OpEd, Politics

We speak for the needy not against the greedy

Looking back now, it has been an elusive struggle for people’s rights. We bleed ink but most times, I write encouraging articles to give people hope. Some other times, I go beyond my limits and scratch my head when it gets tougher. But all of this is out of love and nothing more than that.

We love our people and that is why we talk on a daily basis. I know when I am not comfortable, millions of people may be feeling the same, in South Sudan, it is not easy. People are suffering. Thousands are losing their lives and millions are at risk of doing the same. It is not known. Who knows what the future holds?

This is why we took the other side of the game. It is the hardest one with a price more than life itself. But why? We are not enemies of the people. We want things to fall in the right place. We demand accountability and public resources, to the right ones, the public.  This is why I put my life at risk but as a human, I deserve equal treatment. I am a son of this land. This is the same ground where my dad was buried, over there, he is watching over his struggling child. This country is filled with the blood of the people we love but why are we, the young voices being threatened, when we speak on behalf of our people?

It is okay, this unfair treatment is and will never be our biggest fear. We are not inspired by the desire for our own comfort. That’s easy and we know very well how to get that under every form of evil.

We are not moved by anything that glitters, we value not the possessions of man but the culture of life. We are not scared to be called poor and dirty because we understand that life is not defined by those elements. Our struggle is beyond our appetite for wealth and comfort. Do you even have an idea about where I eat and sleep, sometimes it pains me to imagine what we go through as young ones. But this is not a problem.

Those who continue to steal from the poor do so because they themselves know the indignity that comes with poverty. They are doing everything to steal and become rich so that they can earn the dignity that they deprive of the poor masses of our people.

They jump at every opportunity to steal public funds because they are desperately trying to get enough to build a bigger house so that they can earn the public’s respect. This is a culture that we are creating without shame. Everything is founded on the amount of money one has.

We have become a society that despises the poor and ignores their concerns. We have become a society that denies dignity to the poor and worships the powerful and the rich. This is not right and we will resist this systematic exclusion of the majority of our people.

We talk not because we didn’t have food in our homes. We talk not because it is fashionable. We talk because we believe that South Sudan and its resources belong to its people, not just to a few individuals.

We still have children in rural areas who are sitting under trees as schools. We still have children walking long distances for them to find a school. We have children who will never go to school because their parents are poor. We have people in some parts of this country who have no access to clean water and are forced to use salty water.

We have very intelligent young people who have failed to complete their University education because they couldn’t afford the fees. We believe these plus many more pressing issues should have taken priority in the way we spend our resources. The wastage expenditure and the arrogance that comes with it must be challenged. We cannot create a society that only responds to the greedy and ignores its needy.

We are not ready to be intimidated by insecure selfish leaders who are trying so hard to create cowards of our people. They use the underpaid and impoverished military-like moral underwear to cover their moral nakedness. This is a voice of conscience and every responsible leader must open their eyes and ears. We are not criminals and we did not commit any crime. I think the only crime we committed was to call those who rob and kill the poor out and demand that they account. This is a crime that we admit and are willing to stand up for even for years.

Our convictions were influenced by our desire for equal distribution of national wealth. Even when the world is not sure if we are doing the right thing or not, we are fully sure because our minds are pure.

To the corrupt African politicians, we will not relax and we will not relent. We are ready to stand up for a society that respects life and pays the right price for it. We will not sit down and watch a huge population of our people be condemned to eternal poverty without giving them an option to improve their conditions. This is a journey we are ready to take.

I know this journey sometimes leads to an early grave and it has been happening for years. Old men have been burying their young ones. When you go to the military now, every person you meet is a young man with a future that is being tied to the barrel of a gun. The bodyguards too are young people whose salaries are used to buy weapons. Some of them have to wear one military uniform for a year or two and they are not giving up.

A young man must die defending an old man. This is the life our young population has been subjected to. The educated ones are charcoal makers, hotel attendants, and brick layers, and in the coming years, our mothers or let me say South Sudanese women will be producing these people. This is because there are no good jobs or they have been taken up by foreigners and they are coming in large numbers to take our money to invest in their home countries.

This means that our government does not love this love because if they surely do, they would stop eating themselves off and invest in the young people. This pays. Do you know China? African leaders have been borrowing money from these short people for years and they have been given unused loans.

The only thing they have failed to do was to invest this money to pay the loans in the future but unfortunately, this money is building stomachs, not roads or schools and they will have to pay whether they want it or not. But do they know how China got that money they are running for? China doesn’t have resources and years ago, it was among the poorest countries but it is now among the most successful countries in the world.

How did China reach that height? Here is the secret, the major step China took was to invest in its young people. China’s economy is strong because its young people have been empowered by the government. Now look at South Sudan and the younger population.

A few months ago, I came across a story about a young South Sudanese with a Masters in Petroleum Engineering in one of the recognized universities digging in the refugee camp to put food on the table. He did farm out of desperation because he had nobody to connect him with the job market or his field. He was and still is a victim of systemic corruption that has plagued this country. These people including the forgotten generations are the reasons why we write but it is not to attack anyone.

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