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July 9th: Celebrating the 9th Independence Anniversary is Just but a Mockery in South Sudan

South Sudan NEWS PORTAL (JUBA CITY)

By Mabil Manyok Nhial, Gweru, Zimbabwe

Thursday, July 09, 2020 (PW) — Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal, but the sorrow in South Sudan appears to be too irredeemable to be healed. Since South Sudan regained her independence on 9th July 2011, she has been swimming in a filthy bloody pool of disorder.

The South Sudanese fought tooth and nail for their own freedom against the repressive Arabs resulting in the birth of the newest country on earth, the Republic of South Sudan. However, they soon became the enemy of their own, tearing the coat of many colours- the coat of national identity into shambolic pieces of tribal identities.

The country has sadly been catapulted into ugly successive crises, where rebellions have been staged in tandem with tribal lines. However, with the formation of the R-TGONU, which to me, is yet to bear the desired fruit, the used to be innumerable rebellions have been superficially narrowed down, but that does not meaninnocent citizens are not massively perishing on daily basis.

One of the reasons that hardened most of the South Sudanese to fight was and still is that they would want to see the future of their children and grandchildren brighter and happier than theirs. Most of those people,who fought the repressive Arabs are now either wounded heroes/heroines, martyrs or still defending the country they so much loved and still love. It is obvious that one reaps what he sows, but does this happen in South Sudan? It is everyone’s tea break!

Common sense dictates that the families of the martyrs, wounded heroes and heroines as well as the current national defence forces would enjoy the fruit of what they had relentlessly worked for. Paradoxically, the fallen heroes and heroines are long forgotten! What would they say and do if they resurrect today and see how their children are begging in the street of Juba and sleeping therein?

The laws of South Sudan place an obligation on the government to accord special protection to orphans and other vulnerable children in terms Article 17 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan as amended. Does the government execute that obligation? Whythen, would be they lingering around and frequenting the streets as their home? 

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What are we celebrating when the children and wives of those who chose to shed their blood to seal the foundation of this ailing country, have nothing to eat because the only breadwinner is no more, but the government has chosen to turn its back on them?

Wounded heroes and heroines are no exception in this case. The very people, who opted to have parts of their bodies lay a concretion foundation on which this sick country is built have been left for fate to determine it all. Some of these wounded heroes and heroines have remained without spouses because of this country. 

What are we celebrating when such people, whose legs and arms got amputated and eyes gouged out and no one gives them daily bread? What are we celebrating when those wounded heroes and heroines wish they would have run abroad to ensure their safety had they known they were going to live such wretched lives?

The pillar of every country is its national army, which should be well taken care of with maximum attention. Is that the case in South Sudan? How long does it take forarmed forces to receive their salaries? How are their families surviving when they (armed forces) have given their maximum attention to defending the country? 

Their children, like others, are entitled to free and compulsory education under Article 29 of the Transitional Constitution as amended. Are these children accessing this right? What are we celebrating when the children of the national armed forces cannot afford to access basic education, which is the right of every child? 

Civil servants, like armed forces, work for almost a year without being paid and we just assume that things are alright! Sometimes, it is perfectly okay to admit we are not okay. What are we celebrating when an ordinary citizen cannot afford getting daily bread?

Innocent citizens are being killed by the unruly hungry criminals that go for almost a year without salaries and we assume that we are all fine with it! What has become of us? What are we celebrating when criminals kill and go with impunity? What are we celebrating when rebellions have become a lucrative venture?

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What are we celebrating when habitual rebels with no clear agenda are highly rewarded with political positions and the patriots are seen as betrayers? What are we celebrating when corruption has been systematised and children of corruption are not frowned upon and made to face justice? 

What are we celebrating when a real patriot, who vocally speaks against vices dragging this country backward,cannot be heard the next day? What are we celebrating when the justice system is sadly in disarray as those in power have automatic birth right to have every case in their own favour? What are we celebrating when passengers are senselessly killed for no apparent reasons, but because of their tribal or sectional identities?

What are we celebrating when tribes turn against one another looting, abducting children and women and rustling cattle, but the government cannot stop such practices and provide citizens with security?

In South Sudan, Malaria, polio and other easily curable diseases are still a big doomy loom in the country. What are we celebrating when there are no basic medical facilities that can help helpless citizens, who cannot afford to access medication in a foreign countries?

It is a common aphorism that grief is like living two lives. One is where you pretend that everything is alright, and the other is where your heart silently screams. The nation has chosen to grieve in silence and pretend that all is perfectly well, while celebrating the NinthIndependence Anniversary. Is it not okay to admit that we are not okay by fixing our sorrowful issues that prick us in the ribs? 

In reality, we are not yet fully independent, unless ordinary citizens afford to buy daily bread. We are not yet independent, unless a traveller fears no more death along the roads.

We are not yet independent unless and until those unknown gunmen become known. We are not yet independent until we see armed forces provide security, not insecurity to the citizenry. We are not yet independent until we identify corrupt leaders and make them liable for their corruption.

We are not yet independent unless and until a human being fears no other fellow human beings, but only an animal! Independence will be so called and celebrated when every man and woman, whether young or old, enjoys the desired fruit of what our liberators fought for!

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The writer is a teacher at Malek Secondary School. He can be reached via: johnmabilmanyok@gmail.com

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