As President Kiir is stagnated in Juba, people in the periphery are forgotten and lost!

Posted: April 26, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Makeer Kuol Koriom, Melbourne, Australia

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

Friday, April 26, 2019 (PW) — Since December 2013, President Kiir Mayardit has confined his presidential roles to Juba. Hints of economic and political developments are limited to the capital town. The president is only seen in public during celebration of national events in Juba. His visits to regional towns and hinterlands are rare. Recently, however, President Kiir Mayardit had surprised South Sudanese with a visit, dubbed as ‘peace tour’, to Bahr el Ghazal. This tour was the second tour to the region since 2013 political upheaval.

When we divorced North Sudan, we didn’t expect our nascent political class to backslide the country to guns as means of settling political differences. We thought our amorphous elites would use dialogues or debates, as opposed to violence, to address all forms of political differences.

But, it seemed, the long struggle for national liberation from Khartoum successive regimes had corrupted our leaders with moral turpitudes. No doubts, the 21-year- war, had inveigled, if not glued to, them with war philosophy. For these leaders; negotiations and dialogues are hard endeavours for engineering political solutions. Had our leaders knew how to debate political issues; 2013 crisis would have been averted.

In the arduous years of liberation struggle, most of these leaders reverted to ethnic cocoons for sanctuary. They now seemed to harbour such mentality. Today, tribal communities have become subterfuge for most of them. One wonders how a nation would be built with such a mindset.

The current reciprocal spiral of violence witnessed in the country is a consequent of limited, dysfunctional government stagnated in Juba. People, in regional villages, assumed absence of government in their lives. The government is seen as confined to J1 and vicinity. Thus, people in the regions feel at liberty to pursue shoddy ambitions even when such ambitions would trample and infringe on other citizens’ rights.

For this, President Kiir’s tour of Bahr el Ghazal was extremely important. The tour had given people a sense of validations and a sort of understanding for what the government is up to. The tour has also given people psychological comforts.  When visited by government officials, people feel that they, too, are important.

As the adage captured it well, “what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over”. Since there is semblance of peace and tranquility brought about by revitalised peace agreement; it is significant for President Kiir to canvass the whole country.

Building a nation requires common understanding of shared public interest. As a nation, our people should have one sense of national identity. In lieu of commonly shared national identity; we find solace in loyalty to ethnic groups and tribes. Such always put us on an interminable throat cutting competition.

And this is the recipe of war and failure. As such, President Kiir should prioritize nation building through constant tours across the country so to strengthen our national identity.

Further, only imperious leaders forget electorates as they do not seek political powers and legitimacy from the people. But for democrats, it is paramount to canvass around the country to solicit ideas and to inspire voters. Leaders who get political powers and legitimacy from the people never forget electorates.

Unless President Kiir wants to confirm that he is a benevolent dictator, he should keep traveling around the country.

Sometimes, presidential tours are meant to harness and witness activities of government. Such activities may include socio-economic, political and cultural developments that are offered by government.  Of course, presidents delegate tasks, but it is important for them to go out and witness tasks which are being offered by government.

The terrible state of our roads; lack of vital economic and social infrastructures; the dilapidation of schools and health facilities or the lack thereof; the level of poverty in which our people are languishing in, are some issues brought to his attention by the tour. Having travel on unpaved, nerve-wrenching roads across Bahr el Ghazal was a good choice by the president.

In sum, President Kiir visit to Bahr el Ghazal had acquainted him with lots of things. Leaders ought to maintain cordial relations with people they lead. Leaders who have no social and political rapports with public are nothing less than totalitarians who usurp power and maintain it by coercion and intimidations. The visit to Bahr el Ghazal was a belated right move.

The mass turned out which welcome him has shown that people are eager to hear from him. He should keep on canvassing the whole country to talk and listen to the people. Most importantly, President Kiir’s government should implement promises made to people of South Sudan. We want to see Juba – Bentiu roads as soon as practicable possible.

Makeer Kuol Koriom lives in Melbourne, Australia, and can be reached at mekakuol@gmail.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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