HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MY NATION? A Submission by Dutt Jesse
The great African novelist, Chinua Achebe, said of his homeland that “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.” The major problem is the unwillingness and inability of leaders to rise to full responsibility for the challenges of personal example, which are the hallmarks of true leadership. Now substitute Nigeria with my war-torn motherland, South Sudan.
Predatory politics and unchecked power have held South Sudan back in shackles, and the only solution is embracing democracy and political hygiene because citizens have been allowed to seek their own fortunes. Unfortunately, ethnic politics deprived them of life and hope, which is why they find solace in the sanctuary. I found fundamental freedom and peace in refuge in the pearl of Africa, Uganda. So, personally, I think the only sensible solution to tribal conflicts and tribal prejudices is separating tribe and state, faith and state. The government shouldn’t discriminate on grounds of ethnicity. Civil servants should be recruited on merit. Contracts should be awarded to bidders who offer higher amounts, and financial aid should go to the poor, not the rich.
The South Sudanese are open, friendly, generous, hospitable, and among the most resilient ones in Africa. Worst of all, the majority are stranded in the refuge since their motherland, Africa’s last born, is ravaged by civil wars and ethnic predatory politics. The country has vast, sparsely populated land, dominated by pastoralists, and traditional agriculturalists to a lesser extent.
Furthermore, underground, lies reefs of gold, petroleum, and other precious ores. Yet, the economic state of the country is in shambles. In most cases, minerals have not only been the main motive for war, but also the means for war as governments use the proceeds of war for their own gains while the common man is led to fight for their selfish cause. It is imperative to urge all political stakeholders, economists, and citizens to unite and turn harm into harmony in order to discontinue the misappropriation of God-given resources.
For the South Sudanese street kids, the prospects aren’t quite so good. They’re too young but unfortunately live in Africa, the poorest continent on earth and the only one that, despite all technological advances that are filling stomachs and pockets everywhere else, has finally grown poorer over the last three decades. With the majority living below the poverty line, the median African country has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of only $2 million, roughly the output of a small town in the West. What makes my heart ache endlessly is that not even Africans went to invest in Africa; about 52% of Africa’s privately held wealth is hidden offshore. This can be curbed by eliminating unemployment, giving investors incentives and subsidies, as well as reforming land ownership and creating awareness among the general population. I’ll be vital in advertising so that surplus labour is absorbed by the job market. As a concerned citizen, I’ll also advocate for consumer-producer treaties. This will help curb economic evils like inflation and monopoly, which are slumbering in this economy, leading to severe poverty.
It’s not much comfort for Africans, however, to hear that other people were equally poor a hundred years ago. Even the cattle herders back in my native foothills know that today, the rest of the world is much richer than they are. Any African who occasionally watches TV can see that people in America live lives of unimaginable luxury, with bulging fridges, soft clothes, and big cars that even teenagers can afford. Why, they ask, is life in Africa not like that? So the sole solution to these economic crises is poverty alleviation, eradication of famine, investment in huge sectors like agriculture since my country has terrific
For Africans, it is not a comfort to hear that other people were equally poor a hundred years ago. Even the cattle herders in my native foothills know that today, the rest of the world is much richer than they are. Any African who watches TV can see that Americans live lives of unimaginable luxury with bulging fridges, soft clothes, and big cars that even teenagers can afford. They wonder why life in Africa is not like that. Therefore, the solution to the economic crisis is poverty alleviation, eradication of famine, and investment in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and cultural diversity, which have immense potential. The development of such sensitive sectors will automatically lead to the diversification of the economy. Furthermore, our future prosperity will depend on how we adapt to new technologies. Personally, I will invest my time and energy to mentor my fellows in the outskirts of my country about the million wonderful technological innovations and progress I have been exposed to. As we move into the modern era, there is a need to embrace modernization, even in backwaters such as Swaziland and Madagascar. Technology doesn’t mean only high technology; even simple devices can transform people’s lives. Therefore, I will sensitize the masses to embrace free pollutant technology.
Over the years, my country has been ravaged by wars. We have been suffering in the silence of marginalization and shackles of violence. As a child growing up, gunshots were the only sounds I heard. I have been divested of peace since childhood, and still, the specter of death is still displaying the faces of men in my nightmares. I fled home on the run because bullies had maxim guns and AK-47s, and I learned that bullets are more lethal than any poisonous snake bite on earth. No matter how brave you are, when bullets rain down, you have to escape for your dear life because you can’t become a meal for the ravens. Looking back, my life was a narrow escape from death since I saw many innocent souls perish in cold blood, children starve, and mental health become a luxury after battling war traumas. Thankfully, God paved the way for me to achieve mentorship in the refugee camp, which molded me into a peace activist, preaching against impunities and speaking up for the voiceless poetry. Even refuge was a safer haven for me because I grew up in a house full of guns. As a peace activist, I will change that for those coming behind me to grow up in a house full of books by writing journals and articles about peace. Since peace is an elusive ideal, any human would appreciate achieving peace, people ought to be free. This means no one should have imperialistic pursuits over the other because it’s not needs that must be respected but rights. And humility means being willing to learn as much as we can about our experiences outside of what we know and do what we can with what we have to leave a space better than we found it. So basically, I’m going to use my war experience to speak up for the marginalized because they need justice, and this is the work of the living since the dead can’t speak.
We all know that health is wealth. In my country, health is hanging on a single thread. Imagine a hospital where the water is contaminated, where tuberculosis is rife, and where the so-called doctors are incompetent that a patient has a fifty-fifty chance of living or benefiting from a medical consultation. Imagine too that most of the drugs are expired, and some are poisonous, which is a huge threat to humanity.