‘‘In loving your neighbors and caring for them, you are on a journey to serving God”- St. Augustine
By Dak Buoth Riek Gaaq
September 23th, 2014 (Nyamilepedia) -The recent-controversial directive which was later-retracted instantly continue to generate mix reactions and varied of anxieties among south Sudanese and their international friends.
This authoritative directive partly read as follows; that all non-governmental organizations, private companies, banks, insurance companies, telecommunication companies, petroleum companies, hotels and lodges operating in South Sudan are directed to notify all the aliens working with them in all the positions as from 15th October 2014; that the aforementioned institutions should advertise the positions ranging from receptionists to executive directors so that they can be filled by the available, competent south Sudanese nationals.
Hours before sunset, the statement appeared as a breaking news in all Kenyan televisions, radios, newspapers, bloggers and social media. Citizen television reported on its 9 o’clock news that over 30,000 Kenyans working in South Sudan are likely to lose jobs once the directive commenced on the aforesaid date.
In response, a renowned University of Nairobi lecturer and Director of Africa Growth initiative, Mwangi Kimenyi termed the directive as ‘‘stupid one; The daily newspapers described it as ‘’Shock; and further paralleled it to the late Ugandan President Idi Amin Dada‘s 1971 directive which saw many foreigners working in Uganda then surrendering their firms to Amin’s cronies and sycophants.
Indisputably, the tune in which the directive was read to the media in juba poses some similarities with the aforesaid statement, though I was not born at the time when Amin Dada chased away the Asians in Uganda. As matter of fact, the disparity was that the latter was not perused by the head of state.The ordinary Kenyans whose views were sought on the streets of Nairobi hold that South Sudanese living in Kenya be expelled in retaliation to the directive. I have no idea what other neighboring countries have uttered on the same. But certainly, I guessed they might have had the same wrath.
Decisively, it is essential to note and appreciate before I analyze what In my view prompted this worrying trend; that Kenya like any other neighboring states has a full legal discretion to react on anything affecting its citizenry working in South Sudan, region and beyond. Irrefutably, Kenya’s successive regimes, have persistently held South Sudan on its shoulders for half a century, up to the moment we successfully attained independent through internationally monitored plebiscite on 9th July 2011.
It continues to play a significant role in capacity building at various levels of our government.
Kenya exceedingly ensured that south Sudanese living in Kenya equally enjoy free primary and secondary education at the advent of multiparty democracy in 2002.
Furthermore,it had never portrayed a lukewarm position nor had we ever doubted their neutrality on anything they are involved in. Every time we knock at their door, they never hesitate, for they consider it their responsibility to nurture us by according all the necessary skills that can enhance and expedite our path to posterity. They knew independent alone was not going to be panacea of fifty years of destruction perpetuated by the past colonial regimes but rather a mean to an end, thus invoke Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Africa revolutionary mantra which says ‘’ seek ye first the political freedom, and all else shall be added unto you.
It frequently welcome and accommodate thousands South Sudanese refugees and those who came for academic purpose.However,when I am attesting here that Kenya had welcomed and accommodated South Sudanese, I do not mean that Kenya Government provide shelters or other necessities as always misconstrued by many of its (citizens) wanaichi. What I do know is that, whenever a conflict arises in South Sudan including the current civil war, it normally open up its borders to a fleeing civilian population that wants to seek refuge in Kenya. Thus, upon their arrival, the responsibility or the question as to where they will stay or what to eat lies in the hand of united nation high commissioners for refugees.
The inevitable dynamics of war
I verily recall in 2009,two gentlemen spat on us in a Matatu on our way from Zimmerman estate to Central business district, the guy said angrily to us, ‘‘you these Dark ugly Sudanese, what are you doing here in Kenya, ‘’you have made Kenyans go starved;they said adding, the government of Kenya rented houses for us here in Nairobi, pays our school fees’’ We did not bother responding to them for their claims were an founding. We quietly dismissed them as desperate gentlemen whose vendetta and jealously could only be mourned.
Presumably, the unwavering supports accorded to us by our international friends were never based on any memorandum of understanding (MoU) neither did they assisted us to redo the oppression we went through in Khartoum. It was rather based on our shared, indivisible, social-economic and cultural background as well as common destiny.
They strive untiringly by our side sincerely to end the exploitation of man by man, which indeed was what Khartoum‘s Arab monolithic regimes perpetuated on us. I believed they only wanted us become independent and peaceful nation so as to manage our own resources and to consciously determine our generation’s future. Once we ascertained such aspirations in totality than of course they will all benefits given the fact that no nation is an island. As you can remember, the oil pipeline that runs through Port-Sudan is already changed and will be constructed through port of Lamu in Mombasa et cetera. These; among others are the dividends we owe them.
Give what belongs to south Sudanese as well as the investors
Upon the issuance of the directive, in my view, there could only be celebration from all the countries who had stood with us side by side; that South Sudanese whom they assisted in their quest for independent are now able to govern themselves and that dream has now become a reality.That to me would be their pride and not a shock or stupid as alluded above. Regrettably, such venomous reactionsin response to the directives poses fear of economic domination by the East African countries. Dr. Garang was quoted in 1994 when he said oppressor has no color, anybody whether a brother or sister can become an oppressor if she or he denies equality, rule of law and social justice.
Take for instant, if Kenyans were reported to holds over 30, 000 jobs, combine that figure with that of Rwandans, Ethiopians, Burundian, Ugandans, Sudanese and Nigerians et cetera, is it not possible to find a million states jobs hold by none south Sudanese in the country?As such, If millions jobs are hold by none citizens in a country, how would that be call if not domination?
The un certified and murmuring opinions that South Sudan have low human capital is partially untrue. I may agree to some extent that only a quarter of the population can read and write, that those with professional qualifications are very small fraction, but could that be the basis to resist relinquishing state jobs to the available and competent South Sudanese in the country?I think not.
If those furious reactions were based on the views that South Sudanese could not get back those jobs rather than the procedure, than, I can only say here that it is regrettable, unexpected, disdainful, disingenuous and hypocritical. Truly, it is being naive and ignoramus to believe that South Sudanese are unable to hold even a position of receptionist let alone the directors. As such, the reactions uttered by the East African countries has oppressive tendencies. Hence, for now, we shall rethink our position to join East Africa community.
Personally, I warmly welcome the directive because it is good, timely, irreversible, popular and it conform with the feeling of all South Sudanese both in South Sudan and in diaspora. It also pleases all the revolutionary persons who toiled with us to get our independent on 9th July 2011.
However, the cause of absurdity and furious reactions which was justifiable was the language and the time frame in which directive were going to be implemented. The procedure used and the time frame were very unreasonable.The language in which the document was written and really exposes recklessness, ignorance and an professionalism in the side of the so-called Juba Government. The reading of the letter sound like all aliens were going to be purge from the country and their properties forcefully taken by the state, which can never work, for South Sudan is a country for all, irrespective of one’s background, those were the principles on which it was liberated. We are only saying let us apply the modern and equitable labor system where we specify what the investors and citizens deserved equally in accordance with the law.
What could have been done and what is rightly done!
If I were those in Juba, there could be no media involvement at all, it would be done very quietly; in a way modern, democratic systems are managed. I could just convene all investors’ conference that encompasses both investors who are already in the country and those that are yet to come, from there you could share the government blueprint with them and come up with a common ground that will not disadvantage the investors; for they are all pillars of the country development. For instant, the government could proposed that each institution will give the locals at least 50 percent places in their respective companies. Once that assurance is sought and confirmed, the government now can sum up the figure and later announce to public that it is going to employ such a number of its nationals within a given time without antagonizing itself with all its development partners.
In a nutshell, the directive was binding, but the manner in which it was presented was-very problematic and it could elicit unnecessary diplomatic row between us and our sisterly nations. The instant rescission of the directive is as good as the idea itself. It shouldn’t be taken for co wary neither did we succumbed to foreign pressure; its rather demonstration of political maturity as said on Sunday by Philip Ochieng in his article titled ‘‘ In apologizing to Uhuru Kenyatta, Okoth Obado stole the show from Raila Odinga, he said an educated mind is that which knows that, because of its relative ignorance of the natural and social surrounding, it will makes mistakes that can prove terrible injurious to the welfare and feelings of other minds, Ochieng said adding, that an educated mind is its readiness to accept its mistakes and, whenever these are pointed out, it apologize to all those whom the mistake might have harmed; and to be seen making deliberate steps not only to compensate the victims but also to make assurance, double sure never to repeat the mistake.
The writer is a student in Nairobi-Kenya, he can be reach by via email@example.com.