Why are our leaders failing us?

South Sudanese leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the peace talk/2016South Sudanese leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the peace talk/2016

Opinion by: Deng E. Freeman

Have you ever wondered why do our leaders lack the leadership qualities of the 21st century? Why do they, across the board, lack integrity, empathy, humility, vision & purpose? Have you ever wondered why our leaders are such an embarrassment to our nation?

Well, the leadership crisis South Sudan is facing stems from the fact that our top Gov’t leaders as well as the opposition leaders mostly never held real jobs or ran successful businesses in their lives before embarking on the responsibility of leading our country. Not only that, but also our so-called elites mostly never raised a family or made an honest living as average Junubin do here in SS and around the world. Even worst, they rarely stayed with their own families full time either even after they took up the responsibility of “leadership” in our country as either they relocate their immediate families to live in the neighboring countries or they continued to hunker down in hotels even when they’re living in the same city where their own families live.

The Caliber of the people leading South Sudan, regardless of the tribes from which they hail, can be simply categorized into (3) Three main groups:


This group comprises initially low-ranked military officers who had rebelled against the Jalaba in the 1980s and spent decades running around in the bushes of South Sudan as their only job. As we all know, being a rebel fighter in the bush can totally isolate one from the contemporary day-to-day responsibilities of a modern human being to the extent that one could easily lose touch with the average person’s world, which is why this group had to delegate the responsibility of raising their own families to other people such as their wives and relatives. As a result, they never helped and never provided for their families for a long period of time and they never actually experienced the routines of waking up every day at 5 a.m to go to work let alone working graveyard shifts in order to provide for one’s families like the way Diaspora folks have been doing for years. This group includes the likes of Salva Kiir Mayar, Koul Manyang Juuk, and almost all of the high-ranked SPLA Generals.


This group includes the likes of Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. James Wani Igga, Dr. Majak Agoot, Dr. Lam Akol, Deng Alor Koul, Pagan Amum, etc., who spent most of their adult lives pursuing academic degrees behind closed doors and far away from home, mainly in the Western World or in the Arab countries. This group has one thing in common with the first group: They too never held down serious jobs that lasted more than 2 years. Dr. Lam Akol, for example, only worked for less than 2 years as a Professor at Khartoum University while both Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Wani Igga never held a single job before they suddenly became Vice Presidents of South Sudan in 2005 and 2014 respectively. Similarly, Dr. Majak Agoot has no record of him ever held down a job before he leaped from the school straight to the top Gov’t post in South Sudan without any work experience whatsoever. Madam Rebecca Nyandeng is in a category of her own. She barely attended school and never joined the military despite her late husband, Dr. John Garang, being the C-in-C of the SPLM for nearly a quarter a century. Rebecca had officially settled down to be a housewife for life until she suddenly emerged as a top politician out of blue following the death of her husband.


This group comprises Diaspora returnees who failed to make a living in the West in the sense that they lack the discipline to show up at job site on time every day, thus they couldn’t hold down stable jobs in the West.  So, when South Sudan gained independence, they were the first to pack their luggage and headed home. Now they are the leading vital agencies in South Sudan. It figures why their job performance is so bleak.

As you can see, these are generally the types of people leading our country today. People whose whole qualifications don’t include real work experiences nor parenting values. These are men who never actually cared for their own families in a traditional sense of being ahead of one’s own household. Shouldn’t one first become the head of his household before trying to become the head of a state?

If you never raised a family as a dedicated parent, never stayed with your wife and children, never gone to work Year-after-Year, never done things around the house as men do, never helped your children with homework, and most importantly, if you never loved your wife by being there for her, protecting her, shouldering the responsibility of being the “head of your household” and raise children alongside her, then you definitely lack the right qualifications to lead our country and you have no business representing hard-working SS men and women who really know what it takes to care for a family.


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