JUBA – South Sudan’s chargé d’affaires in Washington, Gordon Buay Malek, has reportedly resorted to work as a driver for transport company Uber to sustain his family after the government back home failed to pay diplomatic missions for over 15 months, according to close friends and embassy colleagues.
According to a senior embassy staff in Washington, South Sudan government last paid them in October 2019 for a three-month salary, and since then, several embassy staffers have resorted to US private sector to enable them cope with the economic crisis back home.
“The last time we were paid was in October 2019 as I remember. We were paid for only three months only because we were not paid then for about nine months. This has resulted into many of us resorting to work for part-time jobs to help us feed our families,” the South Sudanese who refused to be named said.
The official said however that other staffs who don’t have US documents are struggling to get jobs saying only a few who are American citizens are working including Buay who he said is working as a driver for Uber company.
“There is another problem also for some of us. If you don’t have documents and work permit, you cannot work in the US and this has frustrated many of us and only people like Ambassador Buay Malek are able to work because they have US citizenship,” the embassy staffer added.
South Sudan, the world’s war-torn youngest country is in a serious economic situation imposed by COVID-19, corruption and global decline of oil prices.
Soldiers have gone unpaid for about seven months and UN agencies have warned that almost 70% or around 8.3 million are facing famine this year.
Contacted by Sudans Post, Buay said he “won’t comment” but accused the SPLM-IO led by “black problem (meaning First Vice President and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar) of blocking international financial aid to our country because of his greed for power.”