OpEd, Politics

No leader has yet understood why Pope Francis chose a Fiat car instead of a V8

By Malek Arol Dhieu

Six months later after His Holiness Pope Francis was ushered into the most prestigious car, V8, but refused and entered a taxi car to shepherd him to the Presidential Palace, none of the leaders, especially the President and his five Vices, took time to ponder over it.

Even in Vatican City where Pope Francis discharges his double duties of presiding over the city-state and at the same time as the Head of the Catholic Church, he does not use a taxi car. And if, indeed, he uses a taxi car, it would be a taxi car of the highest model. So, Pope Francis was teaching a lesson, but no leader understood him completely.

As if someone had told Pope Francis that there is a car called “Dinka feles” in South Sudan and explained to him why it is called so. To put you in a picture, Dinka feles is a small white Fiat type of car whose name came from the observation that after a Dinka has failed to buy a V8, Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, Jeep, Nissan Petrol, Hummer or any other expensive car, he buys this taxi because his aim is to have a car, whether it is a taxi or an ambulance.

After the Man of God, Pope Francis, was cordially received at Juba International Airport, he was shown a shinning V8, whether that V8 was bullet-proof or not, the protocol personnel knew it, to enter and be driven in one motorcade with President Salva Kiir Mayardit to J1, but Pope Francis chose a taxi car and his choice was respected. He entered it and the siren began whaling immediately as the motorcades were marching to J1.

He screwed down the window and stretched his arm to wave at the throng along the highway to J1. And by the way, how did Dinka Feles car find itself in the middle of V8s belonging to the President and Vice Presidents? Someone must have cooked this ignored lesson! I wish I knew him. Pope Francis was teaching a lesson that any car other than V8 can take the president to his office as long as it is in good health.

Pope Francis was actually telling the President, Vice Presidents, Presidential Advisors, MPs, CDF, Ministers, Undersecretaries, DGs and Governors, that if you had not introduced the system of using V8s as motorcades, your economy would have been one of the strongest economies in the world. The Papal’s gesture was too big to add that if you sell all your V8s and use the money for boosting the economy, it would not take you half a year to recover your deranged economy.

And after your economy has resurrected, keep to not buying V8s as a government and sign a law that brings to book any government official who owns a V8. V8s are for business people, but not business people of South Sudan who blindfold people that they are running businesses, but in reality, they are looting agents of government officials.

With 35 Ministers, 10 Deputy Ministers, 10 or so Presidential Advisors, some MPs, Undersecretaries, DGs, 10 Governors, and 3 Chiefs of Administrative Areas, each having not less than 2 V8s in the motorcades, if these V8s are sold to recover the economy, the economy would recover soon. The biggest tragedy is that, after a year or two, the old V8s are parked at homes and new V8s bought for motorcades. This consumes money which is supposed to be for other services, thus leading to shrinkage of service delivery.

Pope Francis was discouraging the use of expensive cars by the government as motorcades in order to use the resources for buying those expensive cars for the development of the country. But the leaders of South Sudan have ignored the lesson and moved on with their luxurious government. Some leaders have even bought newer V8s three times after they were ashamed by the challenging choice of Pope Francis selecting the cheapest car to take him to J1.

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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