Outside the wall of a payam office in Hai Thoura Quarter, Juba.
And ye will hear of war and rumors of war …
Talks that are not talks at all. The fear about a conflict so far from my reality, but so near. The military ever present on the sidelines; always present in our presence.
Rumor City, South Sudan:
- The coup attempt on was Kiir really real; wasn’t it?
- The SPLA violently conscripting young impressionable men in the countryside.
- Sudan isn’t acting alone, but with the help of greedy oil companies in Asia.
- Kiir’s visit to China a negotiation of a new arms deal.
- Has the AU been bought to distance itself from South Sudan’s cause?
- Is the road to the airport arbitrarily closed off throughout the day to prevent the public from seeing the return of dozens of dead soldiers from the border?
- Did the town officials in Malakal turn a blind eye to the invasion of their territory by SAF on Friday night?
- The cabinet too sharply divided over the “withdrawal” from Heglig to come to a meaningful resolution … that’s what I heard …
Hail Juba, Rumor City!
So you won’t get indigestion …
… or lose your appetite …
… or die of starvation …
This is Henry Dilang Odwar, respected chair of the committee on energy, mining, commerce and industry in the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly.
He has a reason to boast, Henry Dilang Odwar. Under his stewardship, the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly has passed a comprehensive oil bill that puts Uganda’s proposed legislation to shame. It leaves no room for debate about transparency and accountability. Born out of a long history of abuse and obscurity, it wants more; it demands more for all.
Henry Dilang Odwar on the legislative requirement to protect the oil resource:
These (oil) resources are vested in the people of South Sudan. We have learned from experience that vesting them in government on behalf of the people is a wrong move. Governments are unstable, but the interests of the people largely remain the same.
On use of oil revenue:
The bill requires government to put aside money for future generations. We must ensure that the assets exploited by us benefit our children; otherwise, what’s the use? Considering only a small percentage of the area with potential oil reserves has been explored, we have enough to ensure that generations to come will receive something.
All the right words, no? Slowly slowly.
On the legacy of past failures:
“Learn from my mistakes!”
How many times I was told that as a child! How many times I ignored it and still do.
Force-feeding the wisdom of the ages to toddlers just makes them resentful.
It’s like this sculpture I saw yesterday at the Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba: help is offense; passion is power; love is trial.
It’s easy for me to be frustrated by South Sudan. Angered even. Then I remember: the folly of youth is youth.
Ah, the endless possibilities! The world is for your taking, but it’s just out of your reach. It’s all exciting and new.
There’s so much you can learn …
… but you won’t.
There’s so much you can take …
… but you don’t.
There’s so much you can do …
… but …
Their mistakes are your mistakes and yours for your children’s children to inherit. Even when you have the upper hand. Even when you are growing backwards.
So the politics are as dry as the taps. The streets are filled with garbage. The city is an unplanned mess. The politics is as dry as the taps. The disillusionment of a nation so new is palpable.
Maybe there’s hope.
If only South Sudan can stop making our mistakes.