An Open Letter To The Minister Of Transport, The Republic Of South Sudan

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Dear Hon minister, I am writing to you for the issues that we south Sudanese
have been facing while travelling on roads, and I am hopeful that this letter will
get to your desk by whatever means as most of the people in South Sudan
depend on the social media as the source of the quick information. I never had
your personal email in which I would have used and posted directly to your
mail but allow me to use the only available frequency through the use of this
social platform am quite sure it will reach you in good condition.
The experience our president is going through from the road transport is enough
for you to prove that roads in South Sudan need to be rehabilitated or
tarmacked. As I quoted from the words of president “I traveled by road to
interact with people and see what has been going on. The ministers deceived me
about road construction,” he said adding: “Now I have seen how bad the road is,
I spend many hours to reach each state.” Therefore, from the president’s
experience it’s advisable that you should consider the cries of the civil
population in making the road accessible and easy to be used.

The death on our roads continue to rob our family’s breadwinners, rob our
children their hope, steal the future anchors of our great nation, hurt our
economy and spit on us with unmanageable hospital bills and untold physical,
psychological disorders years after. Imagine an eight-year-old boy died and two
people injured in an accident along the Juba-Bor road when their vehicle
overturned due to bad road conditions and which also made hard for the
emergencies such as mothers on labor to reach hospital at a given time or else
deliver on the way without proper care.

This continues to happen day in day out, even when I know something can be
done to mitigate and reduce the occurrence of the rapid deaths on our roads. I
write this text with afore knowledge that as a developing country our resources
are strained and our government financial spending is limited. But I refuse to
believe that there is nothing that can be done by you honourable minister, and if
nothing for sure; then the ultimate thing I request of you is to give this idea an
afterthought.
Consider this text because 2 years ago or still happening today Juba-Nimule
road had lost many of our brothers and sister who has better plans for the
betterment our country but through a road accident their plans and good visions
for our country are buried with them and can’t be engraved and their knowledges can’t be imparted to someone’s mind, it is really painful! And It
hurts! when you lose a close relative, a friend, a neighbour, a parent, a son, the
world around you halt. This is the foundation of my text, to protect more lives
by mitigating more accidents.
We have known that most of our road accidents in our highways are caused by
driver’s altitude such as over-speeding, careless overtaking, vehicle condition
this includes Un-roadworthiness and infrastructure designs our road design
and markings in South Sudan are not up to date as compared to other countries
and final bad weather and other factors in South Sudan most roads are muddy
and when it rains then transportation become difficulty, consider this an
example, if president was to arrange his peace tour to Greater Bahr el Ghazal in
rainy season do you think it was going to be easy for the president to make his
way starting from Terekeka to Lol State? Definitely no!
While there is little that can be done in respect to bad weather and other factors
other than notification using weather apps or through listening to meteorologist
weather forecast. But factors such as driver’s altitude, the vehicle’s condition
can possible be addressed and most progressively the infrastructure objects need
to be addressed first. Police in the roads won’t solve this messy confusion,
neither will rules on papers!
Therefore, to be precise to my opinion about what is currently happening South
Sudan, and Juba in particular. The causes of road accident in Juba and some
parts of the country depends on the follow;
Confusion- traffic management not defined. The roles and responsibilities of the
management agencies are not defined, anybody is free to cross the road. Zebra
crossing for the pedestrian in juba city are no enough and the even the drivers
do not respect the life of pedestrians. Therefore, those markings should be
observed by both the motorist and drivers such that the accidents that usually
occurs because of the negligence shouldn’t happen. The second point is that
there are no traffic engineering centres in Juba. The term Traffic Engineering
are used in the techniques that are used to achieve safe and efficient movement
of people and goods on roads. Its main purposes are to provide safe and
efficient traffic flows which includes road geometry, sidewalks and crosswalks,
cycling infrastructure, traffic signs, road surface markings and traffic lights.
Since the war broke out in December 2013 and July 2016 almost all the solar
panels have been taken away living the roads with no traffic lights and only few
drivers respect the traffic rules but the rest of the drivers they don’t care about
and these things are important in reducing the accident rates in big towns.

Have a plan to have all major roads well marked, defaced signposts replaced
and warnings clearly marked. This is not too expensive. I hope the government
can develop a better comprehensive guide on construction of road networks, the
snaking, the navigation and the meandering of roads around hills is a
retrogressive engineering practice in an age and era of advanced engineering
exposure. Have all roads be well designed and up-to standards, all roads should
easily cut through hills and penetrate to hillsides (It’s a noble practice world
over!)  I know this may not be at your capacity alone, but you can influence
change of altitude and mind-set.
Finally, let’s see more result driven approaches on curbing road menace.
Reward loyal drivers and loyal transport Saccos promoting road safety, promote
road friendliness and motivate discipline, inspire change and goodwill.
Cultivate inclusion and synergy, and above all mind the cries of poor south
sudanese whose lives are depleted by these accidents.
I know we can achieve this together. You have our goodwill.

By Noah Issa Philip. He can be reached via [email protected]

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