OpEd, Politics

Can you walk with me? Please come with me

I have so many things in mind; I want you to hear me out. Am not important but you matter to me. You are our man that we respect and value more than anything. When you get a piece of writing like this one, don’t be surprised or think otherwise, this is the only way we can reach out to you.

Many of us want to have some time, even five minutes with you will be enough. We want to talk with our great man. But before I proceed, I want to greet you in the name of our mighty God but am sorry, it seems like God is no longer mighty here because we have tried so many ways to reach him but have failed many times to see his face.

I want to salute you in the names of our revolutionaries; perhaps these people are not comfortable anymore. They can understand what we go through and if they were to resurrect for a day or two, they would wish they had not gone to the bush. Their graves flooded with the blood of the people they fought for. It is tearful to imagine that it is a father, not a child who digs the grave.

Am knocking at your door dear president and am begging for attention. Just imagine a young man is at the door and the moment you open your royal gate, your eyes collide with those of a young man bonny and skinny. You look at your current position and those painful years when you were like that young man fighting for the freedom of South Sudan.

Dear President, if you can still remember those years, something will tell you that something is still very wrong. That young man represents millions of other young people in South Sudan who have been subjected to an unfathomable abyss of poverty. Even with good papers earned overseas, our young people have to struggle to land good jobs.

It is very unbelievable, dear president that our government would send its younger population abroad for better schooling and fail to employ these young ones who are the country’s future. Am still knocking at your door dear sir, I want to take a walk with you and it would be an interesting one if you agree.

It will teach you a lot and there, you will learn that the people you are leading are the strongest in the world. You should be proud of that but it won’t help because they want to rest a bit. They have been strong for too long.

Some people, dear president, would think that you are okay because you are a president. But that is not true, we are in this together. You also have your problems and there are many. We cannot afford to carry them if we were given a chance to do so.

But dear president, there is a very big difference here. You don’t have to worry about where you will get your next meal because it is always there. Even when you don’t need it, they will make sure that you get something to eat. You don’t even have to think about your children’s school fees. You also don’t have to worry about an unknown gunman because there is enough security 24/7.

But for us, this is a different story. We live in a completely different world. It is not easy here, a burning furnace. That is the word befitting this place. We have gotten used to it but it is never easy and we are asking you to remember us even when you have a lot in mind, some of the things you want to solve.

And please, I don’t want to forget something. The people who are giving security to our leaders are young people and they are unfit to be there. It is a crime, if the law still exists, to make a young man of 25 a bodyguard of a 70-year-old man. It makes no sense. Our young people deserve something better than carrying guns and wearing military uniforms.

I hate guns but I become sick when I see one in the hand of a young man. Our young people need education and better jobs, not politics. Dear President, would you walk with me for a couple of hours?

I don’t mean the whole of South Sudan, let us start with Juba. You have been so busy with foreign missions that you didn’t have time to see what is going on in your country. I want to start with Konyokonyo, by the roadside we will come across beggars who will ask you for less than 100 pounds for a loaf of bread and I don’t know if you can still remember the figure of this small note. Konyokonyo is one of the busiest places in the country with everyone about different pursuits.

The market is in the hands of people with colors and it is not easy with your people. It is not a business; it is total cheating. Goods are very expensive and I have been told that it is because of the dollar. This is a very big lie, dear president. It means that the market is not being monitored. Even green vegetables, a common food for the common man, are now unaffordable.

Let me explain well dear president, a green vegetable is not grass but it looks like one when it is not properly cooked. Maybe the last time you saw this food was when you were fighting for the liberation of this country.  It is not a nice food but it has turned out to be the only food around for the poor because it was a bit cheaper compared to beans and peas.

The people you have been paying SSP 1200 a month and now less than $50, this was their only food but now it is expensive even when it is grown on our soil. This is funny but dear president; there is nothing bad here if it will deceive us into believing that we have eaten something.

You have to confuse hunger with anything edible even if it means tree leaves to go through the day when you have nothing and worry less about the health implications because nothing is truly meaningful in this country. If you don’t have food to eat, what use would it be to worry about your health when our leaders including the health minister cannot believe in the health system of our country?

Please dear president, accept my request and we walk a little further. I want to take you to Sherikat, which is one of the highly populated suburbs in Juba. Many people are trying to deceive that they are okay when they are truly not.

The place is not clean enough. But this is not the problem because the whole of Juba, which houses the country’s State House, is dirty and begs attention. But this is none of my business. I want to show you Sherikat. There is something very strange in this area and it comes with unemployment dear president.

When you teach people how to solve disputes with a gun and deny them the opportunity to work for themselves, killing will be their only art. Dear if you still don’t know, there are young people in this area who are terrorizing this area with machetes. I don’t know who taught them but hatred indeed is what they have been taught to do.

They don’t even know their true identity and what they know is to kill and rob. I can remember a young man like any other struggling young person, a committed boda rider who was hacked almost to death with panga and his motorbike taken at a gunpoint.

This young man represents thousands of young men who are doing everything to support themselves and their siblings but who still have to face criminal acts on their way. Dear President, let us go to one home or two in Juba. Children are crying and others are just down with tears in their eyes.

It is hard to believe that some people have to spend days or more without a meal. And please, there is a point I want to make here. If you realize that people are silent, it doesn’t mean that they are okay or they are voiceless. It is just that they don’t know who to run to. This is why I want to take you there. It is important, it will help you understand the grievances of your people. It will get these people back on their feet even when they have a lot of reasons to remain down because they will feel remembered.


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