The prospects of South Sudan have just begun and will become noticeable to the population in the next decade.
South Sudanese people believe that President Kiir is a great leader, but he has been surrounded by careless and self-serving people. In his recent speech on the 37th anniversary of the SPLM/SPLA, Kiir said, “All of us would be ashamed if we met our fallen comrades because we have not lived up to their expectations.”
“The SPLM/SPLA was not formed to fight for the rights of a few to positions of power and wealth. It was founded to free the masses of our people and future generations,” President Kiir said. The truth is that the 64 tribes are what make South Sudan. Without them, we might rally behind an incredible leader bound to the visions and missions of the nation, but we would still be unlikely to achieve harmony. Today, our young people have started to work together despite tribe lines, political affiliations, social classes, and religious differences. Experts and professionals in various fields from all tribes have started working collaboratively and are eager to give valuable time to serve South Sudanese people at home during the time of COVID-19.
I implore the government of South Sudan to respond to tribal disputes that jeopardise people and properties. Tribal disputes hinder growth. Traders cannot move unobstructed, farmers cannot cultivate, and children in rural areas cannot go to school, fearing for their lives. Those engaging in tribal disputes are enemies of peace and progress in South Sudan.
COVID-19 cases are increasing at a fast pace, and the government is considering lockdown policies, which could be detrimental to members of our community. Let us not copy and paste policies. Citizens of many Western nations are being sufficiently supported to stay at home, but South Sudan is a less populated and less prosperous nation. It cannot afford to financially support all its citizens throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
South Sudanese citizens who live below the poverty line cannot afford to live through isolation without financial support from the government. They cannot afford food and other resources needed for survival.
South Sudanese people are not abiding by social distancing and self-quarantine policies. The government has not provided the resources they need to do so.
I urge COVID-19 task forces to give affected individuals a stipend of $14-$20 per day until they are COVID-19 free. Those tested positive need financial incentives and support to stay at home and avoid spreading the virus. South Sudanese people across the globe appreciated the recent release of Abraham Chol Maketh from custody, but we are yet to hear if compensation and apologies from the leaders were received. It is time for healing. Please treat all with respect and dignity.
At Africa World Books, we thank all the SPLM Australia chapters under the leadership of David Tany.
We have enjoyed inspiring and educational speeches from great speakers, and we thank them for helping all South Sudanese people to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the SPLM/SPLA last weekend. We thank all those who took part in the discussions and reflections on the liberation journey to independence in South Sudan.
By Peter Deng