Citizens react: Insecurity, hunger, health service are top concerns as S. Sudan turns 10
South Sudanese wave the flag of their new country in the capital Juba on July 9, 2011 to celebate the nation’s independence from Sudan. South Sudan separated from Sudan to become the world’s newest nation. Credit: Roberto Schmidt
Members of the public say insecurity, economic hardship, access to health service, and hunger are among issues they are still struggling with 10 years after voting for an independent nation.
Those who spoke to Eye Radio say things have gotten worse compared to the period before independence.
They declared that the aspirations of millions of South Sudanese who voted in 2011 have been dashed by poor leadership and power wrangles.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, after 21 years of civil war.
During the 2011 referendum, about 98.83 percent of South Sudanese voted in favor of independence.
A decade later, some residents in Juba told Eye Radio they are disappointed with the leaders in the country.
Many said they thought an independent nation will guarantee their rights to services, freedom and economic prosperity.
They added that the leaders have only enriched themselves and abandoned the promises of independence such as Justice, Liberty and Prosperity for all.
“From 2013 up to 2021, we have not gotten anything that has benefited our country because of all these fighting in the country. So, nothing completely, there is no change,” said Jale Francis, a resident of Juba.
“We were hoping for peace but up to now, we are not in total peace because there is a lot of hunger in the country, killing and robbing people in the roads. So we have not gotten a total peace in the country despite the independence,” Jale concluded.
International graft monitors say over the last 10 years, South Sudanese leaders have continued to amass wealth at the expense of the poor population.
They disclosed that looted money often by top officials leaves South Sudan in dollars, making currency trading one of the most lucrative businesses in the country.
“There are no changes completely, we only survive on breaking rocks and harvesting the sand. What we need from the government is assistance because we are its citizens and our lives are on their responsibility,” one of the members of the public said.
“Year after year, there is no change, we are sick, there is no proper health facilities, the hospital is very expensive, and if you do not have people that can help you, you can die. There is not government aid,” said John, not his real name.
“Our situation is very desperate there is nothing the government is doing for its citizens. We cannot even stay in peace if you sleep till dawn, you only give thanks to God,” said another person.
“The conflict brought us into the town, people like us who lost our husbands and are now old. Let the government think of its citizens,” another member of public who declined to be identified said.