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Covid-19: Kenyans mock S Sudan’s leaders

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Juba Teaching Hospital is the main public health facility in South Sudan. It is reported to have inadequate power supply and lacks doctors and nurses after many quit due to little pay and poor working conditions | Credit | File photo

Kenyan citizens are mocking the government of South Sudan online for suggesting “special permission” for a South Sudanese to be evacuated to the neighboring country for specialized treatment.

On Sunday, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar wrote, saying critically ill patients would be evacuated from Juba to be treated at the Nairobi Hospital.

This came after confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in South Sudan.

“The High-Level Task Force resolves to grant permission for medical evacuation of a critically ill South Sudanese citizen (pre-existing illness) to Kenya for further treatment at Nairobi National Hospital,” said deputy chairman of South Sudan’s High-Level Task Force on Coronavirus.

The unnamed patient is said to have returned to the country recently.

However, the Chief Justice, Chan Reec Madut, returned to the country recently from overseas.

Accompanied by his sons, he refused to be screened for coronavirus upon arrival at the airport – an incident the presidential spokesperson blamed on poor approach.

The idea of evacuating the South Sudanese citizen(s) angered Kenyan netizens:

South Sudan gained independence from the Sudan in July 2011, after 21 years of of conflict,  an ethno-religious one where the Islamic central government plan was to impose sharia on southerners.

About two million people died as a result of the civil war, famine and diseases caused by the civil war.

However, shortly after independence, the former rebel leaders, mainly President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar, fell out – resulting in loss of nearly 400,000 lives – according to the Health in Humanitarian Crises Center.

Besides, the leaders also reportedly failed to deliver key services – including provision of (paved) road networks, piped water, security and health services.

Anti-corruption campaign groups blame this on grand corruption, engineered by the top political and military leaders, including President Salva Kiir, who have amassed unexplained wealth over the years.

Humanitarian groups often say all the state-run health facilities, including the Juba, Wau and Malakal teaching hospitals, are in bad shape due to poor management and funding.

This happens despite the fact that South Sudan is an oil-producing country, which produces 175,000 barrels per day, according to the Ministry of Petroleum.

Until recently, the government was getting about $5.5 million per day or roughly $165 million per month.

2019 reports by anti-corruption groups such as The Sentry and Global Witness suggested that the oil revenues were being pocketed by the ruling class, including President Salva Kiir and his associates.

In addition, much of the petrodollar is reportedly used to fuel the 5-year conflict. The Kiir administration reportedly spent lots of money on firearms during the conflict, making the UN and US to impose arms embargoes on the nascent nation.

Kenyan government is yet to comment on the request by the government of South Sudan to evacuate the sick to Nairobi Hospital.

The Kiir administration was also criticized recently for offering lawmakers $25,000 each while civil servants suffer salary delays.

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