Dinka Elders’ Demands Government Accountability on Oil Money

Aldo Ajou Deng, Spokesperson of the Jieng Council of Elders

The Jieng Council of elders has called for the international community to audited South Sudan oil money. 

Norway and Canada were the only two countries suggested to audit the ministry of finance and petroleum ministry. Auditing will include the transactions of Transitional Financial Assistant from Sudan.

The Dinka elders issued seven pages statement over the weekend, accusing the government of leadership failure and political deadlock between president Kiir and his deputy Dr. Riek Machar for keeping the country hostage.

Two co-chairs signed a comprehensive document shared on social media, and three members include Joshual Dau Diu, Charles Majack Aleer, Dr. Aldo Ajou Deng, Daniel Dhieu Matuet, and Maker Thiong Maal.

Dinka elders have been accused of being pro-government supporters since the war broke out in mid-December 2013. But now it seems their chain political marriage with president Kiir’s regime sour due to new political disloyalty.

The group alleged, apparently the corruption scandal in South Sudan is high. And the government operated in total darkness without accountability. “Oil revenue and the revenues from the National Revenue Authority get spent without regards to the public financial management rules.”

They say the country is basically up looting. The public resources were being spent on bribing political opponents, buying them home, and keeping them in lengthy luxury hotels. In contrast, the armed and public civic servants went unpaid for several months. 

The political analyst Abraham Kuol says Jieng Council Elders represented political fallout with president Kiir’s regime but did not reflect the reality of accountability. However, they align their voice with the public interest. 

The analyst observed elders are fade-up groups who ought to use different approaches to secure their lion share in the palace. He says they can change their political color anytime if the government can fulfill what they need.

Abraham dismissed the legitimacy of JCE that as either a political entity or civil society organization to vocal on national affairs. He acknowledged that Dinka elders called shall be a driving tool to exposed hiding out within the government, but can sabotage the agreement.

“So in my opinion, although it is good to try from the side of Jieng Council of Elders to be able to talk about bring international auditors to audit the oil resources, but, I would say this is a political game for them to be relevant, to be known by J1, and mostly to get position mostly in J1 politic that they should have an alliance. Maybe this one made the fact that they are trying to expose J1 to bring them on board? In my opinion, this call showed that there is a fall out between J1 and JCE”, Kuol reiterated.

The executive director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, Edmond Yakani, has welcome Jieng elder’s call for transparency and accountability. He accused the assembly of an “illegitimate and self-proclaim group” whose public representation holds no water because they have been messing up the country during the crisis.  

“In terms of transparency in the oil sector, all of us need it, but they use it for the political motif. They should go off independently and ask the institution to handle that. I know they frame any move of the international community; they rush quickly to write the statement and say they call for accountability. 

And I know they are merely following the UNSC, the UNSC is pushing so much on the transparency of oil sector by asking the Chinese company to disclose money given to the government, and Dinka council elders rushed to write a letter about to get recognition.”

Two weeks ago, the Dinka council of elders called for president Kiir and first vice president Dr. Riek Machar to step aside and demanded election before the end of the Transitional Government of National Unity.

In 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on 15 oil operators in the country, accusing them of financing its civil war. 

Last week 16 February 2021, UNSC, the Panel Coordinator, Mr. Emilio Manfredi, requested information about Dar Petroleum Operating Company. The government of South Sudan has a financial stake through Nile Petroleum Corporation-Nilepet.

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