By Kuir ë Garang
November 28, 2011 (SSNA) — If any South Sudanese claims she/he wasn’t happy during the declaration of independence on July 9, then one would be excused if one called them malicious. And if anyone of us says that they are completely happy with the way the government is handling our economic, security and foreign affairs issues now, then we’d know that this insincere voice is benefiting, one way or another, from corrupt practices.
It’s been more than 100 days now and we are still waiting for a comprehensive report from the president and his government about what they’ve achieved. It would be unbecoming of the president to bravely promise the average citizen results within 100 days only to give us an impression of ‘I said it but I’m the boss so don’t ask me a darn thing!’ Hey, Mr. president, we want to know!
If the president failed to achieve anything, the average citizen has to know. If the president achieved something then we need to know too for us to acknowledge it. Failure to address this issue would amount to unspeakable deception of citizenry by the government.
After more than 100 days, the following issues have to be noted as some of the salient maladies still coming out of Juba.
Extreme Fear of the President: Every single person in Juba is scared of Kiir’s powers. Well, I don’t blame them that much, because I’d be scared too. President Kiir is a man who listens but he listens to about everybody who’s going to give him the most mischievous and detrimental of information.
When the minister of Information and the government’s official spokesperson, Dr. Marial Benjamin, tells Journalists that they have to report responsibly without warning the security forces about extra-judicial arrests, you know he’s afraid of (not respect) the president. This also sends wrong, excusing signals to the security puppies that they’re right in whatever they do.
And when a fearless veteran journalist and current deputy minister of information, Atem Yaak Atem, tells journalists that they have to cooperate with the security forces then you know something is terribly wrong. And you know what has changed is only the name and place (Juba instead of Khartoum) but the monstrous torturous instruments and mentality remain.
An opinion piece about the president’s daughter marrying an Ethiopian immigrant isn’t a national security matter (unless the president’s daughter has some high level security clearance) so calling for journalists to cooperate with aimless security puppies on this matter is irresponsible.
How about George Athor killing innocent people? Now, that sounds like a national security problem they should solve not arrest journalists and individuals because of opinions pieces that aren’t even deeply investigative.
Random Extra-judicial Arrests for defamation: Of course anyone can file charges on defamation, libels or character assassination. Your lawyer (s) files charges and tables them before an able court. If there are credible grounds for charges then the accused is summoned to answer the charges with his/her lawyers. What you don’t do is to arrest someone because you simply feel offended and you have powers to do so before the ground under which someone is arrested is authenticated by an able court. After 100 days, Khartoum’s aimless brutal security culture of arresting before investigating is consuming Juba. This is saddening because this appears to be Bashir inside Kiir.
Dismal Security Condition: We have rebels of South Sudan Liberation Army threatening our citizens in Unity States. We have mindless George Athor killing innocent people in Jonglei state. Yet we don’t hear clear instrumental solutions intended for the protection of the civilians even after presidential 100 days declaration. The money is being used to install a kingdom through intimidation of citizens instead of warning Khartoum against aggression or making sure the security situation in the South is made conducive for individual living and investment.
Endorsing Corruption: Now, apart from the removal of anti-corruption chief, little to nothing actually happened, or is happening, in terms of efforts to fight corruption. Even after the government’s chief accountant, Steve Wondu, authenticated what we’ve been singing for the last six years, the government still hasn’t acted on corruption. All we hear are empty warnings against corruption and presumably aimless presidential visits to foreign countries as people die in Jonglei and Unity State. Even more nauseating incident is the scandalous ‘Cabinet Retreat,’ unless the cabinet didn’t know the appropriate word to use, as someone tried to supposedly ‘correct’ the misunderstanding, is a collective corrupt action or gross incompetent decision-wise. A retreat means what it means: a quiet place for deliberation. Don’t we have such places in South Sudan? When a country is in turmoil and lacks resources, you stay with your people, not retreat to quiet, foreign and costly places! The cabinet should make the amount spent on the retreat available for us to see. This will be part of fighting corruption through accountability.
Khartoum’s Constant Aggression: The president keeps on saying ‘no going back to war.’ I wished his advisors would tell him that it is not going back to war; it’s the protection of a sovereign nation. The president still talks as if we still have CPA to protect or as if we are still part of North Sudan. When was the last time someone from the government tabled an official condemnation letter or official complaint before the United Nations about Khartoum’s bombing of areas in our sovereign nation? Even after 100 days, Khartoum is still bombing us at will with no consequences at all. We have many avenues to fight Khartoum now, not necessarily through war.
I’m therefore calling on everyone in South Sudan and abroad to join me in calling for the government to report back to the country on what has or has not been achieved as promised on July 9, 2011. We are entitled to that report at least. We need to remind the government, however incompetent and boot-licking the officials are, to know that they work for South Sudanese not President Kiir. We need a clear, structured, and intended solution to the security problem in the South and especially in Jonglei and Unity State…and the crippling effects of corruption.
Again, the government officials have to know that we are not only mindless young people drinking beer, eating Pepperoni Pizza and playing dominoes in foreign lands while writing what they can’t even explain. We’ll be the chroniclers of your historical and national contributions whether you like it or not.
Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet living in Calgary. For contacts or more about his writings, visit www.kuirthiy.info