Opinion | South Sudan 2018 Peace Agreement, “A Peace Agreement that milks the Country’s Resources”
South Sudanese have been yearning for peace for the last eight years since a majority of them were/are subjected to deaths from violent crimes and the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty drastically increased as a result of the 2013 civil war.
However, the 2018 Khartoum Peace Agreement which was to end such suffering now seems to only exist to milk the county’s resources through the so call Revitalize Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) and the likes, whose compositions were not properly looked at in term of their maintenance using the available resources while considering the development aspect of the country.
This 2018 Peace Agreement increased the size of government unproportionate to the country population (11.06 million people) compared to the government formed between 2011 and 2014 and the one formed during the 2015 Peace Agreement. The number of vice presidents has been increased from two to five, the number of ministries increased from 30 to 35 and the number of MPs (members of parliament) increased from 400 to 550. This increment was uncalled for because peace-building and development process which are direly needed in the country has nothing to do with the size of the government by all standards.
The money spent on these government officials in purchasing their V8 land cruisers and their monthly maintenance for the last year and half was enough to build two county hospitals. It is also vital to mention that the money South Sudan is going to spend on their monthly salaries, accommodations, and other allowances for the next two years is worthy to build ten standard primary schools. I understand, the agreement was a political compromise which implies that certain critical factors were ignored or overlooked in order to have it but the development aspect of the country is so paramount.
Kenya, our immediate neighbor has been seen doing very well in terms of development and maintenance of stability with one vice president, 21 ministers, and 349 members of parliament in a population of 54.99 million people. Tanzania is another good example country in the region that is doing well as far as development, democracy, and peace maintenance are concerned. Their government has been prospering with one vice president, 21 ministers, and 394 members of parliament in a population of 58.1 million people. The United States of America, a world-leading democratic country and one of the most developed and peaceful countries in the world has only one vice president, 13 secretaries of the cabinet (ministers) in a population of 331 million people. Therefore, by all virtues, there is no logical or so ever explanation one can give to justify this size of (RTGoNU) and the likes, rather than enriching elites at the expense of taxpayers or ordinary citizens.
In conclusion, I am appealing to the president, all five vice presidents, 35 ministers, 550 members of parliament, and any other government officials to be ambassadors of peace in their respective offices. We the ordinary South Sudanese cannot afford to lose both development and peace at the same time while you are in your offices.
The author Wuor Chuol Both is a South Sudanese Economist/Statistician. He can be reached via his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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