I did not receive a car from anyone – George Kenyi
The sensational Seventh Day Roundabout traffic officer has said he has not received a car from anyone contrary to social media reports on Friday.
According to Facebook page “Juba Eye”, Kenyi whose story went viral received a car from philanthropic businesswoman Achai Wiir.
The page shared an image of the traffic officer standing next to a car and claimed he had been given a car by Achai to ease his movements and work. But the officer now says he has not yet received a car from Achai Wiir or any other well-wisher, only acknowledging that a youth group had visited him at the Roundabout and gifted him with a goat and other essential gifts. George Kenyi’s skills of directing the traffic at the busy Seventh Day roundabout and dedication to his job have earned him praise from public.
His pictures have been shared thousand times on social media with a section of Facebook users asking the government to promote him or give him a national award.
Some even went as far as starting an online campaign to have the Seventh Day Roundabout renamed after George Kenyi with an hashtag #GeorgeKenyiRounabout. It remains to be seen if the government and the police service in particular will reward this public admired officer. Who is George Kenyi? Kenyi joined the police service in 2010.
His first assignment was as an officer in Joint Security Operations around the country. But in 2013, he was transferred to the traffic police unit in Central Equatoria state. It is here that Kenyi exhibited a love for his new duties, which include standing on the road directing motorists in Juba. Despite the challenges of low pay and hard working conditions, Kenyi says he derives his happiness from being able to stop a would-be traffic incident. “I joined the police service to serve my country and serve my people, I love my job because I want to help fix my country.
I joined the police to protect my citizens, I don’t want them to suffer during the times of traffic.” Kenyi told Eye Radio in an interview on Friday, 12th June. Members of the public have often complaint of constant harassment and extortion by police officers. The traffic officers, they say, coerce them to pay bribes.
Other grievances raised by the motorists include intimidation over logbooks and tinted windows. But Kenyi seems to be the odd one out, based on accounts of many motorists who have had an encounter with him. “…. Kenyi has often refrained from bribery, harassing drivers, and embraced professionalism and respect for motorists and pedestrians,” said a lady in Juba. Many have described him as a “patriotic” person. Kenyi was in May 2020 promoted as a Warrant Officer, with a monthly salary of 4,700 South Sudanese Pounds.
With the hard economic conditions in South Sudan, the skyrocketing prices of commodities in the markets, the amount cannot sustain his family. But the 32-year old said he will manage within his means, without the need to extort money from the public. Kenyi is recently blessed with a fifth child on Thursday, 11th June 2020. He says he wakes up early in the morning knowing that there would be rain, sunshine, and many other challenges associated with his job, but that hasn’t stopped him. Kenyi added that he sometimes forfeit lunch because of the traffic. “Many people ask me, Kenyi why don’t you take a rest for a while, I always tell them that, how can I sit or rest while the road is almost blocked due to traffic or jam?” he stated. He, however, says he sometimes encounters unruly motorists who blatantly disobey traffic rules, and ignore his directives.
“What is paining me here at the 7 days roundabout, some people respect the traffic rules but many don’t. Some of them don’t respect us, you want to stop him/her to direct them, they always refuse, others would insult and disrespect me -as if I’m not putting on a uniform. This pains me,” he stressed. George Kenyi appreciated all the best wishes he has received from the public -saying this has motivated him to do his job without expectations.
Parts of this report by Eye Radio