OpEd, Politics

I’m too big to enter my uncle’s pocket

My uncle tries putting me into his chest pocket so that whenever he submits his application to J One, he would press my mouth so that I praise him to impress J One to appoint him.

If he sees that I’m not enough to make the deal comes true, he instructs me to recruit a few other youths to write a series of open letters to J One, sugar-coating them with lies to make sure J One thinks it has gotten the right person.

Any writing must challenge the incumbent and former officials in such a way that my uncle will be so competent for the position. If he gets appointed, he takes all of us to his office to work for him as we gang up against anybody who says shit about him. My uncle loots the way he wants, and we loot the way we want; thus, tribalism and corruption get promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. Relieved or not relieved, we continue talking inside his pocket.

When J One fails to appoint him, he recruits us as his army and goes to the bush. He spends two days in the bush and fakes a health condition to travel abroad for treatment or he travels in the name of mobilizing resources for the movement. He goes abroad and leaves us in the bush to fight for him.

Some of us are shot dead, but he remains alive. Some of us are injured, but my dear uncle remains uninjured. Some of us are caught and taken to prison, but my uncle enjoys his liberty. Our families continue starving because we are unable to hustle in towns and put food on their table, but my uncle begs money in the name of supporting the movement and he uses part or whole of this money to put food on his own family’s table.

From abroad where he goes to hide, my uncle commands us to do anything stupid in order to force the government to calling him for ceasefire. Some of us blindly shoot our own family members and there is nothing we can do about it. We fight for him like lions. We block the busy highways, such as that of Bor and Nimule, to make sure pressure grows high. We kill children and women to make sure the war we are fighting for is a “war of nerves”.

What else can the government under the leadership of lenient Salva Kiir Mayardit do? The government calls my uncle for the cessation of hostilities and thereafter, the series of achieving peace commences. After peace agreement, preparations for welcoming my uncle to Juba begin. In Juba where he enjoys his life in one of the luxurious hotels, he will give us a telephone call in the bush to cease fighting as he sorts out a few issues with the government. This may take a little bit long.

Then we are called finally to come to Juba where we will be awaiting integration and assignments. My uncle is given a Vice Presidency or a Ministry to hold and unfortunately, he selects soldiers who did not fight for him to be his bodyguards and close protection. Maybe he feels suspicious that we may harm him when he mistreats us from within. My uncle hands us over to the SSPDF for integration and assignments plus the confirmation of those high military ranks we put on our shoulders.

We are integrated, but no one of us gets an assignment. The lucky ones are those whose military ranks are confirmed or reduced by a star or two. Our condition remains the same or is even worsening, but my uncle’s bank accounts (both SSP and USD accounts) begin becoming obese. He starts developing fat cheeks and his stomach protrudes. Every day, the government pays to appease him.

He sends his family abroad and our families continue living in hardship. He travels overseas today and tomorrow and, next tomorrow and as he does so, he establishes his own friendships with international friends, and we remain too local here in Juba. He receives his salary monthly, but we receive ours yearly. The only open place for us is the forest. We pick our axes, go to the forest and cut down trees for charcoal to earn a living. My uncle continues embezzling public money.

When President Salva Kiir Mayardit becomes aware of my uncle’s ever-increasing appetite for money, he relieves him. Out of the government for 5-6 months and no reappointment, my uncle sends us an apology and tells us to return to the bush, promising us that things will be different this time. Because we are too foolish to decide for ourselves, we again follow him to the bush and fight for him.

If I may ask, when will youth get out of their uncle’s pockets and become decisive to say, “enough is enough, we have fought for you for too long, if you are to go to the bush, go alone?” Believe me; you will never see a politician going to the bush. Some of the politicians are too old to ready a gun, leave alone firing a bullet. “A car (politicians) cannot move without an engine (youth)”. It is high time engine should refuse so that the car breaks down.

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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