Anger at loans to South Sudan MPs

27 Jul 18

Hundreds of MPs in South Sudan have received government loans worth $40,000 each to buy cars, sparking outrage in a war-torn country blighted by hunger.

The loans to 400 MPs have generated anger among the population, half of which is threatened with starvation caused by a conflict that broke out in 2013.

A presidential spokesman defended the $16m expenditure, saying that MPs needed cars as they could not be expected to “use motorbikes” and “have the right to mobility”, it has been reported.

Critics have accused the government of rewarding the MPs two weeks after they voted to keep President Salva Kiir in power until 2021.

Kiir has led South Sudan, the world’s newest state, since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Elections were initially due in 2015, but the government has said it cannot hold polls because of the ongoing civil war.

A presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, told BBC Newsday that the loans had been budgeted for and it was “nonsensical” to suggest that they were a waste of money.

MPs will repay the loans over five years, he said, as with similar loans given to them in 2005 and 2009 to buy cars.

The civil war broke out in 2013 when the president fell out with his then vice president Riek Machar.

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