Opinion | By Mary Nyibol Maker
August 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–Thank you Mr. President, Uhuru Kenyatta for your unwavering support for peace to reign in my country, South Sudan. Indeed, some of us who lived and grew up in Kenya will always see Kenya as our second home regardless of whether South Sudan is peaceful or not. We are grateful for the hospitality given to us who found Kenya as a home.
However, coming to the painful reality of our nation with our leader’s malnourished leadership, I am sorry to say that your commending the parties has not been convincingly refuted.
Here’s why I say so;
Firstly, these leaders, both claim to have partaken in the arm struggle for freedom from the North (far enough they did and we’re grateful), hence, they should know what it took them to gain Independence in their country. And if anyone should be more concerned about the suffering of the people of South Sudan, it should be them, because they tasted the pains, suffering and agony of having to live a slavery life.
Secondly, our leaders started off by fooling the majority that the problem was between the tribes, which they succeeded in as they butchered thousands of innocent lives in Juba in 2013 and 2016. They thought that people were going to remain blindfolded and continue to follow blindly.
No! What was the truth started emerging and now, it’s apparent that the problem has never been tribes but greed, corruption, deceits, illiteracy and lack of leadership traits. All their dirty laundry commenced coming out when they started killing innocent, educated civilians who tried to raise concerns for what they saw.
Thirdly, the people of South Sudan have been and continue to suffer grossly from all sorts of pandemic, i.e. hunger pandemic, unknown gunmen pandemic(horrible), corruption pandemic, greed pandemic, nepotism pandemic, simple diseases that shouldn’t be killing our people but they are pandemic, poverty pandemic, illiteracy pandemic, sexual abuse(rape and molestation) pandemic, tribalism pandemic and hatred pandemic. Our people are at the verge of loosing hope! Some have actually lost it.
Fourthly, Mr. President, let me ask you a question, say for instance, communal clashes/conflicts broke out in the counties surrounding Kenya, for example, Turkana, Machakos, Kiambu or even Narok county, would you have sat back and not worry about them killing themselves? Wouldn’t you have swiftly come up with a strategy to end the clashes so that you can save people’s lives and also save your country’s reputation?
Fifthly, Mr. President, the peace progress has been very slow, as slow as a snail, unfortunately! In a country full of problems like South Sudan, a real leader will not find rest till he or she has found a solution to the problems the country is facing. The fact that the parties took their time to appoint the governors shows that they care less about the people they’re leading. They do not give a dime whatsoever whether people are dying of hunger, sicknesses or in communal conflicts. It means that what they’re there for is nothing but their personal gains, be it power or wealth, fame or pride. Period! If they truly cared about their people, for instance, they would’ve been more proactive with their actions, the armies wouldn’t be going for more than 7 months without pay, they wouldn’t be keeping silent after hearing what’s called “unknown gunmen”, a matter of fact, they wouldn’t be going from country to country, involving and being sat down by other men who are just like them, to lecture them on what to do to make their country a better country. No! Not unless something is wrong upstairs!
Finally, Mr. President, the people of South Sudan are tired! They’re exhausted! They’ve had enough! They need nothing but genuine peace so that they can go about doing their daily activities for themselves and their families. Nothing else! Security is what they need so that they can move freely without the fear of someone gunning you down without a reason. They want freedom of speech so that people are not hunted down and killed by the “unknown gunmen” simply because you have criticized the government. They need the basic necessities like infrastructures, health facilities and institutions founded for educational, religious, professional and social purpose.
Please tell our leaders that you’re no different from them. The brain you have is what they have. You’re leading a country with people and so are they! If they say that they don’t know how to resolve their conflicts, well, how did Kenya resolve theirs? They can simply copy from you Mzee Uhuru and paste it mbiyo mbiyo kwetu so that tuwe na Amani.
Mwisho Kabisa, sisi wananchi wa South Sudan, tumeshukuru kila mtu ambaye ametia bidii kuleta amani kwetu. Tunawashukuru na Mungu awabariki sana . Asante sana Mkuu wa Kenya.
The author is a South Sudanese human rights defender and currently resides abroad, she can be reached via an email: email@example.com