Photo: Young Hopeless Youth of South Sudan Strolling in Juba. Source: World Politics Review.
By Bior Joseph Mamër, 24/06/2020, (RB) –South Sudan. A name that echoes the sound of home. For time immeasurable, we’ve been feeling the clouds of inequality looming and encroaching upon our spirits, mocking us like a solicitor ringing a doorbell, as you are just about to have dinner. A nuisance to be precise.
Nevertheless, seasons encourage shedding. Few will find solace standing at the sea shore of revolution. My fingers are gritty, as I try finding/picking up treasures beneath my feat. I comb these shores for collectibles, easily discarded things to hang on this nationalistic struggle.
Many are itching for a change in our governance system. Countless are they that are bent to make a turn around. There are those poised on the brink of a new era that they have always perceived. All this resonates to nothing because the platform on which to air their views is spiked.
I’m particularly inclined to the current state of a nation whose original plan is not in any way reflected by the atrocities that punctuate it to date. Pursuant to this fact, the leaders have always played lame to this recurrence. We’re unarguably meritocratic in nature and everyone seems to acquiesce to this.
Reflecting H.E President Kiir’s words in an interview with Jeff Koinange (A Kenyan Journalist), in reference to South Sudan, children need to develop for them to take up tasks equal to them. “A baby actually experiences all the hardships at earlier stages…crawling, learning how to walk(in the process keeps falling down), grows teeth, sheds them and a new phase of life begins”. We were born in 2011, and practically a child born then is 9 years old, one year shy from a decade. Such a child can reason and knows what is right for them. At this stage, although the child is not wholly independent, it can make some of its own decisions. It is time then that we reasoned in that context. We cannot be at a stage whereby we reason short of our age. Without fear of contradiction I can say that we have come of age.
We need to review our method of operation as a nation. Service delivery is a respite yet to be realized by citizens. The government of any nation has responsibilities and the mandate to nourish its citizens with services, tangible or not. It is not debatable that the government services are within the confines of Juba city, and more still to specific areas. Why is it then that there are those who deserve delivery of services to them? Is it that those outside the city are not South Sudanese? We therefore need to up our game, lest we become the laughing stock in the region.
The government needs to access the interior, and to do so, we need to establish good and well-maintained road network and communication platforms. When you make it to some towns or villages, you only find traditional footpaths, which with time, having been used continually become roads. Due to the heavy perennial downpours and floods, some of the roads remain useless, not even to be considered farming lands. This needs redress. If you happen to pass in some areas at around mid-May, the roads there are impassable and are more of rice paddy fields hence movements from such areas to the capital are held. Communication is also essential. Putting up of radio stations and telephone booths can change lives because people need to communicate. Aerials also have to be put up to enhance faster and stronger network connections.
The issue of social amenities remains a beggar’s wish. Death rate is relatively high not because of old age but because medical services are either limited or at least not accessible. It is such a pity that young lives are lost to diseases, because of poor or lack of hospital services. It goes without saying that such citizens find it hard to listen to orders given by the government. NGO’s like tear fund provide hospital services where the government is unable to. All of whom are buckled under the weight of such inequality find it hard to adjust and keep apace with the rest.
Education is a dream of many. Non wishes be left afloat. In the villages the UN has taken up the governments role in providing services to schools by paying the few individuals that are devoted to teach students, providing writing materials like stationery. They also provide food for school children since they need to eat. I hope the government is able to see these acts by the UN and at least offer a helping hand. This is a challenge that needs to be accepted.
Hunger is a word in every citizen’s diction. The poor farming strategies and poor soils contribute to this. The poor soils (mainly clay) encourage flooding in rainy seasons because of high water retention. Such excess water chokes the crops, resulting to hunger strikes. The adverse weather conditions also contribute to the hunger faced by citizens in villages. The UN has therefore taken steps to distribute relief food, but this cannot wholly be an NGO’s initiative. The government has to join forces with the UN. It is not proper that it is left for the NGO’s alone. Till when shall the UN be in the country to provide such services?
Security of those outside the capital (Juba) needs to be checked. Innocent citizens are always being killed and their lives put to stake by others with weapons. This has spiked up inter communal wars, where civilians take the law into their hands to protect and defend themselves. They defend themselves with arms such as modern rifles and guns, not because they always wished to do so but because they have no one to help them. The government is aware of such acts and has the capacity to stop it. Security begins with individual citizens. The government needs to put more effort to show the citizens that they mean well for them.
Since most communities are pastoral nomads, they ought to look after their cattle. In the process, they get involved in fights designed to protect their property. This is where most youths lose their lives because the perpetrators usually advance, heavily and militarily armed. Shocking enough such communities have to cope with their pains, and such information has never reached any high office such as the security offices. Is it that we have no Anti-stock Theft Police Unit? A question for the authorities. The deaths are never mentioned in or by any media house. Needless to say, the judiciary seems a peripheral arm of the government which falls short of its function.
Bior Joseph Mamër
University of Nairobi, School of Law
(The views expressed in this article are owner’s and do not reflect Ramciel Broadacsting’s)