By Joseph Ring Lang
The Oil Curse
After independence from Sudan, we in the Country which is now called South Sudan inherited the pipelines that were transferring Crude Oil from Southern Sudan to Northern Sudan where it reaches international markets through Port Sudan. Originally, it was Northern Sudan that was benefitting from the Oil flow.
But after independence from Sudan, we got a sizeable share from the Oil flow which subsequently froze our intellect and stimulated our emotions on how to enjoy the sudden wealth that came to us like a windfall from the blue sky.
Using audio-visual observations
The windfall wealth that came to some of us, either through Government Contracts or through exaggerated kickbacks began to spoil those who benefitted from the Oil flow from among us:
- Those among us who received the windfall money moved to hotels from their residences so as to enjoy life without reflecting that the hay days could end one day abruptly, without warning.
- Likewise, those from among us also used their windfall wealth to construct monumental building apartments in the Capital Juba, and at the States with no business plans in their minds.
- Similarly, those guys who benefitted from the windfall money from among us used it for marriages which subsequently raised the marriage dowry to an imaginary level by raising the digits of what used to be paid for the traditional marriage.
- The smart folks among us used the windfall money to give toxic loans to the needy to be paid back within a month and the loan keeps on doubling every month of default payment. The toxic loans were only stopped by the current Minister of Justice Madol Aro Kachuol when he cancelled all toxic loans on the legal argument that they were unconstitutional.
- The Oil wealth having arrived to us with less than no effort, some people from among us who got hold of the portion of that Oil wealth began to feel big. They started to live a lavish lifestyle of expenditure. They bought very expensive cars and even hired bodyguards, apart from traveling abroad unnecessarily so that they enjoy to the maximum their newly founded wealth.
- From among us too, those who had a sizeable local support in the army and had managed to accumulate some wealth from the Oil flow became very intolerant to their colleagues and decided to rebel so that they take over all the powers of the Government for themselves. The end result became a disaster for all the South Sudanese from all walks of life.
- Whereas the remaining balance of wealth from the Oil flow was nevertheless automatically used to invest in fighting the machinery of those who had created a new army situated in the Countryside.
The blame games
It all started in 2013 after the independence of South Sudan (in 2011). The tribes of South Sudan were saying it was a war between two (2) Nilotic tribes – the Dinkas (who call themselves Jieng) and the Nuers (who call themselves Naath). They are the tribes that have put South Sudan in turmoil. But in 2016 when war broke out again which started at J1(Juba one) during the meeting between the top giants of the South Sudan Government, other tribes from the Equatoria States joined in.
The motives of their joining the fighting were never spelled out clearly. Some observers speculated that those from Equatoria States who joined the fighting wanted an independent State for themselves. Others asserted that they were motivated by the 2015 agreement to bargain like those who went to the bush in 2013. Neither of those assumptions were verified. What was clear is that they became part and parcel of the blame game that made the local South Sudanese more miserable than ever before.
What is the meaning of that statement?
Instead of behaving like other countries that prioritize the development of the Country above anything else, we had taken an archaic line of avoiding the real problems and directing the minds to something that is not beneficial to everybody. By resorting to war, we have complicated the pressing needs of our people.
Resorting to war diverts concentration on developmental issues. People begin to be concerned about how to survive during the war instead of focusing on how to improve their stagnant development so as to improve their lives.
Absence of Nationalism
Nationalism is to be defined here as a love towards the people one hails from, within a certain geographical area. It was the feeling of love that fueled the spirit of endurance that lasted for 21 years which made the fallen heroes with their colleagues to confront the might of the Islamic-led Arab North that was ruling the Country called Sudan and using all the resources of the Country to defeat rebellion in the South of the Country.
The love of the people is what directs the minds to solve the problems of the people which Is called Nationalism. This time, if it is activated by the mind, it is then geared towards the economic prosperity of the people.
People can only prosper: if their government completes all the infrastructures of the country; if their government creates a conducive environment for its locals (who are the South Sudanese) to prosper and not rely completely on foreign investors who take all the profits back to their Countries and leave nothing to us for our future needs.
A disaster in the making
We have now reached a fork in the road:
- One lane is moving straight to an unknown destination if we continue to travel on it.
- The other lane is moving towards the direction where nationalism for the love of the people is automatically activated and overrides all other interests including personal interests.
Unless we decide to switch lanes, we are forever doomed due to our own making. History will tell what lane we had chosen. End
The author can be reached via Josephlang2020@email@example.com