July 6, 2012 (JUBA) - Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu on Friday urged South Sudan leader, Salva Kiir to step up the campaign against corruption, describing it as a "disease" that has immensely contributed to the country’s worsening economy a year since it attained independence.
- Nobel Laureate, Desmond Tutu addressing the media in Juba, July 06, 2012 (Sudan Tribune/Julius Uma)
"Corruption is a disease that affects every country in the world and
it’s a practice that is not acceptable in society today," he said.
"There will never be equitable distribution of resources to the
citizens unless the country’s leaders establish strong mechanisms to
address corruption," he added.
The South African Archbishop and two other members of The Elders are
currently on a six-day visit to South Sudan, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Founded in 2007, The Elders is an independent group of global leaders
who use their collective experience and influence to promote peace,
justice and human rights worldwide.
Tutu, who was flanked by Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of
Finland and his Ireland counterpart, Mary Robinson told journalists
that delegation in a meeting with President Kiir, also discussed the
challenges facing the new nation as it prepares for its first
"A year ago we joined the rest of the world in celebrating the birth
of the new nation of South Sudan. Today in Juba, my mood is rather
more somber," he said.
"[Today] The economy is in dire straits due in part to the
government’s decision to shut down oil production. The President’s own
estimation of losses due to corruption is truly shocking. And the
relationship with Khartoum is acrimonious and mistrustful," he added.
Tutu, also head of the visiting delegation lauded President Kiir’s
recent move to fight graft in the country, citing his decision to ask
those suspected to have misappropriated public funds to be held
The South Sudan leader, in May, wrote letters to 75 former and current
government officials to directly account for at least $4bn, allegedly
stolen from country coffers and pledged amnesty to those who will
comply. The President also said an account had been opened in a
Kenyan-based bank for purpose of recovering these funds.
The Elders, meanwhile, expressed deep concerns about the unresolved
issues between Sudan and South Sudan as well as the humanitarian
crisis resulting from the ongoing hostilities in Blue Nile and South
Kordofan states of Sudan.
"As Elders, we believe dialogue is the only way to resolve these
differences and thus build two viable states living side by side with
each other," said Tutu, adding that “Military means is not the best
option as it can only add misery and suffering to the people.”
The Elders raised a wide range of issues with President Kiir, placing
special emphasis on the importance of resolving disagreements and
conflict through dialogue, and building a viable state in South Sudan.
However, with the 02 August deadline set by the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC) fast approaching, The Elders remain optimistic
that tangible solutions will be reached between the two neighboring
"All conflicts can be solved and this is the same attitude that all of
us must share in order to achieve peace," Nobel Laureate Ahtisaari
Robinson on the other hand said she was mainly concerned about the
human suffering, especially the impact of refugees in South Sudan’s
Upper Nile and Unity states. The delegation is due to visit refugees’
settlements in Upper Nile on Saturday.