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People have lost trust in the government -Makuei

Author : | Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017

File: South Sudanese protest outright corruption in the country in early 2013.

Two senior government ministers have spoken against ‘bad governance’ and ‘lack of transparency’ in the country.

The Minister of Information, Micheal Makuei, says people have lost trust in government because some officials are not practicing the principles of transparency and accountability.

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs for his part said the country is not moving forward due to bad governance.

Dr. Elia Lomoro and Micheal Makuei were speaking today [Thursday] at a two day workshop on Parliamentary Affairs, National Consultative Symposium on Good Governance and Democracy.

Dr. Martin and Mr. Makuei were among the speakers at the opening of the two-day workshop.

Mr. Makuei said many people no longer support the government because it failed to meet their needs due to corrupt leaders.

“The trust, the confidence is lost. It’s not accountable. We lost it simply because some of us did not care about all this principles, and as a result the people lost trust in their government simply because of the conduct of the few,” said Micheal Makuei.

He said violence and persistent crime are a requisite of bad governance.

Micheal Makuei said the fight against corruption within government institutions and enhancing good governance should not just be a mere campaign.

“One of the major problems that brought the crisis is lack of transparency and lack of accountability, and unless we address this two, then definitely we will be termed as not transparent and a corrupt system. If we don’t go down to address them then South Sudan will not be at peace,” he added.

For his part, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia, said discouraging mismanagement of public funds within government institutions should be a duty of every civil servant.

“Our country is in bad governance, and the final step of bad governance is corruption,” said Lomoro.

The workshop was attended UN representatives, members of the national parliament and other officials.

Retired Major General Andrew Makur is one of the participants who gave his personal view on the way forward.

Makur said he believes the ills befalling the country are largely attributed to a disorganized army, one that is not accountable to itself.

“We know that we have organized forces that are supposed to protect the country, protect the people with their properties, and if they have not been handled well, then they may be the cause of insecurity themselves,” Makur said.

This year, Transparency International named South Sudan among countries that are highly corrupt in its 2016 index, second to Somalia.

The group’s findings highlighted the connection between corruption and inequality in 176 countries across the world.

It said corruption in South Sudan has spread across all sectors of the economy and all levels of the state apparatus.

It also said since independence, South Sudan has taken steps to promote transparency and accountability to fight corruption, but lack of capacity, resources and political will often hamper effective implementation.

Michael Makuei at the workshop said the TGoNU has the opportunity during the current transitional period to implement all forms of reform that will promote a transparency in service delivery to all its citizens.

He said the rule of law should also be respected when dealing with corruption.

“Accountability or corruption is not only limited to taking money of the government. It has many so faces. Reforms must start within us, within each and every individual, so that we don’t obstruct. When an auditor general wants to audit my account, I say no. When an accused person and the police wants to go and arrest that person, that person is protect,” Makuei remarked, “There is need actually for us to work hard and ensure that we bring back that trust and confidence, so that the people of South Sudan own their government.”

“I do have an opinion that all our organized forces have to be reformed; transformation of the organized forces is a priority if we want to have peace in our country as a whole,”  Maj. Gen. [Rt] Andrew Makur said.

Minister Dr. Elia Lomoro also said honesty and sense of purpose to diligently serve the public should drive all government officials.

“Whether you are a clerk or a messenger, whatever your position is, you must always ask yourself: What am I going to do? Have I consulted people? Have I followed the rules and regulations in the process? If you have not, then you should sit back and say; I am operating in bad governance,” said Lomoro.

The workshop, which will end tomorrow [Friday], is under the theme: Rejuvenating Transparent and Accountable Systems of Governance.

In September 2016, The Sentry in a corruption report showed that South Sudan’s top leaders, including President Kiir, SPLA Chief of General Staff Paul Malong and former First Vice President Dr Riek Machar “appear to have accumulated significant wealth since 2005”.

Transparency International on its part said there is urgent need for committed action to thwart corruption in South Sudan.

Viola Elias in Juba contributed to this report.

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