By Emmanuel Turo Evans
OPINION – South Sudan is currently undergoing worst economic crisis and the highest currency depreciation, the South Sudanese pound in less than four months lost almost 20 percent of its value against the US dollars, it is now fluctuating between 49/50 per 1 dollar, if not more. Food prices and other commodities are increasing everyday as usual, Many South Sudanese are been dropped from their work places either because their employers could not handle big number of employees because of COVID-19 which is understandable, but the worst is the current economic hardship which is causing business and company owners to cut the number of their employees.
Due to the economic hardship the number of South Sudanese who are begging are increasing day by day in the streets of Juba and I believe in other towns in South Sudan, you just need to visit the streets near the residents of some government officials and other institutions and see for yourself the burden and hardship that South Sudanese are going through, beggaring is now the only means for survival for some South Sudanese. The economic hardship have led to a total breakdown of our social norms, it is no longer shameful and bad thing to stand by the road side and beg for money or something to eat from unknown people, by the way I even witness this in Kampala, imagine in a foreign country our people are begging.
Because of the economic hardship in the county some of our sisters in Juba have resorted to prostitution, something which is almost a taboo in our cultures as South Sudanese. Many youth are getting frustrated and developing negative mindset day by day, hence political opportunist and war-mongers are using them to cause more pain and death to our people, destabilizing our already unstable country living South Sudanese hungry and destitute.
Juba is littered with kids in the streets selling things with the scorch sun on them, kids which are suppose to be in schools or at least to be home waiting for food on the table from their parents, are today the one feeding their families, with government doing nothing to protect them from being exploited and put into labor, I know you may be thinking and saying if this children did not work or sell things how will their families survive? If that is the reason, then where are the basic necessities and a peaceful country that SPLM/SPLA fought for and promise the people of South Sudan during the liberation struggle days and after the attainment of our independent in 2011?, or the promise was for a lucky few? Should the people of South Sudan now judge the SPLM/SPLA and drive the movement into the sea like what our late founding father Dr. John Garang de Mabior said one time that ‘‘if SPLM/SPLA continue to shout new Sudan, new Sudan and fails to provide basic necessities to the citizens, the civil population will drive SPLM/SPLA into the sea even though there is no sea in South Sudan and hence prefer the government in Khartoum because the government is giving them the basic necessities’’.
Indeed this are difficult days and times for South Sudan as a country and the people, but one really wonders what cause this mess and hardship that we are in it as a people and a country? Well, I think the entire members of SPLM from 1983 who are alive today to the last members who join this year should take responsibility and accept to have contributed in the hardship which the people of South Sudan are undergoing and for the destabilization and destruction of South Sudan, because most of those who took up arms and rebel against the government of South Sudan from 2005 up to now are/was either SPLM/SPLA historical or SPLA officers the military arm of the SPLM, the second reason is the lack of seriousness and jostling for power in the current Revitalize Transitional Government of National Unity and previous governments of South Sudan. SPLM has failed to deliver the promise it gave to the people of South Sudan, so the party is the cause of the current hardship and mess our country is witnessing.
I am cognizant of the fact that some people who are no longer members of SPLM will jump out of the bandwagon and want to be exonerated from any blame and responsibility of the current destruction and suffering of South Sudanese, I think it depends on what you contributed and did positively to the people of South Sudan as a member of SPLM, because I can tell you that you were either happy with the status qou and enjoying your eating, or had no voice and authority to question the party leadership about the wrong direction the party was/is taking, so instead of quitting the party and advocate for change from outside the party, you accepted to remain in the party while seeing South Sudanese suffer, or you have rebel one time and now enjoying the fruits of your rebellion while South Sudanese suffers, or was part of those who were eating big from government until you were remove from your post, then you rebel citing corruption and tribalism in the government that you were part of for years, that’s been insincere and hypocritical.
South Sudan current economic crisis and hardship is due to the failure of SPLM in governing and managing a country, it remain a revolutionary movement with military mindset, hence South Sudan is moving from bad to worst and if South Sudanese did not raise up to fix this country, South Sudanese will continue to suffer more in the hands of those who claims to be freedom fighters, yet in reality they have destroyed and tormented South Sudan while the children of those who sacrifice their lives for this country during liberation days are roaming the streets of Juba and other towns in South Sudan while their widows are now beggars.
Rebellion is no longer a means of achieving fundamental change and fixing South Sudan problems neither the current Revitalize Transitional Government of National Unity, I think South Sudanese citizens need to put more pressure to the government, especially using civil disobedience as the means and approach of achieving fundamental change, civil disobedience if properly planned will indeed put pressure to the government, I believe in civil disobedience because it is a nonviolent approach and means of achieving change, I know in our context and situation in South Sudan it looks difficult and almost impossible, but there is nothing which is impossible when there is zeal, commitment, and spirit of bravado of a united people calling for change in their country, it just requires bravery and spirit of nationalism, because united we stand divided we fall.
The author is a concerned citizen and can be reach the author through: email@example.com.