Reflecting our journey since independence | Opinion

File photo: Independence day celebration. Source: Extracted.

By Dritayi Jambo, (RB) —

I was 10 years old when South Sudan got its independence and now I’m 19 years old as we are approaching the 9th anniversary as an independent nation. I never expected our governance system becoming dictatorial. It’s simply sad!

Lately, I have been feeling this strong urge to speak up about my country, South Sudan and express myself. I’m speaking from a broad perspective. These are tough times we are living in, there is a pandemic raging on affecting everyone in this world in some way. I was worried about South Sudan when the pandemic first broke out over fears that the already fragile country won’t even know how to cope with the virus. Let’s face it, it’s embarrassing to see how as a country, nothing good has come out of it since our independence. It’s the year 2020, and I want you to ask these two questions, “When were the last time as South Sudanese we were happy about our country?” and “What was the last good thing that happened in South Sudan?”. The truth is that since the 9th of July 2011, the country has moved backwards beyond belief. We’ve dug ourselves a deep hole, one that is looking hard to climb out of, I’m not even sure when we finally will. It saddens me to see South Sudan like this. Countless people struggled to liberate our country, so many people died for us to get where we did on 9th July, 2011. The state of South Sudan right now is an insult to all the martyrs who died for us. You think they would have wanted to see South Sudanese living the way we are now? No, they would not.

We’ve got hundreds of thousands of people displaced in South Sudan, millions of refugees around the world, children separated from their parents, women being raped and people being killed. Not to mention, tribalism thrives in the country. You would think that all this is a result of a war with another country but it’s not. It’s shocking to say that as South Sudanese we have done all this to ourselves.

Ultimately who is responsible for this? We all know the answer but many refuse to accept the hard truth. The government along with the people who run it as well as armed rebels and crook politicians are the ones responsible for the millions of lives ruined in the nation. A simple google search of South Sudan shows negative news all the time. We are tired of seeing bad news about South Sudan all the time. That’s not the country we aspired to be.

It’s sad to say this, but the government is one, where ethics, morality, accountability, kindness, love, peace and honesty do not exist. If you sympathize or support the government or armed groups in any way, it means you support human rights being violated, people being killed and women being raped. In reality, those are facts, not an opinion and so, if you support the government and armed rebellion, then you support those things. It’s crazy but some people believe that South Sudan is perfect right now.

I’m tired of seeing the countless efforts of people tirelessly dedicating their time to better South Sudan being dismissed. I’m tired of seeing violence, I’m tired of being frustrated about South Sudan. We need a better country! However, in South Sudan it seems like corrupt politicians, murderers, warlords and crooks get rewarded and on the other hand, people trying to get the country to a better place get spat on.

I don’t want South Sudan to be the next Syria or next failed state. We have all the potential and all the resources to succeed but if we don’t get rid of the root causes of all the negativity in South Sudan such as tribalism, corruption and violence, we will be stuck in this hole for a long time and if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. The government has failed its people and there is no excuse for that. Once we accept this, is when progress will happen. For those of you who are okay with the way things are, I’m not here to change you, in fact be the way you like, blindly support the government but if the government continues on its current path it is unacceptable. We have been failed. It seems like the only thing the government is capable of or ever does is form new governments.

There are many specific people responsible for South Sudan’s demise. These individuals seem to “own the country” and have the country’s resources at their fingertips, yet many still support them both internally and externally. These individuals are responsible and must be held accountable. They are the same people who have negatively affected my family in so many ways (that’s a story for later on). I hate them for that and every single horrible thing they’ve done to my people. They have affected the lives of millions of South Sudanese. They must pay for all of this.

This is not me being political or favoring one side over the other, it is just me being a very concerned citizen. I know most of you will read this thinking I’m just a 19 year old kid who doesn’t know what he is talking about and that’s okay. I’m not here to change you, I just want a better country where my people live normally, have food to eat, are not displaced and not getting killed. Is that too much to ask for?

Lastly, I just want you to ask yourself these questions about Sudan:

  • Is there free speech in South Sudan?
  • Does the government not kill people?
  • Has no money been stolen from South Sudan?
  • Are women not getting raped and children being harmed?
  • Why do you support a dictatorship government?
  • Is there no tribalism in South Sudan?
  • Are you proud of the state of the country?
  • Why do we love division in South Sudan?
  • As a human, is it right to see the injustices happening in South Sudan?
  • If you support the government and they commit a violation (as they usually do) such as violence against your family, would you still support them?

We all should be able to express our opinions without fear. Frankly speaking, people who have done so, often get arrested or kidnapped by the government. Is that the right thing? Will the government now want to do this to a 19 year old kid like me now for saying how I feel?

NB: The author is a son of the former SPLM Secretary for External Relations, Honorable Suzanne Jambo. The views expressed herein are his. Picture’s copyrights belong to the media source that first used it.

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