Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 21 October 2009

Tribalism and corruption mare Egypt’s scholarships


By Amos C. Ngueny

October 20, 2009 - South Sudanese students according to the latest reports voted out their Education Coordinator, Santo Malek, on allegations that he diverted money meant for students’ bursaries. This diversion of funds led to a lot of inconveniences according to reports.

Of course, this is not the first element of corruption in South Sudan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, particularly the directorate for Higher and Tertiary Education. However, I was surprised to see students voting out some one who did not assume the position through their democratic votes. The significance, validity and intentions of this misused contempt of democracy are only to be judged by time, or else, there is no long range instinct among the voters to assess the implication of their voting on an appointee rather than an elect.

This to others may appear more of throwing no word but it is a true reflection of the on going wrangle in the Ministry of Education between the parliamentarians in Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and the executives. The row started some times before and became more apparent in June this year. The Chairperson of the Committee of Education, Research, Science and Technology, Nartisio Loluke Manir tabled a motion before the parliament in July, asking for displinery measures against Minister of Education, Job Dhoruai Malou. This motion was viewed weightless after the Minister disclosed the wrangle between the executive and legislative components of the ministry.

In the due course, the minister alleged it was because of suspending the Undersecretary who deposited $323,000 meant for students in East Africa in to a private account of a fellow work-mate. Some documents were provided, testifying that the chairman of the assembly committee was implicated in exploiting poor financial control of the ministry’s financial resources through getting some money for his operations which were in the budget line of the assembly. There, Nartisio obtained double payment according to Daniel Deng Monydit who talked in the house that day.

Despite some facts on both sides, the assembly was divided into three; a section supporting the motion because the presenter of the motion and the suspended undersecretary (Josephine Joseph Lagu Yanag) were from their region, another opposing the motion because the minister was from their region, and lastly, the factual group based on observation and analytical reasoning. The group supporting the minister lost some of its members due to party grouping; some left him and went to support the motion because it is against a member of their political opponent, the National Congress Party. The same applies to the chairperson of the assembly committee, whom others from NCP deserted of being SPLM member trying to rap over their party member. All in all, a committee formed to investigate it has not come with the report since August while they were given one month to report back.

The intrigues, twists and turns here stem from the fact that tribal groupings dominated the process. It was from here then that the chairperson of the assembly committee got netted to be deeply rooted in Egypt, challenging the Education Co-coordinator in a ploy to have him replaced by some one in question. The reason given the day he presented the motion before Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly was that the coordinator was not stable and “used to fly from one area to another like a bird”. Students from Uganda by then had striked in Kampala for having their money not paid amid the truth that Undersecretary Josephine Lagu who went with the money was present there.

There was something to question about that motion: Why did it concentrate on Egypt leaving out Uganda and the whole of East Africa where students had gone on strike for having not received their money? The chairman, Nartisio Loluke, also clashed in his office with students from East Africa after paying a visit to the GoSS to find the whereabouts of their money. Now, why is it hard for the assembly to cooperate with those from East Africa even when they ask for their money other than charging any government appointee of any crime?

The voting exercise appears another salt added to the already boiling soup on the Education ministry and is possibly bias as the motion itself and the assembly members. To substantiate this fact, the document carries names of two individuals who are identified on the parliamentary section supporting the motion on regional line, and the document dwelled on some money received by the coordinator instead of what the students have not received. Why really, should those expected to be the sources of genuine change – from corruption in to service delivery – be indulged in nepotism, tribalism and material greed at that young age?

Although the committee has not reported back, the undersecretary could have no ground to deposit public money in to her private bank account. Equally, the minister was out of control on handling the affairs of the ministry. But, it does not make sense when students take it in to their own hands by voting-out the coordinator instead of digging out through comparison with the Ministry’s records what and how their money does not reach in time. To build South Sudan needs collective and integral efforts which can cultivate a conducive atmosphere for togetherness and harmony.

The writer is a researcher of Biochemistry and Human Psychology in Kenyatta University, Nairobi. He can be reached at ayuple50@yahoo.com.

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  • 21 October 2009 06:29, by mohammed osman

    Let them southerns savages kill themselves ,we northern Arab are not concerns with them because we have our own problems to bother about it.

    • 21 October 2009 09:01, by murlescrewed

      Who is doing more killing? Criminal Bashir and his gang or isolated cases of tribal fights in South. We southerners are not capable of killing people on mass scale like you did in Darfur. Before removing a lint from other people’s eyes, don’t forget the log in your eye.

      Foolish worshiper of false prophet.

  • 22 October 2009 06:48, by maumau

    I think it is high time GOSS triedto use some minority tribes in South Sudan govt in the process of executing its duties if it is to achieve its objectives. Majory tribes have now failed our nation by mismanaging our economy both from within and without the border.

    • 23 October 2009 11:54, by Bidali James

      Dear all,
      It is really very fascinating if the Assembly members of Southern Sudan Could not figure out actually things that are happening in that Directorate of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology.

      With all the respect to my honorable members could you try to ask the Under Secretary of the selection criteria of these “East African /Uganda” Students? And whether this process was advertised or if the public was made aware? Look here everything from day one was not organizational (I mean there was no system) all of sudden one day I show an influx of students in the Ministry very smart and they called themselves “East African Students” After a couple of months there were also some who called themselves “Egyptian Students” And again my poor returnees Students very miserable boys and girls and I know they are typically from the poor peasants families.

      Things were kept secret from many people even some Directorates of the same ministry and some employees of the some Directorate of high Education and tertiary institution. I think what I heard on radio juba at least one day was an announcement of Application forms for returnees students to apply for the three Southern Universities of Malakal, Juba and Wau.

      Let me try to be Brief, the students who are studdings in east Africa are from rich families that can cater for their Studies, The money given to them is baseless because they use for their leisure time which is not very important. The poor returnees Students are not paid anything with the exception of the seventy pounds after three moons. Please my honorable members you go around talk to the students in these three southern Universities and some of the school drop outs, know their problems it will help you debate on matters that will cultivate good output.

      Ask about the South African Scholarship, Director General for High Education Kuol Etem kuir knows better because he was the one following it up to Johannesburg.

      Mr. Editor pleases! Do not do the same thing to me like yesterday, deleting my comment is Stupid.

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