My life (put) alongside God's word. Section on National development Issues.
by FOCUS (South Sudan).
Please read thoughtfully these Scriptures:
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face
and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will
heal their land”, 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance”, Psalm 33:12.
“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for
understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right
and just and fair”, Proverbs 1:1-3, 2:9.
“By Me (wisdom) kings reign and rulers make laws that are just”, “I walk in the way of
righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love Me and making their treasuries full”, Proverbs 8:15, 19-20.
“The fear (reverent obedience) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”, Proverbs 9:10.
“The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are His delight”, Proverbs 11:1.
“He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished”, Proverbs 17:5.
“It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice”,
“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure”, Proverbs 11:14.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people”, Proverbs 14:34.
“Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth. A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will appease it. When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favour is like a rain cloud in spring”, Proverbs 16:12-15.
“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops”, Proverbs 28:2-3.
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan”, Proverbs 29:2.
“By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down”, Proverbs 29:4.
“If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure”, Proverbs 29:14.
“Blessed are you, O land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time – for strength and not for drunkenness”, Ecclesiastes 10:17.
“… Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil”,
“Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’”,
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God”, Romans 13:1.
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil; live as servants (slaves) of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king”,
1 Peter 2:13-17.
A proposed way forward for good governance of the country. A basis for restoration
and nation building. “Where there is no vision the people perish: …”/ “Where there is no
revelation, the people cast off restraint; …” Proverbs 29:18. (KJV/NIV).
This proposal is the work of the Fellowship of Christian University Students (South Sudan),
known as FOCUS (SS). FOCUS is made up of Christian students and graduates (called
“Associates”, many of whom are now professional people) who subscribe to the vision,
mission and core values of FOCUS.
FOCUS’s calling is to raise and prepare godly leaders for the Church and the nation of South Sudan and beyond. In the context of the current situation in our nation we feel obliged and called to propose a way out of the severe troubles that have beset our land and this paper is a presentation of a proposed way forward for our nation. The vision of what we – and many others – would like our nation to be.
We strongly desire South Sudan to be a nation:
That is at peace and is developing its resources for the equal good of all people in all States.
Where we are effectively and efficiently using and developing the many natural resources that are abundant in our nation, and with which we are building a comprehensive and efficient infrastructure and national economy.
Where people who are qualified, experienced and committed in their jobs run the country at every level.
Where we are South Sudanese first and members of our own particular tribes second; where each of us respects the people of all other tribes and we celebrate the different contributions each is able to offer to us all.
Where regular education of high quality is available for every child from age 5yrs onwards through primary, secondary, tertiary (i.e. college and university) education and where effective and widespread vocational and business training is available to all.
Where we can hold our heads up high in the world because we can do business with integrity and maturity and so other nations respect us and want to do business with us.
Where our agricultural land is developed so that we can feed our own people without being dependent on aid from abroad.
Where our health systems are developed to be widely accessible and of good quality, so that our citizens have both extended life expectancy and a better quality of life.
Where our mothers can give birth safely and can rejoice in knowing there are secure futures for their children.
Where our leaders are leaders of peace and for peace, and where the military way of solving problems is put aside and fades into distant memory in our history.
How do we reach these goals in our nation?
First we need to look at the challenges that are stopping us from being there now, and then see how we can move from where we are to where we want to be. So we look first at the challenges and then at the way forward:
The main challenge
The current situation of conflict that erupted on 15th December 2013 was not an isolated
event; rather it was a consequence of shortcomings right from the onset of the interim period and the eventual independence of the Republic of South Sudan.
It was common knowledge that the majority of the population was grumbling and
discontented with how the country was moving and the lack of realisation of many of the
anticipated peace dividends in terms of basic services. This was to be expected in a country where the expectations of the people were understandably very high but the needs were numerous and resources limited so the government was not able practicably to meet them all. Yet the people also feel that the will and resolve to serve the populace was not forthcoming. Instead they saw their leaders plundering the few resources for their own personal benefit and for that of their cronies. So the discontent spread.
Another eminent factor was that the system appeared overwhelmed and found itself
entangled in a vicious cycle – especially since all efforts and energy initially focused on ‘The Referendum’, 9-15th January 2011. There appeared to be no preparedness, plan or vision to see what the country would look like and where it should go after its independence.
The way forward
In order to move forward from where our nation is now we believe it needs a clear vision. The book of Proverbs tells us that “where there is no vision, the people perish…”, Proverbs 29:18 (KJV). There is a saying that if you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail! South Sudan therefore, needs a clear, shared and owned vision that will create a viable, developing, prospering and sustainable nation that upholds practices befitting the community of nations in this 21st century. With the myriad of complex socio-political, environmental and economic problems that confront us, the need for reinvigorated, visionary and integral leadership cannot be overemphasised. We would therefore like to see a leadership with a new paradigm shift of mindset from the old/current one where leadership is perceived (by leaders and followers) as “it is our turn to eat” to: “we are called to be the servants for the common good of all people”; for “leaders do not cause pain, but bear pain”. (Max DePree 'Leadership is an Art).
We do firmly believe that ending the war in itself will not address the issues that have
eventually surfaced, but we need a well meaning energetic and visionary leadership,
committed to integrity, best practice and with systems and structures entirely dedicated to haul the nation out of the quagmire and set the country on the right path. South Sudan should and must never be the same again; it should not only reform itself, but undergo a
metamorphic transformation – from a caterpillar to butterfly – a viable, stable, united,
peaceful and developing nation for all South Sudanese; and not simply undergoing the
shedding of old to a new shiny skin like the snake, which would be only temporal and
Along with a vision that shows us clearly where we are going as a nation, we need a
‘Constitution’. The Constitution is like a royal covenant, based upon the fear of God and service to the people, and it ought to reflect the owned and shared aspirations of the people, enshrining the rights and obligations of the led and those leading – we can learn from the experiences of other nations’ success stories.
This document does not give details of how the proposed reforms and structures should be instituted and executed, but is a guide on what we believe to be the real issues to be tackled. Detailed roadmaps need to be drafted by teams of experts in each area of speciality, for which they should be accorded reasonable time.
We see the main issues as these:
Dialogue, not armed conflict is needed. Our people are in dire need of peace and prosperity; war will never solve any problems, and dialogue is the only means to resolve differences in this 21st century civilised world.
Good governance. The governance we are proposing is founded on the principle that ‘the citizenry and their leadership are in social contract’, where the leaders are there to serve the people – called to serve sacrificially and accountably, rather than lording it over the people and forging an elite of a privileged few.
An Interim Government seems to be the most acceptable and suitable proposal for
the majority of the grieving and suffering South Sudanese at this time. The
International Community seems to agree. We ourselves believe it is the only
feasible and sustainable way out of the current impasse. The current crisis has
brought very hard and difficult times for the people of South Sudan who deserve
better; and the people are shocked and devastated that in a period of less than
three years after gaining independence, the country is immersed into such a
vicious civil war and a cycle of revenge killings.
2a. Interim President and the composition of the Executive
The period of the Interim Government should last for 2 years, (a maximum of 3 years only in exceptional circumstances, if felt necessary and demanded by the populace and all
stakeholders). Its members should commit to serve in the interim period only, and never to aspire for a political career afterwards, i.e. not to contest in the elections post-interim period, and thereafter.
It must be lean (small) and robust and its members must have the following qualifications:
Politically neutral/impartial, fair minded and objective to serve across all the political divide; having no political agenda
Men and women of proven honesty and integrity
They should have the necessary technical skills, at all levels of government; qualified, capable and hardworking individuals
Have a servant-hood attitude with the desire to serve the common good of the majority and the less privileged population; a willingness to serve sacrificially and pro-people orientated spirit.
There should be an Interim National Assembly/Council (very lean/small parliament)
comprising mature and experienced individuals of integrity who should abide with the same conditions as above.
2b. Mandate of the Interim Government
Restore peace, security and confidence throughout the nation
Set the foundation and apparatus for national unity and state building in all its aspects; including socially, economically and democratically
Build good and cordial relations regionally and internationally
Set the foundation for economic renaissance and sustainability
Complete amicably all the post-independent issues with Sudan
Entrench intolerance for corruption, nepotism and tribalism in all sectors of public and private life throughout the country
Organise a graceful and honourable exit for the incumbent leadership and veterans, so that their liberation efforts and sacrifices are recognised and they are accorded the necessary conditions to step aside with dignity.
3. Proposed goals to be achieved during the interim period
i. Drafting of a permanent Constitution
a. The Constitutional Review Commission body should be reconstituted to work
on and produce the permanent Constitution and shall carry out a referendum
to pass the Constitution, within a clearly specified timeline.
b. The permanent Constitution should derive its authority from the will of the
people of South Sudan and it should be the supreme law of the country to
which all powers and political authorities should submit.
c. It should be ensured that the Constitutional Review Committee is inclusive in
terms of gender, ethnicity and disability as well as regional and political party
representations, including civil society. The Committee should not have more
than one third of its members from any one single party.
d. It shall have a binding force on all persons and on all institutions,
organisations and government agencies throughout the country.
e. The Constitution should provide for a federal system of governance with
devolved powers to the states and a set term limit for the President.
ii. Good governance and civil rights (privileges – rights and benefits)
There should be the establishment of a participatory, transparent and accountable
government that promotes effective, efficient and equitable service delivery and
development, and upholds the rule of law. In order to do this the Interim
a. Establish laws to govern a multi-party system in the country and the
registration of political parties.
b. Foster democratic values.
c. Carry out the process of national healing and reconciliation.
d. Ensure that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad
consensus in the country and the voices of the poorest are heard in decision making
over the allocation of development resources.
e. Establish and ensure a culture of a free and independent media.
f. Create a conducive environment for the functioning of civic societies in order
to promote democratic principles and accountability.
g. Conduct a credible census throughout the country.
h. Oversee the setting up of free, fair and equal political party platforms and an
Independent Electoral Commission.
iii. Comprehensive reform in all security and organised forces (including an
organised demobilisation and disarmament process)
The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) must be de-politicised, reformed and re-named to disassociate it both directly and indirectly from any political party affiliation. It should be nonpartisan, national in character, patriotic, regular, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority. An International force in the form of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other neutral and credible regional bodies should be strategically stationed in the trouble spots to maintain law and order until elections have taken place, a permanent Constitution passed, and a credibly elected government installed.
The various national security organisations must be reorganised and reformed.
An effective demobilisation, disarmament and rehabilitation process must be carried out.
All military pacts with foreign countries should be reviewed.
iv. Public service reform
The effectiveness and efficiency of a country’s public sector is vital to the provision
of services and the success of development activities of the country, thus:
Recruitment and hiring must be based on qualifications and merit of skills and experience, and must be carried out by an independent body which itself is made up from a qualified cadre.
Institutions that deal with public sector management must be developed and strengthened, with an emphasis on public finances and public employment.
Civil service and administration components must be strengthened, and they should be provided with a better framework, with clear indicators set, and more attention given to the budget execution phase of financial management.
An adaptable and efficient public service must be developed, which must be able to anticipate emerging challenges and ensure that potential strategies are informed by a better understanding of future contexts.
A performance audit body with support from the International Community should be formed to review previous employments and determine whether the employment was based on professional merit and whether the qualifications set for the job were met. If any employee is found to have been employed on factors other than merit then he/she should be replaced with a suitably qualified person.
v. Judicial reform
A judicial review and reform should be carried out to ensure that the independence
and efficiency of the Judiciary is enhanced and sustained. Attention must be given to
its capacity, and both systemic and personnel issues that had abated the institution
must be addressed.
vi. Strategic economic development road map
The primary purpose of the economic development road map is to accelerate progress
in achieving sustainable development throughout the nation. It is also there to enhance
peace building. It should align its objectives with the South Sudan’s Development
Vision 2040 (to be reviewed also), and should become a framework to enhance
partnership and mutual accountability. Its goals should be:
Development and diversification of a sustainable and resilient national economy.
To create an enabling environment for improved and sustainable agribusiness to ensure production, food security and nutrition. Also to improve market access so as to enhance livelihoods and the resilience of both rural and urban communities.
To put public finances on a more sustainable footing across all levels of government through rigorous adherence to national laws and international standards. This will result in better resource allocation, increased budget discipline, higher non-oil revenues, prudent petroleum revenue management and an efficient foreign exchange market, as well as effective auditing and transparent public disclosure.
To put in place policies and procedures that are fully functional for sustainable development and maintenance of infrastructure and to ensure and regulate effective social and economic activities.
To increase partnership, co-ordination and mutual accountability with development partners.
To ensure that development partners provide timely and comprehensive one-year data on aid-flows to the states, sectors and institutions of South Sudan, with reports of the results they achieve for citizens. A unit of government should be tasked to thoroughly monitor and follow up their activities.
To establish an efficient tax / revenue system under an autonomous authority.
4. Natural resources and petroleum
a. The Petroleum Act must be strengthened to include transparency and
efficient utilisation of resources to provide vital services to the people. At
the same time the non-oil sectors of the nation’s economy must be diversified.
b. A Finance and Development Committee should be created from civil servants
in the finance, economic, planning and infrastructure ministries to monitor
and regulate the spending of money allocated for developing the country’s
infrastructure and to oversee the transparent use of the country’s finances.
The Committee will work together with the Oil and Petroleum Committees,
including the watchdog agencies.
5. Infrastructure sector
Infrastructure planning and investment are critical if South Sudan’s economic, social and
developmental potentials are to be realised. Energy, water, roads and Information &
Communication Technology (ICT) are the catalyst for the development of South Sudan
and their development should be given a high and urgent priority.
An improved infrastructure would facilitate increased national and regional trade; it
would reduce the cost of doing business and enhance our competitiveness in the global
economy. It would also become a catalyst to economic transformation and would bring
diversification through industrialisation as well as added value and sustainable growth.
The immediate priority for the country is the development of roads, energy and
communication infrastructure to spur economic development and lift the country to a
new level in the provision of basic services. The following should therefore be
i. Ensure the enactment of infrastructure-related policies, bills, laws and
ii. Establish a proper independent procurement and disposal body with clear
contract policies and regulations. This should be formed with the help of
international partners and should be staffed with highly qualified and
experienced personnel to specifically handle procurement contracts and
processes for infrastructure development and other big projects.
iii. Infrastructure contracts should be in compliance with national and
international procurement regulations and guidelines, ensuring fair,
competitive and transparent processes.
iv. An implementation and regulatory institution should be established which should
be staffed with competent personnel and made fully operational with an
v. The establishment is needed of a coherent and comprehensive human resource
development framework that meets the needs of all sectors and takes into account
global value chains as part of broader development and investment strategies.
vi. Since the financing of infrastructure projects is beyond the scope of the
government, there should be private sector participation through Public-Private
Partnership (PPP) for the delivery of various infrastructure projects.
vii. The independent watchdog bodies should be facilitated to review all previously
awarded contracts with a view to the recovery of stolen assets.
6. Service sector
Poverty is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that affects populations through reduced
access to health care, education and economic opportunities. There has been almost no
development in the form of basic services over the past five decades since independence of Sudan and even after the more recent independence of South Sudan. This is clearly seen in the poor levels of various social services, with low literacy levels, high infant mortality rates and poor access to water and sanitation. Two decades of conflict and the recent conflict have resulted in many not having access to schools, hospitals or safe sources of drinking water.
6a. Health sector
The infant mortality rate in South Sudan in 2006 was 102 per 1000 live births which is
the ninth highest in the world. In the same year, the maternal mortality rate was 2054
per 100,000 live births, rated the highest in the world. Nutritional intake remains a
challenge with 33% of the children under the age of five moderately or severely
underweight and 34% suffering from moderate or severe stunting. Priority should be
given to the following areas:
Strengthening the health systems: improving hospitals and health care and training health and medical personnel.
Improvement of maternal, newborn and child health.
Ensure mothers and babies have regular access to health care.
Measures should be increased against infectious diseases.
6b. Education sector
Education, especially primary education, is the basis of human resource development
and one of the most important elements for stable growth. South Sudan is a young
nation, with over 4 million children below the age of 18 in 2008. In 2010 it was
estimated that there were over 2 million children of primary school age but only
900,000 were actually attending school.
The priorities needed are:
i. Basic education: to follow a “school for all” model
Development of the school management programme
Construction of primary and secondary schools
The provision of school meals programme
ii. Post primary education and higher education/research centres
Encourage national schools/institutions that bring young people together from different parts of the country.
Review the curriculum to include subjects that promote integrity, nation building and the appreciating of diversities.
Establish a few quality vocational institutes to train youth and demobilised combatants who have missed out from the school age.
Focus on the established tertiary institutions; fund and build their capacities in order to provide quality university education from within the country with the support of partners.
7. Land policy reform
There should be a review of the Land Policy and Act developed in 2010 and submitted to the government for approval (The draft Land Policy indicated three regimes: (1) Community land, (2) Public land and (3) Private land with the government being the custodian but communities taking charge of their land (and once the government needs land for public use, it negotiates with the community).
There should be developed a Community Land Act, a Land Valuation Act, and a Survey Act, each with its implementation regulations.
To tie to the Land Policy, each State needs to develop an implementing or State Land Act. Thereafter each State will need to carry out a land inventory as well as land use planning.
There should be an audit review on all allocated land by government, other bodies or individuals, to ensure that correct procedures have been followed and issues of land grabbing should be addressed.
8. Transparency and accountability
1. Strengthen and enhance watchdog institutions and develop legal frameworks to secure their statutory full independence. This should cover all aspects including staffing, operations and budgeting.
Develop capable, accountable and responsive accountability institutions at national and sub-national levels. They should be fully resourced annually to independently deliver against their strategic action plans, and be given unrestricted space for citizen empowerment, beneficiary monitoring and social accountability.
Ensure that there is accountability and transparency in all government business processes. The government has an obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions or acts it has committed on behalf of the people. The citizens should be able to follow and understand the decision-making process. They should be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made, what information, advice and consultation were considered and which legislation requirements were followed.
Engage in asset recovery amnesty initiatives among other things, non-conviction based with co-operating individuals.
Set up a fund for a rapid recovery programme (health, education, agriculture and infrastructure) to be funded by recovered assets.
9. Truth, reconciliation and forgiveness
The truth, reconciliation and forgiveness process is the cornerstone of all the initiatives
because without reconciliation, South Sudan will never be a stable country. All
communities in South Sudan must accept each other and have a spirit of belonging not
only to their single communities, but to the whole of South Sudan. True reconciliation will
create unity in diversity.
For the reconciliation to be effective the truth must be known; therefore in the process of
reconciliation there must be a Commission of Inquiry to make fact-findings of the root
causes to our problems and the individual grievances of all communities addressed.
The Commission of Inquiry shall be composed of the representatives of all States of
South Sudan and shall include International representation as a neutral body.
All South Sudanese people shall be committed to accept the results and outcomes of the Commission and people found by it to have committed atrocities shall be accountable for what they have done.
10. Consolidation of peace - conflict prevention
Years of conflict, war and neglect have left South Sudan one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, despite its vast rich resource base. Further conflict can be prevented through:
Supporting peace education, especially to strengthen the capacity of leaders and youth in peace education and conflict resolution.
Improvement of living conditions, as outlined in this document.
FOCUS (SS) therefore commends this vision to all of the people and leaders of our beloved nation, believing that this way forward is right for peace, prosperity and the hope that we all long for, where every citizen will have a stake.
There is a saying that ‘we have not inherited the land from our ancestors, but borrowed it
from our descendants’.
May God bless South Sudan.
First published May 2014, by FOCUS (SS) in Juba.
1. How can people be encouraged to be “South Sudanese first and members of our own
particular tribes second”? See first section, point 4.
What are the most difficult barriers to achieving this?
How can they be overcome?
2. How can Christians encourage dialogue and discourage armed conflict between parties? See main issues, point 1.
Suggest as many practical steps as you can.
3. Suggest ways of having “entrenched intolerance” for governmental evil, while also
offering “a graceful and honourable exit” to possible perpetrators who have been in
leadership. See 2b, 6th and 7th bullet points.
4. Why is “human resource development” so important? See 6a Education sector.
Think about how people are created “in the image of God”, Genesis 1:27.
What difference does this make to the value of each individual?
5. What space should be given to those who oppose your own vision for the country? Why?
6. I placed the Scriptures at the start of this article, pages 129-131, (the editor).
Which ones would you say are the most relevant? Pick five and say, ‘Why’.