By Jon Pen de Ngong
Kudos to whoever set up this developmental symbol, the completion and inauguration of the Eagle House. Is it the Army Headquarters (Giyada) or Ministry of Defence?
I wrote ‘kudos to whoever’ because I have been bored by congratulatory messages “to our son” (Gen. So and So, beginning from the Commander in Chief down to the last Chief of Staff and their deputies since independence) that has sparked a war on the Social Media, as well as the so-called media, in South Sudan or by South Sudanese all over.
Yes, though a good sign of development, I am appalled by the fact that our South Sudanese leaders are copying — but not coping with — exactly the vices against which they fought the Northern regimes for over half a century, that is, making corruption attractive! Meaning what? Prioritizing military developments over the people’s service-providing projects. I saw it with my own eyes during our peace talks last year that the ‘most scaring’ buildings in the centre of Khartoum are for the armed forces and their leaders. No wonder one headquarters has been captured and now being occupied by the people till the government is redesigned and run properly.
What if Kiir was launching that multi-million dollar project on the bank of the Nile for supplying water to the thirsty households now at the mercy of foreign water tank drivers? That national shame of inviting ‘foreign investors’ to come and supply our city that is straddling the world’s longest river with water, not through pipes under a national water and sewerage corporation but through driver-directed water trucks to millions of the residents therein!
NB: Get me right here. Here, as in that picture of the monument of development, we have seen the sign of the budget of the Defence, alright; so where are the budgets for the other ministries? I am demanding to see the physical budget not the fiscal one being launched by the president.
I even hear from credible rumour that the building was put up with the assistance ‘from the American people’! If true, then why was one of the chiefs over-praising China and sniffing at USA in some event in 2017? If, even partly, Uncle Sam’s donor dollar was pumped in, then that is so hypocritical to heap all the praises on ‘our sons’!
In his last tour of (as always) Bahr al Ghazal region, the president was shocked when his bullet-proof V8 landcruiser shock absorbers could no more absorb the shocks of underdevelopment on our roads. The best payback for his negligence as the national supervisor of our developmental projects. “Oh, I was deceived by the minister for roads that roads were good in our country!” he slurred and blurred as usual.
Plus this unfortunate habit of abusing national holidays for celebrating individual achievements (if any)! Why was the building not readied for the SPLA Day instead of SPLA Day being shifted for the building? Could the opening of the building be not worth its own day as the two would carry different messages to the people of the Republic of South Sudan?
And, mind you, this is the upmpteenth time that Gen. Kiir has postponed our day of self-reminding or mind-rewinding on our history and celebrating the lives of our freedom fighters to the day of his choice.
Habitually, too, I saw him jumping July 9 in 2018 for going to chill out with President Museveni at his farm and July 9 of 2016 for violently sorting himself out with his archrival, Dr. Riek Machar. This act of disgracing our nation is impeachable in countries run by governments of the people, for the people and by the people.
Correction: Ours under Salva Kiir is a government of a people, for a people, and by a people. What shows? The plothera of congratulatory messages from ‘a people’ (tribe) to ‘their son’, whichever position a general has held or still holds in the Army and/or the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, for building the Eagle House.
ENDNOTE: Unless we talk, our leaders will not employ our national wealth to our advantage. My heart bleeds that my fellow young people of South Sudan are doing the stalking (for the big man) instead of the talking (for their mothers, wives and children). The youth must pick and speak their minds while hot; why not?