Juba Rumbek highway is a good legacy for President Salva Kiir Mayardit
By Wani Lasu, Chuol Gatkouth, Maker Chol Deng, Elixabth Achol, Samuel John, Danielle Felix and Chol Mijak.
OPINION – Following the heavy rainfalls for several consecutive days last week, it was on 23rd May 2020, when the Juba Rumbek highway infrastructure encountered some damages in some sections of the road between Juba and Terekeka of Juba-Rumbek road.
According to the statement issued by the Shandong Hi-Speed, “the damage happened on two locations including one overflowing section located at kilometer one (K1) from Bilpam junction with the length of eighty (80) meters and another section located at kilometer four (K4) with length of three hundred (300) meters”. This has invited some criticisms from critics, despite such technical explanation from Shangdong Hi-Speed. The explanation is an indication that it’s a repairable damage and people should not panic.
“With this minor incident, it appears as an opportunity for some business community and in particular Kur Ajing Ater, Diing Madol, and their business associates to hire some people to write negative propaganda against the Chinese Government and its implementing agent Shangdong Hi-Speed, and the Government of South Sudan, with the objectives to tarnish image, creditability and competence of the Shandong Hi-Speed and some senior officials of the Government of South Sudan in the allocation of the contract to the Chinese Government and her implementing agent Shandong Hi-Speed.”
These propagandas are not only intended against the relevant institutions in the implementation of road infrastructure, but equally intended to tarnish the good legacy of His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, and portrays him as indecisive in the eyes of the public, if he cancel the contract with Chinese Government and their implementing agent.
These attempts are calculated to influence the President to terminate the contract and be given to these business associates so that they ended up siphoning millions of United States dollars and the people of South Sudan ended up without phase one road infrastructure from Juba to Rumbek.
However, one important information is critical to understanding genesis and evolution of the road infrastructure between the two Governments. In 2012, His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit paid an official state visit to his Chinese counterpart, His Excellency Hi Jinping. During this mini-summit, President Salva proposed two projects to his counterpart and these are road infrastructure and power plant.
Such proposals emanate from President Salva Kiir for many reasons including but not limited to the fact that his country was young, and endowed with a lot of resources, yet it remains the poorest in terms of infrastructural development in the region. Second, the Country was embroiled in corrupt practice as evidenced by lack of single tangible developmental projects and services delivery. Yet the oil money from 2005 to 2011 alone amount to nearly 21 billion United States dollars which was misused with impunity and no accountability until date. The only project is Juba-Nimule road which was constructed with money from United States of America.
According to the Government of South Sudan expenditure priorities covering 2008-2011, the Government identified fifty-four (54) priority activities, of which six (6) priority expenditure areas were to have first budget. Roads Infrastructure was priority number two after security under President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Unfortunately, the relevant institutions could not achieve the expected deliverable.
This provoked the President Salva Kiir and decided to have Juba Rumbek road infrastructure implemented by Chinese Government and their implementing agent with payment of crude oil during his visit to Beijing in 2012.
To ensure speedy and transparent implementation of different projects in South Sudan, the Office of the President established China Desk which is to streamline developmental activities between the Republic of South Sudan and People’s Republic of China. Juba-Rumbek road infrastructure was a contract concluded directly between the two countries with payment of crude oil at a rate of 10,000 barrels per day and this crude oil be uplifted outright from the production as part of production cost.
The benefits of this contract between South Sudan and China are two: First, China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and has a veto. It’s diplomacy in action by this contract that South Sudan had already secured strong ally in the community of Nations. Second, The Chinese Government and their implementing agent Shandong Hi-Speed have the required technical expertise in roads infrastructure.
In as much as we want to support national companies, however, these two exceptional conditions automatically disqualified any South Sudanese company for now, because neither of them have veto nor possess expertise in roads infrastructure.
In light of these explanation, we the concern citizens representing youth, women, people with disabilities, civil society in various part of the world hereby assent to this public notice and humbly remind President Salva Kiir Mayardit, to fulfill his good legacy and not to listen to unfounded claims and conflict of interest by national companies and business associates who have no capacity to implement the project.
The authors are concerned citizens of the Republic of South Sudan.
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