By Gai James Kai.
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]pinion:- The more we analyses these events happening in our so-called ‘‘August house,” the more the site of the state oppression comes up. In every facet of our life, the agents of the state oppress us, with the political leaders unable or unwilling to intervene. For some small needs, bribes are demanded in most part of South Sudan and the good for voting (poor citizens) suffer the most! If citizens rightfully protest, they are mercilessly and brutally beaten up by the police under the full glare of their representatives, or throw into jail for no reason. Be aware that no police in a democratic country beats up people like our police does, sometimes using live bullet instead of teargas uses by the most Low Developing Countries – LDCs.
Our institutions are rotten and almost remain primitive, scarce resources are eaten away by the big fishes, and yet we have more MPs in the house, than ever before. The rich and influential, our political leaders have created a system where their needs are cater for; because of an unholy nexus. They have separate norms for themselves.
Members of Parliament have almost stop being the effective voice of their constituencies, with the ruling party, SPLM trying to score political points, paralyzing Parliament and very often preventing the making of needed Services. MPs meet for lesser and lesser days, with very many absentee members.
The last bastion of effective governance, the judicial too, is giving way, overburdened by the case, in differed and insensitive at lower levels to the need for quick justice and upholding the rule of the law. Yes, our high courts are making no attempt to set right the balance and uphold the rule of the law, yet ordinary citizens need quick justice override the bright spots of the higher judiciary. In fact, some perverse elements of our lawmakers and law agents use the court system to harass innocent citizens, using the inherent delay of justice to feather their nests.
Our business leaders too, with some few exceptions, are almost to give up their prime responsibility of creating wealth for the community as whole, and are using their political contacts to become billionaires, whatever they mean. Eighty percent of our Members of Parliament seem to have their own agenda, championing causes when they have vested interests, and becoming the new illegitimate power centers, almost bending the troubled government to their will.
The lone sentinel of a good society seems to be the media which have a full – day exposing all these evils of our MPs, though commercial interests are bending South Sudanese media to their bidding. The ultimate sign of an oppressive State is the revelation regarding Unity State-Bentiu, where the state is being captured by businesspersons, running a separate “Mayom State” governed by the rule of man, not the rule of law.
Yes! The good elements of South Sudan are slowly trying to right this wrong. We need wholesale change to make our Constitution work! However, change will only come when our country first discharges its prime responsibility of speedy delivery of justice to uphold the rule of law. We really need massive investment in the justice system, a compensation structure far higher than this present one, to attract good talents and a prosecution system to brig offenders to justice within a reasonable time.
We need a massive delegation of power to our villages, counties, city and state authorities. This massive centralization of power in Juba, with economic resources, laws and talent favoring the central government in a manner not envisaged by our Constitution. The centre legislates on items in the concurrent list freely, funds programs at variance to the need of citizens, and generally act as hegemony, in increasing the gap between the needs of the citizen and the ability of the nation to deliver. Our states need more resources and political powers, so that governance is brought closer to the need of people. The power and resources of our central government has to be shrinking and be more focusing on what only it can do, with an increase in the power and resources of our state governments.
Parliament needs reforms! We need states funding political parties to fight against elections malpractices, a ban on criminal elements entering Parliament, the right to recall our representatives, the right to reject candidates on the voting slips and above all, a right to citizens to pretention Parliament to make laws based on a system demonstrated popular support. Parliament must, by law debates the proposed bills and vote to demonstrate that they listen to the voice of people.
Lastly, we need Members of Parliament of character, who will response to the call to public services delivery and be willing to join political parties and bureaucracy. Of course, Most of us deride our politicians; refuse to participate in the political process, and lament the want of good governance, forgetting that we get the politics we deserve. The political parties in the august house too need to such achievers, democratize their functioning and become more inclusive. We need to change the recruitment rules, so that more achievers can join the senior bureaucracy on merit making up at least 25% of such positions. This will open up the system and democratize it further.
The author is a Law student at Nkumba University, Kampala. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or add him on Facebook by searching for the above-mentioned name in full.