JOSEPH ACIEC MATHEN – “Joseph Stalin, premier of Russia and USSR (1878-1953), once ripped all the feathers off a live chicken as a lesson to his followers. He then set the chicken on the floor just a short distance away. The chicken was bloodied suffering immensely and couldn’t fly anymore. Yet, when Stalin began to toss some bits of wheat towards the chicken, it followed him around.
He said to his followers: This is how easy it is to govern stupid people, they’ll follow you no matter how much pain you cause them, as long as you throw them a little worthless treat once in a while.”
In the context of South Sudan, during the Liberation Struggle, we had some leaders who joined the struggle but with different motives. In the same breath, the struggle was almost weakened by ideological differences as a result of conflicting levels of education – the movement was endowed with Ph.D. holders, University graduates, High School and Primary dropouts, pure illiterates, and something in between.
The group with the motive of liberating the people, though some had little education, did their part exquisitely. Trouble came when with pride and vanity, they selfishly wanted to milk the cow alone, divorcing their obligations to those in the farm – whom they initially fought for. As if that wasn’t enough, they pretended, and indeed frowned at those who attempted to touch the wheels, as they curiously longed to drive the vehicle alone despite their nagging levels of experience.
On the front pages of those with selfish ambitions – disguised in a similar quest for self-rule for Southerners – their presence was disastrous from day one. They stabbed the struggle at the back by collaborating with the Arabs and signed fake agreements that betrayed the Southerners. They turned into Militias and became barricades to the soils of their ancestors. CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) brought the divergent minds together – but little did the guarantors know that cats and rats don’t cohabitate.
“Some” even carried infectious viruses – corruption, nepotism, tribalism, incompetency, and political treachery – which were earlier on diagnosed and cured by the Visionary Leader in his camp. Henceforth, problems were again watered by the inclusiveness of the agreement. Besides, one was ignored in all camps, the moral decay – many of these warlords grew up in the bush and became notorious militarily. This can be signaled by the sabotage of countless peace agreements amidst the suffering of vulnerable citizens.
With the waves of the infections at its apogee among the leaders coalesced with other factors, lengthy to discuss here now, motives increasingly became implicit or explicit at gripping to the political seats – you kick another or else be bribed off contrary to the political melody in JUBA. Greedy political games became trump cards to dominate the political space. Consequently, as a matter of necessity, topmost leaders resorted to Stalin’s strategy (above) – to deliberately held citizens in the veil of ignorance and poverty signified by the following indicators in the country;
1. The government informs the citizens that it has run a shortage of funds, and therefore no salary for all the civil servants, despite not paying many for the last seven months. But still, we find government employees rushing for work. Famine and hunger are intensifying, and people are very comfortable with the government’s information.
2. There is a dollar crisis that is triggering hyper-inflation – as the rate for 100$ rose to over 50,000 SSP. The government has clearly and truthfully inform the citizens that Central Bank is short of foreign reserves – albeit the accurate information was later on diluted. In addition, corruption well known to the citizenry has been admitted as the cause of the shortage. Nonetheless, and unsurprisingly as a routine, the president used the ministers as scapegoats, and myopically all the citizens celebrated their dismissals as if it’ll be the solution to the crisis. As a matter of fact, if citizens celebrate all official appointments and their subsequent dismissals without analysis, know that ignorance is at its Apex!
3. Our refugees are being butchered by our neighbors, and only to hear the spokesperson in the media reporting about their disagreements with the oppositions – something which will delay their repatriation. And the citizens only sent their pity condolences without pressuring the government to intervene.
4. Lastly, open defilements and violations of the R-ARCSS – the only hope for the country – and the citizens seem less bothered, since they’re totally ignorant about their Rights, Liberties, and the obligation of the sovereign. Recently, only foreign international forums – IGAD and TROIKA were at the forefront of pressuring the warlords.
In conclusion, as you read this brief text, have you ever thought of the direction where our beloved country is driving? Where is the future? And what does tomorrow hold for this already devastated Nation? Let’s think twice compatriots before dying together as fools.
The AUTHOR is a South Sudanese and a student of LAW at Nkumba University, Uganda. Reached via email@example.com.