Opinion

Time-Up: Architects of pervasive corruption must face the law

By Taban Gabriel

The day was Sunday; the scorching and corrupt heat of the sun in Juba was very arrogant for a lonely and broke lad in my person to stroll round to a nearby tea joint to offload the consignment of stress in my wits. Boom! an option popped in; my ego directed me to what I patronises most, and that is to read. An online reading is what I fancy principally. Because of my joblessness and brokenness combined, I got inspired to read about corruption as the hothead behind high unemployment rate in South Sudan. Transparency International Corruption Indexes report was what slot in; particularly that of 2019. It was here that I discovered my country has completely been swallowed by the monster christened as “corruption”. Here are the excerpts of the report I read for your perusal; The Corruption rate in South Sudan had drop from 171 in 2014 to 163 in 2015. From 2016-17 the perception indexes scaled from 175 to 179. However, in 2018 the perception indexes slightly dropped to 178 but later bounced back to 179 in 2019. These perceptions indexes according to the report were collected from over 180 countries all over the world. The report ranked South Sudan among the worse corrupt countries in the world. The corruption perception indexes got me thinking; why have we sunk so low in this illicit act? Have we completely lost control over the misery or there is still a chance to deal with it? Yes, we still have a last chance to fight tooth and nail to eradicate corruption from our country. It’s not going to be easy though, but we should all Note that, the name of our young, vibrant and agriculturally virgin country, is completely stained. The corruption grief has affected both the public and private sector. From our roads, schools and public hospitals, evidence of the vice are clearly displayed. No one is safe. It’s time; I repeat it’s time to end the nightmare of the tribulation. The transitional government of National Unity should be the illumination that will expose the architects of the malady. The impunity of aggravated burglary must be brought to an end. The new generations must not go through what we experience in the past 9 years of our disturbed Independence. The “Dead” Anti-corruption commission must be brought back to life. The other day I read about a National Development and Reform Commission; I don’t know when was it instituted, but it is a good gesture from our government I guess. However it would have been better if the Transitional government had first reconstituted the Anti-Corruption commission to monitor the work of all institutions during the transitional period. Unlike the previous Anti-Corruption Commission, this time round we need a very strong, autonomous, impartial and free from intimidation Commission as enshrined in the article 147 of the Interim Constitution of South Sudan 2005. The impunity from architects of the vice must be brought to an end. We all know the genes of corruption which existed in the public sector for so long, have already been transferred to the private sector; In the private sector, particularly Non-Governmental Organisations, corruptions sphere have gone out of control; this I must say is very dangerous for the future of a country where its youths constitute the biggest number of the population and their total reliance on NGOs jobs makes it worst. Unlike In government institutions were most of the corruptions cases are sometimes investigated though none have been brought to book, in the private sector perpetrators walk tall with impunity knowing that our Anti Corruptions commission is toothless, dead and can’t hold any of them accountable. Yes the commission succumbed to fear, bribery and intimidation directed at them by the ruthless perpetrators of dishonesty in government institutions. The Ministry of labour a sisterly institution to the anti-corruption commission had also been dancing to the music of corruption in the private sectors. The salary saga of Insight Security guards formerly known as Warrior security and the sacking of workers from Pyramid Hotel are some of the evidence of dealings between the Ministry of labour and private sector. In May 2019, an article published by devex News website clearly described the level of corruption among Aid groups in the country as worrying and that it has no difference with the country’s fraudulent government. In the report published, 6 South Sudanese working for local organisations and two owners of foreign companies gave evidence of corrupt practices in the private sector. Those who spoke to devex, cited bribery to win project grants, private contracts and Jobs as a dominant act of corruption in the private sector. The report described the allocations of grants and jobs in South Sudan’s Aid sector as widespread. On one hand in my recent encounter with several members of the public on the same, all testified for having paid prices for corrupt recruitment process in the country. Very few or no single case of illicit dealings in the private sector has been made public and little endeavour have been made by the government to curb the rampant practice. Finally for the government to win back the trust of its citizens, they must bring to book all architects of corruption and aggravated burglary, both in the public and private sector to improve the image of the country.            

The writer is a journalist based in Juba; for any query about the article, he can be reach through his email handle; Gabronn2014@gmail.com

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