For more than four decades, Sudan has been at war with itself. Accordingly, Southern Sudan’s development has been in a state of limbo despite its God-given mineral and natural wealth which Southerners could not benefit from. We are accordingly challenged to transform into a truly working nation in which all of us should be engaged in nationhood building as well as the three essential “Rs” which are national reconstruction, both physical reconstruction and social reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of our people.
I think time is overdue for our people of South Sudan to embrace the spirit of a working nation which requires that we adopt a work culture and discipline if we will ever build our nation to at least the standard of other developing countries and beyond. I say beyond because our income base (for instance) is above our neighboring countries of Kenya and Tanzania. So we are not really poor.
I am disturbed that despite these compelling demands, our people, both young and old spend most of their time playing cards and other games during working hours. There is talk taking its rounds in Juba that some source in Khartoum’s National Congress Party sends a lot of money to young southerners on a weekly basis.
That talk has it that the scheme is to win the youth into believing that unity government is the way to go come referendum and should therefore vote accordingly. The youth therefore vote accordingly. The youth therefore see no reason to work but spend their time drinking and playing cards. By evening, they are drunk and wild. The danger is that they will never develop a work culture to become self supported when the tap is closed.
This “deal” should be investigated by GOSS and if found to be true, appropriate action should be taken to stop what not only amounts to vote rigging in advance but also “buying” of our youth for malignant designs before the options are overtaken by events. If action is not taken now, we could be breeding tomorrow’s armed gangsters.
It must be noted that if we failed to develop during the current peacetime, we will neither use the excuse of the civil war nor contend that the wars exhausted us so much that we could not work anymore. As a matter of fact, there are those who contend that having fought for 21 years, it is time to simply rest.
Our development partners are not going to aid us indefinitely. With the current global economic meltdown, our partners are bound to be adversely affected at some point. They too depend on their respective governments currently hit by the economic crisis. We are not the only country that was trapped by civil wars. Angola, for instance, was locked in civil war for 30 years. At the end of it, it had the highest concentration of land mines estimated at 10 million which continued to take lives compared to South Sudan’s estimated two million landmines. Angola today is literally being rebuilt at an impressively fast pace.
It is necessary to bear in mind that there exists some international consortium of criminals who will enter (if they have not already entered our country) with a view to exploit our resources. They may even pose as business partners of our high profiled leaders for thorough exploitation of our resources.
Such partnerships of convenience and exploitation should be resisted by our leaders. Equally so, there are proven and therefore known crooks from our neighboring countries who may find their way to our country to make business deals. I call upon the SPLM Liaison Offices to be vigilant and advice GOSS promptly. That is if they themselves do not fall into the traps of the crooks.
Meanwhile it is a pity that children of school going age are either serving as touts in public commuter vans or riding motor cycles to transport people. These they do as employees of the rich who do not care about child labour. It is time education, both primary and secondary was made compulsory and all young people of school going age rounded up and taken to schools while those who exploit child labour are prosecuted if we care about our country’s future.
By Mabior Mayom
Mabior Mayom writes for The Sudan Mirror