A refugee camp in South Sudan (Photo: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images)
In the name of God, what’s there to be celebrated on the 9th of July? Generally, when do people celebrate? What is the government going to celebrate it for? Is it a success or a failure?
Generally, People celebrate whenever they have achieved something. For instance, in the united Sudan, we suffered untold suffering from the hands of our part-time brothers, the north
Sudanese, who racially discriminated against us. Out of jealousy, they murdered our early student geniuses who they picked from Rumbek schools after they excelled in national exams. They enslaved and sold some of us into slavery in distant lands. They raped, both men and women. They forcefully arabized and Islamized some of us. They killed 2.5 million relatives of ours. They violently chased us away from our ancestral homes, making us international wanderers and beggars. They annexed our areas with the intention of taking control of our oil. And that’s why after we overwhelmingly chose to be a free people with our own country, and our own government that would introduce good governance, shed tears of joy on Saturday, the 9th of July 2011. Yes, South Sudanese of all walks of life, wherever they were on this planet; prisons, refugee camps and hospitals, joyfully celebrated the birth of our country that we longed for for almost a century.
Now tell me, what are we going to celebrate the first anniversary for? What has the government achieved in the last 12 months of independence? Could it be the various incorporeal MoUs signed with suspicious foreign governments and companies? Is it the shutdown of oil production countrywide? The Heglig war?
Are we celebrating the Lou Nuer-Murle violence that left over 800 innocent women and children dead? Or the discovery of 75 officials who stole billions of dollars? Is it the fact that the president sent them letters, begging them to return the money? Or maybe because the recovery account was opened in Nairobi? The inability to name and shame the corrupt senior officials?
Are we going to celebrate useless asset declaration decree which the constitutional post holders have been defying for about two years now? That the presidential visit to Beijing that turned out to be a sham? The lame economy? The inflation that skyrocketed to 80 per cent? The depreciation of SSP against dollar? The persistent hunger that nibbles people’s lives? The Mombasa retreat in which top officials indecisively spent millions?
Is it the fact that the government does not address the public on national matters? The armed rebellion in Greater Upper Nile in which hundreds were killed and thousands others rendered homeless? The high unemployment rates? The recent donations of vehicles to the Ugandan government? Or the creation of many unnecessary ministries which drain public coffers, acting as a barrier to services delivery to the people?
Or is it the increasingly uncontrollable high rates of crimes? The fact that the army is still both angry and hungry? What will the top government officials say to the thirsty and hungry audience at the John Garang Mausoleum tomorrow? The contemptuous “Hakuma bi tana” slogan? What else?
Shouldn’t the government realize its austerity measures initiative and reserve the 23 million SSP earmarked for the celebration for any other emergency situation?
Tearz Ayuen is a South Sudanese writer.
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