Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 30 May 2013

The likelihood of xenophobia in South Sudan


By Luka Madhieu Kuot

May 29, 2013 - With the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 that gave Southern Sudan a semi-autonomy rule for six years followed by successful referendum in January 2011 that gave total and full independent South Sudan from Northern Sudan, the South Sudanese citizens would think that, the independent would have been an independent for everything whether it is social, economic, political or any other of independency and self-regulating.

They thought that, they would come back with full swing of re-integration and lives re-establishment in their own Country where they will enjoy their social services, economic and political rights freely and liberally.

Like when the refugees and IDPs returns from where they had fled the war to, some did not make it to their imaginative residences as they had left long time ago however, they ends up dwelling in urban areas like wau, Aweil, Juba, Malakal, Renk, yei, Torit, yambio, Rumbek, Bentinu, Kuacjok, Bor and other towns in South Sudan. Not because they don’t like to reach their places of origin but it was due to lack of essential and basic services in those parts of South Sudan where they had left a decade or more than decade ago.

They want to be where such social amenities are accessible and costless like when they were in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Libya and Khartoum where the basic services comparable to education, food, shelter, water, health and other infrastructures are available and reachable at no cost an expanses in their daily lives. This was because they think that their settlements in the remote areas will be difficult and hard to their lives if the reach there without sufficient social and basic services to those places in the Country side.

This make it to be hard and little a bit to them However; their settlement in those aforementioned areas in most parts of South Sudan sparked a lot of reactions and speculations from various group of stakeholders in ten States of South Sudan because of its implications in the lives of the local people like land grabbing/encroachments, economics scarcity on natural resources, cultural frictions with local people and other economic, social and political competition in those settlements or dwellings.

A currently and practical example is that, some of the current MPs representing National and States Assemblies are not originally from those towns/constituencies but from other places in their respective states. Currently, the occupation of those seats to the national and state assembly will have an economic, social and political impact to the residents of those towns and elsewhere in South Sudan.

The author will leave it to you at your own discretion and find it out how it is impacting the lives of those residents and their local economy at that level given the employment opportunity and jobs creations and how it affects them politically and socially too. This is one side of the coin at the prospective of the local people like people from Juba, wau, Aweil and other towns in South Sudan.

However, the other side of the coin is that when the returnees and IDPs themselves were also thinking that settling in these big towns will give them opportunities like employment and businesses, an expectation that was not materialized from that moment up to now.

Why because the Government of South Sudan has no capacity to accommodate everybody at its capacity and volumes as nascent as it is currently meanwhile business opportunities are also given to the foreigners or dominated by them in all over South Sudanese towns. In the other way, the Government of South Sudan is in the other hand preaching their motto of ‘’bring town to people’’ rather than encouraging rural-urban migration. A motto that will not be executed unless services are brought to the people first rather than people expected to be there first without available services and enough resources in those intended places.

This is the question that majority of South Sudanese citizens could not understand even up to now, they are asking why the government cannot give employment to the citizen?

This is something phenomena in South Sudan whether you are educated or uneducated but there are nowhere to go and lodge a complaint because there are no laws articulated to advocate for this right in the country.

If you go to areas like Juba town under those big and tall story buildings or Aweil , wau and Malakal under mahogany, mango trees and teashops , you can get a lot of people defying the Government of failure to create job opportunities for youth and poor in most parts of South Sudan or because the government did not address the issue of poverty and it root causes among the citizens in South Sudan especially in most remote areas in the country.

This is a big and serious problem; an issue that GOSS would needs to address duly in the due course but because of its nascent stage and severe austerity measures caused by shut down of oil production in January 2012 that took big portion of the national budget. It will take them long time to solve this problem of employment in south Sudan where most of the youth are staying idly without jobs in all over most cities where more than 50% of the populations are living below the poverty line( lees the a dollar per day) (World Bank reports)

However; the big question is that where will this lack of employment lead to? Automatically, the answer is crystal and clear that it will lead to serious poverty among the indigenous people of South Sudan and the poverty will take people to crimes and the crimes with drag the Country to the war again if it is not address in the due course.

And this war will not be racial, religious or marginalization war but it will be an economic war that will take place between the poor and riches elicit in the government of South Sudan.

But where will the fighting starts given the current economic and social atmosphere in South Sudan, the Author foresee that it will begin with xenophobia where the nationals will dislike the foreigners because of businesses and employment chauvinism in all private and public sectors in South Sudan or it‘ll end up targeting the current corrupted cadres in the government of South Sudan if the majority of south Sudanese citizens who are poor are wise enough to distinguish their causes of poor asking questions of why, how and where are our resources and rights?

But who will be blamed should such scenarios prevailed? It is for sure the government who will be held liable for it because of its failure to formulate the policies that govern the employment and establish the rights of employment in the Country. Even laws related to the migration and asylum as you can see the country is full of foreigners from bottom to brim.

Currently, there are millions of economic migrants from Uganda, Kenya, DRC, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Northern Sudan in South Sudan who moving freely in the country without any law governing and regulating their movement in the country either right away from the entry at the border point or even when they are inside the country.

They are the ones working in the hawkers, bars and restaurants, doing petty business , having brothels in most parts of the country including military barracks, washing clothes and shining shoes and cutting fingers and toes (manicure) in every street in the country. What about the national, what will they do? Now in countries like Uganda and Kenyan, can you get an opportunity for such a business or employment not matter what or whoever you are? I don’t think whether that can happened but why is it allow now here in South Sudan to prevail.

Meanwhile the nationals are staying idly and worthlessly. And they will stay more indolently and apathetically like this given this situation, how long will this business and employment chauvinism be tolerated by the youth and the poor in this country?

Again, the author is in an opinion that, the state of affairs will one time explodes into xenophobia (dislike of foreigners) like what had happened in Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2008 and 2009.

But the innocent foreigners will be victims for no reason because it is not their failure to get job or be employed in other Country however, it‘ll be a failure to the host government (GoSS) who failed to formulate the law that oversee and regulate the employment in the country or who failed to implement the laws and give the opportunity to her citizens rather than to the foreigners. For instant, how many foreigners are working now in GOSS‘s offices as classified and unclassified staffs leaving the fellow citizens without employment and worthless in the streets?

Currently, South Sudan economy is gaining nothing but losing on hourly and daily basis at all cost to Khartoum, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea but our government cannot realized and analyze that.

If you want to attest this, go to Kenya Commercial Bank (Kcb) and Equity Bank (EQ) in Juba or else states where KCB or EQ is in South Sudan, you will experiences how much individuals from those nationalities aforementioned is carrying to the Bank for deposit or transfer to their Countries every day. This is a huge lost to the economy of this country and nobody dare to look into it in our government.

The government of South Sudan need to look into this problem and address it before it happens in the future by formulating laws that give an employment opportunity to the nationals rather than foreigners and to avoid xenophobia in the future in this Country or otherwise there is going to be likelihood of xenophobia in the nearest future given the current economic, social and political situation in our Country.

Luka Madhieu Kot can be reached at madhieu@gmail.com

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  • 30 May 2013 10:42, by Akuma

    Dear Madhieu
    Your article is well inform and educative, since you know how our government is a government of Self Serving government, then all service will remain in their hands, with their foreigners.
    However,you have done your part, and the next stage is for al South Sudanese citizens whose rights are stolen by foreginers will be next.
    Dr. Akuma
    Chicago, USA

    repondre message

    • 30 May 2013 14:36, by Nibs

      Brilliant article, many thanks.

      repondre message

      • 30 May 2013 16:32, by Robot

        Good article but will fall into deaf ears, the brothels, hotels and bars you see around belongs to big fish(south Sudanese) here in Juba and they conceal their unattested wealth by employing foreigners such that they are not known.. MY DEAR, HAPPENINGS ARE HAPPENING BUT LETS REMAIN LIKE THAT, ONLY GOD KNOWS THE FATE OF THIS COUNTRY.

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        • 30 May 2013 21:45, by panom lualbil

          It’s really a very hard job to lead people with others whose brains are sold for monies. I remembered from a pilot of ANTINOV who used to say on a phone, they bought me all even my nails when he then hails down chemicals against us.

          repondre message

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