By Deng Riek Khoryoam, South Sudan
April 15, 2011 (SSNA) — When I wrote an article last year, titled “Dr. Machar: an icon of hope for the people of Southern Sudan” to acknowledge and appreciate the great work done by Dr. Riek Machar, the Vice President of GOSS who worked tirelessly to ensure that the referendum conducted in January this year was a success, I came under fire because others saw him as a tribal chief than a national figure. They accused me of supporting him because we come from the same tribe and I said no, I am too big to support people on tribal lines. They accused me of all sorts of things and you can imagine…..that perhaps may be I was looking for a job at presidency or elsewhere, selling him or what? I told them that Dr. Riek is not a messiah and that they have a right to criticize him if they feel he is not doing what he is supposed to do in his capacity as a VP. Others judge him strictly and irrationally on the basis of 1991 major split of SPLM/A to the point where they don’t even want to hear his name mentioned for good or bad reasons.
I want to unequivocally tell them that I don’t support people (Riek Machar included) on shallow and shadowy grounds. I would support even a hyena if it behaves well and does according to what majority likes. That article caused a lot of political uproar and havoc by Riek’s political adversaries because I gave credit where it was due. I also wrote another article this year in February proposing that James Wani Igga be replaced by Hon. Atem Garang and that was tendentious; some of my Equatorial friends were on my neck for almost three good weeks of bitter exchanges via email messages questioning the intention of my article. I told them that there is no any intention other than the contrast of competence between Hon. Atem Garang and the incompetence of Hon. Wani Igga, period. I stand by this statement, and my support for the former is a genuine one!
South Sudan is not only endowed with natural resources but also with charismatic and extraordinary leaders. There are leaders who know why they are in certain positions and whose interest they are representing, and to me those are the ones who really deserve the title such as ‘honourable’, (not even the Excellency) and Hon. Anthony Lino Makana, the able GOSS minister of Roads and transport is one of the few who deserve this title. He is the right man in the right position. Through his tireless and relentless efforts, we are able to drive at least on a few tarmac roads in Juba for the first time. His predecessor, the widow and the former first lady Madam Rebecca Nyadeng De Mabior didn’t do very well in that docket; and that was why from 2005 when the government of Southern Sudan came into being to the time Hon. Makana was appointed to this position, there was nothing like good roads – all were in bad shape, just like before. I don’t want to create an impression that she was corrupt, that the funds meant for roads construction were misappropriated to the point where there was nothing. After all, everyone in GOSS had a hand in corruption related crimes, that’s why you see those of Luka Biong and Pagan Amum among others, having huge mansions in Australia and elsewhere in the west.
Apart from being smart (generally) and having utmost aptitude, Honourable Makana is such a humble man— probably because he comes from a humble background. Honourable Makana does his work perfectly well to the satisfaction of the people of Southern Sudan and not doing it to please and appease his appointing authority. He is serving his people with an open heart and diligence! Some ministers in GOSS are out to serve the interest of their appointing authority and not the people, and you can actually see from their actions. Honourable Anthony Makana is above all that because he is too mature for this flattering game. Almost all the main/major roads in Juba have been tarmacked and some are under construction, bridges are also under construction. Juba – Nimule road is under construction and in a few months to come, you will be cruising at a 120km/hr with your land cruiser to Nimule or Uganda on a tarmac road. He also inaugurated Malakal – Jokou road last year and the construction is underway (though at a low pace) in Upper Nile State.
Road construction is ongoing in other states of Southern Sudan by construction companies contracted by the government of Southern Sudan through the ministry of transport and roads. All these enumerated are whose achievements? It’s Hon. Anthony Makana and his team. Shouldn’t we pat his back and give him a credit for the job well done? I think we should do that, hence the reason for writing this article. It’s good to honour and appreciate the good work someone has done, it motivates a lot and make that person even do more. I think this should be the only reward for those who do exceedingly well! Those who don’t do satisfactorily in the eyes of people will not get this kind of reward from the citizens and will not get into the anal of history later when it shall be rewritten again.
Anyway, let me keep my information lean by stopping from here. I urge Honourable Anthony Makana to continue the good work and keep wearing that helmet when he goes to observe the work being done by those contractors as sometimes they may not do a good job. I also appeal to Hon. Makana to speed up the construction of new airport terminals at JIA before we move to another location for good. We pray for continued good health and physical strength as well as God’s guidance in all your undertakings! Whatever you do, do it because your conscience tells you it’s the right thing to do and follow your instincts; also do it because it’s what the people have mandated you to do. Let the interest of the majority of people always be above any other parochial interest that may override it and you will always win the confidence of the people.
“Together we can go further”
The author lives in South Sudan. He can be reached for comments at firstname.lastname@example.org