By SSN Staff
Juba — June 20 … The President of South Sudan has suspended two of his ministers and ordered an investigation into corruption allegations against them.
In a Presidential decree read Tuesday night, President Salva Kiir said he was lifting immunity for South Sudan Finance Minister Kosti Manibe Ngai and his Cabinet Affairs colleague Deng Alor Kuol.
It is stated that $8 million was transferred for the alleged purchase of anti-fire safes, but those goods were never delivered.
Corruption was a concern of South Sudan’s interim government since the 2005 peace deal that ended more than 20 years of civil war with Sudan. South Sudan seceded and became the youngest independent nation after a July 2011 referendum. President Kiir has pledged to put an end to corruption and dedicate all country’s resources to meeting the needs of impoverished population devastated by the decades of war with the Islamist giovernment of Khartoum which culminated in the Darfur genocide. Sudan’s President al-Bashir is indicted by the International Criminal Court and is wanted for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.
Prospects of economic recovery in South Sudan are in jeopardy because of the renewed agression from Khartoum and threats of President al-Bashir to close the pipe-line which brings South Sudan’s oil, the main economic asset of the newborn land-locked country, to the markets.
On the morning of June 10, Sudanese forces – both military and irregulars of the Popular Defense Forces – attacked South Sudan’s Upper Nile State in several places along their border. In several spots, the Sudanese troops advanced some 10kms (6miles) into the territory of South Sudan – destroying rural infrastructure and scaring away the civilian population.
The Sudanese attack is an integral part of Khartoum’s policy of brinkmanship and aggression that is aimed to break down Juba’s will to exist as an independent state. The attack comes in the aftermath of a series of unilateral threats from Sudan’s upper-most leaders – starting with President Bashir’s sudden and unprovoked declaration, on Saturday, June 8, that Sudan was stopping the export of South Sudanese oil via Sudan’s pipeline. Bashir also urged all Sudanese youth to join the Popular Defense Forces and head south to fight South Sudan.
Experts of The Fashoda Institute (South Sudan’s Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies) believe that Khartoum is indeed cognizant of the ramification and consequences of Bashir’s sudden move. Bashir’s public declaration came irrespective of all the promises of a new era of cooperation by the highest levels of official Khartoum, and, more important, the explicit guarantees to Juba by Obama’s Washington that Khartoum will abide by all the agreements on keeping peace, oil export and revenues sharing.
In principle, opine East Africa experts in the West, Khartoum is exploiting Juba’s desire to export oil in order to increase pressure on Juba and demonstrate that Khartoum remains the senior player in the region. The desire of South Sudan to use oil revenues as an engine to jump start the nation’s economic recovery makes it vulnerable to Sudanese extortion. Moreover, Bashir’s orders to attack South Sudanese territory and cut-the-oil declaration comes in the aftermath of repeated warnings and threats regarding Juba’s alleged support for the escalating insurrection and popular revolt in southern Sudan.
On May 27, Bashir accused South Sudan of helping the rebels in the southern parts of Sudan and explicitly threatened to stop the flow of oil from South Sudan to Red Sea ports. “We warn the government in the South that if they provide any assistance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) or to the rebels in Darfur, we will completely close the pipeline,” Bashir declared. “We will know if they stop the assistance, and we will know if they assist them.”
The Fashoda Institute writes in its “Khartoum’s Oil War” analysis that Bashir’s June 8 declaration, which led to an armed confrontation 2 days later, is part of a major undertaking against South Sudan that goes far beyond retaliation for the alleged support for rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. Khartoum’s new policy aims to markedly escalate tension, and even lead to wider war. The Islamist Government which came to power in Khartoum through a coup two decades ago made Sudan a hub of Jihadist terrorism serving as a link between the Sunni Al-Qaida and the Shiite Iran. Its decade-long genocidal war against Sudanese Christians and animalists resulted in the Darfur genocide and ICC indictment against Sudan’s President al-Bashir for crimes against humanity.
South Sudan’s independence gained in 2011 was perceived by the Islamist Government of Khartoum as a set-back in Jihad which has to be avenged.
Indeed, addressing the Khartoum rally on June 8, Bashir emphasized that stopping the flow of oil was only the beginning and that a military confrontation with South Sudan was soon to follow.
Waving his trademark baton and dancing on stage, Bashir addressed the now agitated and jubilant youth in the crowd and those watching the televised speech. Bashir urged the youths to join the Army and the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces.
Baroness Cox, Former Deputy Speaker of the British House of the Lords thinks that “it is only the resistance by Southern Sudan that is preventing the Islamization of the rest of Africa, down to Cape Town”.
American experts on African politics also believe that the real reason for Bashir’s sudden bellicosity has little to do with South Sudan’s alleged support for the rebellion in the southern parts of Sudan. The real reason is opposition’s credible threat to topple Bashir and his regime within 100 days because of the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country. Earlier on June 8, Sudan’s opposition alliance, which is comprised of over 20 opposition parties, announced a plan for the peaceful overthrow of the Bashir regime. “I expect the regime will fall before the 100 days finish,” said alliance head Farouk Abu Issa.
The alliance’s plans include public forums and mass rallies aimed to mobilize the country’s destitute youth for peaceful protests until they are able to topple the Bashir government. The opposition alliance already prepared “an initiative for democratic change” that includes modalities for a transitional administration, and is “going to send this initiative to the president.” The opposition alliance intends to ask the state security services for permission to hold their first mass rally at Khartoum University. “If we don’t get it, then there is another step we can take but we will not announce it now,” Abu Issa told a press conference.
Bashir’s Khartoum cannot afford to ignore the opposition’s threats to agitate and mobilize the youth. Sudan is suffering from months of inflation exceeding 40%. Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate is rapidly growing to well over 25%, with youth unemployment in the cities exceeding 60%. To date, there has been no outlet for the frustration and despair of Sudan’s urban youth. Nor was there any hope for a way out of their destitute. Now, Bashir fears, the opposition alliance might be offering these youth a venue for venting their frustrations and a hope for employment and betterment of life in the aftermath of a peaceful regime change.
Bashir’s Khartoum has no plan for economic change or recovery. Hence, Bashir desperately needs a foreign distraction for the masses, as well as excuse to dispatch the poor and discontent youth far away from Khartoum. The most expedient solution is for Bashir to send them to fight and die for the Jihad against South Sudan.