OpEd, Politics

Letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit; the designated Chairman of the East African Community

It is good that the seat has come to South Sudan in time. Remember it takes 8 or so years for the chairmanship of EAC to come back for every East African country. Every time it is for a particular country, the president of that country exercises it to the maximum, making sure decisive leadership, regional cooperation, Eastafricanness and respect for the tenure are met.

This comes following an assumption that by the time the chairmanship comes back, you may not be the one in power, maybe for those countries, such as Kenya, whose tenures are fixed. I write to you not to sharpen your horns to revenge for all the bad deeds we have been facing as a neonate member of East Africa, but to bring to your attention that when you assume your office, upload the missing colours of South Sudan so that she exactly looks like an East African country.

Dear President, you may wonder which colours are missing. Get it here! 80% of South Sudan’s system is that of Sudan, with Arabic, the second national language after English, being known in parliament as the second national language, but the first one in real life. Nearly all staff are Arabic patterns, and they make errors when translating documents from Arabic to English for other East African citizens to understand. This makes us look incompetent in the eyes of other East African citizens.

I do not mean to wipe away all the staff as you may wipe yourself away too, but colouring South Sudan with full East African colours will make our Sudanism or Arabization go away little by little. South Sudan must use the language chosen by all the East African countries. Though late, we will catch up, our membership is not ending tomorrow, it is lifelong or otherwise.

In your office, maybe when you are 6 months old in office so that you do not be looked at like someone who has come to revenge, you restore the original demarcations of South Sudan with Uganda, Kenya and DR Congo. They have encroached deep onto the ancestral territory of South Sudanese; how would we explain this to our ancestors whose tombs are sat on by foreign children?

If the government is unable to address this, then it should inform us to resort to our traditional way of dealing with someone who has grabbed your land. I tell you if we slaughter black goats and chickens while calling our ancestors to help us in the fight, Ugandans, Kenyans and Congolese will never forget it. But before that, why do we want to bother the drawers to sit down and redraw the map of South Sudan once again according to the areas currently inhabited by South Sudanese?

In your short-term programs for East Africa, ask East African countries, particularly Uganda, why do they feed us with expired or toxic food items. Is South Sudan a dumping place for expired food? Are South Sudanese experimental animals for trials of new products? Too much aflatoxin in the flour imported from Uganda has already sent a hundred South Sudanese to the graveyard and a thousand others are seeking medical attention for hepatocellular carcinoma.

To date, I have never dismissed my doubt about Ugandan goods labelled “for export only”. Why would lives be jeopardized like that? The recent detention and burning of expired goods at the Nimule border is an important milestone towards a new era of toxic-free goods imported into South Sudan.

As a president of a riparian state, make use of the Nile. Begin it by ratifying the Cooperative Framework Agreement yourself and advocate for its ratification by other riparian states so that it comes into force. The Nile can help you in carrying the cross. How many applications are in your office for jobs? How many people are dying of hunger?

The Nile can help you in the provision of job opportunities and in making agriculture effective and, that would put hunger to an end. If you go uphill to import hydroelectricity from Ethiopia or Uganda, then you would send off the expensive diesel-generator electricity of JEDCO. This is what people call development. Development is not something that looks like an elephant, having big ears and tusks. Sending off JEDCO is a very big development as well.

Why would members of one community use visas for travel? This is against the trust. If this is done for security reasons, there are alternative ways in which a member of East Africa can be identified. If it is done for generating revenues, then the fact that these revenues are for East Africa and are used for the benefit of East Africans can make the issuing of visas be dropped.

For the case of peace, I know how you tailor peace. You knit it so well that it resists dishonouring. If you go with the spirit with which you made peace in South Sudan, believe me, you will always be a peace laureate.  If you play a key role in bringing DR Congo into signing a peace agreement with M23 rebels against whom you have agreed and sent troops to fight with, it would not take peace prize awarders a year to award you.

The best decision is not to fight M23 rebels because you may not know the person behind them is one of your counterparts, but the best decision is rooting out what the problem might be. You are now solving the M23 rebels’ issue from the point of expression, not from the point of origin, which makes it easier for a problem to get solved.

I do not need to waste time telling you to keep our image clean. You are a champion of peace already and you may not know you are all that East Africa has been longing for. My president, Chairman of the dominant party SPLM, Commander-in-Chief of the mighty SSPDF and other organized forces, Chancellor of the five public universities and the only presidential candidate for SPLM in 2024’s elections, as you go in peace so shall you return in peace. Looking forward to seeing East Africa more untied than before!

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

Comments are closed.