Citizens live with hopes against hopes nine years after independence

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

As South Sudan marks her ninth Independence anniversary today, angry South Sudanese have blamed the leaders for failing to meet the expectations of the liberation struggle.

Today marks exactly nine years since South Sudan became an independent Country after 22 years of struggle between the then Southern Sudanese and the Khartoum regime.

Millions of lives were lost and millions others displaced, but two years after the independence, the country was plunked into civil war.

But for five consecutive years now, there have been no official celebrations of the Country’s independence due to the conflict that erupted two year after the independence.

The citizens, who spoke to Juba Monitor yesterday on the eve of the Independence Day, said the word Independence has only been achieved as opposed to forecasted future.

The visibly angry citizens blamed the leaders in the system for such mishap that made them not to prioritize the people.

Christine Kide, Chairperson for South Sudan Youth Organizations coalition, who works for Community Empowerment for Rehabilitation and Development (CERFORD), said the Independence Declaration in 2011 was the only positive achievement to the vulnerable South Sudanese.

She said that along the journey, the citizens have rather encountered challenges which have made them to strand in the same position putting the martyrs’ contribution in vain.

“Our leaders have let us down. They have failed to control themselves. They have failed to control the citizens as well as forces that are supposed to protect the people,” Kide said.

She said that the country is in what she termed as “a lot of confusion” at this particular time

“I am not surprised that up to now some people have even forgotten that 9th July is our Independence Day. This is because our government no longer gives people that space and joy to celebrate our Independence,” Kide stated. 

“Some people say the Independence has lost its meaning because people are suffering. No one cares for them, the civil servants are not being paid and we don’t have health facilities and we feel like we have nothing to celebrate,” she added.

“Our roads are going bad. The ones assumed to be under construction are being constructed with a lot of corruption and back dealings even they are not worthy the resources we are giving in for the construction,” he quipped while attributing it to Juba-Rumbek Road under construction.

“Just after a day, rain water washed the whole road out. What is this? South Sudanese are suffering; women are being raped every now and then in South Sudan and the government is quite,” Kide quipped. 

Where is our leadership? What do they think about the citizens? Where is the freedom we fought for? Where is the liberation we sacrificed for?

Sworo Wilson Sebit, a Juba based Citizen who is also a founding member of Generation Peace Foundation said the gone 9 years have been dark and regrettable. 

“We have almost gone through the same things that we have been going through during old Sudan

“Conflicts are still going on, services are not there. Corruption is still are at peak. People do not have the freedom to express themselves as citizens of the country,” Sworo said.

Reflecting back, he said the country has only achieved a name and an Independent Sovereignty State, adding that “but of course as people, we have never gotten anything from the Independence,”

“People don’t have say on what they want their government to look like. It seems like the same things we fought against are what we are going through now,” he said.

Sworo said that he was feeling bad about the country since the leaders have not done enough on the aspirations and wishes on the reason behind the Independence.

“Until now there is no clean water, poor infrastructure and health service is totally zero. People are not having meals in their respective houses,”

Sworo said majority of the South Sudanese were marginalized by the leaders, saying that it was the same thing that existed in Khartoum

“The poor South Sudanese are suffering, they are marginalized, and it is just the same system of marginalization, discrimination and oppressions during Sudan,” he stated. 

He added that they were only few individuals benefiting from this country’s rich wealth.

“Because of what is happening now we are even asking ourselves why did these people who are in the leadership take arms if they were going to end up doing like this,”

“Look, Schools like Upper Nile University got destroyed to the ground, roads are bad. Some of the regions are not accessible,”

Matiop Kuol Akech, another Juba based citizen who works for a local organization said though the citizens jubilated during the Independence acquirement, he revealed went in vain.

“But in deep concern, we do really regret why we are suffering after gaining our Independence, currently all kind of hostilities, tribal violence and all kind of killings are being manifested in all parts of the nation,” he said.

Matiop stated that seeing how socieities have polarized themselves in the hands of current leaders was regrettable 

“We had wanted a country where we can live as brothers and sisters but what has happened now begs us to ask why we fought for this liberation. I dearly feel that South Sudanese manage to fight for their country but we are not reaping whatever we had fought for,” he explained. 

Matiop urged the leaders to consider vulnerable South Sudanese in ruling the country.

“As an individual, I would like to opinionate that our leaders need to have sense of humanity in them. They should feel that citizens are suffering and be able to change the live, and if they are not changing the live then there was no point of going to the bush,” he concluded.

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