Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wedding in Juba - How can you tell if a bridegroom works for Nilepet?

By Deng Kiir Akok

The Nile Petroleum Corporation is a national Oil and Gas Corporation, which engages in oil exploration, production and marketing. Famous for its abbreviation Nilepet, has been a dream place of work for every South Sudanese that lives in Juba. Though the country's economy is nearly collapsing, the locals still see pastures greener in there. As a result, some of the institutions are losing their employees to Nilepet each day. Those job seekers think that getting employment at Nilepet will make them flourish like its current employees. Each one of them has a different dream from another and has to fulfil it once they are appointed in there.

For ladies that have got to Nilepet are by now driving the latest KIA models. Yeah, they have done with Arab as the saying goes for South Sudanese. Also on their wish list, include wedding in Freedom Hall, invite the President of the republic to wedding-Day, hire Juba-On-Time Studio photographer for coverage and spend the honeymoon in Dubai.

But for male employees' dreams is so complicated to tell. Any attempt to establish their needs will be an underestimation. They have a lot of problems to solve. From their fiancees' wishing to wed at Freedom Hall. Like Nilepet dreamers, Juba girls also have one thing in common, they think of and that's having their weddings at Freedom Hall. No girl in Juba had never ever heard of it.

Before Nilepet becomes a focal point for everyone in Juba, Central Bank of South Sudan employees was seen holding expensive wedding ceremonies. The bank staffs were able to pay for their bridals' beautification starting from henna to other necessities, the day before the wedding-Day at the most expensive hotels including Crown, New Sudan and Royal Palace hotel. Looking back on how the staffs were able to meet such expensive things in the past has now become a story in the light of the current economic crisis in the country.

The turn is now for Nilepet employees and the bank staffs become broke after the demise of letters of credit (LC). They were better than Nilepet employees in term of how to get money. Before the central bank ran out of dollars two years ago, there were letters of credit and the bank staffs by then knew how to deal with them. Currently, they can't even manage to pay for their birthday celebrations at Smart Camp in Thongpiny, the least expensive lodge in Juba.

As luxury weddings are increasing in Juba despite the country's shrinking economy, I witnessed one occasion last Saturday in which a former Lialy restaurant owner, now changed to University Medical Center along Malakia - Custom road found himself caught up in wedding cars of white Land Cruiser V8 while crossing the road from the property to the other side. He didn't know what to do in the middle of such speeding Japanese cars when he suddenly came to a standstill and cars passed by him from all sides. Thank God that he escaped being crushed. The man later complained to anyone that was near to him. He was heard saying, "even president Kiir's motorcade doesn't run like these cars."  

In the current economic crisis, most broke citizens of South Sudan, including this author have suspended their birthday celebrations until the economy recovered. But people are not sure of when things will get better such that life could go back to normal.

Here is our question. How do you tell if a bridegroom is an employee of Nile Petroleum Corporation? In case you come across his wedding cars out there on the roads. It's easy to tell. One need not to waste time guessing where could be his place of work.

Firstly, if wedding cars are of the Land Cruiser V8 models, then automatically that bridegroom works for Nilepet or simply call him a Nilepeter.

Secondly, the wedding belongs to an ordinary South Sudanese or Darfurian when Premio,  light buses, Reksha and boda boda (motorcycle) are used.

And thirdly, if it involves water tank trucks, Surf, Rav4 and blah, blah, then that bridegroom is either an Ethiopian or an Eriteran.

My message to Juba pedestrians is that, they should be watchful of wedding cars while crossing roads on weekends, especially on the road that links Freedom Hall in Custom, Marx Studio in Nimra Talata and Juba-On-Time Studio at Mobil roundabout.

With the above little and better than nothing knowledge, I hope that South Sudanese public by now, have known about how to differentiate between Nilepet bridegrooms and other bridegrooms that wed in Juba.

To end this piece, I would like to tell my readers that it's just a matter of time before I follow those heading for Nilepet in favor of high-paying jobs.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

South Sudan: A tragedy of resignation and rebellion

By Deng Kiir Akok

Dictionary.com defined resignation as formal statement, document stating that one gives up an office or position. While on the other hand, rebellion is a resistance to or defiance of any authority, control or tradition.

Except for Nhial Deng Nhial's resignation in 2006 from his post as minister for regional cooperation of the defunct Government of southern Sudan. Since then the others who followed had been on zigzagging. No one has ever followed the normal resignation procedures.

In  normal procedures for resignation one needs to send letter of resignation to his/her employer and then wait for an approval that will not last for two to three weeks. In most cases for South Sudanese, they do not follow these steps. As a result, they quit before their boss sign or approve their letters. Some took an online resignation as the case of Thomas Cirilo, the former deputy chief of Staff for logistics.

Proper procedures were not applied in the Lam Akol's resignation letter last year as minister for Agriculture and food security. He made sure he was in Khartoum before announcing his resignation. The same method was used by Thomas Cirilo, The author of this piece is wondering why does most South Sudanese resign while they are outside the country? They usually resign their positions while in Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. Lam Akol and Thomas Cirilo  are now the living examples for those who resign while abroad. Akol did not take long in this position before resigning from last year formed Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). He was by then in Khartoum.

He was waiting to hear the whereabouts of now exiled rebel leader and former first vice president Riek Machar who was forced to flee the country after the battle of J1. Until the Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) comer ended up in hospital in Congo and was referred to Khartoum later for further medication.

Lam announced his intention to resign his position as the minister for Agriculture and food security. In his resignation letter, he cited that the peace agreement has failed.

As such, resigning and rebelling against the system is a new phenomenon facing the government of South Sudan.

Nobody knows what will happen next after Wol Deng Atak, former deputy head information commission, Lam Akol, former minister of Agriculture and food security, Thomas Cirilo, former Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) deputy chief of Staff for logistics and Gabriel Duop Lam, minister of labor, public service and human resources and Khalid Loki, head of the SPLA military tribunal, have resigned.

But for Dinkas that resign, their reasons differ from other tribes. The question that asks why the Dinka tribe is bigger than other ethnic groups and its domination of the army. That said after his resignation letter was approved.

But the question is that; what kill those who resign outside South Sudan if they resign while in the country? The issue is that, they have other hidden agenda in their hearts which is rebellion.

It could be a reason they make sure they are not in South Sudan before making their resignations public.

The fresh one is that of Thomas Cirilo. In fact resignation in the minds of some South Sudanese politicians goes together with the rebellion.

But in a real sense, resignation  has nothing to do with rebellion. It's a new style for politicians in South Sudan. Something which cannot happen in the United States or in a democratic world. Because of my observations, Americans resign if there are grounds for resignation and stay in America. But that one cannot happen in South Sudan. What's wrong with our people? They resign their posts and go to America or Kenya for the case of Wol Deng Atak, Sudan for Lam Akol and Ethiopia for Thomas Cirilo.

Moreover, every person that resigns whether from the government or in the army does not miss Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) and its Dinka ethnic group out of their main reasons for resignation.

Those who resign their positions blame Jieng Council of Elders for being a big driver for president Kiir's government.  And that, Dinka dominates the national army, which needs to be reversed.

In my own view, this author would tirelessly work together with other ethnic groups in South Sudan to keep the Jieng Council of Elders away from the President's office if that's the only reason for these people leaving the government and the army in big masses.

By doing so, we would make sure that the office of the president is out of reach of Jieng Council of Elders. It will be a joint work by this author and other activists to call for it to distance itself from the state affairs. Or he will go as far as calling for it to move its office to Wau. This call will put it  under pressure from all the citizens of this country.

Also, activists will make sure it would not mingle up in running of the country. Yes, there is a solution to this problem of Jieng Council of Elders. We can build a wall around it. That idea would only work if we ever wanted to lock it up in a wall that we have built and forever forget about it.

But one thing will not happen. The balancing of ethnic groups in the army cannot and will never happen until any power would test the creator to turn hyenas into cows with horns. If those cows are without horns, then that one would be called a partial turning of hyenas into cows.

This is the fact that Dinka tribe are the majority. That's to say, in every corner of the world, there is a Dinka. There's only one country in this world and that's Somalia the author is not sure whether Dinka lives in it.

This's because they do not feel secure to stay in there. Take this simple example, in the Diaspora, Dinka are the majority. Leave alone the fact that Dinkas are in a large number of neighbouring countries.

They are now outnumbering Ugandans in Kampala and Kenyans in Nairobi just to mention the few. If any politician thinks s/he would ascend into power by any means and start the unstudied idea of balancing the ethnic groups in the army, or send home extra Dinka soldiers that would remain during the balancing, he would be committing suicide.

Because these soldiers that would be sent home will group themselves and form a militia that is more dangerous than the present White Army in Upper Nile. I do not know what would that militia be called.

In conclusion, resigning and rebelling with reasons that Jieng Council of Elders interferes with the state affairs and that Dinka tribe dominates the national army will not solve the current crisis. I think no one would be willing to question the nature. Why this ethnic group is bigger than the other? This is the question being asked by smaller ethnic groups. Even Dinka themselves do not know why they are majority in South Sudan. It's the nature that makes them like that.

I bet that any politician with a believe that s/he would cut the number of Dinka when s/he is in power would have his/her idea rotten at birth.

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