“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemy, but the silence of our friend,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Luk Kuth Dak
August 27, 2014 - Any writer or a columnist will tell you that when one stops writing for a while, it becomes an uphill battle to resume it again. Indeed, for the past few weeks, my column disappeared. During that time, I was a father and mother for my 12-year-old daughter, Mirry Dak, who was spending part of her summer vacation with (daddy) in Atlanta. As you can imagine, nothing was off the table, from swim lessons, shopping, and many, many other countless activities. When I finally came home at night, I was often too exhausted to do anything else, much less writing.
But more of that doesn’t concern you. I just wanted to point out that parenting can be a very fulfilling experience and, the time Mirry and I spent together, meant the world for both of us.
But as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once told his listeners: “We have some difficult days ahead.” If you are a South Sudanese, you should worry, rightly so, about the direction our country is headed to with one of the most corrupt, most murderous, and most ethnically divisive dictator, Salva Kiir Mayardit at the helm.
And yes, we have some difficult days ahead!
As a principle, the solemn duty of a good journalist is to educate the masses about their rights, and to be a watchdog on the government activities that affect their daily lives. I hope I have done that in the past and, I have no intention to call it quits, right now. As a result, I wanted to join in the never-ending debate among pundits, experts, politicians and journalists alike, on whether or not the disgraced dictator, Mr. Salva Kirr Mayardit, will put the nation that he once fought to liberate first, and step aside in favor of a formation of government of national unity.
Well, as eager as I was, I reached out to some influential intellectuals all across the board, but especially in the Jieeng (Dinka) Nation, some of whom were my colleagues or bosses during my career as a reporter and a broadcasting journalist in Juba. Unfortunately, I soon found out that in all truth, there actually was no such constructive and healthy debate to be had, simply because the elite Jieeng intellectuals have- blindly- chosen to bestow their unconditional support behind Mr. Kiir, based entirely on his ethnic background, not his ideology or performance.
But for the optimists, those good-willed folks among South Sudanese, who continue to believe in the possibility that a miracle might come for Mr. Kiir to step aside in order to save the nation, I have some really, really bad news for all of us! The fact is, most-if-not all-dictators, do not relinquish power voluntarily. It’s just not in their “DNA” or the way in which they operate.
Additionally, most dictators have several characteristics in common. They usually rule autocracies government with a single leader and no governing body to check his power. Often dictators have totalitarian regimes, keeping their power through control of the mass media, use secret police and spy on the citizens of their state as well as restrict or completely remove their freedoms. Many of these dictators foster cults of personality, a form of a hero worship in which the masses are fed propaganda declaring their leader to flawless, almost divine!
Worse, all dictators are corrupt because of the unlimited power they wield. They are never answerable for their actions to anyone, accept themselves. They all put relatives and close associates and their inner circle of trusted people to vital positions in the government (military, intelligence, police, industry, etc.) they all govern repressive regimes where human right is virtually non-existent. More importantly, dictators never relinquish power; it had to be taken from.
Subsequently, South Sudan disgraced President; Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit will not be an exception in this league of dictators. In very many occasions, he made his intentions crystal clear that, he’s in no hurry to give-up power against the will of the citizens, even if it means wiping out the entire population, as it was the case with the Nuer genocide. In his murderous mind, as long as there’s still room for some more blood to be spilled around in order to quench his thirst, there’s a zero chance for him to relinquish power on his own terms.
There is no question that Kiir’s tenure in office has been a total disaster for the young nation. The despaired, traumatized and heart-broken citizens are totally fed up with his tribal regime that, they won’t even want to cross the street with him, much less having him as their leader.
If he’s not kicked out, he will continue doing what only Mr. Kiir does best, turn the nation into a morgue, for the remainder of the Nuer and other tribes except, of course, his well- protected Jieeng ruling kingdom.
The nation is crying for a new leadership!
The founding father of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM/A, the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior was well known for putting others above himself. If he were faced with a similar situation as Kiir is, he would have not hesitated to do what Nouri al-Maliky has done to resign for the sake of the unity of his country, Iraq and its people.
The Iraq’s Prime minister for the past eight years relinquished the post to his nominated replacement, ending a political deadlock. Standing alongside Haider al-Abadi, al-Maliki said: “I am stepping aside in favor of my brother, in order to facilitate the political process and government formation.”
Al-Maliki said the decision to back al-Abadi reflected his desire to “safeguard the high interest of the country,” adding that he would not be the cause of any bloodshed.
Mr. Kiir, who’s growing increasingly isolated as he was deserted not only by his closest allies in Khartoum, Nairobi, Addis Abba, Kampala, but most importantly, Washington, should know that he has a very little time left to hang on to power.
His compulsive desire to destroy the nation is far too powerful to overcome. Therefore, if (you) the people of South Sudan want the bloodshed to continue, Mr. Kiir’s your man. But, if you want peace, stability, democracy and progress, the option is clear!!
Luk Kuth Dak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.