In Summary
  • Most civil servants haven’t been paid for a year.

  • Year-on-year inflation has hit 183 per cent, and the South Sudanese pound has all but collapsed.

We have all read the stories.

South Sudan is all but broke because of the war that has ravaged the country in the past four years, and the corruption and incompetence of President Salva Kiir’s government.

Most civil servants haven’t been paid for a year.

Year-on-year inflation has hit 183 per cent, and the South Sudanese pound has all but collapsed.

Two million South Sudanese have fled as refugees to the neighbouring countries, and about seven million need humanitarian assistance and protection.

Despite that, the Kiir government has chosen to pay a foreign company up to $11 million for drones and security cameras in the crime-riddled capital Juba.

TECHNOLOGY

Though I am a technophile, I also know that these kinds of interventions do actually require a minimum level of technological infrastructure, and an effective police, to actually work. South Sudan doesn’t have either.

The scepticism becomes justified when one learns that the first cameras will be fitted around State House in Juba, basically for President Kiir, the ministerial quarter, and the airport.

However, the most revealing aspect of this is that President Kiir went to launch the two drones and 11 cameras.

It revives the question of why Africa’s Big and Medium Men and Women like to launch things — even the smallest ones.

In my parish near the Uganda-Kenya border, some time ago a bridge broke. The bridge led to a big market and some primary schools. Our old man — a fellow who was very sensitive about matters education — wasn’t bothered about the market traffic, but he couldn’t take the fact that children had to make the perilous crossing to and from school. He cut down some of his own trees, and fixed the bridge enough for it to be safe for foot traffic.

As far as I know, the community didn’t thank him, nor did he seek their gratitude. Perhaps, not to oversell his altruism, they suspected that he also did it so his morning newspapers could be delivered quickly and dry.

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