OpEd, Politics

Monthly payment of salary; a challenge awaiting unborn leader to address

It is confusing which direction should a blaming finger be pointed at. Ministry of Finance and Planning? Central Bank of South Sudan? Presidency? Bilpam Headquarters for the case of soldiers? Which direction really? To me, honestly, I can point to the presidency as the one responsible for this quarterly payment of the salary. If the presidency were the presidency of the people and, not the presidency of the individuals, what would prevent it from ordering the Ministry of Finance and Planning or the Central Bank to pay the civil servants and soldiers on a monthly basis?

If last year’s shocking statement that “there is no money in the Central Bank” is true, then what are civil servants doing in the offices? They go to the offices and work to generate money, and by now, they must have generated enough money to pay them for two years. Where does this money go to? Could there be a hidden Central Bank within the known Central Bank? But honestly, there is no point in blaming an institution that is instructed to do something.

Which country pays her civil servants three or four times a year? It is sad to talk about! Despite no salary payment, the civil servants go to work with rattling stomachs and with a big worry about the starving children at home. They go to work, expecting that today may be different. They go to work in expectation of good news to take home to the children. But unfortunately, the news remains shocking that “there is no salary this month”.

You do not know how unpleasant it sounds in the ears of the civil servants. If it almost kills the civil servants, how about their children at home? Every time a civil servant goes to the office, his children expect to see him returning home with sandwiches, but unfortunately, he returns barehanded. Not even one or two. Where will he get money to buy sandwiches? He knows the salary is not there, but his children do not know it. They think their father has become a second “Longonyo”.

Despite no salary payment, soldiers still pick up their guns and protect the citizens day and night. Some soldiers are sent on an international mission moneyless. A good example to cite is that of soldiers who were sent to DR Congo to fight M23 rebels. Some soldiers are rotting in training fields and their salary is being eaten by “specialists in salary consumption” while a majority of soldiers are in the forests of South Sudan cutting down all trees that make good charcoal for survival.

I thought the government of South Sudan would learn from the sad story of a soldier who has named his child “Weu Aliu”. If there is no salary, there should be something closer to the salary to give to the civil servants and soldiers to work efficiently. If there is no one in the presidency with the heart of paying the civil servants and soldiers monthly, it means the leaders to pay the civil servants and soldiers on a monthly basis may be found in the 23rd generation.

Unless someone takes over by a coup, but if the hierarchy is followed like I know it is being followed, then after President Salva Kiir Mayardit, each of the five Vice Presidents will become president, spending years not less than 20, and there will be no salary payment as usual. 10 or so more years of President Salva Kiir Mayardit in power and 100 years of the Vice Presidents, approximately 20 years each. Two centuries of no salary payment!

How would such a situation be explained? How would South Sudan, a country where civil servants and soldiers work unpaid, progress to catch up with the developed world? When will that leader, that very leader who pays the civil servants and soldiers monthly, come?

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

Comments are closed.