Date: April 29th 2018
An old adage by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton of England (popularly known as Lord Acton) once submitted that ‘power tends to corrupt and, absolute power corrupts absolutely’.
This phrase befits the exact description of President Kiir’s attitude that guides the conduct of his political leadership currently in charge of South Sudan. Clearly the government under President Kiir Mayardit is keen to exercise Power for power’s own sake, not to protect, serve, secure or render service to the people of South Sudan. Kiir appears to have forgotten that South Sudanese are the custodians of the very power he is enjoying. This kind of negative attitude has always been in display in many of his public encounters.
Examples of this dangerous behaviour include what the president said at the funeral of late Gen. James Ajongo Mawut, the former SPLA Chief of Defence Forces who passed away in Cairo, Egypt last week.
While addressing mourners at the funeral, President Kiir chose to demonstrate his lust for absolute power by committing what would be considered morally unethical, to say the least, by African standards. First, president Kiir abdicated his duty as the head of government and commander in chief of the armed forces by bluntly announcing to the mourners that “there would be no any help from the government to the family and the children of late Gen. James Ajongo”, before retreating to say “we shall do what we can”. Such a public denial to extend any help to the family of the late comrade in arms amounted to an insult of the honoured memory of all those who lost their lives in the war of independence of South Sudan. If the government cannot have the capacity to care for the families of national heroes and heroines, then what other use do people sacrifice for in their own country?
President Kiir also used the occasion to unleash his venom of hatred against those who oppose his rule by openly “regretting” what he termed as his own “failure to kill” the former political detainees while under investigation for alleged involvement in a coup plot that never was.
Mr President, I suppose you should be matured enough to appreciate that in many societies in Africa, including ours, bereavement is a time to console the family of the deceased, and all those who are affected by the loss with words of wisdom; by providing them with hope for the better in order to cope with the pain of losing their loved ones. As their leader, you should have assumed a high moral ground to appeal for divine intervention on their behalf from the heavenly Father, to assuage the anguish of bereavement, and pray that the living will cherish the good memory of the departed. Furthermore, as a father figure of the nation, the words you choose in such a time of sorrow, must give solace, strength and hope to the family and his colleagues in order to overcome the loss, by encouraging them to shoulder on.
During difficult times of bereavement, cultural etiquette requires that trustworthy leaders carefully select their words to reflect the sombre mood of the occasion. Based on this important African tradition, you cannot therefore, in your capacity as the head of the nation, be so reckless with your words to declare to a family in bereavement that those who die on duty in the service of this country will not have their families assisted to recover from the loss of their loved ones.
What makes this conduct so abhorrent was the fact that you deliberately elected to use the same funeral occasion to call for the death of your fellow countrymen simply because of their contra views on your style of leadership. You used the occasion of the death of General James Ajongo not to partake in his bereavement but rather to demonstrate your heartless character of hatred to show South Sudanese and the world at large, that you will no longer take prisoners of those who cross your path, whether such crossing is genuine, as in offering critical advise for you to change course for the better or not. Indeed, your regret of having not killed Mr. Pagan Amum and colleagues, even when the reasons for wanting to do so, were as dubious and concocted lies for which the court quashed, only helped to bring out the blood thirsty beast in you, that brutish and savage animal instinct that is manifested in your behaviour.
Mr. President, the primary responsibility of any head of state and indeed government anywhere in the world is to ensure peace in their country. Leaders will go the extra mile, in bid to bring peace as it happened in Ethiopia. In that country, the Prime Minister resigned because “… I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy,” he said. Contrary to such an ideal, you have been an obstacle to peace, and reneged on its implementation even when you had the opportunity to do so, by deliberately putting hurdles and dismantling its pillars, finishing it with the August 2016 crises in J1. Yet, you have the temerity to ask as to “…what will be my incentive in bringing peace that I sign and step down” given that you are benefiting from your war?
By asking such a selfish question about personal incentives Mr President, you have shown clearly that what matters most for you is your personal interest rather than the lives of South Sudanese. Your insatiable greed for more petro-dollars is only the single reason for you to insist hanging on to power despite all calls for you to give way and stop the war. Perhaps it is time you may need to ask yourself, whether you have the credentials of a national leader, if not a tribal bigot masquerading as one. In fact when President Trump of the United States of America called African Presidents shitholes, he meant no other but you.
In your twisted way of thinking, you have obviously concluded that it is the rebels who are requesting you to resign; and since you consider for now that you have the military advantage over the rebels why do so now? That reasoning falls short of strategic thinking, given that (1) the economy as you rightly said earlier has collapsed. Soldiers are not being paid salaries and have turned to looting to survive. Equally civil servants both at home and abroad have not been paid; the rent for Embassies has not been paid. Some have arrears running to more than a year. (2) Many of your unprofessional tribal militia soldiers are deserting their ranks as they are not a national army; (3) the pool of youth from whom you are recruiting is gradually drying out, as many begin to question your motives for continuation of the war. (4) The lies you often tell your tribal militiamen that all other tribes are against the Dinka is quickly losing its currency, because the rest of the other tribes in South Sudan are not necessarily against every innocent Dinka.
The problem is you Mr Salva Kiir Mayardit and your clique of wrong advisors. The majority of our Dinka brothers and sisters are victims of your immoral leadership. That is why even those who were once your close associates like Gen Paul Malong Awan, who did everything to defend you, have now turned against your rule. Gen Malong’s move only helps to add more trouble to your miscalculations that military solution will keep you in power. The assumption that you will defeat all the rebel forces in South Sudan is not born out of reality and is not commensurate with a person who is supposed to have spent decades fighting guerrilla wars against the Arabs.
With all these misdemeanours, Mr President, you even have the guts to claim that the western world or rather the international community hates you. This is not simply true. Perhaps it is right to assume that you have simply been misinformed by those who surround the circle around you as tribal advisers who can only dance to the tune of your piper without questions about why the world is disappointed with your archaic leadership style.
The world gains nothing from hating you. If anything, the world is trying to help you out of your inherent delusions about the security of your people. You must not forget that it is not only the international community that hates your indecisiveness and inaction; almost all South Sudanese except your small clique of thieves believe that you are a total failure and a liability to the nation as whole. Your greed for power which you defined as personal incentive is making it harder for you to see anything beyond your nose. As you remained intoxicated by such an allure, you have to believe that the whole world is against you as it struggles under your feet. The recent admission that you approved USD 5 million for General Paul Malong to kill Riak Machar does not only confirmed your desire to eliminate your political rivals but it also exposes your lie that it was Dr. Riak who started the war at J1 in 2016.
Mr President, you only need to get out of your comfort zone of J1, walk around the capital to see the realities of Juba, the capital of your domain. I would not even mention the status of other towns or regions as they no longer exist. Call the Governor of Gok state and find out why he is operating under a tree.
You must know that Juba has become the biggest refugee camp in the region, where everyone including staff in your office unashamedly must scavenge for food anywhere. They proudly queue displaying the badges “Office of the President” while receiving UN food ratio. Your own Advisor on Military Affairs Gen. Daniel Awet Akot, while addressing his community in Juba, was so infuriated with the situation that he declared that “the government has collapsed” and asked people “to abandon what they were doing in government offices in Juba and go back home and farm”. Your response as usual is to hate him for speaking the truth.
Now even your own personal Medical Doctor has come out to say that you are mentally incapacitated, physically drained and has become a ghost of your real self. What a leader are you, insatiable; drenched in blood of the innocent because of your lust for power. Historians must record you Mr President, as the man who excelled past Pol pot of Cambodia; as you have become the stick to measure bad and poor governance. You have refused to take lessons from other world leaders such as the Ethiopian Prime mister to hand over power to a new generation of leadership.
How then, can you expect anybody to respect you when majority of your people, including soldiers have become beggars on the streets of Juba in the day and thieves at night? Life under you has become a gamble and everyone dreads the night, it belongs to them. When you wake up in the morning, you must pray to the almighty that you have not become their victims. And why even blame them anyway, when they have not been paid for almost a year?
Countries in the East African Region and globally recognise that you are a failure, including your best friend, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, who has on several occasions hinted to you to step down for peace and security to return. The former Ethiopian Prime Minister counselled you to step down, because you were the real obstacle to peace. You have since developed hatred for the Ethiopians for their honest advice to you and, even demanded that the peace talks be removed from Addis Ababa and transferred to Kenya to no avail. But it is understandable that all these efforts borne no fruits as you still insist on asking for more ‘incentives’ as precondition to stepping down. What a self-centred, self-seeking gluttonous character in the name of Kiir Mayardit.
Such behaviour shows that you are a selfish individual from top down who is only concerned about personal wealth rather than lives of the people of South Sudan. Because if that is not the case, how dare you asked for incentives to be paid off to you as a price for stepping down after looting millions and wrecking the economy dry, What about the millions that you siphoned out and carried to hide abroad in foreign banks? Don’t you know that your actions have earned you the reputation of being the worst corrupt leader for generations to come in South Sudan? Finally, President Kiir Mayardit, be reminded that despotic power is often accompanied by corruption in morality, which means authority that exists devoid of peace, security and justice is nothing more than a brute killing machine against the innocent. You have returned South Sudan to year zero, and the liberation process must begin again for real independence.
Gen Lemi Logwonga Lomuro PhD (cand).
Centre for Citizen Interface in South Sudan (CISS)
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