OpEd, Politics

The fall of Juba City Council Mayor: Hon. Micheal Ladu Allah Jabu

By Daniel Yupet

If the mayor of Juba were indeed removed from office for failing to collect garbage, it would indicate that there were serious problems and dissatisfaction with the city’s waste management system during his tenure. In such cases, the local government or governing body may recommend that the Governor take steps to change leadership or policy to address the situation and improve garbage collection services.

Essentially, there are specific processes and requirements for signing contracts, which may vary according to local regulations and business practices in Juba and other cities in South Sudan. It’s recommended that always seek local legal advice and contact the relevant authorities for accurate and up-to-date information.

It is appropriate to discuss contract negotiations before delving into contracts. Contract negotiation is the discussion and exchange between parties to arrive at contractual terms acceptable to both sides. When negotiating a business contract, employment contract, or other type of contract. Negotiation plays an important role in the content and quality of contracts.  Many of the problems associated with weak contracts can be avoided with good initial negotiations.

Most African countries, including South Sudan, maintain extreme secrecy in treaty negotiations. Contracts are typically discussed and drafted by a team representing the host country and resource companies. Without strong public and civil society oversight, the process is prone to mismanagement and corruption.  Add to this the imbalance of power in situations where host country negotiating teams, especially those in South Sudan and other developing countries, lack the technical capacity, experience and funding to engage effectively.  Within the host country, power struggles may arise between ministries over ownership of specific projects.
South Sudan has weak governance and laws, and government negotiators have considerable latitude to set far from optimal terms. Any one of these factors is enough to cause inappropriate contracts to be drawn up with long-term consequences for the host country and its citizens.
Take, for example, these treaties negotiated during this administration in South Sudan.
(A) South Sudan – All-Inclusive Land Rentals

“The Co-op hereby agrees to lease additional forest property to the Company totaling over 600,000 hectares (further expandable up to 1,000,000 hectares) within the Co-operative Territory . . . Once land surveys and property settlements have been completed, the Co-operative and the Company shall determine in good faith which actual property within the Co-operative’s territory shall be leased from the Co-operative to the Company (quoted: natural resource contract).
The above communication creates significant uncertainty regarding the proposed large-scale farming and biofuel production locations, as the contract areas will be identified at a later date without public involvement.

  1. B) South Sudan All-Inclusive Land Rentals 

“The Co-op hereby agrees that the Company shall have the right to carry out the following activities on the leased land. Planting and harvesting of Megafolia paulownia, oil palm and other hardwoods, and the development of the timber industry. and . . . [a] Agriculture (and utilization of the resulting carbon credits), including the cultivation of jatropha plants and oil palm trees. The Cooperative acknowledges and agrees that the Company may conduct other activities on the leased land as permitted under South Sudan law. . . [Including] petroleum, natural gas and other hydrocarbon resources. . . and other minerals, and may attempt to engage in power generation activities on leased land. “(Quote: natural resource contract)
The treaty is unusual in the range of activities permitted, from oil palm and biofuel production to forestry, logging and oil exploration. How the leased land is used is at the sole discretion of the resource company.

The above contracts resulted in the logging of the Loka, Kagelu and Yambio forest reserves at the start of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Oilfields are poorly managed due to poorly negotiated contracts and the resulting significant pollution of land and water.

During the discussion on the dredging of the Naam River, a report was filtered from the Ministry of the Environment that negotiations on the dredging of the river were being held at the highest level and neither the Ministry of Environment nor the Ministry of Water were involved. This meant that there was political infighting within the government and its ministries over control of the project. This creates uncertainty about the contract’s enforceability and whether it was negotiated without elements of corruption. The government may have resorted to political expediency and nepotism in selecting negotiators. What’s the point in hiring lawyers in South Sudan when the top level of South Sudan does everything? Contracts negotiated by politicians are not sound and lead to corrupt contracts.

During the negotiation of the CPA, our late leader included lawyers in the peace talks. He never put an SPLM Marine in charge of peace negotiations because he knew who the right people were to handle a situation like this. Perhaps South Sudan’s ex-first lady gave him sage advice.

In the case of the former Juba City Council mayor, the contract he signed should have been fully negotiated. The company failed to honor the terms of the contract because it knew the contract contained loopholes that benefited the company. Therefore, this was not complied with and the former mayor should have:

  • Thoroughly review existing contracts to understand their terms, including performance expectations, responsibilities, penalties and remedies for non-compliance. Identify specific areas of contract non-performance.
  • Maintain detailed records and documentation of poor performance such as missed pickup dates, improper waste disposal and other contract violations. This would serve as evidence to support his concerns.
  • Contact your waste collection contractor and raise concerns about poor performance. Request a meeting to discuss issues and find solutions to improve service.
  • If the contractor does not resolve the performance issue after initial contact, send written notice formally stating non-compliance with the terms of the contract. Identify problem areas and set an appropriate timeframe for resolving the situation.
  • If the contract contains penalties for non-compliance, enforce those provisions by imposing penalties for contractor failure. Make sure the penalties are within the contractual limits and comply with local laws.
  • Thoroughly document and maintain all communications, notifications, actions taken and all relevant evidence throughout the process. This is essential if you need to take legal action or negotiate a settlement.

It is important to note that specific legal procedures and remedies may differ in South Sudan. Therefore, it’s recommended that you seek advice from a local legal professional who can provide specific advice tailored to your local circumstances and laws.

In many cases, politics and corruption may actually contribute to poor waste management in Juba, South Sudan. Impact of politics and corruption on waste disposal:

  • Lack of state prioritization: Due to conflicting priorities and misaligned policy agendas, waste management may not receive sufficient attention and resources from governments. This can lead to lack of funding, inadequate infrastructure and restrictions on enforcing waste management regulations.
  • Inefficient resource allocation: Corruption and mismanagement of resources can result in improper allocation of funds, equipment and labour to deny collection services. Diversion of waste management funds to private funds and other projects can hinder the development and maintenance of effective waste management systems.
  • Sponsorship and nepotism: Political favouritism and nepotism can affect the recruitment of key posts in waste management authorities and service providers. As a result, incompetent or unqualified personnel may be hired who lack the expertise to implement and oversee an effective garbage collection program.
  • Lack of accountability: Corruption can undermine transparency and accountability in waste management. Funds allocated for waste disposal may be diverted, contracts may be awarded to cronies without actual competition, and service providers cannot be held responsible for their performance. This lack of accountability affects the efficiency and effectiveness of the garbage collection service.

It is important to note that these issues are not limited to Juba or South Sudan but can occur in many different contexts around the world. Addressing these challenges requires political will, combating corruption, improving governance, and establishing transparent and responsible waste management systems.

To manage garbage collection in Juba City Council, the city council must establish a waste management system that prioritizes recycling, waste reduction and responsible disposal. Each city council or local government is responsible for planning and providing waste collection services within their jurisdiction.

  • Municipal councils in South Sudan are generally required to provide residents with household recycling bins or containers to separate recyclable materials from general waste. Regular collection of different types of waste should be arranged, including general waste (non-recyclable), recycling (paper, plastic, glass, etc.) and organic waste (food and garden waste).

It is important to note that waste management practices may vary between states and city councils in South Sudan. However, general principles of waste reduction, recycling and responsible disposal are generally adhered to minimize the environmental impact of waste.

Today in Africa, Botswana is seen as an example of a developing country that has successfully negotiated mining deals with multiple foreign resource companies. The Government of Botswana has achieved this by:
Utilization of a well-qualified, interdisciplinary negotiating team. Maintain a consistent roster of negotiators through multiple contract negotiations to build more capacity and expertise. Collaborate with outside experts as needed. Take the lead in creating documents.

The Cameroonian government also gained support when it entered into negotiations with an Australian mining company over a large iron ore project, while the Liberian government gained support in renegotiating two mining and agricultural production concessions.

In summary, the former mayor felt misled by negotiators on the legal team in crafting poor contract documents. The job was given to cronies and had no real competitors. You should follow these general steps:

  • Research the market. Get an overview of Juba’s waste collection industry, including existing providers, local regulations, and specific requirements and opportunities.
  • Identifypotentialcustomers:FindpotentialcustomersororganizationsinneedofgarbagecollectionservicesinThismayincluderesidential,commercial,government,orindustrialareas.
  • Prepare a business proposal. Develop a comprehensive business proposal outlining your waste collection services, including details such as collection schedules, waste disposal methods, equipment and personnel requirements, pricing, and additional value-added services that can be provided.
  • Contact potential customers: Arrange meetings to contact identified prospects and present business proposals. It is important to highlight the advantages and superiority of your service over your competitors.
  • Negotiate Terms: During the meeting, we will discuss the terms and conditions of the service, including terms of service, payment terms, responsibilities, and specific customer requirements. Be open to negotiations to find a mutually beneficial arrangement.
  • Legal review: Consult a legal expert familiar with local business laws and regulations in Juba, South Sudan. They help review contracts to ensure compliance with applicable laws and protect your interests.
  • Sign the contract. After agreeing and confirming the terms, sign the contract with the client. Make sure both parties have a copy of the signed contract for reference.

Currently, the government has not built strong governance structures that include basic transparency and accountable institutions. (If you have already done so, please correct me here.) This includes implementing comprehensive anti-corruption measures such as: a strong and robust legal framework, effective law enforcement and an independent judiciary. It is also essential to promote transparency and accountability in government and foster a culture of integrity.

The current government has failed to provide its citizens with the knowledge and tools to monitor public spending and participate in decision-making processes that help hold authorities to account. The government does not encourage the free flow of information, enact freedom of information laws, or establish platforms for public access to government data. Whistleblower protection mechanisms should be promoted so that individuals can report corrupt practices without fear of retaliation.

South Sudan will hold elections in 2024, and it will be a tough race for all who want to succeed the current government.  People watch as the mismanagement of public funds has left many families in South Sudan grieving and their lives in turmoil. Voters may consider supporting those who advocate good governance and fighting corruption. They can assess whether your vote could have a significant impact on the outcome of an election. They can also look for candidates with specific plans and policies to combat corruption and promote sustainable development.

The 1980 Ugandan election was won by the late Dr. Apollo Milton Obote’s second election to power and has been criticized by the international community as a biased election. For example, the short route to a local polling place was cut off for many voters, and voters were instructed to take the long route to their polling place, they arrived late and were unable to vote because the polling place was already closed. In the morning, Dr. Obote announced the winner. I hope no such scenario happens in South Sudan.

This company knew to look for a retiring mayor. This is a good deal for them to get free money (Allah Jabu) from the mayor named Allah Jabu.

May the soul of our departed hero rest in peace.

The writer is an independent environmentalist and can be reached on: Email: danielyupet@yahoo.co.uk

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