South Sudan: A pride of our generation

By Deng Mangok Ayuel

February 15, 2013 (SSNA) — People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but it’s the way you live your life that matters – Cassandra Clare

My forefather didn’t know when France, Ghana, Syria and Somali became countries in the map of world but I know when and how “South Sudan” became a country in Africa. I am proud to be among the generation who fought for decades for the sake of peace, freedom and democracy during the protracted civil war in Sudan where millions of lives were lost. It doesn’t mean that I was a soldier or had fought with Khartoum regime of el-Bashir, I am South Sudanese. I deserve to be happy, love what I am doing and strive for change.

Is this generation politically cursed or blessed, democratic and peaceful? Nowhere is more peaceful but there are less challenging constituted nations in the world. We should be patience when thing goes wrong. I wish we shouldn’t be an angry nation because an angry man is a frightened citizen in the country. There are angry political opinions writers who are suppose to listen to my voice. Their long lasting political antagonism causes lie. On the other hand, if you live with a lie long enough, the truth becomes a kind of fiction. There are political lies preached by political opinion writers in which the nation might have been informed and advised wrongly on the past and current social spotlights, political situation and personalities of VIPs in the Republic of South Sudan.

South Sudanese are great people. I graphed how uncles have balanced their lifetime as rebels during the civil war in Sudan and after separation as politicians in the Republic of South Sudan. They are patriots with hearts for their people and the next generation. There has been optimism in what they had been doing – that we have been socially and politically ordained by their visionary success in which you and I are now South Sudanese. There is no better time than now. The time to work, dream, excel and forget the past. It is our time to make things happen, milk our dream or enjoys the fruits of success.

As South Sudanese national reconciliation owes us a heart, I beg the nation to embrace peaceful co-existence and accept their wrongdoings, forgive or be forgiven. This is the chance for our people to recognize that nation is built, protected by its own people, that everyone should be an agent of change in the society. If I were an evangelist, I would have crusaded last year as part of national reconciliation to politically and socially anoint our people with peace, love, freedom and political togetherness in order to stop evildoings. What matters is not the wrong thing done in the past by anyone – it is what will make us strong and peaceful nation. My concern as South Sudanese is to live in peace, work together with others regardless of tribes, religions and political parties.

An angry man is not a “hungry South Sudanese”. This is an image. I am not pointing figure at particular person. A hungry man is an ordinary citizen who has something to do with basic needs in life and social affairs in which he may feel vulnerable oppositely when his voice is too low to be heard. An official from South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state made an urgent appeal for international aid to desecrate off a humanitarian disaster in the Kapoeta after a four-month drought, followed by heavy rains, wiped out crops and brought on a food crisis (Daily Nation newspaper, Kenya, February 7, 2013). You see, this is what makes the different! There is a citizen who can easily die due to lack of food, medicine and water.  

An angry South Sudanese is mouthful, financially stable, half-way European, American or soldier-turned-politician and has family in a foreign country. He is only for politics. He wanted to make a change according to him but there is no chance given to him for years. He is able to be an ambassador or MP in Bor, Wau and Juba legislative assemblies. He has money, food and assets. What does he need again? Extra money, leadership or problems …?   He is an angry man. It is not you but I am thinking about him.

If you think that I am joking, then you are deviating. In South Sudan, people desire to plant trees in the rivers. It is a desire only.  For instance, a consultant hired by an NGO proposed to set up supplementary feeding centre in a village where there was no hungry person or malnourished child. The consultant thought that tall and thin people he saw in the village are hungry. That was an opposite of his consultancy work and facts about the situation in the village. He shouldn’t opt to judge people before inquiry, talks.  Besides, a businessman may also think that building a hotel or bar in a village like Malualkon is a good idea in promoting his business while there are no Russian Beers consumers in Malualkon. By implementing this idea, the businessman may enterprisingly lose profits and the business will definitely collapse. I have no idea where many people got money to set up their businesses. Is it inherited wealth, oil, and sorghum or land money?  I have had no clue or convincing answers. People are drunk and conflicting with different ideas and wealth like hip hop singers.

It takes years to escape blames, opposition and hatred after you have appointed or sacked inept politicians in your government. Let’s talk about reshuffling, relieve or sacked if a politician is not performing well. Who had not been a commissioner or minister before constitution? I am really talking about those who were appointed, relieved or sacked. It is about our former commissioners or the ministers of our states government. When our politicians-turned-ordinary citizens took an oath of office, did they promise to make the difference? Political promises are like oil in the fire. Politics is deceptive. You can’t survive political South Sudan when having four eyes and mouths at a time. If you try to talk politics with any former minister, commissioner of your state, he will end up depending him/herself and accuse the government as part of a cry after given a food but taken before eating flesh and juicy parts.   Some of these politicians-turned-ordinary-citizens couldn’t spend 3 months as commissioners or ministers after they found that political seats in democratic society are hot like fire. It is very hot because people don’t own what they are doing.  Why do we cry when there are no tears in our eyes? Wherever you are, and whosoever is your leader, try to join hands in order to build our country. When I was sacked by the State Local Government Advisor to the Governor for Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Aweil in March, 2010, I didn’t stop voting for the same government its’ prominent figure sacked me after I worked as his office manager for 2 years. I voted with confidence in April, 2010, and my vote made the difference! Anyone is not everyone in politics. South Sudan is our beloved country regardless of tribes, religions and political parties.

It is said that if you wanted to be remembered, writes a book or plant a tree. That is not enough at all. We should unite, work together, own our constitution and stop corruption. I do sometimes feel dispirited when I see the youth playing cards and dominoes for the whole day because there is no work to be done according to them. The employed youth are the sons and daughters, the nephews and nieces of traditional chiefs and our uncles. In fact, there are no many job opportunities since there is no oil money!

The Republic of South Sudan needs economic strategy, enterprise development and jobs creation but the bigger disease in the job market is employment criteria. Our labor office should acknowledge our leaders and set up the policies the guarantee employment and termination of any official or worker per policy. Leaders should also be referred to labor policy on political appointment by decree from the authority concerned and the local and professional appointments within the ministry or department. In some states, directors or senior officials in the ministries and private sectors had been removed from their positions without warnings to notify their lack of capability and experience in their duties. This is because some politicians wanted to fulfill their promises by sacking people without mistakes instead of creating more jobs. In any case, if directors were friendly employed, they deserved to be sacked. I don’t support corruption. I am not against those who keep sacking others; some of these directors and other senior staff might not be truly working well and the system can’t entertain their laziness, inexperience. Hence, public service should address and assess the developmental need of the labor market, plan the budget and create more jobs to fight joblessness. It is important to conduct labor market assessment to address occupational demand and to professionalize institutions in order to create proper mechanism that shall strategize the system in the public and private sectors. This will help the policy makers and employers to determine the labor demand, pay rates and the cost of living in the country.

It will take us a while to get things set; our oil will be flowing to the world market, there will be no austerity measures. Of course, it will take time to be poverty free at household levels. Let’s hope that God is pleased to help us free our minds from political sins and unite us as His children. All in all, South Sudanese is lovely. It is the only place in the world where foreigners may feel at home. I salute and congratulate everyone who loves peace. One must not give up hope. South Sudan is for everyone!

Deng Mangok Ayuel lives in Aweil. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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