The African Union has echoed recent calls by the civil society for government and opposition officials to stop spending a lot of funds on hotel accommodations.
Last week, the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, CEPO, asked members of the various parties to the agreement to stop living in hotels, and return to their homes.
The organization’s head, Edmund Yakani said the government was spending a lot of money paying hotel bills for individual leaders, their bodyguards, family members and friends, at the expense of delivery service to the general population.
The AU has also added its voice to demand that the government redirects these funds to the implementation of the peace agreement.
Ambassador Joram Biswaro, who is the representative of the African Union Mission to South Sudan said spending money on the luxury of individual leaders is like buying their political-will.
He told the IGAD Council of Ministers meeting yesterday in Juba that these leaders should vacate the hotels, return to their previous homes and use government owned vehicles instead of privatized luxurious cars.
“Some of the members of this various mechanisms have their own houses, have their own cars. Why can’t we cut costs by staying in our own houses, why can we consider using public or collective transport rather than each and every one to have his/her own VX or whatever, I think it’s time for a great rethink. Besides, this leads me to one question and this cuts across, it seems in Africa or in South Sudan in particular, the political will has become a very expensive business or good.”
The government recently agreed to offer additional 100 million dollars for the implementation of the extended pre-transitional period.
Members of the public have also supported this call, and demands the immediate expulsion by all parties of leaders who refuse to vacate the hotels.
Those who wrote on Eye Radio’s Facebook page wondered why majority of the officials -both in the government and opposition -own luxurious houses in Juba, but still prefer to spend public funds on themselves endlessly.
Makol Kuol said if the leaders really mean well for the country, they should spend the resources on the public rather than enriching themselves and their immediate families.
Ustaz Emmanuel said since the leaders have personal bodyguards, they should not fear to return to their homes. He added that the money being spent on hotel bills can be used collectively to assist families displaced with the violence.
Tong Juis wondered whether there is a provision in the constitution that states that; once an individual has been appointed into a public office, he or she should move to the hotels.
Such provision however does not exist in the South Sudan Transitional Constitution.
Instead, under the preamble, the constitution states that South Sudanese shall be conscious of the need to manage natural resources sustainably and efficiently for the benefit of the present and future generations, and to eradicate poverty and attain the Millennium Development Goals.
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