Is South Sudan a Country of Comedy and Rhetoric?

By Peter Gai Manyuon

“RHETORIC The art of making life less believable; the calculated use of language, not to alarm but to do full harm to our busy minds and properly dispose our listeners to a pain they have never dreamed of. The context of what can be known establishes that love and indifference are forms of language, but the wise addition of punctuation allows us to believe that there are other harms – the dash gives the reader the clear signal they are coming.” ― Ben Marcus

March 20, 2014 (SSNA) — After having viewed, read and listened to the ongoing campaign on the media through various channel of communications by Juba government, I have acknowledged after evaluating the government institutions that are trying to exaggerate and preaching propaganda full of lies to the target audiences globally, about the incident that happened last year 2013 December where many were massacre and other were burned in houses in juba as well in other places in Greater Uppernile region. Moreover, you find that there is serious competition within the click of government employees in Juba specifically between Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mr. Makuei Lueth, Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny the Press Secretary, and Mr. Philip Aguer the Spokesperson of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Sudan.

However Rhetoric refers to the study of the technique of using language effectively and also the art of using speech to persuade, influence, or please; oratory. Moreover,excessive use of ornamentation and contrivance in spoken or written discourse; bombast speech or discourse that pretends to significance but lacks true meaning:

Meanwhile Comedy refers to the popular entertainment composed of jokes, satire, or humorous performance.

Nevertheless, there is no specific person that is given the task to talk to the media; everyone is talking in juba including those who do not know how to use communications tools and approaches to deliver the message to the audiences.

Interestingly, they don’t know the sequent of using the channels of communications and observing its implications at the same time. On the other hand, the ongoing campaign spearheaded by people who are known as propagandists in the territorial Country of South Sudan, you can evaluate ,validate and comprehensively come out with an illustration of how the media have been manipulated or mislead by just a portion of individuals who are opportunists in Juba.

Each and every one knows how the Media has been misuse wrongly by the dictatorial regime in Juba up to date; once you open the self station Television known as “SSTV” you will see only public Relations, comedy and rhetoric are introduced to the management of the Television to be broadcast. To me as the person who has studied Journalism, Public Relations and Diplomatic studies, absolutely Juba government has gone beyond breaking Media Laws and its ethical principles that governance the profession. What am seeing in Juba is Public Relations only, no news which have got accurate information, there is no fairness in reporting, no objectivity in Media houses specially SSTV and Radio.

Withstanding, the abnormality usage of the media by the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) information and Communications department, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, President Press Secretary and the Minister of foreign Affairs in South Sudan need another approach because, South Sudan Television (SSTV) and Radio have been use as the houses of propaganda and persuasions not the Media house that promote the democratization processes and observing the objectivity, fairness, accuracy in reporting national issues to the target audiences globally.

More interestingly, not all of them that need training on how to communicate effectively using communications ethics and diplomatic approaches but there are those that don’t even one day study art of public speaking, public relations and strategies. There are ways that people who are dealing with the press in the office of President in every Country can learn before talking to the media on the issues that are so complex and tangible like the current crisis of the Republic of South Sudan; where many politicians have been given treason charges and the rests are on trial in Juba the South Sudanese Capital.

Roles of spokespersons

Remember the credibility of the spokesperson is important, too. Spokespeople allow the public to put a face to the act of investigating and resolving a crisis or big event. How a spokesperson handles public and media inquiry, in addition to what he or she says, helps establish credibility for an organization or institution, and contributes to the public’s transition from the crisis stage to resolution and recovery. Government of South Sudan should choose again carefully the individual(s) who will be charge with the role of spokesperson; not only on the individual’s familiarity with the subject matter, but also on his or her ability to talk about it in a way that communicates.

The spokesperson gives institution human form. One area of control that must be exerted by the Institutions public information officer is to insist that its spokespersons be trained because we know that few are born. No one should represent the entire organization unless he or she has invested time and energy in developing the skills of an effective spokesperson. The question is, are the spokespersons of Kiir in Juba well trained on the issues of Public Relations Strategies? To me big no, most of them have got no skills to do the needful to the President, they are just there for the sake of getting blood money in South Sudan, especially the person like Makuei Lueth who is too arrogant need to be expose in order for him to get inform intellectually about how to communicate effectively to target audiences. I would refer the Minister or whoever is claiming as the spokesperson in Juba to read “a book title Communicate Clearly by Robert Heller”

Furthermore, for matter of fact beyond reasonable doubts, comedy and rhetoric has been the only way leaders from the Republic of South Sudan have been practicing both from the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA), the government of South Sudan Officials who are Ministers, and when you look in to how they are addressing the media, they always forget steps of addressing Press globally but to my dismay, they have taken  media as the only way of public relations forgetting the implications behind the press.

And that is why in develop Countries, a position that deal with information and communications is always given to someone who specialized in that particular field of specialization but for the case of South Sudan, you find that everything is mixed up and that is why there are always errors in the government of South Sudan in term of making diplomatic approaches and communications. Most of the personnel’s in Kiir Mayardit government are always on the media talking words that lack intellectual dynamism and no reality at the same time.

There has been lot of releasing statements, media war and propaganda within the President spokespersons, disputing of realities and facts is number one, moreover, it seems they are competing on whom to address the media in South Sudan among themselves, people like Ateny, Makuei, Marial, Malak and Aguer are confusing the audiences on who is giving the right information or bad information to the public. And therefore, that is why there are always a lot of statements published on the media and at the same time, the same people denied the reports. People are confused of which is which in South Sudan as the Country.

So, when you attain or listen, view to one speech from those whom I have mention their names, you will find that, most of them are not sure of what they are saying, what they always says is propaganda that lack legitimacy and facts, because their words that they always use in the Media are full of persuasion, motivating and captivating some time to the audiences who are viewers, listeners and readers as well.

Therefore, there has been a rampant use of  Comedy and Rhetoric in communications in South Sudan, sometimes, other are using them unknowingly because they thoughts other might not know what they are talking about but in really sense, most of South Sudanese have lost trust in those guys who are known as propagandists in the entire republic.

Nevertheless, the issues that they always address you find that, sometimes they deny what they reports the other day. The question is; are these guys tactful enough? Or they are just trying to destroy the government of Mayardit using that methodology of not telling the truth and realities on ground?


Government of the Republic of South Sudan should take the people who are claiming to be spokespersons in their respective capacities for a good training, so that they get to know how effective communications can be send to the huge audiences through the channels of Communications like electronic media, print media and online media as well then stammering on the camera with no words and ended up insulting people unknowingly. They need to be train on the Government Politics and Public Relations; how spokesperson link political issues with publics, is very important, audience analysis is very important to any spokesperson. Before you release any information, you need to analyze your audience and information management as well is very important to be observed at this scenarios.

President Kiir should appoint people who have background in Journalism, Public Relations and Diplomatic studies to be the spokespersons for the nation then bringing in persons who’s their education background is doubtable to the entire citizen of South Sudan.

The author is Independent Journalist and Columnist who had written extensively on issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan; you can contact him through;[email protected]. He is currently writing a book on tribalism and Corruption in South Sudan.

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