dirty as it is played with dirty hands.
The above statement is true in relation to South Sudan and the office of the president in particular. The Office of the President of South Sudan is run on bad politics as betrayal, original sin, greed, corruption, discrimination, gossip and hatred are order of the day. That office is turned into business where those working there derive profits as some of those working in that office are more of brokers than government employees.
Thus, there is a lot of evidence to back up the above state, which shows that it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, it can be proved that Government employees in the office of the President are brokers or business people dressed in presidential aides’ clothes. For example, two or three years ago senior President Officials were accused of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers and forging the president’s signature, according to Ateny Wek Ateny, presidential spokesman.
The investigation into the allegation of forgery as mentioned in the above paragraph concluded that President Kiir’s signature was forged on documents that ordered the withdrawal of funds from the Central bank of South Sudan on several occasions. In that respect, millions of dollars, as well as millions of South Sudanese pounds, were allegedly withdrawn with the forged documents. As a result of the said forgery and stealing of money of the nation, the chief administrator and the executive director were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.
What makes the office of the President susceptible to corruption and stealing of the money of the nation is due to the lack of transparency. In fact, opponents have said that the President is to blame for not implementing measures in the office that ensure transparency, due diligence, as well as enforced checks and balances. They also said the scandal echoes their concerns that the government in Juba is way over its head in the country’s governance.
In general what makes politics a dirty game in the office of the President of South Sudan are the following—
First of all, majority of those working in the office of the President are brokers. For example, they have turned the office into their personal business ventures. This is because they have controlled over the president and unless if one wants to me the President than he or she must pay before he or she is allowed to see or to meet with the president.
In addition, as many sources have revealed, if the president has granted some money to any person such a person will never get that money unless he or she gives them percentage of that money based on the scale that they have set themselves and depending on the amount granted.
It also appears that the posts in the government are being sold to the highest bidders and friends. This is proved by the fact that in some instances the decrees that are issued and announced in appointing the person in or in sacking a person from the government are sometimes issued without the knowledge of the president. This can be explained by the fact that there are many instances where the President may issue a decree today appointing a person but on the following day reissues another decree relieving the same person. If that is not the case, how will one explain such a scenario?
In addition, there have been instances where the president begins to protest when the decree in appointing or dismissing the government official is being announced on the South Sudan Broadcasting Service (SSBC). One of the sad and clear examples of manipulation of the President’s decree was when a certain government employee was dismissed because of refusing to sign the documents, which was illegal obtained. As a result of his refusal, the holder of that particular document was annoyed, and consequently, promised that particular government official would be sacked, and indeed, he was sacked the same day. This takes me to my second point.
Secondly, there have been numerous complaints against those working in the President’s office. For instance, the Minister in the office of the President has been termed as the “Poison in the Office of the President”. This was published on Nyamilepedia website on March 25, 2017, Michael Joseph in his article entitled “Mayiik Ayii Deng – a Poison in the Office of the President” poured out his anger with the way Minister Mayiik treated people including Ministers and army as was indicated by the reference to Akol Paul, the Deputy Minister of Information and General Paul Malong Awan, the General Chief of Staff.
In that Article, Joseph Michael attacked Mayiik Ayii that he is intimidating the Management of Nilepet and conspiring with his cronies to control the Oil Sector. He further pointed out that Mayiik Ayii Deng intimidated the Management of Nilepet to settle his unnecessary bills and that he had purchased a luxury house in Nairobi in December 2016 after getting kickback from Oil Operating Company.
Michael Joseph also pointed out that there is serious administrative strife between the Minister and the Administration in the Office of the President over the Minister overspending of the fund, besides, that his working relations with Staff are seriously deteriorating. That Mayiik is conspiring to replace the senior officials in the Presidency with his corrupt friends as he did in the Oil sector. Michael further pointed out that Mayiik doesn’t want any person who is an obstacle to his organized theft in the Presidency. This proves my first point that decree are issued without the knowledge of the president.
There have been a lot of allegations of the Minister in the Office of the President refusing to pick phone calls including the calls from other government ministers. This has created uncertainty and suspicion in the government.
There are also issues of allegations of discrimination in the way advisors to the president are treated. Clearly and in principle, advisors are supposed to be equal and because of that must be accorded equal treatment; however, those working in the office of the President discriminate against others while favouring other advisors hence creating different classes within the advisory board to the president.
In addition, student leaders have been treated differently. For instance, the student leader from former Warrap State or Aweil is more fovoured than those who come from other states. The clear example is that of Acuil Chok, the former Chairperson of Bhar El Ghazal Youth Union in Uganda who was more favoured than Mabior Ikau simply because Acuil came from Warrap.
In the same way, Makuei Aguer and Akol Akol were favoured because they came from Aweil and the Former Warrap State respectively. Hence, they were allowed without any difficulty to meet with the president, however, when Arop Kumbai, the current President of South Sudanese Students’ Union in Uganda recently visited South Sudan and when he requested the Minister in the office of the President, Mayiik Ayii to be allowed to meet with the President he was denied because he was not from any of the states mentioned above.
In summary, it is important to let the cat out of the basket so that the dirty politics in the office of the president is exposed to the public, which is represented by forged decrees to dismiss government officials or appoint them; by the rampant leakages of State secrets that have rocked the office of the President, which has caused a lot of suspicions in the government; the Minister in the Office of the President and others who are working there have completely controlled the president and are now the ones running the country and all South Sudanese should hold them accountable for the mass taking place currently in the country.
In order to save the nation, the President should clear the State House of those brokers who have turned the house of the nation into business centre. The President should adopt the approach of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple narrative, which tells of Jesus expelling the merchants and the money changers from the Temple.
In that account, Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem for Passover, where Jesus expels the merchants and money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple into “a den of thieves” through their commercial activities. Hence, the President should shake up the office and recruit those who are ready to serve the nation but not personal interest or benefits.
the author is human rights lawyer and can be reached through: email@example.com or +256783579256