Students’ transport fares to be reduced: Critique of the Juba City Council

Posted: October 19, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Malith Alier, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Malith Alier, Juba, South Sudan

kiir at juba uni

President Kiir at the 18th graduation ceremony of the university of Juba, April 2015

October 19, 2016 (SSB) — This is my reaction to the bill underway in Juba City Legislative Council concerning reduction of students’ fare in what is called public transport in the beleaguered city as appeared on Juba Monitor Newspaper on October 8 2016. There are good reasons to be sceptical on the by-laws passed by the city since creation around 2012.

There is a catalogue of laws lying fallow before the council which is contemplating new controversial laws as we speak. Even the transport arena has its own laws that are overlooked by those who should enforce them, the city traffic officers. One among many of these laws is the public transport Act which bars foreigners from operating public buses.

The reasons why there is hardly any success of Juba City by-laws is the image problem. The City has the sword of Damocles hanging over it just before birth. As Juba is the seat of the Government of South Sudan, it logically followed that the City Council should have been the creation of that body but not any other sub-level of the same government.

The defunct government of Central Equatoria arrogated to itself to form the Council amidst disagreement with the central (Federal) government.

On the formation, the City Council was predominantly CES members from mayor to cleaner. This was by design. It was meant to exclude other South Sudanese in its running, something which was overlooked by the central government perhaps to appease those who opposed its hand on the formation of the council.

After the 2015 division into twenty eight states, the council is now predominantly Bari of Jubek state from mayor to street sweeper. So the rest of South Sudanese are just “by-standees” in the running of this cosmopolitan city council. Nobody sees themselves in the council except Bari and other smaller tribes of Jubek state! This scenario has a major impact on the cooperation and support of the citizens in the city. A clandestine city which conducts it operations in the dark, people feel had nothing to do with them and they’re justified in deed.

The appointment of the mayor, councillors and the workers are carried out in the darkest hours of the night. I assume that they go from door to door in Juba, Munuki and Kator asking for qualified Bari for possible employment in the city council. In case they do not find qualified individuals they employ school children from the same demographic. The City Council is of, by and for the Bari.

Another problem of the city council is to do with complacency and corruption where nobody is ready to comply with the law. Ranging from collection of garbage, repair of dilapidated roads, sanitation, clean drinking water, traffic management, nothing is properly accomplished as planned.

Collection of garbage is a major problem where the council has learned little on how to effectively and efficiently do it despite several years in the business. There are frequent cholera outbreaks as a result of poor sanitation.

The Ethiopians continue to feed the city residents with dirty water direct from the Nile despite ban by the mayor. Numerous homes in the city are toilet-less something that immensely contributes to people urinating and defecating in the open. The result is open sewerages all over the city.

The council collects parking fees from moving vehicles instead of the parked ones. This is why we see too much congestion in Konyokonyo and other busy parts of the city. Those vehicles that were supposed to move across the river especially to Eastern Equatoria are still back in Konyokonyo causing jams on the main road to the bridge.

The city council recently stunned the city dwellers by snail-pace maintenance of less than a kilometre section of the Bilpham road on Seventh Day round about. This was supposed to take three weeks according to council estimates but alas it took more than four months. You could see engineers working for only one hour a day.

On some days there was no work at all. And the less than kilometre cost five point eight million South Sudanese Pounds (SSP5.8m)! In Dollars, it is $77,000 for 500 metres. At this rate how much will it cost a two hundred kilometre road to complete?

JCC manufactures laws to be implemented when Jesus comes. The bread regulation which specifies the size between 58-60g is dead. The students fare law which has already received counter offers from drivers and transport union is declared dead on arrival (DOA).

The drivers are demanding fuel and spare parts in return to accepting the reduced fares. This is the same to bakeries demanding fuel and reduced flour price so that bread size be between 58-60g.

This also implies that the city council has no power to compel private drivers to reduce fares for any reason. However, this is only possible if the public transport is government owned. JCC is advised that making laws and implementing them are two different things all together.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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