Some people in South Sudan might have been made to understand that there exists South Sudan’s COVID-19 High Level Task Force headed by the president. A few of us are pleased that the Presidency has shown interest in the fight against this ravaging global pandemic.
However, the actual battle against COVID-19 doesn’t seem to have started in the peripheries of South Sudan. Because of this stand, I will herein delve on Ruweng Administrative Area to illustrate further. In my presentation, audience should be mindful that Ruweng is a representation of many other settings in South Sudan experiencing the same circumstances with regards to the preparedness against the spread of COVID-19.
Since the establishment of COVID-19 High Level Task Force, there has been no impactful awareness campaigns in Ruweng. Neither has there been any readying of basic services such as water, food and medicines by any authority should the lockdown ensue. At the moment, general lockdown appears to be the global workable vaccine against Corona Virus and might likely be applicable in South Sudan if the pandemic continues to rapidly spread.
An insignificant percent of persons in Ruweng who are able to access information have shouldered the duty to extend the recommended messages by the World Health Organization onprecautionary measures against the COVID-19. Nevertheless, the efforts of these few individuals do not bear any fruits.
The reason is simple. The COVID-19 High Task Force doesn’t appear to have an effective Low Task Force to echo its efforts against the fight of Corona Virus in South Sudan. As usual, South Sudan’s unchecked States’ authorities are on a drowsy pill. The non-essential activities are on-going and usual hand-shake is becoming commonly practiced than normal.
The local vulnerable population of Ruweng is currently lined-up on death row helplessly waiting for their throats to be slit once by COVID-19. There is no any tool of defence left behind by previous Ruweng Governments. These tools should have included adequate safe water source, average health facilities, accessible road network and sustainable livelihood options. It can be confirmed that no Ruweng local government initiated any footprint of such services. To begin with the authority of Brig. Gen. Stephen Miabek Lang; the despotic, divisive and brutal rule wasn’t promising at all. The chances of people’s progress and general welfare were dreams unachievable. Hon. Lt. Col.Mayol Kur Akuei tenure was marred by petty sectional politics and allocation of counties. Then there came aboard a principled, Thomas Sankara admirer, Lawyer/Advocate Theji Da’AduotDeng’s period as a governor who rekindled short-lived hopes. Because of his love for the people, the politicians termedMolana Theji a mad man. The season following Sankara was the most painful imprisonment experience. The lengthy and painful term of the wolves led by Mr.Them Michar Kuol brought nothing to the miserable faces of Ruweng citizens other than broad day light unremorseful loot of anything resourceful. Thanks to Them Michar for the introduction of the infamous fashionable style of backward combing of hair. The last nail on the coffin of Ruweng people was recently hammered by Legal/Lawyer Gen. Lawrence Miabok Wuor; an experienced trained senior police officer turned ‘cold-blooded, bias, dishonest and run-away burglar’.
As the SPLM-IO, SSOA, FDs, OPP and the SPLM disfigure each other faces over the allocation of States, the citizens of Ruweng are not terrified by the news of COVID-19, but rather by the rumours circulating the names of persons vying for the position of Chief Administrator. The gossips suggesting the return of some of the mentioned inexcusable figures or their disciples, causes Ruweng people absolute misery and threatens their resilience towards the awaiting death by Corona Virus.
The president may have good intentions for the common man in South Sudan but he could be kept hostage by numerous political engagements. This time around, as a general call, it would be ideal for the President to identify his own groomed cadres to lead Ruweng upon whom he will bestow his trust. The people of Ruweng and President Kiir Mayardit have been betrayed by countless politicians over time.
To further save the people of Ruweng, the youth of this great area should embolden their impartiality and step up the rescue mission of their people. The youth in different capacities shouldn’t wait until they join politics to render the desired service to their own people. Charitable outreach activities should be embarked on by youth who are endowed with different expertise. Now is the time our people need our help. The people who are at the extreme peripheries of South Sudan are at higher risks of contracting COVID-19. The number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Sudan and other neighbouring countries are on the rise every single hour. If the youth can’t act now by volunteering to boost awareness campaigns and commit a few of their resources, no one will rescue the drowning population of Ruweng.
All arms have been folded with the hope that the President of South Sudan will this time appoint a shepherd in the person of Chief Administrator but not wolves like it has been the case often times. If the president and the youth hesitate to urgently raise their heads, it will be too late as COVID-19 will soon sweep us ashore in a single wink. My humble appeal to all politicians is that, let’s respect humanity and execute what necessitates human existence before the world crumbles because of our selfish egos!!
Secretary of Education; Greater Upper Nile Youth Union
B.A International Relations and Diplomacy- NkumbaUniversity, Entebbe, Uganda
M.A Humanitarian and Conflict Studies-University of Juba, Juba, South Sudan