By Tearz Ayuen, Nairobi, Kenya
March 29, 2017 (SSB) — Dear PaanLuel Wël, I’ve been wondering whether government officials think about what the people think about them. We’re talking political and social recognition here. Reputation too.
Given what’s happening in this country, don’t you think every government official should explain, verbally or in writing, why he or she is an important person in the society and be recognized and treated respectfully by every common man like myself?
Title aside. Personal achievements during the 21-year struggle aside. Military ranks aside. Social status aside. Belly size aside.
Yes; every single official deserves respect, but the problem is, respect is like salary. It’s earned. Isn’t it? One has to work hard for it, sweat for it. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Right?
Every single appointment President Salva Kiir makes has an explanation for it. It’s either the appointee is a bush-comrade, relative, friend, or just a “silencer” – an individual appointed in the name of appeasement for a certain elite or community that poses a threat to the Presidency in one way or the other.
Contrarily, in the other part of the world, those a Head of State nominates are subjected to a serious scrutiny. They are vetted. This is meant to prevent the morally corrupt from running public affairs.
“This is South Sudan, Muony,” you would remind me. “Whatever makes one get a position in this country is none of anyone else’s business.”
I presume this is because the establishment, in general, doesn’t value my view, as a common man. And imagine these are matters that actually directly affect me and my fellow underdogs, the ‘gunless’ lot. Am I wrong?
Anyway, what a public office post holder does is what matters to me. That’s my problem. It’s always been and it shall always be. Depending on performance, he or she either earns contempt or my respect and recognition.
For example, a public servant that has been in the government since 2005. He’s held various ministerial positions but has nothing to show for all these. He could be a good husband, a good father. He puts his family first. That’s cool.
But, remember respect is a two-way traffic. You respect me and I respect you back. A leader should show me such a respect by doing what he or she was tasked to do by the President. As expected, they should build roads, electrify towns, provide running water, provide security, and I’ll venerate him, praise him because I benefit from it as a layman, and I, in turn, respect him. It’s business. Wele kef?
However, as you read this, some of the leaders have failed to manage their office affairs, let alone services delivery to the people.
Simple basic amenities such as toilets are faulty. That’s why you see those gas-guzzlers piloted on the narrow Juba roads. The unsuspecting members of public think that the big man being chauffeured is attending an important official meeting somewhere. Wapi?
No. They’ve got it wrong. Some of the big dogs are piloted to hotels to do nothing but take the call of nature. This is because their office toilets are messed up. No running water to flush down excretions. No toilet rolls. And they can’t do anything about that!
So, why in the name of God would an arrogant CDF-eating, office-abusing, indolent official expect me to recognize him by edging out of the way for him when he hasn’t done nothing for me?
I believe Hegel would describe this politics they are forcing down our throats as kampf um anerkennung. Don’t you think so?
But what has an official done to expect my respect and recognition? Why would someone who misrecognizes or unrecognizes me expect me to recognize him?
Tearz © 2017
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