Cleaning takes center stage towards peace celebrations
Nadafa Le Beledna team poses for a photo after cleaning Nyakuron market (photo by Woja Emmanuel)
By Loruba Balla and Woja Emmanuel
South Sudanese in Juba have tenfold increased their readiness towards the looming peace celebration slated for Wednesday and cleaning the city has been one of the activities to prove that. On Saturday, some people woke up to the sights of strangers cleaning around their shops and homes, collecting rubbish and clearing trenches.
To some people, such is not new for Okay Foundation under their Nadafa Le Beledna project which has been holding this cleaning for the past two months with this being the third one but this in particular somehow differs from the previous ones. It has a new feel.
An atmosphere so inclusive. Besides the youth who seem to have owned the Nadafa Le Beledna monthly cleaning, this time around, children and the army joined the cause in full force.
Seeing a soldier with protective gloves and cleaning masks holding a gun on one hand and a broom on the other really indicates how much everyone in the country, civilians and soldiers alike are in need to promote anything that calls for peace.
To give such an initiative credibility, the army Chief of Staff Gen Gabriel Jok Riak, the army spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang and other army officers were present to ensure that the army were actively participating. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security also sent in their staff to participate in the cleaning.
All the way from Custom to Malakia road, Ministries road, Kokora road, Airport road, the Mausoleum, Freedom hall and custom market had people cleaning and collecting rubbish to make Juba a clean city.
Besides, the public and the army did not end there as from Jebel to Giada army barracks were not left out of the cleaning procession.
Volunteers intruded to show just how they are willing to be part of the peace implementation as it begins with celebrations to put greener lights for a sustainable peace that shuts all doors to gunshot.
Mama Fatuma, a resident of Jaborona on Saturday told Juba Monitor that she did not have an idea about cleaning to celebrate peace but she got the idea from her way from the market.
“I went to the market in the morning and I saw people cleaning everywhere and I was asked a lot of questions about what was going on. So I asked one of the cleaners and he told me that they were cleaning for peace celebrations, I immediately went home and came with this broom you are seeing because we want to be part of this initiative,” she told Juba Monitor on Saturday.
Agnes Imoya Peter, a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture said that the initiative was aimed at keeping Juba clean and green.
Ms Peter said that the initiative had made more improvement in the cleaning procession that colluded with the public and army involvement in the cleaning.
She said the Ministry of Agriculture was considering an upper hand to empower the initiative taken up by the concerned youth.
A soldier who was caught in a conversation with Juba Monitor said he was delighted to see the love for peace and confidence building towards civil-military relations in the country.
The man who declined to be mentioned since he had no obligation to speak to the media reiterated that the relationship between the army and the civil population was not as of Saturday as both the army and the civilians use same brooms and sacks to dump rubbish and use the same language as people from the same organization.
“You know in this country because of the conflicts that had been going on, the civilians use to fear the army but today we are cleaning together and speaking even same language. You cannot differentiate where the soldier now regardless of the uniform we are putting on. So this is the sign of peace”, Juba Monitor quoted him on Saturday.
That move by the army was not just timely but pivotal towards the peace process in the Country, for citizens that once feared the army now can build on the trust once more since the army has joined the civilians in cleaning the city something that is happening for the first time and hopefully such initiatives will be more in the near future to help bring not just the army but other government sectors closer to the masses to ease direct service delivery not just in Juba but all over the Country.