Opinion | The National Awakening Day
I read the document circulating in the media announcing a National Awakening planned for August 30, 2021. This same document drew the National Security Service (NSS) and the state government in Central Equatoria with apprehension. While I value the judgment of others in pressing out their views, this article is purposefully written to show my feeling against this claim, which I view as hypocritical and an open PR sting to exploit the people's naivety, particularly in Juba and South Sudan on a broader sense.
According to the document's authors, which about four signatories visible sign, it has called for all the south Sudanese populace on August 30, 2021, to hold a peaceful demonstration, civil disobedience, strikes, boycotts, and all other forms of peaceful civil resistance.
In their opinion, the protest is intended to express their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan concerning six claims. I find this call incredible and shocking because it does not respond to the reality of what people need.
To put it in perspective: The average salary for a grade 9 civil servant is approximately 1500 SSP. Four thousand percent of this figure amounts to 60,000 SSP, and if you add the primary wage, it doubles up to 61,500 SSP. Does this figure cover medical insurance, life insurance, disability indemnity, and retirement plans/savings/pensions? Yes, our people are frustrated, and there's no question about that, but asking someone to prove that their salary needs to be increased by 4,000% is misleading.
The defenders of this "Revival Day" must first learn about the issues of civil disobedience. These include Claudette Colvin, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, including the 1961 Freedom Riders, and The Birmingham Children's Crusade, 1963. Civil disobedience is comparatively different from their usual "Civil Organization Advocacy" flag carried by UN agencies or their international sponsors in Juba.
The revitalized Agreement on Conflict Resolution in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) includes mechanisms and arrangements for the establishment, location, and term of office of the Government of South Sudan (RToGNU). These provisions are set out in articles 1.1 of chapter 1, subsections 1.1.4, 1.1.5, and 1.20-National elections (to be read together with the amendments, appendices, and governance matrix). Calling the RTGoNU and the president to resign is foolish, yet the architecture of R-ARCSS is the civil society organizations in Juba themselves and are signatories.
South Sudan still has a window of opportunity, with elections as its only tool right now for making changes in South Sudan. Think of Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, Rosa Parks, and other activists in the American civil rights campaign of the 1950s and 1960s were in the vanguard of civil disobedience movements, and among the most notable civil disobedience events in the U.S. occurred when Parks refused to move on the bus when a white man took a seat. They did not hide in bunkers, embassies, or overseas with their children but led the demonstration to the front.
Finally, the impact of the COVID-19 and the challenges associated with the Lockdowns in Juba is still fresh on the population, let alone on hunger and unemployment. Sabotaging trade and business in Juba by disrupting work, boycotting products, and deliberately damaging goods is wrong.
The backstop to labour resistance and breaking unfair laws must go from the political stratum, and YOU, not my people, who trade on a subsistence basis to make a livelihood. As a people, we are fed up with this propaganda since 2005 and call on the "People's Coalition for Civil Action" leaders to spare us a cent!
Ayine R S Nigo is the Dean, School of Business and Management, University of Juba. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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