OpEd, Politics

Have you ever been issued a cheque and you got the bank account empty?

One beautiful morning, my phone vibrated and when I looked at the screen, the sight of the digits made my heart jerk. The number was so special that I guessed it must belong either to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, VP James Wani Igga or any of the Vice Presidents. I was like, my prayer is getting answered.

A lot of things filled my mind, but when I remembered that the caller might cut off, I answered it and the voice sounded different from the voices of those that I mentioned above. But the truth remains that he was also a VIP, though a VIP of a lesser category.

Hello gentleman, how are you? I said I’m fine. Please, confirm it that I’m speaking to Malek Arol Dhieu. I said I confirm! He introduced himself to me in abundance that I almost fell in love with his rich educational background. But when he mentioned that he is a politician, I became skeptical immediately because these people called politicians can disappoint.

I too introduced myself to him and the conversation went on lengthily. He branded me the best opinion writer and I did not dispute it, though he was wrong. Instead, I thanked him so much for the accreditation. He inquired whether or not I had studied in East Africa and I told him I have never gone anywhere for studies. I have been pursuing my studies here in South Sudan.

He wowed me and said, you write like you were educated overseas. I said those educated in South Sudan can too write like that. To me, I took it as an insult, but I kept my cool. Before he hung up, he scheduled our meeting, and I was happy about it because it would boost my exposure. But inside my heart, I thought of it as a trap. Someone somewhere might have victimized me for the opinions I write and that, he would trap me into jeopardy.

Another heart told me, no, this is not true. Elections are nearing and politicians must be looking for campaign managers, so this politician must have been following my writings and he felt in love with them. Who knows he is going to appoint me his campaign manager? I tell you, I was so thoughtful, but at last, I agreed with myself that I should meet him. But I have to tighten my security so that when I fall into the trap, I should have someone to come to my rescue.

The day finally came, and I educated my cousin on my scheduled meeting and requested him to go with me and hide somewhere closer to the scene. Our security deal was that he should call me on the phone every ten minutes, if I pick it up, then nothing has yet happened to me. But if I do not pick it or the phone does not go through, then I might have been disarmed of it, confined or taken through the backdoor to the prison.

In the scene, we did our arrangements as agreed and I went inside the office to meet the politician. He welcomed me so warmly that I almost called my cousin to relax, but I shortly remembered that politics is a dirty game. So, I left our security deal intact. We chatted for nearly an hour, and my cousin kept doing his work.

The politician then unzipped his bag as if picking out a bundle of USD, but I ended up seeing him bringing out a receipt book. He picked a pen, wrote something and plucked out a small piece of paper from the receipt book and gave it to me honorably. He then said this is a cheque, go to the bank and withdraw the money. When I glanced at it, I saw that he has written one with six zeros, meaning SSP 1, 000,000. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart as he rose up to escort me outside.

Outside, I found my cousin standing where I told him to hide, and we both laughed at one another for the security deal we made. I then told my cousin to rush to where the bank is because the politician might change his mind and that would be a trauma to me. We boarded a boda-boda who rode as if he knew we were rushing somewhere, and we were, indeed, rushing somewhere.

Thank God we found the queue for those with bank cheques very short and I joined them, with an unending smile on my face. Inside my mind, I had already listed the items I have been in dire need of. But my first priority was to reward my cousin for the safety role he played to see me unharmed. The next customer to give a cheque to the cashier was me and my heart was throbbing seriously.

I gave the cheque, and the cashier received it with a lustful look at me; the first time to have been smiled at by a cashier. The cashier carried out the operation, but I could sense something unusual. The look on the cashier’s face told me the cheque might be a fake cheque.

Then came the sad news! The cashier told me the bank account is totally empty. I almost collapsed, but I took courage and asked the cashier to carry out another operation. The cashier found the same results. I looked closely at her to recognize whether or not we had quarreled somewhere and that, she found this the opportunity to revenge, but she was strange to me.

I came outside the bank with my cousin to call the politician and inform him about the tragedy, but he could not pick up my call. I tried someone’s phone and he could not pick as well. We returned to the office, but he wasn’t there. The following day, I came to the cashier and the results were the same. The results were also the same on the third day. It became my business. When I called the politician, his phone was off and when I went to his office, I was denied access. I then confirmed he was playing a dirty game on me, or someone might have sent him to make me fall sick of a heart attack.

I came home, told my cousin to take it easy and dismissed it from our minds, but deep down my heart, I was bleeding profusely. What did I do that I deserve such treatment? Do people think I would not be a leader in this country? If it were not for the reason that I’m myself and I shall always be myself, I would join those fighting in the bush because there is no point a brother could put his fellow brother in such a shame. The issue here is not about money, but the provocation.

I may not hate all politicians because of this, but that politician, that particular politician would never prosper in politics forever. Not only do old men curse people, but even young ones can also curse as well. May God bless him wherever he is.

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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