Salva Kiir: A New Peaceful Sudan Is Possible!

Published on 18th January 2016

HE Salva Kiir
Twenty-four months have been the longest and most difficult months of my journey. I  have,  as  a Christian,  reconciled  with  myself,  which  is  an important  step  for  us  as  one  people  and  one nation to reach out to each other and reach a point  of  harmony  and  unity  within  ourselves and  with  our  neighbors. So,  let  us  launch  the process  of  national  healing,  forgiveness,  truth and reconciliation     within  the overall framework of justice and accountability for our own actions as leaders of this great country of ours.

Full  implementation  of the  Agreement  on  the Resolution  of  Conflict  in  South  Sudan is  a prerequisite  for restoring  harmony  and  unity within  ourselves  and  our  great  Party.  The Agreement   calls   for   the   formation   of   a Transitional   Government   of   National   Unity with an overall objective of laying a solid foundation for building resilient institutions of democratic governance.  In this regard, the Arusha Reunification Agreement and the IGAD-mediated Addis Ababa Peace Agreement are complementary to each other. They are two faces of the same coin.

Allow me to elaborate  on  the  key elements   of   the   mandate   of   the SPLM-led Transitional  Government  of  National  Unity, which are underpinned by the two Agreements I  have  just  mentioned.  There are four main components   of   this   mandate,   which   are essentially series of reforms:

1.Restoration of social cohesion and sense of belonging  and  common  destiny  through  a genuine  change  of  our  attitudes  toward each other;

2. Attainment  of  peace  and  security  through a  comprehensive  reform  of  the  security sector;

3. Establishment of a system of responsibility and    accountability    by reforming    the institutions of law and order; and

4. Creation   of   opportunities   for   achieving sustainable livelihoods for all the South Sudanese        citizens through a comprehensive reform of our country and effective service delivery.

This last point is fully   illustrated   in Chapter   IV   of   the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.

The  foundation  of  our  social  cohesion  and sense  of  togetherness  has  been  weakened  by the  two-year  violent  conflict.  And we cannot restore social   cohesion   and   sense of togetherness   without     understanding the causes of that conflict in the first place. I  would  only  mention  two  inter-related causes with  the  main  objective  of  finding  solutions and  not  for  our  usual  blame  game.  As Harry Truman, once said: “the buck stops here!”

The first cause has been the dysfunctionality of   the   SPLM   at   all   levels   of   governance (national, state, county, Payam,  and  Boma)  in our   country. The   SPLM   General Secretariat  has  not  been  able  to  establish  a robust network of Party operatives at all levels and  through  which  the  national  leadership would  have  had  a  two-way  communication with the  masses.  Such a network would have enabled the SPLM, as a ruling Party, to provide effective oversight on both Executive and Legislature at the national, state, county, Payam, and Boma levels.

The consequences of  the dysfunctionality  of  the SPLM  General Secretariat were the widespread indiscipline within the Party. This indiscipline  in  turn  led to   unnecessary   power   struggle   within   the Political   Bureau   and   thereby   pushing   the Party  and  the  country  into  the  senseless  war that  we  have  just  ended.  This  senseless  war has  been  very  costly  in  terms  of  the  loss of precious  lives,  property,  and  our  own  dignity as leaders and people in the eyes of the whole world. To  point  out  the  obvious,  we  have squandered  much  of  international  good-will earned  over  the  years  of  our  struggle  against northern oppression.

The dysfunctionality has  also  led  to  the emergence  of  communal entities,  which have  crowded  out  the  SPLM from   the   political   space.   Instead   of   being vehicles  of  lobbying  for  the  advancement  of communal   welfare and   culture,   they   have become  political  enclaves  within  the  SPLM. Some   of our comrades have   abandoned legitimate   channels   within our Party   and embarked on expressing political opinions on matters of national interest from these community organizations.   The communal entities have become instruments for seeking appointments in the government and other    constitutional    positions.    This practice must stop today and not tomorrow.

I  have started  to  address  this cause through  the restructuring  of  the  General  Secretariat. I have appointed a new Deputy Secretary General and new Secretaries. I have also  introduced  a new  element  by appointing  Technical  Advisors  to  the  General Secretariat. The  SPLM  in  the  near  future  will also involve  its  cadres  in  the  academia  and civil  society  with  various expertise in  the activities   of   the   Party.   These experts   will provide     technical  backstopping to     the Secretary    General    in ensuring effective performance of the General Secretariat and the Party in general. I appreciate   the critical    role    of    our    intellectuals    in    the liberation struggle.  The intellectuals were the Eighth Front during the war of liberation.  I appeal  to  them  to  join  us  in renewing the SPLM  through  the  effective  utilization  of  their abundant skills and knowledge in building our nation.

The second cause is “tribalism,” which has created a sense of marginalization and ethnic-based   injustice.   This cause is also being reinforced by the Communal entities. I would like to say at this juncture that “tribalism” is a cancer which   is   threatening   to   kill   our nation-building project. How? You might ask. It creates unequal opportunities between the various tribes and/or clans who are the pillars of our nation-building project.

I  am  aware  that  some  of  our  tribes  or  ethnic groups  feel  marginalized  in  their  own  country by  their  own  government.  You would recall that   when   Southerners   took   up   arms   in August 1955 it was because of marginalization by Khartoum.  When  we  again  took  up arms  on  May  16,  1983  and  embarked  on  the war   of   liberation,   it   was   because   of   the marginalization  of  the  majority  of  Sudanese people by a tiny minority in Khartoum. In this regard, as  I  will  ensure  that this  practice  comes  to an   immediate   end   by   revisiting   the   SPLM coherent package of political ideals.

Let us restore the vision and mission of the SPLM.  Our  vision,  this  time  around,  is  the liberation of  the  mindsets  of  South  Sudanese people, which is embedded in “tribalism.” This liberation must start with those of us in the SPLM.   Our   mission   remains   the   same   as stated     in     the     1998     SPLM     Program, Constitution  and  Vision  Document,  which  I quote: Our  Mission  is  the  establishment of  good governance, which according   to   UNDP definition is, the  exercise   of   political, economic  and  administrative  authority  in the management  of  the  country’s  affairs  at all    levels    is    people-based,    so    that individuals  and  groups  have  an  effective say  in  the  allocation  and  management  of resources and in decisions that affect their lives.

The above stated mission is now more relevant than ever.   My Executive  Order  number  36 of  2nd October 2015  was  in  response  to  the long  awaited demand    of    our    people    who    felt    their government was too far from them. Hence, the SPLM  enduring  mission  guided  me when  I issued  that  Executive  Order.  I subsequently appointed the   Governors   of   28   States   on Christmas Eve as a gift for our people.

I    was    not acting    in    an ideological vacuum.  I  acted  within  the  SPLM coherent  package  of  political  ideals,  such  as taking  towns  to  the people  in  the  rural  areas; peace through    development;  and SPLM strategic framework for  war-to-peace transition. These political ideals are guided by our core   values   of justice,   liberty,  and prosperity, which    are inscribed in    our national coat of  arms,  including  the  National Anthem. Therefore,  while  I  acknowledge  that some  comrades  might  have  different  opinion over  the  number  of  states  established,  I  am sure  that  all  SPLM  members  agreed  on  the principle  of  taking  towns  and  services  to  the people.

Taking  government  closer  to  the  people  in  the rural  areas  would definitely  alleviate  people’s suffering by bringing basic services to them. It would enhance  transparency and accountability,  since  the  SPLM  organs  at  the respective levels of government would have an effective participation in equitable allocation of resources     as     well   as  their     efficient management.

The second key element of the mandate of the coming   government is   the   attainment   of sustainable peace and security in our country. This would be a challenging as well as a difficult task to undertake. However, it  must be  done  in  order  to  end  the  suffering  of  our people.  I am aware of a generalized insecurity in the country.  In  this  regard,  I  would  like  to see  each  and  every  person  in  this  country  go to bed by night with peace of mind and assurance  that  she  or he  is  in  a  secure environment. I am, therefore, determined to ensure sustained peace and security for all the people in our beloved country.

The  third  key  element  of  our  agenda  during the  transition  period  is  the  establishment  of  a system  of  responsibility  and  accountability, which  is  underpinned  by  the rule of law.  The point of departure for the establishment of such a system is our willingness to accept full responsibility of whatever we do   in   the   service   of   our   beloved country. We must all accept that none of us is above the law.  We are, therefore, accountable for our actions, individually or collectively. The destiny  of  our  country  is  our  fundamental responsibility  that  cannot  be  wished  away  or passed to someone else other than all of us in this opportune Convention.

You  have heard  of  the  Dura  saga,  the  letters  of  credit saga,    and    of    Presidential    aides    under investigation over alleged corruption and other embezzlement    saga.    These    sagas    are    a manifestation  of  a  serious  malady,  which  has infested  our  society  in  the  absence  of  robust institutions      to      administer      preventive measures. In   fact, corruption   has   become rampant     and     entrenched     despite     our concerted   efforts   to   fight   it   and   defeat   it forever.  This is because  of  weak  institutions and structures of law and order.

We  will  need  a  strategic approach in  our  determined  quest  for  transparency  and accountability  in  the  use  of  public  resources. This calls for the reform of the judiciary on the one hand, and the police service on the other. It   would   also   require   strengthening   and empowerment     of     other     two     important institutions. These are the Audit Chamber and the Anti-corruption Commission. I  instruct   the Ministers  of  Justice  and  Finance,  assisted  by the Anti-corruption Commission and the Audit Chamber,   to   reactivate   the   Stolen   Asset Recovery  (STAR)  program.  The  STAR  program was  initiated  in  2012,  but  stopped  due  to factors  beyond  our  control.  A number of institutions of economic governance stipulated   in   the   Agreement   for   the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan will be used as our main artillery to soften the grounds   before   our   final   assault   on   this monster   called   corruption.   The   proposed Economic      and      Financial      Management Authority (EFMA) will be such a vehicle.

The  fourth  mandate  of the  Government  of National  Unity  is  creation  of  opportunities  for achieving  sustainable  livelihoods by all  South Sudanese  citizens.  This will  be  through  a comprehensive reform of our economy. I  would  like  us  to  remind  ourselves,  at  this juncture, about the SPLM coherent package of political  ideals  and  their  consistency  with  our coat  of  arms as   vividly   displayed   on   the Presidential   seal.   They   are   our   point   of reference    in    the    quest    for    sustainable livelihoods  as  one  of  the  major  objectives  of economic  policy  during  the  transition  period, that  is,  sustainable  livelihoods  are  a  function of justice, liberty, and prosperity. Sustainable  livelihoods  will  not  be  achieved if  ordinary  South  Sudanese  people  are  not given   the   opportunity   to   make   their   own choices. Liberty means social mobility in space and time  in  pursuit  of  legitimate economic  activity.  And obviously prosperity is the   foundation   of   sustainable   livelihoods. Prosperity    is,    however,    a    function    of macroeconomic stability.

Our economy has been   through several  severe  shocks.  Some of these  shocks have been of our own making, but some of them were  beyond  our  control.  I  would  not  want  to give an account of these shocks here. I  will,  nevertheless,  briefly highlight the cumulative effect of those shocks on the economy.

The first shock  that  hit  our  economy  was  the shutdown  of  the  oil  pipeline  in  January  2012, following  disagreements  over  transport  tariff, processing    and    transit    fees    with    the Government  of  Sudan.  An austerity budget program   was   put   in   place   to mitigate its effects. The second and the devastating one was the outbreak of violent conflict in December 2013. This disrupted oil production in former Upper Nile State in general and a complete shutdown of production activities in former Unity State. The third shock  was  the  sharp  decline  of global oil prices in the first quarter of 2015 to less than US$ 40.00/barrel, leading to a fall of approximately   75%   in   oil   revenues.

The combined   effect   of the   fall   of   both   oil production   and   global   oil prices seriously affected the Government revenues, which led to a  fiscal deficit since  then. As  a  result  of these  shocks,  our  economy  suffered  from  the following six problems: 1.Sharp   drop in   overall   Government revenues; Rapid rise in money supply; Currency depreciation High Inflation; Rapid  depletion  of  the  Central  Bank's reserves and Internal Debt accumulation. These six  problems  had  pushed  us  to  make bold and   drastic   decisions   to   rescue   our economy    from    imminent    collapse.

Our economic team under the able supervision of Cde.   James   WaniIgga,   the   SPLM   Deputy Chairman was  able  to  provide  policy options for our final decision, which was implemented on  14  December  2015 by  the  Minister  of Finance  together  with  the  Governor  of  the Bank   of   South   Sudan.

After pursuing all possible    economic options; the    current macroeconomic  reform  program  was  seen  to be  the  only  package  that  could  bail  out  the economy from the current meltdown. The  shock  therapy  my  team administered  on  the  economy  was  necessary, though not sufficient in rescuing our economy from  imminent  collapse.  That  stage  is  now behind  us  and  we  must  therefore  embark  on the     medium-term     strategy,     which     was  recommended     by     the     SPLM  Economic Taskforce.

Difficult and  painful  as  it  may be,  nothing  shall sway us from this program. Doing nothing, as others   suggest,   is   not   an   option.   I   have directed   our   SPLM   Economic   Taskforce   to immediately work  out a  package  of  measures to  mitigate  the  consequences  arising  from  its implementation. The first track is salary increase.  Efforts  are underway  to  assess  the  projected  revenues that  would  be  realized  from  the  program and after a comprehensive salary review, mitigated measures will be implemented in order to ease the adverse effects of the policy on our people. The  second  track  is  to  consider  subsidizing certain  strategic  commodities  such  as  fuel, cooking   oil,   sugar,   and   maize   and   wheat flours.  Although  the  Government  has  already picked  up  about  40%  of  petroleum bill,  the team is working on the full package of benefits for our citizens.

Our  economy  was  vulnerable  to  both  internal and external shocks because of its dependency on a single commodity, which is oil, for foreign exchange  earnings  on  the  one  hand,  and  for government  revenues  on  the  other.  Hence, diversification  of  our  economy  is  imperative  if we   are   to   avoid   recurrent   macroeconomic instability. The   popular theme  of  our  fallen  hero  and  founder  of  the SPLM,  the  late  Dr.  John  Garang  de  Mabior was:  “agriculture is the engine of growth of  our  economy and  we  will  use  our  oil  to fuel it.”  In  this  regard,  the  driver  of  our diversification  strategy  will  be  the  agricultural sector,  which  is  the  main  stay  of  over 80 percent  of  our  population.  Let  us  implement this strategy as a  way of paying tribute to Dr. John  Garang  de  Mabior  as  well  as  ensuring food security.

Diversification   and    making agriculture   the   engine   of   growth  of   the economy are essentially two sides of the same coin –sustainable livelihoods for our people. I have instructed the SPLM Economic  Taskforce  to prepare an Inclusive Growth Strategy (IGS) for the transition period. The Taskforce has already identified five key determinants of economic growth.  They are: savings; investment;  education; productivity; and infrastructure.  The Inclusive Growth Strategy is being prepared in tandem     with  the  repatriation,  relief, resettlement,  rehabilitation,   and reconstruction program  for  the  war-torn  area of our country.

Let us remind ourselves about how we always bounce    back    after a    Convention. I  take  this  opportunity, Comrades, to  briefly highlight  our  achievements  of  the  first  two conventions for  they will  give  our  people  hope and  confidence that  we  are  here  to  serve and not to rule them. The SPLM search for human freedom started long time ago. Our democratic transformation is not new.

In 1994, we  were able  to  organize  our  first  National  Convention as a rebel Movement in Chukudum. Given the situation at the   time,   we   democratically deliberated  for  days  on many  challenges  and opportunities, including  the  new  strategy  for the liberation struggle, structures of the SPLM, and  lection  to  offices.  Cde.  Dr.  John  Garang de  Mabior, our  late  leader  and  founder, and  I were   unanimously elected   as   SPLM’s   first Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively.

That  Convention  also  put  forward  resolutions, which  enabled  us  to  continue  to  fight  and force the Sudan’s government to negotiate with us  on  the  table.  Our  first  Convention  created Civil Authority for the New Sudan (CANS) and we  embarked on  civil  structures  in  all  the SPLAM liberated areas. The first Convention laid down liberation strategy  in  terms  of  military and  negotiation  principles. This  strategy  in turn  prepared us  to  successfully conclude the Naivasha Comprehensive   Peace   Agreement (CPA), 2005. The first SPLM   Convention   adopted   SPLM   flag. The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) subsequently adopted it as the South Sudan National flag on 12th May 2011. Today we are united under this great national insignia  that gives us hope and pride for, as one of the great African  freedom fighters  Cde.  Nelson  Mandela had  said  it, our  long march to  freedom.

We all witnessed how we overcame the loss of our great leader and continued with the implementation of the CPA. With  the  weight  of  the  CPA  implementation issues, which  fell  on  my  shoulders  after  the tragic  death  of  our  late  Chairman,  the  SPLM led  government  under  my  leadership,  engaged the  Sudan  government  and  the  international community  in  implementing  the  CPA.  We  set up  national  and  state  governments;  we  also set up national and state legislatures not only in  South  Sudan, but  also all  over  Sudan. While  addressing  the  political,  rehabilitation and  development  issues  at  the same time,  we made  efforts  to  reconcile  with  various  South Sudanese armed    opposition    groups    and organized the SPLM structures all over Sudan. We created two SPLM Sectors:  Northern and Southern ones.

It  was in  the  Nyokuron  Cultural  Center that we  had  the  SPLM  2nd National  convention on 23rd May2008.  During that time,  the  Party  made many  political  gains.  For   the   first   time   in   history,  a political  Party  commanded  popularity  in  the whole Sudan, overcoming the racial, religious, gender, social and regional barriers, which the successive  sectarian  governments  had  created under the policy of divide and rule in Sudan.  I  was  elected  as  the  President of Southern Sudan by a majority of 93% of the votes.  Moreover,  the  SPLM  won  over  90%  of seats  at  both  the  National  Legislature  and State   Assemblies   respectively   in   Southern Sudan.

Having  won  the  confidence  of  our  people,  the SPLM   conducted   the   historic   referendum successfully.  This  was  to fulfill the  wishes of the  people  of  Southern  Sudan  who  saw  little hope  in  change  with  Khartoum.  Our people voted with over 98% “Yes” for  separation  of Southern    Sudan    from    Sudan.    The    post succession  period  witnessed  how  the  SPLM’s led  government  promulgated the  Transitional Constitution   for   South   Sudan,  which   was approved  by  the National  Legislature.  I outlined an economic program consistent with the SPLM’s vision and mission. That meant, building  the  Republic  of South  Sudan of  our  dream,  a  country  we  are  all proud   to   call   home   today   together   with   our families and generations to come.

One important thing  that  we  wanted  to  do  as  a  Party  was  to complete    reorganization    of    the    SPLM    after independence.  This   was   a   necessary   step   to transform the liberation movement into a genuine political  force  that would embark on  the search for  democratic  ideals  in  collaboration  with  local, regional  and  international  entities.

Finally, we reiterate   our   commitment   to   Arusha   SPLM Reunification  Agreement,  as  incorporated  into our  Party  constitution  and  manifesto. The provision of Arusha  addresses  issues  that  created  division  in the  Party.  Since  Arusha  Agreement  is  already incorporated  into  the  SPLM  Constitution,  there should  be  no  more  division  in  the  party.    It  is therefore my hope that the two terms, "SPLM-IO and SPLM-FDs will henceforth cease to exist. 

I  would  like  on  behalf  of  the  SPLM membership to thank and appreciate the support we  have  received  from  our  sisterly  parties;  the CCM of Tanzania, ANC of South Africa, EPRDF of  Ethiopia, and  NRM of  Uganda in  our  efforts  to resolve  our  differences  and  reuniting  our  ranks following  the  2013  crisis.  This  relentless  support culminated  in  the  Arusha  SPLM  reunification Agreement, which  is  part  of  the  current  draft.

I also thank  the  CMI  for  facilitating the process of the Agreement. It is my hope that, the     support     will     continue     through     the implementation of the agreement. We  also  recognize  the  importance  of taking  lead as  a  ruling  Party  in  the  implementation  of  the peace  agreement,  and  also  to  take  lead  in  the reconciliation of our people. I   would   like   to   conclude   my   Statement   by reassuring our commitment to the values, vision, and mission of the SPLM, which has always been the   source   of   our   courage   to   take   tough decisions.

By Salva Kiir
President od The Republic of South Sudan.

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