Would Kiir be another Mugabe of South Sudan?

By Pel K. Chol, Australia

July 27, 2013 (SSNA) — This is a question South Sudanese must prepare to answer because what has been unfolding in Juba and beyond over the last few years is a gradual shift toward an autocratic rule by the President where such leaders like Moa Zedong of China, Hitler of Germany and Stalin of former USSR decide how their people should go about their daily businesses. They did not only select their representatives in local, state and federal governments but also even choose for them where they should build their own houses.

There is no shortage of those policies in Kiir’s tyranny regime nowadays if one compares the current political climax of South Sudan with the experiences previously shared by the German, Chinese and the Russians when those leaders were in power.

I am not condoning the political strategies of those leaders, however, one may surmise that they have something to stand for. Hitler’s motive, for instance, was for all Germans under his rule excluding the blonde and the blues eyes leading to the extermination of those he thought did not conform to the German race. 

However, Kiir’s vision for our beloved country is yet to be seen. One should only hope that he does not envision Hitler’s style which dubbed him the butcher of Europe and one of the worst leaders the world has ever seen alongside Pol Pot of Cambodia.  But the South Sudanese would have every reason to get concern about.

Since elected as president of the Republic of South Sudan with the controversial Constitution drafted by his viziers, two-third of the Minsters he appointed in the national parliament in Juba were Dinka. Moreover, he appointed more than 70% of diplomats from his own tribe to represent South Sudan internationally as ambassadors.

Another problem is the rampant corruption in the country where millions of dollars go missing every day. One of his response on the 4 billion dollar saga was pleading to his disgrace officials saying ‘no one is going to know about it if you bring back half of the money you took’. This is in breach of the very constitution which does not harbor criminals.

Dr. Riek and many other high ranking politicians within the SPLA party see these policies as robotic style of leadership and a way backward. Right now everyone believes that there are more important issues a good leader should worry about.

Health services are very poor in the country with life expectancy so short that the majority of people die before their 50th birthdays. The communal strife such as the situation in Jonglei is out of control where you get innocent children as young as one being killed or abducted are things to cause sleepless nights from a great leader. But what seems to stimulate concern from the President is the question about his inability to deal with such problems. He gave a deaf hear on the situation of Jonglei and did not put more resources to tackle it.

When he knew that the Unity state governor, Taban Deng Gai, and Lake State governor, Chol Tong do not support him to stand for the next election as the leader of SPLA because his inner circle knew him too well that things are not going to get any better with him being in the top job, he acted instantly removing them from governorship in the pretext of security issues.

One would ask the president if he is quite adamant about this because the governor of Jonglei state would have been the first inline to face his monster force if security issues were the main reason behind Taban and Chol Tong removal.

If that is not the case as it is not, then is the President an elephant in the room intimidating everyone who dare to question his shallow policies? What about the right of millions of people of the Lake and Unity states who happily voted their governors but only to be denied their universal right yet again by Kiir who terminated the term for those governors. Is Kiir’s aim mainly for his political survival and nothing to do with the concern of the people in those states?

I think people who have been cheering him up all along about his ill-equip policies especially some governors as seen in Gurtong if that is true do not know the very fact that they fought against the north for. In addition, it is fair to make an assessment on them that they either do not know the principles of an ideal democracy or have just give in realizing that Kiir’s brutal policies have no mercy on whoever stands on his way whether that individual is right or wrong.

But is it a viable proposition for people to abandon their universal rights for the sake of South Sudanese Pounds. Is it now true that their lives are in the hands of Kiir or is Kiir the solution to decide for them? Before Taban, Chol Tong was removed. I believe Chol Tong and his family are not in destitute situation. The same is true to Taban and other ministers in the national government who have recently been sacked or removed from their posts. They will still survive and live comfortably well beyond Kiir’s expectation.

Remember that when we were in refugee camps or in the bush seeking our independence, we did not have anything to depend on. Yet we survived beyond the expectation of Khartoum government because we fought for our right, freedom and truth. This is a fact we should take notice of and not allow Kiir to abuse our right, our freedom and the truth we fought for.

These people who have been sacked or removed from their positions including Dr. Riek deserve our support. Should we decide to mingle with this president who does not know anything about democracy and the rule of law as well as people’s choice, then South Sudanese people would be like the people of Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and other despot regimes of the Middle East who knew it all too well that voting does not necessarily mean respecting each individual’s wish about who they want to represent them.

We saw that in Unity and Lake States. We do not need more of that and the best way to stop it is to stay behind those who stand for democracy and the wish of people.  Kiir would be another Mugabe of South Sudan if people care much about food and less about their political rights. But Zimbabwe is in a much better shape incomparable with South Sudan which needs a visionary leader to help it develop regardless of what tribe he/she might be from.

It is not a time to give in when we have people within the SPLA who want change for the better. Otherwise the death of so many such as that of Isaiah Abraham would be in vain. My personal advice to Dr. Riek and his team is not to form another party. Let them challenge Kiir within the SPLA party. I hope peace loving people including young generation who have enough experience about the dangers of dictatorship from other countries will stick with Dr. Riek. He is the chance for young generation of this great nation for it to prosper.

The Author lives in Australia. He is a post graduate student studying in the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism.

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