En­ablers of theft, war mar­riage in South Su­dan

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - AN­DREA BOHNSTEDT The writer is an in­de­pen­dent coun­try risk an­a­lyst

I laughed and laughed when the Daily Mail, known pur­vey­ors of qual­ity jour­nal­ism, piled in on the Sen­try’s South Su­dan re­port by raid­ing Lawrence Lual Ma­l­ong Yor Jnr’s so­cial me­dia. He is the 28-year-old step-son of Gen Paul Ma­l­ong ac­cused of mass mur­der, rape, and the use of child sol­diers.Charm­ing. What a trea­sure trove: Young Lawrence (‘Young Ty­coon’) with all the stan­dard nou­veau riche sig­ni­fiers – the jacuzzi, the busi­ness class flight, the ho­tels, the drinks (and some ter­ri­fy­ing suits and shoes). All fun and games un­til the Daily Mail turned up with some ques­tions. Then he sud­denly flipped into the stan­dard ‘so hum­ble’, ‘blessed by Je­sus’, ‘just try­ing to help the poor’, ‘I own noth­ing and ac­cept grate­fully what­ever my friends will give me’ trope, the tem­plate for cat­tle-ma­nure – bingo. In their re­port, Sen­try out­lines the re­sults of a two-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion of se­nior regime of­fi­cials, their rel­a­tives, and their wealth, busi­ness and fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions. This lies at the heart of the South S’s eco­nomic and so­cial chal­lenges: ‘But South S’s civil war is not the re­sult of a blood feud be­tween two men, con­ven­tional ex­pla­na­tions notwith­stand­ing. The key cat­a­lyst of South S’s civil war has been com­pe­ti­tion for the grand prize—con­trol over state as­sets and the coun­try’s abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources — be­tween ri­val klep­to­cratic net­works led by Pres­i­dent Kiir and (former) Vice Pres­i­dent Machar. The lead­ers of South S’s war­ring par­ties ma­nip­u­late and ex­ploit eth­nic di­vi­sions in or­der to drum up sup­port for a con­flict that serves the in­ter­ests only of the top lead­ers of these two klep­to­cratic net­works’. Here is an im­me­di­ate link be­tween cor­rup­tion and armed con­flict. And both Machar’s and Kiir’s fam­i­lies, and those of the other high-rank­ing of­fi­cials, don’t live in South S. Why would they? Life is a lot com­fier in, say, Nairobi or Kam­pala, the clichéd leafy sub­urbs. And that an­gle needs a closer look: South S is cer­tainly a deeply dys­func­tional state. But there are en­ablers to the mar­riage of theft and war, the helpers who re­mit the klep­to­crats’ money and ex­e­cute their busi­ness. The re­port men­tions one of Kenya’s largest banks, KCB, surely fa­mil­iar with the Know-Your-Cus­tomer prin­ci­ples: ‘doc­u­ments re­viewed by The Sen­try in­di­cates that KCB pro­cessed large pay­ments from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in South S into the ac­counts of two se­nior South Su­danese po­lit­i­cally ex­posed per­sons over a pe­riod of sev­eral years.’ Lawyers helped the klep­to­crats with their trans­ac­tions. Of course the help­ful fairies are not only East African, but this is a Kenyan pa­per, and it turns out that Kenya may not be the lauded re­gional peace­maker, but one of the en­ablers.

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