Opinion

Where is our national pride?

As a dividend of peace, we have all (South Sudanese) seen how Kenyans were jubilant this week as they ushered in the standard Gauge railway. This is a modern railway line which cuts across their country from the port city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi. The project cost them 3 billion USD. It will reduce travel hours from twenty four to eight between these main cities. Here can I say kudus Kenyans- may God bless the work of your hands.
At that moment, Kenyans came together and the inauguration acted as the shared pride of their nation, and beyond reasonable doubt, it played out to be a unifying factor in the history of their country, people from different political affiliation putting aside their differences despite the upcoming elections, and turned up in big numbers to celebrate.
In addition, our eastern neighbour- Ethiopia- is about to seal the completion of the construction of a multibillion hydroelectric plant- the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam. Once finished, it would be Africa’s largest power plant. Its construction is at a cost of US $5 billion.
As if that was not enough, South Africa has just announced the biggest harvest of maize in 40 years, setting record in the African history. This means they will be food secure for quite some times. Farmers are set to produce over 15 million tonnes which means the country will have a 50 percent surplus for the year.
As well, Uganda is finalizing construction work on Karuma falls. The Karuma Dam’s intention, among others, is to sell us power according to information I hear.
All these landmark projects, among others on the continent where achieved or will be achieved due to prevalence of peace in those countries and the hard working nature of their governments and people.
Apparently, all these were arrived at after long savings by those countries, the savings, though, with support from other international partners might have started from their grandfathers and the fruits are going to be now finally enjoyed by their children.
How about us, the South Sudanese, after we fought bitterly for our independence, was it not to enjoy the beauty of our land, abundantly blessed land?
Can our government- the SPLM led government tell us what is there in the pipeline to celebrate in the near future? Let’s say five to ten years to come.
Have we saved even a penny for the construction of Fulla Falls Dam in ten years to come? Have we made any efforts to exploit the goodies from the Sudd Swamp, the world’s highly valued wetland which is supposed to be the treasure of our country for the future benefit of our children? How about from our Wildlife at the Boma national park with one of the world’s largest animal migration? How about minerals such as Gold, Uranium, Copper, Timber, leave alone Agriculture? This is in terms of Natural Wealth.
In terms of human resources, South Sudanese have the potential to produce the world’s best basket ballers. Our boys from Kapoeta and Imotong ranges could qualify as best in athletic. We already have ladies leading in the world’s fashion Industry for instance Alek Wek. This could raise us money to help build our country.
Mind you, there is something funny in this world, when you choose to fight, there is part of the world that helps you fight but when you embark on the path to development others will equally help you too. So the choice is ours.
I think the National Dialogue is a golden chance to be able to sit and re-think of what best we could do to chat way for the development of our country. I was told that Dr. John Garang once said South Sudanese will begin with development from where they found the World. Apparently we almost started from zero and heeded towards negative and it is imperative to change the course of event with the National dialogue.
Leaders should forget their personal ambitions and use the national Dialogue to bring peace. Leaders are supposed to ask themselves, if the nation losses in our hands, why should we exist in this world? If we don’t start laying the foundation now for the generations to come, then the future is equally bleak for them.
Stop war, begin saving now, minimize borrowing and we will start building the dams, super highways linking our major towns, Juba to Malakal, Juba to Wau in a few years to come.
I strongly believe if that railway line was constructed and inaugurated here it would unite us.

By Atem John

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