Friday, October 07, 2016

Gone is 2015-2016: What would year 2017 portends for the people of South Sudan

By Deng Kiir Akok, Juba, South Sudan

Although there're people with fat wallets or who can afford their daily meals, it has not been easy for most South Sudanese to have their meals as their few brothers and sisters do. The ailing economy has left many citizens to gamble with their lives. They're not longer sure of what one would eat tomorrow. They don't know what tomorrow will mean for them about their daily bread.

One may stay with nothing to eat for the day and night if you were not lucky enough during the day to get a meal from one's long or short time friend or someone who may concern. Those one who may find themselves in pain when they see their brothers and sisters starving to death.

 Someone somewhere in a developed country would wonder how do these helpless South Sudanese push their day, week, month or a year. Thank God that our citizens had dealt properly with 2015 and are also almost closed to bring down 2016.

Yes, I can say here, gone is gone. These two years of economic hardship have gone. Our citizens are done with these two years. I congratulate them on their courage they took during these years. Two years are almost behind them by now.
 Another scaring big bad luck is stepping on their doors again, the 2017. What they gonna do? Yaac madueen ci ceng thiin! I can't imagine how our citizens will cope with the coming year.

 If 2017 would do what the past 21 months did for our citizens, then the economic suffering will intensify more than now. This situation has a popular name on social media and on Facebook in particular. It can be called two years of bad luck for South Sudanese economy if anyone on Facebook could correctly remember.

It  could also urge the dot-com self-proclaimed prophets to asked their followers to type amen against the almost three years of economic hardship.

Typing amen will not let go this economic curse and bring in a good one as these prophets might claim if asked for the solution to the crisis facing South Sudan.
Before TB Joshua or Prophet Shepherd Bushiri asked the well wishers on Facebook or any other social media to type amen for the healing prayers for South Sudan's nearly three years of economic dilemma, I have already typed my Big AMEN for it.

 But will the typing of letter a, m, e and n will rescue this economic crisis? Surely no. Unless the current national minister for finance and economic planning should put in place swift strategies to jumpstart the economy which already has a broken tail.

Our citizens have suffered for long time since the start of 2015 and another worrying issue is that no one knows when exactly will this crisis ended.

 People of this country have really tasted the worst part of the economy with every day increase in prices on consumer goods. Even people have become familiar with the situation and don't bother again to bargain with sellers when they are on shopping. If they asked why prices are high. They will only hear nothing than United States Dollar. The sellers keep asking their customers, don't you know how much is $100 United States Dollar (USD) in South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) in today's deals on the side? There, no other choice for our citizens.

As a result,  the citizens have developed a new technique while in markets for their routine shopping. What they do is that they readily prepared their minds for any prices on consumer goods the sellers would tell them. The barrier would be that if they may not have in their pockets, the sellers' required amount in exchange for their goods. That's the only one thing that would prevent our citizens to buy not because of skyrocketing prices.

It's not a surprise today in Juba to buy an egg at 65 SSP. Any day that passes has its own separate price on consumer goods. Even for one to buy him/herself a pata, the cheapest ever South Sudanese and Sudanese dish available at any restaurant in towns and cities across two Sudans has now becomes too expensive to buy as it was before in 2014 and backward.

 Not me alone that has abandoned shopping for clothes in Juba's main boutiques but almost everyone for reason we can't anymore afford them.

The same thing is happening in tea places, milk tea has disappeared. Before I couldn't see it again and my last time to be served with such a cup of tea if I can remember it well, it was at 40 SSP, an amount that could shop for one day for a small family's house in 2014. One had to think twice before he/she could take any decision to order it.

It was between two choices, you either take it and cancel a breakfast for that day or say enough for that day. The other choice was that not to waste such an amount on a liquid food.

Because of an economy that shrinks every hour or day there're certain types of tea, foods and fruits just to mention the few will vanish in South Sudanese towns and city. A tea leave bag or shai Lipton will follow milk tea and not far away from now because it's now sold at 20 SSP per a cup of tea.

Juba will run out certain items in the nearest future. In 2015, things were better than now and again our citizens will claim 2016 would have been better than 2017 so and so in term of market prices.

 But it will not take time for one to predict what will happen in 2017 to our citizens. There are only two scenarios here. It will either be worse than this or things will change for better.

Hmm, now, there're no signs that show the economy will improve by 2017. In this trend, still South Sudanese people have another long way to go. It's an endless ailing economy. What a curse for our citizens! No one knows when this economic crisis will get better. But what's in the mind of every South Sudanese is to see the economy improving before the end of this year. I wish 2017 could be a prosperous year for our beloved people of South Sudan.

Gone is 2015
On its way to go is 2016.
Coming with a big question is 2017. What will happen to the people of South Sudan as far as economic hardship is concerned.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Warring South Sudanese Social Media Users Should Stop Their Cocks' Fight and Give Peace a chance

By Deng Kiir Akok

It's almost three years now since the war broke out in Juba on December 15, 2013 between the soldiers loyal to Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the republic of South Sudan and his former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny.

The war started in Juba and moved to States. And to the saddest, it moved to social media that are operated in and outside the country. Most of these social media fighters are having their bases abroad. How the war is being successfully fought on social media? They fight in this useless way;

Nuer in Diaspora: " You Dinka in Juba, we have finished your Mathiang Anyoor, now we are on our way for Juba so we could crush you with your president."

Dinka in diaspora: " Why did you run away in 2013 and on July, 2016 with your rebels leader, Dr. Riek Machar? You come and you will get us here in Juba, you will face us."

Have you seen that? All these Nuer and Dinka in Diaspora are the one fighting this so-called social media war despite the last August peace agreement. They are fighting nonstop war. If one reason well here, one will find that these guys in diaspora are just inciting violence so as the citizens would confront each other.

If at all these social media fighters were having good minds, they would have used media to preach the peaceful coexistence of the tribes. But to the dismay of everyone, they use it to spread hatred for the tribes. While they are busy there in foreign countries earning dollars or whatever for their families.

Neither of them had finished Mathiang Anyoor or will defence Juba. What's not good and the burning issue is that they use Juba as their battle grounds when the good number of them don't know to locate Juba. Don't export us your meaningless fighting that will only leave hatred for our tribes. The fighters don't negotiate to settle their differences in social media.

This war is being fought outside the country though there're fighters in Juba and in the states. But the war has its battle grounds in South Sudan. These fighters fear for the unknown to use their real names and instead they use faked names. Maybe they use fake names to make it difficult for the authorities in identifying them with their unethical contents they post on social media. Sometime, they called themselves freedom fighters. These fighters post bad contents on social media to destroy South Sudan.

They are wasting their time and energy to write useless contents on social media assuming they are fighting for the regime change. These fighters are just fighting cocks' fights and will never move an inch for a feather laying on the ground let alone removing an elected president.

It would have been better if they have spent their time doing other necessary jobs rather than to write nonsenses. Unless these fighters are hired to do this job. If so, then they have no choice but to do this such useless job to earn their living.

But for them to fight well and get credit from their masters, they should use the right channels to get their thoughts straight to South Sudanese whether within or outside the country. There, they should consider putting their real names, city and the country they're writing. Prove me right or wrong, if a man dies for a reason, then he should die with his real name on his forehead not on his backhead.

In conclusion, I have dedicated these below two paragraphs to social media fighters and warlords' consumption.

Why do you want to fight for your freedom using wrong names? To my understanding, You don't mean to fight for your freedom as you claim. Because you are fearing for your names not to be known by everyone that reads contents you post in every minute on social media. What if you succeeded in your fighting, will you change your names or not?

I wish I was the one hiring you to fight in your social media war, I wouldn't give you even a coin for your job done. Because you are cowards and weak to fight this cocks' fight since you withhold your real names while posting contents on social media.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Handbag grabbing: An Open Letter to Women Shoppers of Juba's Markets

By Deng Kiir Akok

Dear women shoppers of Juba City's markets, allow me to convey this message to you to express my personal disappointment with the rampage grabbing of your handbags by criminals out there in the streets or markets.

This happens whenever you go on shopping in Suk (market) Weiwei, Suk Militia, Suk Sita, Suk Konyokonyo, Suk Jebel, Suk Libya, Suk Custom and Suk Juba. Hence, this letter is in response to your daily basis unacceptable suffering from the hands of robbers. I am happy to have spared this little time to write to you on how you would cope with the phenomenon.

I know it well that these robbers are not only targeting your handbags but also targeting men's bags. But since your vulnerability is by far worse than that of men, so these two things can't be compared.

Such activities of grabbing handbags in public didn't exist in then Sudanese and now South Sudanese culture. I put blames for foreign criminals to have imported this culture into our society. But it's believed that such acts emerged with every day shrinking economy of a war-torn country since 2013. In such a situation, there's a significant increase in the number of street children that at their maturity turned robbers and endanger the society.

Last Saturday on August 13, 2016 in Konyokonyo while I was passing by, a robber attacked a woman waiting for public transport. I heard a woman crying out behind me, my handbag! My handbag! Cried a woman. When I looked for what was happening, I saw a young man running away while in his one hand was a woman's handbag. Everyone by that moment was trying to see what was going on near them.

Lucky enough, one member of public was caught by the attention and rushed to where a woman was crying. As a robber was running away, he crossed his leg on a robber's legs that caused him (robber) to fall onto the ground. Seeing this was of good hope and what came to my mind was to join the man to catch a robber. The robber didn't waste his time laying on the ground. He spent no second on the ground and picked himself up and ran to the darkness behind the shops. There, he was out of our sights and we can't see him again.

He left us with no idea. A woman's handbag with a mobile phone and money in it was gone. I was so disappointed with the incident. I would have chased him up to hell if I was wearing a lace-up shoes. But with sandals I can't run even a metre distance.

This was not the first time for me to see this happening in Konyokonyo market or elsewhere in Juba. In May, 2016, while we were passing Konyokonyo, I saw several young men grabbing a certain lady's handbag on the roadside. It was around 7:30pm local time.

These robbers loiter at bus stations and on the roadsides pretending to be bus conductors and shoppers that help them see women on shopping.

Sometimes back in May and June this year, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) military polices used to patrol these markets in the late evening hours but it was dropped later for reason we don't know. This was of great help to those who leave the markets at late hours and on the benefits of women vulnerable to robbers.

It's very difficult nowadays to know who's a robber and who's not, in those markets. Because the robber may come driving a car, Boda Boda (motorcycle) or on a bare foot. No one knows which direction the robber may use to approach you.

However, I have suggestions here under that would help end your handbags' robbery. And they are:

1. Put your money in the pocket or use your mind in case you have no pocket while going on shopping. Putting your money in the pocket will give robbers hard time to take it from you. I know there're armed robbers who can even tell you to hand them all your possessions with no resistance or noise. But this suggestion will only work in a situation where you are attacked by unarmed robber.

2. Trust no one whiles in the streets or markets. It's because no one is sure what that person would think of you. These robbers in those places pretend to be potential passengers waiting for public buses to come and pick them. So be watchful of such people.

3. Quit those markets before 6:30 pm. The robbers use darkness as their opportunity to stage robbing on you.

4. Carry your handbags empty. Robbers grab your handbags with an idea that in there're a mobile phone and money. So in implementing this suggestion will make them change their minds on valuing your handbags to contain money and valuable materials.

5. Whenever you're in the streets or markets, be watchful to avoid your handbags being grabbed by criminals out there. To avoid this risk, you need to look right, left, in front and behind as you go to your intended destination.

Nowadays, Juba has become a dangerous place to move with a bag in the streets or markets. I hope the above suggestions will help you withstand your handbags' robbery in the capital.

God blesses South Sudan.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mabior Garang: A Mama's Boy Politician Of South Sudan

By Deng Kiir Akok

Foremost, I will give thousand of thanks to his father, the freedom fighter, liberator, founder of Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and a great hero, Dr. John Garang de Mabior. He was a man whose his wise thinking gave us this nation called today, South Sudan. We will not forget him in our lives time.

Let's get back to this boy called Mabior Garang, the former Water Resources and Irrigation. He had never been heard in public until August, 2012 when he came out publicly for the first time and criticized the entire leadership in the country under his father's successor, President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. In his first-ever interview with McClatchy in Kenya, he blamed the President of turning his back to Dr. John Garang's family of which he (Mabior Garang) belongs.

One year later after December 15, 2013 crisis, his mother, Nyandeng Chol Atem fled to Nairobi saying she was not feeling safe in Juba. She then talked to Media later in Kenya, saying December 17, 2013, is the day she will not forget for the rest her life.

While Mabior was in Nairobi, his second home after Juba, joined by his mother. There, they convened in their house and focused on political crisis back home. Because Mabior was just a drug addict, drunkard and well-known fool at the level of his age mates, was dragged by his mother to join the cheap politics of his father's former bitter enemy, Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of Armed Opposition and former Vice President of South Sudan.

What has President Kiir had not done for the Late Dr. John Garang's family? He appointed his mother, the Garang's widow to various top positions in the governments of South Sudan. Despite all these, Mabior still blaming the President of the republic of South Sudan of not taking good care of them. But to anyone with mature mind can see how President Kiir took care of them all these times. Unless Mabior was not bought baby bottle milk for his feeding. He would have thanked the country leadership for the little they get with his mother, Nyandeng Chol instead of complaining here and there.

But what I know so far about them is that they are better than any other South Sudanese in terms of what they get from the government. His family is staying in luxury house in Nairobi compare to any other South Sudanese down here in Juba and in the states.

What's all about this mess they are doing with his mother to our beloved country? Is it because Mabior's mother is young and so has a negative impact on his political career. Here, I can say this, "A politician with his/her mother young makes no good politics."

What I meant here is that those politicians with their mothers young fail politics because their mothers have hands in every single activity they do. Their mothers are good advisors for them. This influence may or may not work with public. Those advices don't work with  public when that thinking is that of a mere house and primitive mother. And to make matter worse when you have a mama's boy in politics like Mabior Garang. He is not a politician and will not be a politician if there was real politics in South Sudan.

 I have no enough time here to talk more about Nyandeng Chol, Mabior's mother and who's at the same time his best driver in politics since 2013. There are many things about Mabior to mention here and of whom I believe is an exact copy of Nyandeng's nature and characters. He is only a mama's boy. Menh-tiik that is what I know of him.

He doesn't know that he is destroying his father's legacy. His mother is too destroying his personality, and he doesn't understand since he is a mama's boy. His mother Nyandeng Chol is a confused window that doesn't know what to do. She uses to cry when ever she wishes to, saying, she is crying because of dying South Sudanese when she's also having a bigger hand in her Late husband's former long-time rival's mess.

Though her son, Mabior was rose to a high position in the then Kenya and Ethiopia-based Armed Opposition, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army - In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), Nyandeng was given this position and not him as I know. This is because of Nyandeng being an invisible player. This guy called Mabior Garang is of no help to Armed Opposition in terms of his personal political ambitions. He doesn't know what to do and he can't even cut an onion for their breakfast in the SPLM/A-IO if there's a need leave alone his claim to be a politician.

Mabior showed his incompetence on August 2014 in Addis Ababa when Ethiopian security caught him carrying a 9 MM pistol cocked with six bullets in one of the hotel reception where president Gen. Salva Kiir was staying in trying to assassinate the President.

Mabior Garang is just a good drunkard and not a politician let everyone knows this. You also need to know why he always lives in Kenya. It's because his mother, uses to live there in Kenya all these times and Mabior since he is a mama's boy of all time goes there to stay with his mother.

I believe if his mother changes the place of stay now to Nigeria for instance, he would probably be found there, living in that country. He can't live in an environment where his mother is not seen. What I know of him is that he can't decide on his own but what he can make is his mother decision.

Even when he was appointed as minister for Water and Irrigation  in April, 2016 formed Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) from the SPLM/A-IO side, I never thought of him or tell anyone that there's a politician being put there in that ministry but only a Nyandeng's son. I can say here that the position he held in that short periods of time had a wrong man in a right place.

In conclusion, I wish Mabior Garang's mother, Nyandeng Chol Atem would have time to read this piece of advice. But I will not give up to leave my suggestion here. This goes to you Nyandeng Chol, I would like you to give your son, Mabior a time so he would grow up and to have thinking capacity like his age mates who are now doing fruitful things to their families. Our citizens including the author of this piece are tired of how Mabior conducts himself in public. He lacks qualities of leadership and above all things, he's a childish mindset person.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Juba Town Could Be Hideout For Cholera

By Deng Kiir Akok

Opposite Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) building in Juba town is an incomplete five floors tower rarely called Amara-Pagan and falls south of Al-atiek Mosque. In front of it, are three Toptank containers turned into storing wastes or leftovers from restaurants operating in this Amara. These tanks are put on a bare ground and arranged in line. The building is divided into parts where the first and second floors are for tea and shisha makers. Third and fourth floors fall under restaurants.

Shortly after government and opposition forces fought in early July this year while approaching South Sudan Independence Day celebrations. The government had said earlier that it was not ready to celebrate the 5th Independence Day Anniversary this year but instead will observe the day due to economic hardship present in the country.

As some of the things happen in nature and not according  human plans, there was a suspected cholera outbreak of Juba and some parts of the country according to South Sudan ministry of health. The ministry including its partners (MSF, WHO and other health based organizations) had taken samples of patients for study to establish the suspected cholera outbreak.

After samples were tested positive for Vibrio Cholera Ivana, the ministry confirmed and declared the outbreak of cholera across the nation. The health ministry outlined measures suitable for confronting the disease. And those measures were for South Sudanese citizens to stick to good hygiene and sanitation at their respective places amongst other things.

However, this is not the case in Amara-Pagan. The tanks I mentioned earlier are full of leftovers, exhausted water, fish scales and all these decomposed and send out smelling which covers a larger part of Juba town leave alone GPOC building and  Juba bus station. These tanks have leaks in them and the fact they have leaks made them unfit to store liquid and blah blah. Some people including me don't pass near that smelly place.

What I am not sure being that how people eat from those restaurants operating in there when the place is not clean? You can still smell this place even if you are at Jubek Square, imagine how strong this smelling can travel. I didn't pass there for at least three months but I paid a visit only on July 18, 2016 after the epidemic was declared by the ministry of health to check on it whether it was still like before.

Although I resisted the smelling that day but it later in the few minutes forced me to desert the place. My intention was to see how this place could be a potential environment for the disease. I believe if those measures recommended by the ministry are taken seriously elsewhere in the capital Juba and in the States still the disease will consider this place to be its hideout for years or life.

I was questioning myself all these times for why not those concern authorities or be public health officers are reluctant to oversee their duties.  Why do they keep silent on this issue and don't want to talk to these restaurants' owners that used to dump wastes in front of the building and the way leading to GPOC building.

Where's that motto that says ' keep Juba clean? ' Or are they not supporting the campaign for keeping our city clean? If they are so, then the authorities concern should tell them to quit this place and go to where sanitation is not important.  If there a place which sanitation is not important to this earth. I think such a place doesn't exist at all and if so, let them learn how to keep good hygiene at the surrounding areas.

I was of suggestion that why shouldn't those customers that used to eat from there to refuse their food one day and tell them they will not come to eat there until the place is kept clean. But I know it well, they will not do that unless I was them that suggestion would have happened.

I am afraid that if a good research is carried out across Juba and on those who used to eat from this Amara in particular. The findings may show that few individuals out of these customers would already have suffered this cholera outbreak since these restaurants lack knowledge of sanitation.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Council Of States Security Guards Ate Drugged Food Because They Were Hungry!

By Deng Kiir Akok

The public learned on the news on Monday, July 4, 2016 that the Upper House of parliament (The Council of States) was robbed in the hours of Sunday morning resulting in the loss of 200,000 South Sudanese Pounds. These thugs were believed to have used four local girls (South Sudanese) to feed the security guards with drugged food.

The security guards were thought to be empty stomaches since they accepted to eat from the strangers' food which left them unconscious. One is said to have died later in the hospital. This was not the first time for criminals to give the guards drugged food to make them sleep and so they do whatever they would want to do at that institution.

The question is how do these robbers always feed our security guards with drugged food? It's because they always find them hungry. I wish There's day such culprits are caught while bringing drugged food to the security guards.

What we always get when listening to the news is that, " security guards ate drugged food then they felt in deep sleep and the robbers took advantage". I wish these criminals are caught one day with their drugged food and be fed on their own food to experience incapacitation security guards undergo when they eat their food.

But what made security guards to eat food in the first place from unknown sources? One would ask him or herself this question. Well, it's with simple answer like this, they were hungry, full stop.

No any other reasons that made them ate up the strangers' food. If the guards were not hungry, they wouldn't eat that drugged food. What if these guards were given a tiny amount of money for their dinner from that 200,000 South Sudanese Pounds which robbers took after feeding the guards with drugged food.

The fact was that this huge amount of Pounds was sleeping inside the office while the hungry security guards was spending sleepless night protecting the money and building. It would have been a wise decision if the house gave little money for the dinner of its guards, instead of giving robbers opportunity to fool the guards with their drugged food that took one life and cost the institution hundred of Pounds. This was unfortunate moment for the nation.

In conclusion, the author of this article doesn't want to hear of such stories again that security guards  have eaten up food from strangers and fell asleep leaving  robbers to carry on with their plan. These robbers' practices have become recurring incidents in Juba city, let all security guards learned from the past incidents.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Our Country Needs More ' Lukaks '

By Deng Kiir Akok

On June 14, 2016, Jubek State primary and secondary school teachers  warned and said would go on strike should the state government didn't meet their demands within three days time. Their demands include payment of two months' salary, rents and clothing allowances.

But, before things could had gotten out of hands for Jubek State and for the ministry of education in particular, a prominence businessman and patriot called " Ladu Lukak " helped the situation by giving loan of 5.5 million South Sudanese Pounds. He meant the loan to pay teachers and medical staff, citing that he values the student's future of a better South Sudan.

To look at what Mr. Lukak did, I as a parent of a child, he got back to school by making teachers' salaries be paid, congratulated him. He showed his solidarity by making salaries payment for state's teachers and medical staff possible. Yin ca leec (in Dinka meaning, I thank you) Mr. Lukak though the state government will pay you back with this money, you have helped a lot. Our children are now in schools because you have done something. These children are the future leaders of this country and we as parents should not hesitate in giving thanks to such an individual that helped the nation.

Although Jubek State has done with its teachers and medical staff by paying them two months salary, it's not the case of the other states.  And will be good if the tool used in Jubek State is used in other States. There's a need for you guys (businessmen) to do something for the other States whose their schools teachers are still on the strike that left students without schools. Perhaps they are demanding for their salaries for two and now three months.

Nobody out there to rescue the situation in these states? I meant if there're good-hearted people like Lukak had better to help teachers' salary issue. It's becoming a curse to  their parents because when you see your child not going to school, you find yourself not doing enough for the future of this child.

Don't we have other successful businessmen in South Sudan like Lukak? Or maybe they see it as a waste of their resources to giving loans to states' ministries of educations or healths. Since these are the only vital ministries a  nation can't stay without them.

I am happy and satisfied with what Mr. Lukak did. One would otherwise encourage Lukak's colleagues to repeat this excellence decision to help states' governments and nation at large to meet part of its obligations. if patriotism is something to do with a devoted love, support and defense of one's country, then why other businessmen are not doing the same as their colleague did for this nation. To help when there's a need for a nation shows one's concern with one's country.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

A Buyer or Seller, Blackmarketers Don't Know Their Customer

By Deng Kiir Akok

According to Investopedia, black market is an economic activity that takes place outside government-sanctioned channels. In the financial context, the biggest black market exists for currencies in nations with strict currency controls, the website added.

Last week, a friend of mine told me he had $100 USD (United States Dollar) and he wanted to sell it. He was busy with his office and couldn't make it to Juba town where he can get a dealer in dollar to buy his item. Since he himself could not come to town, he told me he would send someone with that money so I could sell that dollar for him.

But before I do anything about his dollar, I have to tell him the exact price on that day black market exchange rate who later I didn't do so. After he instructed me what to do and what not, I left a certain place I was taking tea and rush to black marketers that used scatter around Ivory bank, Buffalo bank, Jubadit store, just to mention the few. I was there to acquaint myself with how much $100 USD can be sold.

While I reached the place, the members of shadow market engulfed me hoping I will either buy or sell to them any dollar. It's their usual practice to come and round around any person passing by them in those listed places. I could not know how many of them were around me by then because the number was so big and can't count them. That environment confused me and didn't know what to do then.

Good enough, one from the group told me to be normal and name myself  with them whether I was a buyer or Seller in which  they assured me they were ready at any side (buyer or Seller).

Despite the fact that I was in the dealers' circle, I asked one short guy among them whom seem to be 16-year-old boy that later I was told by his colleagues to be even older than me, to tell me how much was $100 USD in South Sudanese Pounds. " Are you a buyer or Seller? " Asked one dealer whom I didn't ask. I have $100 USD, how much would you buy it for me, I asked him " It's 4,700 Pounds, " he said. Because I doubt them since they are in black market, I quited them for another group nearby our side.

And again asked them and was even lowering than the one before which was 4,600 South Sudanese Pounds.

Because I wanted to know how much they would sell that $100 USD after leaving them, I pretend to be a buyer and asked if they could sell for me $100 USD and they said it's 5,300 South Sudanese Pounds. A thing that would make one wonder on this huge amount differences between buying and selling.

No matter what you would persuade them to make a discount for you while buying, they will never drop even a coin on that price. That is one thing I have learned about this mono-sex business in which males are the only participants. Thank God for not letting South Sudanese women to take part in black market business.

I am afraid that in the nearest future, one would look for a porter or wheelbarrow operator to carry such huge amount of pounds when one is in position to buy or sell dollars.

Last but not the least, we are  just waiting for black marketeers to tell us how much we would buy $100 USD tomorrow, nothing can prevent them to sell $100 USD at 10,000 South Sudanese Pounds or more than that amount. The amount at which one hundred dollar can be sold in South Sudanese Pounds can't be estimated at coming days if good economic measures are taken by ministry of finance and economic planning to jumpstart the ailing economy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Don't Mourn For Corruption Convicts

By Deng Kiir Akok

The South Sudan's High Court has on Monday June 13, 2016 sentenced at least 16 former office of the President officials,  including senior presidential aides, to life in prison for stealing over $14 million and 30 million South Sudanese pounds.

Last year, His Excellency the President of republic, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit issued an administrative order suspending his top aides, accusing them of corruption, including forging his signature. They also committed other irregularities in this office living many South Sudanese with opened mouths.

The accused and now convicted include chief administrator, Mayen Wol Jong, executive director, Yel Luol Koor, controller of account, Nhomuot Agoth Cithiik, Mr. John Agou Wuoi, a national security officer seconded to the office of the President, central bank employees and four Kenyans.

Now what would Monday Court's decision means to convicts' villages-based families and friends? What would we tell them if they called us over the telephone back here in Juba.

Well, these convicts are proved guilty of theft and forgeries by mighty South Sudan's High Court that would be my answer to them.

With this court's decision, I am not happy or sad about it as in my own opinion but I will keep it for my consumption on which is which between the above two options. But I will tell to friends which side am I taking.

What would you expect me to say? If at all public money is stolen by these convicts who were once called " Awalad el Junub ". What of us? This was all nonsenses. Are we not sons and daughters of this country?

But in a real sense not according to their understanding, we are all sons and daughters of this soil which had taken many lives during the liberation periods. Not only that it had taken many lives in that long struggles but till now is taking our beloved ones.

No doubt they enjoyed the sweetest sweet ever they never thought to turn bitter but that smelt like a feather on fire last Monday. The sweet begun its bitterness when they were suspended and have been under investigations till last Monday for their alleged involvement in one of the country's worst lost of million and million of dollars and pounds to their pockets.

When the court last Monday found them guilty and gave them a life in prison sentence, I think they might have regretted for their involvement in such activities.

Don't throw it away, ' muok ka tiing ka ya '. No way of escaping your deeds. People who involve themselves in misusing public money forget one thing here and is very obvious. One may abuse his/her powers and later at the end be held accountable.

Though the convicts can make an appeal hoping they will reverse the declaration. South Sudan's high Court has already taught them a lesson they  will  never forget. And also a warning to those who are still serving for the government right now who assume there will never be ccountability.

This is a start the country has experienced in sentenced last year accused and now convicted, former senior presidential aides. I recommend that those in service shouldn't fall into the same footsteps of like the convicts fell into.

This practice becomes a hide and seek game regarding these suspects and now convicted who stole money and were immediately dragged out from office and faced charges.

They had really maximized that a small time frame (2014 - 2015) to fulfill their long awaited dreams. No doubt they have enriched themselves with what is so called public funds and in a clear sense  is our money.

South Sudanese citizens were taken by surprise when they learned in the news that their money was stolen.That money could have been used in delivering service to them but was stolen by senior presidential aides in the office of the President.

I prefer their immediate families and friends would not mourned them for being sentenced to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. For it's untraditional in Dinka tribe or may be in any other tribe in South Sudan to mourn for a person that has not died.

Because of last Monday jurisdiction, some of the convicts' families and friends broke in tears as judge Lado Armeno read out the final decision the court took on the suspects.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Why Do Our Women Want To Lighten Their Skin?

By Deng Kiir Akok

Is it a matter of playing around with one’s own money? Let me admit. That hard to find money is used to buy chemicals in search of white beauty. What you can see in her is dark elbow, dark finger joints, dark knee caps and dark toe joints that resisted the process for a designated skin colour or white complexion. She would not be black, white or brown but yellow-brown or she is there or in mother tongue agai-koc meaning surprising people is a suitable word for her new attained colour.

Skin bleaching phenomenon is not new to South Sudanese women to practice it but has its deep root in time of civil wars.

Skin lightening, or skin bleaching, is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lighten dark areas of skin or achieve a generally paler skin tone (NHS Choices).

Skin bleaching becomes an all out practice for South Sudanese women before after South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan on 9th July 2011. This could be probably prompted by their unfitted to the Arab community in Khartoum when they fled 22 years of conflict and took refuge in the northern towns of Sudan.

Although studies that were conducted on skin bleaching some years back discovered men to be in engaged in skin lightening phenomenon to change their complexion.
However, these practices have not yet arrived in South Sudan.

I would like you to take you through a conversation I went with one skin lightening veteran and at time a tea maker who wished not to be disclosed one evening. “ I am not longer using cream because I could not afford it, she said. I am totally broke to buy these chemical peels, she told me. Since 2015 up to date I abandoned creams because of the everyday market increase in price that is rooted from South Sudanese Pound devaluation against the dollar last year ”.

The government of South Sudan announced on Tuesday, 15 the floating of the country’s currency. After the announcement, the value of South Sudanese Pound (SSP), which had been pegged to the U.S. dollar at an official rate of 2.96 SSP to the dollar, fell to levels approaching the parallel market rates of 18.50 SSP to the dollar.

Why do you look darker than me but you are just from skin lightening, I asked her. “ When you stopped applying cream on your skin, you first seem darker and darker than you were before ", she narrated it to me.

This is because of sunlight and a reviving of melanin functions, a colouring pigment that determines skin, hair and eye colour.

 “ So my skin tone will return to its normal after sometimes but not now ", she continued.

In our conversation, she asked me about my marital status and I had accepted the status of being married. “ Is your wife with us in the pursuit of a lighter or white skin or on the other side ? ”, she asked me.

Because I did not bother myself to beat around the bush, I jumped to the last answer and I told her, she will lose this tall gentleman, with better hair you can see in front of you as her husband. She will not even spend a second in my house. She will at once leave my house if she tampered with cream and as I speak to you now, I keep on checking on her to see whether she has used any.

She has no reason to apply cream on her body to make herself more attractive to me than she does to me now.

I picked her when she was black-skinned and I would continue to love her in that colour.

There is nothing wrong with black skin colour in my sense as an African. Africans are known for their dark skin. I do not care about white skin because I was created with black skin then no matter let stay black, I told her.

Though there are possible risks encountered with cosmetics, South Sudanese women continue to use them despite an alarming warning by health experts since these creams contain dangerous materials as put by National Health Service Choices (NHS Choices), the United Kingdom (UK) online health information service.

The two ingredients dominating creams include hydroquinone, corticosteroids and mercury which in a long use may lead to skin turning dark or too light, thinning of the skin, visible blood vessels in the skin, scarring, kidney, liver or nerve damage, abnormalities in a newborn baby (if used during pregnancy).

Nowhere on earth you can find women with white skin and men and children are with black skin. This is totally wrong even God cannot accept that because he created our genetic makeup the same. So no reason for South Sudanese women mostly township women to lighten their skin while their men and children are black skin.

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