About Kiir and South Sudan

by Pan Luel Weel

A comprehensive study of our struggle/history might give you a different picture of the man Kiir and the kind of problems he is confronting in RSS. Most likely, it might not be as straight forward as drawing the line in the sand.

If President Kiir or/and Riek Machar were to drop down from a plane today like John Garang, South Sudan, 10 years down the line, would still be in a mess, probably a bigger one. The fundamentals of the problem in RSS are systemic, circumstantial, environment-oriented and societal, not Kiiristic, Riekistic etc.

Our top spla commanders during the war…men who never betrayed the movement…have bankrupted the army, reducing it to a shell of its former glorious self. Is it Kiir’s problem? Yes/No. But how is Kiir supposed to discipline these war heroes without engendering an outcry from the public?

Visit any ministry in Juba and see how folks are glued to their TVs watching Nigerian films, playing games, casually chatting over bun or literally snoring on their shining, expensive desks. The joke in Juba is that these folks forego sleeping at their hot/sweaty homes, waiting for a chance to have
a deep sleep in their AC-ed offices. In most cases than not, the boss (ministers plus their deputies and undersecretaries and DGs) is not in the office, but rather in a ‘meeting’ which mean he/she is in a hotel.

Is that Kiir’s business to keep them at their desks? Yes/No. But surely, in which country does the president do that? It was Abel Alier who (according to John Garang) once opined that “If we have to drive our people to paradise with sticks, we will do so for their own good and the good of those who come after us.” Unfortunately, uncle Abel Alier didn’t tell us whether that stick would be in the hand of a democratic or a dictatorial leader.

Garang, had he lived, might have been more of an enlightened dictator, possibly along the same schools of thought in Kigali, Beijing, Addis Ababa under Meles etc. Unlike uncle Riek Machar babbling about bringing ‘democracy’ to Juba, Garang was talking about taking towns to the people in the villages, about using petrodollars to fuel agro-industrialization in the country.

Uncle Salva Kiir problem is his inability to fit any camp: he is not a democrat, not a dictator, and not an enlightened one. he is simply himself: a soldier Kiir. Kiir being Kiir hardly explain anything about the problems in South Sudan. Ship in Obama today and you would still have the same circumstances, environment, society, system to deal with: he would 3/4 fail.

As South Sudanse people bash the Dinka gov’t, the Nuer rebellion, the Equatorian complacency, the Kiir failurism and the Riek murderism, will they, can they, pause a little, long enough to remember, to recall, the words from the Good Book: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Is it possible that the people themselves are the problem, part of the problem, bigger part of it and the leadership is just but the sheer manifestation of their own “GREATNESS”? Can they all partake in the failures of the country, much the same way that they are quick to partake in the liberation/independence of South sudan?