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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

South Sudan’s Big man’s syndrome

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When European “dictator-for-life” Julius Ceasar assumed power and returned to Rome to claim his throne some time in 47BC, the inauguration ceremony was characterised by an elaborate parade.

The grand parade included floats depicting triumphant events of the war, accompanied by prisoners of war marching in chains, jesters acting as ancestors of the conquering general peppered with immense funfair, all to usher in the special state chariot carrying the general.

Historians record that a state slave rode in the chariot with Julius Caesar, holding a laurel wreath above his head and every few moments repeatedly whispered into the general’s ear amidst the hysterical adulation from the crowd, “Remember, you are a man”.

South Sudan’s Big man’s syndrome is one of the reasons for the collapse of the rule of law, institutions, and economic progress.

For the economists, South Sudan’s opportunity cost for the ‘BIG MAN’ syndrome is impunity, rampant corruption and economics collapse.

I read of the story of a man, in his mid-fifties that popped up, in a dark-tinted V8, at the gate of one of the commercial banks in South Sudan. And He was so surprised that the gate was already closed.

Only the small gate was left open for the ATM users. His errand man-boy highlighted and rushed to the guard to allow the big man to come inside the bank. The guard politely told the messenger that is already closed. The errand man-boy dialed a phone, hand it to the guard so that he could speak to the big man at the gate.

The guard refused and instead chose to walk to the gate. On return, only God knows how & why, the guard returned being trailed by the ‘Big man’.

‘De bank wala shunu?’, the big man chanted, shifting his latest Samsung Fold and IPhone 11, left and right.

Mask-less as he is, he walked straight into the bank with his boys.

And to the unadulterated youths, we are the change. Keep your collars clean!

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