To South Sudan President: No one should be represented in his own country

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Thursday, 21 October 2010 04:46
Written by Dhieu Deng Leek ,The New Sudan Vision (NSV), newsudanvision.com
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dhieuleek(Syracuse USA) - It’s with great delight that I take this opening to voice my opinion in regard to the so-called representation of the Lost Boys & Girls in both Washington DC, USA, and in Juba, southern Sudan. At the latest visit of President Salva Kiir Mayardit to Washington, he met with a few Lostboys & Girls who asked him to allocate two positions for them, one in Washington and one in Juba.

Some of us were notified that the demand was conceded and the ball was in the Lost Boys/Girls’ court to come up with straightforward, equitable and ordered modality to choose these two persons who would proceed and assist with issues in our homeland and in the foreign land.

Well, on Friday evening, a phone seminar was called for over 2 hundred participants from the Sudanese diaspora communities. If you were there on Friday evening throughout the gathering, you understand how it went.

I’m not here in any way to demonize or mock any individual who has organized or moderated the Friday teleconference. Rather, it’s the way it was coordinated was not the best way such an important topic should have been discussed. I sensed that it would have been better if it was done at a face to face meeting.

Believe me, when I say that I’m not here to undermine the effort of those who labored so much to get those two positions for us, rather throwing a question and marveling why, habitually, we request for representation other than assertively requesting for greater engagement of the diaspora in our government?

Did Mr. President Kiir do what the Bible calls “ask and it will be granted to you; demand you will find? 

Mr. President was requested for two positions and he gladly provided them to us! But why do we always ask for representation as though we are not part of that nation? Are we not part and parcel of the struggle that brought about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement? 

Did we not assist throughout the liberation in one way or another? Is the word representation befitting, particularly when contemplating countless contributions and sacrifices the Lostboys have made to the Sudan?

 I’m certain many people here share my feeling that this is the right time for us to be recognized as valued citizens that are absolutely crucial assets to the nation building. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the offers but what’s the fairest and most equitable way of choosing which of the 10, 000 plus in the diaspora should get assigned to the positions?

If we proceed the way the appointments were initially considered and that was to choose two people to represent us in both Washington DC and Juba, how long will these two people assist the government before it comes back for two more? Will these individuals serve for a five year period representing us or longer? And will the government come back for two more? (Assuming that it will be the only way we will be integrated into the south Sudan workforce?)

If that becomes the trend, do the math, it will be ten years and most of us will be nearing retirement while waiting for some turns!

Sometimes we think that because we came here as a group we will go back the same way. No, we will not go back at once.

Here is what I believe we should have asked Mayardit; Kiir should target qualified southern Sudanese in the diaspora, most of whom have bachelors’ degrees, diplomas, Masters etc, at least the ones that are willing to relocate.

It should be a principle from the President himself and his agency to specifically require each and every state in the south to at least integrate a number of qualified persons from the diaspora into the state governments annually.  This way, it would be seen as a win-win scheme that meets the aspirations of the diaspora to work and assist in their country and the government’s desire to inject ‘new blood’ in its workforce. I think many people had a dream that once we are done our studies, our government would rush to hire the graduates but I believe it was an expectation and not a realistic one. We must speak out what we want and say it loud and not just request for two positions to represent us in our own country.

The Government of S. Sudan should send its human resources directors to overseas to hold job fairs and conduct meetings/interviews with those in the diaspora that have acquired credentials and are eager to go back home. These directors would be dispatched to Australia, United States and Canada (and wherever there are skilled Sudanese diaspora), instead of allocating a limited number of positions which become causes of relentless bickering between tribes and sections. This time should not be wasted by getting engaged in pointless and unwarranted confrontations. It’s a time for all the tribes to unite.

Finally, let’s not start unnecessary quarrels over these two positions and let’s ask for greater involvement in our country. In his speech to the Black Congressional Caucus last month, Kiir said southern Sudan was a promising market to everyone because the neighbouring nations of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Dr Congo are already benefiting, advising the Americans and other investors world wide to come and invest. He also said that the “Red army detachment should come to Sudan” and be part of the nation building. However, I repeat, no one should be represented in his/her own country!

 *Dhieu Deng Leek is the President of The John Dau Foundation (http://johndaufoundation.org). He's also pursuing his BA in Public Policy at Syracuse University. HE can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.