President Kiir’s despair and decent to witchcraft

By Elhag Paul

March 23, 2014 (SSNA) — The unforeseen consequences of the events of 15th December 2013 have left President Salva Kiir confused like a rabbit blinded by the headlights of an advancing car.  Confronted with existential threat, he hopes the invisible forces of the underworld will protect him.

Adam Ashforth in his book, ‘Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa’ explains such confused state of mind by pointing to how a person creates a patent reality out of a state of fearfulness.

President Kiir has already lost touch with reality.  He has slipped into a world of denial, uncertainty, suspicions, despair and fearfulness.  Practically, he is a paranoid man.  Thus he presents serious problems to the state of South Sudan and its people.  Atieno Oduor makes this very point albeit in a different way.  In her article titled, ‘Cut off Uganda Military Aid to South Sudan’s Kiir’, she states, “In short, South Sudan has entered a dangerous phase of uncertainty and instability that poses severe risk to its citizens and neighbours.”  The problem with Oduor’s assessment is that she erroneously pathologises the state of South Sudan and leaves the culprits untouched.  Instead of actually saying president Kiir poses danger to himself, the people of South Sudan and the neighbouring countries, she piles the blame on the state.

South Sudan, the state, is not the danger but those steering it are, and so Oduor needs to be clear and specific.  President Kiir and his tribal ideology is the real threat to the national security of South Sudan and the region.  The events of 15th December 2013 stem from the administration’s pursuit of Jieng tribal interest.  The fallout has led to the destruction of the country.

The first casualty has been the authority and legitimacy of president Kiir itself.  His powers and influence in the country has been much diminished.  The ethnic cleansing of the Nuer people that he sanctioned as expected degenerated into collapse of the army (SPLA) along tribal lines with some Nuer generals rebelling against the regime.  In the process, the rebels took control of a third of the country out of the president’s remit and writ.  This lost territory has the potential to deny the regime oil revenue which is its main source of cash.

With the army (SPLA) in tatters without any ability to protect the country, president Kiir resorted to renting a foreign power, Uganda army (UPDF) to provide protection for him and the beneficiaries of the system.  Without this act of desperation it is doubtful whether the regime could have survived.  The downside to this rent-a-mercenary thing is that Kiir finds himself at the mercy of his cunning friend president Yoere Kaguta Museveni of Uganda who is well known for dirty intrigues.  Recently when Malakal fell to the rebels, Museveni flew to Juba for an overnight meeting with Kiir.   It is understood that Kiir emerged from that meeting sick with migraine due to a one way lecture from Museveni.

The crimes against humanity which president Kiir’s militia committed against the Nuer people have tarnished his image beyond repair.  It is even more likely now that he may face the International Criminal Court.  Careful analysis of the situation points to one conclusion: president Kiir’s political career is finished.  It is just a matter of time before this reality dawns on him and his followers.

Of all the above, the most serious concern is with the well being of the president himself.  He appears to be in a state of paranoia and this can clearly be seen from his latest over reliance on invisible forces of the spiritual world.  Given the president’s inability to grasp complex issues, the outcome of his political adventures has turned out to be difficult for him to grasp.  Typical of a person who believes in witchcrafts he now attributes the catastrophe he unleashed in the country to some evil spirits.  In a sense he is in denial of the mess he created.  In fact president Kiir has endured more than enough in ruling South Sudan without working state machinery but with support of Jieng magicians (Beny Bith or the spear men). 

However, nobody else is to blame.  This mess is his own making and his strong belief in tribalism.  The inability of the government to develop good policies, analyse domestic and international events to guide it, is down to the rampant tribal employment system that favours academic fraudsters like Ateny Wek Ateny, Telar Ring Deng and so on.

The invisible powers of Beny Bith to which president Kiir relied over the years appear to be limited and losing effect especially given the magnitude of the issues facing the country.  Stories in the streets of Juba spoken in whispers due to fear of government security agents allude to the president and his vice as ritualistic naked night dancers singing songs in strange language.  This practice is said to occur regularly in the president’s ranch in Luri, south west of Juba. 

According to some scholars in the area of spirituality and mysticism, witchcraft and occult practices are associated with denial of reality and the apportioning of blame to others or other things.  For example, president Kiir deeply believes that power in South Sudan belongs to the Jieng and any attempt by any other non Jieng to take power is unnatural.  Confronted by an ambitious Riek Machar who wants to compete for power, Kiir reacts crazily and sets the country ablaze. 

Due to president Kiir’s inability to think clearly, he expects things to be normal in the country.  But now faced with the ugly outcome of his ethnic cleansing policies; Kiir is now in denial of his role in creating the mess and tries to attribute blame to evil spirits such as ghosts.  Interestingly he believes that the ghost of Dr John Garang, his predecessor is tormenting him.  Reports say the ghost of late Dr Garang is terrorising Kiir to the extent that he can not sleep at night.                    ;

In addition to this, both president Kiir and his deputy Wani Igga are terrified of the story of Ngundeng.  Defeated by the philosophical message of Ngundeng, the duo took flight to Nigeria to find a counter to hold Riek Machar at bay.  They have now allegedly recruited the preacher, Temitope Balogun Joshua of SCOAN, into their arsenals to hold onto power and keep South Sudanese enslaved.

The official introduction of occultism into the affairs of South Sudan state raises a serious question.  President Kiir came to power in the Republic of South Sudan on 9th July 2011 by assuming power based on the outcome of the rigged election of April 2010 in the then Sudan under President Omer Bashir .  But now if the president and his deputy by default subject the presidency to the authority of some occultic spirits, to the extent that they become answerable to these spirits; or do things that these spirits demand – who then is governing South Sudan?  Who is responsible for the protection of citizens and the well being of the country?  Is it the clients (Kiir and Igga) of the occult, or is it the occultic spirits themselves?  If it is the latter, does it mean that South Sudan is no longer governed by its constitution?  Where do the people of South Sudan fit in this bizarre arrangement?  When leaders who falsely claim to be legitimately elected are answerable and led by occultic spirits in private mystic deals, where does democracy feature?  

How can the people hold the occult to account to them since the occultic spirits are not the chosen representatives?  From these questions what seems obvious is the conflict between the beliefs in the occult versus the belief in democracy.  This now appears to be the emerging problem in the state of South Sudan.

If the government represented by president Kiir and vice president Igga now itself is unsure of its existence and ability to protect its leaders to the degree that it resorts to seeking protection from witchcraft and the occult, where is the viability of the state?

Conventionally it is the state that has a duty to protect its citizens.  When the leaders of government resort to occultic practices to protect their power, something is seriously wrong.

The fact that South Sudan is severely damaged by the SPLM ruling party under president Kiir speaks for itself.  The country is virtually ungovernable under total control of foreign power and rule of the occult.  President Kiir and James Wani Igga’s immersion into the world of occult effectively make them only symbolic leaders of the country.  This means that South Sudan in reality is a ship without a captain sailing in stormy seas because the president and his deputy are locked into a world of trance concerned about their individual battles with the ghosts of their previous leader and their victims.

Therefore, South Sudan needs to be rescued very quickly.  The level of unreasonableness is just astounding.  This is echoed in the remarks made by the Norwegian foreign minister Mr Borge Brende when he said, “The unreasonable and groundless accusations that have been made against the UN mission in South Sudan the last few days are unacceptable.” This highlights the extent to which the leaders of South Sudan are devoid of rationality.

Mr Brende was right in his remark because the overwhelming majority of South Sudanese also share his view.  The people of South Sudan see the behaviour of president Kiir and the SPLM government as totally warped.  This stance is clearly articulated in Joanna Adams’ incisive and piercing article ‘South Sudan should be expelled from the UN & AU.’  This piece vindicates the comment of Mr Brende.  Diplomatically, the words of the Norwegian foreign minister amount to a vote of no confidence from the international community in the president Kiir and SPLM government.

Unbelievably, the regime seems to have not taken a note or even registered the seriousness of the damaging remark of Mr Brende.  The evidence to this is demonstrated by the non stop ranting of the schooled but not learnt minister of information Michael Makuei with his rented ruffians (in Bahr El Ghazal University and in the local business community).  The latest unreasonableness now comes from the minister of cabinet affairs Dr Martin Lomuro in relation to the IGAD talks in Addis Ababa.

Mr Lomuro shamelessly says the group of seven senior members of the SPLM bailed to Kenya; and the civil societies do not have a stake in the talks and therefore the government will not accept them to partake in the talks.  What does the use of the word stakeholder mean in context of what is happening in the talks in Addis Ababa?

The unreasonable behaviour of the regime should be seen in line with the pandering of the current leaders to the occult.  They have become detached from reality domestically and globally. 

Therefore, a new and neutral government as argued by South Sudanese and tabled by IGAD in Addis Ababa should take over power in Juba soonest to  bring peace; address the immediate outstanding issues re democracy and prepare the country for the coming elections.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected].

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