Anatomizing President Salva Kiir’s Recent Tour of Bahr el Ghazal (Part 1)

Posted: April 4, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in South Sudan United Front/Army, Sunday de John

By Sunday de John, Roor Chuolakol, South Sudan

President Kiir's Bahr el Ghazal tour, Feb 2019
President Kiir’s Bahr el Ghazal tour, Feb 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019 (PW) — In his recent non-selective, unskipped tour of Bahr El Ghazal, first of its kind since independence President Salva Kiir Mayardit moved from one town to another commencing from Terekeka up to Raja. The journey was named or codenamed: Educating Citizens of Bahr El Ghazal on Peace that was signed to put it in simple terms. The journey comprised of several military and political forces moving together with the president to ensure that everything was right.

The masses of people were at some points forcefully driven out from their homes by commissioners or their subjects on governor’s orders to ensure that President sees a huge crowd even when the crowd was unwilling and reluctant.”This resulted to later sacking of reluctant chiefs”. Story for another day. Pictures depicting huge crowds were from time to time posted on either the President’s Facebook page or that of his Press Unit. There was huge euphoria registered on the faces of Kiir’s right hand men and women despite being in deep pain internally.

However, the truth is not dissemination of peace messages, rather it is a quest for political consolidation. President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leadership and the support he hugely had been enjoying have eventually waned in Bahr El Ghazal. So he has to visit the region with all the necessary ploys to ensure that he is getting himself back at the heart of the region as the only Messiah that would deliver but nothing.

Locals in all areas are not happy with him or his leadership. The reasons for this are multiple. Among which are; the masses have discovered that President Salva Kiir Mayardit has been using them in all matters relating to him remaining in power but nothing in return just trashing in the dustbin like used or outdated condoms.

From the time his leadership came to existent, pre- or post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement to being President of South Sudan by default, nothing of value has come to people of Bahr El Ghazal in the name of Salva Kiir Mayardit besides losses and shouldering the blame on President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s wrong-doings.

Like most parts of South Sudan, Bahr El Ghazal has nothing depicting development of any type. There are no roads, schools, hospitals and security. Bahr El Ghazal people have died in huge numbers either as a result of Kiir’s protection by fighting with his enemies or due to internal conflicts generated by bad local governance as Kiir usually appoints bad leaders to their states in the expense of good ones or from curable ailments and hunger.

When President Salva Kiir Mayardit went there, he was going to create a new blank page of dishonesty, in that he was going to tell people of Bahr El Ghazal what he will not do or has not done to them in his 14 years tenure. That is complete deception of the masses. He has loss all the pillars that used to give him the anchorage he has been using to keep himself in power over years but without productivity.

The recent tour can have several pros and cons but the integral one is the consolidation of support. His going there was not important as far as peace is concerned; nonetheless, it was stuffed with a lot of political meaning.

If it were for the purpose of peace, then why was President Salva Kiir Mayardit not scheduled to tour Equatoria and Upper Nile in tandem with Bahr El Ghazal? If he was going to comfort the citizens who have been affected by the consequences of war, he should have started in Upper Nile then down to Equatoria and Bahr El Ghazal would then come last depending on the magnitude of war’s negative impacts on the citizens. 

The idea of Bahr El Ghazal tour is nothing but a purported political trick meant to woo a society that has already set up its different strategy. Why would people of Bahr El Ghazal be following Kiir when he has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he has nothing to offer to the nation and perhaps to the people of Bahr El Ghazal given his nepotistic corruption in practice.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has many ways of generating political consolidation and one such would be attracting hatred from other regions of Upper Nile and Equatoria directed at the people of Bahr El Ghazal.

The hate I so described would stem from the fact that masses of those regions will feel neglected and their plight not considered and cared for by the leader. They will think there is hidden reason for President to visit his home region despite not being the most affected part of the country. They will blindly heap blames on innocent people of Bahr El Ghazal in that Kiir Mayardit has donated food stuff reflected in the transaction letters of Tut Kew directing some briefcase companies to purchase food for people of Bahr El Ghazal yet they are all ways of stealing from the national coffers in the name of that region.

Bahr El Ghazal is too big to be fed at the cost reflected in the then circulating transaction letters. The money issued wouldn’t even manage to feed Awan Majok County where Kiir hails; leave alone bigger Aguok, Apuk and Kuach combined. The food purchased with that money would be too insufficient to extend to nearby Twic Mayardit the most neglected and marginalised section of Bahr El Ghazal and or to Tonj. It can’t extend to Aweil or Abyei and I won’t bother mentioning Lakes region.

To President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his men, a problem must be caused for people of Bahr El Ghazal, they ought to be made to look like special people with gifted hunter in their disposal and so they would get all they want provided that Kiir is the center of everything pertaining the nation. In other words, a notion that Bahr El Ghazal is being favoured was cunningly being manufactured in the latest visit of the President to the region.

Other impressions were that President was to meet the chiefs and reinvigorate them to at least give him a dime of support on counts that his brothers, those of Gen. Paul Malong Awan, Deng Alor, David Nok Marial among others have run away and are desiring to destroy the region by rejecting peace yet he was behind all the reasons for their exit. As if that one-sided story wasn’t enough, he was too going to advance the idea of forceful conscription of the recruits.

What did Kiir go for in Bahr El Ghazal besides these and some other undisclosed sentiments? Nothing. He has in fact marginalised Bahr El Ghazal and even went further to sub-categorised it on a nepotistic factorial in that some parts are more important and closer to him than others as reflected in power distribution in the national government.

Keeping in mind that, like most parts of South Sudan there is no any single development project in Bahr El Ghazal, readers also ought to view it this way, in a cabinet comprising of twenty-nine (29) ministers, Bahr El Ghazal has seven (7) on Kiir’s ticket and one (1) on Taban’s ticket, namely and respectively, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, Nhial Deng Nhial, Awut Deng Achuil, Mayiik Ayii Deng, Deng Deng Hoc, Paulino Wanawilla,  Paul Mayom Akech and Dhieu Mathok Diing. With sub-categorisation of Bahr El Ghazal implied by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Lakes (Cueibeet, Rumbek and Yirol) is represented by one, enire Aweil with one, Tonj with three, Wau with one and Gogrial with one.

Going by the significance of the portfolios, Lakes has nothing because there is no Investment, Commerce or Industry in South Sudan. Twic, Cueibet and Yirol have scored zero with bizzare power distribution mechanism of Kiir and the elites that speak figuratively during bottle and glasses business most evenings.

There is nothing Kiir has done to the masses of people of Bahr El Ghazal except few elites that they share with in wealth acruement in the expense of the vast majority. Together with the few elites around him, the national fabric has been torn and tribalism became even the lesser devil since Kiir’s discovery of nepotism.

However, by pretending to be treating people of Bahr El Ghazal in a special way, he is sending the message to the people from Upper Nile and Equatoria that hate us all, as this will give him a room to in turn consolidate those in Bahr El Ghazal against the rest in his personal protection, that of his wealth and power.

People of Bahr El Ghazal must wake up. Kiir has badly governed the country and you are the victims. You have attracted hatred to yourselves on zero gains. What is it that you shall be continuously suffering for? Keeping in power with blood of your children a man that doesn’t not care about your flights? Evaluate that independently.

On the streets of Juba, soldiers are begging, others are depending on outlawed charcoal production. Wounded heroes are languishing in abject poverty while our girls are prostitutes in brothels. Don’t you have guts to ask on what Kiir has done with the huge number of youth that are/were in the army now that he is returning to you for forceful recruitment of your sons?

The majority of unemployed youth on the streets of Juba are from Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile, why that? (Note: Equatorians have either completely fled to refugee camps or few are absorbed by the NGOs). But no quarries made. We could hear Members of Parliament from Bahr El Ghazal area reciting sycophantic verses that we will stand with you comes next elections. Stand with him for what? For bad governance that resulted to war and thus permitting you to occupy elected positions from 2010 to date against the constitution and elections law and in the expense of the public?

Had it not been because of bad governance the case of Nogales Sonora and Nogales Arizona that have the same geographical area and almost the same culture but with different institutional environment of which Nogales Sonora is under stern poverty with Nogales Arizona flourishing, South Sudan would have been way better than most countries around it and more so than Sudan where our people have fled to for refuge despite a vast area of it being a desert with no productivity.

People of Bahr El Ghazal need to save South Sudan from bad governance characterised by death and poverty. This is by telling President Salva Kiir Mayardit that enough is enough. We have done a lot to you and we have carried you on our shoulders for longer than 33 years and you deserve to rest. This is to allow South Sudanese of all walks to chose for themselves the leader they deem good to govern them.

Asking President Salva Kiir Mayardit to quit power doesn’t lower the dignity of Bahr El Ghazal and it’s people, rather it gives them credit in that, the decision would be reflexive of nationhood and this would be giving chance for prosperity to all South Sudanese. If the leadership of South Sudan is for Bahr El Ghazal then Kiir is no longer a good guard, you ought to replace him because he has outlived his usefulness.  To be continued. 

Dr. Sunday de John holds Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Nairobi, School of Medicine. A former Columnist for the Khartoum Monitor, Juba Monitor and Juba Telegraph Newspapers authoring THIRD EYE and STREET SWEEPER columns. He is the current Secretary of Information and Communication Technology and Official Spokesperson of South Sudan United Front/A and can be reached via emmajoson@yahoo.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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