Columnists, OpEd

Don’t praise water, but drink wine


If you want to laugh, listen to leaders during campaigns, but if you want to laugh more, try your best to attend a press conference in which a leader addresses the nation on issues of corruption and tribalism. You will laugh to death, I tell you.

He talks as if he is not among the practitioners. In fact, he talks as if he is not the chief practitioner. He lectures people on the consequences of corruption and tribalism, going as far as to say that those who are involved in corruption and tribalism will face justice, whether now or later.

I wish God would perform a miracle to make the MC invite me as the second speaker after him. I would tell the public that we have gotten him as one of the corrupt individuals; let him face justice as we pursue others. But would that miracle happen? It would not.

You would find that leaders sweet-talk corruption and tribalism not because they want to eradicate them but because they love them to exist. If corruption and tribalism are eradicated, then leaders would not struggle for power because it is power that guarantees a leader to loot as much as he can since the anti-corruption commission and judiciary are as toothless to bite corrupt leaders as an infant.

In fact, they are silenced by the fact that they are the ones leaders first deal with to withdraw their independence so that they work for them instead of working with them. In countries where anti-corruption commissions and the judiciary have two lower and upper teeth just like those of a rat, corrupt leaders are first brought to book, then they use their monetary influence to manipulate the trials, leading to courts dropping charges against them.

But in countries pulled by corruption and pushed by tribalism, such as South Sudan, members of the anti-corruption commission themselves are corrupt, let alone the officials they have come to monitor. So, how would corruption not spread in such a situation?

Everything is looted, and looters have gone to a point where they knock on people’s doors, and when they are open for them, they ask for the price of the plot of land, wanting to buy it even when its owner is unwilling to sell it. They have gone so far that when they see someone owning a shop in a good location, they can persuade him to sell it to them. This is organized looting.

They have gone to a crazy point where they turn public squares into their own. So soon, there would be no football fields in all the residential areas because the government officials would turn them into theirs. The salaries of the civil servants they divide among themselves seem too small for them, and because of that, they have advanced to tell the civil servants to unwillingly sell their houses to them.

It makes people laugh when the leaders of South Sudan talk about corruption and tribalism. You know what? When a prostitute quarrels with a virgin, the first person to insult is the prostitute. Guess her insult? She insults the virgin as a known prostitute who sleeps with boys 24/7. This is to prevent her from being insulted later as a prostitute by the virgin. Even if a virgin insults her later, people won’t believe she’s a prostitute for sure.

This is what leaders do. They rush to talk about corruption and tribalism so as to confuse the evidence in the minds of people that they are not corrupt. They praise water but end up drinking wine.

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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