South Sudan MPs given $40,000 to buy cards

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Lawmakers in South Sudan are set to receive $40,000 loans to buy luxury cars, it was announced on Thursday.

The plan means 452 members of parliament will be given $40,000 each, totalling more than $18 million, in a country where half of the population is facing a hunger crisis. The announcement has been heavily criticised by local groups but presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny is defending the move.

South Sudan car plan criticised

News of the car payments comes as South Sudan’s warring political elite negotiate a peace deal designed to bring an end to the country’s civil war, which began in 2013. The world’s youngest nation has spent most of its independent life in conflict and South Sudan’s leaders have been heavily criticised for failing to put their differences aside for the sake of peace.

South Sudan’s civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and crippled the country’s economy. According to Oxfam, half of the country’s population is facing extreme hunger and the UN declared the country’s situation as a “made-made” famine last year, caused by its civil conflict.

Now, the people leading this warn-torn country say they’re going to ride around in luxury cars paid for by the state.

Government defends car loans

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny has defended plans to five MPs $40,000 each for luxury cars. He says the funds are covered by the country’s 2017-18 budget and suggests there’s nothing unusual about funding private transport for MPs.

According to Ateny, lawmakers have been coming to work by motorbike taxis and insists they should not be seen struggling or risking their lives as they move around. He also points to similar funds given to MPs in 2005 before South Sudan became an independent country when lawmakers were arriving to work by public transport.

Featured image: By Platinum11 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46586116

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.