July 27, 2013 (SSNA) — I was never a fan of late Dr. John Garang but, on principle, I admired one quality in him: extensive reading and autodidactic attitude. Comfortingly enough, he read and referenced issues and facts he postulated and argued for or about. This is a quality, among other things, officials in Juba should adopt. SPLM and the GOSS should also know that any institution is governed by behavioural and information dissemination protocols. People should not talk anyhow…or because they ‘feel’ it’s right. It might feel right but facts might go contrary to that feel-good-ness.
Face value application (or violation) of the constitution and out of context utterance of statements such as ‘it’s a normal democratic process’ don’t do justice to the already jittery nation. We still have an unconstitutional governor in Lake State and the president knows that’s a clear violation of the constitution’s sixty day (60) requirement. Taban Deng Gai was removed unconstitutionally because we know there is no crisis in Unity State.
What the president and South Sudanese need to realize is that section (101r) doesn’t only say there just has to be a crisis in the state. The crisis has to be one threatening ‘national security and territorial Integrity’. If the crisis is not threatening national security then citing such a crisis becomes unconstitutional. Jonglei State is the state whose crisis is threatening national security and territorial integrity but the governor is still there.
The president’s actions are just whimsical rather than constitutional!
The onus in on the president to therefore explain how the ‘crisis’, if any, in the Lake State or Unity State, threaten our ‘national security and territorial integrity’. In essence, the president is ruling a nation of people not nation of cows. People need to know. Abdon Agau, the government secretary general told the media that president Kiir can fire the cabinet with giving any reasons; arguing that it’s his ‘constitution right’ not to give explanations! What? It’s supposed to be a ‘national constitution’ not ‘whimsical presidential constitution.’
Mr. President should know that he’s a servant of South Sudanese not their boss. He’s only the boss of his cabinet; not South Sudanese. Ideally, the president has to justify his actions to the South Sudanese people because his decisions directly affect the average citizen. Make no mistake, president Kiir should account to US as South Sudan. We employed him not the other way round.
Officials like the always-in-your-face Marial Benjamin (while I know he has improved lately) have the knack of talking without checking their facts. This is indeed scary for South Sudan’s future. Besides, both the SPLM and the government of South Sudan don’t adhere to functionality protocols. This is the source of the problem within SPLM.
There’s nothing ‘democratic’ about firing a cabinet. Just because something is constitutional doesn’t mean it’s democratic. Actions of individuals can’t be called democratic even if they are clearly constitutional. Constitutional actions are necessary undemocratic decisions within a democracy. Not all decisions within a democracy are democratic. This is the culture of talking anyhow.
Both Pagan Amum and Riek Machar should know that belonging to an organization requires adhering to organizational protocols and internal avenues of problem solving. Disagreements within a political party are normal, however, these disagreements should be solved behind closed doors. If you can’t solve internal issues behind closed doors then maybe belonging to one political party isn’t such a good idea. Publicly criticizing your own political party and the president as a senior party official is wrong…it doesn’t happen anywhere in the world.
And how naïve would someone criticize the boss, tells the boss ‘I want your job’ and expects the boss to say ‘go ahead, take my job…you are a great man!’ I don’t know which world Riek Machar is living in. What he’s saying regarding the country is admittedly the general truth; that the country is off the cliff and something has to change to salvage it, however, this doesn’t mean entering into the culture of ‘care-free-ness.’ An able leader would seek helpful ways of solving problems. You don’t get to criticize your boss, an uncritical boss for that matter, and get to keep your job. What were you smoking, Mr. Machar? Ambition intoxication?
In the end, the president needs to justify his actions, follow the constitution and let his officials know that talking to the media should be bound by party or government protocols; and that facts have to be researched and appropriately referenced for the government to have some respect in the eyes of South Sudan.
Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet and author living in Canada. He’s the author of upcoming analytical book, South Sudan Ideologically: Tribal Socio-Democracy, SPLM Ideologues, Juba Corruptocrats, Khartoum Theocrats and their Time-Frozen Leadership. To contact the author visit www.kuirthiy.info or www.kuirthiy.com