South Sudan power sharing
More good news from Africa this week as South Sudan’s warring (mainly Dinka and Nuer) factions sign a power sharing agreement to end the 5 year civil war that has made the world’s newest country also its poorest.
President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar – who had been allies when fighting for independence from Sudan in 2011 but, having settled with their mutual enemy in the North, immediately became enemies at home – will sign an agreement on 5 August that will lead to the creation of a new government accommodating both factions.
Of course, it may not last, but there is real potential in South Sudan if they can just refrain from fighting each other long enough to realise it. The country is blessed with many natural resources such as petroleum, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold. Oil alone has brought in $8billion of revenue since 2011.
Talking of oil, all these newly rediscovered parliamentary friends will now find it easier to get to work as South Sudan’s 400 MPs have just been awarded a government loan of $40,000 each to buy cars costing the state $16m.
This is interesting timing as MPs two weeks ago voted to extend President Salva Kiir’s term to 2021.
It is an interesting spending priority as the government hasn’t found the money to pay some civil servants for the past 4 months.
It is an interesting way to improve mobility because in a land the size of Texas, South Sudan has only 35 miles of paved road – so if all 400 MP’s decide to drive to work at once there will probably be the worst traffic jam the country has ever had.
Meanwhile, the government says elections cannot be held because of the ongoing civil war. But wait a minute, isn’t there a ceasefire and a power sharing agreement in place now?